Friday, 28 November 2008

Big Cat destroy Rewired in Karoake blood bath

Pad Thai in Holloway Head was the scene of one of the greatest sing offs in living memory, leaving thousands in awe and many more in bemusement as vocal gymnasts from Rewired, Maverick TV, Post & Mail and Big Cat trudged through some of the finest tracks commited to karoake.

Granted the battle was mainly between myself and Tara from Rewired, that doesn't smear any of the gloss on what was a sensational night and musical extravagence leaving not a dry seat in the house.

What was the most confusing aspect of the evening was the music videos behind the text which looking like the opening scenes of German porn movie. Other strange videos included Titanic running behind Vanilla Ice's classic 'Ice Ice baby' and home footage of two raindeers licking each other during my emotional rendition of 'All I want for Christmas is you' by Mariah Carey.

On the whole, a great night that did for music what Sweeney Todd did for hair dressing.

Julia South joins the Big Cat family

Big Cat are delighted to welcome new Senior Business Development Manager Julia South.

Julia is an experienced salesperson with a strong portfolio and an impressive contact roster. Julia will be a key figure in the continued growth of Big Cat.

Big cat to host 'Clubbed' premiere

Big Cat are proud to announce the successful tender win to event manage the premiere of independent movie, Clubbed.

The eagerly anticipated movie premieres early in the New Year and is a shining example of Big Cat’s versatility in delivering a wide range of events.

Without giving too much away, the movie focuses on a man who becomes entrenched in the seedy underworld of Britain’s nightclub industry after learning self defence and provide for his young daughters.

Myself and close colleagues went along to a pre screening, and I must admit it was very good. I would love to give more detail but obviously I don't want to let the cat out of the bag at this time. I will suggest that you should go down when it opens in January.

Big Cat will be working alongside Screen WM, who are major contributors to Clubbed, both financially and in sharing expertise.

Monday, 24 November 2008


Hip Hop giants Public Enemy, will make their first ever appearance in Birmingham at Digbeth’s iconic Custard Factory on 3 December.

Public Enemy first came to fame in the mid to late 80’s with hits such as ‘Don’t believe the hype’, ‘911 (is a joke)’, and ‘Black steel in the hour of chaos’ gaining a major worldwide fan base because of their politically charged lyrics and outspoken views on institutionalised racism in America. Public Enemy have gone on to define a generation of African American music and are established as one of the fathers of modern black music.

The performance at The Custard Factory is Public Enemy’s first gig in Birmingham and their appearance is testament to the growing musical culture in the country’s second city. With Public Enemy following The Sugarhill Gang’s appearance at Gigbeth in November, Birmingham will have hosted two of the most influential black artists of the last 25 years, in the space of one month.

Simon Jones, creative director of Custard Factory Spaces, says: “The Custard Factory has hosted some major international artists in 2008 such as Fleet Foxes and Basement Jaxx, and hosting Public Enemy is a great way to finish another highly successful year. It is also a big step forward for the music scene in Birmingham; venues in the city are starting to regularly host world renowned acts, not just from the UK but from all over the globe.”

For tickets visit or call 0844 870 0000. Doors open at 7pm and last entry is at 11:30pm.

Tickets are on sale for £20, and are selling fast.

For more information on the Custard Factory Spaces please visit

Monday, 17 November 2008

Shortlist of Nominations for Creative City Awards announced

The 2008 Creative City Awards nominations have now been announced, with three finalists shortlisted for each of the six prestigious categories. But the nominees will have to wait until the official awards ceremony at the ICC on Saturday 29 November to find out if they have won, and to claim their £2,000 development prize.

Recognising and celebrating the best of Birmingham’s creative talent, the Creative City Awards is an annual event that showcases the cream of the creative industry crop to the city and wider UK. With over 9% of the city’s economic impact coming directly from the creative industries, The Creative City Awards are a prominent public platform, recognising and celebrating the economic impact this dynamic industry has on our region. Previous winners have included music studios, graphic design agencies, a regionally run style and culture magazine and theatre companies.

The Regional Outstanding Business Development Award:
Bubblequest Ltd
Internet Arrow
Digital Native Academy Ltd

The Birmingham Outstanding Business Development Award:
Electric Cinema
Substrakt Limited

Innovation Award:
Adwords Ltd
LHM Media
IE Design Consultancy Ltd

Outstanding Market Development Award:
Fierce Earth Ltd
D A Recordings Ltd

The Best Brand Award:
D A Recordings Ltd
Violectra trading as Unison Strings Ltd
IE Design

Creative Industries Award:
D A Recordings Ltd
Stan’s Cafe
Fierce Earth Ltd

The Creative City Awards will be attended by representatives of Birmingham and the region’s biggest and most influential creative businesses. The evening will be hosted by NEC chief Paul Thandi and BBC Breakfast presenter Kate Silverton; award presenters include Birmingham Post editor Marc Reeves, BBC television’s Ashley Blake and Radio 2’s Janice Long.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Gigbeth headliners wow the crowds

I went into last Friday night with only a limited knowledge and opinion of some of Gigbeth's headlining acts, The Guillemots and The Young Knives but I left realising why they are two of the most popular acts among music fans in the UK.

Gigbeth 2008 was kicked off in rip rawing fashion by The Guillemots, who have developed an extremely strong following over the last few years with their thumping beats and charismatic Brummie front man, Fyfe Dangerfield. Their performance had the swagger and polish of one of the biggest alternative acts in Britain today, as well as a unique stage presence and immensely powerful sound.

Front man Fyfe bizarrely played the keyboard from a chair I would usually expect to see an old god fearing red kneck to be seated on outside a porch, sat like a coiled spring waiting for someone to look at him cock eyed, so as to validate blowing their heads off. The Guillemots had a similaraly assured presence to the Fleet Foxes (see review below) in that they performed with originality and assurance without pomposity or arrogance.

My stay with the band was short lived as, sadly I had to make my way over to the Barfly to direct Big Cat's photographer to the Young Knives performance.

The Young Knives are a band I keep a casual interest in as they come from the same country town as I do and my backstage patter with guitarist Henry Dartnall revealed that the man responsible for teaching guitar to him was, in fact, a lad I went to primary school with (I finally have a valid claim to fame that I can put on my tomb stone).
The Young Knives played a high energy set that had the intimate venue on its toes for the rest of the evening. The tightness and layout of the Barfly certainly contributed to the performance and the band felt a lot closer to the audience than the Guillemots had.

If I had to pick between the two acts, I would definately go for The Young Knives, and I know I'm biased, but their performance befitted what Gigbeth should be about, intamacy with the artists, high energy performance and just the fact that generally the mood around the place was heightened by their performance. Although The Guillemots do recieve a very creditable mention as I thoroughly enjoyed their set and they may have fallen foul of the fact that I had to leave after a couple of songs.

Hurray for Gigbeth!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Fleet Foxes impress at Space 2

Anyone that has read my previous blog will know my thoughts towards the Fleet Foxes. Their original style, note perfect harmonies and baroque melody lines seperate them from almost any artist or band around today, at least any popular ones.

Before entering The Custard Factory's Space 2 last night, I had a very good idea of what to expect after listening to them periodically throughout the previous week. The Fleet Foxes are a band Birmingham should embrace. They have an understated creativity, and originality that Birmingham is now becoming recognised across the country for, as well as a dry sense of humour, that reared its head intermittantly throughout the evening.

Last night was a sell out and it was easy to see why. The Fleet Foxes have a very English quality, not just in their music but in their performance and stage manner. The lead man's first words to the audience joked about why the English don't celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Bastile day. Although it wasn't the funniest banter i had ever heard, it was certainly a refreshing change to the bizarre historionics and drivvling irony that stained fellow American Amanda Palmer's performance a month ago, granted that the Mr Incredible look alike may have been responsible for that abominable display of jokesmithery.

Their performance was assured and confident but without the hint of pretention or pompositity that so often can bring down a band with an innovative twist.That statement is saying something, considering the group's guitarist played his instrument with a violin bow only ten minutes into the performance, bringing back memories of Jimmy Page at his height, and more absurdely the ingenius Spinal Tap parody that followed (although that involved playing a guitar with a violin).

Their music intrigues me into knowing who there influences are, such is the variation in the music. Medievil harmonies weaving in and out of folk melodies spread over thumping, at times almost rock and roll, beats, decorated with a bit of Neil Young, a trace of the old blues standards as well as the occassional late 70's prog rock device; all of which were delivered with precision and conviction.

The Seattle fivesome could become a metaphor for the bulging and burgeoning creative realisation currently going on in Birmingham, and it is fitting that last nights performance was delivered in the home of Birmingham's creative industries.