Great gig last night as the Sunflower Lounge – which since opening in 2002 has remained one of the few reasons you’re likely to want to go drinking in Birmingham city centre.
It was opened by Paul Cook – the resident for many years in the small room at Snobs nightclub – the spiritual home of Birminghams Indie community. He played a terrrific selection of 60’s, 70’s Northern Soul, Mod and Indie (often spinning a Beach Boys tune for me when he was me wander in) and the Sunflower Lounge reflects his taste and style.
A great little venue for a gig too – we sat watching the first acts from raised area at the back with a great view onto the bar below, the musicians in front of the big windows and the street behind. The night is called the Sunflower Sessions and is ably run by the lovely Tom.
We missed the Humdrum Express as we’d gone out to grab some dinner, but Ive reviewed him on this blog before. Ian was very kind in shouting out a request for Jobbery before I’d even started and he later confessed to shedding a tear to it. Interesting cos its more of an angry song than a sad one, but the feeling of what he referred to as “those wasted lives” obviously strikes a chord with him.
The rest of the evening was a showcase for Frizz records – a friendly label East London label with a great ethos and several talented musicians. Each chipped in at some point, playing on one anothers songs, so sometimes there was clarinet, percussion and some great backing vocals. In particular Joy Joseph‘s voice was a stand out.
I then played – a bit groggy from a heavy weekend partywise, and feeling the nerves a bit shortly beforehand, but quickly settling in. Im getting the hang of confidently and clearly addressing the audience from the start which really helps. The set is definitely the best its been yet in terms of quality and structure. Theres just one more song I want to add to it which has had the music and an idea for a chorus written for along time, but needs finishing as I’ll want to put it on my first album of songs. Overall the set went down well – even getting a small standing ovation.
Finally David Garside began – a little tentatively at first, but soon hitting his stride. He’s a good gutarist as evidenced from some soloing in the earlier group set and I thought he was probably strongest when playing guitar with a colleague backing well on piano – a good full sounds and some great harmonies as well. The last couple of big numbers had a terrific warm, summery feel to round off a really enjoyable night.
Marc Reeves, editor of the Birmingham Post was in the audience which was great (and testament to the delights of Twitter). The local music is scene is going to need all the support it can get from the local papers following the unfortunate news that listings magazine Whats On recently ceased to exist.