Fused Student Issue 2008
As new-comers to Birmingham, students looking for alternative sounds might be pleasantly surprised to find that the focal point of this music isn’t in the city centre. Catch a number 50 bus near Moor Street station and after 15 minutes you’ll be in the suburb of Kings Heath, in the Bohemian Quarter. The Hare & Hounds sits in this leafy location, and every 2nd Tuesday the pub is host to Bohemian Jukebox, where you can be one of the first to catch the best in new local and touring Post-Folk, Anti-Folk and Alt-Folk songwriters and bands.
Bohemian Jukebox is the Birmingham event of choice for newly signed acts on folkesque Indie labels from all over the UK, Canada and the USA who are playing their first tours. The night has played host to such names as Scott Matthews, Toby Goodshank, (The Moldy Peaches), The Smoke Fairies, and The Voluntary Butler Scheme to name a few. The events also support Birmingham signed songwriters such as Richard Burke, Fox, and James Summerfield. What sets it apart from other acoustic nights? Ben explains:
“Well, for a start it’s not an acoustic night! The events are specifically for acts who are playing in and around the borders of the folk genre. In essence this means that we’re keen to promote any acts that have strong songwriting at the core of what they do. It’s not a case of booking any person who plays an acoustic guitar. If you think about it, acoustic music isn’t a genre: it’s an arrangement of instruments. So we’ll book Misterlee who are a band made up of a singing drummer who sends his kit through an echo machine, backed by an electric guitar an electric viola, because they
are pushing the boundaries of what ‘folk’ might be and they have the songs, but we don’t welcome songwriters who are front-men for rock bands to come along and play an acoustic set.
We’re also book Indie bands that have twee leanings, as they that can offer something a little different to the run-of-the-mill sound of Indie, and there aren’t many places for them to play. Somewhat bizarrely, we’re unlikely to book hard-core folk acts that would be the mainstay of folk festivals such as Cambridge, as we’re not too hot on Traditional folk!
Every six months or so, we’ll also hold an ‘Electronica Special’, because we recognise there’s a demand from audiences to hear electronica bands in an intimate setting, because they are song-based, so they are better suited to playing away from the usual dance-floor setting. We also welcome student bands, and we’re excited about booking some from the new influx of students that are coming this Autumn. So, drop me a line!”
Bohemian Jukebox has run over 150 events over the last five years, and is followed by many a blogger, which is testimony to it’s strengths in presenting the best in folkesque acts. So, come along and be part of the happenings!
UPDATE: Bohemian Jukebox now happens every 2nd Sunday of the month at the Bull’s Head. Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8HW
Scene Folk-Us: Post-Folk (From Holloway Express)
Feature on cult underdogs of the post-folk scene with Panda-Su, Sgt BuzFuz, Cracktown and our own Ben Calvert & The Swifts.