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)?

Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
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
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.

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution