Constantly feeling tired – as now my weekends don’t consist of slothing around the house, but rather researching a random place to ride to for lunch. And then mid-week gigs, a ridiculous commute to work, and yeah… not cool.
Gemma Ray – really good. Small gig at the Borderline. Zero expectations, but she was very very good. Just cool music. Playing the guitar with a butcher knife seemed like a bit of a gimmick at first, and it was – but it worked.
Beirut – I was very very tired. Nearly falling asleep during the entire thing, grumpy and disliking being in the midst of so many people. But obviously good, judging by the irritating enthusiasm of all the people.
Kimbra. Her first biggish headline gig, I believe. And where better than Union Chapel. I was a little confused at what she’s trying to be… serious soul singer, Amy Winehouse with tutu, pop with talent? But I guess that’s a good thing – she’s none of those things, just doing what she wants. But the dress… what the hell? Good set, I get the impression she’s still trying to nail her stage persona – or else she’s got it, but it’s just crazy. Played pretty much her entire debut album, plus the song she did with Foster The People (still gutted about missing them, passing them over for chinese with an Ex). But now I guess I kinda saw a bit of that gig, because even played by Kimbra’s support band – a Foster The People song can’t be mistaken for anything else. I’ve seen her effort at SXSW linked to from a certain website dedicated to awesome stuff, so here’s hoping she goes on to big things.
We Are Augustines… missed these guys earlier in the year due to a clash with something, can’t remember what. Snapped up a ticket to this one… and got the impression it was their last tour or something? Don’t know – can’t be bothered researching the veracity of that. I’ve had the impression from their videos that they, or the lead at least, are earnest earnest young men. And although it comes across as a little annoying in the videos (albeit, I believe there is justification for that) – it was kinda ‘sweet’ in the flesh. He really seemed blown away by playing in a ex-theatre-type venue like SheBu (that’s the Shepherd’s Bush Empire). Which, fair enough – the first time I went there, I was all like “wow… cool… gig in a London theatre”, and then the 10th time I went there I was all like “wow, the toilets are a pain in the arse to get to, and there’s a friggin’ Walkabout next door”. But – the earnestness actually made the gig – they seemed genuinely stoked to just be there. And an enthusiastic crowd to egg them on… made it a really enjoyable gig.
Next up was Radiohead. With paperless ticketing, which ended up being more hassle than dead-tree-ticketing. My card expired, I hunted for hours to confirm that my replacement debit-card would still get me in, then I got an email disclaiming that – asking me to call and give them my new card details. I don’t like calling companies like Ticketmaster – they spend an hour with an automated voice telling me I can do anything I want on-line, while I’m swearing at them, reciting in turn that if there was any chance, ANY CHANCE, that I could do something “on-line” rather than picking up a phone and talking to somebody… it would have been done yesterday. But…. rant over. Radiohead – fairly high expectations for this, as one would assume. And…. a little disappointed. It was a good gig and all, but… just not spectacular. Well, spectacular in a way, but not… innovative. I couldn’t help thinking – Snow Patrol did the whole floating TV screens better than this, and Jay-Z/Kanye West absolutely smashed the whole concept of big-screen TVs. It just seemed like they were just doing their job. Which they were. I had something in my head when I thought “Radiohead gig”, and what I got did not match that. And I lost my debit card. But I’m not going to be one of those “they only played the new in-accessible stuff, I wanted to hear only their first two albums” humbugs. I’ve got a workmate who went as well, and he complained about “they only played their self-indulgent stuff, screw the fans”. Nope. Incorrect. By now, if you haven’t figured out that their Kid-A onwards stuff isn’t that much different, well… you might as well go to a Bod Dylan gig and yell at him “Judas!”.
The Gaslight Anthem – last night. Very good. Very pleased about that gig… pure pleasure in playing exhibited by the band. Check them out, they really are rather good. Just wholesome blue-jeans rock-and-roll. Imagine The Boss, if he’d had a couple of Clash records in his collection. Or something. That was only last night, so can’t find any decent videos yet – this will have to do. Boring last encore.
And on the weekends, I can’t really remember – every weekend possible I’ve gone out for a day-trip somewhere. I’ve now done over 2,000 miles – and am ticking over each fraction of the bike’s total mileage as I do it. The bike’s nearly 30 years old, and I am now accountable for nearly 1/7th of it’s total mileage.
Brighton, tick. Hastings, nice bike parking facilites, but terrible seaside. Cotswolds – inland, so no seafood, but beautiful ride… little villages, great pub at the end of it, good food – seriously considering a repeat. Southend-on-Sea – terrible seaside. Dover/Deal – “10th Best Seaside Pub In England”, I certainly hope not. And then there’s just the random places I looked up, as they’re on the ends of peninsulas, to get there and realise they’re industrial ports. But – all good fun… the Spectre’s running fine, and it’s something to do on the weekends… until I go broke. (Petrol for a bike is fairly cheap, but dining every Saturday & Sunday at a ‘gastropub’ – not so much).
My plan for upcoming weekends is to start going to more touristy venues… and eat at cheap(-ish) pubs. A photo album of the Spectre in front of Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Leeds Castle, etc, etc. There’s got to be a very very niche market for that.