The dark nights are here to stay, fireworks are going off left, right and centre and there are more gigs to choose from than you know what to do with. November is here and we’re well and truly in the midst of gig season, with something tasty on offer on just about every one of the month’s 30 days.
With such a plethora of great shows, it can be a little difficult to see the wood from the trees, which is where we come in; we’ve picked 20 Birmingham (well, a couple of Wolverhampton ones thrown in for good measure) that are well worth your pocket money — we’ll see you at the front!
Joe Satriani @ the Symphony Hall, Monday 2 November
You may remember we started October’s preview by recommending a night out with a guitar legend and now we’ve gone and done it again this month. Joe Satriani is a rarity in the virtuoso world; he can actually write riffs and, whisper it, songs — as his work for the supergroup Chickefoot shows. He’s part of the G3 guild of legendary guitarist, he used to teach Steve Vai and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and he’s super cool with a real lack of ego. Check him out and have your mind blown.
Motley Crue @ Genting Arena, Wednesday 4 November
Scoff though you may, this tour is definitely it for Motley Crue…it’s the end. The hard-rocking, hard-partying kings of sleaze are officially calling it a day (they’ve signed legal promises not to come back and everything) and this will be their final performance in the second city. Expect an evening full of pyro, pinning drum kits and absolutely banging choruses that you’ll be singing for days. Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve only gone and hired Alice Cooper as support! Mr Cooper was born for the live arena and his stage shows are something, so make sure you get there early.
Eagles of Death Metal @ the Institute, Friday 6 November
Having recently released the very well-received album ‘Zipper Down’, the Eagles of Death Metal are back in town and sure to bring the party. This side project, featuring Queens of the Stone Age main man Josh Homme and wild frontman Jesse Hughes, are renowned for putting on loud, riotous and fun shows (even if Homme rarely plays live with the band) and there are few groups out there liable to get your Friday night started like these Eagles will.
21 Pilots @ the Institute, Monday 9 November
If we’re talking spectacular live shows then 21 Pilots simply has to be on the list. An evening with this manic twopiece is, quite simply, bonkers — something we saw for ourselves when they blew away the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath earlier this year. Think drum kits should stay on the stage rather than be held aloft by the crowd? You’re very wrong! This band has already got its next Birmingham show booked in, when they’ll be playing the Academy, and it won’t be surprising if they move into one of the city’s arenas on the tour after that. This month’s shows could well be something really rather special.
Ella Eyre @ the Academy, Wednesday 11 November
The big-haired, bundle of energy that is Ella Eyre was one of the breakthrough acts of 2014, and has continued to grow throughout 2015 with more hit singles and a stellar slot at this summer’s V-festival. She offers something that is often lacking in pop acts; real excitement and talent. Ella Eyre is another act on this month’s list that is unlikely to be staying in smaller venues for much longer, so catch her while you can.
Skindred @ the Institute, Friday 13 November
Skindred are one the most unique and likeable acts out there, so expect this show by the Welsh raga-metal stars to be packed to the rafters with adoring fans. They are easily one of the most fun live bands you’re ever likely to see and if you’ve never previously experienced the Newport helicopter then you’re in for a real treat. Oh, we almost forgot, they’ve got the equally bonkers Crossfaith supporting them, meaning this gig will almost certainly one of the best of the year.
Megadeth and Lamb of God @ the Academy, Sunday 15 November
If you like metal, then this tour needs no further explanation; a co-headline show featuring one of the most important thrash bands of all time, along with one of, if not the best bands to survive the mid-noughties new wave of American metal scene. Catching both of these bands play live should be on the bucket list for every metal fan, so why not kill two birds with one stone and get them on the same night? As an added bonus, Lamb of God’s drummer Chris Adler, who plays drums on Megadeth’s upcoming new album, with pull double duty and perform with both bands. To be honest, seeing him play twice is worth the admission fee alone \m/
Every Time I Die @ the Asylum, Tuesday 17 November
Buffalo New York’s Every Time Die are like a fine wine and just keep getting better and better with age, both on record and on the stage. We’ve already seen them twice this year — at the Institute with Architects and laying waste to the third stage at Download — but the prospect of them playing a headline show is even more exciting. They’re down-to-earth, normal guys playing loud and heavy rock and roll and they deserve every success coming their way. The Asylum won’t know what’s hit it!
Frank Turner @ the Academy, Wednesday 18 November
Folk punk songwriter Frank Turner’s success is nothing short of fantastic; for one man and his guitar to have played stadiums and be capable of selling out headline tours without the support of mainstream radio is hugely impressive and testament to what a brilliant crafter of songs he is. On top of that, he’s a fantastic live performer and will undoubtedly make the Academy feel much smaller and much more intimate than many other acts will be able to do.
The Enemy @ the Institute, Wednesday 18 November
Remember when The Enemy were going to be the next big thing? At one point in the mid-noughties you couldn’t move for the Coventry trio, before they seemed to vanish off the radar almost completely. Well, they’re back and eager to regain the energy they had back when they broke through and saw their debut album go straight in at number one. Having played Wembley Stadium back in 2009, they shouldn’t have any trouble feeling at home in the Institute.
Imagine Dragons @ Barclaycard Arena, Friday 20 November
Since bursting onto the scene in 2012, Imagine Dragons have been darlings of the American charts, as well as picking up a plethora of awards including a Grammy and two American Music Awards. They’ve also built a reputation for having a stellar stage show that is made for arenas, so their visit to Birmingham on a Friday night could be quite a special one. This is their first UK tour in two years, why not check out what all the fuss is about?
Marilyn Manson @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Friday 20 November
The first of our suggested trips up to Wolverhampton sees the intriguing prospect of catching a bona fide rock legend in a fairly small venue; Marilyn Manson has gotten far more used to arenas than theatres over the past few years, but this month he’ll be bringing his thing to the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton. His recent live shows have seemed to draw mixed reviews and he’s clearly a different beast to what he was at the start of his career. However, when he’s on form, he’s still one of the very best.
New Order @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Tuesday 24 November
It’s a busy week for the Civic Hall, with another huge name coming to town just a few days after Mr Manson; New Order have been around for 35 years and are still producing the goods, even without founder member Peter Hook. This year they released their first album without Hook and this tour is helping promote that release. They’re a seminal band and one that are undoubtedly worth seeing.
Judas Priest @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Thursday 26 November
Completing a trio a great reasons to nip up to Wolverhampton this month, it’s heavy metal legends and local heroes Judas priest. There’s little to be said about Rob Halford and co that hasn’t already been said, other than to reiterate what a fantastic live band they are, something underlined by their storming set at this year’s Download Festival. Expect fire, riffs and metal…oh and the added bonus of the Michael Schenker Group in support.
Paul Weller @ Barclaycard Arena, Friday 27 November
November seems to be a busy month for legendary musicians, with guitar hero Paul Weller stopping off in Birmingham on his latest run. The Modfather’s creativity and ability to write good music seems to know no bounds — underlined by this year’s ‘Saturns Pattern’ album, which reached number two in the UK albums chart — and on stage he’s even better, so why not check him out?
Slayer @ the Academy, Friday 27 November
Sorry, that should have read Slllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! The thrash metal titans are in town supporting another new album and are always one of the most furious live bands you’ll see. Oh, and as if Slayer wasn’t enough, they’re bringing fellow thrash metal legends Anthrax as support. You won’t find more metal on your Friday night anywhere else.
Beartooth @ the Academy 2, Saturday 28 November
Ohio bruisers Beartooth have been one of the most exciting metal bands to have emerged in the past couple of years and the chance to see them headline such a small room should not be missed. They’ve proved time and time again what a superb live band they are — the Kerrang tour, Slam Dunk Festival and Download Festival are just three recent visits that spring to mind — and you can expect big riffs, bigger choruses and crowd surfers galore. Even better, they’re bringing the incredibly good twopiece, and Birmingham live favourites ’68 as support — definitely get there in time to see Josh Scogin and Michael McClellan make a whole lot of brilliant noise.
Free Radio Live 2015 @ Genting Arena, Saturday 28 November
The annual popfest that is Free Radio live returns to the Genting Arena this month, and you can expect plenty of big names packed into a frantic couple of hours. This year’s lineup is still taking shape with Sigma, X-Factor winner Ben Haenow and John Newman so far confirmed. However, when previous years have included Ed Sheeran, Little Mix and Olly Murs, don’t be surprised at who might be turning up to this year’s party.
Bring Me The Horizon @ the Academy, Sunday 29 November
2015 has definitely been Bring Me The Horizon’s year. Their album ‘That’s the Spirit’ is their most successful yet and they were second only to Metallica on the Reading and Leeds lineup. You can’t help but feel like arena tours will soon be the norm for the Sheffield metallers, so the chance to see them play the Academy is not to be missed. This show actually sold out so quickly that the band are playing a matinee show at the Academy earlier in the day — what better way to spend you Sunday afternoon. They’re also bringing rising UK stars Neck Deep as support, making an already good gig even better.
Mumford and Sons @ Genting Arena, Monday 30 November
Love them or hate them, it’s hard to deny just how huge Mumford and Sons are. Fresh from headlining the Reading and Leeds festival in the summer, the band are now heading out on their own arena run, which includes a stop in Birmingham. Put simply, they are superstars and will undoubtedly bring something special to the Genting Arena at the end of the month.
Words and photo — Dave Musson