Photos by Pete Ashton unless otherwise stated
The Victoria was the setting for Colour’s first Birmingham event, which was one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve put on. Charlie Parr, Mellow Peaches and Young Runaways provided performances that were utterly captivating and a potent reminder of how vital live music is.
Charlie Parr by Pete Ashton
Charlie held the crowd in this palm through his set and his beautiful interpretations of American blues and folk tradition received a rapturous reception. The material from Roustabout and his extensive back catalogue came alive, resonating from his deft fingers and a guitar that seemed to do whatever bidding they desired. The photos, video and even his superb records can’t really capture just how jaw-droppingly awesome his performances are.
Colour by Pete Ashton
Charlie Parr Performing ‘Cheap Wine’
One of the highlights of the evening for me was when Charlie played this heartbreaking number from his album Rooster. Played raw and minimal, it highlights his ability to inhabit a character and touch on the tragedy and beauty of everyday life.
Charlie Parr has toured the UK several times before, astounding audiences with his contemporary take on American musical tradition. His rousing, heartfelt songs speak plainly of the darker places ordinary folks often lose themselves and of the hope that gets them through. Charlie counts among his fans Alan Sparhawk of Low and comics legend and aficionado of the blues, R. Crumb. He was touring in support of his new album Roustabout, released on 17 February on Misplaced Music.
Stream: ‘Don’t Send Your Child to War’
The Mellow Peaches are two twentysomethings from Birmingham who have immersed themselves in American roots music, offering a take on blues and folk that is musically accomplished without ever being showy. Slide guitars and banjos are prevalent, along with a stompboard – a percussive plank of wood with bottlecaps nailed to it.
Influenced by the meticulous arrangements of Beirut and the bombast of Arcade Fire, Wolverhampton’s Young Runaways lineup shifts from two to eight players, including brass and strings. For Colour, they played with the core of three; an intimate and captivating opening performance.