Autumn Slump

Very tired – so going to try and quickly sum up using bullet points…


  • Dirty Projectors – at the Roundhouse, so I was sitting pretty in my Members Bar… favourite thing about that bar is the top/side-on view of the stage.. I like to think I see what the band/support are actually doing, rather than what the show is supposed to look like.  But while being able to read what the show is supposed to be… if that makes sense.  Anyway – I say that because I watch the youtube videos of how it looked from the crowd, and that kinda matches what I was seeing from the side… a decent performance, but… strained?  Not natural?  Not to say that it wasn’t enjoyable – the crowd loved it, and so did I… but maybe the band/music doesn’t really ‘fit’ a stage/gig environment?
  • Couple of nights later – Hot Chip, Brixton Academy.  Met up for some base work drinks before hand, and I don’t think anybody really believed I was off to see a band called “Hot Chip”.  But – I was… and within half an hour, I was very pleased that I was.  Starting with the entrance to the gig – the normal people were trying to thrust flyers into my hand… and then inside the gig, there more more.  But these seemed more determined, and once one actually listened to them (after having done a similar job for Rough Beats, I do try to at least listen)… there were people handing out free ‘merch’… Oyster-Card holders (or just generic card-holders for non-London folk) stamped with Hot Chip album cover art, and some other stuff which I still ignored because that’s what I do.  And then the gig.  About 30 minutes in, as I usually do, I start thinking about how I would describe this if I can remember in a month’s time when I might write about it… and the words that sprung to mind were “Constant Awesome“.  And at no point throughout the gig did that thought dissipate.  Constant Awesome.  That was Hot Chip.  Energetic live show, original-as-possible light-show, solid stage-presence… just really constant awesome.  Bassist tossing his guitar to start playing some “side-drums”, vocalist running around jumping up on semi-mezzanines to help out on some percussion also, … just Constant Awesome.  If labels had to become involved, last year’s The Roots gig, but modern Indie (the 80srevival I never thought could work).
  • A few nights later – I saw Grizzly Bear at the same venue.  It came into conversation recently, and I couldn’t remember it.  Looking it up on youtube – yeah, now I remember it.  Not the best commendation, the fact that I nearly forgot the entire gig – but to be fair, I’m getting old, and maybe can’t handle a handful of gigs in a fistful of days anymore, or whatever.  And also – nice music, but not memorable.  Don’t regret the ticket, won’t be on my top 10 of 2012.
  • Possibly helping my amnesia of Grizzly Bear, was MUSE a few nights later.  Now… I’m not a big Muse fan.  Although I’m not  huge Grizzly Bear fan either – it’s just that after being to a Muse concert – I now feel obligated to stress… I’m not … ‘that’.  I’d always heard great things about Muse gigs, and what songs I’ve heard… yeah, I could listen to that.  So – booked myself a seat at the O2.  And – yeah, great show, terrible fans, alright music.  A really good show… with unusual consideration shown for people in side/rear seats.  Spectacular use of recent technology… I spent a lot of the gig thinking “if only Radiohead had put this amount of effort into their gig”.  The reverse pyramid of TV screens… good.  When they reverse that, so that they all get lowered to form an actual pyramid on stage, hiding the band… yeah… impressive.  And searching for videos of that, I just remembered the roulette wheel to choose the next song.  Fake, but impressive.
  • The following night – I had tickets for the Muttonbirds.  But I had some work in the morning – a couple of hours of easy work… which somehow led to my still sitting at my desk at 2am, waiting for certain people to just do their….. f*&%…ing job.  And yeah, I missed one of the last ever opportunities to see Don McGlashan sing Nature.  I sent an email of preliminary resignation the next day.
  • The Walkmen – I was still tired/grumpy after weekend of work leading to me missing the Muttonbirds.  But tried to enjoy it.  Unfortunately – the best moment of the evening was poorly captured as such.
  • Animal Collective – one gig where sitting up to the side (it was at the Roundhouse) probably hindered things… the stage set-up was very much designed for front-on viewing.  Watching the mechanics of the band – sure… but when I peeked in from the front at one point… the stage set-up looked cheap and crappy from the side.. from the front, the main crowd – it actually looked impressive.  But by the time I realised that, I was a tired old man who couldn’t bear thinking of standing with the crowd listening to ‘experimental psych-indie-rock’, or whatever this is called.
  • Two nights later, returned to the Roundhouse, this time for some more mellow tunes… The Civil Wars.  Took Jess along… and showed off my membership.  But for some strange reason, on this night the Members Bar was packed.  We were both happy to sit in the back, on a couch, with no view – but just listen to the gig.  To be fair – the Civil Wars aren’t exactly a visual show.  And yeah, it was good.  Their original songs, really good.  They tried some covers… bravely trying to cover Portishead and Michael Jackson… each time, I thought, coming off the worse for wear.  I mean – who tries to cover Sour Times?
  • Ladyhawke, the other night.  Good…?  Yeah – I think, good?  It was pretty much a pub gig in a venue.  Songs I liked, played on a stage, in a venue.  Very, very standard gig… I think I’d expected more… maybe her album cover being featured on Beck bottles had made me think she was a lot more successful than she really is?  But yeah – nothing to complain about… pretty much a kiwi musician-ess playing her pub-rock… with typical kiwi stage presence.

Other than that:

  • Commuting is not cool, but mostly because I haven’t figured out how to adjust my bedtime… am still refusing to even consider sleep until midnight, and then suddenly realising I have to be up at X
  • Have booked flights back to Aotearoa for late December, early January… have got nearly 4 weeks there… but already, trying to think of places/people/dates… it’s looking like not long enough.  Have been looking at hiring a motorbike for the period, but all the places I can find seem to be aimed at rich british/american tourists looking at ‘touring holidays’… and yeah, probably out of my price range.  Anybody who could recommend a company which hires out bikes, for locals/etc – please let me know.
  • Speaking of biking – managed to get a ride in last weekend – made a short run out to a country pub to watch Scotland vs NZ rugby in a pub filled of people watching ‘football’.  Am hoping on going on another short run tomorrow.  Work & weather look to make these rarer and rarer.

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