Live And Lyrical – Event Review

23rd January 2020

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Wednesday the 15th of January saw BIMM Birmingham’s first ever ‘Live and lyrical’ event held at The Night Owl. This new event is set to highlight Birmingham’s up and coming songwriters, with a strong focus on the original music BIMM’s students are creating.

The Night Owl is the perfect choice of venue. It gives a laid back feel to the event and the three songs per-performer makes the evening flow really well.


The first song ever performed at a BIMM Birmingham Live and lyrical didn’t disappoint. Rachaayluu kicked off the night with ‘I Know You Don’t Want Me’, a song from her 2019 EP ‘Honey’.

Her voice is so smooth and incredibly pretty. The stripped back acoustic guitar can sometimes highlight a singer’s downfalls, but this song did the complete opposite; showing how controlled and beautifully emotional her sound is. The lyric ‘I don’t know why I wore my best for you, it’s not me’ stood out to me. Even now I’m still singing them – the song is relatable as hell!

The second song she performed ‘Sunday’ will be released in March 2020. It’s a more cheerful sound and her performance featured a lot of sassy hair flips which might’ve been accidental, but it emphasised the lyrics she was singing and let her character shine through. It’s always nice to see someone being themselves and enjoying it.

Stuart Woolfenden


Woolfenden started off his set with the incredibly catchy ‘I’ve seen it All’. The song is driven by his strong guitar playing and his immense stage presence holds the audience’s attention throughout his whole set.

His lyrics are really clever, referencing Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’ and reflecting the feeling of dismay that most young people share in this current climate but he still manages to keep it light with his cheeky flare.

The set finished with what appeared to be his most popular song ‘Waste Your Time’, as he introduced the track to loud cheers from the crowd. This song was most angst-y of the set and he boosted the energy of the eager crowd as they all sang along to the super catchy lyric that I’ve already found myself humming more times than I can count.

The song writing is so strong and witty. And it’s backed up by a strong instrumental. Woolfenden’s sound reminded me of Jonas Blue. His vocal tone is quite similar and his recorded music has those electronic elements that can be compared to Jonas Blue’s ‘Blue’ album. I can definitely see his music in the pop charts.

Stuart is releasing an EP in May and he’s also got some singles coming out in the run up to that. You don’t want to miss out on them. If you can’t wait that long to hear his music, then head down to his next gig at Deadwax on the 1st of February!

The Space

I feel really bad but I didn’t manage to catch any of the song names that they played in their set so I will have to refer to them as song one, two and three.

The stand out aspect of all three songs that ‘The Space’ performed was definitely the lead vocals. He brings this 90’s indie/grunge inspired tone that adds an edge to their sound and makes them stand out from other indie bands I’ve heard. His voice reminds me heavily of Van McCann of ‘Catfish and The Bottlemen’, which works really nicely over the guitar and bass tones the band has chosen to create their sound.

The Space’s final song featured cleverly written lyrics and an instrumental that showed off the talent within the band. The drums sounded a bit too harsh and rigid for the genre, loosening up a little bit would give a more fitting sound to ground the rest of the instrumental. The band looked like they needed to relax a lot more. They’re all great musicians and they should be having fun and enjoying themselves rather than looking so serious.


The energy Fonder bought to the stage the minute they started playing was infectious. The crowd immediately started bobbing along and even the microphones were wobbling on the stage with the amount of energy the performers were giving off. The two vocalists sounded absolutely beautiful together, the harmonies throughout the whole set were really pretty and they were never competing for dominance, just working together to give a perfect sound.

The second song was more mellow than the first (anyone else noticing a theme with everyone’s sets yet?) but still featured GORGEOUS harmonies that my ears have fallen in love with. The song is, again, very pretty and it’s impossible not to sway along to the rhythm. Both girls have such powerful vocals but they manage to also be perfectly soft and blend so well into the mellow instrumental playing alongside them.

They mix this ‘Taylor Swift pop-country-esque’ sound with a hint of Avril Lavigne angst that now I’ve written down sounds really odd but trust me, it’s absolutely amazing.

The final song sounded like the song that play’s during a characters breaking point in the very climax of a romance movie. The bridge somehow bought even more energy and showed off the talents of all the musicians on stage. They were having so much fun and this made the music come across even better.

Cole Stock

Listening to Stock’s set, I felt like I was at a mid-summer festival in the year 2000. The sound is very summery and heavily influenced by early 00s indie bands. There’s no way you could mistake this music for anything but British.

Stock’s second song ‘Close Your Eyes’ was a little bit heavier than the first, but still fitted with the up-beat, happy sound that Stock has created. He looks at home on the stage, the whole band looked relaxed and sounded clean, tight and well-rehearsed.

The third song Stock performed was his latest single ‘In My Head’ for which he recently released an incredible music video. The punchy bass line carries this song along to the catchy chorus and the audience joined in clapping to the beat during the bridge which only added to my festival feeling.

After every song he played, Stock asked, “Was that alright, yeah?”, believe in yourself! If I could write songs like you I’d be oozing confidence, like all the time.

Izzy and The Boys

The last band to perform was Izzy and The Boys. First off, great band name. Straight away I was just blown away by this girl’s beautiful voice! The blend of the funky bass line and subtle guitar creates this smooth, R&B, soulful sound that you can’t help but bop along to – I’m instantly reminded of singer/songwriter Mahalia.

The second song turns up the smooth sexiness as everyone in the crowd starts swaying their hips and I notice a few people fanning themselves. The guitar tone works at creating this alluring vibe to the music while the bass line brings in the R&B influences underneath pop-y lyrics that everyone in the room can relate to. The guitar solo just sends the sexiness over the top and everyone in the rooms applauds like crazy when the set reaches its ending.

All the sonic elements work perfectly together. The whole thing has clearly been thought out and everything clicks really well to create an amazing combination. I think each song could use some backing vocals to add that extra layer, but that’s me nit-picking for something to improve what’s already jaw droopingly beautiful.

If this is only the first of these new shows, then I’m really excited to see what BIMM brings next. Whoever performs at the next Live And Lyrical’ has a lot to live up to. This was a great debut for the event and a great start to 2020!


Charlie Culverhouse

Charlie is a Music Journalism student currently attending BIMM Birmingham. She blogs about anything from music to lifestyle but particularly enjoys writing about up and coming artists and the Birmingham music scene. Check out her blog here - https://listentome-baby.blogspot.com