The home of blues music in Birmingham is going ‘full metal’ to commemorate a milestone event in rock history. Velvet Music Rooms on the city's golden mile of Broad Street is hosting a special session of its Birmingham Rocks nights on Sunday 12 February.
The gig will mark the 53rd anniversary of the release of Black Sabbath’s debut album, regarded as heavy metal’s coming of age.
Entitled ‘The Birth of Metal’, the session will feature Sabbath tribute band, Sabbra Cadabra, who will perform three rocking sets, including the entire ‘Black Sabbath’ album first released on 13 February 1970.
This album went on to reach No.8 in the UK before spending a year in the US album charts. Black Sabbath themselves were once regulars at Henry’s Blueshouse, which now has its home at Velvet Music Rooms.
Sabbath’s founding manager, Jim Simpson, who organises Henry’s and also runs Birmingham’s Big Bear Music, said: “They were more-or-less Henry’s house band, so what could be more appropriate than to celebrate the release of their debut album, which marked the birth of heavy metal, where it all began?”
Manchester-based Sabbra Cadabra line up as Kevin McGillian (Ozzy), Neil Priddey (Tony), Pete Hagan (Geezer) and Matt Bates (Bill). Added Jim: “They have been carrying the torch since 1993 and I can vouch for their uncannily authentic performances which take me straight back to the Henry’s Blueshouse of 1969.”
As well as the live music, there will be other Sabbath-associated activity, including a photo slideshow, memorabilia, early posters and a 20-minute Q&A with Jim. The Birth of Metal concert on 12 February forms part of a Birmingham Rocks series which can be seen every Sunday at 6.30pm at Velvet Music Rooms.
In addition, Henry’s Blueshouse continues its Tuesday night performances. Dani Hadley, co-director at Velvet, said: “It is great to be able to put on all this wonderful live music here in the heart of Birmingham, including a special concert in tribute to local legends Black Sabbath.”
Mike Olley, General Manager of Westside BID, said: “Black Sabbath have close links to Broad Street and Westside and we’re thrilled that they are being celebrated at Velvet’s Birmingham Rocks event.
“We are so lucky here on Westside to have such a great independent venue like Velvet which is so willing to host regular live music.” Meanwhile, Sabbath’s early years are chronicled by Jim Simpson in a book, co-written with his brother Ron, available online.
Upcoming Birmingham Rocks gigs at Velvet every Saturday from 6.30pm.
· February 5 – Playing Django
· February 12 – The Birth of Metal, featuring Sabbra Cadabra
· February 19 – Chick Wren’s Rollin’ River Band
· February 26 – The Journeymen (Eric Clapton Tribute)
· March 5 – Luis Riley Morrison
Upcoming Henry’s Blueshouse gigs at Velvet every Tuesday. Doors open from 7pm, band hits the stage at 8pm
· January 31 – Chickenbone Blues
· February 7 – Black & Blues Band
· February 14 – Martin Burch Band
· February 21 – The Shakedown Brothers
· February 28 – The Shufflepack
All concerts are free admission unless otherwise stated.