I slacked off from writing posts last week – primarily just because I was ridiculously busy, and didn’t get round to it.
The week before had already been daftly busy, including travel to Newcastle for a couple of days, and then social and busy bits on both weekend days.
I can’t even remember now what I did on the Monday – I know I was out, I just can’t recall where/why. That can’t be a good sign.
Then Tuesday evening I was seeing The The at the Royal Albert Hall, and on Wednesday evening seeing them at Brixton Academy, as I may have mentioned before (on more than one occasion) Both nights were great, but on neither occasion was I home before 1am, nor in bed before 3am. And also working during the day.
Thursday was no better, although at least it was more local, by going to the local Geek Night for a bundle of presentations and connections.
And then Friday was supposed to be quieter, “just popping out” for food at a local event, that then meeting friends and chatting, meaning I didn’t actually leave ’til gone 11pm.
Saturday was a day in London, starting with cocktails and lunch at one of my favourite places, The Alchemist in Bevis Marks (near the base of the Gherkin) followed by a play called “Sancho – An Act of Remembrance” at Wilton’s Theatre.
And today was another food event in Milton Keynes, and this evening I’ve finally stopped and been able to relax a bit.
So. That’s my reasons for not updating over the last week. I think it’s a pretty good list, but other opinions may differ. 🙂
Seeing Danny Baker on stage was never one of the things on my to-do list. I’d never been overly taken with his character, or the (very little) I knew about him.
But last weekend, I heard an interview with him on the radio, and he seemed… less of a dickhead than I’d previously thought, and actually with a pretty interesting life. So when I got home, I had a look at details for his current theatre tour, and saw that he was playing in a week’s time in Northampton. And there were still seats available. So I thought “Well, why not? The most that can happen is I decide I still don’t like him“. Ticket booked, and on Saturday evening there I was. In Northampton.
As it happened, the show was a lot of fun. And bloody long. He’d said in the interview (and at the start of the show) that he’s taken over the mantle from Ken Dodd and so on for marathon shows. (My parents used to say about Doddy telling the audience “I’m the only one who knows when you’re going home”, and this was much the same) In this case, he started off at 19:45, there was a 15-minute interval at about 21:30, and he finally left the stage at 23:30. Pretty good going.
Also, it’s worth noting that this is the third tour of tales about his life, and by the end of it we were only just getting to where he started in radio at the age of 30. (He’s now 61) So I’m pretty sure there’s material for a few more tours in him as well.
As it was, a good portion of the first half was concerned with filling out the information from previous tours, so people knew what and who he was talking about during the second half. The entire thing was accompanied with photos to illustrate the events and places – all with bits being pointed out by the snooker cue he was using as a pointer throughout. He’s also incredibly energetic, constantly walking across the stage. God only knows how many miles he’s covering every night – but it’s certainly not an insignificant number!
The stories he told were pretty epic, with a fair amount of name-dropping and so on – but they weren’t all about being the Big I Am. Obviously there’s a degree of this, as it’s Danny Baker telling The Tale Of Danny Baker, but it’s not excessive, this is the stuff that has happened, and he’s the first to admit he’s been incredibly lucky along the way, along with not always being the hero of his own tales.
Not always funny (although more often than not) the entire show came together really well, and the only thing that actually made it feel as long as it was (Steady on, Matron) was that the seats at Derngate get bloody uncomfortable after a while.
I can’t deny, I really enjoyed the entire thing (poxy seating notwithstanding) and came out with a better impression of Danny Baker than I’d had on the way in.
If the tour is playing anywhere near you, it’s worth seeing. And if he does another one, the odds are that I’ll go along again. It might even make it onto the to-do list!
A while back I wrote about seeing The The back on tour, and last night was their first warm-up concert in at least sixteen years. As well as having a ticket for the first ‘official’ concert in a couple of weeks time, I managed to get a ticket for the Nottingham one as well. Because, well, why not?
Of course, what I hadn’t really thought about was that it was a Friday evening – and even worse, the Friday before a Bank Holiday weekend. Nottingham is generally a pretty easy drive for me – satnav says two hours, but on quietish roads I know I can do it in 90 minutes. Friday afternoon, to get there in time? Four hours. Yep, four. Fuck sake. Usually I can get to Newcastle in that time, let alone bloody Nottingham.
Anyway, fortunately I had the time and had planned it out a bit, but still, it made for a longer drive than expected.
The venue was fine for this sort of thing. Rescue Rooms is a small venue – about 450 people – but I actually really liked it. More importantly, it meant that the majority of the audience were there because they were fans of the band (something that seems to be less and less the case with a lot of gigs) so there was a lot less of the usual stuff, people chatting away in spite of the band, or just keeping on journeying to and from the bar.
And the gig itself? It was great. Because it was a ‘getting ready to tour’ gig, there were no warm-up acts, so it was just the band doing their thing. The band were also experimenting with in-ear monitors rather than the older wedge-speaker set-up (in-ears are a new development since last time they toured) although tonight’s second one will use the wedges, so they can compare results. All told, it made for an earlier finish, with a curfew of 10pm. But they came on at 7:45, so it’s not like anyone was short-changed.
The The played a whole range of things from their albums, some less-known than others, but pretty much all the favourites and crowd-pleasers. To me there’s still nothing like a whole audience singing along to a well-known track – and that must be hugely multiplied when on stage.
The entire thing was great, and I’m looking forward even more to the big concert in a couple of weeks.
Oh, and the drive home? 90 minutes, door-to-door.
This year seems to be another one with a lot of band revivals – and I’m happy about it.
First of all, the band “The The” announced that they were going to do their first tour in twenty-odd years. Having been a fan for a long time, I got tickets.
The first-announced one, back at the Royal Albert Hall (where I saw them *cough* years ago) is the single most expensive gig ticket I’ve ever bought – the gig sold out in minutes, and I was in the queue, so the only ones that remained by the time I got there were ridiculously costly (but also have hospitality included, so I’ll make it pretty much work out, somehow) but fuck it, got one anyway.
Then they announced a second gig, this time at Brixton Academy on the following night. Much much cheaper. So I got one for that too.
Later, they also announced a smaller warm-up gig, in Nottingham. Yup, got that too. (It’s ridiculous, and I just hope it’s worth it)
There are a couple of others this year as well, including Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, both of whom I’m going to see.
And then yesterday, the Cowboy Junkies announced they were coming to the UK for three concerts – in Glasgow, Manchester, and London. I think the last time I saw them was on their last visit here, although for some reason I appear to have missed one a couple of years ago – had tickets, didn’t go. I’ve been a fan of them even longer than I have of The The, so it was a no-brainer.
Glasgow and Manchester went on sale today, and I’ve got one for Manchester. The London ones don’t go on sale ’til the end of the month, but I’m already seriously considering getting one for that too. It’ll depend on the price, but it’s pretty likely, if I’m not going to see them again for another decade…
About 18 months ago, I went to see Fish (the ex-lead-singer of Marillion) at a gig in Aylesbury, including performing the whole of Marillion‘s “Misplaced Childhood” album for its 30th anniversary.
This year, it was announced he’d be touring again, and this time performing both stuff from the new album, and the whole of the “Clutching At Straws” album – again, for its 30th anniversary.
As with “Childhood”, “Straws” isn’t among my all-time favourite albums, but they both got played a lot as I grew up, so it was still of interest to go and see it performed live. And I’m glad I did.
The gig started with some old favourites, but nothing new. And there was a reason for that – he hasn’t actually written the new album yet, let alone released it. When they advertised the gigs and organised the tour, they expected it to be done, but life got in the way. So… some classics instead of new stuff. Fine with me, and apparently fine with most of the audience too.
As for the performance of “Straws” itself, that was excellent, and brought back a bundle of memories of listening to the album, as well as re-realising just how bleak it is in places. There were also parts of it that they’d never performed live before this tour, including one track that was ad-libbed at the time, so Fish had to listen to the album in order to write down the lyrics to learn them for performance. Which is, when you think about it, pretty messed up.
Anyway, the gig was one I really enjoyed – in spite of the audience. As always, I really don’t understand the mindset of people who go to a concert, and then spend the entire gig going to and from the bar, and the toilet. The three people in front of me (it was a seated gig) were barely ever in their seats, and kept walking off. That’s not just a waste of their time and money, it’s also insanely annoying for the people around them, getting constantly disturbed and having to move.
But, audience aside, it was a good gig. It might be the last time he tours, it might not. It’s likely the last chance to see “Straws” performed like that, so it was definitely worth going.
This evening, I’m off to London to see a comedian called Gabriel Iglesias (AKA “Fluffy”) at Hammersmith Apollo.
It’ll be the second time I’ve seen him, and I’m looking forward to it. When the tickets were announced, I got them straight away – at the same time griping about it being a Friday night gig, wishing it could be a Saturday, but there we go, it was the one that was announced.
The Friday sold out pretty quickly, so there’s now a Saturday night gig too – which is kind-of annoying, but still, I’m happy to be going for the original date, the one that should have sold to the people who really wanted to see it, rather than the also-ran “yeah, kinda interested”s, who’ll end up at in the Saturday one.
It makes for a long old day, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.
Over the weekend, I went to see the Sisters of Mercy play one of their only two headline gigs in the UK this year, at Camden Roundhouse.
I did have reservations about it, as they’ve not recorded any new stuff in decades. I’d been fairly disappointed by the last time I saw them (a long, long time ago – although I did think I’d seen them in between times somewhere) so it was a bit of a crapshoot.
Anyway, I still went, but with the aim of expecting very little from the concert – and as it happens, I’m really glad I went.
The gig itself was brilliant – and others thought so too – with all the old favourites played, as well as some lesser-known stuff. The set-list was in a different order to that in the linked review, but that’s just semantics.
Regardless, it was a great gig, and I’m really glad I went. Long may they continue – and maybe there’ll be a new album sometime soon. We can but hope.