Tag: Supersonic Festival (Page 1 of 2)

Supersonic is coming soon…

I never did finish a write up for last years Supersonic festival in Birmingham and with this years, the 10th anniversary/birthday no less, just a few weeks away I should at least put up some photos from the 2011 weekend.

For the record high points for me* were the double bill performance of Pharaoh Overlord/Circle over two nights and seeing (and meeting) Mike Watt on the Friday night who was everything you’d want Mike Watt to be.

I will miss our ‘time out’ for a pint in the The Old Wharf this year though, even if the writing was clearly on the wall there last year its a shame to see it gone. Changes this year to our plans? Well I’m thiking of going vegetarian for our pre festival curry as, while I enjoyed the food there iteself the meat was… well… And of course a post festival pint of Guinness in The Kerryman is a must, was nice to see a couple more festival goers wander into the early hours madness there last year as to me, like any great festival, Supersonic isn’t just about the music*** and the art its about the environment around too.

Read more about Supersonic Festival (And buy tickets and records) Here.

Supersonic Festival 2012

*I should also add a big thank you to the volunteers and the bar staff who I believe were also all or mostly volunteers last year, it made for a great friendly environment and watching a young lady shocked at the bargain end of night £1 a pint real ale sell off** impulse buy nine pints that she didn’t then know what to do with was quite priceless.

**Me and my drinking colleague also found a packet of monster munch on the bar at this point. We left it along for the best part of half and hour but that was as long as we could wait. If this was your packet of Monster Munch please allow me to apologise here and now.

***The music is usually pretty awesome mind.

Take a look at the photos below the jump…

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Beer and bands in Birmingham

…Or Supersonic Festival 2010

right, I’ve got the CD player loaded up with the excellent Barolo CD, (First heard on the equally excellent Brumcast) and a couple of cds from the 3 for £20 Dirty Water Records Sale. I’ve got half a bottle of wine and a tube of Pringles. God damn it I’m going to finaly finish Supersonic Write up.

You could actually skip this review and head on over to Russ L’s [of Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands fame] and read his recently posted write up, as he both has a better memory and a more eloquent way with words than myself. Nonetheless, I’ve started so I’ll finish, this write up is brought to you by the photographs I took, the Supersonic Festival brochure and my very poor memory.

The Victoria

I met up with my regular supersonic attendee mate for a beer in The Victoria, a place that always has a decent selection of beers and it didn’t disappoint, one drink turned into four(-ish) and we headed off to check in to our accommodation for the weekend. This was to be the Arc Apartments, same as last year, as it was nice to have some extra space – living room/kitchen/tv/dvd area at not too much extra cost. Check in was confused by the fact I was apparently supposed to bring £200 cash with me to check in, well either that or a credit card. I had neither – there was nothing on any of the booking documents about it – so they agreed to charge my debit card it, this I apparently will get back at some point over the next couple of months, not yet mind, this being further worrying given the list of charges on the table for ‘breakages’ and also the list of charges should you check out more than five minutes late aannnd also given the painting in the room that had been glued back together, the smashed cooker top and the marks all over the walls. Not the most relaxing welcome though the check in staff and the place itself was nice enough.

Anyway, bags dumped we raced off to the Symphony Hall to catch Big Man Clayton who was doing a free show as a part of Birmingham Jazz’ rush hour jazz series of free gigs. It sounded good, and was nicely busy with an open bar – didn’t know what to expect, I’d been aware of the rush hour events for some time but didn’t know it was literally wander over and have a gander. Would definitely go again. That said while it was nice to get a taste of the music it would also have been good to see it in a ‘proper’ venue. After a quick hello to ace photographer and fellow Dirty Bristow contributer eight8all we headed off to the festival. Stopping on route at the recomended, to me, Manzils for some food. Previous Supersonics have always been heralded by some kind of event for us, the fabulously odd ‘school trip-like’ coach trip followed by the exelent Home Of Metal talk in 2008 and then last years free screening of Suspiria. While there were indeed some film screenings on it was nice to have a sit down and a decent meal before proceedings. Food was mostly good, my starter was a bit overdone(and my mate managed to order something which was a scotch egg deep fried with an omelette on the top – but then he always does find these bizarre combos so its no real surprise) the price was right and we both had no ill effects so it was a win overall.

We still had an hour or so to kill so headed for a quick pint in The Old Wharf. Ordering a Guinness we watched a very young band soundcheck. They were pretty good and while clearly heading in different directions genre wise they were a talented bunch. The Guinness had a rasberry tinge as its is oft served in rock venues, we cut it short and headed to the festival.

Okay, to be honest there was a tiny que when we arrived at the Custard Factory, so we headed over to the Spotted Dog for a quick half.

Anyway, we did eventually get to the festival, just in time for Necro Deathmort in the Old Library, which was the new stage for this years, it was a great improvement on both the old Medicine Bar room and the Kitchen as was. A nice space in general with its high ceilings and arches in fact it also had a bar, it would take us a day to figure out that this was in fact the ‘Capsule bar’ and as such, was cheaper, friendlier and had a better choice of beers(In fact by Sunday it was about the only bar with any draft beer left) than any of the others. I remember watching some of and enjoying what I saw of Fuckpig and then Drumcorps, in fact I remember realising it was Arron Spectre and all the great mixes I’d heard of his in the past – just about the time he was finished.

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Supersonic 2009

hmmm, its taken me a couple of days to get my thoughts together around this years Supersonic Festival. First up, I enjoyed it a lot. But, it seemed to end on a bit of a low for me and It didn’t seem as if I’d enjoyed it as much as I did last years weekend, nor the years before and I couldn’t really work out why. Actually, I’m not really sure you should compare one years to another, like most people I think my memory tends to improve on the reality highlighting the good and toning down the bad, but I couldn’t help myself, so here goes;

Tonight I was sat in my local arts centre, watching a band from the early sixties go through their paces, with a pint of beer at £2.10 [rather than £4.00!!!] and immaculate toilets [rather than, well, less said the better] Seven days before I’d been watching Light Trap, Thorrs Hammer and Monotonix. While the music I was sat watching, with my reasonably priced pint, was good, at some times it felt like watching a pub band, and not a good one at that. During the pub band moments I got my thoughts together on what I enjoyed, what I didn’t and why from the Supersonic weekend.

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Superosnic bound…

leaving on a jet plane. I don’t know when I’ll be back again*

*Well, actually it’ll most likely be an Alexander Dennis Enviro300 bus, and I’ll probably be back first thing monday. But hey, wheres the poetry in that.

Supersonic Festival

Superosinic Festival 2009 Poster

If you can’t make it along why not check out the excellent podcasts from Little Chris on the ever enjoyable Brumcast, here and here.

Comming up…

a couple of musical events I’m looking forward to…

This years Screamin’ Festival later in the month. Seems to be costing a fair bit more this year, mostly down to the Euro exchange rate I guess…

2009 Screamin Festival Poster

Followed by the Supersonic Festival from Capsule in July, 24th, 25th and 26th;

2009 Supersonic Festival Poster

Really must sort out some decent accomodation for that this year…

Late Supersonic write up…

well, Its been two weeks since another fantastic Supersonic Festival. Memorable moments in the order of occurrence included…

Arrival on Friday to find the TV set in two pieces in our Etap ‘The key to a good nights sleep’ hotel room, which was a definite health and safety failure I think. The pies at the Old Joint Stock were as good as always, though I still miss Pie Minister.

On arrival at the Custard Factory the entrance and wristband situation was speedily delt with, they were even kind enough to cut off everyones over long wristband ends, though again, waving a pair of scissors at every patron seems to be asking for trouble, but with a weekend that involves glass, beer cans and blood being discharged into the audience from some of the performers, this has to be a small worry.

Drumize we’re great, I was disappointed that they weren’t a band as such but a collective as other bands, as this meant there was no record to buy and my chances of hearing hem again we’re poor. Having said that I see they have a myspace page so I guess you never know. Dalek were enjoyable though I found standing at the back of the Medicine Bar Factory Club Stage to watch the Osaka Invasion uninvolving, If I’d’ve arrived early enough to be stood at the front I dare say I’d’ve felt different. We’d been looking forward to DJ Rupture who came on stage a little before 2am. Strangely the entire place emptied at this point, I’m still not sure why. I guess a lot of people had come from work or maybe people don’t stay up that late in Birmingham, see Sunday night, either way it meant the atmosphere was lost somewhat. Rupture played on and seemed to enjoy himself none the less, its just a shame there were so few left to see it.

Saturday kind of drifted in, there we’re some nice folk acts but in the bright light of day it you could see it was hard to really get the audience involved. The Courtesy Group got things going in the Warehouse/Space 2 Stage. With a front man Part Beefheart and Part Mark E Smith. They were great fun and very entertaining. We then watched Justice Yeldham, which really defies description. Oxbow were a definite highlight for me this year, I only caught part of their set in the Medicine Bar, as it was then, last year and again, I was at the back so it was hard to enjoy, this year we had a decent view and the set was pretty amazing. You can view a recent live set online, here, and also buy a recording from last years show from Capsule themselves. Harvey Milk we’re also worth a mention, I confess that despite the fact the bars ran out of draught beer, the end of the evening did become a bit of a blur, but I do remember it being a very enjoyable blur

Sunday was quite noisy to be sure. Never have I seen so many earplugs employed at a festival.

Max Tundra was good fun, a good way to get some energy back into the proceedings. I confess having seen him a couple of times before, we moved toward noisier climbs. Pierre Bastien and his wonderful machines, image, were very entertaining, creating a kind of noir soundtrack from the clicks and ticks developed by his models, and a few instruments, was also nice to sit down for five minutes! Fucked Up were great fun, image, noisy and raucous and a little scary, well, at least when you find yourself stood next to the front man as, like many bands at this years festival, he decides to perform in the crowd rather than on the stage. Earth sounded fantastic, I confess I didn’t watch that much of the set as its more music to listen to than to watch and there was so much else to do. Julian Cope gave everyone something to gossip about by not playing with Grave Temple as advertised, none the less they we’re most enjoyable, I can still taste the dry ice while I remember it. Harmonia finished things off and then if was round the corner to the Rainbow for an afterparty that petered out after about an hour. Probably for the best, it was a very tiring weekend all in all.

Next year I hope another Supersonic occurs in Birmingham and

  • a. The acts are as well chosen, obscure and entertaining
  • b. The venue remains the Custard Factory complex
  • c. The Staff/Helpers/Volunteers are as helpful and friendly as this years were.
  • d. Me and my mate at least discuss staying somewhere other than the Etap [though the random meetings in the coridors and lifts in the early hours almost made up for the stange aray of stains in our room. Almost.]
  • e. The Draft beer supply lasts longer than eight hours

Actually, it was enough fun to ignore points d and e, but you can always hope…

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All images and artwork copyright ©1998 - 2017 chris hathway, illustrator& Hathway/Creative