Highlighting under the radar arts and culture in Birmingham, UK

English Originals Weekend

This weekend saw the return of English Originals at the Town Hall and Symphony Hall. Now in its third year, the weekend of performances celebrates the diversity of English music. Opening the weekend were N.O.M.A.D, a lively folk fusion band, the perfect way to start, and the Symphony Hall foyer was packed to the gunwales.

Last night I was delighted to see The Graham Coxon Power Acoustic Ensemble at the Town Hall. Being a fan of Blur I have followed the careers of all the members (although I still haven’t tried Alex James’ cheese…). Graham Coxon in particular, has always been an inspiration to me. Last night with guests including ‘English originals’ in their own right Martin Carthy and Robyn Hitchcock, he performed The Spinning Top, his most recent release, and a concept album supposedly following a man’s journey from birth to death (although during the evening Graham said that he now wishes that he hadn’t defined the album in that way).

I find that The Spinning Top has some disparate elements and lacks flow as an album as a whole, but as a live performance this didn’t matter. From the hauntingly beautiful Look Into The Light and Jansch-esque In The House, to the full on power of If You Want Me, which could easily be heard on a Blur album, Coxon proved that he is one of the most skilled guitarists of his generation. It was a joy to see him play with other musical luminaries.

As well as The Spinning Top there was time for Coxon to play a few of his older songs including a spine tingling Live Line and a cover of  Davey Graham’s version of Elizabeth Cotten song Babe It Ain’t No Lie from 2002’s The Kiss of Morning. It was a truly inspiring night. The first thing I did when I got home was pick up my own guitar. I very much look forward to the next weekend.

The English Originals finale is tonight with a gig from Bellowhead and fiddler Jackie Oates. Expect a rowdy spectacular drawing on musical styles from across the globe. Tickets are available here.

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This entry was posted on May 16, 2010 by in Festival, Music and tagged , , , , , , .
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