Next Week Today is a selection of our picks from the upcoming week’s events, published every Sunday at 11 a.m. We’ll give you juuuuuust enough detail to whet your whistle, and then let you do the digging. In other words, these are the events we recommend giving a second, perhaps even third glance as you wend your way along the path to entertainment.
Get ready Birmingham, the screaming, growling, death-eating, axe-smashing legions of the damned are headed to Sloss Furnaces this weekend for the return of Furnace Fest and they are going to absolutely dominate your schedule. The meek might want to run for one of the other cool events on slate, the rest should head straight for the fray.
Whose Live Anyway? (Lyric Theatre, 7:30 p.m.) — If you like improv theatre/comedy, you’ve probably seen and enjoyed ABC’s long-running improv show Whose Line Is It, Anyway? Well, now a few of the stars of that show, Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops, are stepping through your TV screen and onto the stage at The Lyric for a live performance of all your favorite improv games. They’ll be accompanied by experienced improver Jeff B. Davis and Joel Murray (younger brother of Bill Murray and actor who has appeared on Mad Men and Shameless, among others.
The Mountain Goats / Pool Kids (Saturn, 8 p.m.) — Lead singer and primary force of The Mountain Goats John Darnielle spent his pandemic bingeing on a steady diet of retro action flicks, which he then internalized and projected outward into 2022’s album Bleed Out, a collection of tracks singularly dedicated to bringing those action heroes to life through music. It’s good fun, through a lens made of vengeance!
The Veldt (The Nick, 9 p.m.) — Part of the original crop of shoegaze bands in the ’90s, influential band The Veldt have continued to produce albums in their dream-pop/soul style at a steady pace all these years, with their last release in 2017. It’s been a minute (lifetime?) since then, so expect them to have a decent crop of new material to fill your ears with.
Banned Books and Body Autonomy in Birmingham (Burdock Book Collective, 6:30 p.m.) — PEN America, an organization that “works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others,” is facilitating this conversation about book bans that target women and members of queer, trans and intersex communities.
The Nude Party / Pearl Charles (Saturn, 8 p.m.) — The Nude Party got their name because back when they were small enough to play house shows, they did so in their birthday suits, and got referred to as “the naked party band.” It stuck. Now, of course, they have to play clothed, but it doesn’t dampen the quality of their throwback-rock. Opener Pearl Charles is a Secret Stages alum, and her disco-leaning country-pop is worth showing up for.
Bubbles Brown (The Nick, 9 p.m.) — Bubbles Brown is a lot of sounds. Dirty, spare two-man blues-rock, like The Black Keys at their inception on some tracks, bluegrass and holler on others. They came up busking on the streets and subways of Chicago and credit that environment for their disparate influences. They’re equally accomplished at all of them, so this should make for some varied and enjoyable evening.
The Goonies (Avondale Park, 6 p.m.) — Join Mikey, Chunk, Mouth, Data and the rest of the gang as they hunt pirate’s booty and avoid booby traps in an attempt to save their beloved childhood home. One of the greatest adventure films of the ’80s, The Goonies is beloved by an entire generation. Bring your kids and introduce it to a new one!
Human Rights New Works Festival: Bar Mitzvah In Birmingham (Red Mountain Theatre, 7:30 p.m.) — The first in a series of new works being premiered as a part of Red Mountain Theatre’s Human Rights New Works Festival, Bar Mitzvah in Birmingham, a play which chronicles the lives of an Orthodox Jewish family as they make new lives in a small Alabama town.
Official and Unofficial Pre-Furnace Fest Events: Qualifier / Pett / Unwed Sailor / Legion / The Darling Fire (Trimtab Brewing Company, 8 p.m.) — Tooth and Claw / Burning Strong / ALL IN / Qualifier / Apprehend / Ex-Members of the Holy Trinity (The Firehouse Community Arts Center, 7 p.m.) — Unearth, Shai Hulud, Evergreen Terrace + Meadows (Iron City, 8 p.m.) — Fairweather, Be Well, Better Off, and Cathedral Bells (Zydeco, 8 p.m.) — And so it begins. There is a metric ton of metal, hardcore and the like about to be dropped on Birmingham, and this is the opening salvo. Get your battle gear on and head for the pit. Make sure to bring a little bag or something you can keep your teeth in.
Furnace Fest: Day One (Sloss Furnaces, 12 p.m.) — 33 acts on three stages make up day one at Furnace Fest, featuring New Found Glory, Alexisonfire, Midtown, Shadows Fall and Quicksand. First set is at noon, and last set is at 9:55 p.m, so there’s plenty of time to come down and have your face melted. Everyone loves a good face melting. Don’t forget to hit up the official Furnace Fest After Party at The Nick (9 p.m.), featuring performances from Watashi Wa, Hey Thanks!, Painted Light, Bad Lives and Riot for Romance. Or maybe you’d prefer the unofficial after-party at Zydeco (11:30 p.m.), with performances from Gideon and I Am Terrified.
How I Learned to Drive (Birmingham Festival Theatre, 7:30 p.m.) — It’s opening night for Birmingham Festival Theatre’s production of How I Learned to Drive, Paula Vogel’s alternately comedic and horrifying look at the fraught and disturbing relationship between a young woman and her uncle over a long period of her life. Vogel won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play, which explores themes of pedophilia and incest, so eat a light lunch.
Human Rights New Works Festival: The Crossing (Red Mountain Theatre, 2 p.m.) — Next up in Red Mountain Theatre’s Human Rights New Works Festival is The Crossing, a commissioned work based on the true-life experiences of immigrants in Alabama. The play speaks to both the incredible hardship these immigrants have endured, but also the strength of their spirit and the incredible communities they have found here in Birmingham.
Furnace Fest: Day Two (Sloss Furnaces, 12:20 p.m.) — 33 acts on three stages make up day two at Furnace Fest (same as day one), with Saturday’s lineup featuring Sunny Day Real Estate, Manchester Orchestra and The Ghost Inside. Today’s Furnace Fest adjacent events include Alabama Torture Fest II at The Nick (4 p.m.) and Emo Nite at Iron City (10 p.m.).
Fiesta (Linn Park, 12 p.m.) — Birmingham’s annual hispanic festival returns to Linn Park for their 20th year. Come celebrate this wonderful culture with a bevy of food and entertainment choices at your fingertips. Children under 12 are admitted free, so bring the kiddos and give them a taste of what Latin America has to offer.
Human Rights New Works Festival: Pink Clouds (Red Mountain Theatre, 7:30 p.m.) — The Human Rights New Works Festival continues with Pink Clouds, a “part absurdist comedy and part prison tragedy” that “examines individual and collective hypocrisies, and our messy definitions of life and death.”
Furnace Fest: Day Three (Sloss Furnaces, 12:10 p.m.) — 33 acts on three stages make up day two at Furnace Fest (33 is a magic number, apparently), with Sunday’s lineup featuring Mastodon, Descendents and The Story so Far. There are no post-fest or adjacent events today, but seriously, are you not full up?
Human Rights New Works Festival:Touch (Red Mountain Theatre, 2 p.m.) — The final play of the Human Rights New Works Festival, Touch was commissioned by Opera Birmingham and “picks up where The Miracle Worker ends, exploring the complicated relationship between Helen Keller and her teacher, mentor, and companion, Anne Sullivan, and her star-crossed love affair with her interpreter, Peter Fagan.”
Bit Brigade performs “Mega Man II” + “Castlevania” LIVE / False Jasmine / KinZie (Saturn, 8 p.m.) — Bit Brigade provide live, real-time accompaniment to speed-runners blasting through your favorite video-games, with tonight’s adventures being the classic NES games Mega Man II and Castlevania. This is truly an event unlike anything you’ve ever seen before (unless you’ve already seen Bit Brigade).
Listen to Furnace Fest
These are playlists of bands playing at Furnace Fest and the associated official and unofficial pre and post shows this weekend. This playlist is a work-in-progress. Currently it has all acts from the pre-shows and day one. We’ll be filling it out over the next few days.