Off The Record is a Birmingham-based music meetup. The event is centered around making time to listening and appreciating music – specifically, an album in full.
This is our fifth event (but our third in Brum – we've relocated from London!). It works something like this: people will arrive, grab food/drinks from the lovely bar and café, and then we’ll sit back and listen to an entire album together, followed by a group chat about it – yep, a bit like a book club.
This event we’ll be following the theme Suffering For Art – the album we'll be listening to has quite the backstory when it comes to a struggle for creativity.
The album we'll be listening to is Say Anything's 2004 release "...Is a Real Boy". Their second album, it was originally intended to be a rock opera, but frontman/main songwriter Max Bemis suffered a mental breakdown during recording and part of the concept was scrapped. It's considered a masterpiece of the pop/punk/emo/indie genre today and is 57:55 long – pushing the boundaries for the genre.
This time, our session will be curated by Joe Bell, a digital producer, board game geek, coffee nerd and huge music fan (and friend of organiser Matt!) who nominated this album and theme. He'll be telling us why he loves this record, why he thinks it deserves our attention, and pointing out that it ranked on BuzzFeed's "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F-ing Die" list.
We'll be listening to this record in full on the night, but wait, there's more! After we've heard the main album, it’s over to anyone else who wants to play a single song that fits our theme: Suffering For Art. We’re not too strict, but the idea is that you’ll pick a song that matches the theme, introduce it to the rest of the group, and then we'll listen to it. You might know some interesting backstory behind a well-loved record (Ringo's yells of "I've got blisters on my fingers!!!" during the recording of Helter Skelter?) or have an album that you hold a personal connection with that matches our topic. Either way, if it’s on Spotify or you have it on a portable device, bring it along and you can tell everyone why you love the song (and the album).
What’s this all about?
What’s the point? Why not just listen to it beforehand? Well, half-listening to an album while you’re grappling for a seat on the bus or pretending to work at your desk for the last hour of a Wednesday isn’t the best way to make time for experiencing a record. We want to try to experiment with putting aside time to engage properly with an album, really devote half an hour or so to taking it in, then hearing what other people thought of it. And discovering new stuff that other people really love. That’s the idea.
How much does it cost?
The event is free. The pub does good food so if you fancy some food while you're listening then you're in the right place. Cherry Reds has a brilliant beer selection and does teas and coffees too.