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.

Catching The Live Music Bug

I was working out how many gigs I’ve got coming up last night – and the answer was – 14 of the things! (And still hoping to sort another two Simple Minds gigs on top of that…if only money grew on trees.)
I have NEVER been to so many gigs in my life! The love of live music given to me by…a certain someone. (See pic stolen from a certain band’s FB page)
Anyway, the first of the 14 (16?!) will be The Anchoress and Manic Street Preachers at Meltdown at the Royal Festival Hall tomorrow night. Wowzers! (One of the gigs is a comedy gig, by the way. The other an art exhibition and talk.)

Thank you, Mr Beautiful, for instilling in me this love of live music. Being Aussie and all, and growing up in a country that prides itself with a music scene that produces the best live bands in the world…my love for live music was hindered by: my sheltered existence, lack of money, etc, etc…I could make all the excuses.

The “lack of money” thing is still a big issue…but, it’s about priorities, and good budgeting and picking bands to see that give value for money…the irony being, the band I love the most now being my most expensive outlay to see live. But, it is what it is.

Hopefully I can do those other two SM gigs, but we’ll see. In amongst the 14 are three opportunities to see Simple Minds, so it isn’t ALL bad! It’s just, you know…after the Acoustic tour , and the dates in February…the more Minds gigs, the better.

Anyway…on to Catherine and the Manics tomorrow night. WOOT!

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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!

Warm Digits And Vessels – The Lantern, Colston Hall, Bristol 5/5/18

It had been some 9 months since I saw the boys play The Lexington in August last year and I was long overdue seeing them again. Opening up with Two To Four Degrees off their latest fabulous Wireless World album. The crowd were into it from the get go. Only a small crowd as tonight the boys were relegated to support…but they were the main feature for me!

Amazing they made it at all, as I’d had a quick chat to Steve (guitarist and keyboard/programming wizard) before their set and he was saying he’d had his car broken into while they were performing the previous night in Manchester 😦 I, for one, was super glad he and Andy (drummer extraordinaire) made it down to Brizzle.

If I was to give any criticism to the set the guys did, it was that the vocal tracks could have done with the vocals turned up a bit…but that is being pernickety.

The set was fab otherwise.

Another chat with Steve and Andy afterwards, a ticket stub memento and a pic with them. And thank you for the beer/stout, Andy, it went down nicely. Thank you. To both of you for being great, chatting and just being awesome guys :-)) See you again soon in London.

We stayed for Vessels and I was not in any way familiar with their stuff. I went in with an open mind and open ears. They were very competent. The sound was great…but…I dunno, I just wasn’t feeling it last night. One track they performed was interesting and I was kind of into that one…but then they just went back to sounding a little…”samey”. There wasn’t anything wrong with them…I just wasn’t feeling it last night. They have a trance vibe to them and they were going down really well with the rest of the crowd. Had I been in the right mood/mindset for them, maybe I’d have got into them. But, I’d have preferred more of the Warm Digits boys to be honest. They were the big drawcard for me last night.

I shall leave with some footage of Warm Digits performing the title track off their most recent album, Wireless World. Once again, thanks to Steve and Andy for being awesome. Love you guys! ❤️

Summer Starts Saturday

The first of a summer long season of outdoor gigs for Simple Minds kicks off on Saturday in the beautiful Croatian city of Split. A FREE concert, no less, put on by the city for its residents. I looked into going…but there was no chance of doing it on a shoe string. Easyjet only fly over there every second day or so, so it would have meant flying over tomorrow and staying until Monday. I couldn’t afford it. Fares were already near £100 each way (I think when I looked it was £93 for the outbound and about £178 for the inbound.)  I couldn’t justify that…and a 4 night stay on top. Nope.

Before the gig was announced I had booked to go to Bristol to see Warm Digits, so that’ll be my gig. I get a live music fix at least, just not with SM. But I love my Warm Digits boys as you know…and it’s been a long time since August and The Lexington. And this time I’m making sure I see them at least twice and will see them again in London in early June (with a Minds gig in between. Yay!)

Anyway…SM are packed up and ready to go. Cherisse is keeping fans updated on her Instagram page. To check out the latest goings on, just click on the fab pic of her and Jim she shared earlier (great composition, Cherisse…you got the correct ear  in shot 😉 #fetish).

Oh…don’t I still wish I was making a split for Split?

My Year Of Live Music!

I have NEVER experienced a year like it! I have never been to so many gigs in one year before! I can safely say that I have seen more live music in this past 12 months than I have seen in my previous total sum of gigs experienced. Here’s a rundown of the list…

March 25th – The Stranglers, Cambridge Corn Exchange
April 3rd – Holy Holy, Waterside Aylesbury
May 2nd – John Grant, Union Chapel Islington
May 18th – Simple Minds, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
May 22nd – Simple Minds, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
May 25th – Simple Minds, Bridlington Spa
May 27th – Simple Minds, London Palladium
May 29th – Simple Minds, Colston Hall Bristol
June 3rd – Simple Minds, Brighton Dome
June 4th – Simple Minds, Theatre Royal Drury Lane London
June 7th – Simple Minds, Olympia Theatre Dublin
June 8th – Simple Minds, Olympia Theatre Dublin
June 22nd – Manic Street Preachers Bristol Sounds
August 25th – Warm Digits, The Lexington London
September 23rd – Paul Draper, O2 Institute Birmingham
November 10th – Wolfgang Flür, The Lexington London
December 10th – Alexis Taylor and Green Gartside, Esquires Bedford

Apart from the obvious and overwhelming highlight of all those Simple Minds Acoustic gigs (it’s hard for me to single out the best of them all…but perhaps just for the sheer finalé of it…and how, with each gig they just killed it and killed it…that final Dublin one stands out…but it was ALL amazing), I would say the biggies were…John Grant – an absolute DREAM to see him live (I wish I was again, in Feb/March…but DEF. no funds for that now), The Manics – my first experience of them live and they are everything you’d ever imagine them to be, Warm Digits – I absolutely LOVE these guys…I *will* see them again next year…somewhere!)

Thank you for all the music, everyone…all the support acts as well. You all rock. Special thanks to Catherine Anne Davies for making my attendance of two of these gigs possible. Both of those gigs were amazing!

2018 is set to be another year of great live music for me to see/experience. The tally for Simple Minds again is already currently standing at seven, plus there are gigs from Franz Ferdinand and the Art Of Noise already booked. Who else is on the cards? Well…as just alluded to…Warm Digits HAVE to be seen again…and let’s hope there will be gigs showcasing new material from The Anchoress next year. Beyond that? We’ll see!

PS: I just HAD to share my appalling montage (these have NOT been cropped…they are REALLY THIS BAD!) of epic fails of attempts at getting a pic with Gordy Goudie. The man is a SAINT! Honestly…and people were ASKING ME to take pics of them with Jim?! Lol.