Mama Roux is an incredible venue – if you ever get the chance to attend a show here, I’d thoroughly recommend it. Styled to look like a row of derelict villas, the walls are covered in fake houses, while potted plants hang haphazardly from the ceiling. It’s a venue with character that you wouldn’t usually find in Birmingham, so I regard it as one of Digbeth’s hidden gems.
Tonight, I’m here to watch Boston Manor, who are touring in support of their latest album 'Welcome To The Neighbourhood', their second album following 'Be Nothing' which was released two years ago. It’s a sell out show, with Mama Roux crammed to the rafters from the very start. They’ve bought along a whole host of stellar support bands too – Microwave, Drug Church and Wallflower are all performing this evening.
Wallflower kick off the evening with a solid half hour, performing their newest release 'Magnifier' much to my delight. Their music is raw, with heady vocals being carried through each track with brazened emotion. I’d have loved to have witnessed a longer set from these guys, and I’ll be making sure I catch them next time they come through Birmingham.
Next is Drug Church, a band that I had not come across before. My friend is incredibly excited for their set, and I can now see why. Singer Patrick has what may be the most unique stage persona I’ve seen for a while, switching between mellow vocals and quick, jaunted movements across the stage. Tracks like 'Weed Pin' get the still crowd moving, and I notice small mosh pits beginning to form below me. 'Strong References' is, in the words of my friend, ‘a certified banger’, which I very much in agreement with.
By now, the crowd are warmed up for Microwave’s performance. Hailing from Atlanta, they’ve travelled a good distance to play here, and are welcomed with rapturous applause by the crowd. 'Stovall' is an incredible track which strikes a chord with everyone in the room, and has even the most sober gig goers swaying along to it’s intoxicating melody.
And finally, Boston Manor. I’ve seen them before, and I am used to a rowdy show – but nothing could prepare me for what we were about to witness. As they open with 'Welcome To The Neighbourhood', so we are crushed by a torrent of crowd surfers that begin to cascade onto the stage. Barrierless shows are all well and good until you have angsty teenagers being thrown left right and centre onto the tiny stage, however the crew and promotors did an incredible job of catching (most) of them before hurling them back into the crowd.
And what a set it was. The crowd never stopped – from 'England’s Dreaming' to 'Tunnel Vision' to old school favourite 'Laika', they were screaming along for the entire set. The band were loving it, despite having to dodge the odd body that was flung onto the stage. Usually it’s a band’s older material that does better at a live show, however this time it’s tracks from their newest album that result in crazed applause from the crowd.
Finishing on 'Halo', the room seemingly implodes as everyone goes bat shit crazy. Boston Manor have outgrown venues like this – they’re destined for something much, much bigger.
Boston Manor - https://www.facebook.com/bostonmanoruk/
Microwave - https://www.facebook.com/microwavetheband/
Drug Church - https://www.facebook.com/drugchurch/
Wallflower - https://www.facebook.com/wallfloweruk/
Review - Eleanor Sutcliffe