WANT! Gig Wish List – Number One!

OMG! I only saw this today. The gig (in London anyway) is 18 days away. I WANT THIS SOOOO MUCH! This man is…my drumming GOD. He is everything, in drumming terms, that I would ever aspire to be. I’ve never seen him live. It would be ssoooooo amazing to see him. So amazing.

I probably won’t be able to buy a ticket until next week. So…I just have to hope and pray some will be left then. Fingers crossed! It would be a DREAM to see him.

Review: The Lemon Twigs – Roundhouse, London – February 27th, 2019

The Roundhouse is probably the handiest venue for me currently. A short journey on the Thameslink rail line from Luton to Kentish Town station and then a 20 minute walk from there to the venue. Easy!

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I arrived early enough, around 7.20pm. Support act Matt Maltese wasn’t due on until 8pm.

I found myself stood at almost the exact same spot I was in at the Franz Ferdinand gig last September…and I was getting a little apprehensive about it. I had fainted at the gig. The first time anything like that had happened to me. It was starting to play on my mind. But I just kept talking to myself, reassuring myself. Shortly after, I got chatting to a man next to me and it took my mind off it and distracted me enough for me not to worry and dwell on it. I also made sure that this time I had ample food and drink in me (and had water to hand should I feel the need to keep myself hydrated).

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Matt Maltese was quite good. I liked what I heard. He’s got a fairly “lo-fi” quality to him. Quite laid back. He performed several songs, of which Hello Black Dog was the standout for me. You’ll find a little snippet of it below. I’ll give his album a listen in the next few days. I really do think it’ll be something I’ll enjoy.

There wasn’t too much of a wait before The Twigs appeared. As soon as it hit 9pm, the crowd were getting restless…clapping and cheering for the guys to appear. On the Roundhouse FB page it stated they’d be on at 9.05 and there they were, almost on the dot and straight into Go To School opener Never In My Arms, Always In My Heart.

Michael had some of the girls in the crowd screaming from the off. Using all he gained from his years as a child actor, giving the most Jagger-esque of “rock star stud” performances.

Once done, Michael starts to talk about his meeting with legendary U.S. songwriter, Paul Williams, and how some mutual appreciation went on. To the point in which he says, “so I thought ‘fuck it, you know…and I sucked him off’.” Erm, okay Michael! Thanks for sharing! Lol. I got the distinct impression it was all bravado and very much tongue-in-cheek (or perhaps cock-in-cheek in this instance) and on they went into Foolin’ Around (which obviously he had been doing with his felating Paul Williams story).

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There is quite a distinction between the D’Addario boys. Michael is definitely the showman. All front, bravado, then pretend nonchalance. But, of course, the musicianship is there. Brian, conversely, brings the musicianship more to the fore with sublime vocals and maestro guitar playing (as well as some time behind the keyboard too). But he can let his hair down as well, but it’s always more controlled and more restrained to Michael’s bold theatrics.

It’s then Brian’s turn to shine, leading a wonderful version of Small Victories. Also on the amazing “influences worn unapologetically on sleeves” I Wanna Prove To You.

Other songs in the set included (sandwiched between the two songs just mentioned) This Is My Street, The Lesson, Hi & Lo, Light & Love, the beautiful These Words, Queen Of My School, Baby Baby, Tailor Made, Home Of A Heart, then a full showman display for The Fire – excerpt below – and finally As Long As We’re Together.

Instruments down. Guitars left playing feedback…the crowd were left wanting more. Only a few minutes were we left waiting for a solitary song encore of If You Give Enough.

Had this gig been on at the Roundhouse 50 years ago, it would not seem at all out of place. The D’Addario brothers really are not shy in melding all their influences together and spewing them forth. Everything is there. And that interplay between the studious Brian and the miscreant Michael is one that makes a Lemon Twigs gig really work. It’s showy, rocky, theatrical, brash yet sublimely rich musically. I left the gig wanting more. And I left so downhearted I had to miss seeing them play Saint Luke’s in Glasgow last week. But I also left knowing I’ll want to see them again and again!

Gigs Of The Year – 2018 – My Top 3

I have never seen so much live music in a single year. In fact, I saw more live music in 2018 than I have seen previously in all my adult life.

The year started with a album launch “all ages” show by Franz Ferdinand in Kingston-upon-Thames in early February, and was quickly followed by FOUR Simple Minds Walk Between Worlds showcase gigs, and continued on through the year, traversing the length and breadth of the UK and hopping across the English Channel into mainland europe and ending in Northampton seeing Blancmange. From Glasgow and Newcastle, to Leeds, Manchester and westwards to the Brecon Beacons, back over to Bristol, and many trips to London. A trip to Paris and the French Alps via Switzerland. I even managed a local gig! Luton isn’t usually known for its amazing live music scene, it has to be said.

I have no idea how many miles I’ve covered in all this crisscrossing of countries and continents. Thousands, I’m sure! And…I don’t want to think about what it did to the purse strings…but budgeting and shoestring travel makes it doable – trust me! You don’t have to be lavish to do this. Winning free weekend tickets for a festival also helps! 😁

And all absolutely worth it for some of the best live music the UK and the world has to offer.

Now, before I award my Top 3 gigs of 2018, let me recap (and try to remember!) just who and what I saw this year.

February: Franz Ferdinand and Simple Minds x4
March: Art Of Noise and Ruts DC
May: Warm Digits and Vessels, Simple Minds
June: Warm Digits x2, Manic Street Preachers and The Anchoress at Meldown Festival
July: Muilac Festival, Aix-Les-Bains. Caezar x2
August: Thumpasaurus, Green Man Festival, Simple Minds x3
September: Franz Fedinand
October: John Grant
November: Blancmange

All the acts I saw were fabulous…part of the reason I wanted to see them all. There were also a few standout support acts too.

Some worthy contenders for gig of the year, then? Manic Street Preachers…that was a real “love for the fans” gig. The guys were great and the crowd loved them. Franz Ferdinand – at both shows – just great. Make it look so effortless and Alex Kapranos is one of my favourite frontmen, currently. Ruts DC – don’t underestimate the power of ska/punk to be making an impact some 40 years down the road. These guys are great live. The Lemon Twigs – my live music find of 2018 – all thanks to winning a free weekend camping pass to the Green Man festival in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Another act very worthy of note – Caezar. Joe Donnelly and JJ Gilmour have released one of the standouts of 2018, for me. And JJ is a phenomenal singer. An amazing voice. I hope to catch them again this coming February at Oran Mor in Glasgow.

At three: Art Of Noise – British Library – March 9th
An unusual setting for a gig – inside the library entrance, on the mezzanine. It made for a great atmosphere. I’m not an uber fan of theirs, but I just really enjoyed the atmosphere of the gig – there was a great rapport between the group and the fans. The acoutics were great and, yeah…can’t really pinpoint it…I just really enjoyed it a lot.

At two: John Grant – Green Man Festival – August 18th
John was the headline act on day three (Saturday) of the festival and he was just fabulous, and brought me to tears. It was a beautiful night and a wonderful setting.

At one: (who else but!) Simple Minds – Manchester Albert Hall – February 14th
For some it’ll be other shows. It SHOULD be Barrowland Ballroom – and it would be, if my choice was based beyond sheer performance. But I have seen SM nine times this year…and I could choose others. The Leeds grandslam gig was amazing. All three of the grandslam gigs were. But for majesty and sheer performance and for the concept of it, it goes to their Manchester WbW showcase gig. Whereas I thought palpable nerves at Barrowland led to some performance…inconsistancies. The next night at Manchester, they truly had it licked and were PHENOMINAL! They were just FLAWLESS by comparison to the night before. Amazing. absolutely amazing gig. Of the February WbW gigs, it was by far my favourite. It also wins out amongst the rest of the SM gigs I saw this year, purely for that full set of the complete Walk Between Worlds album performed live. Any band wanting to do that – to showcase a complete new package like that has the absolute courage of their convictions.

Congrats to Jim, Charlie, Gordy, Ged, Sarah and Cherisse (and to Catherine AD) for executing a truly amazing showcase of new matieral and killer setlist of hits. You guys f***ing rock the world…my world…the whole world! Thank you!

Special Delivery

Back in the summer, Mr Burchill ordered himself a beautiful Spanish guitar in Grenada. Today, the maker of the guitar, Valerio, delivered to Charlie said guitar to a recording studio in London.

Cherisse and Thomas were there to film the delivery. And… someone else popped in to have a gander as well…

Bonfire Of The Memories

It was bonfire night, 1980, and Jim recalls it like it’s 2016! (Coincidentally…my first ever visit to Glasgow was that night – Bonfire night, 2016…I had a bankside view of the Clyde from my hotel window and I could see fireworks going off all over from the view I had of the city there. It was magical!)

I left a comment on his post about the significance – for a Johnny-come-lately like myself of bootlegs and other (more official) live recordings from the time. They are like gold dust and little pockets of time travel.

Well, you guys know (those of you who may have taken some interest in the blog for a while – I dare say that’s just me! Lol) the things I have done to highlight them? The Weekend WhirliGIG being one example of my way of showcasing that stuff.

These kind of recordings are so precious to me. Had we had the technology we have now available back then? Imagine how much of this stuff would be preserved?! Still, that is part of what makes it so very precious. The fact it’s so rare, for one, and the other is capturing a band in (what is STILL) their formative years…oh, but what years! And how bloody accomplished they were already! I’m sure JIm would tell me “no”. That even then, they were still amateurish. I’d tell him to “do wan” if he did! Lol

As an example…here is a fucking BLISTERING version of I Travel from the time. And just as I imagine it sounded to his ears that night at the City Hall in Glasgow…listen to that crowd at the end of the song. And that’s in London, not Glasgow!

I’ve done it so the clip starts at I Travel…but you can always go back and listen to it all.

I’ll add a link to Jim’s FB post as well for your perusal.

Q Presents John Grant – The Making Of Love Is Magic

It’s lovely to hear him talk. And good to hear the descriptions of the songs from him. The interview was being conducted by Q’s Editor In Chief and he wasn’t the most natural of interviewers.

Not that I can pass judgement!

On the way back to St Pancras, I started to cry…which is just so ridiculous in itself…but…it all just seemed to go wrong.

It was open to questions at the end…and I thought..well, I want to know…I’ll ask him what he thinks of Simple Minds.

Bless him…I don’t think he wanted to be mean…

You know that feeling you get when you open your mouth and you instantly wish you hadn’t said what you just said?

Yeah.

He wasn’t unkind. He spoke fondly of The Breakfast Club and had praise for New Gold Dream…had said he’d met Jim and he was lovely.

I apologised for asking when posing for the photo with him. He was like “it’s okay. I was just being honest”. There was a guy next to me…oh, bless him! He was like “you know, if you liked New Gold Dream, you REALLY need to listen to the one before, Sons And Fascination. You’ll LOVE IT!” And that started me off and I was like “YES! You need to listen to EARLY Simple Minds.” Poor John, I think he felt hounded by this point.

So the first MAJOR faux pas was asking the world’s dumbest question. And then it was the exacerbated by me waiting patiently to just to say a brief word (the apology for such a dumbass question) and a quick pic and John wanting to go.

He made an apology and was about to go…but I had handed my phone to a lady and she stopped him and asked. I felt awful because he wanted to go but she stopped him before I could get my phone back and tell her not to bother.

It all just felt like I had been SUCH an imposition and that on top of the question…and yeah.

Oh, well. As far as social ineptitude goes, I fucking excelled myself tonight! Well done me!

Here’s a couple of pics…one from inside the venue before it kicked off, and the other, the best pic that my crappy phone managed to take of John.

Sorry, John. I’m best never to try to speak to you in future. I’ll just embarrass myself. I cannot apologise enough.