If there’s a band that none of us at MV have heard of, then the chances are Damian will know their back catalogue and will have seen them about 15 times. Here’s his gigs of the year – and they aren’t in order, as he’s contrary like that

This year I managed 85 gigs so it was a pretty tough ask to choose just twenty to highlight. But here goes.

Duke Special – Crescent Theatre – Birmingham – February

What can you say about this wonderful Ulsterman? We got a master class of musicianship in a wonderfully intimate venue.

Van Hertzen Brothers – Rainbow Courtyard – Birmingham – March

Finnish rockers put on a wonderful show in a packed out courtyard in Digbeth

Purson – Sunflower Lounge – Birmingham – March

London based Psychedelic rock band packed out a venue that was far too small thanks to all the hype surrounding them. They have since announced a shock hiatus

The Sheepdogs – Rainbow Courtyard – Birmingham – April

Canadian troubadours playing Creedence / Allman Bros inspired melodies. Packed to the rafters for this superb show

Therapy? – The Pavillion – Whitby – April

Topping the first night at the Goth Fest – yeah surprised me as well. But put on a rock master class. Blew the place apart – joy to behold.

The Red Paintings – Rainbow Courtyard – Birmingham – April

Support band at this gig but saw them a few days before in Whitby so had to go. London based Art Rock Aussies – play a cover of Michael Jackson’s they don’t care about us – shouldn’t work but it so does

Nick Harper – Ellowes Hall- Dudley – May

Odd venue – type of sports hall – tutoring class for students in the day and full on gig on the night.Marvellous songs and stunning plank spanking from one of our National treasures

Brian Wilson – Symphony Hall – Birmingham – May

One of Rocks greatest offerings Pet Sounds gets a run through. The love and support for the artist was almost tangible.

Kentucky Headhunters – Robin 2 – Bilston – July

Debut UK tour for these Southern rock / blues veterans and was a night to say I was there.

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Robin 2 – Bilston – July

Country blues from Indiana’s finest husband and wife team, Washboard solo followed by ritual cremation of said instrument. A band that always deliver

Stiff Little Fingers – Queens Hall – Nuneaton – August

A festival warm up for Jake and the boys. Even the walls were perspiring that evening

Phosphorescent – Moseley folk Festival – Birmingham – September

Matthew Houck’s outfit – understated indie / folk with heartbreaking lyrics

Graham Parker & Brinsley Schwarz – Artrix– Bromsgrove – September

Hopefully this will become an annual outing of these Rumour musicians. Stripped back rock and blues at it’s best.

The Ruts DC – Slade Rooms – Wolverhampton – October

Punk Rock as it should be from Segs and Ruffy with new album thrown in for good measure. A night to put the if onlys to one side and wallow in the pleasure of these great musicians.

Skye Ross – Bramell Hall – Birmingham – October

Morcheeba main players mellow out the Bramell Hall – wonderful show apart from some very odd fans

The Mission – O2 Institute – Birmingham – November

Great show from the Godfathers of Goth. All the classics shared.

Airbourne – O2 Institute – Birmingham – November

Heads down no nonsense high voltage rock and roll from straight shooting Aussie headbangers

Black Stone Cherry – Civic Hall – Wolverhampton – November

Short Acoustic set followed by full on rock out from these good ole Southern boys. Stunning.

Bad Touch – The Flapper – Birmingham – November

East Anglia’s answer to The Black Crowes. Gifted vocalist and musicians. Check out track 99% and believe

Kula Shaker – O2 Institute – Birmingham – December

Return of the 90`s psychedelic rockers who incorporate traditional Indian music and mysticism into their shows. Cracking set.

No Sparks this year so I felt it was a toss up between Duke Special and Black Stone Cherry for the gig of the year with Duke Special edging it. Special mention to bands that were left out such as Royal Republic, Public Image, Crobot, Brian Auger’s Oblivion, David Cross band, Black Bombers and The Divine Comedy,

Sparks have a new release and gigs planned for the New Year so let`s hope it all lives up to what was a cracking 2016 gigwise.