CLUB AND VENUE LISTINGS as of August-September 2018


COSTERMONGERS, The Square, Birmingham B4 7LD 0121 212 0455

Probably the very first rock venue I ever drank in, not even yet aged 18: although it remained closed for many years following the turn of the century (something not helped by Birmingham City Council’s constant u-turning over their “redevelopment” strategy) the news of the re-opening of “Costers” as it’s colloquially known soon spread among the Midlands’ rock and Goff fraternity, and very soon, things were back to their old ways!! In fact, not only does it look and feel the same as it did when I first went in in 1990, it smells the same too, and is even populated by several of the same people- a real trip down memory lane.

Sadly the legendary Colin (the first person to ever tell me to sod off for requesting Queen) is no longer there, but several other DJ nights still take place, not least of all their excellent goth and industrial night (3rd Saturday of every month) Even better, live bands have started to appear infrequently: let’s hope there are more of them, thus further strengthening the Midland metal and alternative scenes. No rivalry, let’s all work together!

EDDIE’S, The Tunnel Club, Livery Street, Birmingham B3 1HL 

What more can be said about Eddies? Originally run by the legendary (some may even say “notorious” Eddie Futrell, opening from the late 80s as “Edwards No 7” and “Edwards No 8”, this seminal Brummie rock haven was initially located just off the back of Smallbrook Queensway (behind the Alexandra Theatre, and just opposite its sister venue Goldwyns aka The Foundry)

Oh, how I remember it: Glam, sleaze, goth, punk and new wave (usually courtesy of the great Paul ‘Jonesy’ Jones) upstairs, and more grunge/alternative/Frash Metaaaal downstairs, with a number of legendary bands playing in both. Off the top of my head, I saw Tigertailz, the Dogs D’Amour and possibly Lizzie Borden there, and later (in my Industrial Goff phase) queued up for Cubanate only to be waylaid by a hideous bout of flu which ultimately sent me home without seeing them, but the main focus was always the dancing and the girls. Sod PC, Eddies was a pulling joint and no mistake. After I quit town for the second time in 1996, I believe its fortunes fluctuated for a while before “mysteriously” burning down ten years later: as a concept, the club itself floated around a series of venues for most of the mid-2000s-early 2010s, before finally settling into its new home at the Tunnel Club in 2014. And thence it has remained!!

Sadly, for assorted reasons, the Tunnel cannot accommodate live bands, and a fair few nights of the month have leaned in the direction of “alternative dance” (market forces and all that) but when the regular Eddies club nights are kicking arse on the last Saturday of every month (contemporary rock, metal and emo in the Main Room, goth/EBM/ska-punk/classic rock and AOR in The Dungeon, depending on the particular month of the year) then believe me, arse they most certainly DO kick. And, like Subside, it comes with its own special smoking gantry. My only only regret is that I haven’t been there more often of late- but that’s something I intend to rectify soon.

THE HAMMER AND THE ANVIL, The Priory, Queensway, Birmingham B4 7LL

Brum’s premier, although by no means oldest, hard rock, punk and Metaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal venue: opened a mere three years ago, in fact, and rapidly expanding to feature a variety of events. Upstairs bar holds about 80 and regularly features classic rock, nu-metal and grunge DJs:  downstairs holds roughly 200 and does much the same only on a much wider scale, full dancefloor and plush leather seating included. More importantly, there’s a great variety of ales, ciders, lagers and spirits on offer at reasonable prices (especially for a city centre venue) and it’s usually open til 4 at weekends (weeknights slightly earlier) So, raise your horns aloft and dig in!!

Most ‘normal’ nights are free entry: in fact, even the monthly Glam Slam! night (hair metaaal, sleaze, AOR and glam a-go-go) is free. However, certain specialist nights, such as the excellent Zombie Club (second Saturday of every month, non-stop goth, new wave, post-punk, indie, New Romantic and alternative rock, £4 entry) have a cover charge, and obviously, most gigs- usually of a death, doom or Black metal nature- are ticketed events (though in the interests of fairness and inclusivity, they rarely cost over £10) A proper, friendly rock venue in the style of all the old classics, the Hammer has rapidly become Brum’s premier venue for those desiring the heavier things in life, and long may it continue.

NIGHT OWL, 17-18 Lower Trinity Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 48G 

Superb venue, seemingly open daily, in the heart of Central Brum’s “hip” quarter: as the name would suggest, it specialises in the retro end of things (Northern Soul, funk, disco, psych, garage rock, glam, vintage hard rock, indie, 80s pop, dub, reggae, ska) and is home to -among other things- such flagship Midlands club nights as Dig!, Barefootin’, Kaleidoscope and of course Sensateria (average door price for each: £6) Highly recommended, although maybe actual barefooting in the general area of Digbeth/Deritend/Bordesley less so. You never know what you might end up treading in. Kindly peruse the link below for just a few of those club nights.

SUBSIDE, 57 Digbeth, Birmingham B5 6DA 0121 622 7090

Stuck in Brummagem overnight? Nowhere to go, nothing to do and don’t really fancy going to one of those God-awful casinos? Then there’s always Subside- right in the heart of Digbeth, opposite the Custard Factory/Institute/Plug area, just next to the coach station, and in possession of a great jukebox, a fantastic pool table and several rockin’ DJs. Entry Sun-Thur nights is free: Friday and Saturday it’s £4 before 12, £6 after, and although the Google entry says open til 3, the fact of the matter is it never closes, even on weeknights. In fact, the very first thing you’ll see as you head for the door is a giant black and white sign proudly proclaiming “now open all day every day”- something which must be a first for a non-dance-music-based venue in a British city centre. AND they do breakfasts.

On the downside, if you’re an old fart like me, or even remotely over 30, you’ll probably find everyone there a bit “young”, and the music does tend towards the emo/screamo/pop-punk/hip-hop/grime end of the alternative scene, but it’s still brilliant that in these tough economic times, someone‘s doing something to ensure the Midlands alternative scene has a 24-7, chav-free safe haven: back in my youth, when it was known as the Barrel Organ, it closed at about 2!! It even has a great outdoor smoking garden, specially constructed so the assorted human detritus of the area has no way of getting in. Gets my vote. Oh, and plenty of live bands, mainly young up-and-coming indie, rock and metal acts.