Friday, March 30, 2007
Kasabian, Royal Albert Hall 29.3.07
So Kasabian at the Albert Hall. I saw this Leicester band at Earls Court and was impressed. Could they transfer their ‘arena’ sound into the classical venue of the Royal Albert Hall. The second of the three Teenage Cancer Trust I’m attending this year showed the answer was yes. After an instrumental, they launched into Shoot The Runner, and the weird mix of guitars, beats and importantly good tunes works at any level. They followed this with Reason Is Treason from their debut album and the crowd were on their feet. Halfway through the set the guitarist with the beard did a brief acoustic stint, before the band cam back and played Empire and their first single Processed Beats. They closed before the encore with the excellent Doberman dedicating it to the Gallaghers of Oasis. The final song of the night was LSI which typically the crowd were singing on the way out of the venue long after the band had left the stage. One thing I did ponder though is that their keyboard and programmer, although making it a live show were hidden behind the speakers. Had you been at the front you may have formed the impression there was a lot of backing tape being used.
Stewarding at the Albert Hall is very non existent. Had a group of girls behind me who had managed to smuggle a couple of bottles of red wine into the venue. (quite right too when you look at the bar prices here). Also it appeared that the floor area was getting more crowded as the show went on. Forgot to mention that Kasabian were introduced by the one and only Harvey Goldsmith who plugged his own TV show on Tuesdays on Channel Four! Have The Who to complete the hat-rick on Saturday. Looking forward to it!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Noel Gallagher was really good. The set mainly comprised of Oasis b-sides such as Half The World Away and Listen Up with a few classics thrown in, although Paul Weller was dragged out for the Jams Butterfly Collector and The Beatles All You Need Is Love. Half way through the show Noels guitarist and percussionist were joined by eight string players, all female clad in denim and black shirts. These were used to great effect on their first song Don’t Go Away (the best song on Be Here Now) and obviously, Wonderwall. A highlight for me was Slide Away which was played perfectly to close before the encore. A cover of The Smiths There Is A Light That Never Goes Out was also played after the short interlude before the singalong of Don’t Look Back In Anger. You could hardly hear Noels vocals so ecstatic were the crowd. Married With Children ended matters as it does the first Oasis album. All in all an excellent show.
Set – Its Good To Be Free / Talk Tonight / Fade Away / Cast No Shadow / Half The World Away / The Importance Of Being Idle / The Butterfly Collector / All you Need Is Love / Don’t Go Away / Listen Up / Sad Song / Wonderwall / Slide Away ////// There Is A Light That Never Goes Out / Don’t Look Back In Anger / Married With Children.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Ok, it was probably watered down Carlsberg at £3.50 a pint at Wembley. However, this did not taint a rather splendid stadium, even if the players did look like ants. I cant remember watching a match so high up, it was much higher than Chelsea’s East Stand which I’ve been in the back row of. Think had it been packed and you’re stuck in the back row on the half way line it may take at least thirty minutes to get out. However the atmosphere of a packed Wembley would make up for it. There were plenty of bars, food places and toilets as well. Some of the gents appeared to be cubicles only meaning I think they can be changed to females should there be a more even mix of sexes crowd for a non football match, say a concert. It only took 27 seconds for the first goal to be scored by the Italian forward, who went on to get a hatrick. England appeared to be poor (with Kieran Richardson the most awful) but got back into the game well to get a 3-3 draw.
In the evening, after watching England seniors on the box play out a woeful draw, I visited the Windsor Castle in Carshalton to see a band Fire And Water. Their first set was all Free and Bad Company songs which was all good stuff. Their second was a Led Zep tribute. Im not a big Zep fan but they did the well known stuff well like Whole Lotta Love and an excellent RocknRoll. About half ten a bloke who looks uncannily like Rick Parfitt walks in. Wasn’t brave enough to ask him but he had enough people speaking to him to suggest it probably was.
Sunday didn’t do much so I watched some of the newly purchased Family Guy season five DVD. Mostly funny although some cringe worthy moments. Brian the speaking dog being scared by the hoover was great.
Finally Monday, Magnums new album was out, ‘Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow’. A return to some classic Magnum tunes. The single ‘Dragons Are Real’ is probably the best thing they’ve done for ten years, with other songs like ‘Your Lies’ and ‘You’ll Never Sleep’ it seems as if they could be back to their high standards set by the three albums at the end of the 1980s. A few more listens & I’ll be definitely looking forward to their gig at the end of May.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Song With A Mission - The Sounds
The week started with a pub crawl of Putney on Saturday. This was impromptu as we had planned to see a Who tribute band at the Half Moon, but we couldn’t get in as it was sold out. Still we made sure the pubs had the cricket on and we saw a historic victory for Ireland over Pakistan. Surely the green Isles best sporting result since Gerry Armstrong scored against Spain in 1982. Tragically, the Pakistan coach was found dead the next day (which is now being treated as murder!) which is fairly shocking.
Watched Arsenal crash to yet another defeat in the Windsor on Sunday. A last minute Andy Johnson winner. Highlight for me was seeing Arsene slipping over. Another entertaining match on the TV was Spurs Chelsea on Monday. The fan was out of order for trying to lamp Fat Frank, but the Chelsea players reaction was a bit ott.
Tuesday, I went down to Brighton for the second Thea Gilmore gig of the year. Not quite as good as Bracknall, she did nine new songs, and shunned some of her more familiar stuff. Still did a solid hour and a half and gave me plenty of time to get the 11.02 train. For some reason this train is always delayed at Three Bridges for fourteen minutes which seems pointless to me.
A busy midweek concluded on Wednesday with a trip to the Carling Academy Islington to see the Swedish band, The Sounds. I saw them earlier in the year at the Water Rats (see a January blog entry) and again I was suitably impressed. The lead singer chain-smoked throughout and the guitarist seemed slightly drunk but the music was very good. They included the ballad ‘Night After Night’ this time as well as playing their latest album, only released this week in the UK together with several bonus tracks from the Swedish only debut.
I have made the decision to renew my season ticket at the ‘March Madness’ price. Saints certainly have been mad in March with just one point in four games meaning the play-offs seem someway off. I have also managed to purchase the Shed Seven unreleased album on Japanese import from the Simon Lawler Management website. Played it yesterday and it is really good. Incidentally Rick Witter’s album is out in April and he’s playing the Carling Academy in May which will be a must see.
Tomorrow I am checking out the new Wembley Stadium as I’m watching England Under 21s there. Supposed to be manifique yet I think the gloss will be taken off it by extortionate prices of refreshments. £3.50 a pint of watered down carling anyone?
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Juliet I'll Keep That In Mind
Quite a good crawl of Holborn was done before with an excellent find called the Bountiful Cow. Despite its neon lighting outside, it was very pleasant within with a wide array of draught including the ever popular Bitburger.
Saturday went to Wimbledon. Unfortunately the Hand & Racquet was full of pissed up people who had been watching the rugby all day so we went to The Prince of Wales opposite the station before embarking up to the village. Stopping off at All Bar One there was a gorgeous barmaid, probably of polish origin. Very nice blonde hair and a lovely smile. One of my mates reckon she used to work in the Alex. Onto the village and we ended up in the Brewery Tap where we took over the jukbox and made it play the best of Britpop for the remainder of the evening.
Sunday, I saw the first of my Thea Gilmore dates this year at the South Hill Arts Centre in Bracknell. Bracknell is horrid. Got there about five and upon walking into the pedestrianised shopping area I had already got a view of how run down it was. I found a pub called The Bull. Within in minutes of getting my pint a fight started by the pool table so I hid round the corner. Not a pleasant pub. I walked back to the station where I frequented the Goose. This was probably the best pub out of the five I went to although itself wasn’t great with a few groups of teenagers spreaded about. Walking to the venue I stopped at the Green Man, an okish two bar pub and the Golden Farmer which from outside looked pleasant but inside it was very run-down, full of baseball capped youngsters in on bar and old and very drunk people in the other. All had tattoos with one old bloke having spiders webs tattooed on both his elbows. Nasty place.
The gig itself was at a small theatre and was very good. I was surprised to see Thea had a new EP out (exclusive to the tour) and she did all four songs from this as well as some other new stuff. Highlights for me though were the welcome return of her older stuff, ‘Bad Idea’ from her first album and ‘December In New York’ from an early EP. Also a good acoustic version of ‘Juliet’ and ‘Cheap Tricks’ were played. Actually there was not too much from her last CD Harpos Ghost (I think about four tracks) so the set had a good mix. I bought the Ep direct from Nigel Stonier (her guitarist and husband) who seemed a nice northern bloke!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Got up there (Mornington Crescent) about half seven so I could watch some of the euro footie before hand. Asked at the door what time is she on and was told 8.30pm on the dot. I doubted this so would check later. After watching Chelsea go one down and the scousers dominate against Barca I went back to the venue at half time in the football to recheck the times. I was then told she'd be on by nine at the latest. I go in at ten past to get 20 more minutes of the football and she didn't actually come on until 9.35pm! (Even some boos when members of her band came on stage!)
It was only forty minutes before the encore, although after an outfit change she did carry on till 11. However despite having a fantastic voice (and nice legs) it was fairly shambolic! Some bloke in the gents asked me whether I thought she was drunk or on something else!
Long ramblings introducing her new songs. Some songs stopped and restarted due to her mistiming and general fits of giggling both during and inbetween songs.
The songs themselves, when she got them right were fairly listenable and funky but I got the feeling most of the audince were bewildered with plenty leaving before the end.
The encore formed a long jam session with Joss introducing her band and asking them to play something she really liked (without naming the song), then when they performed a snippet Joss knelt down in the middle of the stage swaying her head from side to side. Definately memorable but whether it was good I've yet to make my mind up!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Can You Read My Mind.....
Stephen Fretwell played a good mix of new stuff and songs from his debut album Magpie. Some bittersweet stuff about running away (New York), a melancholy yet gorgeous break up song (Emily) and a sad ask out number (Do You Want To Come With?) were the highlights for me. The new stuff was more of the same quality, and maybe it was the number of Red Stripes I had, but I’m sure one of them was called ‘Spocks Beard’! A lovely intimate set, very enjoyable and high on quality.
Saturday saw The Killers bring their arena show to Brighton. They really are very good. A best of their two albums and you could not argue with the set at all. Mr Brightside is the obvious favourite, alas I missed Somebody Told me by going to a toilet and bar break. However, Read My Mind and Bones from the second album were also good performances. Support came from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. We saw their last ten minutes ending with ‘Whatever Happened To My Rocknroll’ from their first album, and again I was suitably impressed with them! Brighton is one of the smaller arenas and it was good to see the Killers again in a smallish setting before they headline the summer festivals. One thing about them though was they let the music do the talking with no chit-chat between songs. And although this may or may not be a good thing, Brendon Flowers may lack the outgoing persona needed to transfer to an outside show, and with the V festival being £70.00 for a day ticket I won’t be finding out.