Wolfgang Flür – The Lexington, Nov. 10th, 2017

The Lexington is becoming a new favourite venue. Wonderfully intimate, good acoustics. My now two shows seen there, one of them was definitely a highlight of the year. But onto last night’s show of Mr Flür and his supports.

First up was Nik Dagger and The Grip. Nik says he’s from Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, and has travelled from the future, from the year 5053, no less! I must admit, he appeared and sounded very human. So human, in fact, he seemed to be having trouble and had a tickle in his throat. Perhaps he is STILL adjusting to Earth’s atmosphere? Who knows?

The Grip (Nik’s synth player) was anything but “gripping”. Yes, I’m sure they were trying to exude a performing style befitting their music…but it seemed…too contrived…too try-hard and a tad overly pretentious. Made all the funnier when poor Nik’s endlessly inaudible whispering vocals started to seem to cause him problems. They were good enough. A novelty but can’t say they’ll have a lasting impression on me. Sorry guys.

Second act Scissorgun on the other hand…there was something about them! A very… almost…world music trance kind of fusion with their stuff. You were being taken on a journey with them. Not to Europa! But to perhaps…Africa, or central Asia…to the sub continent. There was an atmosphere and landscape to their music. I enjoyed watching them quite a bit.

Onto the main event and Wolfgang Flür’s set. He was very much taking on the role of DJ. Playing some remixed Kraftwerk tracks and some of his own solo music…all accompanied by endless moving imagery. During the Kraftwerk part of the set, there was plenty of photos and video/film to accompany the music.

The start of his set was delayed by some 20 minutes. There were technical problems getting the video footage set up, but once it was ironed out, we were off. It was a fab set and he’s a very good DJ. Towards the end of the set, donning a pickelhaube and marching about the stage. And we’re told Germans have no sense of humour. I can tell you, Wolfgang has a very healthy one!

Amongst the set of Kraftwerk remixes, the highlight was It’s More Fun To Compute…but others were weaved through, including an interesting remix of Neon Lights. Of his own compositions, Cover Girl was the highlight.

There is quite an “über” electro, bordering on trance, feel to Wolfgang’s set. It seemed to divide the room. Some were very obviously enjoying themselves…free-styling dance moves and throwing out all manner of “rave culture” shapes…while others started to slowly make their exit before the set was even over with. I was definitely in with the former and not the latter. I’d be more than happy to see Wolfgang again. I hope the opportunity will avail itself again in the future.

PS: Seen on the toilet door…a bit of Charlie love…but is it for man, or drug?

Gig Review – Warm Digits + Comfort – The Lexington, Islington, August 25th, 2017

As usual, no matter how late I leave it to go to a gig, I always go far too early. Lol. I didn’t have TOO much time to kill last night, and the pub area of The Lexington is quite nice (complete with chandelier! A pub with a chandelier? That’s a bit posh!), so no real complaints. Just the one G&T for me. I am really not one for getting “tanked up” at gigs (esp. when travelling alone) – more on that later!

I went up to the venue upstairs early as the pub was filling up and well, I like to get familiar with my surroundings. Wow! What a tiny little venue! As soon as I saw the size of the place, I thought “Wow! This is going to be intimate!” Conservatively, I think the place could hold maybe 250 people. It’s really small. From the back wall you’re maybe only 5 or 6 metres from the stage. I mean…just…yeah.

The support act were a Glaswegian group called Comfort. I had spied the singer when I first arrived upstairs…not knowing they were the singer at the time…but they just…stood out when I saw them. There was a “star” vibe given off. My eyes kept being drawn to them before they were even on stage performing. And…they were GOOD. They kind of reminded me of Sleaford Mods, musically…but…harder. It’s a real wall of sound that hits you…just from two people. The singer, Natalie…was, incredible! So softly spoken between songs, but what an emotive voice! Wow! They really make you sit up and take notice! I really enjoyed them. You can check them out via Bandcamp.

On to the main act with Warm Digits…and WOW!!! From the get go they were awesome. Started off with the opening track from their new Wireless World album, Two To Four Degrees – and just from that alone I knew this gig was going to be amazing. As they continued on, it almost became a religious experience. I was in absolute raptures. I love this “Krautrock/Motorik” beat and drive they have so much. But it’s on another level with them. They make it their own. And their own…something extra to it! And I knew that if they could replicate the sound they make in the studio, live, they would be UTTERLY AMAZING! And they were!

With them were special guest vocalists, Peter Brewis from Field Music performing End Times, and Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell performing Growth Of Raindrops. I was hoping my other favourite track on the album would get an airing, and I wasn’t disappointed, as Better Friction (though, sadly, vocalist Mia la Metta was not in attendance) was performed.

(I’m not one for having my phone out and filming gigs, but I just had to get a little short snippet of them as they were so bloody awesome! The audio on my phone doesn’t do them ANY justice.)

As the set continued, I was getting more and more absorbed in it. I found myself losing myself in it…absorbing it all…closing my eyes, being taken away to a different place…and then…

Joe turned up! Lol. God bless him, he was having just as much of the religious experience as I was feeling…but…he was JUST A LITTLE worse for wear. Which was fine…I don’t begrudge him he’s enjoyment…but it was getting a little worrying after a while. He invaded the stage…he got VERY close to drummer, Andy. He nearly fell onto his kit several times…and indeed actually ended up doing so. He stood behind Andy…took his sticks from him…started banging away on the drums. Andy picked up spare sticks… How Andy continued to keep drumming through it all, I will never know! Joe was eventually escorted off…but not before FULLY making his presence known. It really did turn it into a night NEVER to forget!

Afterwards, both Andy and Steve were manning their own merch stall. They are just the loveliest guys! So humble and so willing to talk. It was really lovely. I have NNOOO money to spare right now…but I had to buy something and have it signed by them. I asked Andy how long they’d be sticking round, so I could get out and get a bit of cash to come back and buy something.

Having done that, as I made my way back upstairs to the stall, the guy at the venue door was coming down. He had a poster in his hand, “would you like this poster?” he says to me. “Yes please!!!”, I say and so I had myself a gig poster. Steve and Andy signed it as well as the copy of their first album which I bought then…and they were kind enough to throw in a copy of their vinyl recording of their Late Junction session with Field Music for the BBC back in 2012.

I did at one point “talk shop” a little bit with Steve. Told him I’m a massive Simple Minds fan. He said to me, “Yeah, we’re getting into their early stuff…we listened to that album, the one ‘I Travel’ is on”. I went all uber fangirl and said “Empires And Dance”. “You must also listen to Sons And Fascination/ Sister Feelings Call…oh and Real To Real Cacophony. They had that Kraurock influence in the early days.” I’m SUCH a fangirl! Lol.

It was just…the most amazing night. Thank you Steve and Andy for being such a powerhouse! And such wonderful guys. I will DEFINITELY be seeing you guys again when you come back to London in November.

You guys are THE BOMB!

John Grant – Union Chapel, Islington, May 2nd 2017

I arrived in Islington, right outside the church, just before 5pm. A wonderful moment of serendipity took place. As I was taking this photo of this sign showing the way to the Arsenal ground (I had no idea it was that close by and I was only taking the pic so I could show Jim and make some “The Arse” comment on the SMO FB page), this young woman approached me and said “are you here for the John Grant concert?” I replied, “Yes, I am.” “Ah, I thought I recognised you from the group. I’ve seen you on the group, yes?”, she says to me.  I thought she was referring to John Grant’s own Facebook page, so I said “Yes.”

We introduced each other to ourselves. Her name is Anita, and she was there with her father. A very sweet man, but his English is not strong. They are Polish but live in north London. 

Anita tells me a group of fans had planned to meet up in the pub we were standing outside of. We go in, order a drink, and while doing so, other members of the group show up. As it transpires, Anita wasn’t referring to John’s own FB page, but a fan page called The John Grant GMF Fan Group (aka The GMFs). There are over 700 fans in the group and several of them I met yesterday had been to the North Atlantic Flux festival that John was involved with in Hull over the weekend.  DEDICATED fans! But they absolutely welcomed me with open arms and gave me a badge for joining the group.

It was all so very wonderful.

As for the gig itself? Support act Satellites was really quite good. A one man band the guy was…but he was great. He performed about 7 songs and I really enjoyed him.

20 minutes to set up for JG and on he comes, to absolutely raptuous applause. You could just feel the love spilling out of everybody there for this man. I mean, really. I had never quite felt love like it from a gourp of fans for an artist. And he’s so beautiful amd humble…he just shyly replied in his soft-spoken voice “thank you all so very much”. He referred to himself as a “scatterbrain” as he had not organised anyone to film it, and he wanted to send out a message to his friend Oleg – this was a charity gig after all, to raise funds for Oleg to get a kidney transplant. 

John asked if a member of the audience was willing to go up and film as he spoke a few words in Russian to Oleg and then to turn the camera onto us, the audience, to show the people that had come out to see John by way of helping Oleg. It was very moving.

John introed his band and then we were under way. The first song he performed (if you have been following my blog lately, you’ll know the favourites I have) was TC & Honeybear…and I was off…in a flood of tears.

He is…just…so goddamn near to perfection as I have ever seen in a performer. He just makes it look so effortless. And his voice is incredible.

I hadn’t planned to record anything…but he started Marz and I thought, I just have to capture a bit. I missed the start (couldn’t turn my phone back on quickly enough!)…but…well, you can hear the acoustics of the place and how amazing he sounded.

A while in he performed Vietnam and Where Dreams Go To Die and I was crying AGAIN. Glacier got me going to. And then towards the end he did Fireflies and Caramel back to back…and OMG…the tears were just streaming down my face.

It was such an amazing show. I could tell we were approaching the end and in my head I was like “Oh, please don’t let it stop! I don’t want it to end! When will I see him again?”

It was…phenomenal, astounding. Profound. Everything I imagined it to be and more! 

Thank you to the people I met last night: Anita, her dad, Duvessa, Claire, Lisbeth, Jacqueline, Fraser, Karren, Wayne, the Kiwi lady and her husband (I have since learned are Kay and Rob – I am so sorry I forgot your names!) and other names I have forgotten. All you guys made me feel so welcome. Thank you! 

And thank you to John for such an amazing, extraordinary concert. You really ARE the GMF! 

God bless to Oleg xx

John Grant – A Kidney For Oleg

John Grant is holding a very special concert to help raise funds and highlight the need of a kidney donor for his friend Oleg. The gig will be taking place on May 2nd at Union Chapel in Islington. Applying for tickets was via ballot with those successful being given 24 hours for the opportunity of purchasing a maximum of two tickets. 

I have been wanting to see John Grant since I got hooked on him (thanks to a “certain person”!) when out in Australia last year, but nothing had matched up, or I didn’t have the funds, so when I saw this, I thought I would put my name down and see. I didn’t hold out much hope. But this morning I received an email saying I had been selected from the ballot and could buy tickets. 

I only needed the one, so that is all I bought. I would NEVER do what I’m sure some would and buy a second ticket, even if unneeded. I would never do that!

I am SO, so happy, helping in some small way for such a cause and for the opportunity to see one of (if not THE) the most amazing singer-songwriters going around right now. It is going to be a wonderful night.