Birmingham Has No Music Scene by @JeffStuka


Blimey, off he goes again. Watch out, Jeff Stuka has the grumpy and he isn’t afraid to use it….

Man, sometimes people fuck me off.  When I come across people who claim Birmingham has no “scene” my rage gets thunderous.  An overreaction I know, but as I look at all the people busting their nipples till they explode to make things happen in this great forsaken city, I can’t help thinking, “WHAT A FUCKING INSULT!”

What people can’t grasp with this city is it’s eclecticism.  I mean there’s so much going on.  Every night there’s some kind of show from hot plesiastic bands, DJ sets of microbasic cleboticism or some specialistic night of supercool human herbaceous border trunt that is low key, sexy and unique. There isn’t a common thread through the Birmingham music scene and that’s why people don’t see a scene.  But, you bunch of wrongform spelliasticle gunterbiscuits, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

The traditional view of a scene has been for too long dictated by the idea that there should be a local style of music that a “scene” can shoehorn itself into. A kind of mould that allows ignorant people to turn around and say, “Oh, they come from Bumsquitterton, I know because they have the Bumsquitterton sound.” That may be ok for other cities but Birmingham isn’t like that. The centre of the country is a melting pot of everything the UK has to offer. Where other cities have in the past been influenced by imports, Birmingham has always seen the world through a filtered view and this is where it’s brilliant unpredictability comes from.

The punk DIY ethic is alive and well here. As you read this you are at the site of the Blue Whale, a Birmingham based recording studio and promoter of local music staffed and managed by Brummagens.  At the same time as shouting about the depth of talent swimming about this city, the Blue Whale has had no qualms about promoting other Birmingham based endeavours.  Gigs from Birmingham Promoters and This Is Tomorrow are trumpeted.  Excitement is generated for acts at the Basement Bar or the Flapper or The Rainbow.  This pleasure in local music is reciprocated by these organisations.

At the same time, we have Chicks Dig Jerks, The Autumn Store and Coffee and Cake, all locals pushing their own local designs for the music they love.  And then there’s Bigger than Barry, which started as a club night and has now expanded to include a record label, championing such homegrown indie heroes as the Scarlet Harlots whilst pushing a dance music agenda and stretching tendrils well beyond this city.

Scarlet Harlots

Birmingham is also served with an eclectic audible mix by Rhubarb Radio.  Broadcast from the Custard Factory, highlights include Brumcast, Birmingham’s very own answer to John Peel.

Not enough for you?  How about Brumnotes, a magazine for the general public with information about the local scene and the bigger acts to visit Birmingham.  A vital link between the underground and the overground that reaches a wider audience and a much needed asset for the second city.

This is just skimming the top of the cream.  There’s not enough space to celebrate what’s going on in Birmingham. Silent Noize, Oxjam Brum’s You’re A Sister, Jason Pegg’s Acoustic Lounge.  I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on but you get the point.  Birmingham has a “scene”.  And it’s a fucking great scene.  Something for everyone.  It may not fit some nice music press criteria about what a “scene” is but fuck it, what an exciting place to be!

Jeff Stuka

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8 responses to “Birmingham Has No Music Scene by @JeffStuka

  1. Pingback: Birmingham Has No Music Scene - Birmingham: It's Not Shit

  2. When I saw the headline I was like oh my i disagree I think brum has a great live thing going on so as I read i began to smile.

    We (parsnips) play regularly around brum, we have recently supported ‘Where’ & ‘Dinky’at the sunflower, it was sold out and awesome, I liked Dinky but it was not left of centre enough for me. Where on the other hand have their own dial system altogether!

    Next we supported the Cracked actors ~ what a frickin awesome live set! Great band great people, two tone was the theme and it was a mean delivery. Perhaps im sensing a slight two tone thang, couple of younger bands seem to be picking up on the vibe.

    But yes I agree, we dont have a sound, I do think brum has a certain vibe and it generally is a very positive one amongst bands, lending amps, putting kettles on, and sharing a beer and a laugh. Come on isnt that what its all about?

    Come on you brummies!

    • Choking-victim

      Good points jeff, brums music scene is diverse and growing rapidly. One thing though is that although you likened what’s happening in the indie scene to the diy punk scene, where’s the actual mention of the punk scene itself? Not only has it’s created some epitomal bands (gbh, drongos for europe,napalm death) it still has a strong underground following, with Venues such as the wagon n horses, the old wharf, scruffy murphys etc. Mentioning that there is brums only diy non-profit punk ska and reggae night at scruffy murphys, which has free entry to the club night and when bands are on. Then there’s the diversity in the punk scene with ska, hardcore, dbeat, thrash and power violence bands emerging.all in all it’s pretty strong and gettin stronger.up the punx n up brum.nice
      one jeff

  3. Well said Jeff. I’m pretty narrow-minded when it comes to music, but I’ve found a bunch of bands here I really like. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up around here that I appreciate it more. I’ll talk Birmingham up to anyone who cares to listen.

  4. I wonder why people always blog about the same nights. Nothing against them, they’re all great and I’ve been to all of them and love the guys who run them but why not blog about other lesser known stuff too such as Capsule, who are pretty much the backbone of Brum’s music scene. Also heat and light, it’s just noise and atta girl clubnight to name a few. Glad the post was the opposite of the title, I was ready to kick off!

    • It would be impossible to list all the great nights on in this city through the course of one article. Or the important venues for that matter. The point is, it doesn’t take much to find something worth attending. The fact that people are sharing them off the back of this makes me shinybiscuits in the nappyzone

  5. Battle Of The Fans has commenced.
    The O2 Academy venue with the most Facebook fans at the end of May will win themselves a FREE gig with 2MANYDJS!!
    All you have to do is ‘Like’ the Facebook page and the gig will be ours!
    Spread the word Birmingham!
    http://www.facebook.com/o2academybirmingham?ref=ts#!/o2academybirmingham?v=app_119213134765688&ref=ts

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