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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.

    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.


      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.


        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.


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


            Thank you!

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


              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.


                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.


                  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.