UB40, The Rainbow Courtyard, Birmingham

4.00

They have had number one singles across the globe and sold millions of albums. But this week, UB40 - a band more used to playing to packed stadia, stepped out onto the stage of a much smaller venue, the 350-capacity Rainbow Courtyard.

The Raise the Roof gig at the closure-threatened Digbeth concert venue was a bid raise funds to soundproof its roof.

"In effect, we are raising money for the church roof," said UB40 Saxophonist, Brian Travers. "Because this, for many young people is like a church. This is where they come to worship some of their idols," he added.

"They like to build up the tension," said one seasoned UB40 fan and he was proven right as the band walked on stage one-at-a-time before opening with the song Travers said was written about the high rate of unemployment in Birmingham, One in Ten.

The audience was a mix of die-hards and their children. Fans, many of whom were seeing the band for the fourth or fifth time, said they had been looking forward to watching their heroes up close.

"I very first saw the band around 35 years ago when they were just starting out and tickets cost 50p," said 56-year-old Margaret Delaney. "It was fantastic to see them back playing in such a small, intimate venue in their home town considering they normally play in stadia all over the world," she added.

Her 25-year-old daughter, Lisa Delaney, on the other hand, was attending her first UB40 concert. "I grew up with this band on the radio and it is wonderful to get a chance to see them live," she said.

Louise McCarthy, a 52-year-old interior designer, said she had been impressed by the band "in the flesh," but added: "What really made the gig for me was the atmosphere."

Much of the pre-gig talk among punters was on whether new singer Duncan Campbell could fill the shoes of his older brother Ali on lead vocals. Band-members intimated after the show that they hoped he was not only able to "slot in and imitate Ali for the sake of the fans, but to add something to the role as well."

Most fans agreed after the band had left the stage that it was mission accomplished on that front. The pillar right in the centre of the stage which obscured Campbell from view throughout did not help his cause, but then, this was not the O2 Arena after all (I think that was the point).

All the same, artists including La Roux, The Prodigy and Joss Stone have graced the iconic Rainbow Courtyard stage in recent years. Reason-enough, Travers said, to try to save the venue from closure after neighbours' complaints about the late-night noise.

"This is not about celebrity or even promoting UB40, this is about the bands who want to entertain people being able to carry on doing what they always have done," he said.

Contrary to when the band plays arena shows, a lot less "smoke and mirrors" were involved in this week"s gig, where the musicians got much closer to their audience than they normally would. "We could see the whites of their eyes and hear what they were saying between songs," band-members joked.

"They could also see us in detail, I would imagine we were a little older and a little fatter than they might have thought. There was no makeup artist here, this was just us doing what we do - entertaining people," said Travers.

The Rainbow and the adjoining music venue, The Rainbow Courtyard, have been live music stalwarts in Birmingham for years. It started out as one of many pubs in an industrial area which had live music on.

However, as other more central venues closed down one by one, it became more and important to the local music scene.

Now, like many others across the country, it is under threat from a Noise Abatement order. The Digbeth area of Birmingham was mot traditionally a residential one, but a recent influx of people looking for an inner city flat resulted in noise complaints.

Recently, Newcastle Quayside's The Cooperage was closed down after residents in newly-built flats complained. The move saddened the band, who said that they had played there during the early days of their musical careers.

In the present though, and closing the show, Guitarist Robin Campbell urged the audience to sing along to the classic Red Red Wine, reminding them: "This is about raising the roof after all" (geddit)?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried