A weekend MADE in heaven as Doves and Legends in the Park rock up to Perry Barr
Posted on the 27th Jul 2019 in the category sport

There is something in the air in Perry Barr this weekend.

Music, laughter and bits of glitter blowing off girls' faces. It is festival weekend at Perry Park with MADE today and Inner City and Legends in the Park tomorrow.
Perry Park is a great spot for a festival and this year the fenced fun is taking place over by the BMX track so its even further away from "irate residents" - you know the ones, the ones who write their own placards saying they don't want new trams, buses, carnivals but they do want to keep a 1960s flyover.

Last year I lived next to Finsbury Park in London and I loved the festival days, it was so much fun watching the sheer mass of humanity leaving the park after their fun, well it was OK until one young lady came in the Twelve Pins gents and pissed all over my Converse. However, there was of course a Finsbury Park Residents Association who tried stop the joy, and even managed to stop swearing on stage! Needless to say I had to point out they, as they professed, did not speak on behalf of all residents.
Radio 1's weekender in 2005, headlined by Fatboy Slim, was the best of recent Perry Park festivals, Wireless came and went with Kanye West in a mask, and now we have these Birmingham based mega events, which hopefully become a regular fixture.
MADE is in its 6th year and its the second year the festival in its new North Birmingham home after moving from its Moseley-on-Sea (Digbeth) home, so its fun to see revellers in £100 hats and ironic t-shirts realising there are no pop-up craft beer bars or artisan coffee shops on the way to the park because Perry Barr has yet to be gentrified. 

This morning at 10am I saw MADEns and a fella, all wearing some kind of iluminous get up with shiny shit on their faces in Greggs, One Stop. They were from Hereford and I welcomed them to Perry Barr before leaving them to get bored by some old dear banging on about which buzz to get to the venue. 

Chase & Status are headling tonight and among the 100 plus artists include Lethal Bizzle, Hardy Caprio, Ocean Wisdom, Andy C, Kings of the Shadows, Mall Grab, Problem Central and Annie Mac. Early hours lovers of Brum cult club Sum Cellar will also be pleased George Hadley and Co will be on the 1s and 2s on the South Stage. Last entry is 4pm today and the dancing stops at 10.30pm.

Tomorrow promises to be paradise for over-30s especially. Inner City Live is being headlined by Doves with support from Johnny Marr, The Coral and Brum boys done good The Twang. 
This is the only date Cheshire Indie legends Doves are playing in the West Midlands this year and their live shows are on a par with their consistently good albums and singles like There Goes The Fear, Pounding and Black And White. 

Inner City Live have put some epic events on in Digbeth over the last few years including a memorable turns from Flaming Lips, Orbital and The Stranglers. Get tickets for Inner City Live here - www.innercitylive.co.uk.
I, however, will be scorching the grass with my 43-year-old crazy legs at Legends in the Park.
There are more Birmingham 1990s club legends in the line up than a Tony De Vit house party.
The sheer talent on show demonstrates that Birmingham was a main player in UK clubland despite always being ignored in any documentary about the rave scene which concentrate on the M25 and Manchester, for some reason. 

Flashback, the rave revival night which first outing in Wobble's upstairs in 1997 I attended as well as its unforgettable Q-Club debut a few years later, is hosting a stage, as are the grown up glamour kids of Miss Moneypennies and those Sabbath shape throwers Sunddissential and Polysexual. 
Also dropping more beats than a shoplifter with Parkinsons running away from an Apple store are Jeremy Healy, Sonique, Ratpack, Shades of Rhythm, Jim 'Shaft' Ryan, Tall Paul, DJ Hype and Fergie. 
And it would not be a Birmingham rave if the man whose had more birthday parties than a some loaded 80-year-old triplets was on the bill - Bassman.

Get tickets for Legends in the Park here  - www.skiddle.com/festivals/legends-in-the-park.


Moon landings musical celebration Inter Stellar was out of this world
Posted on the 21st Jul 2019 in the category sport

"The moon landings mate? Never happened!"

You know the type, the human race's greatest achievement which took £40 billion and 30,000 people did not happen, because Nigel from Stechford reckons the flag had a shadow.
The fact the Russians, who had greatest ever spying organisation ever created, the KGB, had infiltrated the US elite and never said it was fake, because they knew how close they were to putting Cosmonauts on the moon, is lost on him.

And that you can go to a huge telescope and look at the space litter NASA left on the moon WITH YOUR OWN EYES does not matter to Nigel, who is so thick he thinks every documentary he watches on YouTube is true.
Across the world last night there were celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of that biggest "small step" in history. Birmingham Cathedral hosted Inter Stellar, presented by the Secret Symphony, to mark the epoch-defining event. The 50 piece Limelight  Orchestra were performing "all things space, stars and inter stellar" and the cathedral was packed for the concert.

All day I avoided moon documentaries as I thought there would be some moon action. I was hoping for a screen with Neil and Buzz bopping around in the sea of tranquility or as there was a "3D hologram show" perhaps Chewbacca would turn up in his birthday suit. But if there were holograms I could not see them from my seat.

As it was, the entertainment was strictly musical in St Philips Cathedral as Limelight went through a space themed set list which boldly went where no orchestra has probably ever been before. David Bowie and Elton John's Starman and Rocket Man were successfully launched into a brave musical stratosphere and then testing the out there nature of exploration the orchestra went for a medelee of 2001 Space Odyssey (the drummer must have been looking forward to it all week), Walking on the Moon and maybe (according to my friend) a bit of Bergerac.
As Limelight, led by a wise-cracking conductor, went for an arrangement of "obscure" 1996 hit Spaceman (Space, man!) by Babylon Zoo it seemed anything was on the table; maybe an easy listening version of Prodigy's Out of Space or a bonkers bassoon reprise of Bad Moon Rising.

But instead of going down the obvious route of The Carpenters Top of the World (looking down on creation) and Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft they veered off down a galactic vortex of Muse and Jamiroquai. The arrangements for Starlight and Cosmic Girl were fantastic allowing everyone in the orchestra to put their rocket boosters on to increase the volume and intensity.

Singers took turns to sing their favourite space themed but the women really hit the high notes during a fantastic rendition of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and the fantastic lighting show really added to the atmospheric tune bathing the historic venue in blues, yellows and everything in between.  

Public Service Broadcasting's incredible masterpiece Go! uses the voices of Nasa controller Gene Kranz and his colleagues to incredible effect and as it was the 50th anniversary of the moon landings it was a shame they could not have been used in last night's brilliant live version as it would have been stratospheric.

However, I am being over-critical as I am a moon landings nut. As the two hour show culminated the audience were ready to blast off with the orchestra for the last few numbers and ELO'S Mr BlueSky and Simply Red's Star's got those in the church pews swaying.
The highlight of the show was an epic version of 1980's hair bear band Europe's The Final Countdown. The Limelight Orchestra truly went for it, the singer belted out, what are lets face it awful lyrics (who rhymes Venus with 'See us') and the guitarist shredded like he was playing to wake up Ozzy Osbourne from a slumber  instead of being in the stained glass majesty of a cathedral. I will never be able to listen to The Final Countdown the same again.

Men landed on the moon, it is a fact, and it was wonderful to mark the occasion with the "out there" Limelight Orchestra. 

You can catch Inter Stellar at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena on July 27, Coventry Cathedral on August 23 and Lichfield Cathedral on August 31.



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