Imagine a beat down, wooden shed, scruffy exterior, planks missing in places, and perhaps a broken window. This shack doesn't seem an ideal venue in the UK's second city, however, a shack also conjures up images of dirty dancing, slow whining, and couples getting their freak on to a dirty beat.
The Adam and Eve's pub in Digbeth plays host to Birmingham's new night this Saturday, however that has a less romantic story. Promising an intimacy with exclusive new artists, get ready for music that picks up your ears and makes your body respond at the waist, this is the launch of Birmingham's strictly reggae night, this is SHAK.
SHAK has a less romantic story; host Sneeky Fox confided that as a teenager his mates and himself used to hang out in their friends garden shed, the shack. It only makes sense that SHAK is a successful night; it covers all reggae music, new, and familiar favourites, but not just the commercial stuff. It provides a platform for underground artists that bring a freshness Birmingham has yet to witness. Taking the stage include acts such as Kween Nefatiti - think of a soulful Rasta that knows how to play her crowd, and The Gabbidon – fronted by former Steel Pulse member Basil Gabbidon, providing an update on roots music. Both artists played at this year's Hockley Flyover Show in August, organised by Jazz man Soweto Kinch each act performs with the confidence of the stars. SHAK also brings Reggae classics like Calypso, Ragga,and Dancehall old and new.
You know that old-school reggae we've forgotten that still gives you a high? Like Althea and Donna, Red Rat, I Wayne, and of course Bob Marley? Layer these classics with the energy and excitement of a new crowd, intoxicated or not, and it's the recipe for an underground rave. The raw talent of the live acts brings a freshness to an, almost, relegated music genre, and with SHAK's line up you might say they're reviving the classics, lighting a torch, and running with the 21st century's answer to Reggae.
You might be forgiven for thinking this is an average reggae night, but think again, this is a Birmingham first and the talent is bursting at the seams. SHAK has well and truly delivered; Birmingham doesn't get stuff this good, ever, and while Digbeth is renowned for its quirky goings on, it is only now being blessed with acts that are making waves in the music industry whilst retaining their originality. The launch promises to be electric, but also easy, filled with happy arie vibes that makes reggae so popular, it's going to be live!
Like most sweetness and light there's the underside. Following the launch is the after party, which begins at 2am. Now, boys and girls prepare for a yet-encountered dark riddim to coat the night; this is when the party really begins. Hold onto your hats because as the host, Sneeky Fox describes, it is going to be dark and sexy.