Thursday, July 30, 2009


Dan Baird & Homemade Sin, Borderline 26.7.09

Over two hours, set made up as he went along, covers of 'When Will I Be Loved', 'Ohh La La' 'I Wanna Be Sedated' & 'Get It On' and cracking versions of Georgia Satellite classics such as 'Sheila' ' Railroad Steel' and 'Nights Of Mystery', all I can say is that you couldn't really argue with this gig. Tuborg on draught too, time for a game of pinball in the Intrepid Fox and we didn't miss the last tube home. Cracking evening.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Sky Larkin, Lexington 24.7.09

Sky Larkins Golden Spike album is superb so I was really looking forward to this. I wasn't disappointed either. They are a three piece with the lovely Katie on lead vocals and guitar. Songs about geology too that sound like a rocky version of the Sundays. The Lexington was a new venue for me, upstairs and relatively big akin to somewhere like the Scala. The only shame was that they didn't play their cover of Because The Night despite my heckle, and the bass player saying maybe the encore. Top gig for a bargain fiver. Buy their album which is only £5.99 on play.
Did a good crawl before hand from Angel tube too. As it was pouring as I got off the tube i went to the York pub, packed with people seeking shelter like me! As it brightened, a pub called the castle had bitburger on draught. I had only been here once previously over ten years ago when it was called Ye Olde Pint Pot. Still had a good roof terrace. I saw the Crystal Palace 100m with Usain Bolt winning easily in the Lord Wolseley, a local if there ever was, and finally Filthy McNastys with all the rock memorabilia and posters dotted around. Definately worth checking out this venue again when someone else good plays.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Black Box Recorder, Queen Elizabeth Hall 23.7.09.

After a six year absence Black Box Recorder return to my viewing. I was half expecting a set of new songs for a forthcoming album. Instead we got a best of set which was fantastic (though two new songs were played late on). An early start of half eight meant a 90 minute set. The Queen Elizabeth Hall suited the meloncholic sound and vocals of Sarh Nixey brillantly. Nixey looked stunning in her high heels and red ball dress, whereas Haines and Moore wore their customery white suits and the former in a hat. Behind the band a big screen showed images of cultural figures ranging from Lord Lucan & Gary Glitter to David Cameron & Gordon Brown. Intermingled were images of the band and videos of them playing Top Of The Pops. All British and it worked really well especially during Facts Of Life. We got two encores with the last song being called their 'party piece' which was a very heavy version of Lord Lucan is Missing. Upon exiting I would have said that this was probably the best gig of the year so far, unitl I accidentally walked into the ladies toilet following another bloke!

It’s Only The End Of The World / Brutality / Girl Singing In The Wreckage / English Motorway System / British Racing Green / Hated Sunday / Wonderful Life / Facts Of Life / Factory Radio / Straight Life / Child Psychology / Start As You Mean To Go On / I C One Female / Do You Believe In God? / Keep It In The Family / The Art Of Driving / England Made Me ////// Ideal Home / The New Diana / Goodnight Kiss / When Britain Refused To Sing / I Ran All The Way Home /// Lord Lucan Is Missing

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Lovely Eggs, Dublin Castle 21.7.09

My first ever trip to the Dublin Castle believe it or not. The Lovely Eggs, a husband & wife duo responsible for one of my favourite albums of the year are doing a show and it's only a fiver on the door. I arrive late where a band called Army Navy are supporting. I catch their cover of Right Back Where You Started From and a couple of others which are not too bad, but am surprised by how empty it is. When The Lovely Eggs start their set I count an audience of 21. Holly Ross (ex-Angelica who wooed me at Reading nine years ago) is an impressive frontwoman with her husband on percussian and drums. She is humerous when talking to the audience, asking why you cannot get 3d viewers of Preston instead of 1976 Grand Canyon before the song, 'I Collect Snails', from their debut EP. They also did 'I Want To Fall Off My Bike Today' from the same EP which gives you an idea of just how twee they can be. After several songs about fruit (which David doesn't eat enough of) including the strange 'O Death' from their current album, they end with the instantly catchable 'Have You Ever Heard An Electric Accordian?' where if you have you'll burn in Hell! Although they played most of the album as well as a few others, they were only on stage for 25 minutes which was a little disappointing. Still over a minute each given the crowd size.


Bat For Lashes, itunes Festival 19.7.09

This was free after applying on the itunes site. It was slightly disappointing however that they would not let you out of the venue after you collected your wristband meaning we were stuck with an expensive drink and no seat which you could get in a pub. Support was from Polly Scattergood who was quite good. However, she trys to be a bit too quirky for the sake of being quirky, when when she does concentrate on her singing you can tell she's a relatively normal performer.
Bat For Lashes changed their set around concentrating on the best songs from their both albums which was for the better. Not too sure how many here would have actually paid to see her, as the audience reception was a little lacklustre, though I really thought the songs and the performance were as good as someone in the female songwriter genre I have seen in a while.
Afterwards we did manage a pint in the Lock Tavern where there was an utterly gorgeous female working, though my companion did harshly say she was only five stone! Still we had time for a couple of pints of Amstel before the tube to Morden.

Set - Glass / Horse & I / Travelling Woman / Bat's Mouth / Sarah / Sleep Alone / The Wizard / Siren Song / Trophy / What's A Girl To Do / Pearl's Dream / Priscilla / Good Love / Two Planets / Daniel


Kasabian, Brixton Academy 16.7.09

Now call me a moaning old git but moshing these days seems more violent than in my day. It used to be that you jumped up and down, forwards, backwards and occiasionally to the side, but always facing the stage. These days the youth delibratley push each other creating circles they can run around in not paying any attention to the band. Summed up with the nutty boys here at Brixton. I got a good place just in front of the last barrier near the stage on the left (as always here), and despite standing still for most of the show, I had to push away at least four of five different people jumping in my direction. I could understand it if I was just pushing their backs as they jumped up and down in a crowded area, but here there was
enough room and these people I to shove from the side back in the direction they were coming from. A shame these w*nk*rs don't pay any attention to the music as Kasabian are maintaining their position as one of the best current live bands. The only negative tonight was a couple of the new songs sound very much like their first album in particular Processed Beats, so much so I though they were going into this song twice before they actually played it! Ending as ever with LSF it gave me something to sing as I walked up Stockwell High Road in the pouring rain, when it had been warm and sunny on the way into the Academy.
Set - Underdog / Shoot The Runner / Cutt Off / Empire / Where Did The Love Go? / Thick As Thieves / Take Aim / Fast Fuse / Processed Beats / Fire / The Doberman / Club Foot ///// Vlad The Impaler / Stuntman / You Got The Love / L.S.F.


Pub Crawl 2009 - Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Some comments on the pubs visited on the sucessful 2009 crawl. Top bit in Greenwich, below the dotted line, the Isle of Dogs.

Belushis - Strange Train Pub, quite pleasant
North Pole - No Pub Will Surpass This
Ashburnham Arms - Nice And Sunny
Morden Arms - Where's the next place?
Greenwich Union - Child Friendly, the paintings are S***
Richard 1 - Nicely Varnished
Mitre - Spiral Staircase
Coach And Horse - Pleasant Times
Admiral Hardy - Psychedelic Toilets
Spainish Galleon - Dull but had the Cricket on
Gypsy Moth - Shady
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Lord Nelson - Top Killer
Ferry Tavern - They've got some dials
Watermans Arms - Staircase to nowhere
Pier Tavern - Traditional Beer Cavern
Cubitt Arms - Its Raining
George - Scary Locals
All Bar One - It's an All Bar One!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Pub Crawl XIV

takes place this Saturday based on the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. If anyone is interested in the previous 'offical annual pub crawls' I think they are as follows;
1996 Monopoly Board
1997 A-Z of London
1998 The Kings Road
1999 Nationality Theme Pubs
2000 Circle Line
2001 Croydon Tram Link
2002 The Boat Race
2003 Notting Hill Carnival Route
2004 Twickenham
2005 Brighton Monopoly Board
2006 Upper Street Islington
2007 Blue Plaque Heritage
2008 Borough High Street

We're getting the 12.23 train from Waterloo East to Greenwich if people need reminding.


Oasis, Wembley Stadium 11.7.09

When the tickets went on sale, Kasabian and The Enemy, were also billed. Then Reverend & The Makers were added and it was all taken shape. However, as we got there the big screens announced that the Enemy had pulled out. This resulted in an extended set by the Rev and Oasis coming on five minutes earlier. However, as it was raining also meant we missed an extra half hour in the pub and was stuck with it being £4 pint of Carlsberg. The Rev played a similar mix that he did a couple of days ago at the Koko. Laura looked good on the big screen in her short shorts! Kasabian played for an hour and again did a good mix of their new album and classics ending as always in their singalong anthem LSF.
Oasis changed their set slightly from their arena shows of last year and there was a welcome return of Live Forever and the Noel sung Half The World Away. They also played My Big Mouth from the Be Here Now album which wasn't quite as well received. The sound was pretty good considering the conditions and in the encore Don't Look Back In Anger was sund entirely by the 80odd thousand in the crowd. A very good outdoor show in my first gig visit to Wembley, despite the weather. A good connection on the overhead lime to Wembley Central also meant the travelling problems you normally get being negated, as I was able to meet my brother who had just seen Thunders last show of their tour at Hammersmith, in Wimbledon for a late pint.

Oasis set - Rockn'roll Star / Lyla / Shock Of Lightning / Cigarettes & Alcohol / Roll With It / To Be Where There's Life / Waiting For The Rapture / The Masterplan / Songbird / Slide Away / Morning Glory / My Big Mouth / The Importance Of Being Idle / Half The World Away / I'm Outta Time / Wonderwall / Live Forever / Supersonic ////// Don't Look Back In Anger / Falling Down / Champagne Supernova / I Am The Walrus


Reverend & The Makers, Koko 8.7.09

The rev is an angry man two songs into his set, swearing at the side mixing desk to turn up his mike. Not that there are any problems with the sound in the audience. Opening up with the horn based Silence Is Talking from the forthcoming album the set was a good 50/50 mix between new and old, the best old one being Heavyweight Champion Of The World. The Rev is clearly punching above his weight being engaged to the lovely Laura Manuel on keys and percussion. Out of the new stuff, Professor Pickles sounded the most instant in catchability. A good show as a prequel to their support at Wembley over the weekend.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Bryan Adams Southampton Guildhall 7.7.09

If this was a normal Bryan Adams show at the O2, then at £67 I would have given it a miss, allbeit begrudgingly. As you know he has been a favourite artist of mine since I was 11 when Reckless came out and I have seen him several times since 1987, occasionally several nights a tour. These days, with ticket prices inflating, I only tend to go one night each tour but with this being the first time above fifty quid then I was thinking twice. However, Bryan has been doing acoustic shows across the US & Canada and now it was the UK’s turn. A chance to see him do a set with just an acoustic guitar and a piano player, Gary Breit, was something I could not turn down.
Rumours were that in the US shows, he would take requests from the audience and whilst I left my Take Me Back banner at home (or on my brother car in 1998!) I was hoping for a few songs not played for ages. I was slightly disappointed when I found out afterwards that his set was static for the UK shows, but relieved that he did not do something like ‘Remember’ somewhere else and not here! He opened up with Run To You which only really works acoustically with the crowd doing the hand clap in the middle solo. (the solo in the intro was ignored). From then on it was good but not fantastic. The set for me was too ballad heavy, though, Thought I Died & Gone To Heaven remains a firm favourite, dirge like Let’s Make It A Night To Remember and Please Forgive Me, had a negative effect on me. Heat Of The Night was really effective, one of the songs that featured the piano and a trilogy of Cuts Like A Knife, Lonely Nights and This Time, performed solo by Bryan just about justified the price of the ticket, they were that good. A few songs were played from his ‘11’ album, of which Not Romeo Not Juliet was best, and for a long long time at an Adams gig he played an original song which I did not know, one he wrote for Ray Charles called The Right Place. The encore continued the hot & coldness of the gig with Somebody being played brilliantly and Have You Ever Loved A Women sounding awful. Bryan ended with a ballad he wrote when he was eighteen. A shame someone didn’t tell him then to stop writing ballads as he was never going to better ‘Straight From The Heart’. All in all, it was good to see him in a different environment, but he will need to reduce the cost of the ticket for me to go again.

Run To You / Tonight We Have The Stars / Back To You / Here I Am / Thought I'd Died And Gone To Heaven / Let's Make A Night To Remember / Can't Stop This Thing We Started / I Thought I'd Seen Everything / When You Love Someone / Heat Of The Night / Not Romeo Not Juliet / Everything I Do / Cuts Like A Knife / Lonely Nights / This Time / Mysterious Ways / Please Forgive Me / Summer Of '69 / Walk On By / Heaven / When You're Gone / The Right Place / The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You ///// Somebody / Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman? / Never Let Go / Straight From The Heart

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Thunder Cambridge Corn Exchange 5.7.09

So essentially this should be the last ever time I will see Thunder (though that was said at Camden Dingwalls around seven years ago). One of my favourite rock bands and a shame the last one bar two festivals at Hammersmith clashed with Oasis. Still a chance for a pub crawl of Cambridge where an odd mix was done. The second one called the Live & Let Live, a real ale place, was quieter than a library despite there being three other people drinking in there. The Six Bells had a pool table in a conservatory making conditions uncomfortable when playing. The Kingston Arms had a nice garden where there was no draught lager. Better was the Cambridge Blue with a selection of over 100 bottles. We stayed in the garden and sampled a couple. Time for a couple of others too one of which, the Man In The Moon, we watched the last few games of the epic Federer Roddick Wimbledon final. Amazing stuff.
Onto the gig then, and Thunder have been changing their set each night. This did mean we had no Backstreet Symphony, but we did get Just Another Suicide and Welcome To The Party, both favs of mine. Other than that they were excellent with standerds such as Love Walked In & A Better Man all highlights. Worth the long journey home (two nightbuses from Kings Cross) for probably the last time I will see this great band.

Loser / Welcome To The Party / Higher Ground / Low Life In High Places / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Moth To The Flame / The Devil Made Me Do It / Love Walked In / Stand Up / You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down / Don’t Wait For Me / I Love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll ///// A Better Man / Just Another Suicide / Dirty Love


Last Week

Went to Epsom racing on Thursday. Had one winner which was 9-2 so wasn't too badly down on the day. Status Quo played in the evening and seemed to be in good form. The encore was a bit of a waste as they came out a minute before the curfew, so basically it was a couple of chorus's of Bye Bye Johnny and off!
Went to Kingston on Saturday for a few pubs along the river enjoying the hot weather. Porter Blacks is now called Woody's though no semblence of the Woodies in New Malden was to be had. Everywhere was rammed though as you had to take plastic pint glasses if you wanted to be by the river then maybe we should have gone back to the old days and gone to an off licence instead to save money.
A couple of Cds I've been playing are The Lovely Eggs - If You Were Fruit and Sky Larkin - The Golden Spike. The former is very twee with songs with titles like 'I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too' which is a classic. Though my favourite lyric is from the title track - 'I peeled a lemon and I thought of you, you're not sour I just like lemons'. Great stuff. Sky Larkin's vocalist is very reminscent of the Sundays and though slightly more guitary it is still good shoe glazing stuff.
Also I've started my yearly run through of Buffy episodes and am currently at the end of season three. I've forgotton how good that was! I have Joss Wheadon's new one, Dollhouse, season one DVD on pre-order now, which should be good. I can also watch it as new, as I have only seen a couple of episodes as it hasn't been on a terrestial or freeview channel yet. Good stuff. More gigs to write up from the weekend which I shall do immiently.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Shonen Knife 29.6.09 Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes

Shonen Knife are a Japenese girl pop punk band that have been around for over twenty years. At £8.25 we thought they were worth a gamble after all what's not to like? Well maybe the support, Baguette Bardot aka as Toast Girl, a very pretty performance artist who uses bread as her arms! Very strange. We did see her later holding a glass of wine in her very normal petite hands meaning she may have ate the bread!
The venue was a bowling alley underneath the Tavistock Hotel which fitted in with the bizarreness of the evening. We decided to miss the next act called Sputniko, having a game of table football, and then made use of the outside area given the very hot weather.
Shonen Knife came on gone eleven and played for just over an hour. Their music was fantastic with all catchy tunes, though can only recall a few titles, 'Pyramid Power' being one. There was also a tune with the words 'one day at a time' that I was still humming as we left the venue. Definately worth checking out next time they are over here and I will be searching for cheap Cds of theirs when I get the chance. Given they are big in their homeland, I can see why Shampoo (my favourite live act ever!) made it huge over there. Just a shame I didn't come away from the gig with a new japenese girlfriend.

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