8 local concerts we can’t wait to see in Birmingham, including The Blips

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The Blips are Birmingham's own rock supergroup. Photo courtesy of Studio Moderne and Cornelius Chapel Records.
The Blips are Birmingham’s own rock supergroup. Photo by Justin Shubert for Studio Moderne.

Live music is back, Birmingham! Local bands are making their best music yet, while iconic venues like Saturn and Avondale Brewing are booking incredible talent. Keep reading for the local bands and concerts we’re most excited for this season.

The Blips, Birmingham’s own supergroup

The Blips are pure rock 'n roll. Photo courtesy of Cornelius Chapel Records.
The Blips are pure rock ‘n roll. Photo courtesy of Cornelius Chapel Records.

If I’m betting on anyone this year, it’s The Blips. In the past week, Birmingham’s very own supergroup has gotten mentions from Little Stevie’s Underground Garage and Rolling Stone India. Little Stevie even named The Blips’ “Inside Out” as “The Coolest Song in the World This Week.” 

The Blips is made up of seasoned Birmingham musicians. Taylor Hollingsworth, Will Stewart, Wes McDonald, Chris McCauley and Eric Wallace make up the supergroup. They’ve all been prominent figures in the scene for decades. 

I truly can’t summarize each member of the Blips’ careers. Taylor Hollingsworth is considered one of the best guitarists in the Southeast, while Will Stewart is one of the most compelling singer/songwriters I’ve ever seen. Not to mention, Chris McCauley was the leading man of Birmingham’s iconic Holy Youth. 

Chris McDonald, The Blips' drummer and the owner of Ole' Elegante. Photo by Justin Shubert for Studio Moderne.
Wes McDonald, The Blips’ drummer and the owner of Ol’ Elegante. Photo by Justin Shubert for Studio Moderne.

When they’re not killing it on stage, Wes McDonald and Eric Wallace work behind the scenes in Birmingham. McDonald, the band’s drummer, owns Ol’ Elegante studios in Homewood, where The Blips recorded their first album. Finally, Wallace owns The Firehouse, a DIY venue and music education space.

Eric Wallace owns the Firehouse in addition to his role in The Blips. Photo by Chris Shubert for Studio Moderne.
Eric Wallace owns the Firehouse in addition to his role in The Blips. Photo by Justin Shubert for Studio Moderne.

The Blips’ new album synergizes all five musicians’ sounds to make what Hollingsworth calls “straight up rock ‘n roll.” Surprisingly, the album came together through a few hours-long jam sessions. 

A band filled with frontman-worthy talent may sound like a recipe for conflict, but it’s all in good fun for The Blips. Hollingsworth says it’s a collaborative project born from friendship. 

“I think we were all in the mindset of it being a collaborative project rather than just one person running the show. We all had an open mind about everyone’s ideas, and then kind of just put it all together.”

Taylor Hollingsworth
The Blips' Chris McCauley and Will Stewart perform at Ghost Train Brewing Company. Photo by Justin Shubert for Studio Moderne.
The Blips’ Chris McCauley and Will Stewart perform at Ghost Train Brewing Company. Photo by Justin Shubert for Studio Moderne.

Hollingsworth is optimistic about the future of Birmingham’s scene. The Blips’ first show at Ghost Train Brewing Company was packed. They’re playing shows in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville on June 17th and 18th.

Resort Realism brings the beach to Bham

Resort Realism and saxophonist Gary Wheat at their Avondale Brewing Co. performance in March. Photo by Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz.
Resort Realism and saxophonist Gary Wheat at their Avondale Brewing Co. performance in March. Photo by Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz.

Resort Realism is another promising Birmingham band. Made up of Crawford King and Robert Watson, the band blends lo-fi hip hop and jazz like no other. I saw them at Avondale Brewing earlier this year, and their sound is perfect for relaxed thought. 

“What could’ve been six Youtube chill background songs, we would put them into one composition. I want this to be relaxing, but the second it gets boring, let’s change it up a little bit.” 

Robert Watson
Resort Realism's keyboardist Crawford King. Photo by Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz.
Resort Realism’s keyboardist Crawford King. Photo by Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz.

Resort Realism has gotten many offers since venues reopened, and they’re confident that the Birmingham scene will grow. 

“After a completely dead year, I think things are about to really pop off. I don’t know if there are enough venues to really accommodate that currently.”

Robert Watson

The best of Bham concerts

Let’s talk about upcoming concerts! National and local acts are heading to iconic stages in Birmingham. It’s incredible that our local venues were able to survive last year, and the best way to celebrate is with a concert ticket.

Ready for liftoff at Saturn!

Dree Leer sold out their show at The Saturn. Long live Alabama rock 'n roll! Photo courtesy of Dree Leer.
Dree Leer sold out their show at The Saturn. Long live Alabama rock ‘n roll! Photo courtesy of Dree Leer.

Saturn just announced its relaunched lineup for this summer, and I’m pumped. Two Birmingham acts have already sold out their dates at the iconic venue.

Dree Leer, a three-piece Bham rock band, is playing on June 18th to a packed house. It’s sure to be a celebration of live, loud and local music.

Haste, a legendary Birmingham post-hardcore band, also sold out their July 11th show. Haste is known for their infectious headbangers. 

The Saturn is one of the most unique venues in the South. Photo by Libby Foster for Bham Now.
The Saturn is one of the most unique venues in the South. Photo by Libby Foster for Bham Now.

In terms of national acts, Saturn doesn’t disappoint this season. Japanese Breakfast, who just released an amazing indie album, is coming to Saturn on July 25th. Alt-rock legends Dinosaur Jr. have already sold out their September 27th show. If that doesn’t signal the return of live music, I don’t know what does!

Finally, one of my all-time favorite bands, Crumb, is also returning to Saturn on October 20th. Their spaced-out indie style is perfect for the venue.

More shows at Avondale Brewing Co.

Avondale Brewing Co. is the perfect place to catch a show. Photo by Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz.
Avondale Brewing Co. is the perfect place to catch a show. Photo by Libby Foster for The Bama Buzz.

More outdoor shows are coming to Avondale! If there’s one thing I’ve noticed post-pandemic, it’s that open-air shows will remain popular. 

Birmingham’s own Taylor Hunnicut is performing with Lee County’s finest, B.B. Palmer, on July 25th. Hunnicut and Palmer’s laid back country will be the perfect way to spend a summer night. 

Later in the year, Ke$ha is coming to Avondale on August 23rd. As long as she sings “Tik Tok,” I’ll be happy.

The inaugural Birming-Fam Fest!

The Birming-Fam Fest is going to be a blast, and we have a discount! Photo courtesy of Birming-Fam Fest.
The Birming-Fam Fest is going to be a blast, and we have a discount! Photo courtesy of Birming-Fam Fest.

A new festival is coming to Birmingham! The Birming-Fam Fest is on September 11 & 12 on the block of Trimtab Brewing. Crowd favorite artists like Wilderado, The Blips, Dree Leer, Shaheed & DJ Supreme and Zoo Culture will be playing the festival. Each ticket comes with free morning yoga sessions and a hot dog eating contest entry, so there’s no reason not to go!

Ticket are on sale at birmingfamfest.com! Use our readers-only code BHAMNOW to get 20% off admission. 

What concerts are you going to this summer? Tag @bhamnow and share the excitement.

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Libby Foster
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