Sunday, September 27, 2015

Spinning astronauts! Lonely women! Shlomo! The Birmingham weekender review

Working on weekends can be a mixed blessing, the upside is that if something cool is happening in Birmingham (there always is), you're always around to check it out. The downside is that you will always be too tired to see everything. On Saturday I happened to pass by a performance art show called Urban Astronaut. The show consisted of a handful of individuals, all in overalls, and one in a space suit. After showing off their athletic prowess, the spaceman was strapped to a movable crane,  from which the rest of them pushed him well up into the sky,  so that he could spin around and engage with the rapidly growing audience.  Many of course were asking what it was all about, and some just didn't get it at all. The story that was being told through this interpretive performance was  that  in the future, an environmental disaster has ruined our planets air. The astronaut is searching for a solution to this. The story was told by a recorded voice over on a speaker on the frames. It was the man spinning around that people had come to watch though, and while impressive, it didn't hold my full attention for that long.
Today there was a bit of Bhanga* dancing, but i didn't hang around as I wanted to check out 'Requiem to let'. A tribute to all the shops that have closed down in Britain over the last few years. This is a subject that is very close to my heart, made more apparent that Waterstones has now closed it's flagship Birmingham store. Half of the fun was tracking down the abandoned shop that this was held in. A worn out, but tastefully old fashioned shop in Birmingham's Great western arcade. The show consisted of an elegantly dressed woman standing in the corner. Singing by herself but accompanied by a speaker which provided backing recordings of her own voice. The performance consisted of her and the voices singing 'I'm so lonely' over and over and over again. For about 5 minutes it was captivating, but after about 15, very boring and incredibly pretentious. This could have been fantastic, but it just wasn't as good as I wanted it to be.
The highlight and closing act of the festival was Shlomo. A world renowned beatboxer, and master storyteller. Using a vast array of pedals and mixers, which has been named 'Dave Skills' by an audience member. He used sampling to create songs, and to involve the audience in the show. His show included his take on 'Seven nation army', 'Just be good to me', several garage classics, and drum 'n bass interludes. The show was the story told of how he went from being Simon Khan to Shlomo. Starting with his childhood, teenage years, and the chance encounters with Foreign Beggars and Bjork that made his name. The whole show was hugely entertaining, and I got to show him my own beatbox skillz while he signed my CD.

As well as Claustrophobia, one of my main fears is FOMO, (Fear Of Missing Out). When so much stuff can happen in one place in two days, it's a pretty rational fear.

*Did you know that Birmingham produces 80% of the worlds Bhangra music? neither did I.

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