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!

Review: Franz Ferdinand – Roundhouse, London – 26/09/2018 (So Good, It Floored Me – Literally!)

I left the house at 5.15pm in the vain hope I’d be dropped off at Luton Airport Parkway station for the 5.35pm train to Kentish Town. I got to the station at 5.26…and I needed to buy my ticket and make it over to the platform. With TWO MINUTES to spare, I bloody made it!

I was off to a good start! I wanted to leave at that time so I didn’t have to rush to the Roundhouse from Kentish Town. The venue is just shy of a mile away from the station. I wanted time to walk at a leisurely pace and still make it for 7pm open doors.

Well, I made it in plenty of time (even with a train delay of several minutes between St Albans and Radlett). There was no queue out the front! That was a strange sight to see. I needed the loo, so asked the guys at the door if there was any chance I could be let in to use the loo. “Have you got your ticket?” “Yes.” “No probs. In the bar there’s a toilet. In you go.”

It was 6.45 and on one was queueing outside?! Geez, that wasn’t the case back in Feb for the Minds gig there. The queue was almost stretching down to the Morrison’s fuel station down the way! Obviously Simple Minds fans like a queue. Lol

There was a small queue inside the doors though. I was told to hang back until the queue started moving. But after about 10 minutes of hanging around, I was allowed to join it. By this time a queue outside was now forming.

I got myself a good position at the front over to the left (audience view) of the stage. After about 30 mins of waiting, I was starting to feel the need for the loo again. But I was on my own and didn’t want to lose my place. I’ll be fine holding on. Every now and then a very brief wave of light-headedness would wash over me. In my head I’m thinking, “Oh, this is not good. I do feel a little strange every now and then. Please let this pass! I’ll be okay. Just breathe deeply.”

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Barry – Arriving promptly at 7.45, I had no idea what to expect from this foursome. A female rhythm section of bass and drums, and male guitar and lead vocalist/keyboards.

They’re quite kinda punk…in the traditional sense of the word…a little amateurish, but in a positive and endearing way. They reminded me a bit of the B52’s but Brit style.

Sadly they are hard to find info on due to their name. Stick “Barry” or “Barry band” in a search and all kinds of irrelevant things show up. They have a FB page and I’ve messaged them hoping they’ll lead me to a Soundcloud or Bandcamp page. I’ll add the info here if they do.

Anyway, I enjoyed their irreverence. I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

Alexis Taylor – After seeing him last December performing with Green Gartside in Bedford, I was really looking forward to seeing him again. And he didn’t disappoint. In amongst his short set was a wonderful cover of Paul McCartney’s Coming Up and my favourite from last year’s gig (which he describes as “a song about the fact that you don’t drink tea or coffee, but you want a hot drink”), Hot Squash.

I managed to catch the Coming Up cover purely by accident and I was recording away with Hot Squash but my phone was running out of storage space, so it was cut short.

After Alexis’s set, I was trying to sort my phone out to make space, but it wasn’t going so well (to trim the Hot Squash clip down, I needed MORE space that I didn’t have so…that was not happening!).

Again, I had a wave of feeling unwell…except this time it was much stronger and I was thinking to myself “Oh please don’t faint, please don’t faint!” Try to stay calm! Breathe! You’ll be okay!”

The next second, I am coming to, faces around me asking me if I am okay, that my head wasn’t sore, what my name is, so on and so forth.

YEP! I had only just gone and fainted. Thankfully I had caring people around me who broke my fall and prevented me from bashing my head on the barrier and on the ground. Lifesavers! I had a medical officer come to me and she was absolutely ace. When I was in a good enough state to move, she took me to a medical room to be checked over.

I was given water and had my heart rate and blood pressure checked. My blood pressure was high when she first read it. And she was subsequently monitoring it…and bloody hell that band they put around your upper arm to take your BP bloody hurt like hell! And she kept trying to read it over and over. My right arm got squeezed to death. Then she was trying with the left. OUCH! Once I had come round, I felt okay, but I thought it best to agree to be checked over.

I knew it was my own fault, though. I had just not taken enough care of myself yesterday. I had very little to eat. A banana for breakfast, and then little pastry nick knacks for elevenses. Nothing for tea prior to the gig…just a protein bar before leaving the house. And just a small glass of water (and only one coffee and one tea all day before that). I had been an idiot and I paid the price. And my iron levels were probably down too as my period is imminent (yeah, sorry, icky female human body talk…but it probably added to things going as badly as they did last night).

I rather kind of off the cuff, wishful thinking, said to the medical officer when she said that I could go back out and watch the gig, “I wish I could be upstairs on the of the seats”. She says to me, “well, we’ll see what we can do about that.” OMG, bless them! Her colleague (who had actually been preoccupied watching a footy match!) had called someone and arranged it so I could sit upstairs. I had my ticket swapped over for a ticket upstairs. I missed the first two songs of the set, but I got to see the rest of the gig in comfort.

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Franz Ferdinand – And of course they were amazing. Alex is a fab frontman, and their musicianship is spot on. An amazing crowd. And the view from upstairs, and seeing how much the crowd down below were loving it. It was awesome. Did I regret losing my spot at the front due to my damn neglectful stupidity? A little. Was I angry at myself for missing the first two songs (one of which was Do You Want To)? Hell yes! But I was thankful for being able to see the rest of the set and be safe and comfortable.

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Amongst the songs I loved in the set were The Dark Of The Matinee (which I saw half of, getting to my seat), Walk Away, Take Me Out (obviously!), Twilight Omens and Darts Of Pleasure. I was really, really hoping for Michael, but after an encore of Always Ascending and Darts Of Pleasure, when they started This Fire as what I assumed would be the final song, I thought it best to leave a little early to avoid the mass exodus and getting back to Kentish Town station too late.

The walk back was a little more frightening than I had anticipated earlier in the night. It was recommended that I eat something before I set off home. But I had absolutely NO MONEY. And the 30 odd pence I had left on me, I gave to a begging homeless man as I left the venue…apologising to him profusely that I couldn’t offer him any more.

I made it back safely to the station and on the train home. Standing room only for a while. I still didn’t feel the best and had a headache coming on. I just wanted to be home, safe and sound.

Well, that was possibly the most eventful gig of the year FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS! A lesson learned! I suppose at 47 (48 FAST approaching!), I should know better. It goes to show, I am not adverse to being a numpty…over and over.

I hope to see Franz again in the near future, and DEFINITELY under better circumstances.

Getting Twiggy With It!

These guys really have been my new find and love over the summer. If it had not been for the Green Man festival and seeing some of their set there, I may not have discovered them. But, boy, am I glad I did!

Sadly, at the moment, Brian is off the tour with Arctic Monkeys, as he has taken ill. But hopefully he will be fully recovered for February’s headline tour of the UK. I’ve already booked myself for their London gig at the Roundhouse, and I am now seriously considering adding Glasgow to that list…but I’ll have to check how many days they are apart, and whether there are actually any tickets for Glasgow left! I’ll let you know…

(Magazine article from this month’s Classic Rock)