Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Heart of Soul - Birmingham

  The Night Owl, 17-18 Lower Trinity Street  - Birmingham   B9 4AG   GB

Soul Nights
Maryam Snape
   (1 review)

Heart of Soul

Event Information

Saturday 3rd November
The Night Owl and Ben Sherman present

Heart of Soul
A night of Northern Soul & more.

With DJs

Neil Rushton 
Neil fell in love with Rare Soul as a youngster and served his apprenticeship DJ'ing at various clubs including Wolverhampton's legendary Catacombs. Soon after that he became the fist staff writer at Black Echoes and set up the Heart Of England Soul Club which promoted All-Dayers at Blackpool Mecca and Manchester Ritz. In between that he set up the Inferno record label and was a partner in Networks records, and has published two books "Northern Soul Stories" and "Hype & Soul - Behind The Scenes At Motown".

Sonny & Spare
Resident Night Owl DJs, Sonny & Spare know all there is to Northern Soul, Motown, 60's Rn'B and funk, DJing at The Big Birmingham Soul Night and alongside The Specials' Terry Hall plus many more.


Mazzy Snape
Sean Taylor
Aisling Aibhistin
Josh Pye

8 til late. £5 advance, more on the door.


Venue Map

Venue Address

The Night Owl, 17-18 Lower Trinity Street, Birmingham, Birmingham, B9 4AG, United Kingdom

Contact the venue

Please contact the venue to confirm event and admission details before travelling

Members Comments

Hit the down arrow below to switch 1 review / 0 comments

Leave an event review.

You need to be a member in order to leave a review

Sign Up

Join Soul Source - Free & easy!

Sign up now!

Sign in

Sign in here.

Sign in now!


· Edited by Timillustrator

   3 of 3 members say helpful 3 / 3 members

I thought long and hard about whether to post a review of this event at all as I knew I would have to be critical and run the risk that it could offend people who know me but, thinking about it, I've reviewed every other event I've sketched at this year as objectively as I possibly could and it would be a bit off not to do the same here, so here goes! This club is somewhat controversial locally; I've mentioned it to a lot of people who have levelled criticism at it, much of it unjustified - Perhaps some knock it because it's successful and in Birmingham City Centre (one reason some people won't go) and in particular this event which had a tie up with Ben Sherman; those three things alone being enough of a "sell out" for some to dismiss it out of hand as a "cash-in" and yes it clearly is the commercial end of things but so are most (all?) of the weekenders. So perhaps I mean that people use the familiar accusations of promoters cashing in and lining their pockets when it suits them to do so, it doesn't necessarily mean that the promoters don't love the music, indeed it would probably be far easier to play much more commercial mainstream dance music in Digbeth and pack them in every night as many other venues do. 

The justified criticism however is that there is a problem with drinks on the dancefloor - this night was no different; the dancefloor is not big and the place gets very full, almost too full to be able to dance comfortably and unfortunately a lot of punters walk round and even dance holding pints which end up everywhere so you have to pick your spot and keep an eye out for wet patches, one of the DJ's even asked the crowd to keep drinks off the dancefloor but it fell largely on deaf ears. I don't know what the answer is though - signs? interventional bouncers? education?

Having got that out of the way though the club has a vibe unlike anywhere else - there's a truly mixed age group, from people in their 20's to their 60's within no one age predominating; a few familiar faces from the scene, many you never see anywhere else; the 100 Club in London has almost the same demographic but that's been running 39 years and this has been going for barely 3! Nice mix of DJ's, sadly some last minute changes (which was a slight disappointment as I was looking forward to the wonderfully named Aisling Rois Nic Aibhistín) but again you had DJ's in their (I'm guessing) 20's, definitely 30's, 40's and 60's; half and half male and female. Sorry if I sound a bit obsessed with age but often people bemoan the lack of "new blood" at events well here it was, loads of kids in their 20's dancing for hours to mostly full-on Northern Soul, don't know if they knew particularly what it was, certainly none were dressed in anything other than normal street clothes but a lot of them were certainly into it and there was also a refreshing lack of cynicism (people on the dancefloor cheering Ain't No Mountain High Enough - no nostalgia, just that they recognised it and it's a great song). There was a peak in numbers during Neil Rushton's set, which packed the dancefloor with dancers (and drinks) too much to be comfortable and most of which I sat out by sketching from the balcony. At about 1:30 am though the place emptied out quite a bit leaving plenty of room to dance and the atmosphere was great; mix of dancers, some doing their own thing, youngsters copying moves of some of the older people some good banter going on. From 2 onwards it was just hardcore dancers and the energy coming off the floor was amazing.

I was thinking of heading home at about 1 but ended up staying till 4 and it was well worth it. Did a not too bad sketch from the mezzanine and a couple of the DJ's too. 

I rarely give 5 stars - I've noticed most reviews are by the promoters of the events who inevitably give 5 stars to everything. I am trying to be objective. 

Mazzy Snape @ The Night Owl 3-10-18.jpg

The Night Owl 3-11-18 p.jpg

Response from the promoter:

Hi Tim

Thanks for the positive comments, re the drinks - it's something we tried very hard to tackle in the first year but soon realised it wasn't going to be possible to control in such a small venue - anywhere you stand pretty much is the dance floor and being city centre based young people come in and they've been taught to hold onto their drinks to avoid being spiked with drugs etc. Everyone is normally nice though. I think if people want to go to a traditional night they will go elsewhere, it's a much more relaxed vibe, about good music and fun with no rules (they just are to hard to enforce as new people come in constantly) and a social for locals.

We do the Town Hall event to cater for our more purist fan base where there is a lot more room and enough security to keep an eye on the drinks thing. Saturday 24th November is the next one :)


Share this review

Link to review

Related Soul Music Links


Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.