So the first outdoor gig of the year and a record attendance for Southampton FC. We got there to see the last 15 minutes of Nickelback who I have seen before at Brixton. We got 'How You Remind Me' at the end and they were ok. Fairly solid American rock (although I think they are Canadian). At 8 o'clock Jon and the boys came on and did a solid two and a half hours of what you'd expect. I've seen them about ten times before but not for a good eight or nine years. The band has augmented with an additional guitarist and keyboard player. They played a fair share of new stuff but all was typical Bon Jovi stuff. I was impressed with the 'Captain Crash' song which had the crowd waving their arms from side to side. What was a little unusual was the barrier between the 'golden circle' and the other standing plebs acted as a walkway. Jon Bon Jovi sang the opening song 'Last Man Standing' on this walkway effectively being in the middle of the crowd. The second song in was 'Rockin All Over The World'. I thought the version was a bit shoddy musically myself but it certainally got the crowd going. As well as the new stuff there was a fair share from Slippery When Wet and their first single 'Runaway' which ensured I went home happy. The 'Raise Your Hands' song was fantastic with all the crowd right to the back of the Northam stand up with hands raised. If only it was like that when Saints played Derby. Talking of which in the encore Jon asked if the Saints were any good to a mixed reception. He dedicated 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' to Saints fans which seemed odd. The whole show ended with a rousing 'Keep The Faith' after which Jon seemed to over estimate a Bon Jovi fan's wealth by saying 'We'll see you at Milton Keynes tomorrow and Sunday'. Very good entertainment and although an expensive ticket given the length and quality of the show I felt it was good value.
Set List (rough guess) - Last Man Standing / Rockin All Over The World / You Give Love A Bad Name / Captain Crash / I'd Die For You / Born To Be My Baby/ Story Of My Life / I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (inc Jumping Jack Flash & Dancing In The Street) / Radio Saved My Life / Runaway / In These Arms / Just Older / Have A Nice Day / Who Says You can't Come Home / Its My Life / I'll Be There For You / Complicated / Bad Medicine / Raise Your Hands / Livin' On A Prayer //// Welcome To Wherever You Are / Everyday / Wanted Dead Or Alive / Keep The Faith
Apparently at Milton Keynes they radically changed the set both nights and included Thin Lizzy's Boys Are Back In Town and Neil Young's Rockin' In The Free World!
A return to the live scene for Ian Broudie and crew saw them play Dingwalls in Camden. After a good crawl of Hampstead we arrive at the venue at 9.20 and get the cheapest round so far (Â£5.40 two pints of Fosters). Finding a place down the front on the left we saw the Seeds do an hour full of their hits. Before the encore the last three songs were 'Marvelous', 'Pure' and 'Life of Reilly'. You can't argue with that. A very 'festival' friendly set the only complaint was for Â£18 it was a bit short. However would you really want an extra half hour of stuff you don't know? Three Lions was inevitably the last song with the lyrics changed to 'forty years of hurt' and Mr Broudie yelling 'Come On England - Win the world cup'.
After the show we had time for a few beers in Camden's Good Mixer pub, where the Gallaghers are still banned from as far as I am aware. An appropiate choice considering the Lightning Seeds got their popularity in the midst of the Britpop environment.
Bif Naked is one of my favourite artists. She's from Vancouver, covered in tatoos and her latest album 'Super Beautiful Monster' ranges from Metal, melodic rock to gospel. This was her first UK date for many a year supporting a band called Alter Bridge, who I confess I have never heard of. As I hadn't seen her before I got very excited when I heard she was support and had to get a ticket. I was not disappointed. Her set, understandably, was mainly from her latest album and given the band she was supporting she concentrated on the heavier numbers. The highlight for me was when she slowed the pace down with the gorgeous ballad 'Everyday'. Unfortuantely it was over all too quickly with her set being just over 30 minutes. However on an optomistic note she did say 'See you in the fall' which hopefully means she'll be back soon with her own headline shows.
I stayed for the first four songs of Alter Bridge and can't say I was that impressed. It just seemed really bad heavy metal. All songs trying to sound like Iron Maiden, weighing in at 5 minutes plus with over half of it being guitar solos with stupid macabre titles like 'Buried Alive!' Unfortuanately unlike most metal bands there was no sense of irony here. Will avoid them in future.
Bif Naked set - Yeah You / Question Song / I Want / Instrumental / Everyday / Let Down / I Love Myself Today
Acoustix is a regular Wednesday event upstairs at Balham's Bedford Arms. I was drawn here as one of the acts was The Alarms founder member and guitarist Dave Sharp. Dave exiled himself to New Orleans when the Alarm disbanded in 1991 only to return to these shores ten years later. His solo music is very folky (or drunk bloke rambling according to one of my mates) and certainly an acquired taste. The format of the night is each of the four acts do two songs each in both the first and second half. Dave opened up his set with 'Willin'' a very slow folksy number before going into the hard blues driven 'Lonesome Road' which was played with pasion and pace. Very good. In the second half he played 'Looking This World Over' an autobiographical piece which is a heartfelt bit of work before ending with the title track of his first solo album 'Hard Travelling'. All four were fair reflections on his two acoustic LPs 'Summer Of Love' which include the majority of Dave Sharps solo stuff as well as a couple of covers. An enjoyable evening. Unfortuantely the other acts were a bit bland and therefore unmemorable.
Another gig for Dot in the upstairs of this Islington pub. With the new material getting familar I enjoyed this one best out of the three times I've seen her in the last six months. 'Paper Rose' sounds really good as did set ender 'Aint Got Nothing At All' which is a very catchy and summer-ery song. A couple of old tracks were also played with 'Colour Me' from her first solo album a definate highlight. Dot has a new EP out soon which is becoming an essential buy. Hopefully Dot will continue with these initimate gigs to support her releases.
A successful crawl was had on Saturday (27th May). We started in the Wetherspoons near Angel, trooped up Upper Street and looked at Arsenal's new ground at Ashburton Grove stopping at quite a few establishments. Rather than do a long essay I shall list each pub we frequented below with comments various people made. Thanks to Adam, Andy, Andy, Matt, Neil & Tom for coming along and thinking up some of the quotes below;
Angel - Old blokes get pissed for the community
Agricultural - Good pub in the market. The barmaids Brazilian could be lower!
Nags Head - Fine. Good pub.
Glassworks - Trendy Spoons. Hip in shopping centre. One for the yups.
York - Ale Pub. Thumbs down. I dispute that, its a pub.
Camden Head - Liked the woman with a pram with three guys smoking round it. Old fashioned boozer
Steam Passage - cocktail stick for lemonade. Unmemorable.
Walkabout - Drunk and You're Out! Don't need one.
O'Neills - Where's the football. Top barmaids. Beer was not cold. Don't like diddley diddley.
Pitcher & Piano - Stark
Bull - Notting Hill in North London. Good Beer on tap.
White Hart - A bit luvvie luvvie. Bohemian. Arty. Kerching. It's The Pits!
Mitre - Someone's showing the football. Classic Scream Pub
Keston Lodge - S**t Non celebrity W**k. Ponciest yet. TV radio combo.
Jolene Celeste - bland
Garden - Alright. I'd give it a 7/10.
Medecine Bar - They let us in! Ooh Bar!
Hope & Anchor - Rock On. Sex Pistols have played the basement.
Compton Arms - It's worth kerb crawling to. That's David Pleat. I like it I like it.
Metro - Funky and forgettable
Bailey - Awesome Cafe Jazz. Silence is Golden. Nicely Alright
Famous Cock - Afroman! Hope I don't wake up in Brixton.