Review: Magical garden performance from Pram wows audience

  • Local legends, Pram, played the magical setting of Martineau Gardens on June 3rd
  • The band are one of the composers for the for-Wards Project in association with mac birmingham & Capsule
  • The unique performance was a lovingly prepared and created event

Followers of local legends Pram will know that they don’t like doing things by halves and they don’t like doing anything ordinary.

Pram had been announced as one of the for-Wards composers last year and have been busy beavering away working with local communities throughout the Edgbaston district (covering Harbourne, Edgbaston, Quinton and Bartley Green). The aim of the for-Wards project is to discover the sounds of Birmingham and create pieces of music for each of the 10 districts.

It’s hard to think of anyone better to take on this task than Pram, who seem to relish in it. Their performance of the music and sounds from, Under the Blossom that Hangs on the Bough, was held at the beautiful Martineau Gardens. ‘Martineau Gardens is a community garden on Priory Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham, featuring over two acres of woodland and formal gardens.’

So not your average gig then.

On entering the gardens you first walk down a trail and are greeted at a clearing, next to which was the food vendor ChangeKitchen, who provided yummy organic and vegan food. There were also people with picnics, some families with children and there was a generally laid back friendly vibe about the whole affair.

The performance was split into sections, there were curious sound installations, one in a greenhouse and one in a bird hive. Attendees put headphones on and listened to the sounds that had been recorded during Pram’s initial workshops. Then there was a sound trail, similarly people donned headphones but this time the sounds correlated with the trail and the guide explained more. With the sun shining and the leaves gleaming this truly was a delight.

Finally there was a more traditional live performance from Pram, who were set up outside a wooden hut, the audience gathered in a green field opposite. Pram played songs that had been created with and/or inspired by the sounds they had recorded in the different wards of Edgbaston. The different pieces had different tones, one was quite melodic and playful, whilst another sounded more experimental. The crowd looked on transfixed, occasionally glancing away to munch on a strawberry or sup their drinks. This ended with riotous applause and feedback notes were left hanging in one of the tents – every one praising Pram, for-Wards or the event itself.

This performance was the first of five to mark the end of Year 1 of the for-Wards project. This was a lovingly prepared and curated event, Pram’s status as Brum’s darlings of experimental pop is safe. There are still some performances coming up, all with different composers including Justin K Broadrick (ex Godflesh & Napalm Death), all in different venues and it will be interesting to see how each has interpreted the brief and their end results! Then in Year 2 (2018) there will be another five, watch this space for more information.

Upcoming Year 1 performances

29 June – Nord Feld Stefn by Percy Pursglove at Weoley Castle Community Centre (11.00am)

29 June – Nord Feld Stefn by Percy Pursglove at NAF Cafe, Northfield Baptist Church (7.00pm)

01 July – An Ode to York’s Wood by Justin K Broadrick at The George Hotel Basement (7.00pm)

Photography by Wayne Fox

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Maryam Snape

Music/Arts/Leisure/Brum www.mazzysnape.com

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