10 gigs you must see in Birmingham this October

10 gigs you must see in Birmingham this October10 gigs you must see in Birmingham this October

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The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and there’s Halloween stuff in all the shops – you know what that means…gig season is back!

October always hails the start of a frantic few weeks at the end of a calendar year when you’re spoiled for live music choices on an almost daily basis. The question is…which to go to? Well, fear not, we’ve picked out shows coming to the second city that are worthy of your attendance.

1. Johnny Marr @ The Institute, Monday 5 October

Why not start your month with a British music icon? The guitar maestro from The Smiths is sending most of October on the road – handily in time to promote his upcoming live album – and the Institute is the second stop on the list. Marr’s influence on countless guitarists over the past 25 years or so is difficult to put into words, and the chance to see him in a fairly small venue should be an awful lot of fun.

2. Fall Out Boy @ Barclaycard Arena, Tuesday 6 October

The days of Fall Out Boy being your guilty emo secret are over; ever since they returned from their hiatus in 2013 with the banging ‘Save Rock and Roll’, followed this year by the equally brilliant ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’, they’ve shown exactly why they are worthy of a headline arena run – especially when you factor in all their great songs from their earlier albums (don’t pretend that you don’t still like them!). Also, it must be noted what a darned good live band Fall Out Boy is – they really know how to put on a show. The addition of Professor Green as a support act will probably divide opinion but at the very least he’s unlikely to be dull.

3. James Bay @ O2 Academy, Thursday 8 October

2015 has been quite a year for British singer-songwriter James Bay; a no.1 debut album and Brits Critics Choice award for ‘Chaos and the Calm’, slots at Glastonbury and V-Festival and now his biggest UK headline run, including a chance to show the Academy what he can do. Everything seems to be in place for Bay to move into the big leagues in 2016, so this run could be your last chance to see him play a smaller venue for quite some time.

4. Against the Current @ the Asylum, Friday 9 October

You might have come across Against the Current thanks to their excellent cover versions of Paramore, Taylor Swift, the 1975 and more, which earned them literally millions of views on YouTube. Well, now you’ve got the chance to see what they can do on their own on this their second UK headline tour. The New York trio look set for bigger things soon, having recently been snapped up by the label Fueled By Ramen, whose alumni include Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco. Their singer Chrissy Costanza has an incredible voice and they really do promise an awful lot – fans of Tonight Alive, PVRIS and Paramore should be sure they don’t miss this one!

5. Years and Years @ O2 Academy, Friday 9 October

What better way for the BBC Sound of 2015 winners to see out 2015 than with a UK headline run? The electronica band have had a top year with a number one single and number one album alongside the BBC award, so their visit to Birmingham should be something of a celebration of how far they’ve come. We got to see them in the Institute back at the start of the year and are looking forward to checking them out in an even bigger venue this time around.

6. One Direction @ Barclaycard Arena, Saturday 10 October

Stop laughing! Ok, so Britain’s biggest boy band might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but no-one can deny what a sheer force they are, and this arena tour is likely to be another delirious celebration of pop. Oh, and with all signs pointing to the band going on a potentially lengthy hiatus in the New Year, this could be the last chance to see them for some time. Will they go out with a bang? Only one way to find out.

7. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes @ The Rainbow, Tuesday 20 October

The Rattlesnakes’ first visit to Birmingham in the summer was something special and instantly became a candidate to take the title of the city’s gig of the year. Led by the fantastic Frank Carter, the ex-Gallows man has found a new purpose with this band, which looks like turning into something very special indeed. Their return to the tiny venue of The Rainbow will almost certainly be incredible…bring it on!

8. Ride @ The Institute, Thursday 22 October

Having returned to the live scene with some wonderfully well received gigs back in the Spring, Oxford five piece Ride are now making a UK headline run, juts in time to mark the 25th anniversary ‘Nowhere’. Since reforming, they’ve certainly been busy and look set to round off 2015 in style – especially if their rousing headline slot at Primavera festival in Barcelona is anything to go by.

9. Richard Hawley @ The Institute, Tuesday 27 October

Having just released his eighth studio album ‘Hollow Meadows’, singer songwriter and cult icon Richard Hawley is embarking on his longest UK tour in three years, including a stop off at The Institute. The working class hero has had a distinguished career that has earned him a devoted following, and this show will no doubt be another masterclass in creative and meaningful songs, and faultless delivery.

10. Killing Joke @ The Institute, Saturday 31 October

37 years together and still going strong, Killing Joke are an unusual and special band, and well worth spending Halloween evening with. When acts such as Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden and Nirvana all cite you as an influence – indeed Dave Grohl had a brief spell on drums for the band in the early noughts – you know you’re dealing with something important. Jaz Coleman and co played at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards this summer and their stop in Birmingham is right in the middle of their headline run. Come and find out just why they are such an important band.


Words and photograph: Dave Musson


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