Photo by Wayne Fox

I’ve been hearing good things about these guys and looking forward to checking them out as part of the Honeycomb Club – a monthly event at, where else, the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath – home to so much of whats good in terms of the smaller end of the Birmingham live music scene.

The Honeycomb clubs offers a blend of guest bands, with resident VJs and DJs, each night being headlined by the Alternative Dubstep Orchestra and whilst the whole night was very well put together, its the ADO whom most of us have come to see.

First up were Velvet Texas Cannonball who got the crowd warmed up, toe tapping and even some serious rockin out (Im looking at you Bernard Davis!).  Style-wise it was pretty much time warpsville – we’re talking 70’s blues rock, but if that doesnt bother you (and why should it) theres lots to enjoy in the form of classic rock lead vocals, psychedelic hammond, bluesy guitar and a great drummer.

So to the Alternative Dubstep Orchestra (ADO).  These guys floated my boat in a number of good ways – first up its a lovely to see such a diverse bunch of musicians on a stage together in a loose and yet clearly pretty tight collective (this makes me proud of being a Brummie and reminds me of my excitement at early encounters with the Destroyers).   Second I like to see that combo of traditional and modern – a three piece brass section alongside big electronic basslines and the bass player switching from stand up to electric.

The music I thought for the most part very good indeed.  Theres a few places some editing could help, but these are early days for the group so thats entirely forgiveable.  As someone who personally isnt a major reggae or dub fan, I found it a little disconcerting at first when a big build upwould lead to the slow, deep dubstep beat rather than something quicker, but after a little while, I let my knees bend a little more and sank comfortably down into the groove.

Visually the guys look great, the guitarist in particular is a bit of a livewire.  The live percussion really added something and the laidback vocal lines over the top of it all work well.

All in all, an exciting new addition to the thriving independent Birmingham music scene so do check them out at their residency at the Honeycomb, on youtube or before long at good venues and festivals everywhere.

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