The Bandstand, Lightwoods Park, Bearwood. 23rd June 2018
Photography by Paul Stringer and Review by Ken Harrison
We did it!, after a long break during the restoration of the bandstand, and months of organising by Bearwood Promoters, the Bear finally came home and Bearwood Shuffle returned to the bandstand. On a glorious Saturday afternoon, six up and coming bands, plus our very own DJ, Lady Selecter played at the bandstand to a large crowd, eager to enjoy live music in the sunshine. Add in some great street food, and some craft stalls and we had the perfect recipe for a terrific afternoon.
Opening up proceedings, it was rather fitting that local group Bearwood Bandits, kicked off the bill. The Bearwood Bandits are a six piece collective formed in the autumn of 2015 by, now retired, Peter Burgess. Their aim being to play all things acoustic on a variety of traditional instruments: Folk, Bluegrass, Newgrass, Country, Americana, Blues –you name it, we got it!
Formed deep in the heart of Birmingham’s warehouse and creative quarter during the winter of 2017, Hunger Moon are vocalist Natalie Jenkins and multi instrumentalist James Attwood. Inspired by the cold winter evenings spent honing their sound in the industrial mystique of Digbeth, you can hear the darkness seeping through the very fabric of the sound of Hunger Moon, a blend of soft piano nuances and subtle electronics.
Combined with vocalist Natalie’s ethereal falsetto, the duo have been likened to alternative pop acts such as Daughter and London Grammar. Recorded with Ryan Pinson, the duo released their debut single Oh Friend on 12th March 2018 and is available to buy or download now!
Kofi Stone is an alternative rapper residing in Birmingham. Despite having the middle Kofi, his late Grandfather used to call him Kofi ‘Egpa’. In the Ghanaian language Ewe, it meant ‘stone’. His Grandfather gave him the name due to the fact that Kofi almost died during childbirth. Kofi Stone has played a myriad of gigs; including Glastonbury music festival & international music festivals, as well as gigs throughout the UK. He is currently releasing a string of videos in the lead up to his debut E.P ‘Nobody Cares Till Everybody Does’.
Together Mondo Royale have built a reputation for a colourful sound that touches on Alphabeat, ABBA and Daft Punk, with live performances that have won over even the most sullen crowd. Since forming in 2014, the band have played at many venues in Birmingham, including the Midlands Arts Centre, Mama Roux’s, and Hare & Hounds Kings Heath, and received radio airplay for their two singles. Recently, Mondo Royale were one of five acts shortlisted for Best Pop Act in the Birmingham Music Awards 2018.
Hailing from Birmingham, Lady Sanity is a female rapper with a message. Sanity infuses her music with conscious, thought provoking lyrics and hard hitting flows. Her latest single “Fro’z” has been BBC Radio 1Xtra playlisted as introducing track of the week. With support from BBC introducing, PRSF, MOBO x Help Musicians UK funding , winning GRM daily’s 2017 ‘Get Rated’ award and most recently performing at The 2018 Commonwealth Games Closing ceremony in Australia, the hype is starting to build around this poetic maverick.
Clossing the bandstand and the Shuffle today is Birmingham based trio The Real Cool was formed in late 2016 by three friends: Thomas Pledger-Barton, Jacob Barton and Ellis Garratt. The trio of multi- instrumentalist use their diverse musical backgrounds to create nostalgic heartbreak pop, entrenched in emotion. They recorded their debut EP ‘WAYBACK!’ in just three days and it was released in the Spring of 2017. Following the success of the EP, they were able to to grow their fan base through sharing the stage with touring artists such as Pixel Fix, Clay, Native people and St PHNX.
Alongside the successes of their live performances, the band have also built a strong following online and have also achieved multiple plays on BBC introducing. In December 2017 the band will release their new single ‘Always her’, which will be released on ModernSky records UK.
Over at the New Roots tent, Frankie Harrison-Smith and Simon O’Connell played a series of much more chilled out solo acoustic guitar sets.
New Roots are a charitable company supporting over 900 homeless people in the Birmingham and West Midlands, and provided much needed sponsorship to support this Bearwood Shuffle. Our volunteer crew was made up of residents and staff from New Roots, and their support has been simply awesome, the volunteers made the event run as smoothly as it possibly could. Nothing was too much trouble for them, during the setting up, the event itself and clearing the park afterwards, they went above and beyond and did it all with smiles on their faces.
Putting together such an event is a complex task, with lots of hours spent in the planning and organising of so many things, but the reward was there to see and hear in the crowd’s fantastic reaction to the Shuffle .
We’ll be back soon Shufflers, and will see you at Picnic in the Park at Warley Woods on Sunday 8th July, and we’ll be back for our next Shuffle on the bandstand on 19th August, for another big helping of what Bearwood has to offer.
If you are interested in having a stall or want to be involved as a volunteer at any of our events please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out Paul Stringer’s terrific images from the day.