Been ages since I've been to an instore here and a while since I've seen The Twilight Sad too. Just the 2 of them for this for a stripped down set this does not mean they lack in intensity as James still captivates everyone with that stunning voice which is drenched in emotion as Andy plays a more stripped down version of his distinctive dreamy guitar work. James was in a particular Jokey mood tonight between the songs. Saying about he had to check that his flies wasn't undone as another gig they was. Someone yelled it's why the songs are all so miserable so he said his solo album would be along the lines of "my songs are all so miserable because I have a small penis" From the banter which has the room in fits of laughter the contrast of the music which stuns everyone as they went into That Summer at Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy. This short set included gems from the first album such as the powerful And She Would Darken My Memory and the addition of Mapped By What Surrounded Them which James said they'd just put in the set so hope they wont mess it up, far from it. I Become A Prostitute the only track from the second album but a few from the most recent one Nobody Wants to Leave Here and Nobody Wants to Leave including It was Never The Same and Last January. James full of appreciation to those who turned up today as ever stunned that people go to see them and how it means so much, well it means so much to hear this incredible music live. Set ending with the Wrong Car from their ep another Twilight Sad gig where I walk away from blown away. James had said they will try to sort out a proper gig to go with the latest release (Oran Mor Sessions) as they hadn't done one but then said that this feels like a proper gig anyway, I agree it did!
This gig was announced some time again and initially I was so excited and although I do love all these bands and the forum is my favourite venue of that size I was a little sceptical how it would work. Punk is usually better in smaller places, but a line up like this no way could I miss out.
In Evil Hour were first up and despite the usual laziness of punks(or would rather be in pub than see support bands) it was a disapointing crowd for them but still they put everything into it. A powerful rocking set and great delivery by their energetic vocalists. This band get better each time and I hope one day those who missed this kick themselves when they realise how good this lot are.
Paranoid Visions next and if ever a band can fill such a big venue with sound and power these can. Such a diverse take on punk rock such depth and feeling in those well crafted songs. A band who have been around for decades but unleashing their best work consistantly over the recent few years and their material from the latest album Cryptic Cross Words played in the set tonight more than backed this up. Deko is one of the most charasmatic frontmen you'll ever see. His voice both powerful and full of menace with sometimes a dark chilling feel. Aoife their other vocalist is so animated bouncing round the stage with sheer energy and she spits out her vocals with such venom especially on the Sex Kills which she does lead on. Tonight these looked and felt like a headline act on this stage. Deko again at the end saying they're the last punk band but certainly right now one of the most relevent and important.
The Defects next and as the bands before them had no fear about being on the big stage and sounding incredible. The consistancy of the quality music on offer tonight was vast, These went through a set of classics and new songs all sounding fantastic.Buck as always sounding brilliant I said before he's one of my favourite punk vocalists and again tonight showing me exactly why. Brutality the set closer was again the highlitght getting a massive chant along from the crowd. Belfast punk rock at its very best.
Discharge I've not seen for over a year now and that was the first of the expanded line up and with singer Jeff. He did a great job that night but for the rest it lacked power. Well one year later they are back to their best with what was like a holocaust onstage. Jeff really making the frontman roll his own now looking so comfortable as he yelled out those angry vocals to these classic heavy punk rock classics. Never Again, Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, Fight Back, State Violence State Control it was a constant flurry such powerful songs really tearing the place to shreads. Decontrol ended things in wonderful style. Discharge not only back to form but I'd say this was the best I've ever seen them.
I often annoy others and myself by having to point out that I haven't liked an Exploited album since Horror Epics! even then I moan saying about the drum sound! Death Before Dishonour I thought was ok but the 3 that followed I dismiss as being poor metal albums. For a lot of people these are their best but I just don't get it. So although I was well up for this I was thinking some of it would be a disapointment as it was before (although looking at a review of them by me from 2006 I praised the newer stuff live!). Kicking off with Let's Start a War I knew whatever we get the classics will remain classic as this was incredible. Wattie in great form and he roared out the vocals in his strong Edinburgh accent. It was a worrying time when he had his heart attack last year I didn't want punk to lose such an icon and an important one for me as Dogs of War was the first punk record I bought back when I was 10 in 81. A simple but powerful song and played to utter perfection tonight. Lots of classics including UK 82, Army Life, Dead Cities really hitting the spot, Henry Rollins and Jello Biafra got a slagging off before they belted out an amazing Fuck The USA. after a day of amazing bands would've been a shame if these were a let down far far from it. infact those newer songs each and everyone of them sounded fucking amazing I'd even put some of them up there with the classics. Not sure if I'd appreciate the albums but these live versions really kicked. They were played dirty and powerful and it wasn't too metal(I like metal of course but not so often by a punk band) The guitarist did tease at times playing some metal riffs including Raining Blood by Slayer! Wattie at times banging his head with the mic invited people up onstage to sing along to sex and violence. Those up there having the time of their lives. With this and a good few other gigs tonight and these bands in the form they were in Punk's Not Dead was more than fitting. Ending the set with what was one of the surprises of the night Was It Me. A fantastic song which moved along menacingly as Wattie for a final time sang so brilliantly and angry to this. I even listend to the studio version when I got in and yes I'd say one of their best!!
This was the final night of a 3 night residency at this venue for Gary. I couldn't afford all but since I missed Telekon when he toured it a few years ago and did get to see the other albums he was doing the previous nights (Replicas & Pleasure Principle) I had to attend this one. I got to the venue early around 6pm but knew a spot at the barrier would never happen as he has some of the most obsessive fans ever and some prob never left the venue the previous night! looking at the crowd gathered in the line outside it was like there was a fire drill at a care home!! One bloke even wearing a Gary Numan Telekon era outfit and wearing a badly fitted wig! oh my days!! I shouldn't mock though I mean I am old too and don't wanna receive a clockwork orange style beating from these people next time I attend a Numan gig! besides they're a friendly well behaved audience and nothing wrong with being geeky and obsessive about great music!!
Tim Muddiman & The Strange were first up. I didn't actually know who it was during the set although heard someone say Tim and and googled it when home! (He's also of course the bassist for Gary Numan but then I never know who's in the band apart from Gary!!) I thought I wasn't gonna like this as it started sounded quite rocking and I thought it would be the cliched over done industrial rock which usually never sounds industrial at all! Far from it though as yes it was rocking but well crafted songs and great vocals. the melodies were quite gripping and I enjoyed this stuff. Far better than the monstrosity that was done with Tim playing in Pop Will Eatitself last time he was present at this venue (although again I googled it can't even remember who was in the band that night!) look forward to seeing this lot again supporting Fuzzbox.
Being in amongst the crowd was like some kinda party I'd gatecrashed as everyone seemed to know each other or of each other as they spoke about Numan gigs from around the world and pointing out other people in the crowd. I was made to feel welcome as someone offered me some water. Anyway the lights went down and it was like a football match as the chants of "Numan, Numan" echoed around the venue. Before the band came on the intro to This Wreckage was played. Now this was my introduction to Gary Numan all those years ago as it was the time I was properly getting into music. A dark and weird pop song kinda set the mood for a lot of music I've enjoyed over the years. As the band came on the crowd started clapping along to the song! I hoped to fuck this wouldn't be happening the whole night but fortunately stopped soon as Gary sang. When he did fuck me I was just full of emotion as it was the first time hearing this one live and the way it was done was sheer beauty I never wanted it to end! it's moments like this I live for! He continued to play the rest of the album(not in the right order but was prepared for this as he did the same with the other albums!! so didn't get annoyed!!). It's one of his darkest and most electronic sounding albums. So many great standout tracks and a bleak feel about it which I love. I Dream of Wires sounding incredible and the more upbeat I'm An Agent but saturated with that wonderful dreamy swirling synth sound. This was everything I'd hoped for and more hearing this great album live. The Aircrash Bureau was always a strange song and topic I thought but not in a bad way! A dark and wonderful tune. Remember I was Vapour and another one of the standout tracks really captivating me. Gary thoughout this part of the set never said a word each track just followed by the next adding to the dark atmosphere of the music. Please Push No More another standout track of the album/night and one of the quieter slower ones. There was talk of people chatting during the more subtle moments of previous Gary Numan gigs but nothing like that hear tonight as people were stunned by every golden moment of this song. The Joy Circuit the album closer in the right place ending this section of the set but the band didn't leave the stage as the moment I had hoped for came! We Are Glass!! I didn't wanna get my hopes up too much but knew it was done last time they toured Telekon and until recently erroneously thought it was actually on Telekon! but here it was in all it's glory I bounced around with utter joy like i'd been waiting for this moment most of my life(well that's true) just fucking wow!! how good did this sound!! I Die You Die another that I was hoping for and again around the time of Telekon but not on it followed in beautiful style. Things stayed more upbeat for a while now and it was a few classics from the albums of the previous nights. Cars was there and was more than happy it was, maybe I didn't hear this til a couple of years after it was released but always a classic to my ears and then my favourite of his songs Down in The Park. a bit rocking this version but not in a bad way far from it. I was being spoilt tonight aswell as Telekon having my other faves in the set. Are Friends Electric ending the main set I wasn't sure if he'd come back as he'd already done 90s mins and thought maybe no encore but back he came for some more and the stunning Everyday I Die another of his songs I love most!! the punky sounding We are so Fragile next and then He spoke to the crowd properly for the first time tonight saying he knows he never says much but wants to thank people for the love they are giving him, the chants for "Numan, Numan" got louder and the man stood there so overcome by it all he even joined in! You could see the emotion of this legend as he continued to give appreciation to this audience saying being a Numan fan hasn't always been easy and he's not really into nostalgia but finally admits he loves these old songs and sorry for avoiding them for years and hopes these nights makes up for it. He confessed it's prob the best time being a Numan fan. By now his eyes were red streaming with tears. So special being witness to this I even joined in the "Numan, Numan" chants and insisted to myself I wouldn't as the gig began!! So then one more song Jo The Waiter from the first Tubeway Army album as Gary Played it on acoustic guitar and sang again beautifully as he'd been doing so all night. Really fitting with the lyrics too as he sang "Why don't someone call me friend" which the crowd yelled to confirm he was amongst many and the "I must confess, I cried" part looked great as the tears were far from dried! truly magnificent stuff.
I must admit Jack Off Jill are not a band I know too much about. I have heard a few tunes over the years and liked them but always felt the vocals grated a bit but then saw and liked Jessicka's next band Scarling when I saw them. A friend was attending this so thought I'd tag along as I felt they'd be ace live. I relistened to their stuff and loved what I heard and the vocals were far from annoying!
I didn't know who the supports were leading up to the gig just saw the list of times as I entered the building. The Regrettes were the first band. A 2 piece band both members female infact all the members of all the bands tonight were female. I liked these. Raw punky songs some ace guitar reminding me of that basic uk 82 sound. Nothing fancy about these songs and may be a bit samey in places but was all entertaining throughout.
Skinny Girl Diet I've heard mentioned lots over the last couple of years but never bothered checking them out, from the start I was blown away by this. Pure fucking energy dirty noisy guitars, raw and powerful. a few wall of sound moments and gritty as fuck at times reminding me of Silverfish. I loved the one where the bassist did manic screams. I have to see this band again!!
So Jack Off Jill enter the stage infront of a very eager sold out audience. A lot there would have been toddlers or perhaps not even born when this band were about the first time. Prob knew a lot more than me mind! The support bands would have justified me attending this gig alone but what a performance from Jack Off Jill. Jessicka's stage presence is both spectacular and a bit freaky as she slides her hand down her Star Wars underwear and covers herself in (I hope it was fake) blood all over her face and body. Musically powerful and dirty with a weird edge to it appealing to the more gothy side of musical tastes. Jessicka was very vocal about homophobia and discrimination and mentioned about her size in the past and no one should be made to feel bad about the way they are. She asked anyone homophobic to leave the venue looking around me I assume everyone had their heads screwed on so doubt anyone did. The vocals were deeper and rawer than the records I preferred how it was tonight, Everything about them as a live band was superb. My Cat was the song I knew most and a fantastic version of this was unleashed tonight other favourites from the set for me was Cumdumpster and Working With Meat which she hoped vegans wouldn't mind! There was a huge pause between the main set and the encore the band returned first saying they would play hoping Jess would come on as they did, of course she did and was stood there in a blonde wig with a bucket of blood poured all over her like a scene from Carrie. To end the night was an excellent cover of the Cure's lovesong. There was something about they wouldn't be continuing after these reunion shows but I hope this is not the end as I've only just realised my full appreciation of this band!!
I was surprised Anti Nowhere League were booked to play Islington Academy as it's usually venues no bigger than the underworld they play and just about pack that out on the night. Still there was a reasonable amount of people in attendance for this one even though nowhere near full.
Anti Pasti kicked things off tonight being on at 730 and punks not being the most punctual people the wasn't busy for the first part of their set, but what a fine set it was. The good thing about it being at this venue yer guaranteed a superb sound I've always loved this venue for the sound. Anti Pasti sounded fantastic Gez really giving it some despite having a chester infection. It was a usual mix of classics and new stuff and the new songs going down very well with the crowd. Really can't wait to hear this album. 6 Guns was amongst the classics and it even got a request later from one of the less punctual punk rockers there! Gez informing him that he missed it and should go and see 'em elsewhere and they'll play it! before Freedom First Gez made clear the bands views about homophobia and racism stating they are against any form of intolerance. Ineviatably Another Dead Soldier and final song No Government got the best reactions. Definitely a crowd captiviated throughout and again me blown away by another fine Anti Pasti performance consisting of this line up.
Anti Nowhere League next up kicking things off with We Are The League. Again the sound being superb. Always a huge sound from this band but it was up a notch it being here. Maybe lacking in the usual atmosphere though being such a big venue for them but that doesn't take anything way from how good they were tonight. A few more classics from the We Are The League album Nowhere Man and the utter classic I Hate People followed by Let's Break the law before heading in to their newer material. I never really took to this stuff as much but there are a few gems amongst them and to be fair everything sounded great tonight Skull & Bones followed by Chocolate Soldiers a bit cheesy this one but it sounded decent here. So back to the early stuff which is what I'd mostly come to hear one of my favourites We Will Not Remember you then the ultimate classic So What it's not usually this early in the set but the atmosphere down the front just got far more intense as people went crazy! This Is War being amongst the newer gems I mentioned earlier this sounding fantastic also in the set was the excellent We Will Survive which I know from the live version on the live in Yugoslavia album then came one of the best known and best songs Woman never exactly pc this one but what a song especially when it goes crazy. Streets of London ending the main set Animal saying it was about seeing homless soldiers on the street. There was a short break before the band rushed back for an encore which was a pretty long one at that! Kicking off with which is still my favourite song by the band For You although the guitarist missed his cue to come in after Animal uttered the word "For You, I Shall Give!" as he was still tuning!! He got there in the end though and it sounded ace. Pig Iron another of my favourites from their later days again brilliant. Reck A Nowhere Animal said he wanted on We Are The League as he was a skinhead back in the day and was picked on loads Let Your Country Feed You was back in the set after Animal going on about what's happening in Calais. There was another dose of We Are The League before the band headed off again. I didn't think we'd get anymore but back they came and 2 more classics were unleashed in the form of I Can't Stand Rock N Roll and the fantastic Animal a song which I was at first gutted wasn't present it aint always in the set these days despite being one of their best so always a joy to hear it especially when you don't think they're gonna be doing anymore songs!! So a quality finale for a great gig featuring 2 ace Anti bands!
I'd not seen ride at this venue since 1992. Was dead excited already then learned they would be playing the debut album Nowhere in full. By far my favourite Ride album and one of the greatest albums of all time.
No support tonight the set was divided in 2 as they played some of their other songs in the first part. Kicking things off with the familiar intro of Leave Them All Behind. A fantastic version and sound was immense down the front. Then the first of the pre Nowhere material the classic Like a Daydream! beautiful song! Then came something a bit more Unfamiliar!! was chuffed with this as it wasn't past of the set at Field Day and not heard it since the early 90s live. One of the hightlights of the night. This was followed by another not played at Field Day and a highlight of Going Blank Again album Time Machine. such a captivating hypnotic sound to this one a joy to hear it live again. Then came Twisterella surprisingly this was absent from the set last time too. A wonderful pop with great melody a treat to the ears for sure tonight. OX4 was dedicated to anyone there from Oxford tonight which got a few screams although I bet people pretended to be!! Another Going Blank Again highlight Time of Her Time which Andy introduced saying they played it when here last and it was videoed although he couldn't remember the balcony being there. well it was but maybe on the second night that was covered as I know that one hadn't sold out.Unlike at that gig though and just like at Field Day Mark did lead vocals for it and not Andy still fantastic though of course. Andy did sing Black Night Crash though the rocking standout track from Tarantula and one of the standout tracks of the night. Was surprised to hear Today in the set it's the highlight of their Today Forever ep for me and never thought I'd have the pleasure of hearing this again. So powerful in this delivery tonight was completely mesmerised by this. Mouse Trap ending this great set before a short break.
So the backdrop had changed to a huge picture of the sea as they came on to do their Nowhere set. The crowd were certainly lively for this one it got fucking crazy down the front. I was surprised how static it was for the first set mind. Seagull one of their liveliest songs really kicked off this part in style with it's fast psychedelic whirlwind of guitars. There was added power at this stage and things were noisier. Kaleidoscope always one of the lesser played tracks from the album was a treat to hear live again it's these kinda songs that I like the concept of hearing albums in full for although with anything here tonight it's a treat with it being the second time seeing them in over 20 years. Everysong off this album is a masterpiece in my eyes each conjuring a different emotion In A Different Place for example just moved the earth for me bringing back memories of 25 years ago whilst still standing firm as a favourite in my heart today. It was Polar Bear though which meant the most. By far the highlight of this album with sheer depth it seems to be appreciated more these days as one of Ride's standout tracks but always was for me. It just sounded huge and loud tonight utterly beautiful. Dreams Burn Down next up with it's crashingly noisy parts really tearing the roof off.Decay another of the highlights for me tonight was a song I had hoped for at Field Day but knew we'd get tonight so dark and pounding always thought there was a bit of a goth element to this. Paralysed one of the best one sung by Andy another i'd not heard done since back in the day, this was incredible. Also sung by Andy was Vapour Trail one of the classic best loved songs of course and going down a storm with this crowd tonight.Taste sending everyone down the front bonkers once more so much variation to this album making this past of the set so exciting. A noisy pop song which defines that era for me far more than Madchester did (although I did like that too). Here & Now for me is the song from the album I keep forgetting about but played it prior to the gig and thought how amazing it it and tonight even more so. It felt so fresh like a forgotten gem but shining so bright and up there amongst the best in the set. Nowhere then to end this past of the set again one of their darker moments then eventually heading into a wall of noisy guitars before the band led off once more.
Of course the set wouldn't be complete with songs from their first ep just the 2 though but a night like this with such classic songs I was never gonna walk away feeling short changed!! kicking off with Drive Blind the song I first heard by these and instantly making them one of my favourite bands. That guitar sound, that crashing pounding drum sound those dreamy vocals, utter bliss!!! The holocaust part which they nicked from My Bloody Valentine was present but not so earcrunchingly noisy just a good barrage of guitars and wonderful sounds put to excellent use to make a wonderful noise. So to end things then was Chelsea Girl another of their faster pop songs sending the place bonkers one final time. I really special gig this. They said we'll seeing you again soon and it keeps me wondering what the future holds for Ride. New songs and stuff to be played form the other 2 albums would be good too well who knows but at least I have today forever!!
I've let far too much time slip by since the last time I saw Euros live. He's one of my favourite artists and has one of my favourite singing voices and have been playing a lot of his stuff and Gorkys recently so was hoping a gig would come up. So was chuffed when this one was announced. However leaving getting a ticket til a week before was foolish on my part as they sold out before I could grab one! I then looked on wegottickets every opportunity in hope of more going onsale and kept seeing that dreaded "No Tickets Available". Although Early thursday morning I saw 3 were now onsale so instantly grabbed one!
Was in a great mood today anyway as Arsenal had just thrashed Manchester United 3-0 so was proudly wearing my Arsenal top. The security strangely didn't wanna let me in the pub but when I said I was there for the gig he was fine. He said he's an Arsenal fan so quickly changed his tune. Overall he was odd! so then Oh Peas kicked off the entertainment for tonight and this was fantastic stuff. Just one girl on guitar with some superb quirky pop/folk songs. I instantly took to this great stuff and her lack on between song banter and failed attempts at it was great banter in itself! as well as guitar there was one song at the end on the keyboard which was pretty wild reminded me of an indie pop version of Honey Bane.
So Euros took to the stage still looking about 15 even though he's 40 now. I've always enjoyed his banter but it is a lot more full on these days making everyone laugh between songs, such strong wit. This is a man I'd love to hang out with just listening to his voice and his way with words is enough but tonight of course he's there to sing too! Saying they should have come on to Gary Moore's Victims of The Future but instead was Kraftwerk kinda threw them a bit but continued with the set! with a full band tonight Euros on a huge keyboard this was utterly fantastic. His singing voice one that makes me want to melt that strong Welsh accent forever present and accents in music I'm always fond of Welsh being one of my favourites. Starting the set with Horse Riding from the excellent Miracle Inn album this was such a great gig. A lot of songs were played from his newly released Sweetheart album which in short is stunning. Quite a few from this tonight including the excellent Fruit and Veg which has been doing the round for a while now fantastic lyrics and melody for this one it has rarely left my head lately and was blown away by this live version. There was part of the set where he rocked out a bit more away from the dreamy pop songs where there was lots of wonderful flute. Machine was another highlight of these new album tracks. He even set a competition where someone could win the contents of his back pocket which consisted of a receipt for some pitta bread and a tissue which was a bit soiled and he thought which may be blood on it but realised it was pizza! then later he said about the banter in the tour van which was a game called Plane of Death where he said if you could pick musicians and stick them on a plane and have it crash who would you pick he said they got to about 500 but so far only would tell us Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics and M People! oddly I had a dream the previous night about someone playing M People and me storming out the room! Far from wanting to stormy out of this set of course as the music was consistently brilliant. There was the Gorkys' classic Billy & The Sugarloaf Mountain thrown in. I've seen him do this previously and was ace to hear it done again. It didn't seem like there would be an encore tonight as the band went off and Euros headed over to the merch with a big case. However the calls for more were so overwhelming no one was gonna leave so back they came. I would like to think this was unplanned but you never know but were treated to a couple more fantastic tunes including the quirky pop song Tête à Tête from Situation Comedy. So then to rectify the start of the gig Gary Moore's Victims of the Future was played to lead everyone out into the night!!
...so the plan was to get to Hope & Anchor in time for 16 Guns. Initially I was gutted when the stage times didn't work in my favour when Tom put them up a few days before with 16 Guns being on at 930. With The Wedding Present finishing at 915 I wasn't gonna do it. Then when I expressed my disappointment he told me it had changed and they were on at 10! so yeah soon as My Favourite Dress had finished off I went on the 393 taking me straight to Highbury & Islington and even catching the final song of Shag Nasty doing a cover of Anti Nowhere League's So What?
Hope & Anchor was pretty full tonight and I was amongst friends lots of 'em so even though it'd been a long day I was up for this and didn't want to miss seeing Matt drum for 16 Guns again as a one off as Jack was doing stage security for Agnostic Front & Old Firm Casuals(lots of good gigs tonight). All the band were dressed as Tom wearing polo tops and shorts although Tom was wearing a 77 style 16 Guns shirt. Kicking the set off with Cracked Matt made his presence felt with faster paced drumming than usual making the other play faster too. I got to yell along into the mic for cracked. Been a few months since I've seen 16 guns so was really enjoying this fix also had a great dance down the front and then onstage for C29 which was dedicated to me! felt great to go bonkers on this small stage glad I didn't knock anything or anyone over! I was hogging the dedications tonight as Johnny B Goode was also dedicated to me. It really was a fantastic atmosphere in this room tonight as 16 Guns delivered a fantastic set. A final singalong for me during feed the paedos to the sharks rounding things off. So glad I made it over for this.
Of course there was more to come in the form of Menace. Always a fantastic live band and this gig was organised by and to celebrate the birthday of drummer Noel Martin. The room was heaving for this and deservedly so and getting a great response from those down the front too. Noel said at one point that those who wasn't around in 77 and wondered what it was like then tonight was exactly what it was like. One of those gigs that makes me proud to be part of the London punk scene great friends and great bands. Menace played a fantastic set a mix of classics and newer songs. Screwed Up being amongst my favourites of the set tonight but it was GLC and them getting people up onstage that was the highlight of this. Seemed to be more onstage than on the floor at one point. was great to see this and Noel celebrating his birthday gig in absolute style. The first Menace song I heard Last Year's Youth followed which also sounded fantastic. There was a cover of Monkey Man before they announced the final song Too Many Punks are dead and asked people to go over to the merch following the set where we was treated to a shot of Jager and some cake! In all a bloody fantastic day full of indie pop and punk rock. Kinda day that makes me good to be alive.
So soon as I reached Euston back from the midlands it was straight to the Forum for Indie Daze 2 as it was an early start. Of course popping in to Pang's Kitchen for chips and curry sauce first! the best chips and curry sauce there is!!
So not long aftering enterting the forum the first band The Poppinjays began their set. I hadn't seen these since the early 90s. I'd only seen them as a 2 piece with a drum machine. I know they expanded at one point but this is how I remember them and this is how they were today thankfully. For the right band a drum machine sounds fantastic and these use it so well despite them admitting at first they didn't realise there was more than one setting on it! a set of perfect indie pop simple and beautiful. A band I always remembered with such fondness and today restored everything I loved about them. Hopefully they play lots more. Perfect Dream Home being the highlight of this set. Definitely worth getting there early for.
Next up was Back to the Planet. I must confess I was never really a fan of these back in the day. They were by no means awful, a tad annoying I guess but harmless enough and I had walked over to watch a brief bit of their set at Fordham Park Festival last year and didn't get anything from it but since I had already had my chips & curry I thought I'd give 'em a go today. In short though I really enjoyed this! I was surprised how much I did. I remembered every song from the past and even got jumping to them. Such a powerful delivery and energetic performance. Fraggle especially was fired up as he played on a speaker at one point. Singer Fil was dancing all over the stage as she delivered in fine voice this poppy anarcho punk was delivered in style. So glad I never left was such a nice surprise these being this good. Am definitely up for seeing them again now.
Eat up next. Another band I never really got in the past and had seen a couple of times. However after being a fan of Big Yoga Muffin which singer Ange was part of I grew to like Eat and was really up for seeing this. Ange with his wild long hair has a really distinctive voice and musically they don't really fit into a genre there's a bit of weirdness about them a bit of rock and of course indie but it's blended together in such a quirky way. An hour set which at one stage would have been testing but I loved every moment of it and all the styles they performed. Shame being the best of the set I've always liked that song and it being the poppiest of the set. There was a new one in there too which was one of the highlights.
Another band who has new material is The Primitives. I was well looking forward to this as I hadn't seen 'em for a few years. This was one of the best of the gigs I've seen since they reformed. Tracy sounding fantastic and that guitar sound superb. The new songs sounded good to me but it was the old classics I liked most Stop Killing Me with its thrashy indie guitar and tambourine. Sick of It All a bit more rocking but still think it's up there with their best. Crash got a huge reaction with the first mosh of the day. We've Found A Way To The Sun ending the set as usual and in great style. I really should see these more often than I have recently.
Pop Will Eat Itself next and I was sceptical. Graham being the only original member of the band with Mary ex Gaye Bykers on Acid joining him on vocals. Clint was always the best thing about the band so not sure how these with some new members were gonna pull it off. Well the crowd seemed to think they did but I was far from convinced! this was really horrible! the rapping was bad it was like a poor man's Pj & Duncan. I knew this was gonna be a very long hour! it wasn't all bad to be honest I did enjoy Dance of The Mad I mean its such a good song even they couldn't fuck it up and Ich Bin Ein Auslander sounded pretty good too but the rest of it was pretty atrocious some classics were destroyed such as Get The Girl Kill The Baddies. The new songs were all pretty crap! shame they were once a great band but this line up is unworthy of the name.
It's a good job then my favourite band were up next to get the bad taste out of my mouth! The et as the night before kicking off with Skindiving. A fantastic huge sound at this iconic venue which the band feel at home in. I stayed put at the front for the first few songs which again included Broken Bow but a couple of songs were dropped due to less time tonight so Lead and Blonde wasn't in this set but my favourite single of all time Come Play With Me to my delight was still in there. Then it was straight into the mosh as the opening riff of Brassneck was played. The mosh was huge and really there isn't much better in life being amongst loada sweaty blokes as The Wedding Present are belting out their classics and this album is full of the more punky punchy ones. Crushed especially played with fury! Kennedy got the reaction of the night the whole place going crazy. This felt so good.Could be the last time I ever hear this album in full live so was gonna make the most of every bit of it going crazy. Granadaland really sending a wall of energy through the hall tonight and Bewitched with it's emotional drive climaxing in sheer power. Bloody fantastic. Take Me saw loada fat blokes dancing wildly for about 10 minutes down the front most excercise some of them have had in years by the looks of it! so with a gentle comedown of Be Honest that was Bizarro and it was perfect. Ending the set with My Favourite Dress also getting a huge reaction I worked my way to the back and watched guitarist Sam unleash the final riff then headed out the venue. Well how could I watch the Wonderstuff after this? besides there was another gig to catch......
Always good to go see The Wedding Present in a town I've not been to before especially this year as I've not seen them beyond Brighton up until this point so good to head north for a change. Lovely venue this like an old theatre. always like seeing bands in these type of places.
So first up were Haiku Salut. I didn't knows these were playing up until the day before so was really chuffed about this. Seriously becoming one of my favourite bands of the moment and later David Gedge expressed the same feeling about them also adding he would have expected John Peel to really like them too, I agree could just imagine them doing a superb Peel session. The stage at this venue is huge and the bands used it for their usual running about swapping instruments whilst creating a beautiful sound. A good reaction for them too which was good to see. So many wonderful things in this music experimental to folk to krautrock just sheer mesmerising. hope to see them again real real soon.
So tonight's set was Bizarro in full. I was happy about this as on the Bizarro tour a few years ago I didn't attend as many gigs as I would have liked so this and the following night at the forum made up for it. Skindiving from Saturnalia started the set. This was followed by Broken Bow a new song which had that noisy Sonic Youth feel about it. We've had loads of new songs over the last couple of years the next album sounds more than promising. You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends got the crowd going a fair bit to which looked like one of the oldest mosh pits I've seen. Another new song Lead (I think) was again excellent quite a bit slower than the Broken Bow which I preferred but still it sounded fantastic. The excellent Blonde from Seamonsters followed by my favourite single of all time Come Play with me. Then they went straight into Bizarro starting with Brassneck of course. Now the mosh was in full swing. I love this album I love the punkiness about it the raw power of the guitar just a full adrenalin rush. A few slower moments there of course with the excellent No and the poundingly brilliant What Have I Said Now which really sounded fantastic tonight. There were a few problems with Charlie's drum kit it looked like it was about to topple at one stage but thankfully didn't!! Kennedy not overplayed these days and whenever it comes up I love hearing it well it was the first Wedding Present song which made me say they are my favourite band! Bewitched sounding huge that part where it slows down then kicks in sounded incredible with sheer power, this followed by the epic Take Me which is so Hypnotic and I really don't want it to end. That whole feeling of being excited about the thrill of falling for someone and it just might happen summed up perfectly in this amazing song and some of the best use of the guitar ever. David saying thanks to the Velvet Underground after for the influence, which is quite obvious in this song although I think The Wedding Present are a far better band. So ending with the far more subtle Be Honest which is a great comedown from all the noise. Set ending with the crowd pleaser My Favourite Dress Wedding Present gig 151 for me was a great one. David even saying they were on fire tonight and that it was supposed to me a warm up for London the next day but he couldn't see that being better then saying "Fuck London" not often you hear the man swear but I agree they were in incredible form!