Birmingham Culture Clash: Local artists, Ghost Train Brewing team up for new live music and art showcase

Birmingham Culture Clash a live music and art showcase– is coming to the new campus of Ghost Train Brewing in Avondale. Billed as a “collision of art, music, and culture” Birmingham Culture Clash will combine a selection of DJ sets, live performances, games, art exhibits, and food vendors for seven hours of entertainment at Ghost Train Brewing’s massive event space at 3501 1st Ave S.

Culture Clash organizers described the vision for the showcase in a press release:

“As you enjoy the grandeur of Ghost Train’s newest venue space, enjoy interactive games with friends while waiting on a drink at one of the three surrounding bars, or explore an immersive art installation from a local artist. Birmingham Culture Clash serves as a destination to discover, uplift and celebrate Birmingham’s thriving arts, music and counterculture.”

Set to be a monthly pop-up series, the first edition of Birmingham Culture Clash kicks off on Friday, Feb. 25. The showcase, set to run from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. will feature three hour-long DJ sets: a House & Techno set from DJ Andrea Really, Breakbeat and Latin from DJ Suaze, and R&B and hip-hop from DJ Love Deluxe. Alternative instrumentalist David Sheetz, R&B/Soul singer Kennie BLK and rapper Tia Raye will perform in between each set.

Also on the rundown: digital art projections and interactive camera feeds by artist Travis Rice. Tickets for Birmingham Culture Clash are available for purchase on Eventbrite ( Tickets are $20 for general admission and $70 for VIP, plus service fees. VIP ticket includes two complimentary drinks, a ticket for one free meal from the food vendors, and access to the Culture Clash private VIP lounge.

Birmingham Culture Clash is the brainchild of visual and performing artists Carey Fountain, Jahman Hill, and Giani Martin.The goal: highlight Birmingham’s emerging talent in the visual art and music scenes.

Fountain, who is also the manager of public programs for the Birmingham Museum of Art, says the idea for Birmingham Culture Clash grew out of collaboration.

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Nathan Weaver and Aaron Green, who oversee booking and event production at the new Ghost Train location, are alums of The Syndicate Lounge, the former bar, live music, and comedy venue on 20th Street South, well- known for showcasing local artists. For three years, The Syndicate was home to Lit House, an art and hip-hop showcase Fountain created to spotlight emerging artists and musicians in the Southeast.

Last year, Weaver reached out to Fountain to ask if he would be interested in creating an event series for Ghost Train’s new second location, a brewpub with a massive bar and an event venue with the capacity to hold 1,000 people.

The team at Ghost Train has had a longtime vision to expand the brewery’s brand into a well-known live event venue. Since opening its Lakeview location in 2016, the brewery has hosted bands, solo performers, and DJ sets both inside and outside of its taproom with the help of a mobile stage. The brewery was also the stomping grounds for larger format events, including a 2018 wrestling show with Revolutionary Independent Wrestling.

In 2020, Ghost Train opened its permanent outdoor event space: a 25-by-30-foot stage and a two-story outdoor bar and deck constructed from three shipping containers. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic truncated most of Ghost Train’s 2020 event schedule, but Ghost Train resumed live performances in May of that year, continuing to book both touring and local artists.

Shaheed and DJ Supreme

DJ Supreme and Shaheed perform on the outdoor stage at Ghost Train Brewing in Avondale during a 2021 benefit concert for K.R.U their record label and music education organization. (Shauna Stuart for AL.com)

Shaheed and Supreme at Ghost Train Brewing

Shaheed and DJ Supreme’s family and friends take a break between sets at the duo’s performance in 2021 at Ghost Train (Shauna Stuart for AL.com)

Musicians on Ghost Train’s roster include artists and DJs from Birmingham’s hip hop and R&B scene.

“A lot of people don’t realize what a fantastic hip-hop scene we have here in Birmingham,” Aaron Green said in a November 2021 article in AboutTown Magazine. “One of the things I like to do is make sure those guys have a space, and not just have a space, but a professional quality experience for those acts that we have that are up and coming–that before long are going to be performing regionally and nationally. To get them that experience in a professional venue really helps build that sense of community, and that’s really what I’m about.”

Birmingham’s longtime illustrious duo Shaheed and DJ Supreme have graced the Ghost Train stage. In late 2021, the brewery became the stomping grounds for the hip-hop and R&B showcase “Magic City Collective Presents.” A collaboration between Sound Fader Media founder Chris Anderson and creative collective The Kickback, the monthly series fills Ghost Train’s Lakeview space with the sounds of DJ sets, live performances, and freestyle rap sessions.

Magic City Collective at Ghost Train in Lakeview

“Magic City Collective Presents” is a monthly hip hop & R&B showcase at Ghost Train Brewing’s location in Avondale. (Shauna Stuart for AL.com)

Magic City Collective at Ghost Train

Chris Anderson, “I$H” Morgan, and Trenton Foston on stage at the January 2022 edition of Magic City Collective Presents: 3rd Coast! at Ghost Train Brewing. (Shauna Stuart for AL.com)

When Fountain got word from Weaver that Ghost Train was interested in forming some partnerships for events at its new campus in Avondale, he knew he wanted a team. So he reached out to fellow visual artist Giani Martin, the brains behind the Saturday night silent music parties at Birmingham’s Paper Doll cocktail bar and the popular Sunday Series day parties.

“I contacted Giani like ‘Hey, this is a big space. How can we make this into something big and to highlight the Birmingham culture,” said Fountain. “Jahman was the last piece of the puzzle. He came in as we were trying to envision what to do.”

“We were all kind of talking about having a space in Birmingham now that things are opening back up. There’s nothing really for local artists anymore. There’s not really a space for people to discover new talent. Just thinking back on Syndicate Lounge days, it was like this grungy hole- in- the-wall kind of club. But you got in there, you were always going to discover something new,” Fountain continued. “We were kind of thinking about that, but on a bigger scale. Then the idea came up for Culture Clash.”

Jahman Hill, Carey Fountain, and Giani Martin

Jahman Hill, Carey Fountain, and Giani Martin at Ghost Train Brewing’s new location in Avondale. (Courtesy)

So far, Ghost Train’s plan is to make Birmingham Culture Clash an ongoing event series like “Magic City Collective Presents.” After the February show, Culture Clash is set for five more dates: March 25, April 23, May 20, June 24, and July 22.

“Basically it’s envisioning a collision of art, music, and culture– a collision that includes a diverse selection of DJs and performances. And (we’re) just trying to get innovative and experiential.”

Martin hopes to see Culture Crash grow gradually. He likens the concept to his Sunday Series day parties, which started last summer and “just rotated around the city” from the patio and bar at The Pizitz building to The Roof, the top floor bar at the Redmont Hotel.

“It really got beyond my hands,” said Martin, laughing. ” It just kind of grew into something more than what I could handle. But I feel like I was able to use that as evidence that the kids really are interested in a developed social culture in Birmingham. And when Carey and I were communicating about this event, I was able to look at Sunday Series and say ‘yeah, this is needed.’”

“Basically really having a one-stop shop for all things creative,” said Martin. “That’s one thing. But then it’s (also) really creating a true community with it. Like, something for our generation.”

With the vision for the space and DJ set, Hill brought in the third piece of the project– an extensive network of local performers.

Hill, a poet and playwright, is also the co-founder of The Flourish Alabama, a non-profit organization devoted to nurturing and mentoring artists through projects, performances, and workshops. Created by Hill and fellow writer and artist Eric Marable Jr., The Flourish hosts a number of events around the city including High Tea, a poetry and live music performance series at the Little London Pub in Homewood. The series has a mantra: “It’s tea time with a twist. Southern Black artists rockin’ the mic in unexpected places.”

Vocalist Humble Le at High Tea

Huntsville-based vocalist Humble Le pauses for a photograph during sound check at the February edition of High Tea at The Little London (Shauna Stuart for AL.com)

High Tea open Mic

The Flourish’s High Tea event is a love performance and open mic series devoted to showcasing Black, Southern culture. ( Shauna Stuart for AL.com)

“With everything that we’ve done with The Flourish Alabama– helping artists bloom and figuring out ways to feature artists in the city in different venues– one of the things that I kind of painted was how can I use my small artist database with the Flourish and those different kinds of artists and really incorporate them into any event we’re going to be doing,” said Hill.

So, what can people expect so far from Birmingham Culture Clash? Martin sums up the series as both an introduction and a reunion.

“I think it truly is a discovery and also a rediscovery of what kind of makes up Birmingham’s talent scene,” said Martin. “From discovering local artists you may not know about, to people that you know about but haven’t seen in a while. So there’s an opportunity for rediscovery of your favorite local artists.”