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The Big Gig Thread 2020

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    The Big Gig Thread 2020

    I'm just back from the 2020 instalment of Rockaway Beach, the frighteningly early in the year festival held at Butlins in Bognor Regis. Due to going out and about during the afternoons, and completely running out of steam on Sunday evening, I only saw twelve bands across the three days. The tickets were only £90 a head including accommodation so it was pleasant not to feel obliged to cram as much in as possible to get value for money.

    Highlights for me included Adwaith, surf tinged and mostly Welsh language indie pop band from Carmarthen, and a bludgeoning set from Brix and the Extricated, featuring the peerless bass of Steve Hanley. The Jesus And Mary Chain headlined on Saturday night. Jim Reid was in good voice and knows how to make good silhouettes. William rumbled away in the gloom towards the back of the stage. The live drums weren't as crisp on some songs as on the recorded versions which is a shame. Jim Reid also did an entertaining and informative Q&A with John Robb earlier on in the day.

    On Friday night, John Cale was far less abrasive than I'd expected, playing warm and quite mellow versions of material from Paris 1919 and other albums. He was preceded by SOAK, an engaging singer songwriter from Derry whose material has quite a polished sound. A couple of 'haven't I heard this in an advert' moments too.

    Disappointments included Black Country, New Road whose commitment to free jazz parping and multiple time signatures in each song isn't really my thing. They aren't from the Black Country either, which grates a bit. Merseysiders Eyesore and the Jinx were a more engaging take on the jerky, semi-spoken vocal style that seems popular at the moment. Shit name though, in the venerable Liverpool tradition. International Teachers Of Pop weren't as good as at The Lexington last year. Momentum was lost in too much aimless banter between songs, which in a large room translates to the people at the back thinking the act are just pissing about for their mates. ITOP's catchy synthpop and knowingly silly dance moves were still entertaining and they win points for coming onstage wearing Butlins redcoats.

    Next up are three dates with Italian glam stomp kings Giuda the week after next and leading satanic doo-wop practitioners Twin Temple at the end of the month.

    #2
    The first of this week's three engagements with the genius of Giuda was typically fab. Will report in more detail after the Lexington double header at the weekend.

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      #3
      I went to Giuda tonight at the Lexington, didn't see you there? Did you go last night instead?

      Loved it, as per, and wished I had tickets for the Friday as well.

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        #4
        Originally posted by MsD View Post
        I went to Giuda tonight at the Lexington, didn't see you there? Did you go last night instead?
        It is a tale of woe. I had tickets for both nights but was sitting at home on Thursday afternoon and suddenly started to feel absolutely crap; sore throat, joint pain, hot and cold flushes. I wrote Friday off but hoped that 48 hours duvet time would see it run its course and make Saturday possible. By Saturday afternoon I felt marginally better and, over-optimistically, decided to try. Met with friends at the Craft Beer Co place around the corner from the Lex and was enjoying the occasion but when it got to about quarter to nine and time to go across to see The Speedways, my whole system just went "Nooooooooo!" I looked at the quarter pint of beer that I was about to finish and it might as well have been five gallons of seawater. So, having put my head round the door to check that my mate would be okay to get in on the booking in my name, I headed home. So near, yet so far.

        On the upside, I'm very glad to have gone to Manchester, the folly now seeming like prudent hedging. On the downside, I was looking forward to seeing the regulars, yourself included, as well as watching the band, so that was frustrating.

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          #5
          Sorry to hear. I did some "HEY!"ing on your behalf.

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            #6
            Thank you!

            I can see proxy "HEY!"ing becoming a key sector in emerging concierge services.

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              #7
              Regular readers may recall that I spent a ridiculous amount of money (comparatively) on two tickets to see Supergrass at Ally Pally next month. Dubious as I was about their actual existence, they turned up in the post today. So that's nice.

              That weekend consists of Supergrass on the Friday then an 8.07 train out of Euston Saturday for the Liverpool v Bournemouth fixture.

              Don't even look at me on Sunday.

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                #8
                Unexpectedly busy, and interesting start to the gigging year last week.

                Started with a last minute discovery of A Waltz Across the Carpet, a benefit concert for the Tiny Changes charity set up following the suicide of Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit. Four acts on in the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh but the most memorable moments came when his eldest brother said a few words from the stage and handed over to their mother, who read a piece about missing her son which was so poignant that long before she got to the closing "as long as we have hope, we'll be fine" there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

                Then in Glasgow two days later to see anonymous ambient metal collective Sleep Token in what is becoming one of my favourite venues, St Luke's which was a suitably atmospheric (it being a converted church). There is quite the thing around trying to determine who is behind the masks, particularly the lead singer, on a smaller scale but similar to the obsession people had with identifying the Secret Footballer a few years ago.

                Closer to home on Saturday Gruff Rhys brought his 'off the beaten track' tour to the village hall in Threlkeld, a place so obscure that its brown sign on the nearby A66 merely highlights the presence of a phone box. The gig turned out to be far more engaging than I expected, given the first half consisted of a newly released Welsh language album and the rest was a mix of vaguely familiar material and unreleased songs.

                Finally to Manchester where the timing of a work meeting opened up the opportunity to see Kevin Devine, who was doing a 10th anniversary album in full show (I seem to be attending a few of these), which was all well and good but it was marred to begin with by a well lubricated heckler, until the crowd verbally turned on him and he shut up and/or f-ed off.

                A week off this week but by the end of this month Glasgow City Council will be after me for council tax.

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                  #9
                  I went to see Foghorn Leghorn and Neil Bob Herd at the Betsey Trotwood last night. About 30-35 punters, fine music.

                  NBH asked us to sing and to shout "HEY!", but I only "HEY!" for Giuda. My companion got into it, though.

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                    #10
                    Went and saw Blackie & The Rodeo Kings last night. And between shows, every time, I forget how fucking good they are. B&RK are Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson, plus bass dude and drum dude and guest, pastor Ken Pearson on organ (Ken played in Janis' Festival Express band, plus a bunch of others).

                    Anyway, they're all supremely talented and play grungy southern rock and roll and blues with a lefty lean. The crowd is old hippies and the music is loud but tight. I'm not sure they'd appeal to many here, but a live show would change a few minds.

                    Mrs WOM put the touch on my for an overpriced t-shirt, which she does a lot these days. (Hello Gaga!)

                    Opener was some very talented First Nations kid named Adrian Sutherland, who I hope to hear more from. Sort of a young George Clooney who can sing, curse him.

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                      #11
                      Working Men's Club (best new young band I've seen in a while) playing a range of small venues at the moment. You'll be kicking yourself if you miss them.

                      Shannon Lay at the tiny Soup Kitchen in Manchester on Wednesday will be well worth a few quid to catch. Rather more expensively (although not prohibatively so) the underrated Damien Jurado touring the UK right now.

                      All worth seeing.

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                        #12
                        Went to see Destroyer and Eleanor Friedberger last night. Was really excited to see Destroyer, was elated when I saw that someone I'd go see if it was just her was opening for him. Friedberger was alone, with just a guitar and a synth, which was a little disappointing. I really like her albums, and while it was interesting to hear her songs in a different way, I think I would have preferred her with a band.

                        No such disappointments with Destroyer. My first time seeing Dan Bejar and co, and he was as powerful, humorous, and unsettling as he is on record. The band was incredible. They play London in May, I highly recommend going.

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                          #13
                          New Order and Pet Shop Boys are doing joint dates in the US and Canada in the spring. You lucky, lucky people.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Benjm View Post
                            New Order and Pet Shop Boys are doing joint dates in the US and Canada in the spring. You lucky, lucky people.
                            I saw that this morning (though it's actually the fall). Peter Hook plays shows regularly, but the last time New Order come through LA they were only part of some big festival, and I wasn't going to spend that much to see them. I have my calendar set for when tickets go on sale.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Incandenza View Post
                              (though it's actually the fall)
                              Dunno why I put spring. I had already pondered the slim to non-existent chances of Mrs Benjm wanting to spend her 50th birthday in September watching NO/PSB in Boston so can't put it down to the old date notation trap.

                              Anyway, it should be fab. I saw New Order twice last year and their current live show is probably the strongest that I've seen in 30+ years of watching them. Pet Shop Boys haven't unveiled their new live offering yet but they always pull the stops out to make it enjoyable and spectacular.

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                                #16
                                I was at Supergrass in Newcastle on Monday night. It was excellent.

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                                  #17
                                  Off to see a mate's band for the first time tonight at the George Tavern. Fortunately, i've been listening this morning and found them rather pleasant, so shouldn't be any awkwardness. https://soundcloud.com/thisisdogunit

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                                    #18
                                    Dog Unit's description on the George Tavern events page made me chuckle:

                                    A four-piece instrumental improv rock band. Do call them: purveyors of entrancing drone, tactile texture, slow-mo polyrhythm and skewiff riff. Don't call them: Dogwai.

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                                      #19
                                      I'm off to see the Hanging Stars at the Moth Club tonight. My mate is DJing, so I am on the cheap list. Hoorah!

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                                        #20
                                        My first gig of the year was shaping up to be Lana del Rey in Cologne next week, but she's selfishly lost her voice and called it off. There's a refund (if you send the actual physical tickets back - perhaps they're worried that you'll use them to get in to the arena that night and imagine you're at a Lana del Rey concert), but the hotel was one of those 'pay now for cheaper deal, but no refund on cancellation' affairs, so for the three of us we're down €160. Train tickets should be refundable with processing charge deducted.

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                                          #21
                                          That's disappointing and a pain about the lost cash. No other possibilities in Cologne that night?

                                          New Order have cancelled March dates in Japan for coronavirus related reasons. Presumably there will be more announcements like this, although trying to predict what the situation might be in the medium to longer term must be pretty speculative.
                                          Last edited by Benjm; 26-02-2020, 12:56. Reason: Edit: dates sooner than initially thought

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                                            #22
                                            Originally posted by Benjm View Post
                                            Dog Unit's description on the George Tavern events page made me chuckle:
                                            They were very good. Nice 26 minute set, and I liked their matching boiler suits. I have no idea whether the headline act turned up, and I left virtually straight after Dog Unit. Perfect night out. Bit of reading on the tube, one pint of guinness, see the band I wanted to, and home before 11pm. My mate James, who is the DU bassist did say they have an album out soon and it's being mixed by someone vaguely well known, but he's not allowed to say. Very mysterious.

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                                              #23
                                              Loved The Hanging Stars last night, excellent set, lovely dreamy guitar twang, not bad for Walthamstow.

                                              They weren't the main act. Gospelbeach headlined. A bit country for my tastes, although my mate in California knows them (he's British, ex Mighty Lemon Drop) and says the singer was an old-school punk. Hence, perhaps, the lyric "in the desert I've a thousand things I wanna say to you". Still, I enjoyed them and my country DJ gal pal was dancing like crazy in her booth.

                                              I saw him on the way out and was going to say "you know my mate Dave" but he looked grumpy so I thought better of it.

                                              The Moth Club was packed and we didn't get there early enough to get a prime spot, but luckily not too many gig-yappers around me. I gave one bloke daggers for talking, only to be introduced to him a little later as the editor of some music mag or other.

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                                                #24
                                                My Lemon Drops mate has a lovely story about the Gospelbeach singer, who once gave him extra discount on a sofa.
                                                And my DJ mate got high praise from Peter Perrett, which she's chuffed about.

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                                                  #25
                                                  Forgot to do a write up about seeing Inhaler the other week. Probably destined for big things. Not least because the lead singer is Elijah Hewson, son of Paul Hewson. And he's uncannily like his dad on stage in terms of stage presence and charisma. Band is very tight (a really good bass player) with some more than decent songs. But they've definitely Got It.

                                                  Tonight, my (mumble-somethingth) time watching Terrorvision, supported by The Virginmarys. Oo-wop, bop-a-oo-wop...

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