Saturday, May 30, 2009


Island Life 50th Celbration, Fratellis 27.5.09.

Ever since I booked up for this taking place at Shepherds Bush Empire I was worried. Not that I thought it would be no good. No, The Fratellis are one of the best bands from the last couple of years. It was firstly wondering why it did not sell out within nanoseconds. Maybe the price, £35.00, is a bit steep these days. Still the Fratellis should be considered an arena band and here's a chance to see them in a small venue, as a one off gig, in a series to celebrate 50 years of island records. Still within three weeks of the gig there were still standing tickets availiable, as there would be on the day of the show. Then in dawned on me. It's the same night as the Champions league final. This dispelled my worry why no-one was buying tickets and then started my worry as to what I would do. Would I miss half the show if I watched the whole game? Then stage times were announced. Fratellis on at 9.35pm. Great I thought, watch the game in the Walkabout. Then it dawns, just under an hour an a half? Still maybe if there's no encore or audience banter then that fits in with most of their two albums. Anyway after a disappointing game, I head into a half empty venue dead on 9.35. Ten minutes later it is a bit more heaving and a look upstairs shows it's just as crowded on levels 1-3. However, no band on stage and the reggae music playing on the PA (including a reggae version of White Stripes Seven Nation Army) is doing my head in a bit. Five minutes later they are introduced by some caribbean bloke who must have something to do with Island. On come the band, and instead of launching into something well known they start with a reggae beat. Strange? A vaguely recognisable Bob Marley tune, which the next day I discover to be called 'Stir It Up'. This lasts over ten minutes. A look at my phone shows it to be five past ten when it ends. The crowd are talking and lost much like myself. The bar is busy. What happened next though was fantastic, as (although only discovered the day after when trying to find the set) the Fratellis play all of their debut album Costello Music in order. Again not knowing this, I began to worry as Whstle From The Choir and Chelsea Dagger are played as track four and five! Still as this album is very familar there was moshing, singing and generally a good time had by all. The best of the second album followed including Look Out Sunshine and an encore of Shameless and Milk And Money, a very apt ending. The show ended at ten past eleven, so just over an hour twenty which wasn't too bad, and given the one-offness of the show (from the band's view) and the uniqueness of the debut in full, it was a great night from a great band.


Lahannya, Water Rats 24.5.09

On her website, Lahannya descirbes herself as an industrial metal act. This to me conjures up really heavy gruff thrash stuff. In fact, I would say she is much more like the band 'garbage'. Similar breathy vocals to Ms Manson, and fairly rocky tunes you can bang your head too. A disappointment then that so few were in the Water Rats on the bank holiday sunday to see her. Not knowing much of her stuff I was really impressed and bought her album Shotgun Reality on the way out, which having played it last night is excellent. She did a decent forty five minute set and for £6.00 you couldn't really argue with that. I did pop my head in for the support band on before her but gave up after two songs, as they were too thrashy, so went round the corner to the Queens Head pub where they were showing Britains Got Talent semi final. On a less sad note, Newcastle got relegated that day too! hahahaha!


Ting Tings, Brixton Academy 22.5.09

This was postponed from a month ago due to a Brixton power cut! Having seen the Ting Tings over a year ago, just before the album came out I was interested to see how they have progressed. The album is good and has been sucessful globally. Unfortuantely the live act has not progressed. Still just the two of them for the majority of the time, they have added a horn section, but alas, they are still over reliant on programming and backing tapes. The tunes are singalong pop and danceable to and I did enjoy them, but at £20.00 in a bigger venue you firstly expect something more than just the 35 minute album and maybe a better visual spectacular, if they really don't want to expand into a proper band playing all notes live. Currently you may as well just put the CD on, as the live experiance doesn't enhance matters the way it should. Still maybe when they have some new songs we'll see them again and bop along to That's Not My Name!

Set - We Walk / Great DJ / Fruit Machine / Keep Your Head / Traffic Light / Be The One / We Started Nothing / Shut Up And Let Me Go //// Impacilla Carpisung / That's Not My Name

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Twisted Wheel, Kings College 20.5.09.

Always nice to go back to Kings College and Tutus bar, where I spent many a Saturday night of my early twenties and the Britpop years!
Twisted Wheel had been the support act of many artists I've seen over he last year and I have always given them a miss. However, their album is now out and isn't too bad and one of my mates said he was going. Their music is summed up in the chorus of 'Oh What Have You Done, You Dirty Rockn'roller'. Yes basically, indie rocknroll. Sometimes they get a bit northern and too fast like the Artic Monkeys, but where they are melodic like on Bouncing Bomb and You Stole The Sun, its good moshy stuff. Nothing groundbreaking but a pleasant surprise.

Set - Lucy The Castle / Racket / Bad Candy / She's A Weapon / Turn Around / Strife / Honey Girl / Let Them Have It All / One Night On The Street / Smash It Up / Bouncing Bomb / Take Her Higher / You Stole The Sun / Oh What Have You Done / We Are Us

Friday, May 15, 2009


Per Gessle & His Band, 4.5.09 Islington Academy

So my birthday weekend concluded with a gig from Per Gessle from Roxette. He hasn't played here for 15 years. Despite this and being a big Roxette fan as a teenager I was put off by the £30.00 plus asking price, and so were a lot of people as the show was downsized from Shepherd's Bush. However after the show I was glad of the decision (partly of the offer of as a birthday gift too) to go. A large amount of Roxette songs were played, though all sung by Per rather than the female backing singer in the band. Again the promotion for this suggested the band was Roxette with this person replacing Marie Fredrikkson. However, this was not the case. The pop rock of Dressed For Success opened the show, and was followed by a few solo tunes, all had the Swedish poppy motif. He then played two songs from a folk album he put out called Son Of A Plumber. Let's just say they deterred me buying it from the merchandise stall, and gave an opportunity to visit the bar. The last half of the main set was pure Roxette and started with an acoustic version of Listen To Your Heart that nearly had me in tears! Church of Your Heart had people bouncing and when he went off after Joyride you felt you were jsut getting started. The encore included an extended version of The Look (nananananah!) and a cover of the Monkee's I'm Not You're Stepping Stone, (actually they covered it too!). The show ended with Queen Of Rain two hours after he came on just before ten. This allowed us time to get to Borough Market (near London Bridge for the last train) for a celebratory birthday beer in the Market Porter.

Set - Dressed For Success / Drowning In Wonderful Thoughts About Her / Stupid / Party Pleaser / I Wish I Could Fly / She Doesn't Live Here Anymore / 7 Twenty 7 / I Have A Party In My Head / Late, Later On / Listen To Your Heart / Do You Wanna Be My Baby / Opportunity Nox / Doesn't Make Sense / Church Of Your Heart / Dangerous / Joyride /// C'mon / Are You An Old Hippy Sir? / The Look / It Must Have Been Love / Sleeping In My Car /// I'm Not Your Stepping Stone / Queen Of Rain

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Birthday Weekend in Nottingham

Decided to spend my birthday weekend in Nottingham, which coincided with Saints game against Forest up there. Bit of an anti-climax to the weekend though with us already down and Forest safe.
We got a train up and had some time in Grantham. Beer In The Evening did not let us down as we ventured to the Blue Pig Inn. A quaint 16th century pub with a beer garden somewhat detached from the main building. Some real ales too (as well as the orange Cheddar Valley Cider). A lovely barmaid too.
After spending sometime here we wondered slowly back via the Stagger Inn which was a bit rough and ready and a very much backstreet local, the Odd House.
Arriving at Nottingham we went straight for food and to the only Hooters in the UK. Made for the male this a is sports bar / American restaurant where you are served by attractive girls in vest and orange shorts. We got the lovely Andrea who had a pierced tongue.
Checking in at the Britannia was a bit of a pain with the receptionist saying they only had one of my bookings (not four) and after saying they were full, they quickly found the three other rooms. A crawl of Nottingham then ensued with the Salutation and Royal Children done early on. Keans Head was an ale pub though they had the eastern European lager Veltins on draught which is what I had,. We then headed to the back bar of the Bell via The Pit & Pendulum. Here a bad move, as I had a whiskey chaser with my pint (no more whiskey – an in joke of a previous visit many many years ago!). Foremans the punk bar we sat outside at before getting into Rock City. We hung around in the classic rock bit and although (at our request) they played Skin’s Look But Don’t Touch, not much else we knew was played which was disappointing. Feeling the worse for wear I somehow managed to get lost on the way back to the hotel making what was a five minute journey into over an hour!
Still up and earlyish for breakfast and a pint in the Wetherspoons. We must have just ordered at the wrong time as half the breakfasts took no time at all with the other half of our group waiting over 45 minutes! Bizarre as they were ordered at the same time. On the way to the City Ground we stopped at the Fellows Morton & Clay pub on the canal where again we enjoyed some of the weather. The game saw Southampton dominate for an hour before conceding three goals towards the end, not that it really mattered.
Again the trip home was via Grantham where we made a second visit to the Blue Pig Inn, to be greeted by the same lovely looking barmaid. If only I could make it my local. The Blue Bull (not that great) was then done before heading on the train back to London for a well earned rest. An earlyish night then ensued in preparation for the following night and last day of the bank holiday!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Brakes, Voluntary Butler Scheme, Rose Elinor Dougall @ Dingwalls 28.4.09.

Turned up early for this one as Miss Dougall was on stage at 7.45pm. Got there a bit earlier in fact and heard her sound check just before the doors opened. Being a support means there is less pressure and you could see that the band were not being rushed. This meant a much more relaxed set and I think you could see the benefit. Unfortuanately there were only twelve people had made it in the room at the start of her set, though half an hour later this had probably quadrupled. Excellent as always and this being the fourth time I've seen her this year I can now sing along a bit which is always good.
The main support was a bloke called Rob Jones under a psydenym, Voluntary Butler Scheme. He was on his own with keyboards which he programmed into a loop and was fairly boring and slow. He did try a Kazoo on one song and had an obssession with ghetto blasters in his lyrics. Won't be rushing to see him again.
The Brakes are on their third album now, and have former members of British Sea Power in their ranks (which is how Rose probably ended up on the bill). Didn't really know much else about them or certainly know any songs but I did approach it with an open mind and ended up in the middle bit about halfway between the bar and stage. They were good but a bit weird and I think you'll need to acquire their taste. Some of it was typical indie, some country songs or influences at least and some songs lasting no more that two seconds! They don't look like musicians but more like Camra members, though that probably is their obtuse appeal. I moved to the back in the encore to ensure a quick exit so they must have lost marks somewhere along the line. However, may be worth an investment in an album before I decide whether to return for a future gig if theirs or not.

Friday, May 01, 2009


Saxon & Doro 23.4.09 HMV Forum

This was a bot of a wildcard as although I knew that Saxon were one of the prominant bands of the early eighties NWOBH movement, I did not actually know any of their songs. I mainly went for uber rock chick Doro who I saw do a storming show at the underworld a few years ago. Perhaps the best review of this is on Dave Ling's website who described Doro's set as a firecracker. A member of Girlschool guested on one of two tracks from her new album with the rest a best of set including her cover of Breaking The Law and All We Are. She still looks great at 45 too!
Saxon were a bit of a mix with distinct rock songs which were excellent and some overly metal tracks that were not so good. I enjoyed Ride Like The Wind early on and in some places Biff Byford's vocals were uncannilly like Brice Dickinson. Their set was nearly two and half hours going on till nearly half past eleven. A bonus in the encore was when Doro reentered the stage and treated us to a duet with Biff on the second Judas Priest cover of the night, 'You've Got Another Thing Coming'. Great stuff!

Saxon Set List -- 'Battalions Of Steel’, ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’, ‘Demon Sweeney Todd’, ‘Ride Like The Wind’, ‘Requiem (We Will Remember)’, ‘Strong Arm Of The Law’, ‘Valley Of The Kings’, ‘And Te Bands Played On’, ‘Hellcat’, ‘The Eagle Has Landed’, ‘Come Rock Of Ages (The Circle Is Complete)’, ‘Machine Gun’, ‘Never Surrender’,‘Wheels Of Steel’ ////// ‘Live To Rock’, ‘Motorcycle Man’, ‘Crusader’, ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’(with Doro), ‘747 (Strangers In The Night)’, ‘Denim And Leather’, ‘Princess Of The Night’


18th April Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1

This is an actress who plays one of the twins in Channel 4's Skins. I sat next to her (or maybe her sister) on the tube after watching the FA Cup semi final in London. She was wearing a very short skirt and on her way to Fabric night club. Have to admit I had no idea who she was until another girl on the tube wearing an equally short skirt asked 'are you one of the twins in Skins?'. She's at a drama school in North London and can't sing are the other facts I learned about her.
As to the semi, weren't Arsenal rubbish, especially their keeper Fabianski?
As to the other semi, rubbish games and rubbish penalties espceically from Cahill and Berbatov. No need to locate a place for the cup final crawl me and a mate normally do. Preferably away from the South London blue army.

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