Open Art Night - 27th April 2017

 
 

"You cannot say they don't produce sound" - the morsel of information I have in my hand, as I walk with my phone to the Eagle and Tun. Just 9 days after our event at the Jekyll and Hyde, combined with a heavy workload had resulted in me researching the band I was about to see minutes before their soundcheck. Friends who had heard the music described it as, that ever tantalising expression, "definitely different".

Arriving at the historic pub, the music video set for the timeless UB40 classic Red, Red, Wine, I make my way to the first floor; up the steep steps that remind me of in my nan's terraced house in Bournville (the wallpaper is very similar too). The last time I had been in the upstairs room of the pub, there wasn't a bar, a stage or even flooring. But what I now encounter is a very different story.

The room was busy with artistic hands and tingling static from amplifiers. Colours drape from windows, walls and candelabras. The band had just concluded their last minute adjustments and were placing their instruments around the stage. 

 
'Hanging out the washing' - @projectbirmingham

'Hanging out the washing' - @projectbirmingham

 

Wondering over to the drum kit, as I often do at gigs, to leer at the cymbals and shells (For those not in the know, Zildjian and Sabian [Percussion brands] were like the Nike and Addidas [sports brands] of my childhood) I spot a clarinet and a saxophone resting by the foot of the keyboard stand. It definitely looks different.

'Soundcheck' - @projectbirmingham

'Soundcheck' - @projectbirmingham

The acts start around 7pm. Two spoken word/rap artists teased and tripped over self-produced beats and grime loops; an unexpectedly raunchy recital from the author's own past; a humble solo guitarist pays homage to his North Birmingham roots and Donald Glover inspirations; I stand with two German exchange students as the room drew itself together to watch this live unwrapping of countless hours rehearsing, scribbling and patience.

Mysteron, the band, take the stage. 4 lads assemble around their instruments. Hunching over digital dials, adjusting the reed on the clarinet. And the music begins.

As the band continues to gyrate and perspire at the front of the room, the freshly painted graffiti artwork was lifted onto the back wall. The rooms cheers to a night dedicated to the celebration of Birmingham art.

And before I know it, I am walking out into the purple light that bathes the front of the pub, I gaze just a few hundred metres down the road at Curzon Street Station. This place is about to change a lot.

 
'Eagle and Tun' - @projectbirmingham

'Eagle and Tun' - @projectbirmingham

 

It was only as I was walking home that it dawned on me - that band had played almost solidly for an hour! For an hour this quartet had wrapped tones, funk and trills together from start to finish. It had pushed and pulled between genres and pushed and pulled dancing feet around the room. And every single one of those boys on stage had savoured every minute of it. You certainly cannot say they don't produce a sound. You certainly cannot say that Open Art Night was predictable.

 
Credit: Harry Roberts Photography - www.harryrobertsphotography.co.uk

Credit: Harry Roberts Photography - www.harryrobertsphotography.co.uk