Howie Payne | Tue 7 Feb | Hare & Hounds | £8
There’s something a little bit Llewyn Davies about Liverpool troubadour Howie Payne – a man born in the wrong era, with a simple knack for unassuming melodies and a drifting, Paul Simon tenor that seems made for the Sixties. Payne had several stints in never-quite-made-it bands that shared stages with the Ashcrofts and Gallaghers of this world, but the unhurried folk of his solo work suits the man better. With a new album out this year – after an eight-year gap – Payne’s back in his natural space; just on the edge of the limelight, his coat collar up and voice gently breaking. skiddle.com
Boxed In | Wed 8 Feb | Hare & Hounds | £10
Oli Bayston’s electronic-songwriter project Boxed In has an unmistakeable, wistful charm to it; an English answer to Hot Chip, with moments of Baths in there: all plastic synths, breathy vocals, and clean, strutting drums. But last year’s ‘Melt’ feels markedly more human than that sounds, with an added urgency out of the noughties-indie playbook; released only a year after Bayston’s debut, it’s remarkably more confident and risk-taking. Catch this rising talent on the way up, and see our full preview here.
Tom Grennan | Wed 8 Feb | Sunflower Lounge | £6
Backed by a sparse acoustic guitar, there’s something a bit over-familiar about Tom Grennan’s voice; it’s like traces of Paolo Nutini filtered through the Mumford and Sons “gravel” machine, paired up with an ever-so-slightly reggae inflection as favoured by Ady Suleiman and others. It’s a Marmite effect, but if it is to your taste, you won’t have a better chance to see this young man in a close-up and exposed environment – today, the Sunflower Lounge; tomorrow, the hype machine calls. seetickets.com
George Monbiot & Ewan McLennan | Wed 8 Feb | The MAC | £16.50
Following a viral article on the personal and social effects of loneliness, author, journalist and all-round hero of the good George Monbiot paired up with singer-songwriter Ewan McLennan to expand the idea into a musical project. See our full preview here. macbirmingham.co.uk
*Sold out* Amber Run | Sat 11 Feb | O2 Institute | £12
“Undoubtedly a band who are evolving, and learning to be weirder, the pressure is on Amber Run this year for their sophomore album to establish their position at the head of the pack.” See our full preview here.
Kate Nash | Sun 12 Feb | O2 Academy 2 | £14
If you missed Kate Nash’s last album back in 2013, that would be because she eschewed her indie-darling status and fell into the deep-end of a sparse and abrasive, Breeders-channeling sound. A messy coming-of-age album, still likely to divide opinion, ‘Girl Talk’ showed who Nash will become: soul-baring, mistake-making, clangers and all; leaving behind the sunny fields of clean pop hits to become as relatable and real as she can. Stepping back into the fray with new music to share, if your last memory of Nash was cutesy Spektor-indie then you might just be surprised at what you find. seetickets.com
Julian Cope | Sun 12 Feb | Glee Club | £23.50
Musician, historian, activist, novelist, Krautrocker and cultural commentator, his prolific output has neither slowed in quality or quantity. See our full preview here.
Published on: Tue 10 Jan 2017