Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Gavin Rossdale, Camden Underworld 11.6.08

Gavin Rossdale. Once lead singer of the biggest band in the USA, Bush. Even admired by Buffy in Season Two of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Now he is better known as the biological father of London socialite Daisy Lowe and the husband of Gweb Stefani. However, even I was surprised to see him play a venue this small, that there seems to be no promotion towards his first solo album, Wanderlust, released the week of the gig. At £12.50 this was a bargain. No support, doors at 8.30, he came on just after nine and did a set that was a good mix of Bush stuff and his new songs. But the Bush stuff he played was basically their big hits. He opened with Machinehead and did not miss anything obvious. His version if Swallowed was put nicely half way through and was fantastic. This music was filling arenas in the states ten years ago and Academy sized venues over here. Its fair to say that his new album is a bit over-produced, polished off by American producer Bob Rock, but live the new songs lost that giving them a harder edge.
Thought there might be a few celebs hanging around given his allegiance with the Primrose Hill sect, but the only person I thought I saw was Keith Allen propping up the bar. Still worth the admittance alone for the songs none the less.

Machinehead / Frontline / Can’t Stop The World / Zen / The Trouble I’m In / This Is Happiness / If You’re Not With Us / Love Remains The Same / Swallowed / Chemicals ///// Animals / Glycerine / Forever May You Run / Comedown


Thea Gilmore Bloomsbury Theatre 9.6.08

A Monday night is not the best to venture out, but Thea Gilmore’s show at the Bloomsbury Theatre was reason enough to come up to London. This was the first time I had been at this venue which is tucked behind ULU, a secombe centre type sit down venue. Having heard through the doors her support do the worst slowed down version of Green Days Basket Case I entered in. I have played Thea’s new album a few times and frankly found it hard work. Very depressing compared to some her previous mainstream stuff. (Thea fans will get the pun). Also when I saw the stage with a few acoustic instruments I soon realised this was not a show with a full band, so no hope of ‘Heart String Blues’ then. However, although the show featured heavily on Liejacker, she exceeded my expectations. Throwing in a lively ‘Seen It All Before’ in second certainly helped and the finale before the encore of ‘Call Me Darling’, ‘Girl Is Taking Bets’ and an audience singalong in ‘Are You Ready’ was rousing enough for an acoustic set. Before ‘Are You Ready’ Thea announced she was hacked off with the recent by-election result in her home district of Crewe & Nantwich. Then realising she was in London, she added ‘although probably not as much as you are!’ Too right. An encore started with her oldest song ‘December In New York’ which was suggested by an audience member, and in the sea shanty type song ‘When I Get Back To Shore’ the audience were invited up on stage. About ten females took her up on the invite, I decided to stay in my twelfth row seat from which I had a perfect centre view. Ten days later I would be at Bristol, but have a few other gigs to fit in first.
Before the gig I watched most of the Italy Holland game in the Friend At Hand in Russell Square. When finding out who was playing the attractive Aussie barmaid exclaimed ‘Wow I wish my boyfriend was playing’ before quickly adding ‘well my Italian boyfriend, I have one in every country’. Good girl!

Old Soul / Seen It All Before / Rosie / Dance In New York / You Spin Me Round Like A Record / Icarus Wind / Gods Got Nothing On You / Saviours And All / If You Miss Me At The Back Of The Bus / Black Letter / Avalanche / Call Me Darling / Girl Is Taking Bets / Are You Ready /////// December In New York / When I Get Back To Shore / Lower Road

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Avril Lavigne @ The O2 4.6.08

This was a weird one. Having seen Avril before I was looking forward to this. Although her audience is young, she comes out with catchy rock pop tunes and can be quite heavy in some places. However, in the afternoon I tracked down a somewhat scathing review of the first date of this tour that happened a month earlier in Canada, which turned out
This was my first trip to the main arena in the o2, and it is massive. A cross between Earls Court and Wembley really. Having purchased a £3.70 pint of Becks and a £4.00 cider! We managed to get about a third from the front. Here, we noticed that her audience was much younger than her previous shows. In the seats around the venue there were many under tens, in the standing area, there were many a 13 & 14 year old girl dressed up in pink. I assume that the corporate friendliness of the 02 would attract more families and younger fans than the standing shows of Brixton and Hammersmith would when I have seen her previously.
However, my fears that I read earlier in the day were confirmed when the show started with ‘Girlfriend’ with dancers carrying flagpoles running ahead of Avril. Her band were on podiums towards the back of the stage as Avril ran around ahead smiling high up to the sides of the arena. After a good version of new album track ‘I could do better’, she introduced ‘Complicated’ as a song she wrote six years ago when she was seventeen. This was ok but the vocals were slightly weak and off in some parts of the song. At least the dancers were not on stage. However, worse was to come when they wheeled out the piano for ‘When You’re Gone’. A great ballad on record, Avril played a few wrong and duff notes, at least proving it was live. This was followed by four acoustic songs performed with Avril sitting cross legged on a bar stool with her two guitarists alongside her, for a change. These were much shorter in length than the record and ‘Losing My Grip’ really lost its edge played this way. ‘Hot’ was accompanied by a video of Avril being really vampy, presumably going for the FHMTV on Q market! After this they all left stage and a video appeared accompanied by her studio cover of Joan Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation’, probably recognised by me and maybe a couple of others only out of over ten thousand! To be fair as the stage was empty without even a bye or see you in a minute, not many people knew what was going on. On Avrils return, through a hole in the middle of the stage the dancers returned and after more offkey singing, a drumkit was wheeled on, which Avril decided to play and sing at the same time on another new album track called ‘Runaway’. After this she left the stage with a goodnight. A couple of minutes later she returned in a pink hoodie, with several breakdancers gyrating to a remix of ‘Girlfriend’. This really was awful. Finally she thanked everyone and played ‘Skaterboi’ where it really showed that she could not reach the high notes of the choruses that she could when she was seventeen! And that was it. Eighty minutes, with nearly twenty songs crammed in. It all seemed rushed and marketed like a Britney Spears show rather than a rock-pop gig, which is a shame. You would have thought that her audience of young teenagers of a few years ago would have grown up with her and that her crowd would be that of the 16-20 bracket and would want a rock show, where if anything her crowd has got younger! And as to mixing her show with break-dancing and bad choreography…… For £35.00 it may be sometime before I see her again, which is a shame given her previous shows in smaller venues where her music did most of the work.

Girlfriend / I Can Do Better / Complicated / My Happy Ending / I'm With You / I Always Get What I Want / When You're Gone / Innocence / Give it Up / Hot / Losing My Grip //// Bad Reputation (video) //// The Best Damn Thing / Everything Back But You / Runaway / I Don't Have to Try / He Wasn't //// Girl-Boyfriend / Sk8er Boi

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Current Albums

Been a few albums I have bought recently but have been disappointing. One of my heroes, Thea Gilmore released Liejacker which is hard work. Depressing and over lyricsised it may be different when I see her live in a couple of weeks. The Tings Tings (see below) was preceded by the brillant no one 'That's Not My Name' but the album rarely reaches that high. Have Gavin Rossdale on pre-order who I am seeing next week so hopefully this will improve my mood as I have no expectations for that one really! That said both the Quireboys and Dan Baird albums that I bought at the shows are pretty good although Mr Bairds is probably overlong and could do with the songs being edited down a bit. Busy few weeks coming up with me realising that I can only watch eight evening Euro 2008 games (at least they include two q/fs one semi and the final). My tip is the Czech Republic at 16-1. I disgress and have a few 20-20 Surrey cricket games coming up aswell as gigs by Thea and Rossdale as above and Journey! Should be good. One of the Thea gigs is in Bristol which hopefully will see my first vist to legendary cider pub The Coronation Tap!


Dirty Pretty Things @ Astoria

So a day after my two borderline trips I was up in soho again for The Dirty Pretty Things. Carl Barratts band have a new album out in July and unfortuanately they played most of it. Normally at DPTs gigs you get a few Libertine songs (well ones that Barrett wrote anyway) but not this time and he seemed obssessed on promoting the Dirty Pretty Things as a band rather than just him, with other members taking vocals and their turn in the spotlight. This is all very well but he seems to forget that most of the fanbase are there cause of him. Some of the new songs sounded quite catchy and it's probably worth buying the album and the songs from the first album, Deadwood and Bang Bang Your Dead did sound exceptional. However, by concentrating on a set that most of the audience did not know made him lose a connection with the audience. Least he didn't seem bleary eyed as when he was when I last saw him on a stage at Clapham!

Friday, June 06, 2008


Rockn'roll Double Header 25 & 26 May

We’re the Quire Boys and this is rockn’roll. A welcome way to start a series of gigs with a double header at the Borderline, with the Quire Boys sharing the bill with ex Georgia Satellite Dan Baird. Two nights, alternating headline spots on the Sunday and Monday of the May bank holiday. The Sunday was sold out and on our pre-gig crawl we saw most of the QBs band (without lead singer Spike) in the nearby Pillars of Hercules pub larging it up. Dan Baird started off proceedings opening up a set with ‘Good Times Bad Times’. The main highlights were ‘Younger Face’ and set closer ‘Sheila’ (my favourite Satellites song) preceded by a cover of ‘Do You Wanna Dance’. Great stuff. The Quire Boys came on 15 minutes later and started with their main hit ‘Seven O’Clock’. An excellent set aswell with the singer from the Diamond Dogs (the other act we did not see) guesting on ‘Sweet Mary Ann’ with other crowd pleasers ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ and ‘Hey You’ being left till the encore. Some new stuff was also played from their new album ‘Homewreckers and Heartbreakers’ the best of which was ‘I Love This Dirty Town’. All in all an excellent night with Spike saying ‘see you tomorrow’, which indeed we did!
Monday, our crawl started in The Intrepid Fox, Londons rock pub. Unsurprisingly the eight or so other punters in here we all saw later in the gig! The Pillars was sans band but still a good pub when in Soho. This time the Quire Boys were first on and played an almost exact set as the night before, with Spike saying before each new song that their album had sold out (it hadn’t). There was no encore as such although yesterdays encore songs were played at the end of the set.
At the interval we spotted journalist Dave Ling propping up at the sound desk as we got out Tuborgs in! (a good beer to have on draught). Dan Baird was last on and it was all change on the set list front opening with ‘Railroad Steel’ and ‘I Love You Period’ neither of which were played the night before. Indeed, I only think he duplicated two songs in his entire set, his best known ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’ and newie ‘Two For Tuesday’ name checking Creedence Clearwater’. Fantastically, the show ended with Spike joining Dan Baird on stage and taking vocals for ‘Battleship Chains’, a song I hadn’t live with vocals for many a year (Dan for some reason is embarrassed to sing it and very occasionally does an instrumental version).
All in all a great double header at a really good small central London venue.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


All Right Now... Bad Co / Ex Con, Films etc

So a lot to fill in. Saw Mick Ralph’s Bad Company, who officially go under the name Ex-Com, at the Kingston Peel a few weeks ago. Classic Rock is what classic rock does and with Robert Hart stepping in for Paul Rodgers admirably well, we got great versions of Feel Like Making Love and Can’t Get Enough, as well as bizarrely Free’s Wishing Well and closer All Right Now, with the absent Rodgers being the only connection between the two bands! An excellent night, even without a stripper from the bar round the back! On a brief crawl before we visited a pub called the Bull & Bush, done only once before. A big old fashioned pub in the middle of a large 60s style estate. Glad we were in there by daylight.

Went to Putney to watch the skates win the FA Cup. A nice young barmaid in the Arab Boy for the first half was probably the highlight, although a crawl was done to get to the Coat & Badge for the second half with the Ye Olde Spotted Horse to end with before going dog racing at Wimbledon. Three forecasts came in so profit was made.

In the file world I ventured to the cinema for the first summer blockbuster to see, which is Iron Man. Iron Man is not one of my favourite superheroes from my comic reading days (issue 206 when he fights Goliath is an exception) however I thought the film was fantastic. Robert Downey Junior is great as multi-millionaire Tony Stark, looking cool like Hey from the Fun Lovin Criminals, and the storyline was believable and held interest. The franchise looks healthy with a great ending too.

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