Some Great Venues

And gig season continues.  And I foolishly just bought tickets to about 4 more gigs.  The calendar is starting to look very, very full.

But back to the present, or past… The last week’s worth started with Wilco at the Roundhouse.  I signed up to become a member, so that I might get access to the Member’s Bar for the evening (this was the third night in a row – and I was keen to just sit down and listen to the gig).  But – alas, no email confirmation or anything – so I paid the money for the membership, without getting any benefit (yet).  So – headed to the venue, and got there nice and early to listen to the support act – some nice inoffensive singer-songwriter fare by a chap named Jonathan Wilson.  I found a spot against the back wall, with enough light to read by – and settled in for the evening.  The venue is not bad – and the stage for Wilco was pretty cool.  Dozens of lampshades hanging from the ceiling, with lights in them that switched on/off in patterns along with the music.  Simple, yet effective.  Signs at the door saying that cameras/etc were banned – which I smiled to see, both because of my dislike of people holding up brightly lit LCD screens of cameras/phones in front of me during gigs – and because I realised that it would be impossible/unlikely to be enforced.  And sure enough – yeah, plenty of youtube links of the gigs.  (But looking them up, I discover that the following night – Nick Lowe joined them for a song during the encore.  Which I missed out on.  Damn.  But – I do have tickets to Nick Lowe next year – so, yeah.)  But yeah – my gig was good, although I was too tired to really enjoy it properly.  A nice mixture of old and new songs, good stage set-up, and Jeff Tweedy even apologised for his gig back in 1997 (although I suspect that this was heavily tinted with irony).

After that – I had the day off.   A nice leisurely Saturday – which I used to do enough housekeeping stuff to feel virtuous, and then spent 4 hours in the bath – eating dinner, watching TV/movies, reading book, drinking wine.  The bath is the new couch.

Sunday – a big one.  PJ Harvey at Royal Albert Hall.  First half of the show was stuff from the new album, Let England Shake.  Which is a very very good album – a concept album about war, but packed full of beautiful music.  And PJ wearing her crazy black outfit – with use of the lighting system to good effect – at times only lighting her head, providing the effect of a floating singing pretty wee head full-o-genius.  And then after an hour or so – she brought out a range of older stuff.  All good.  Crazy good.

In fact – so good, I went the next night also – this time sitting in the Grand Tier.  And again – yeah, good.  Very very good.

And then it was Tuesday – with another great venue – the Union Chapel.  This time, to see Timber Timbre – which I can only describe as folk music which sounds like it belongs in a David Lynch film.  Once again – being the 3rd gig in a hat-trick of gigs – I was too tired to really enjoy it.  But – I turned up early, took a book, and enjoyed the opening act – a band by the name of Evening Hymns, playing in a chapel, who are not religious.  And they were nice and pleasant to listen to, while reading.  And then Timber Timbre – as per above, just really creepy folk.  And obviously aware of that – as the latest album was titled Creep On Creepin On.  So – good gig, but just too tired to appreciate it properly.  Weird voice, and if you want to get an idea of what I mean by “creepy” – check out some of their videos.

And then Wednesday.  Yay – no gigs.  But, alas, work drinks.  First – drinks at the client I was at, leaving drinks for some of the other contractors/consultants being booted out of there.  And then rushing off to a ten-pin bowling alley where my actual company was holding an evening.  Where I found everybody finishing off pizzas.  And then some bowling – after most people had spent the last hour or two eating pizza, I had spent the last two hours drinking wine.  I initially tried to avoid being made a member of a team, but when I failed – I fishtailed spectacularly, and sneakily ended up playing for two different teams.  Sharing around my overly flamboyant bowling style – like a good samaritan.  Still didn’t end up on the winning team.  And then found the pool table, where I challenged the current holder.  And somehow, very early on, we took a strong dislike to each other.  He was the kind of guy, with his retinue, who obviously spend every evening at the bowling alley, playing pool, thinking they are the Fonz.  And loving the whole tacky coca-cola americana side of it.  In short – loving everything I despise.  Whereas I was taking the piss, once again show-boating – slightly intoxicated (after having had another bottle of wine while bowling) – and making some ridiculous trick shots.  When I heard one of his mates ask another “Where the hell did this guy come from?” – I figured my job was done.  But I continued to play, but without full commitment – and the game was rather epic.  Eventually we had this guy with his dozen little greaseball friends cheering him on – and my company had found me and were cheering me on shamelessly.  All in all, rather bizarre.  But eventually I lost – when the ball refused to travel just that extra 1cm which would have allowed me to win.  Stupid ball.  But I left with my boss clapping me on the back and assuring me I’d won the moral victory anyways.  Which I’m not entirely sure of, but sure – I’ll take that.

Thursday I had a night off – so it was dinner, TV & movies in the bath again.  And then today, forgetting how I struggle with three gigs in a row – I’ve lined up a 9 day period with a total of 7 gigs.  Including one run of 4 gigs.  I figure that 4th gig, I’ll be sleeping through.  Sorry Bob.

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