King City: Adventures into Birmingham’s Diverse Music Culture

By Stephen Pennell

History | Music
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Birmingham has a longstanding tradition of individualism and experimentation, giving rise to a fragmented but innovative culture. This applies to the city’s contemporary music scene just as it does to the rest of its rich cultural heritage, which goes some way to explaining why the Birmingham sound is hard to define. Whereas other cities are known for a certain sound, this city celebrates is diversity.

In this new decade, the plethora of exciting indie bands, sick rappers and emotive singer-songwriters are surrounded by a collective of DJs, producers, promoters, venues, bloggers and vloggers who promote them. There’s an agglomeration building, coalescing around the Birmingham Music Awards, whose mission is to amplify this uprising to the world. In this book, Stephen Pennell’s reviews and musings, based on those appearing on The Birmingham Press and Counteract from 2013-2021, shine a light on Birmingham’s finest up-and-coming performers playing the city’s most iconic venues, taking us on a unique journey around Birmingham’s music scene.

The book is being published in loving memory of Paddy Dalton and half of the proceeds will be donated to his partner Kelly and son Aairon. Of course, if you buy this book that money comes from you, whether or not you were lucky enough to know him, so heartfelt thanks for your generosity. Paddy contributed more to good nights out in Brum than anyone bar Eddie Fewtrell, so this book seems an appropriate place to pay tribute – there’s an amusing little story about him within its pages which Stephen hopes will make you smile.

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  • Stephen Pennell avatar

    Stephen Pennell

    Stephen Pennell is a published author whose musings on music have won praise from artists and fans alike. His debut novel, Gangsters, Geezers and Mods, was published in 2020 and met with much critical acclaim. The highlight of his musical career was when his group played Digbeth Civic Hall in support of the Labour Party alongside The Style Council. Stephen is an avid gig-goer who basks in the reflected glory of Birmingham’s finest musicians as he chronicles their adventures in reviews for Counteract and the Birmingham Press. He is proud to be an ambassador for the Birmingham Music Awards and was even prouder to win one! He lives in Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham.

  • 12th April 2021 Something From The Intro...

     

    Birmingham is probably the most creative city on earth - of 4,000 patents registered in the UK each year, 2,800 come from Brum - but the perception of it rarely lives up to the reality. Half the people who live here haven’t got a kind word to say about the place and from further afield the brickbats are even worse. The BBC have abandoned us, run off with our TV licence money, turned Pebble Mill…

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