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Archive for the category “Gigs”

Less Massive

Well, that concert. It was good – it just wasn’t what was advertised.

As I said on Friday, it had been promoted as playing the whole of “No Protection”, with live dubbing. Which would’ve been fine, and was entirely what was expected.

Instead, while a fair amount of the album was played, there was also a lot of other new stuff, and really it was more of a normal/standard gig, rather than the presentation of a particular piece of work.

In fairness, if it had been promoted as “just” a Mad Professor gig, I’d have still got the ticket, and still gone to the gig.  It’s just that it was promoted as one thing, and turned out to be something else.

I’ve got in touch with Archspace about it, and it’ll be interesting to see what their response is to the entire thing.

All told, I’m still glad I went. I just wish it had been what they’d said it would be.

Another Massive Attack

Many years ago, in 1994, Massive Attack released their second album, “Protection“, which I love. The following year, it was remixed in a dub version by the Mad Professor, and released as “No Protection“, which is one of my all-time favourite albums.  I don’t know why I prefer it, but I do.

Earlier this year, Archspace, a new gig space in London, announced that they’d be doing a one-off gig of the Mad Professor performing “No Protection” live.

Yep, I got tickets straight away. The gig was originally lined up for the end of the month, but moved to the start of the month for some unknown reason.

Still, it’s all good, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a fair while.

And tonight’s the night, so it’ll be interesting to see how good it is. I’ll write more about it once I know, and have got home again.

Filling Time

(no, that’s not a euphemism)

So – this is a perfect example of how my life suddenly ends up getting busy…

As long-term readers know, I’m a regular at the Meatopia cooking festival at Tobacco Dock in London, which is usually on the first weekend of September. I’ve got tickets for both days (again, as usual) which would usually be enough to keep me out of trouble for that weekend.

Except now there’s a gig I want to see on the Saturday night, also in London. Which is also utterly doable – but makes for a rather busier and more complicated weekend, it’s safe to say.

So my plan was

  • Saturday
    • Drive down to Barbican, park up
    • Walk to Tobacco Dock
    • Eat Lots
    • Walk back to Barbican, check in to hotel
    • Travel to Camden for concert
    • Gig
    • Travel back to Barbican
    • Sleep
  • Sunday
    • Walk to Tobacco Dock
    • Eat More
    • Walk back to Barbican
    • Drive home
    • Die quietly.

Except it turns out my cat-carer can’t do that weekend. So….

It now consists of

  • Saturday
    • Drive down to North London
    • Travel to Barbican(ish), then walk to Tobacco Dock
    • Eat Lots
    • Walk/Travel back to Camden
    • Gig
    • Travel back up to where the car’s parked
    • Drive home
  • Sunday
    • Drive down to Barbican, then walk to Tobacco Dock  (or maybe get the train, depending on other stuff going on)
    • Eat More
    • Back to Barbican / Euston
    • Home, and Die Quietly.

And that is how my weekends suddenly get silly. (We’ll also mention that September already has every weekend booked with stuff to do)

Early Justifications

Whenever I’m going somewhere, whether to meet friends, or just for a timed event, I tend to be pretty early. Stupidly early, in some cases – mainly because I just figure “Well, once I’m there, I can find something to do“.  At worst, I have a Kindle and a phone, so I’ll always be able to do something with that time.

I don’t expect others to follow the same thing, though – that’s just a world of hurt, because then I’d still be earlier than the expected early time,  and it can get stupid. (I have one friend who’s of a similar mind-set, and we ended up being – unconsciously – competitively early for a while, ’til we realised it was just getting dumb)

Sometimes, though, it turns out that there’s a good reason for being early to things. Saturday was one of those times.

I was going in to London for a concert in the evening, and then booked a lunch at Hibiscus as well.  My plan was to park up at an Underground station I knew well, Tube into Central London (well, kinda – I still wanted to walk as well), go for lunch, wander around London a bit/lot, get back up to the concert venue, meet up with another friend, go to the gig, and then get back to the car and drive us both home.   That plan survived until the first stage…

What I hadn’t realised was that the Northern Line (the only line from the station in question) was shut for the weekend. No trains at all.  Of course, London Underground being the useless shitbricks they are, there were no signs at the entrance to the station or car-park, so I’d paid for parking (fortunately only £2 for the day), walked into the station, to be faced with “Nope, no trains”.  The useless bell-end outside had no idea how I’d get back from the gig at all – well, he suggested taking no less than four buses, at midnight on  Saturday-into-Sunday. So that was no use.

But, I’m well early at this point. So it’s time for a replan.  Drive down to the concert venue, find somewhere close-ish to park, and juggle things from there.

And that’s what happened. Drive down (only about four miles, in fairness) and find a side-road with parking. Permits only, but only Monday-Friday. It’s a Saturday, so I’ll go for that. Check the parking meter. Nope, that Mon-Fri only too. Double-check with the online-app for paying, and nope, can’t take any money for that parking, sir.

Then start walking to find where the hell I am – I know I’m closeish, but not exactly where – turn the corner, and oh look, there’s the venue. Literally two minutes, car-to-venue.  Wander past to find a bus into central London, oh look, there’s one that’ll do it, hop on, and job done.

That entire re-plan and reorganisation, and I was still at Hibiscus 45 minutes early…

So sometimes there’s a really good reason for being idiotically early to things. If I’d been cutting things fine already, that change would’ve completely chiffed me for the day, and been uber-stressful all the way. As it was, it was still an absolute doddle, and everything went well.

Indeed, it actually made life easier – because coming out of the gig, we were in the car and out of London before we’d probably have even got to the original station…

Fish, Aylesbury Waterside

Last night, once I’d finished work I drove over to Aylesbury for a gig. Fish, the ex-lead-singer from Marillion was back in their home-town, and performing one of their classic albums, Misplaced Childhood, in its entirety for the last time, on a tour called “Farewell to Childhood”, because it’s the 30th anniversary of it being released.

I’ve liked Marillion – well, I liked the Fish-era Marillion – since their start, so seeing this gig was always going to be a good one. It’s just a pity it had to be in Aylesbury. Understandable, but a pity all the same.

First of all, I’d forgotten just what a benightedly scabrous shithole Aylesbury is. By the time I got there (just before 6pm) it was pretty much all closed. It’s always been a boil on the arse of Civilisation, and never seems to improve, no matter what the planners, developers and town-centre managers do to it. It’s an unremitting dollop of shite.

I truly don’t know what kind of sins you’d have to have committed in previous lives in order to deserve living in Aylesbury, but they must be truly epic ones.

Anyway, the Waterside Theatre itself is really nice. I’d not been before, but it really impressed me, and is back on the list of places to see stuff.  Again, it would be even better if it weren’t in Aylesbury, but there we go.

The gig was thoroughly enjoyable – my brain refused to store who the support act were, which is a disappointment, as I’d like to make sure I don’t see them again by accident. But once Fish and his band came to the stage, it was all good. They started with playing a number of tracks  from Fish’s solo career (which, admittedly, I’m less familiar with – but I’ll be rectifying that) before playing the whole Misplaced Childhood album, and finally closing with a couple of other crowd favourites.

I really enjoyed it – Misplaced Childhood isn’t my favourite Marillion album by a long chalk, but it was still a good gig.

All told, a good evening – despite the location…

Final High-Mileage Weekend

As per previous posts, January has been a busy month, with a fair amount of travelling every weekend. That’s not a complaint – hell, I kind of planned it that way (well, events combined to make it all into busy weekends, but I allowed it to happen, so yeah, that qualifies as planned) but it’s definitely been busy.

This weekend was the last weekend of high mileage for a couple of weeks. (The week itself is another matter, but we’ll gloss over that for now)

Yesterday, I took my dad in to London to see Billy Connolly at the Hammersmith Apollo – and it was a really good day. We got in to Hammersmith really easily (despite a large number of tosspot drivers etc.) and parked, had food, and enjoyed the show. (I’ll write more about the show itself later in the week) Once that was done, got dad back home, and drove home myself. As usual, getting back around 2am. (I don’t know how that’s been so consistent over the month, but it really has)

Today was a far dafter plan, involving a blast up to the outskirts of Manchester and back.  Basically, I’m up there on Thursday for a concert that I’m going to with two friends, and it’s been spiking my brain that the tickets are with me, and I don’t want them to miss out on the concert if there’s problems on the M1 for me on Thursday.

So I took the opportunity today to blast up there, drop their tickets off, and come back. It means that whatever happens, everyone’s happy – I’ve got my ticket, they’ve got theirs, and we don’t have to go through hordes of organisational stuff for meeting up, getting everything sorted, and that if anyone’s transport screws up, it doesn’t fuck things up for everyone.

All told, it’s been the best part of 600 miles this weekend.

I must be a complete barmpot…

Barbican, Rollins and Mileage

Yesterday was another Rollins gig, this time at the Barbican in London.

It was a bit more complicated than last week’s gig in Bristol, as it involved collecting another friend of mine from over by Oxford, then getting a train to London, across to Barbican, getting food, going to the gig, and then a similar journey for the return.

All told though, it went really smoothly.  I’d booked pretty much everything in advance, including the train tickets and reserving a table at the restaurant of choice, so it was as organised as humanly possible.

The restaurant in particular was a real success – the Jugged Hare, just round the corner from the Barbican itself. I’d seen it before, but never eaten there, so went for it when the chance came up, and booked for their pre-theatre menu. I am truly glad I did.  They specialise in game of all sorts – it’s definitely not a great place for vegetarians! – but there’s enough variety in the menu, if game isn’t your thing.

To be fair, there is a vegetarian option on the menu – well, it says “Vegetarian – £14”, so it could be a fillet of vegetarian, for all I know.

The three-course meal was great – particularly the venison haunch, and their sticky toffee pudding was amazing. (as was the accompanying mince-pie ice cream, which has to be tasted to be believed)  Knowing how easy it is for me to drive to Barbican in general, I will be returning. Several times.

The gig itself was great – Rollins spoke for three full hours, with no breaks. The show was about 50% the same as the one I saw last week in Bath, but I can live with that – it’s better than being entirely the same!

The journey home was OK – getting the trains back went smoothly, and then a drive through snow to drop off friend, and then another hour and a bit on motorways in heavy snow (though thankfully not settling) to get home, which happened just after 2am.

So a long day, but an entirely worthwhile one…

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