Well – December has pretty much turned into just treading water, waiting for the New Year – which will hopefully provide enough symbolic ‘new beginnings’ to provide an impetus to get moving again. Not sure if that makes sense to anybody – but I have talked to a few people who agree… we’ve had enough of this year, it’s time for a new one. There’s not been anything particularly bad about the year – in fact it’s been rather good in a few ways – but it’s just gone on long enough. Mostly – I’ve fallen into an apathetic hole, and am using the upcoming New Year as an excuse to not do anything about it until then. Which just means I’m going to have to actually get up and do quite a lot in the New Year, so that I don’t fall into a guilty spiral back into inactivity.
But – what has been breaking up the monotony of December? Since I last dragged myself up enough to type… a couple of gigs. Firstly – DJ Shadow. Rather an odd show – due to the stage set-up. It was just an empty stage, with a big white background, and a big white ball – which he sat hidden away in most of the time. But he used the background wall and the ball as projection screens – creating a rather spectacular effect, especially when the whole 3D nature of the projection space was used cleverly. And once in a while, the ball would spin around – showing him inside on “his decks”. All in all – it sounds rather boring, just a stage with a big ball on it – but his lighting/display/video guy used it to spectacular effect. There’s a series of clips on youtube, showing the whole gig – which show the visuals quite well, but the audio is utter shite. Which is a shame – because he was rather good.
I then had nearly a week off of gigs, but not off work – instead working on a new client, spending about a week of waiting for the client to get all the things ready that I’d asked to be ready before I wasted their money by being on-site. Oh well – it’s their money. Oh – and over that time, I also decided on several occasions to NOT stay up overnight watching cricket, because it was obvious that NZ was going to get thrashed by the arsetralians. Which was the correct choice considering I had to go on-site at a client the next mornings, but the wrong choice considering the eventual result. Oh well. Now I can get my hopes up, and stay up all night while watching South Africa thrash us.
Next gig was one which I went to only to see the smallest support act. HMV is doing a series of gigs in February – 11 nights in a row, of their picks for the “Next Big Thing” – £10 per gig. The first one I checked out on youtube, and decided to go see – was We Are Augustines. But it turns out they’re playing on the same night as the Black Keys, which I already have tickets for. But – I saw they were playing support for some shitty rock radio station’s “Winter Wonderland” event. So – I got tickets to that, and headed off extra early to be there in time to see the very first support act. Which of course meant scoffing down junk-food on the way, getting there at 6pm, and then essentially spending 6 hours at a bloody gig drinking red wine. And regretted that pretty quickly. We Are Augustines were fine, but re-affirmed my initial impression from their videos – slightly too earnest young rock’n’rollers – bordering on cringeworthy. If they were from any other country, I’d think that was fine – they’ll grow up, become cynical, their music will become better, and yay – more good music for the world. But these guys are american – I suspect they’ll grow up, become more earnest and self-important, and start churning out earnest well-meaning soft-rock. Anyway – I’ll shelve my cynicism and enjoy them for now. Meanwhile, back at Brixton Academy – loud obnoxious radio DJs (are there any other kind?) – came and went, introducing each band. Next up was the Tribes – which I don’t really remember much of. I guess they were fine, but forgettable? I’ll check them out this afternoon on youtube. After that – Band of Skulls – who of course I’d already seen this year. I’m thinking maybe even more than once – but maybe I’m mixing up that I’ll be seeing them supporting the Black Keys, twice, in February. And they’ve got their new album out now – so it was pretty much a set of all new songs, with only one or two of their old crowd-pleasers thrown in. Then it was the Maccabees – whose name I’d heard a fair bit, but haven’t really listened to. They were fine, and I’ll have to listen to a bit more of them. I think the Horrors were also supposed to play, but they pulled a sickie. And then the headliners – Kaiser Chiefs. I’ve never really bought into the hype around the Kaiser Chiefs overly much, although I do understand that they are rather good. So – I should have enjoyed it, but by this stage the Academy was packed full of young people – young people who listen to a rock station named XFM – and I was tired, old, many wines down, and cantankerous. I slipped out before the Kaiser Chiefs’ encore in order to avoid the rush, and slunk off home for a good ol’ nap.
And those were the last gigs of 2011. It will be time to draw up a “Best-of-2011″ some time – but in 2012, when I’m all re-energised.
Other than that – on the evening of the 24th, I stayed up very late, watching the entire Die Hard series, and chatting with family over this new internet jobbie. Spent an hour or so just watching the niece and nephew over internetcam – which was awesome. And eventually headed off to bed about 4:30am – having been reminded how tangential the downhill slope of those Die Hard movies really was. And on the 25th, slept in, before heading North with half-a-dozen bottles of wine in my arms. Eventually found a taxi, and went to visit Caro’n’Dom & Malachy. And then a day of board games, roast lamb, wines, chit-chat, and a stroll up to Alexandra Palace. And then an evening of wines.
And now – back at work, in a deserted office, killing time until 2012. Not having even organised anything to do in order to welcome in the New Year. It is looking like the least eventful New Year’s Eve since high school days.