Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Dirty Pretty Things, Forum 24.5.06

So Carl Barrett's band, which is essentially the same as the Libertines minus the fat druggie. Have to say a very good bouncy show, four Libertines songs including the finale 'I Get Along' and all of the excellent debut album. The single 'Bang Bang You're Dead' was excellent including the trumpet intro. The only thing I was unsure about was the encore where all members of the band appeared without shirts (or much clothes at all!). Still an entertaining gig!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


2006 Pub Crawl Saturday 27th May

Will take place this Saturday (back to the traditional day!)
11.30 am start in the Angel Wetherspoons pub near Angel tube, and then working our way up Upper Street towards Highbury Corner.
Hope to see you all there!

Friday, May 19, 2006


2 nights of Hard-Fi, Billy Bragg and European Cup 16 & 17 May

Went to Hard-Fi this week. Decided to go twice as one of my friend couldn't go on the Tuesday so after booking this, agreed to go with him for the extra date. Tuesday first - I was delighted to see that Billy Bragg was the support for Hard-Fi so I decided for the first time in ages to get to a venue relatively early. I was not disappointed. Armed with just an electric guitar Billy did a solo best of set for forty five minutes, including Levi Stubbs Tears, Sexuality, and Great Leap Forwards where he sang 'how long do you give McLaren, he'll be out by December'. His fantastic set ended with 'A New England' which despite being written and recorded by Billy, was made famous by Kirsty MacColl. Really must invest in his double CD best of which is under a tenner on Hard-Fi followed coming on at 9.40 and were what you would expect drawing on nearly all of their excellent Stars of CCTV album. There were a couple of new songs thrown into the mix and a cover of Big Audio Dynamites 'E=MC2' before the encore. The youngish crowd did not seem that enthusiastic and we managed to get a decent place near the front without the need for a mosh. For the encore Billy returned to join the band for a great rendition of The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. After which they ended somewhat predictably with the title track of the CD and 'Living for the Weekend'. The show ended at 11.02pm which meant a quick can of beer purchased from a dodgy newsagent on the Stockwell Road.
Wednesday - Met my friend in the Priory Arms, a real ale pub near Stockwell about 6.30. Having got a seat perfect for the TV we decided to stay here whilst working our way through some german lagers we've hadn't heard of previously. Actually the cider was braved and instead of being poured out by a tap, a strange china pot was produced to put it in a pint glass. Whilst watching the TV, Gabby Logan came on to present the football and was looking slightly scary with far too much make-up, in fact it was suggested that she was 'Avril Lavignes Mum’! By this time the place was rammed and you could not help but feel we were in someones regular seat. Half time we left and walked to the Far Side, a place halfway between Stockwell tube and the Academy. This is always a good place and I was pleased to see Barcalona get two late goals to win a bet at 28-1 with Arsenal leading at half time and Barcalona winning at the final whistle.
Off to the show and musically it was identical except the singer seemed a bit pissed. The crowd were a lot more hyper though (assume all had been beering it for the football) and it was another great show.

Hard-Fi Set (both nights) - Middle Eastern Holiday / Gotta Reason / Surburban Knights / Tied Up Too Tight / Feltham Is Singing Out / You And Me / Unnecessary Trouble / Better Do Better / E=MC2 / Cash Machine Hard To Beat ///// Move On Now / Wont Get Fooled Again (feat Billy Bragg) / Stars Of CCTV / Living For The Weekend

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


FA Cup Final Pub Crawl

As a little practice for the annual pub crawl taking place on 27th May (Upper Street to celebrate the end of Highbury and the beginning of Ashburton Grove) we decided to do a mini crawl of Barnes before the Cup Final.
Having had a quick pint for the first hour of the test match in Sutton’s Old Bank we got the train via Clapham to Barnes Bridge. On the train from Clapham was a very sporty and attractive indian girl in a white tracksuit who decided what carriage we'd be on. An inspired choice as indeed the front carriage is the nearest for Barnes Bridge.
A short walk found us in Ye White Hart, a pub previously done on the boat race crawl. A great view of the Thames, bet it is hell for the boat race. An Aussie barman read our paper and here the pub had probably the most note-worthy barmaid of the day who alas did not appear to be serving. A short walk through suburbia found us a nice little pub with a beer garden called the Rose. 'Oh you caught me at it' said the barmaid as we entered. At what we shall never know.
Back onto the main road we found the Treehouse. More of a restaurant than a pub, it did have a nice garden at the back with a mazy route upstairs to the toilets. The Halfway House was next, which was like a library. Very cosy but there was a number of people inside and you would expect some conversation sound.
After a quick look in the bookies we were walking to the next pub where we saw what will bound to be the campest man of the year on a pushbike. All in blue with a cap and a pink carnation and a cheeky grin we spent the next five minutes laughing incessantly as we walked along. Having calmed down we got into the Hare & Hounds a large Youngs pub. Having got an excellent seat in front of the TV we decided to stay here to watch the match. Fortunately we were also in time for 'Abide With Me'.
The game was one of the most entertaining for years and we were in a position to leave just as Gerrard smashed in the equaliser. We then decided to watch extra time elsewhere and after an abortive attempt at a pub without a TV we found ourselves in the Pig & Whistle. Full of drunken teenagers, it reminded me somewhat of Sutton’s finest youths, although this was Mortlake so probably a little more mature. After the game much my horror saw Mortlake station was shut. After a quick Indian takeaway for some and a pub meal for those who stayed in the Pig, we decided to get a bus Hammersmith bound. One of our party was off to Shepherds Bush that evening so I decided to stay on with him to Hammersmith for my final pub of the day the Hammersmith Ram. Another spacious Youngs pub along Hammersmith's King Street. A tad expensive (as all Youngs pubs are) but still better than some in the area. A highlight for me was the bus going over Hammersmith Bridge and past Ray Doyle's house. Essential tourist attraction everytime you are in this area.
All in all a good day out was had and a good appetiser for the main crawl.

Friday, May 12, 2006


More photos of Be Your Own Pet at Bush Hall in Feb

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


The Ataris, Luminairre Kilburn 2.5.06

Was really looking forward to this having heard the excellent 'So Long Astoria' album with the 'Boys of Summer' cover on it. Alas they did not do the cover nor much of this album. Got a Thameslink train to West Hampstead and went in the supurb if a rather strange 'Czech Republic' bar. Only £2-60 for a Pilsner Urquell. They seem to have moved to more regular opening times than my last visit a few years ago when it was shut! A short walk to Kilburn High Road saw me frequent a Gastopub called the Black Lion. Imagine this was a good pub a few years ago before they called in Ikea to redesign it to make it 'female' friendly. No attractive females in there by the way. Finally a quick half in the Good Ship which seemed a strange place with a high bar saw me enter the Luminairre. First time I've been here and after a walk upstairs you are in a place no bigger than my living room! Stage is about two inches off the ground and standing at the bar there are only about seven rows of people ahead of you. Just before they came on I counted about 97 people were in the crowd and it was packed. Alas they were disappointing concentrating on filling their set with their soon to be released album which upon this listen isn't great. Still the title track from the album mentioned above was good as were a couple that the audience knew. No covers though, (was hoping for at least one even if it wasn't the Henley classic) and a set of only just after an hour. All in all I'd give it a 6 1/2 out of ten. It could have been better. Did have me ruing that I decided not to go to Goldfinger the day after at Camden though as they played 99 Red Balloons on the tannoy before hand. Instead I did have a free night out with work colleagues which was fun!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


The Alarm 2006, Carling Academy Islington 29.4.06

The Day started in The Woodman pub in Carshalton where I saw Chelsea win the Premiership. And at least this time they won a game to get the title. Previous years have seen sides crowned as Champions because another teams defeat has secured it for them. I then headed to Colston Avenue to see Carshalton Athletic only manage a two all draw with Yeading that saw them relegated to the Ryman League. Disappointing as they were two nil up. Good clubhouse though with it being only £2.50 for a Stella. I then got the train up to Victoria and then Highbury where I took advantage of the fantastic £3.99 for a beer and a veggie burger deal in the Wetherspoons pub the White Swan. After walking down Upper Street, the scene for this years pub crawl I manage a quick beer in the Agricultural pub before entering the Academy.
Mike Peters, leader of the Alarm, has been recently diagnosed with cancer. Despite this, he his battling away showing determination to carry on with his life as he knows how and managed to put in a full on show of more than two hours of fantastic rock music. One can only admire the energy of the performance. A lot of songs from the new album 'Under Attack' which certainly puts them in the rock category now moving away from the acoustic punk roots that estblished the first incarnation of the Alarm in the early eighties. We also got some of these including a great version of 'Where Were Your Hiding When The Storm Broke' where the audience, as always, are showered with playing cards! Out of the new stuff, 'Be Still' was superb as was 'Without A Fight'. Unfortuantely I felt that probably too many new songs were played with Mike's five albums between 1994-2004 being completely overlooked. There was a great acoustic bit in the middle where instead of the expected 'One Step Closer To Home' Mike played a surprise version of Dave Sharp's 'Reason 41'. The show ended with 'Spirit of 76' and here I noticed that many of the audience had brought their teenage kids with them, making the age range the biggest by far I have seen for an Alarm show.
There was an early curfew of 10pm meaning we didn't get 'Blaze Of Glory;' although it was sung by the crowd.
I then headed to meet a group of friends at Wimbledon Common, some journey you may think. Not when Red Ken is mayor, as it only took 40 minutes via connections at Kings Cross, Vauxhall and a 93 bus up the hill! Splendid indeed!!

Set - Superchannel / Absolute Reality / Cease & Desist / Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke? / Raindown / Right Back Where I Started From / Its Alright Its Ok / Rain In The Summertime / Be Still / Sold Me Down The River / Drunk & Disorderley / Unsafe Building / Coming Home / Reason 41 (acoustic) / Unbreak The Promise (acoustic) / Walk Forever By My Side (acoustic) / This Is The Way We Are / Rescue Me / I Never Left I Only Went Away / Decleration / Marching On / My Town / 68 Guns ///// Without A Fight / 45 RPM / Spirit Of 76

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The Cardigans, Shepherds Bush Empire 21.4.06

So after a crawl from Liverpool St to Chancery Lane, starting off in the excellent Kings Arms, we head to Shepherds Bush for Swedens Cardigans. I was really looking forward to this having only seen them at a 'V' festival many years previously and having all their albums. However having got the spoiler of the setlist I was a little disappointed to see it only included songs from the last three albums rather than a 'retrospective' set. Musically though the last two albums are supurb, unfortuanately the majority of the audience hadn't actually bought the albums and probably only knew 'Lovefool'. They were to be disappointed. This meant although the band were very good the atmosphere was not and lead to a lot of talking over the band. So much so in fact that a steward had to come over to four extremely drunk girls. I have nothing against a so-called 'fair-weather' fan but would expect them to respect the band performing. Also I'm not sure how a band such as the Cardigans could combat this other than playing smaller venues meaning some casual observers who may return or even true fans would miss out.
That aside 'You're the Storm' was an early highlight as was 'A Good Horse', one of the few tracks where the audience did pay attention. The first encore ended with 'My Favourite Game' which in this MTV age is a classic and they returned with the gorgeous song 'Communication'. Unfortuanately at this time some of the crowd had given up enjoying theirselves and were propping up the bar.

Set - Drip Drop Teardrop / You're The Storm / Little Black Cloud / Don't Blame Your Daughter / For What It's Worth / Live And Learn / A Good Horse / And Then You Kissed Me 1&2 / Paralyzed / Erase Rewind / Hanging Around / Holy Love / I Need Some Fine Wine And You Need To Be Nicer TO Me / Good Morning Joan ////// Losing A Friend / Godspell / My Favourite Game ////// Communication

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