Great night last night starting out seeing three old friends in a newly formed band in the great little back room at one of Digbeth’s hidden drinking treasures – The Lamp Tavern.
Greg Smith (guitar, vocals), Stu Mack (bass) and Steve Kelly (drums) formed Black Heart Generator recently, having all paid their dues in a number of other local bands of note in the past such as Baxxter, the Starries, Koala Grip, Ego So So and others and their experience shows – with this new incarnation already looking well set to be the best of any of them.
Steve Kelly is a heavy and powerful drummer and and a very exciting performer – something I know well from our days of playing together in Maroon, when we often used to position his drum kit at the side of the stage, rather than the back, so we could feed off each other’s energy more.
Greg Smith’s frenetic, jagged guitar playing, raspy voice and violent, epileptic physicality are none the worse for his growing maturity – matching all the wayward energy of his youth with a confident intensity. Stu Mack was quieter, but as the set grew to a climax threw himself into it as well.
We then wandered up the hill to the Adam and Eve where Marc Reck’s evening was already in full swing. We missed Smiley Mic and Playing Django but caught the marvellous Munchbreak.
Munchbreak – “a music making collective of musicians, DJ’s and producers” are an invaluable Birmingham institution and its great to see them live again and with an album to sell as well. Their rhythm section is supurb, laying down track after track of solidly locked, funky grooves with strong MCing with genuinely witty and Birmingham-centric lyrics over the top and, on this occasion Tom Lawes adding sundry other instruments over the top. By half way through the set I was really into this and look forward to seeing them again.
Marc Reck topped if all off with some of his consistently thoughtful and exciting DJing – a great night all round.