So long January and see you later — don’t let the door hit you on the way out, because February is here. While the second month of the year might be the shortest in terms of days, it’s almost always one of the busiest for gigs, and 2016 is no different. We take a look at some of the shows we’re really excited about, and try to work out just how we’re going to split ourselves into quarters on the 12th (keep reading to make this sound less weird!).
Monday 1 February — State Champs, Neck Deep & Creeper @ O2 Institute
Pop punk might well be an American import, but the first day of February could well be something of a British takeover at the Institute; homegrown Neck Deep have the hooks to rival any of their transatlantic cousins, so it’ll be fascinating to see who comes out on top here. A bonus for the British corner comes in the form of the frankly brilliant Creeper — no, they’re not pop punk, but they’ve written some of the best songs of the last year and they’re going to be huge.
Tuesday 2 February — Black Stone Cherry, Shinedown & Halestorm @ Barclaycard Arena
If you’re going to check out some hard rockers in an arena, you want big riffs, bigger choruses and sing-alongs galore. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Carnival of Madness tour. What with the sleazy, gritty cool of Halestorm, the epic songwriting of Shinedown and the sheer joy that is a Black Stone Cherry live show, this one should be a total banger.
Tuesday 2 February — Hozier @ O2 Academy
Arena rock not your thing? How about award-winning, on-his-to-being-hugeness? Just down the road from the Carnival of Madness, the critically acclaimed Hozier will be serenading the Academy. Fresh from winning a BBC music award last December and generally seeing everything he touched turn to gold, the Hozier train looks set to keep on rolling in 2016 — don’t miss it!
Fabulous Friday 12 February — Slipknot & Suicidal Tendencies @ Genting Arena
You’re truly spoiled for choice on Friday 12 February, starting with an absolute metal-fest at the NEC courtesy of Slipknot. The 18-legged Iowan megatron is back in Brum just over a year since its last visit, but don’t expect anything less than brilliant. Added bonus? They’re bringing the legendary Suicidal Tendencies along for the ride too!
Fabulous Friday 12 February — Kerrang Tour (featuring Sum 41, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, and Roam) @ O2 Institute
While Slipknot are laying waste to the Genting Arena, down in Digbeth you’ll find another stellar offering — this year’s Kerrang Tour, which has plenty of tasty bands on offer. Aside from a headline slot from returning heroes Sum 41, the real standout has to be that man Frank Carter and his Rattlesnakes. Put them on a stage and they turn into a snarling force to be reckoned with.
Fabulous Friday 12 February — NME Tour (featuring Bloc Party) @ O2 Academy
If you’re more of a fan of the other big weekly music magazine, then you should probably head to the head Academy and catch the NME tour. This year’s run is being headlined by a returning Bloc Party, who will be playing a full 75 minute set, while Drenge and Ratboy also feature.
Fabulous Friday 12 February — The World Is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die @ O2 Institute
Rounding off a quite ridiculous choice of good gigs for one day, how about something more underground? Ambient, epic maestros The World Is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die are stopping by the Institute for what promises to be an evening of incredible music. Their most recent album ‘Harmlessness’ was a gem, like all of their recorded work, so if you want something a bit different this is the gig for you.
Saturday 13 February — All Time Low @ Barclaycard Arena
If Fabulous Friday hasn’t worn you out, then how about an evening of silly, arena-filling pop rock? Well, All Time Low can oblige — just over a year since they were last in Birmingham co-headlining our other arena with their pals in You Me At Six, the frantic fourpiece are back and ready for another round. Oh yeah, we almost forgot…they’re bringing the recently reformed Good Charlotte (remember them?) with them for the ride too — pop punk heaven!
Sunday 14 February — Stick to Your Guns & Stray From the Path @ the Flapper
Like your hardcore stompy, heavy and full of heart? Like real bands playing in tiny venues where they can get right in your face? Don’t give a toss that’s it’s Valentine’s Day? Then head down to the Flapper for more chunky riffs than you shake a stick at. Both bands released cracking albums last year too, so expect big things from this little show.
Monday 15 February — Parkway Drive @ O2 Academy
Rounding off a monstrous weekend for Birmingham when it comes to riffage, Australian metal heroes Parkway Drive. They took a bit of plunge last year with album ‘Ire’, as they made more than a few steps away from the sort of sound that helped craft their name. However, the risk paid off and the resulting album was ace. And, with Parkway, you know you will always get a great show — something their set at Download last summer underlined.
Tuesday 23 February — Twenty-One Pilots @ O2 Academy
It seems completely mental to think that Twenty-One Pilots played the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath last year, but it really did happen. Not long after, the twopiece went mega and now they’re back and filling a much larger room. At the rate they’re going, their next visit to the city will be to one of our arenas — so catch them here while you can.
Thursday 25 February — Fun Lovin’ Criminals @ O2 Institute
It’s somewhat hard to imagine, but 2016 marks the 20th anniversary for Huey Morgan and his Fun Lovin’ Criminals. 20 years! They’re celebrating by doing what they do best, putting on some great shows, including at stop at the Institute. You know you’re guaranteed a great night when the Criminals are in charge, so why not come on down and have a blast?
Friday 26 February — Tonight Alive @ O2 Institute
Another Australian band worth spending an evening with this month has to be Tonight Alive, who are back at the Institute 15 months after their last visit, when they put on a quite triumphant show. This show comes just a few days before the release of their new album ‘Limitless’, so it will be interesting to see just how many new songs they drop into the set, but expect tonnes of massive choruses and boundless energy from Jenna McDougall and co. Oh, and make sure you get there early enough to catch hotly-tipped British trio Milk Teeth, whose recently released debut album ‘Vile Child’ already looks set to be one of the best of the year.
Monday 29 February — Baroness @ O2 Institute
Well, if February is going to give us an extra day to play with, we may as well make good use of it. There are few better uses than going to see Baroness play live. Just trust us on this one. Need more convincing? Go and listen to Baroness’ newest album ‘Purple’ and we’ll see you there.
Words: Dave Musson
Twenty-One Pilots Crowd Shot – Katja Ogrin