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  • Keane eh?

    Nov 12 2006, 16h53

    17 Oct – Keane, Captain, John Roderick

    Keane eh? It's funny. All the recent talk's been about another Keane, y'know, that Irish bloke who's doing some kind of miracle in Sunderland. Whoever he is.

    Anyway, the Keane i'm on about were cracking last night, really good and well worth the money (21.50 - well they best had have been good for that price). Got to Hull at around 5:30, doors opening at 6:30. There was already a bit of queue, but I wasn't too fussed about not getting to the front of this one, because a few rows back, as previous experience has told me, is the way to go at the Hull Arena. It lashed it down with rain for a few minutes in the queue, but we didn't get overly wet. Anyway, once inside, itv was warm anyway.

    Gotta give some credit to the production staff at Hull Arena. It's the first time i've ever noticed the music they play between acts, and I have to hand it to them, there waere some ace tunes flyin about - Maximo, Editors, Pet Shop Boys...OK, so they cant get them all right...but you get the idea.

    And so to the support acts. Now I knew that Captain were supporting which I was really excited about because I love them. Credit to Froggit for getting me into Captain. He sent me their debut album via MSN, and I instantly fell in love with it, They're on a headline tour in December, so you'd bet your life i'm going, wouldnt you? Good choice, because I'm gonna go :D.

    Captain weren't first on though. First act on was a guy called John Roderick, the singer from the band The Long Winters, whom by the way, I HAVE heard of, but before last night, I couldnt claim to have heard any tunes. So he played some acoutsically, some were his own songs, and some were by The Long Winters. He was a little odd, and it's left me wondering what TLW sound like, so I might have to investigate. Dont get me wrong, it wasnt in any way bad, just odd.

    "Hi, I'm John Roderick - the token American this evening". Token American, yes, I have to agree, because in all truth, lots of American artists do come to Britain. The only yank in the building except some guys in the front row who had trvelled from LA to see Keane. I respect them for that. Roderick also proclaimed that: "I've never played in an Ice Arena before. Although I am from Alaska, so I feel comfortable"

    Off he went and on came Captain, who opened up with Hazelville - a cracking little tune that opens the album, and belted through most of the album, plus a new one, which I loved. Now, I'm pretty sure that I wasnt the only Captaion fan in the crowd, but I was stood next to three lads, who all through their set, were saying how shit they thought they were. Now this annoyed me on many levels, because evemn though they didnt shout anything to them, it riled me, because 1) They arent shit, buddy, theyre really good, 2) them saying that all the way through meant I didnt enjoy them as much as I would have liked, 3) if youre gonna hate on a band, keep it to yourself, because its disrespectful, i think, to people in the crowd, like me, who are fans.

    You see I've seen supports before that Ive loathed, but Ive said fuck all to anyone, because I have that respect for both artist and fan. I'm of the belief that if youre a fan of the band, the last thing you want is for someone to tell you that theyre shit. It's disrespectful. Keep your thoughts to yourself, shut up, and watch them. If you hate them, fine - juist dont keep telling us.

    Keane came on to a nice warm reception, and started with the instrumental, The Iron Sea, before belting into Put It Behind You, and then Everybody's Changing. They played most of the new album. As far as I can tell, they played all of it, except Broken Toy, and from the first album, they played most of that too, but some songs like Sunshine, which I like, were not heard, probably because now theyve got to start dropping some of the songs from the setlist.

    They played also, a cover of The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore, which apparantky was on the War Child album. I still havent got that, and I want it, because its full of proper good bands, Keane included.

    Here's the setlist, but this is not by any means in the right order. I just know they played these:

    The Iron Sea
    Put it Behind You
    Everybody's Changing
    Leaving So Soon?
    We Might As Well Be Strangers
    Nothing in My Way
    Bend and Break
    Try Again
    Your Eyes Open
    Hamburg Song
    The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More
    The Frog Prince
    Crystal Ball
    Can't Stop Now
    Bad Dream
    Somewhere Only We Know
    Is it Any Wonder?
    -----
    Atlantic
    This is the Last Time
    Bedshaped

    Your Eyes Open was special, because it was acoustically performed, with *gasp* an acoustic guitar! Yes, Keane with a guitar! Tom even said before he played it - "It'll be a fucking miracle if I get through this alive!" He did, but after the song, he said he culd heard cries of "Judas". Not from me he didnt. Keane dont do guitar stuff normally, but I reckon it suited Your Eyes Open. It wouldnt suit something like Somewhere Only We Know, which by the way, was the biggest singalong of the night.

    Bedshaped got a damn good reception. It's a great song to end a gig with. This is the Last Time, which I reckon is the fan fave, was also really good too. Personally, I dont have a fave Keane song, I think theyre all good, but if I had to pick a song of the night, Bad Dream would be it. I love it. Probably one of the best on Under The Iron Sea, and if anything, I'dve chosen to release that rather than Nothing in My way as the next single. Ah well, spose they kow what theyre doing.

    Got me a poster at the end, and said poster has caused a massive shuffle around in my bedroom. Nearly everything has had to move around somehow because the only place for it is on the back of my door - as it is a long and thin one. Bought two Captain singles too, Glorious and Broke. Frontline is out soon - my fave Captain song. Liked it from the first moment I heard it.
  • JDB: "I'm not a f*cking Osmond!"

    Nov 12 2006, 16h52

    12 Oct – James Dean Bradfield, Vega 4

    Ah, now I know why I must see the Manics before I die.

    All three of them, mind you, i'm not just on about each of them seprately, but this gig, seeing just omne third of them makes me think all three will probably be something that i won't wanna miss.

    Getting there was a problem this time. Bloody roadworks on the A1 held me up for ages before I could finally get off the A1 and onto the M1 via the A57. Damn stupid bloody roadworks. What riled me even more is that when I came home, I coukldnt tell what the hell theyve been doing because the road looked normal (traffic at that time of night is minimal, so I could travel more feely, of course).

    I got to the car park at 7pm - and 7pm is when the doors opened. Luckily, The Cockpit is literally less than a minute's walk from the car park, so I got there just as the relatively small queue was going in. So of course, I'd managed to do what I always do yet again - get a place right at the front! I was stood in virtually the same place asI was for Howling Bells. It was in the larger of the two rooms, as you would expect of course, JDB being the sort of artist who plays on the larger stage. I mean come on, can you see him on the small stage in The Cockpit after selling out venues like Wembley with the Manics.

    So yes - at the front I was, and completely surrounded by Manics fans, naturally. They were maniacs, they really were. The Cockpits not a great big venue, and imagine 50 or so fans jumping like crazy right at the front. Yes - it can be painful, but to be honest, I was expecting to get crazy in this one, because like a lot of people would expect, JDB I was hoping, would play some Manics tunes. He did, and more on those later.

    First, the support band, and they were OK - Vega4 were the supports. They were kind of, indie-ish, but had a rocky edge to them, sort of like Nickelback in a way, but slightly more mellow. Certainly songs like Bullets (no Editors jokes) were quite mellowed out and quiet, yet still had the hint of rock that gave them an edge.

    I got a free little sampler of their album, which by the way, is called You and Others. It has two songs on it, and Bullets is one of them. Methinks i'll ava listen to that later and if it sounds good I may go get the album just to see what they're really like. The Manics fans in the audience were a little disrespectful I thought, to them, like shouting abuse at them inbetween two songs, and one of them at one point, although I think jokingly said "Why isn't Nicky Wire supporting?" Now I'd pay to see that!

    And so then, on to JDB, who came on to a massive round of aplause, and after simply saying "Hello Leeds", wasted no time in playing what is probably my fave off the album, Emigre. Without stopping, he then belted into Thats No Way To Tell A Lie. I can't remember the setlist off by heart, but I don't need to. I leant over the monitirs before JDB came on and took a photo of the setlist, which can be viewed by looking at the pics. (It's upside down though).

    He played pretty much all of the debut album, but strangely not Bad Boys and Painkillers, which is one of the strongest songs. Still A Long Way To Go appears to be the fan fave, and it really is a total sing a-long, from start to end, and naturaly I obliged.

    As fpr Manics songs, well we got a fair few, starting with Ocean Spray, which the crowd were surprisingly quiet for...but they made up for it by singing every single word of This is Yesterday, me included, and also Working for the Clampdown, which is a Manics B-side. In my opinion, they should never have let a song like Clampdown be a b-side, because similarly to Acquiesce by Oasis, it should have been an A-side. No bother, it was good to see live.

    And so, by the way, was the most mental song - From Despair to Where, which JDB fooled us all by playing, because he played a random improvised intro, waited for what seemed like an eternity before singing "I write this alone in my bed..." The rest is history. He ended the set with No Surface All Feeling, another classic Manics song, and one which also got a fair bit of mentalness.

    He also reccomended at one point everyone to go buy Nicky Wire's album, which I already have done, and I agree that everyone should go get it...now! I tell ya, if seeing the Manics isnt possible until the next album is recorded, I damn well wanna see Nicky Wire when he tours, and as for Sean Moore, well...unless he makes an album it'll be Manics gig when I see him.

    JDB proclaimed that he wasn't "a f*cking Osmond" at one point. That was when the front roow all held their hands out towards him and obviously wanted to shake hands.

    "I don't do all that touchy stuff, I'm not s f*cking Osmond!"

    Although he does do it, cos he obliged to shake the hand of some random guy in the front row. Not me, although Id've liked to. I did take my album for a signing, but he didnt come out, and I didnt stick around anyway because I wanted to get home so that getting up for work wasnt too much of a challenge.

    It might be next week though, when I've got four gigs. Keane, The Automatic, We Are Scientists and Razorlight (with The Like in support, of course). That is gonna be one hellish week, punishing, gruelling, but also enjoyable. Bring it on!!
  • Sandi is great. You've got your doubts, but What if I'm Right?

    Nov 12 2006, 16h50

    09 Oct – Sandi Thom, Phil Campbell

    And take heed of that title you Sandi haters. Jack, it's specifically aimed at you, because I personally feel that you more than anyone else has got completely the wrong end of the stick about Sandi. I reckon that if you'd have come with me, you'd have actually enjoyed it, and for lots of good reasons. I know for certain you'd've liked the support act cos it was right up your street - A solo who played acoustic guitar and piano, very similar to Colin MacIntyre! Similar sound and everything! But not just him, lots of reasons why you'dve liked Sandi too.

    Got to The Rescue Rooms realy, sorta 7-ish, not yonks before like last time I went there, although lets be honest, last time I went, The Like were there. Enough said I reckon. So a short wait, and a relatively short queue too. I expected Sandi to have like, millions of fans, what with a #1 single and album and all that. So I was a little surprised when I saw she was playing such a small venue like The Rescue Roooms...but then I wasn't to know until I was in the gig that Sandi's style wouldnt suit the bigger arena. Not a hope mate.

    As you'd expect, the queue did get bigger, but to be right honest with you, the venue wasn't full. The Rescue Rooms holds about 300 when it's totally jam packed full, but it wasn't anywhere near full. A little baffling, but it WAS over 18's only, and I'll bet lots of Sandi fans are under 18, but they seriously shouldn't be. Confused? You should be - i'll explain when once i've told you about Phil Campbell.

    He was the excellent support act, and I might well have to go get his debut album Joy, cos he was damn good. If you imagine the aformentioned Colin MacIntyre, (Mull Historical Society for those in not in the know), you've virtually got him. The similarity was uncanny. I like MHS, so naturally, I was quite into his stuff. Barring The Like, The Sunshine Underground and The Hot Puppies, I've never wanted a support act to stay longer before. I was well into it. The best songs were Isn't She Beautiful and Maps, amongst others. Hey Mama, the last song he played is downloadable from his myspace. Methinks I shall go there later.

    And so to Sandi, and the 200 strong crowd, I guess, gave her a warm round as she entered the stage. The turnaround time between Phil and Sandi was quite quick, by the way, but as I was to discover, I could see why. She belted straight into When Horsepower Meant What It Said, and proceeded to blitz through 9 of the songs from her debut album and five others, including three new ones - Beatbox, The Shape I'm In, and Mirrors - a cover of a Clapton song, which I didn't know the name of, and a cover of a classic by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel (You won't need telling which Jack). Here's what I think the setlist was, I'm pretty sure this is right, but I can't remember which way round Sunset Borderline and Lonely Girl were:

    When Horsepower Meant What It Said
    Little Remedy
    Beatbox
    Castles
    The Human Jukebox
    The Shape I'm In
    Sunset Borderline
    The Clapton Song
    Lonely Girl
    Mirrors
    I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)
    ----------
    Superman
    Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)
    What If I'm Right

    So here's my point about Sandi, Jack. Take a look at the setlist and you'll see that there's a Clapton song and a cover of a song you really like. Now have your opinions changed about her? They should have because she isn't what you and many others think she is. She isn't a pop idol for young teenagers, which i'll admit, Punk Rocker did suggest. But she's quite folky and acousticy and if you listened to the album you'd notice it on a lot of songs. Live, her music would not suit the bigger stage. It's made for small venues and folk orientated audiences. Seriously, those who thought this gig would be something akin to seeing Britney Spears...were so far from the truth it's beyond laughable.

    I'll admit i'm not a folk person, but you know me well enough to know I like pretty much anything except stuff thats too pop or too R'n'B. I knew what I was doing when I got into Sandi. Punk Rocker doesn't show you enough of what she actually is. It was only really after hearing What If I'm Right that I noticed there was some potential. Hence why I bought the album. I'm sick of people judging artists by just one song. It doesnt give a true reflection. Anyway, rant over.

    So yes, the set was great, and Sandi threw in countless little jokes and anecdotes, the funniest being before Mirrors when she said "this song is about growing up and remembering things you used to do as a kid. I used to do all sorts of crazy things like set fields on fire. I still do crazy things...only not the fields, of course!" She also made me giggle before The Shape I'm In, by telling us how she spends her nights in the tour van, asleep in the footwell.

    Laugh of the night was when she was in full flow talking about Phil Campbell and thanking him for the support. During this mini-speech, her guitar (a 12 string, no less, which by the way she plays on neraly every song - theres something else for you haters to consider..she DOES play instruments) which was hung round her neck ready to play What If I'm Right, suddently fell to the floor and landed on her foot. "Ow! I knew I should have spent more money on a guitar strap!!"

    And so to the reason why the turnaround was so quick. It was because Sandi spends time after the gig signing stuff and meeting the fans. She came on stage 10 minutes early and ended the set at around 10pm. And with such a small band of followers in The Rescue Rooms, she can meet people and sign stuff. You imagine if she was playing the NIC...Not happening mate, not happening. Naturally then, I own a ticket with a rather large signature on it (she must get through some pens with writing as big as that!) and a nice picture with Sandi stood next to my ugly fizzhog! See the pics and you'll get the idea.

    I love it when artists do that. Actually make time to come and see the fans, sign things and show some respect to their followers. It only makes sense. We, as fans show them the support by coming to see them, paying our hard earned money to watch them plays some of their songs live, buy their albums and singles etc., so I think it's only right for artists to give something back to the fans. That's why I hate people like Robbie Williams, to name but one, who, lets be right, is a cocky arrogant twat. He's so far up his own arse it's unreal. Fame has totally consumed him. Now, Sandi, on the other hand, is also famous cos she's had a #1 single and album and all the rest of it. But she isn't arrogant like Robbie is. Would an arrogant, cocky overfamous artist come and meet their fans? I don't see Robbie doing it after a gig.

    Naturally then, I wasn't overawed like I was at meeting Franz Ferdinand. If you remember, meeting Franz was lucky because we hung around longer than anyone else and it paid off. I'm not saying Franz are arrogant, because if they were, they wouldnt have invited us in. So I was a little excited at meeting them, but not Sandi, cos she'd said she was gonna stick around. The adrenaline only really starts pumping when you meet an artist that hasn't planned to come out.

    Got me a shirt too. Black one, and no prizes for guessing whats on it. On the front, the word SMILE... and on the back? ...IT CONFUSES PEOPLE. Simple, like, but it's an alreet little shirt.

    James Dean Bradfield next in Leeds on Thursday!!
  • Maximo Park = Maximum Fun

    Nov 12 2006, 16h48

    04 Oct – Maxïmo Park, Love is All, Hot Club de Paris

    You just can't beat a good gig. And having been to as many as I have, I know what a good gig is.

    This one was better than most I've seen both a) in Sheffield and b) the whole year. In fact, I'd be quite happy to stick this in at #5 all time behind The Pipettes at the Leadmill, The Like in Manchester, Oya Festival and The Like in Rock City. It was proper good.

    Night started off with a trip to Meadowhall. Great though that was, the gig was the main event of the night. We stopped there for Tom to get his dad a birthday present, and an excellent choice of a Dire Straits album, even though i'm not a fan, particularly, was bought. A short trip across town, with Nick barking directions at me (which I hasten to add, I didnt actually need, since I knew I wanted the A61 NORTH, if Nick is reading this) and we arrived at the Octagon.

    Out of breath before I even got in mind, having forgotten my camera whislt halfway down the street, so pegged it back for that. Once in the lads held their promise of getting me a shirt, which I wear as I type this - Tis a black and red striped one with MAXIMO PARK emblazened across the front. Proper cool.

    We got a position fairly near the back, although, that didnt matter for two reasons. 1) In the Octagon, you can see pretty much anywhere, its not as if its the Hallam FM Arena or the MEN, like, and 2) there was to be so much jostling and dancing and wildness that we pretty much covered every inch of floor anyway.

    Speaking of the floor, Tom will be chuffed to know that his crap attempts at taking pictures with my camera are all up on here as well as the professionally produced snaps from yours truly ;). You'll be able to tell which are Tom's - one in particular!

    First support act were on pretty much as we walked in. They went by the name of Hot Club de Paris, and were...different, very different. They had a few songs which required no instruments, just a beatbox style rhythm from one of them, and some gorgeous vocals from the other two. Dont get me wrong, they had some bog standard tunes too, with *shock horror!* a guitar or two. You can't beat a singing drummer by the way.

    Love is All took the stage next. A band from Sweden, who reminded me quite a lot of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or at least the frontwoman did. Her shouty-screamy style was very much like Karen O of the aformentioned Yeahs. They also had a random saxophonist, who, lets be right, is never going to be Abi Harding (in many many ways ;)) but i'll give him credit - he could play. At one point, Joe called what he was playing "saxophone abuse", which I found rather funny cos it was true! Must check out both their myspaces methinks.

    And so to Maximo. Firstly, I have to say, theres not many bands I've seen that bring their own light wall with them. The Darkness, The Rakes, Bloc Party and Katie Melua are the only artists I can remember that brought their own personalised equipment with them. By a light wall, and you'll see from the pics, I mean a backdrop that has loads of multi coloured tube lights. Well cool and very snazzy.

    Maximo opened with a new song called "Girls Who Play Guitars", which was pretty ace, we all thought. Likely theyll record that and whack it on the forthcoming new album. There were quite a few new ones. I remember one called "By the Monuments Edge" which was pretty good. There were more but buggered if I can remember them. After the opener, they launched straight into stuff from the first album, including what I thought was the best song of the night - Postcard of a Painting, which was played 4th. The lads agreed though, that Graffiti was better, but meh...it was all good! I Want You to Stay was great, as the ending had a funky strobe light.

    They belted through most of the stuff on the first album. I think only Acrobat wasn't played. This is by no means an accurate recount of the setlist, but i'll have a go:

    Girls Who Play Guitars
    Now I'm All Over the Shop
    Graffiti
    Postcard of a Painting
    By the Monuments Edge
    I Want You to Stay
    <New one, dunno the name>
    I Want You To Leave
    <New one, dunno the name>
    Limassol
    The Coast Is Always Changing
    Signal and Sign
    Isolation
    The Night I Lost My Head
    Once, A Glimpse
    <New one, dunno the name>
    Going Missing
    -----
    Kiss You Better
    My Life in Reverse
    Apply Some Pressure

    I'm not saying thats right. I know the first 4 defintely are and the I know the encore is right and Going Missing is right, but meh, what does it matter much.

    At the end, to use one of Devine's fave saying - I was sweating like a nun in a brothel! And its not far from the truth either, cos my Howling Bells shirt, which I went in, was soaked through. Good job I got a shirt to use as a replacement! Got a poster as well, which adorns the wall of my room, where my Zutons one WAS, but thats been moved to another space.

    Oh and I best just mention - Tom is an absolute legend! The guy crowdsurfed during Apply Some Pressure! Top man!!
  • Can it really really really be that bad?

    Nov 12 2006, 16h47

    30 Sep – The Pipettes, The Hot Puppies

    Hehe. Excuse the title - it's a play on a lyric from a Pipettes b-side.

    But y'know, after seeing the Pips for the second time, I know why I'm a HUGE fan, and so, naturally, the title is something Pipettes based. Anyway, to the customary review o' the night, and first, I want to make it DAMN CLEAR to anyone who thinks the Leadmill is a dodgy venue (mentionaing no names, but if he is reading this, he should take note) is totally and utterly wrong. Twice I've been there now and both times, the venue has been spot on. There's been no trouble, and the area hasn't shown me that it's supposedly dodgy. I'll quite happily go to the Leadmill as many times as I want, and in fact, I am due to go there twice more this year, and I have every confidence it'll be just the same as the previous two times.

    So now that's cleared up, to the gig. I knew it was gonna be a good night even when I was queueing up outside. Was first in the queue (as i usually am these days), and behind me, when the queue started to form, were a lad and a lass, about my age, who were intent on taking the piss outta each other all the time whilst queueing, ranging from how shit he thought her IQ was, to her taking the mess about him fancying the Pipettes (most notably, Rose). Speaking of Rose, her and Gwenno were spotted before we went in, as the tour bus was parked outside the Leadmill (if anyone doesnt know the Leadmill, the stage door is on the same street as the entrance, and the buses dont have a lot of choice - it's a one way street).

    Gweeno disappeared into the tour bus, whilst Rose walked off into Sheffield with three guys with her (likely to be The Cassettes). The guy behind me was constantly talking about that before we went in, saying Rose needed to be rescued from Sheffield City Centre. I couldn't stop laughing.

    So anyway, in we went, and gloriously, I had the pick of where to stand :D. Chose a nice wee spot in front on the middle microphone, where Gwenno would likely be for most of the night. Got chatting to two lads who had travelled from Leeds to see them, and they were alright. They sounded potentially gay, but if they were, they didn't try anything or give me any strange looks. If you look in the pics of the night, you'll see me with one of them - a guy called Matt, photo taken by Gaz, the other lad. Matt was the most talkative. We got chatting about what we expected from the Pips, and also what other gigs we'd been to etc. Matt seemed more into the pop side of music, liking most notably Girls Aloud and Nelly Furtado, whilst Gaz seemed more like me - indie, but the Pips are on the border, so it suited them both.

    First band on, I didnt catch the name of, but they were alright. They said they had a single out soon called Half an Hour, so i'll look for that and try work out who they were. Seemed like a local lot, with the Yorkshire accents.

    And on to the second "support" - and I say it like that cos The Hot Puppies are simply TOO good to be a support. I'd have been quite happy for them to be headlining - no joke either...I love 'em. Theyre playing Lincoln at the Drill Hall soon, but I cant go, unless I sell my Keane ticket...which is unlikely :D.

    So they played a few songs, most of my faves, but not, sadly Bottled Ship Song, which is their best by a long long way, I think, and also, they didnt play The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful...which I was annoyed by. However, they did play the other almost manditory singles: Terry and Green Eyeliner, as well as Theda Bara, How Come You Dont Hold Me No More, Love in Practice Not Theory, plus a new song which is fucking good - and whatever it was called, Bec Newman has proved to me she's a fucking great singer, cos some of the high pitched vocals in it were just astonishing - and ending with Bonnie + Me.

    I got a Hot Puppies shirt at the end...but more on that later.

    So to the main event. Now I had searched around on the internet in the week before the gig to find me a polka dotted shirt - a balck one with white dots...y'know, just so I'd look the part. I found something similar, it's not quite polka dotted, but it is black and has white sorta, stars. So how dismayed was I when the Pips came on wearing new dresses which had multi coloured polka dots on? Not to worry, I still looked groovey.

    The Pips played a LONG set. Far as I can tell, I think it was 19 songs. 13 from the album, in other words, everything exceot A Winters Sky (DAMN them - I LOVE A Winters Sky!!), plus 6 others - Really That Bad (Pull Shapes B-side) which is where the title comes from, The Buring Ambition of the Early Diuretics (Judy B-side), Guess Who Ran Off With the Milkman? (another PUll Shapes B-side), Simon Says (an old song which they reworked for another Judy B-side), a new one called Baby, Don't Leave Me (which I loved by the way - proper good song, got me dancing) and the surprise of the night - SCHOOL UNIFORM!!! Now for you non-Pip fans or Pip fans who dont know the history of them, School Uniform was their first ever single, only avaialble on vinyl, is REALLY rare and as u'd expect, is worth a FUCKING MINT. Hence thats why I regularly check ebay for it.

    I cant remember the exact setlist, but it was something like this:

    Sex
    Why Did You Stay?
    Really That Bad
    Simon Says
    Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me
    I Love You
    Because Its Not Love (But It's Still a Feeling)
    It Hurts to See You Dance So Well
    Baby Don't Leave Me
    Guess Who Ran Off With the Milkman?
    The Burning Ambition of the Early Diuretics
    One Night Stand
    Judy
    Dirty Mind
    Tell Me What You Want
    Pull Shapes
    We Are the Pipettes
    -------------
    ABC
    School Uniform

    I reckon thats something similar to what it was. I kinda lost my way after Simon Says. The encore is right, and so are the last two songs of the main set.

    I was amazed how wild the crowd went for Pull Shapes - I just thought...Pipettes crowd...moshing? WHAT? Dont ask me, but it worked!! Oh and School Uniform was also crazy. I did take my album for a potential signature, but they didnt appear. Not to worry much, I am likely to see them again sometime in thr near future, I assure you.

    So, last thing to tell you about - I bought the Dirty Mind single from the merch stall - the only one I didnt already own - plus a Hot Puppies shirt, which is too small for me! So I have a plan with that - either, i'll give it to my niece as an Xmas pressie, OR it'll get framed and stuck on my wall. Crazy idea...but it might just work!!
  • The Subways: Twice as nice!

    Nov 12 2006, 16h45

    05 Sep – The Subways, The Sunshine Underground, Wry

    Ahh...long time no blog.

    But a damn good reason to write something fresh. The Subways last night, my first gig since the adventure that was Norway. Second time i've seen this lot and it was every bit as wild as the first time, last year at the Leadmill.

    Me and Devine, actually, can't decide which was wilder actually, cos the Rock City crowd was every bit as mental as expected. Night started off pretty good. Got to Nottingham early, played a bit o' pool in a bar before heading to Rock City (3-2 Devine, better luck next time pal!). Got near the front of the queue, so all was good for getting a decent spot in the crowd. Mind you, you can get a good view from anywhere in there.

    Was handed a free live EP on the way in. It's a damn good listen by the way - live at Birmingham Academy. Somehow it survived the wildness that was the crowd in Devine's back pocket. First band on were called Wry, and were Brazillian. They weren;t bad although I do think there were elements of trying to impersonate The Subways. They had a similar sound, and the guitarist/singer's stage diving I think was just a poor excuse to try imitate the master of stage diving - Billy Lunn, and he was to prove that later :D.

    And then on to The Sunshine Underground, who I was every bit as excited to see as The Subways because as new bands go, I reckon this lot are one of the best ones around at the moment. Anyone who knows my musical taste will know I like them a lot. And live, they're actually very very good. The songs are a lot faster than on the album, which is something a lot of bands do tend to do, but it just seemed right for TSU to do it with their indie-dance style.

    Rock City's main room by the way, has a balcony at the back, with two staircases leading up to it either side from the main dancefloor. To give you an idea of how mental Rock City is - the dancefloor was packed, and so was the balcony, and so were the two staircases. I'm glad we managed to get a decent spot in the crowd, cos given all the mentalness, I think a spot on the stairs wouldve been very dodgy.

    So on came The Subways, blasting straight into With You, as they did at The Leadmill last year. It seemed to last forever. With You's not a long song, particularly, but for some reason, it seemed to go on for ages compared to the other songs. Not aproblem like, plenty of time for the crowd to get proper hot and sweaty. From there on, they belted through songs from Young For Eternity, inclusing YFE itself, City Pavement, I Want to Hear What You've Got to Say, Lines of Light, Oh Yeah, Holiday, 1am and also some new songs, three of them in fact, which I knew because I downloaded them from a website I found with lots of live and rare Subways stuff.

    Shake! Shake! seems to be the new fan favourite, definitely it is live, and I can't wait for a recorded version. Kalifornia (yes, that's the right spelling) and Girls & Boys were the other two newbies and got damn good reactions. They ended the main set with Somewhere, a song which I think gets terribly overlooked since on the album, 1am is tagged on the end of it.

    By this time everyone was proper knackered, but somehow we mustered enough energy to survive a three song encore of Mary, a new one called Clock, and the daddy, of course, Rock and Roll Queen, which got a huge amount of crowdsurfing. Billy also proved he really IS the king of stage diving as well. During RnR queen he jumped into the crowd from on top of the rather large PA system on our side of the crowd, earlier in the night, he did the same thing but on the other side of the crowd. Fuckin' mental, but you've just gotta love it. I know Charlotte doesn't like him doing it, but it's alllllll good fun.

    Speaking of Charlotte - she was looking damn fine as ever! See the pictures (well, the non-blurry ones) for proof.

    Got me a shirt at the end. If Nick's reading this, he'll know of what I speak - it's a red one with the Subways drum logo on it. We both needed it to be fair cos the shirts we had on were soaked in a combination of sweat and water which was wildly thrown around the crowd - greatly appreciated!
  • Marit Larsen and her contagious smile!

    Nov 12 2006, 16h44

    12 Aug – Oyafestivalen

    My title of this blog entry says it all, I suppose, but you know I aint gonna just leave it at that. There's a full review of it all coming up right here, right now.

    And lets start with a whinge, to get it out the way. I feel for all the people who've been shafted and shunted and pissed about over flights these past few days. Cancelled flights and delayed flights are nasty at the best of times, but when you've got terrorists planning to blow up planes, it's a different matter. So yes, I agree that passengers are being really messed about, but please, I just wish that they'd give it rest about all the extra security. I mean please, how many white, English families are gonna carry a bomb with them onto a plane? Ridiculous. Surely it only makes sense to search a person if you think they look suspicious.

    Having said that, getting through Stansted's security was actually rather smooth, which I suppose is a very good reflection of how the airports are gritting their teeth and bearing this with all their might.

    We arrived at the airport VERY early. Considering we had a 6:50pm plane to fly on, we were there at 1:30pm. See, thing is, everyone else flying that afternoon had been told the same story - get there early. What that caused was a mass packing of people into the check-in area, a real sardines-in-tins job. We noticed our flight was on the board and NOT delayed, NOT cancelled. There were though, lots cancelled and delayed. Indeed, on the departure board, the two flights prior to ours were both cancelled and the two immediately after were delyaed and cancelled respectively. So we dropped in extremely lucky.

    We spent some time in a bar in the airport just to kill some time. Successfully killed, we checked in, still sober ;), and sure as eggs is eggs, hand luggage was outlawed, meaning we had the joys of checking in our bags and taking a plaggy bag. Mind you, after that, it was all quite simple. The only other extra security measure that was in place, as far as I could tell, was a pat-down search at the security gate. Once through that, it was like any normal flight.

    The flight was delayed a little bit, by some problem with air traffic control on the inbound flight, but it was only 10 minutes. Then came the flight, and what a flight. 1 hour and 45 minutes, flying with a rather strange sight - on one side of the plane, it was like looking into the black night sky, whilst on the other, it was brilliant sunlight. The reason that happened is beacsue the sun is low in the sky at that hour and heading North as we were, the Sun is visible for longer to the North, since it is our summertime. We also saw another plane whilst in the air, and that, according to Nick, is a rare sight.

    Once below cloud, it was pretty much all dark, and the view over some of the Easterly Norweigen fjords in the dark look incredible. There were lights where towns and villages were, but it was so sparse and spread out. There were thousands of tiny islands, some uninhabited, and some looking like just lumps of rock sticking out from the Skaggerack. As we lowered towards ground, cars and houses were more visible, and again, they were very sparse.

    Sandefjord airport, which is where we landed, was rather big actually. Bigger tha I thought it'd be. There was nowhere near the same security level at this end. Just a quick look at the passport and you were through, no bother. After getting re-acquainted with our bags on the carousel, we boarded the bus to Oslo. 96 minutes worth of Norweigen road, with stops at Dramman, Asker, Lysaker and Horvik. Most of the road was actually through tunnels, and when I say tunnels, i mean proper tunnels. They make any British tunnel look like a bridge. I think the longest one was something like 3.5km - and there were 13 of them.

    Into Oslo after the stops and we hopped in a taxi to our very luxurious hotel. The Anker Hotel, right on the very edge of the city centre, and as we would discover, a short walk to Middelalderparken - scence of Oya :D. Mind you, the Oslo natives aren't right sharp if the hotel receptionist is anything to go by. We asked the quickest way to Oya...and he hadn't a clue where the park was. He eventually told us where to go, but we later discovered he was wrong, and what made it even funnier was that the place he told us it was at, on the map, was right next to Middelalderparken...and it quite clearly said "Middelalderparken" on the map! Blind, obviously.

    A good nights kip was followed by a full Norweigen brekkie. Now - you can forget your full English, this was a meal not to be missed, this. It looked very much like what I would normally have for tea. Cheese, Beetroot, Haislet, Pepperoni, Hard boiled eggs, bread, Sausages, Saute potatoes, and a weird egg flavoured potato cake thing. Very very good and you ever go to Norway, eat this for brekkie. It's faberoo.

    And so, to the main event. A short 15 minute walk to the park, punctuated by the odd picture-stop, culminated in our tickets being exchanged for armbands, and then we were in the queue...what queue?

    At first, I thought this was gonna be a little festival, because the queue was small, and when the gates opened at 12am, hardly anyone was in the park. It was dead, totally. Anyway, that gave us time to locate the Sjosiden stage, the stage we required to see Marit, and get a pint and burger in. Burger by the way, i assume was beef, because the Norsk translation was Biff. Near enough.

    Good quality beer too. Had three in total during the day. Still sober by the end of the day so it wasn't that strong. We nipped over to the Enga stage, which appeared to be the main one, since it was the only one that had a big screen and a mounted camara that swung from one side of the stage to the other. We decided to check out what was happening there, as Sjosiden didn't start whilst 2pm, and Enga started at 1pm. The first band on were called Knutsen & Ludvigsen. Nick described them as "Bill Gates and Les Battersby playing Foster and Allen music in Norweigen." <Insert witty comment here>.

    Anyway, we headed back to Sjosiden for 2pm and the excellent opening act that was Susanna & The Magical Orchestra. Anyone who reads this blog religiously will know I gave a preview of each of the acts. I was really wrong with most of them, and this was no exception. I was expecting to see a full on orchestra, but no, instead, a keyboard playing man and a singing woman, playing cover versions of classics, like Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart, and Dolly Parton's Jolene. Very good, and they had all of the songs in their own unique style. All of them had been slowed down and stripped right to the bard bones. It was a weird performance to listen to, but a very good opening.

    Next on were Darkside of the Force, who again I got wrong. I thought they were a Norsk rock band. Not a bit of it. They were actually a gangsta rap act, with their very own backing band. It was kind of like a cross between Dr Dre and Dirty Pretty Things. The rappers were mainly just two guys who looked like they were doing their best to impersonate Eminem. Naturally, Nick liked this act, he loves his rap and hip hop. I'm not as keen as we know, but these guys were pretty good. I dunno what nationality they were, but they spoke Norsk. Songs were in English though.

    And on then to Les Savy Fav. And this one I GOT RIGHT! US rock band who pretty much played the same song over and over. Mind you, what this act lacked in musical creativity, they made up for in showmanship. The singer dude was crazy. First song, he brought a ladder out onto the stage and climbed down it into the wild (at this point anyway) crowd. He did all sorts of random shit in the crowd, like nicking a guys hat, and including the crowd in the songs by asking them for random shouts of "YAAAH". He ended up in the lake during the last song.

    Anyway, away they went, and at that point, my heart started to do backflips over my lungs, somersaults around my ribcage and headstands through my oesophagus, as Marit Larsen's equipment was wheeled on stage. As expected, there were a LOT of instruments. Piano, Guitars, Banjo, Bass, Mandolin, Drums, Accordian, Cello, god knows what else. The amazing thing is, Marit can play everything that was on that stage, bar drums, even though she only plays mandolin, guitar and piano live.

    Most of the instruments were on stage anyway, when I caught sight of the one person I've waned to see for so long out of the corner of my eye, and then disappeared behind an amp. I moved to get a better view and there she was, back of the stage, sorting something out with one of the roadies. I could've died, really I could. It was like a sense of pure relief. What made it better, was that most of the crowd had fucked off to the bar after Les Savy Fav, and me and Nick had kept our positions at the front. As a result, when Marit came to the front of the stage to soundcheck the piano, she noticed us and smiled at us. I've caught that smile and you might have to surgically remove it. You never ever ever see Marit without a smile, and i'm pretty sure you wont see me without one for a while.

    Marit disappeared for a bit after that, and the crowd, which had now started to come back, were chanting MA-RIT, MA-RIT, MA-RIT, so we joined in, course. When the compere came on stage to announce Marit's arrival, which he'd done for the other three, that when my heart started to pound. The long wait was over.

    Marit came on stage to a huge roar, and belted straight into This Time Tomorrow, and rattled through a 10-song set, including 8 of the 11 off her debut album, and old M2M song called Don't Say You Love Me and a cover of a song called My Boyfriend's Back, speaking of which, I'll have to find out the original artist, cos it's a great song.

    Here's the setlist:

    This Time Tomorrow
    Come Closer
    Recent Illusion
    Under the Surface
    Solid Ground
    Only a Fool
    To An End
    My Boyfriend's Back
    Don't Say You Love Me
    Don't Save Me

    Highlights...well, the whole set was a highlight, but particularly Recent Illusion, which is a lot better live. It's longer and funked up a bit. Under the Surface sounds different played mainly on accordian (Marit plays the piano on it), wheras on the album, it's on something else, some kind of strings. DSYLM got everyone going, cos it was an M2M fave, and Don't Save Me, Marit's debut single, got another huge roar.

    I took no less than 71 pictures of Marit and her band during the set. That's an average of 7.1 pics a song. I went snap happy cos I know the next chance I have to see her will be a long way away. Every single one of them can be seen on my MSN space once I've finished this review.

    We hung around after the set, to see if she would come out and talk to us, but alas, no. Surprising, because she isnt the sort of person who is afraid to talk to fans, although on this occasion, she was probably right to not come out cos the crowd was big, and she'd probably have got mobbed.

    So then, after a quick trip to the bog, we grabbed at pizza, and headed to Enga again for Yoko Ono, who was...crazy to say the least. We decided to watch Beck from the bridge outside the park, cos at this point, it was getting dark, and so the better view was over the lake from the bridge. It got dark very quickly after Yoko Ono finished actually. On the way to the bridge, we found out we had to leave the park the same way we came in, which was a bit of a challenge at this point, as the crowd was heaving. We made it to the gate, and were just about to leave the park...when somethong caught my eye to the right - a very nice picture of Marit stuck to pinboard near the exit. On closer inspection, it was a professionally taken photograph of her, done earlier in the festival, and avaiable to buy for 300 Kr in the Photo tent - way over the other side of the park.

    After a trip back through several thousand Norweigens, we found the tent, and after a swift payment of 300 Kr, i was in possession of a crackin pic of Norways finest. It's gonna look well nice on my wall. That made my day that did, and whilst 300 Kr is just shy of 30 quid, I couldn't have cared less.

    Back to the hotel then, and another good nights kip, followed by another gorgeous brekkie. We checked out at 11am, and headed off to the town centre for a picture opportunity or ten. We got some crackers of Oslo fjord and some great ones of the city centre's main features. I also took the neccesary opportunity of checking out the shops, in particular, Norways answer to HMV - a shop rather daftly named "Free record shop". There were'nt free, but meh.

    It was worth it. Those who know my music will know Marit isn't the only Norsk artist I like. I also like Lene Marlin. Her third album was never released in the UK, so i took the opportunity to get it in there. only 160 Kr for 2 CDs! So i got an EP which I didnt know existed, by Fields, as well as Lene's long lost album.

    So a trip round Oslo, punctuated by shops amd pictures, ended rather nicely in a main street pub, which was very welcoming. After a jar or two in there, we headed for the bus back to Sandefjord, bid farewell to Oslo and started our journey back to the airport. The journey back was bad, actually, cos it was raining, and as such we couldnt really take any decent pics of the fjords. I tried, but theyre blurred, mostly. The bus driver kept us entertained. Once on board, he said, "Welcome aboard. Today, our trip is to...Stockholm!", which got a gasp from everyone! "Ah...you are all still awake then!!" he said.

    And now to the rigmaroll that was the flight home. Oh dear. Worst part of the trip.

    Flight departure was supposedly 22:10. We arrived and it had been delayed till 23:00. Ok, no problem, we thought, it's only 50 minutes. Checked in, this time, WITH hand baggage allowed by the way, and sat in the deaprture lounge. After a while, the announcement came that the flight had been delayed again, till 23:25. Bugger. Still not a major problem mind. It became a problem, when 23:25 came about...as there was no plane waiting for us. Ah. It landed soon after. Depature time now, likely midnight.

    We eventually got on that plane and it set off just after midnight. Finally, we thought. The view over Norway was as soectacular as the inbound flight, but thats as good as it got all night. 160 miles from Stansted, the captain said we'd be there in 20 minutes. Crackin stuff we thought, no problems here. 5 minutes later, he came back and said:

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have some bad news. Our flight has been diverted to Luton, as Stansted has closed the runway for maintainence. We had an extra half hour for landing, but we've been denied access to Stansted now. Ryanair would like to apologise for this inconvienience". Shit.

    That meant Nicks parents had the hellish journey from Stansted to Luton - and its NOT easy going. Evenetually got to the Travelodge at 3:20am, UK time, knackered and fully ready for some kip. After 6 hours of that, it was back up the M11, A14, A1 and A46 to home, but we'dve been a lot more refreshed had Stansted not been such tight arses.

    Never mind. It doesnt matter. Marit's smile is still on my face, and it will be for ages. If she announces a winter tour, I'm fuckin going. No question. Norways a trek, but its worth every penny, and fuck anyone who thinks its mad to keep going back to see Marit. I cant help it - Marit wont tour the UK until shes known over here, and at the minute, thats not happening cos the album isnt out, and its not out cos her record label havent had call to. They will, im sure, just not yet. And as such, if Norways the only place I can see her, so be it. Dedicated fans do go to great lengths.
  • A short Bells review

    Nov 12 2006, 16h43

    09 Aug – Howling Bells, The Cinematics, The Guild

    Howling Bells were excellent again in Sheffield last night. Not really much else to say. They were backed up by two of the best support acts i've ever seen, in once again, The Cinematics, and this time, a local band called The Guild, who were fucking brilliant. So much so, I just HAD to buy a copy of their single which was on sale at the back.

    Good set from them. They had four members that looked liked chalk and cheese. The front man was a guitar-slinging, fiddle-playing, keyboard thrashing singer (not all at once you understand), the bassist looked...er...normal in comparison, and they had a female piano player, who I think went by the name of Esther, and the drummer was a black guy who looked exactly like Kele Okereke, with his dreadlocks lol. Random, but brilliant.

    The Cinematics were on form too. Same 8 song set from them. Both these support bands I'm very much getting into methinks.

    Howling Bells came on and played the same 11 song-er, albeit slightly rearranged, with Velvet Girl moving before Setting Sun and Across the Avenue, wheras in Leeds it was after these two. The Bells had several comdey moments - like when Juanita tried to play the intro to The Bell Hit, but stopped and said, "My guitar is out of tune". At this point, a guy in the crowd shouted in a very poor Aussie accent, "Go, on Sheila!" Juanita's reply: "Who the f*ck is Sheila? Wrong band!", to which Brendan added, "and a terrible accent, too!".

    There was also a little dialogue between Juanita and the crowd at one point, as she described in good detail the video for the next single - Setting Sun, which, if you read the Leeds review, I did say that SS is the crowd fave. Looks like they've taken note. Anyway, the vid apparantly will feature a load of indian girls. Juanita said she had a concept involving Bollywood but the budget would'nt allow it.

    Towards the end of the set, she noticed the crowd were quiet, like Leeds, which gave this rather comical (at the time) dialogue:

    Juanita: "Y'know what, this feels like a first date (she said earlier that they'd never played Sheffield before), and it's steadily become less and less awkward, and now we're at dessert. Does that sound OK?"
    Some idiot in the crowd: "As long as you're paying!"
    Juanita: "Ah...you've already paid!"
    Brendan: "I wanna know what's for dessert"
    Juanita: "A Ballad for the Bleeding Hearts. Thats the next song!"

    So a set full of vigour and comical moments. Great night and waaaay better than Leeds. I didn't stick around for the signings, but I did catch Glenn and Brendan just inside the doorway at the end. They recognised me and were happy to see me. Told Glenn i was looking at doing Peterborough too, which he was happy about, even though he said that he doesn't look that far into the future.

    So yeah. A good night. A brief review, cos I have a flight to Norway to catch.
  • Brendan Picchio should be a footballer

    Nov 12 2006, 16h41

    06 Aug – Howling Bells, The Cinematics, Sky Larkin

    Well, as nights go, this one was eventful.

    Got to Leeds waaaaay too early. I'm making a habit of getting to gigs far too early these days. I did it at The Pipettes gig. You just know I'm gonna do it again in Norway. Mind you, I suppose there, it don't matter.

    Anyway, far too bleedin' early I got to The Cockpit. Managed to find it alright, my memory served me very well. It was about 5:30pm when I rolled into the car park, didn't think it'd be too bad, cos although doors weren't open till 7, the bar at The Cockpit opens at 6. So, y'know, like you do, sat waiting in there when it opened for the hour, dossin' on me phone, as well as talking to Bernice, who rang me up. Doors didn't bloody open while 7:30. They were running late, so I was annoyed - 2 hours in total I wasted.

    Unlike when I went there for the Gemma Hayes gig earlier this year, this gig was in the other room, the much bigger room actually, with a taller stage. Very very good. Prefer it to the other room, which in comparison, is tiny. Now, I like tiny venues, but I dunno, I just prefer the bigger room in The Cockpit for some reason. First band on were a local lot, who went by the name of Skylarkin. Very good band, and if what they said was true, that "this is the biggest venue we've ever played in", then methinks they're gonna get big.

    I would have enjoyed their set and The Cinematics set, who were the second support act a lot better had I not felt badly ill. Luckily I was at the front so I could kinda lean on the stage, cos i had a horrible pain in my back, but still wasn't well enough to fully enjoy them both. Shame, cos The Cinematics were even better than Skylarkin, and don't get me wrong, Skylarkin were fabulous.

    The pain seemed to subside when Howling Bells came on, which is just as well cos if it hadn't I'dve been really pissed off. I'd waited so damn long to see this band, and if I'dve been ill and had to have gone, it'dve been disastrous. But, no, the pain died, and I livened up. Just as well, cos Howling Bells didn't disappoint. Opened with what I think is probably THE most under-rated single of the year, Blessed Night, and marched their way through an 11-song set with no encore, playing 10 from the album and the very good This City's Burning, a b-side to Wishing Stone.

    Here's the setlist:

    Blessed Night
    This City's Burning
    The Bell Hit
    Wishing Stone
    Across the Avenue
    Setting Sun
    Velvet Girl
    The Night Is Young
    Broken Bones
    A Ballad For the Bleeding Hearts
    Low Happening

    Highlights included The Bell Hit, which, when they started it, a guy behind me shouted, "Ahh! It's a fuckin' tune, this!". Amen brother! Also good, was The Night is Young, and Setting Sun which seems to be the crowd favourite.

    Blinding gig, and then to business. Bought two shirts, one white, one black, both featuring the owl which on the cover of the Wishing Stone single. I'd brought my album with me, and I was determined to get the damn thing signed by the band. I hung around in the bar, waiting for them to come out, which they never did, and so I was the last man standing in the bar when everyone else had disappeared. Just about to give up hope, I asked a roadie who was randomly walking through the bar if I could go backstage and get the album signed. He said no, but the told me the band were out the back, packing all their stuff into the van, ready for the next gig, and that if I legged it, I'd catch 'em.

    Pelted round the corner, up the steps, and there they were, well two of 'em, anyway. Juanita, sat on one of their amps, looking bored, and Joel, getting no help from Juanita it has to be said, packing some of the stuff into the van. Got them two to sign it, the hung about for the other two to amke an appearance. Didn't say much to either Juanita or Joel. Juanita was either not interested, tired, or a combination of both, and Joel was too busy packing stuff. Brendan came out next, with a football at his feet. He spoke to me quite a bit. He noticed I had a 22-20's shirt on, and he was like "Ah, yeah, man, they're fuckin' awesome!"

    We had a kickabout while we waited for Glenn, the last one to sign the album to come out. Brendan's fuckin' good! Sod playing bass, why is this guy not playing football? Glenn finally made an appearance, cowbay hat and all, signed me album and had a little chat with me about losing his original hat at a gig in Bristol. I nearly walked off with their ball! I was so engrossed in talking to Glenn, that I didn't realise I'd got the ball in my hand still, when I walked away. Luckily, Brendan noticed and shouted "Can we have our ball back, mate?". Good job he did, cos I wouldn't have noticed.

    I kicked it back to them, albeit a wayward kick which landed nowhere near them. Juanita went to get it, which is the most she did all night, post-gig, dribbled it bacl to the van, and her ball control leaves a lot to be desired. It made ME look good, never mind Brendan :D

    So all in all, a good night! Pics are on the way up, and there are plenty of em. May go to the gig in Sheffield on Wednesday night. Can't really pass up a golden chance to see em again really. Cracking band, very nice people. Aussies are nice though, and good at football, so it seems.

    Norway in 5 days :D
  • Good old Annie Hardy

    Nov 12 2006, 16h39

    11 Jul – Giant Drag, The Situationists, Screaming Minnie

    You can always count on a good show when Giant Drag are about. I understand their brand of grungey-indie rock isn't everyone's favourite, but all that doesn't matter when you've got Annie Hardy fronting the band. She's a fucking legend.

    Witty as ever, she mentioned, and joked about lots of things, from current events on Big Brother ("all the ugly ones should be thrown out!") to Tesco and it's "refreshing" drinking water, her hatred at singing one particular song ("My throat won't like this one. If I spit blood and chewed up bits of tuna sandwich all over the front row, feel free to use my towel and water to rinse with!"), and even to on-stage periods ("I think I can hold out for a few more songs...and then I have some ladies business to attend to!").

    Top notch, Annie. You should be a stand up comic. Mind you, she can play guitar with the best of 'em. An 11 song set, 7 from the debut album Hearts and Unicorns, 1 from the Lemona EP, 2 b-sides from the Kevin is Gay single and 1 new one (Yipee!). Kicked off with YFLMD (You Fuck Like My Dad) and ended with Kevin is Gay, along the way touching all the other 9 aforementioned songs, and after each giving us a dose of her wittyness.

    Not bad to say that I only went to this gig because I'm home alone and bored all this week. Id've prolly gone anyway. Giant Drag are too good to miss, even though I have seen them before, albeit only as a support act. Got me a shirt, which bizzarely cost more than the ticket. Work that one out. Good shirt too, a nice lime-green colour with the GD logo on, and the butterfly and cat cartoons that you'll see on their website.

    Support acts? Well, Screaming Minnie were VERY weird. Hell, they used pretty much every instrument under the sun. They had your bog standard drummer, bassist, two guitarists and a singer, but they all did so much more. One of the guitarists played keyboards in a few songs, which is all normal, like, but then the singer (whom by the way, was a busty blonde who wore what looked like red rubber gloves), also played theramin and for one song used a kettle theremin. Theremins have surely gotta be the coolest instruments. They earned my full respect for that. They didn't stop there - one song used a scraper like you'd see at primary school, and then two songs involved the singer weilding a cane-like stick around which made a funny howling noise. Very good stuff and very varied.

    The Situationists were good too. More like your bog standard band, no funny instruments. Just full on hard indie rock. Belting.