Midnight Magpie Presents: Birds Of Paradise, Hare And Hounds, Saturday 21 Feb, Dubcherry + Midnight Magpie + Antelope

A brightly clad throng of young and hopeful flesh transforms the Hare And Hounds’ black-box into a vibrant pageant – ready for the auspicious debut of the new-fangled live event Birds Of Paradise.

Dubcherry kick the night off more akin to a dose of valium than a starter’s pistol with their palatable amalgam of soul, trip hop and pacifying bass lines. Their easy-going style lacks punch and immediacy but the lack of any awe-gazing presence from the five-piece draws a thin line between music for meditation and background noise for the hubbub of rendezvousing merrymakers. Their attention, however, doesn’t go un-grabbed for long…

Midnight Magpie tread into a minefield of jazz, funk and blues with each song presented as a five-minute-plus epic. The most enthralling moments come from flame-haired vocalist Heather Corvid whose trouser flares could swallow small children. On track Whatever You Want her powerful high-octane vocals turn lullabies into orgasms and digress into burly scat expressions. For my bleeding-and-battered-punk-rock heart, however, the instrumental jazz soloing is dizzying mix of indulgent sounds. But their undoubtable and immense talents receive a deserving and rapturous applause from the equally colourful crowd.

Existing in a venn diagram of soul, drum and bass, hip hop, deep house and reggae – Antelope, eight graduates from Birmingham Conservatoire, refuse to commit to digital looping by hosting one of the best brass sections in Birmingham. Their tight and innovative compositions (by keys player Dorian Childs, respectively) are a stimulating and virtuosic blend of party-funk and hot-jazz debauchery that has the capacity venue in an uproar. It’s a fully-fledged big band extravaganza impassioned by the voice of bonafide diva Taan Parisse, who’s impossible to peel your eyes away from. After fourty-five minutes of inebriated dancing, even by the Voodoo Jukebox contingent, the octet go out on a big, brassy and ballsy crescendo. As one of the best bands in Brum, Antelope deserve to be on your must see list – highly recommended.

Johnny Kowalski 

The next Birds Of Paradise is set for June 5

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