Thursday, 13 September 2012

A weekend of two halves...

Part one...

We had decided to go to the earlier part of the opening ceremony of Birmingham arts fest last Friday. There was a band due to be playing on the main stage at 6.30 then the opening act at about 8.30 repeated at 9.30.

The opening band was, I guess an Asian fusion band but this is what a press release says on their web site - "Brooklyn nine-piece party-starters Red Baraat are thus far the most exciting local prospect of this short year, a fiery blend of raucous Indian bhangra and funky New Orleans brass. The result, needless to say, is completely riotous. Their debut CD, Chaal Baby is an unstoppable blend of Bollywood hijacks and funk freakier than anything Madlib picked up on his trip to India." 

I quickly learnt that the term I had been using to describe some of the dancing wasn't so much of a derogatory term after all. Soon after the drummer (I think it's a dhol) guy introduced the act 'Red Baraatt' he wanted to get us all up dancing and said 'you know how do it, reach up in the air and screw the light bulb!' - no need for Jess to keep telling me off now, if its good enough for them, and Obama (they were at the whitehouse playing for the President two days before) its good enough for me. I must say they were very good though, a kinda mix between Asian and Jazz and bollywood really, very energetic and individually great soloists as well.

Trumpet on steroids

Everyone was multi talented 

Soon after Red Baraat had finished it was time for the Mandala. A story told through Asian and, I'd guess, American street dancing with very clever 3D light sequences using the town hall as background. I was glad that we went to the first performance as the square was getting crowded now, every direction people were leaping up and gesticulating to friends on the other end of their phones to come and share the last square foot of a step with them. A great night, and a contrast for Jess who was at a friends rock gig the night before and headed to a weekend of drum and bass and techno (gives me a headache thinking about it) 

Saturday morning we set Jess off on her train to Winchester via Banbury, London and somewhere in Buckinghamshire for her partying and headed back up to some of the stages in the centre of Birmingham. 

We saw so many different styles of artist and genre's of music, it was unreal. One of the things I really liked is that the same stages were given to all levels. The all girl dance act that we saw first was on the same stage as the Musgraves (V popular on radio 2 at the mo) on Sunday night! Two young brothers with a small set of drums, guitar and a couple of song books were given a hall in the museum alongside opera singers and Birmingham Choir. 

It wasn't all singing and dancing though, we saw a great preview rendition of 'Allo 'Allo which was fantastic and a really talented classical guitarist, again in the peace of the museum. The city centre was heaving and some venues had to turn visitors away. After something to eat we headed back to LJ to dump some of our kit, get a warm jumper for the evening and catch a bit of a comfy sit down as we had been on the go about nine hours by now.

We were going to head to the pub next to the wharf to see some of the acts that they had in their bar and gig lounges before heading back up to the stages and see a bit of the royal ballet that we had both been looking forward to. 

Unfortunately a couple of sips into a pint of lager and lime saw the start of what I thought was another indigestion attack. As the last one on Tuesday was so bad I headed back to the boat as fast as I could to get to my comfort zone leaving Deb at the pub.

View from pub terrace - LJ in the background

That's enough for one blog, Part Two coming soon...

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