Sunset Cinema Club + Miss Halliwell @ Island Bar, Birmingham – 4th July 2008


Well,being a regular to Island Bar, it was a complete mystery to me why I had not yet attended ‘Tropical Hotdog’ before. A regular band night that this evening was celebrating it’s first birthday! The cocktails on tap contributed well to the jungle dress up theme the night had promoted. Unfortunately for Sunset Cinema Club, it was only them and their stage that partook in the dressing-up festivities! Apart from the bar manager that was lapping it up! With a four band line up and cocktails at the ready, I was in for a good evening.


Mayday and Calories were the first bands up, both of which playing to full capacity crowds. They were followed by Miss Halliwell who tonight had two new ladies on the platform. One on keyboards and another on a second bass guitar who also accompanied on vocals. A great accompaniment to the original vampy drummer. Their sound was completely different to the one I had perused on MySpace only two days before. It gave them an extra grizzly quality with this new member growling over the lyrics along with the original male vocal. She was very old skool Courtney Love-esque and it gave their tunes a darker quality to their predominantly factory punky sound. Im not sure how permanent this arrangement will be, but if it is set to last, these guys need a bigger stage!

Next up were Sunset Cinema Club! The only Jungle/hula themed band of the night! But not the only band to have a guest in tow. Joining Gregg the Lion, John the Octopus Garden and Hula man Dom was a twitchy new character that was amazing to watch, with his geeky helicopter hat (not so Jungle) who helped with percussion on his Turkish drum and some small vocals. These guys have real fun onstage, throwing party poppers to everyone, and dishing out tambourines to random fans in the crowd.


When I heard them play, so many influences came to mind – Radio 4, Mae Shi and Foals to name a few. They bring all this together with well timed joint vocals, varied speed percussion on each track and their excellent stage presence which sets Brum up to have a real positive flag on its reputation.

It’s weird to think that I’ve not seen them perform before, but their sound has really grown on me personally, especially the tracks ‘Hardcore’ and ‘Reflex DJ’ which I was happily humming to myself in the shower the following morning.

A great bunch of bands and a good turn-out. Catch Sunset Cinema Club and Tropical Hotdog at Island Bar on the first Friday of every month.

Review & Photos – Elaine Ridler

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