There's nothing like a story with a happy ending, so it's with a big smile on my face that I bring you glad tidings from the hearth of the Berzerker.

Everyone's favourite baby-eating, tattooed Aussie thrash/gabba behemoths were really looking forward to playing the ill-fated Edwards No 8 dive in Birmingham but the building burnt down in a drama echoing Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water.

With Berzerker and Edwards both gutted, it seemed that the city's hardcore were to be disappointed. Maybe they'd heard about the band's predilection for wearing masks on stage, or appearing to back projections from snuff movies. Whatever, the apparently cancelled gig was the main topic of conversation among the living dead who congregate in the subway below the old Virgin Megastore in Birmingham.

Word reaches us that the hitherto obscure Palace venue in Tamworth has offered its services and the gig will now take place there instead on December 14.

We don't know whether the Palace has any office Christmas parties booked in for that night or, indeed, if the charitable management have any idea what's in store.

They may be interested to know what one serious fan recently told us about the first time she'd seen them: "My boyfriend got two teeth knocked out, we couldn’t find the hospital, we missed the last train home, walked eight miles in the pouring rain...it was the greatest day of my life."

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Slipnot, undoubtedly the crapiest tribute band, are doing the rounds this weekend. Their show at the venerable JBs in Dudley tomorrow should be, erm, interesting. How they hope to replicate the sheer putrid majesty of the real Slipknot – an eight-piece industrial metal band who wear the most hideous prosthetics this side of Jacko – can only be guessed at.

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We've just had notification of the annual NME Shockwaves tour. The annual rock tour arrives to put its feet up on the furniture at Birmingham Academy on Wednesday, February 7, and brings its kid brother, the indie rave tour to the Wolves Wulfrun Hall on February 12.

This is big news, the NME tells us, since previous acts which got a shoe-in on the tour include the Arctic Monkeys and the Killers.

Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs all played the tour before they were famous.

So with the NME currently trumpeting the region as the hottest place this side of Detroit, we'll no doubt be seeing several of the 12 acts tipped for the top by the weekly rock rag taking part?

No chance... Headliners are the cartoon one hit wonders The Automatic – they of the "What's that coming over the hill, is it a monster?" playground hit.

Nice to see them putting their money where their mouths are.

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The real Best Midlands this week comes from the excellent Einstellung whose Sleep Easy Mr Parker really is the badger's nadgers. It's a single, but at 28 minutes long, it's unlikely to be heard on the Chris Moyles show.

However, this hypnotic slice of repetitious riffage really does get under your skin. I think the term for it is "motorik" and it harks back to the 70s German underground scene and bands such as Neu and Cluster. It's another example of why Birmingham remains an intriguing musical proposition and another two fingers to the clowns in London. Track it down at www.bearos.freeserve.co.uk .

Up to something on the local music scene? Seen any good tribute bands in masks? Spotted a good website? Email us at andrew_cowen@mrn.co.uk