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Is There Anyone Out There?

Is There Anyone Out There? Documenting Birmingham’s Alternative Music Scene 1986-1996 is a new exhibition co-curated by the Centre for Media & Cultural Research at Birmingham City University and the Birmingham Music Archive.

It’s running from 4th-28th May, Monday to Saturday 9am – 7pm and its free entrance.

Here is the exhibition blurb, it’s going to be great so whether you went to the Click Club, interested in Birmingham music and heritage or fans of Primal Scream, Sea Urchins, Killing Joke, Suicide, Mighty Mighty, James, Sugarcubes (Bjork on Broad St!!!) and many many others, come and see unseen photos, original posters, tickets, contracts (what did Primal Scream ask for in their rider in 1986?) as well as incredible live footage of the bands and what Broad St looked like in 1986.

‘Is There Anyone Out There?’
Documenting Birmingham’s Alternative Music Scene 1986-1990
4-28th May 2016
Parkside Building, Birmingham City University, Curzon Street, Birmingham, B4 7BD

Established in 1986 by Dave Travis and Steve Coxon, The Click Club was the name of a concert venue and disco associated with Birmingham’s alternative music culture. Located in ‘Burberries’ – a conventional nightclub site in the pre-regeneration city centre, the club showcased a wide variety of acts reflecting the varied culture of the independent and alternative sector.

While capacity was limited to a few hundred attendees on any one night, The Click Club was important locally, nationally and internationally, for the role it played as part of a touring circuit, and for distributors and retailers of independent music. As a central feature in a music scene operating on a DIY-basis, independent of major labels, at the intersection of subcultures it also had enormous cultural value for its participants.

Travis continues to be a key cultural entrepreneur. Known initially as a professional photographer, commissioned by music publications such as NME, Sounds and the local Brumbeat amongst others, he has combined his photographic work with the promotion of live music in the city.

This exhibition draws upon Travis’ personal archive of film, posters, magazines and ephemera that detail a vibrant and dynamic space and time in late 80s Birmingham.
Central to the exhibition is a set of previously unseen images taken by Travis at The Click Club, a small proportion of those produced during a professional life as a music promoter and photographer.

The exhibition draws upon first hand accounts of those who were there and includes loaned artefacts in order to contextualize The Click Club in a historical moment that remains important to its community and to the music and cultural heritage of Birmingham.

The exhibition poses a series of questions: what is the value of this material? What does it tell us beyond confirming the memories of the individuals it concerned? Does such material have wider importance and contributions to make to our understanding of the past?

While the exhibition will appeal to those who attended The Click Club as well as those curious about popular music more generally, it is aimed at a broader audience interested in history, urban life, everyday creativity and the cultural economy.

Conceived and curated by scholars from the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research Paul Long, Jez Collins (founder of Birmingham Music Archive), and Sarah Raine, the exhibition develops themes from BCMCR research clusters in Popular Music Studies and History, Heritage and Archives.

Previous work includes: UK Film Council funded production of: the film ‘Made in Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra’ (www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrVa3v9U8mU); establishment of a project to develop the archival preservation of the production culture of Pebble Mill (www.pebblemill.org); research into the archive of BBC documentarist Philip Donnellan; collaborations with Vivid Projects on the history of The Birmingham Film and Television Workshop and Catapult Club Archive (see: www.vividprojects.org.uk).

If you would like to attend the exhibition Launch Event on the evening of 3rd May please RSVP to: anna.pirvola@bcu.ac.uk
You are welcome to join us over the duration of the exhibition and we would be pleased to welcome you and discuss the project.

We spoke to Steve and Dave about the club, why and how they set it up and about Birmingham at that period. Here’s taster for the Podcast which will be available soon.

For more information and exhibition materials contact us directly.
Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research: www.bcmcr.org
Birmingham Music Archive: www.birminghammusicarchive.com

Burberries-on-the-Street

Pixies at Burberries

[The Pixies at Burberries]

 

Burberries was the indie place in Birmingham in the mid 80s to late 90s. Home to The Click Club run by Dave Travis it was to be home to Pop Will Eat Itself, Mighty Mighty, Felt, Terry & Gerry and other great Brum indie bands.

Visiting bands included Orange Juice, Primal Screen and My Bloody Valentine amongst many many others.

The Click Club is still fondly remembered and talked about to today.

Benedict Davies has sent a bunch of ticket stubs from Click Club nights (not all at Burberries)

A Night At The Flicks

There are a number of albums kicking around that highlight Birmingham music at different points in time and across different genres.

A Night At The Flicks is one such album. Released in 1985 on N.R.O. Records this 16 track lp covers synth driven indie, post punk, reggae, C86, psychobilly and hard rock. There are some great tracks on this album which was compiled by Jon Buxton, Terry Boazman and Paul Panic from The Accused

I need help in filling in a lot of gaps on this one. From details about the bands to the N.R.O. Records to the people in the credits.

Where you in one of the bands? A fan or remember seeing them play? Know who and what N.R.O. Records were or do you know, or are you one of, the people in the credits?

I’ve photographed the album so read the sleeve notes in the 1,2,3 order I’ve arranged them in!

A Night At The Flicks

Side 1                                                                                                           

Private I.D. – All Fall Down;  The Jury – Take It Higher; The Biz – My Life; The Cushites – In The Name Of Love; Fact Is… – Walking In The Rain; Future – Only Child; King Rat – That’s Progress; Slaughterhouse 5 – Dresden

 Side 2

Arabia – Watch And Believe; System X – I Did It*; Mighty Mighty  – Throwaway; Beneath The Street – Friends; Warren (Armstrong) and The Walkons – Anytime; Pungent Smells – Psiko; Eye Do It – The Brick Wall (Knock It Down); Touché – Touché

Produced by Jon Buxton

Engineered by Steve Law

N.R.O. Records. 1985

 

Mighty Mighty

Mighty Mighty were an indie band formed in Birmingham, England in the mid-1980s. Showing influences from Postcard Records bands such as Orange Juice, they came to prominence when featured on the NME’s C86 compilation, at around the same time that they released their debut single “Everybody Knows The Monkey”. This was soon followed by a 12″ single – “Is There Anyone Out There?” before the band signed to Chapter 22 Records, releasing a string of well-received singles and the album Sharks in 1988. With their brand of indie pop giving way to American influenced rock and shoegazing, they split in 1988.

Band members: Russell Burton – Bass and vocals, Mick Geoghegan – Guitar, Pete Geoghegan – Vox organ and guitar, D J Hennessy – Drums, Hugh McGuinness – Vocals and harmonica
Singer Hugh once said during an interview that the difference between Mighty Mighty and The Smiths was that “they write two-minute pop songs and we write three-minute pop songs”.

Continuing interest in the band saw the reissue of Sharks in 2000, the release of a compilation album of BBC session tracks in 2001, and two compilations of singles and unreleased tracks in 2000 and 2001.

They reformed for the Indietracks music festival in 2009.

They played Popfest Berlin in 2010, followed by Firestation Records of Berlin issuing their ‘lost second album’ on vinyl and CD, 25 years after it was recorded.

In 2013 Cherry Red Records released a major double CD compilation entitled ‘Pop Can – the definitive collection 1986-88’.

Discography

Singles
Everybody Knows The Monkey (7″, 1986, Girlie Records, GAY001)
Is There Anyone Out There? (12″, 1986, Girlie Records, XGAY2)
Throwaway (7″/12″, 1986, Chapter 22, CHAP10/12CHAP10)
Built Like A Car (7″/12″, 1987, Chapter 22, CHAP12/12CHAP12)
One Way (7″/12″, 1987, Chapter 22, CHAP19/12CHAP19)
Maisonette (7″/12″, 1988, Chapter 22, CHAP21/12CHAP21)

Albums
Sharks (1988, Chapter 22, CHAPLP24) reissued (2000, Vinyl Japan)
A Band From Birmingham (2000) Vinyl Japan
The Girlie Years (2001) Vinyl Japan
At The BBC (2001) Vinyl Japan
The Betamax Tapes (2012) Firestation Records
Pop Can – The Definitive Collection 1986-88 (2013) Cherry Red Records

Mike from the band has sent these awesome photos in to the archive.

Everybody Knows the Monkey

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