Warm Digits + support, Newcastle – Part Two Of “The End Of The Week Whirlwind”.

After a day in Edinburgh at the Rip It Up exhibition and Bruce Findlay/Ian Rankin talk, the original plan was to take a coach over to Glasgow, mooch around for the day, maybe catch up wth one or two friends and take the train back to London late in the afternoon.

That all changed a couple of weeks back when I realised that Warm Digits were playing in Newcastle the day after my Edinburgh visit. “Would it be possible?” I wondered? “Newcastle can’t be too much of a journey from Edinburgh. Well, not compared to Luton!” But I initially dissuaded myself, thinking it all too much to organise, and considering the outlay, no matter how cheaply I could do it.

It played on my mind for a day or two. Finally it was the “carpe diem” of it all. My life has been so full of “what ifs” and “shouldas” that I shuddered at the thought of this being another.

It meant catching a train at Edinburgh Waverley station at 9.08am. I didn’t want to miss it, so got there in plenty of time. There was a Costa very nearby the station and I had time to spare, so downed a latte and a banana.

I hit Newcastle around 10.30am. I immediately went looking for the quayside area of the city to check out the Tyne and the bridges. It was such a glorious warm, sunny day, the first sights of the old Tyne “coathanger” bridge – the sister bridge to Sydney’s Harbour Bridge – really could have had me convinced I had somehow teleported to Australia.

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I took a walk along the Tyne, crossed the Millennium bridge and took a seat and just enjoyed the view in the shade for a bit. I didn’t bank on seeing it AT ALL but while I was there I heard a klaxon go off a couple of times and I was thinking “ooh, is that a warning to exit the bridge as it’s about to tilt?” To let taller ships through, the bridge gets lifted up on a tilt. In the meantime, I’m checking my FB. Five minutes passed and when I look up again, the bridge had already tilted into place and was letting a small but tall mast boat through. I decided to catch it moving back into position by recording a Facebook Live update.

It really was quite warm and so I decided to move on, get my bearings, try and find the venue and see where I was at. Maybe see if I could find a park nearby, take a rest. I had very little sleep the night before. The hostel was fab. My room was great…but there was a party going on nearby with very loud music playing. It was too warm to shut the window to drown out the sound. I put my iPod on and tried to drown out the other music and chatter with my own music. The party was still going on at 3.30am. I had a fitful night, with only about 3 hours of quality sleep at best.

Once I had found The Cluny, I was reluctant to leave. It was a quiet, airy pub with a nice atmosphere. I could plug my phone into a socket and charge it and just chill and relax.

I wiled away a couple of hours Facebooking, people watching, chilling. After a couple of hours I ordered a late lunch. I had cheese on toast. I know! It doesn’t sound much, but it was delicious! Three slices of toasted baguette, with three different types of cheese on the slices, with a side serving of caramelised onion chutney and a side salad. It really was lovely! Absolutely had hit the spot!

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Soon after, Steve arrived. I think he was a little surprised to see me there so early, but I was comfy. We had a quick chat before Steve got on with the job of unloading his equipment. Andy arrived shortly after. While chatting to Andy I had flippantly said “as such an ardent fan, I should be privy to a soundcheck”…really just joking and being cheeky. To my wonderment he said “yeah, why not! Of course you can. Come in. You can come and watch Steve stress out.” Lol. And so there I was, watching Warm Digits set up their kit and soundcheck. It was great.

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A selfie with Andy taken after soundcheck

A bit more time just chilling. Hearing Eat Lights, Become Lights and The Noise & The Naive soundcheck and really liking what I was hearing! Some ice cream and a pack of Maltesers to keep me going for the rest of the evening. A little break outside and it was doors open and me going in to take my place in readiness and anticipation.

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The Noise & The Naive:

Wow! They were great! Tons of energy. Fast. Fab beats. Great drummer. The band comprise of Anne Langourieux on drums and vocals and Pauline Jacquey on guitar and BVs. They performed a short and tight set. The crowd loved them. I loved them! Possibly the best support act I have seen this year, if not ever. I know I said that of C.A.R and she really is great too, but these ladies were just on another level again for me. Warm Digits are really getting themselves some amazing support acts. I loved these ladies so much, I got a copy of their EP and a badge. Had I not had to watch the pennies so much, I’d have bought a shirt as well. I hope I can catch them somewhere again very soon.

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You can check them out on bandcamp – just click on the LINK HERE to do so.

Eat Lights Become Lights:

After the fast punk thrash of The Noise & The Naive, we went a little more chill and atmospheric with Eat Lights Become Lights. A great style of “mood electronica”…a music to lose yourself in. I really enjoyed them too. Really wonderfully atmospheric. Tracks that build in pace and magnitude. I’d recommend checking them out too.

Eat Lights Become Lights – Bandcamp link

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Warm Digits:

Finally, onto the main affair. I had waited all day for this! The boys started a bit late…and I was clock watching. I had booked a taxi to come get me and take me to my coach stop (yes…to keep costs down I was not staying overnight, but taking a red eye coach back to London overnight) at 11.15pm. By the time the boys started it was nearing 10.15.

They were giving it some on Friday night! Quite possibly the best I’ve seen them perform…even with Peter Brewis and Sarah Cracknell performing with them the night I saw them at The Lexington. They just sounded so great and, just wow! Killer versions of the tracks with vocals, and the sound levels were spot on. Fracking Blackpool rocked like fuck and the end Wireless World medley was bliss. By the time that was done, it was 11.10pm. I had to go! I couldn’t stay for encore. I was GUTTED!

But it was all worth it. The guys were thoroughly worth the detour and sleepless journey home. I would happily do it again. It was the reason I made the desicion to do it. I don’t know when I will get to see them again now, but I know I saw one of the best gigs ever on Friday night. All three acts were OUT OF THIS WORLD!

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Got to be about the best gig promo poster they’ve had too. I love it!

To Steve and Andy, thank you. Thank you for just being so great to me and making such fabulous music. You never make me feel unwelcome or bothersome. And Andy, I am really sorry if what I said to you earlier in the day made you change your shirt. I felt so guilty about that! 😦

To all three acts. Thanks for making this just about the best gig of the year. And to The Cluny for being such a great venue with such a relaxing, fab atmosphere.

I hope Steve and Andy that I get to see you guys again in the not-too-distant future. Keep warm guys, xx.

The Anchoress & Manic Street Preachers – Meltdown Festival – Royal Festival Hall, June 19th, 2018

Well, no gig would be complete without some kind of travel drama. Yesterday it was the APPALLING service given by Thameslink due to their absolute shambolic implementation of their new timetable. We waited an hour for a train to London! We arrived at Luton station at around 2.41pm. The next train due was at 3.28pm. Some 20 minutes into the wait, there’s an announcement of a bus replacement service to St Albans…but the way it was worded sounded as if we needed to get on the bus to St Albans to continue the journey to London. Not so…but it took some faffing about…leaving the station for said bus, only to find no bus outside, etc, for this to become clear. So, we go back in the station. Wait on the platform for the train, only to hear (AS THE TRAIN ARRIVES ON THE PLATFORM) that the train is leaving from a different platform. No chance of us legging it over to the other platform on time, so we wait yet another 20 mins for the next train.

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As we’re waiting for the next train to arrive, a member of staff walks past us and he says “are you ladies watching the trains?” SERIOUSLY?! I could have kicked his arse! “No, but it feels like we are!” was me reply to him. But internally my dialogue continued “Yep, we’re a right pair of trainspotters, us! A regular Renton and Spud.” Lol. Fuck me! The cheek! Anyway, finally by 3.49pm we were on a train to Blackfriars. Phew!

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Catherine arrived on stage promptly at 7.30pm and launched straight into a fabulous rendition of Long Year.

“No latecomers!” was the wording on the Festival Hall information regarding “doors open” and set times. I was sat right by the stairway leading down to the lower stall seats on the right side of the auditorium. Thought I had the best seat in the house, until Catherine’s set began, and stream upon stream of latecomers were indeed being allowed in! For the first few minutes I could understand that…but it just kept happening right through her set. So, thank you usher staff at the Festival Hall for ruining an otherwise amazing performance!

From Long Year onto One For Sorrow, a rocking version at that! Wow, loved it. Only the second time I’ve got to experience hearing One For Sorrow live and it didn’t disappoint.

What Goes Around, and again, rocking…full of energy, passion…vitriol, as a song like that should be!

Some video of new song Show Your Face, as well as some of You And Only You. Both cracking! (You’ll see from the footage just what a bugbear that seat right by the stairway became.)

Catherine’s set finished with Confessions Of A Romance Novelist. And as promptly as she arrived, she said goodnight. It was a very short set. She was gone too soon! I wanted more! And I missed her performing Bury Me. But I could see from the rest of the set list and how the performance went that maybe she felt that Bury Me wouldn’t be in keeping with how she wanted the set to be. The set was tight, blended well…Show Your Face slotted in really nicely…cannot wait to hear the new album! It’s gonna be just as fab as “Confessions” if the new song is anything to go by.

Really hoping it isn’t too long before we see more Anchoress gigs. But she’s a busy lady for pretty much the rest of the year with her work with Simple Minds, so we shall see!

As we waited for the Manics set to begin, there was music being played over the sound system…I hear the opening chords to Two To Four Degrees by Warm Digits and I am in raptures! The boys getting a nod! I hope everyone had their phones out Shazamming WTF was being played when they heard it. Love my boys! 🙂

Oh, what can I say about the Manics? I mean, geez, they just nail the whole live thing. Born to do it! Nicky was back on the stage, having very recently lost his mother. It was wonderful to see him back.

The set started with International Blue from new album Resistance Is Futile – I’m starting to believe that to be a quite aptly named album!

They just rocked the place, really. Next up was Motorcycle Emptiness and…the crowd erupts. The inevitable sing-a-long ensues and for one who is not a hard and fast fan (but by no means a person who doesn’t like the band! I have delved into the Manics on and off over the years), you just get swept up in the passion and love of it all. The band love the fans, and the fans certainly love the band! “You Love Us” is not a song of bravado, but pure fact!

At this point I’ve got to mention the mix of the sound. The vocals for both The Anchoress set and for the Manics were not mixed well. It’s why I missed what the new song Catherine performed was called, and I was missing most of the lyrics too. JDB was just as lost in the mix most of the night as well. The mix was actually quite distorted for both sets…but it detracts none from either of their respective performances.

Highlights of the Manics set for me? You Stole The Sun From My Heart (it has long been a fave track of theirs), their cracking cover of The Cure’s In Between Days, Catherine’s appearance for Little Baby Nothing and Dylan And Caitlyn, If You Tolerate This, Faster, Hold Me Like A Heaven, Tsunami, People Give In and ending with arguably the BEST crowd sing-along anthem that exists, Design For Life. Wow! What a set!

Trust me, people…resistance really IS futile!

Next up on the Prip world tour is a trip to Edinburgh and Newcastle for the Rip It Up exhibition, a talk from Bruce Findlay and Ian Rankin, followed by ANOTHER gig with those Warm Digits boys again…this time on home turf! (Well, for one half of them anyways…Mr Steve Jefferis.)

The Fortunate Few…

Oh, how I would hope, pray, dream…wish my goddamn bloody life away to be this privileged.

It’s all it will ever be for me, I’m sure. It’s EVERY fan’s wish, but so few, a FORTUNATE few get to experience it.

I can’t help but be at least a light shade of green looking at your amazing photos, Christophe. What an experience to treasure!

Virginia Turbett Prints To Buy At Moorland Mayhem Scooter Rally This Weekend!

A wonderful opportunity to buy some music memorabilia from the amazing Virginia Turbett. She’ll be selling vintage prints of mod and ska groups by the likes of The Jam, Madness, The Specials, Secret Affair, Chords and others. Check her Facebook page below for details. (Smartphone or mobile device optimal viewing)

The rally is taking place in Buckfastleigh – slap bang between the cities of Exeter and Plymouth. It’s a great opportunity to get yourself some truly wonderful photographic memorabilia. So if you live nearby, or can travel down, make the most of it!

Passion, Enthusiasm, Dedication…

I think an artist or band could do worse than have a fan like myself championing them (even if I do say so myself). If only I could get paid for the amount of enthusiasm I can exude?!

Once I took in that Warm Digits’ next gig was in Newcastle only the day after I’m up in Edinburgh for the Rip It Up exhibition…I had to try and sort some kind of “on a shoe string budget” work around to get myself there and see them.

JOB DONE!

A £12 train journey from Edinburgh to Newcastle the following morning (day of the gig) – the ticket for the gig <£15 – then an overnight coach trip back to London for £10. To see the boys again is worth it. My first trip to Newcastle will be a whirlwind, but worth it I know. Eight hour overnight coach journeys fill me with dread, but I know they are worth it.

See you soon, boys! Much sooner than I anticipated.

As I say…you could do worse than having a fan like me 🙂

Review: Warm Digits (and C.A.R.) – The Pickle Factory, London – June 9th, 2018

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Well, no gig night would be complete without some kind of personal crap impeding stuff. Yesterday it was the faux pas of having let the OH rope me into the idea of travelling the Tube to get to the gig and leaving the logistics to her.

Now, having discussed how we were going to get to the gig, and despite knowing that the gig was ON “The Oval” (the street name of the venue The Pickle Factory was on) rather than IN “Oval” (a suburb of London), we ended up at Oval. I get my phone out, put in the venue…and you guessed it…we were 5 miles away from where we were MEANT to be. Yay?!

Well, that was my venture on the Tube now a wasted piece of anxiety. The prospect of going BACK on the underground and going the several stops back down the line to get us closer to where we needed to be was just too much!

Two buses and one hour later, we had finally made it to the Pickle Factory. Right on queue for open doors at 7pm. It all came good in the end. (We’d deal with the prospect of that return Tube journey later.)

Opening support came from C.A.R. Fabulous! By far and away the best support act I have seen in my recent gig-going hit list (apart from Warm Digits and The Anchoress…as when these acts are on the bill as support, I am usually there to see them…so they aren’t really deemed as the “support” in my eyes). Really enjoyed that set! Atmospheric, minimalist, a bit shoe-gaze, but great rhythms and a fantastic voice. The woman behind C.A.R – Chloe Raunet – reminded me of both Siouxsie Sioux and Grace Jones in vocal style. In my opinion, she really is one to watch!

Heat and This City were the standout tracks for me last night, but having sampled the latest album, Pinned, there is not a poor track on the album. I very much intend to “take to the wheel” further with C.A.R!

As for Warm Digits? Well, much like when I do my reviews for Simple Minds, I find it hard not to be biased. These guys are just fantastic! The opener of Two To Four Degrees always gets me up and pumping. And they don’t rest! They go straight into another track…which I SHOULD know the title of by now….I think they go into “Always On” – another track from Wireless World – but hopefully if the guys see this review, they’ll correct me if I’m mistaken?

Either way, the opener is a killer. The vocal tracks sounded vivid and strong last night. Starting with Growth Of Raindrops with vocals from the wonderful Sarah Cracknell…on to Better Friction with vocals by Mia La Metta, then The Rumble And The Tremor (vocals Devon Sproule), and finally End Times with the fabulous Peter Brewis of Field Music on vocals. The vocal tracks were not played back to back…they were interspersed with fabulous non vocal tracks that these boys are equally maestros of.

Below is a nice chunk of “Fracking Blackpool” – a song about…exactly what the title suggests. Fabulous graphics compliment all songs.

Andy was in great form, both as drumming animal, and with his audience banter. They left the crowd wanting more after ending the set with “dance tracks”. Every song of theirs is a dance track to me. Dancing…sensory overloading explosion of thump and grind and pulse and…ggrrr…just…I love them!

They came back for a two track encore. Well, Andy wanted it to be. He’d promised us a “ballad”. Lol. He was in a wonderfully jovial mood last night…but “the management” said only a one track encore was allowed…so the guys ended with the first song they ever wrote together, called One Track Groove – a track from their superb debut album “Keep Warm…with the Warm Digits”. And what a way to end a killer set!

As I have said before, these guys are THE BOMB! Once again, to Steve and Andy, thank you for being so awesome! I really do hope it isn’t too long before I see you guys again. If there are gigs happening up north, I may just have to get my travelling shoes on and come up to see you guys, instead of waiting for the next time you’re heading south.

Warm Digits are HAWT!

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The wonderfully packaged Interchange album, signed by the lovely Andy and Steve.

And after that…the journey home was safely negated. I even rode the Tube again! Dealt with mega escalators and all!

And so, on to the next gig…The Anchoress and Manic Street Preachers at Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival in just over a week. Exciting!