GARBAGE , Dream Wife, O2 Academy,Brixton , London 15-9-18

ย Something i should say is that Hotel Rob is great! First thing in the morning, the barrista (Rob!) always serves up a nice coffee for his guests!
But not only that, the chef (Rob) provides a nice breakfast if required. I don’t want you to think that i don’t appreciate it or take it for granted, so i’m saying it here : Thanks Rob for everything ๐Ÿ™‚
After having brekky, some of the guests go purchase some beers from the local shop. All different kinds of beers! They even got “Tramps beer” aka Special Brew (yuck!). I guess they need it as will be watching the footy later ๐Ÿ˜‰ Rob handed out some wafer snacks which had chocolate in the middle. Unfortunately, Greg didn’t realise they also included nuts so he had a bit of a scare as he’s allergic to nuts. Rob offered to take him to the hospital, but Greg said he’d just wait here to get over it.
Eventually we all set off to have a meal. Today we go to a Mexican restaurant in Soho, called “Wahaca”. This is a first for me. Gradually, pretty much everyone arrives.ย ย After the meal, we make our way to Brixton. Would you believe it, we again all met up in the Beehive ! As i had checked in, i’m pretty sure Neil saw that, so he also joined us all. Time was getting on, so myself & Neil went to the Academy. Unknown to me at the time,someone (Anne ?) had took a photo of me & then everyone in the group took other photos of them with said photo. I’ve seen this happen a few times & it can be quite funny.ย ย Same as yesterday, the M&G peeps were in a queue to get back in. When we were going in, there was someone in front who seemed to be taking an age to get their tickets ! (Annoying) But thankfully, we still managed to get the front row of balcony. Unlike last night, the balcony had some lights on, so you could actually see where you were going down the steps! (After the darkness or an accident waiting to happen last night, i took a small torch with just in case ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) During “Dream Wife”, we couldn’t believe what someone was doing sat next to Neil : A guy had a video camera & was openly filming a song ! He then later filmed quite a bit of Garbage, again openly ! Surprised he got away with it. Sat to my right was an old chap. We got chatting & he told me he was a sound engineer. This was also his first time seeing Garbage live. After Dream Wife had finished, he said that their sound wasn’t very good. I guess that’s one of the traits when your in the business ๐Ÿ˜‰ย ย Even though i’d not drank much, i was bustin for a pee ! Managed to nip out & back before Garbage started. Phew. My mate Neil didn’t quite time it as well, so i decided to record the first song “Afterglow”.

 

Tonight’s gig was pretty much the same as last night, so i wont go into depth reviewing it all. I’ll let the photos/video clips describe it ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

There was only one slight problem, which was during “Lick The Pavement” Shirley had monitor problems. She stopped the song, then they restarted it.

Again, like the previous night, they played the extra “No Horses”. For the last song of the night, Shirley gave the crowd a choice out of 2 songs. It was either “Starman” or “Cherry Lips”. The crowd made themselves heard to decide which one ๐Ÿ™‚

So it was another great night. The chap next to me said he’d enjoyed his first experience of seeing Garbage live. My mate Neil had a nice uncomplicated evening. I myself had a great night also. Out of the two nights, i reckon that the 1st one had the edge. Once again, we agreed to meet at The Beehive (This time Anne didn’t have Robs keys). Whilst waiting, i briefly saw Diletta. Been a while since we last saw each other.
Some people stayed for the after party, but i think most of us head back on tube pretty quickly.

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GARBAGE , Dream Wife, Brixton Academy , 14-9-18

Hotel Rob was gonna be quite busy as he had 6 of us staying. So much so, that his reservations board ran out of letters ;ย 

Rob had told everyone to meet at “Tap East” Westfield centre as it would be the easiest way. So, after finally working out proper exit for Robs side, now it messes up my mind as i’m going in the opposite direction! Not been there for a while, but eventually found it. Upon arrival, no one was there ! But soon enough, the whole gang arrived & they were on the beers…ย 

Most of us head back to Hotel Rob to drop off bags. Once there food is bought. Eventually we head off to Brixton. Go to the usual pub “The Beehive”. Jims already there & has got a table.So we all pile in there. As it was “Fish Friday”,that’s what i had to eat ๐Ÿ™‚ We were tightly packed around this small table, so ate it off my lap.ย After a while Mel arrives. Actually, it was a last minute thing that Mel decided to come. She messaged me to say she wanted to meet me as we’d not seen each other for ages. As luck would have it, she didn’t need a ticket as i’d arranged for a “helper” ticket for both nights. She’d brought with her some dayglo orange nail varnish (to tie in with the V2.0 album colour) “Simon, i want to do your nails !”. I was a bit reluctant to start off, but then thought “fuck it, lets have a bit of fun” ๐Ÿ˜‰ A couple of the others caught this monumental moment lolย 

After a while, we set off to the venue. Along the way Mel said to me ” I’m disappointed in you Simon” Huh? “You’re not wearing the old red fleece that you wore on the V2.0 tour” ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t even think about doing that ๐Ÿ™ Walking towards the box office entrance, i see that the M&G people are all in a line waiting to go back in. Say hello to Renee, Paul & Sophie. Then i notice Mike sat down. Don’t think he recognised me to start of with as I’ve now not got any hair & am skinnier. Had a nice brief chat. Emily then came out to get the M&G peeps back in.Seemed to take a while for us to get the helper ticket, but once in, still managed to get front row. Yay !
Tonight it’s “Dream Wife” who are opening the show. Tbh, we didn’t really watch them much, as we were having a catch up ! A funny thing was that Mel asked me “Simon,who would be your dream wife?”. My first reply was that after what my previous wife did, i’d never get married again! Whilst Mel went to get a drink, i had a think about it. It’s easy to lust after someone because of their looks,but you still don’t know if they’re a (cheating) bitch or not haha. My confessions were Katie McGrath (played Morgana in TV series “Merlin”). I love the Irish accent & in interviews she seems fun. Eleanor Tomlinson (Played Esmeralda in TV series Poldark) I’ve always had a bit of a thing about red haired lasses. Now if only i could find an Irish lass with red hair who’s fun…haha Mels answer was a lot less complicated ๐Ÿ˜‰

After the show in Nottingham, i just KNEW Brixton would be better. They’re still playing the same set as before, but i’m hoping for a switch around or a couple of different songs added. It kicks off with “Afterglow”, then it’s “Deadwood”. I’m still don’t like how they start with such sombre songs. Fortunately, the next one “Temptation Waits” is a lot more up beat. Btw, i do love the links between songs. As an example, the “Are you flirtin with me?” line, which is Juliette Lewis from the film “Natural Born Killers” works so well. (I wonder if they have to pay any kind of royalties to use that sort of thing? I’m sure Juliet would be fine about it, but wonder what the companies would think)

After “Wicked ways” the crowd is so damn loud. This is much more like a home coming show. I’m loving it already. Shirley gives the speel about how long they’ve been playing at Brixton Academy & how grateful they are. Also mentions her dads there…i’m sure by now they’ll have gotten over that wee argument before Nottingham…& she thanks us fans who have stuck by them for all these years.
Next it’s “Special”. This is always a fun song. I’m still not too keen on “The World Is Not Enough”. “13x Forever” & “Get Busy With The Fizzy” i enjoy. Going back to the links between songs, after the “Hammering in My Head” the clip used from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, where Hal says “Take a stress pill and think things over” fits perfectly before going into “Medication” ๐Ÿ™‚
Of course, Shirley is still proud about the fact that their cover version of “Thirteen” was the best cover version ever. Next song is another cover version “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” by The Seeds.
“I Think I’m Paranoid” is still such a classic. I really wish i could go down there in the thick of things…Mel decides SHE needs to go downstairs for a bit of fun…

I don’t know exactly what happened between ITIP & Sleep Together, but Shirley asks if everyone down the front is ok. Maybe it was down to Mel or rather, someone giving her a hard elbow ๐Ÿ˜‰

“Lick The Pavement” is one of my favourites I love the rawness of this song. It’s short n sweet.
The rest of the show, just seems to go so quick ๐Ÿ™ For the encore,they start with “The Trick Is to Keep Breathing”. But then they do something i wanted the to do : change the set list ! They played “No Horses”

Not only that though, they also played “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)”. What a way to finish the show !

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GARBAGE , Estrons ,Rock city, Nottingham 11-9-18

I’d been looking forward to this gig for ages. Was hard to believe i’d not seen a gig since June ! I knew i’d be meeting a lot of friends at this show, so that made me even more interested.In the end, i decided to do the “Push It” M&G package ! It cost around $300 ! Reason i did it was that this could be my last chance to do this sort of thing. I took a train whichย coincidedย with when Rob & Greg would be changing trains at Grantham. As usual, it was just 2 carriages & quite busy. But managed to get a table seat for when Rob & Greg joined. Once aboard, Rob got some cans out “Do you want one?” Me : “Are you taking the piss !?” (Just a slight slip up, but still joked about it). We’d planned that once in Nottingham we’d got get some food, then go check in hotel. I also needed to visit Jessops to try pick up some photos. Luckily they had arrived. I think after that, took em to the hotel then briefly went to meet everyone around the corner at “Alberts” (This used to be “Spanky Van Dykes”). As i was feeling tired, decide to go back to the hotel before going to RC for the M&G (I might have got the order of things wrong lol) As i was doing the M&G thing at 4pm, Rob & Greg went to the pub (Nothing new there lol)
Before going in, i saw a few people i know,namely Paul A, Renee A, Leisha T, Jonathon C,Nigel M etc. Everything went very smoothly with regards to getting in & having my seat in my favourite spot. Emily, who was the concierge organising the M&G was a very nice & bubbly person. You could see she loved her job & interacting with the people doing the M&G. We were took through to watch the band soundcheck. After that, we went into the side room called “Black Cherry Lounge” (Which was once called “The Rig” where they had a few gigs in there. Terrible place for a gig!). The band then came out to chat doing a mini Q&A & they also seemed very interested where everyone had travelled from. When they announced the remaster of Version 2.0, i was really hoping they’d do a 5:1 surround mix (As i thought their style & way of recording would work perfectly), but unfortunately they didn’t do it ๐Ÿ™ So i had to ask the question ๐Ÿ™‚ Butch seemed interested in the concept of doing it maybe in the future, but Shirley also said something like “How many people do you think have the equipment to play that stuff” That was a reasonable reply i guess.
After the chats, we all lined up to get a photo with the band. I came prepared as i brought a previous photo from the Troxy show & also one that a friend in the States had done ๐Ÿ˜‰ย ย This is the actual photo from the Notts M&G :ย 

We then went into the foyer & had a look at the merchandise. At the time, they were still setting up the stall, so Emily said “If you want to come back a bit later, buy your merch, then take it to your hotel, you can still come back & get in earlier than the everyone else”. Excellent.
I’ve got to say, the prices of the merch were really quite extortionate ! I mean, a pair of socks for ยฃ15, a very small rucksack for ยฃ50 (apparently it was ยฃ60 at previous shows), a track-suite style jacket ยฃ90. You get the idea. In the end, i succumbed to purchasing a few items…might even get something else at Brixton. Rob, being the biggest Garbage memorabilia collector, bought everything ! Emily seemed quite shocked ๐Ÿ˜‰ Rob got chatting with her about his website http://www.garbagediscobox.com/ . After taking merch back to hotel, i went straight back to RC. I managed to get in even earlier than expected as the security guy asked me if i wanted to go in then. Was quite funny when i saw all the other M&G peeps walking in later & Emily saw me sat down “Oh Simon i’d been wondering where you were “! She went to the barrier to chat with people. Then i had the bright idea : ” I wonder if as Rob has bought so much merch, she’d let him in early as well?” So i asked & surely enough, she went & got him. They both had a good rapport. Rob even managed to blag a Tote bag from her ๐Ÿ˜‰
The room started to fill up & soon enough Jim came to join us. Poor old Greg, in his hurry to get to the front, slipped on the steps & almost face planted himself on the floor ! (At least no one saw it…oops ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

First band of the night i’d never even heard of them (actually that’s wrong, as Nigel told me a bit about them earlier outside the venue). Personally, i found the Estrons very “samey”. I seem to find nowadays that it’s very rare that a new band impresses me. Sorry, but not sorry.

So, to the main event of the evening : GARBAGE !

They kicked off with “Afterglow”. A very sombre start.

Next up it was “Deadwood”. When they play “Temptation Waits”, i couldn’t help wishing that i was down in the thick of it jumping around etc. I really miss doing that. Actually, i was surprised at the lack of people in the audience NOT bopping around during the song. Next up it’s the groovy “Wicked Ways”. During this one, they meld in a part of “Personal Jesus”. It works perfectly.
Before “Special”, Shirley explains how rock City is a special place for them. They have footage of the first time they played here. She goes so far as to dedicate the song to Rock City & all the staff & of course all the fans that have travelled on the journey with them.

When playing “13x Forever”, they meld in a short lyric from The Kinks song “Tired Of Waiting”. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but sometime during the gig, there was a mistake & both myself & Rob instantaneously picked up on it (We looked at each other with a face of “What The fuck?”)
Before “Get Busy With The Fizzy” Shirley mentions that she’d forgot how hot Rock City can get. Also talks about having an argument with her dad earlier in the day. She’s also cracking up laughing. Is this the start of the downfall ?

 

Hmm, maybe it was during “Hammering In My Head” that me & Rob had the “WTF?” glance together at same time ? If it wasn’t then, then certainly around the time of “Medication”.
Shirley has a massive rant about some kind of recent review. She starts off by explaining that when they covered “Thirteen” (Big Star) how proud she was that Alex Chiltern (main song writer) had said it’s his favourite cover version by any band ever. She then tells the band about how just before the show, she’d read a review online which some young lady had wrote about Thirteen & she was apparently disgusted about said cover version. (As she’s saying that, Rob shouts out “Shes a cunt !” haha) She then tells us that after being in the business for many years, it still bugs her when she reads a review like like. But she continues saying “Well fuck you mother fucker…cos the man who wrote it loved it ” (with a massive smile on her face). Towards the end of “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”, Shirley goes over to Duke, who at the time was playing keyboards. She joins in with him. To start of, i don’t think that Duke was very impressed by that move. I could also see Billy Bush looking on with a “WTF?” kind of expression. But once Duke had accepted that Shirley was tinkering with the keyboards, Billy had a massive smile on his face ๐Ÿ™‚
Towards the end of “Sleep Together”, Shirley ends up writhing around on the stage floor ๐Ÿ™‚ Next up it’s a rather feisty version of “Dumb”. It’s funny when Shirley goes over to Steve O ๐Ÿ™‚

During “Soldier Through This”, Shirley seems to get very emotional. (I can’t help thinking of the lyric “I feel Intoxicated”, as i’m sure she is lol) After that, it’s one of my favourate songs “Lick The Pavement”. It’s an absolute rocker of a song !

Next we get “Push It”. Shirley is all smiles & the audience is helping out by singing some of the lyrics. I also think that around this time, the booze is really kicking in as they have to restart “When I grow up”

Second try…

The version of “The Trick Is To keep Breathing” i can only describe as embarassing.

When Shirley is introducing the band & comes to Eric Avery, she says ” He’s one of my best friends…i’m in love with him… the fact that we get to play with this formidable talent is insane..” But then she says ” Anyone who’s a Janes Addiction fan, go fuck yourself” (Flicking the bird).
Well fuck YOU Shirley ! I bloody LOVE Janes Addiction, almost as much as i do Garbage. But i’ll let you off this time as you were obviously “under the influence” & you also confess that you are drunk ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tonight’s extravaganza finishes with a cover of David Bowies “Starman”. It was so good, they had to do it twice ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 
Afterwards, whilst chatting with Lou & Anne, i made an unintentional pun by saying the show was “Absolute Garbage”. I think everyone then went to the Rescue Rooms to carry on drinking & chatting about the gig. Myself, i was bloody knackered, so went straight back to the hotel.
The following morning, i noticed that one of the pair of socks had a hole in them ! So i asked Rob to exchange them when he goes to Newcastle.

Whilst at the time i was pretty annoyed about the performance, in hindsight now, i realise that EVERYONE has a bad day in their life. It also reminded me of when Mark from Skunk Anansie asked me why do i see multiple gigs on the same tour. My reply being that no two gigs are the same. Sometimes the band played perfect & others there could be technical difficulties or the band don’t quite gel. Also, for myself, different audiences can play a part in how i enjoy the shows or not. So i guess tonight was one of those nights where Shirley had an off night. Maybe some people might think i analyse it too much. But if you REALLY know me, then you’ll know i LOVE music, especially LIVE music. We may have different opinions on things, but i always speak what i think. Also, with this show, you could look at it multiple ways : some might find it funny, some might be disappointed, some might not even notice the problems ! Everyone has their own opinion.
I was pleased to hear they played a great show in Newcastle the next day & am really looking forward to seeing both nights at Brixton.

EDIT : The following day Shirley apologised for her performance. Apparently, after the argument with her dad, the combination of painkillers & whiskey put her over the edge. I also found out from a friend that a few people waited for the band to come out in the hope of getting stuff autographed or to have photos with them. Apparently, all the band, except for Duke went straight to the bus.

 

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THE LEVELLERS, GINGER WILDHEART, Gliderdrome, Boston ! 15-6-18

I really couldn’t believe my eyes when i saw that The Levellers were going to play at the Gliderdrome ! To think that someone had finally took the initiative to book a proper real band for the Glider was mind blowing. I bought my ticket from Chris Cook Printers (no booking fees!) as soon as they were on sale in December. I asked most of my friends if they’d be going. Even if they’re not fans of The Levellers, surely if there & many others who support this event, then hopefully this will be the start of big things to come. Also, if you didn’t go to the gig, then you can’t moan about there not being any local gigs. Yeah, you know who i’m talking about ๐Ÿ˜‰
My own personal backstory about this event is this : Back in 1988 i was frustrated that this iconic venue, where all the greats had played (The Who, T-Rex, Elton John etc) was now only used for bingo nights ! I even wrote a letter to Boston Standard asking why they don’t book concerts there any more. To my surprise, they actually published my letterย ย Unfortunately, there was no further discussion about it & i gave up hope of ever having proper bands at the Glider (They did start having “Tribute Acts”, which apparently sold well. But still, why did no one even consider having proper real bands there ?!! )
So it’s took 30 kin years for this to finally happen !

There’s also a personally ironic thing about this gig. As i’d started a new Chemotherapy regime, my oncologist told me to not go to any more concerts (The Chemo makes your immune system totally drop. Even the slightest infection could get worse rapidly & could even get so bad as having Sepsis). As if i wouldn’t go to a gig that I’ve wanted to happen for years ! Sometimes, you just have to live on the edge ! Absolutely nothing would stop me from going (well, unless i was hit by a bus whilst going there ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
I started thinking how important it was for me. I don’t know how long i have left to live, but decided i had to go no matter.
When it was announced that Ginger Wildheart would be opening, it was like the icing on the cake to me ๐Ÿ™‚
I subsequently tried all the channels i know to try meet Mr Wildheart & ask him how he felt about being the first act to play the Glider in the modern era. But it was to no avail ๐Ÿ™
I also contacted “Look North” to see if they’d report about the gig. Didn’t get a reply ๐Ÿ™
Never mind though; at least i’m going to the gig ๐Ÿ™‚

I arranged with Steve Greenhough via “One Inch Badge” (the promoters/booking agents) to get early entry due to me disability. On the day of the gig, as i was going up town anyway, i thought i’d have a quick recce of the venue to see where the “White door” was.ย ย I then went back home for some grub & to relax.

I set off to the venue about 6.45, got there for 7pm. When i got there, there was a small queue.ย ย I headed straight to the white door & all ran smooth & i got in 30minutes before the official doors time. Got a great spot on the balcony.
A security guy was wandering by & i asked him if he knew the set times & how many tickets had been sold. We then had a chat about the venue etc. He was a local chap as i recognised his face. (Steve Greenhough had told me that they were bringing all their own crew & i thought it might include security. But it didn’t go that far)
When doors opened,as is always the case, a few people headed straight to the front & others straight to the bar !
Whilst waiting, i got a txt from Andy. He said The Moon was rammed with Levellers fans. I Told him they opened doors slightly early & to get here sharpish if he wants a seat at the table. Both he & Dusty arrived a few mins later.(I had a few people ask if the seats were free & i replied “No, i’m saving them for some friends) Was great seeing Dusty again. Don’t think we’d seen each other since some time last year. Alice arrived a bit later. I knew a couple more friends would be here & during the course of the evening Matt & Vicki came up then later on they brought Rachel with them. Great to see everyone.

Before starting, Ginger says to the crowd (pointing) “You know who i am ?” Then pointing to the back “You lot don’t care. Let’s see if we can change that”. He kicks of by “Daylight Hotel”. This is from his latest album “Ghost In The Tanglewood”. There seems to be only a minority clapping after that. Maybe most of the audience don’t know who he is ? But whatever, he knows it’s an honour to be playing on this legendary stage which has previously had bands such as The Sweet, Elton John etc. He goes so far as saying “If it doesn’t impress you lot, it impresses the fuck out of me !” The next one we get is “The Pendine Indecent”. This is from his album “The Year Of The Fanclub”. Later, whilst he’s talking about “Golden Tears”, he’s obviously getting wound up about the audience. Or as he says it ” The ignorant cunts talking”. He still perseveres though. He then gets a bit political with “Toxins & Tea”. Think it’s lost on the audience ๐Ÿ™ Another sign that he’s annoyed by the audience is when he says “This is a very special night. So shut the fuck up! Or go to the pub. You don’t have to be here…” There’s then cheers from the people who get it ๐Ÿ™‚ Good on Ginger for calling out the silly fuckerz. He really makes me smile when before playing “Paying It Forward” he says “This is a song about kindness…something that a lot of people just don’t understand” It’s pretty obvious who he’s directing this at ๐Ÿ˜‰
Finally, he gets a bit of audience interaction (GOOD interaction). One side shouts “Off” & the other shots “Fuck Off” ๐Ÿ™‚
The night finishes with a song that all the Wildies love, namely, “Geordie In Wonderland”. That goes down really well & the majority of the crowd seem to be clapping.

I think considering the circumstances, Ginger coped very well with an audience who didn’t really seem to give a shit.(Maybe they’d never been to a concert before?) But also i have to say, there were a few in the audience who totally got it & i’m sure they loved it. Just a shame about the retards ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m not gonna write much about The Levellers. But i will say they played great, did all the classics, nice to see the Didgeridoo up there. They were consummate professionals & the crowd loved them.
Here’s a few of clips that i recorded :

After it all finished Dusty was quick to leave (I said he could crash at my place if he wanted to, but didn’t take up the offer). Matt, Vicki & Rachel came back up stairs. We had a bit of a natter, there was talk of going to the Coach for a swift drink (Oh btw, The Levellers were in the Coach & Horses earlier in the day. Later i was told a couple of them also went there after the gig) but i didn’t fancy it as was quite tired. We took some photos & then went our separate ways.ย ย (“I can see a Major System Error in You”…Amsterdam angles Mr T ๐Ÿ˜‰ )ย 

We somehow lost Andy T. ๐Ÿ™‚ Alice offered me a lift back home, but i wanted to walk there to get some fresh air after it being so hot & stuffy in the venue.
This was a great night out. Amazing to think, finally able to see a gig in my hometown & it’s within walking distance. The next day i saw that they’d sold 1500 tickets.(Which i think is around the official capacity of the venue). Lets all hope that this is the kick starter for more bands playing in Boston ๐Ÿ™‚

Setlists (Think i got it right. If i didn’t, please tell me)

GINGER WILDHEART
Daylight Hotel,The Pendine Incedent,Golden Tears,Toxins & Tea,The Words Are Gonna To Have To Wait,Caer Urfa,Paying It Forward,No One Smiled At Me Today,Geordie In Wonderland

THE LEVELLERS
The Game,Fifteen Years,Sell Out,Belaruse,The Road,Julie,(Didgerydoo song)This Garden,One Way,Another Mans Cause,Exodus,Hope Street,Men-An-Tol,
What A Beautiful Day,Dirty Davey,The Cholera Well,The Riverflow,Liberty Song,England My Home,Just The One.

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SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL, PRVIS, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, As It Is, Jimmy Eat World, Leeds, 26-5-18

ย The songs that 26-5-18are crossed out on the set list couldn’t be played due to time constraints. (They were “Mirrors” , “Smoke” & “Holy” )

Again, i’d been really looking forward to this gig, for a couple of reasons : 1. Seeing PVRIS playing on a bigger stage. 2. The bonus of seeing Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes again. The only “downside” was that this gig would probably end up being the last one i can attend for a LONG time ๐Ÿ™ (In the end, even though i shouldn’t have, i DID go to Ginger Wildheart + The Levellers at the Gliderdrome, Boston. There was no way i could miss that. So after that gig, it will be a long time before i can get to another)

Athula & Alice picked me up in the morning (on time ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) & we drove to Grantham to catch the train there. Made good time getting there. Whilst in the waiting room, i saw a chap i often see at Boston train station. Poor lad, he’s obviously got some issues : He wears lots of thin clothes & all you can see is his eyes & his bare feet. When i point him out to Alice, she says that she knows him & doesn’t live far away from their place. It’s a small world….
For this festival, i’d bought one ticket & Alice would get the complimentary helper ticket for free. I’d also been liasing with Lisa B (PVRIS T.M. this time) about hopefully meeting PVRIS when we’re up there. I’d booked a different hotel to where i usually stay,partly due to cost being higher than usual. Once in Leeds, we checked where our hotel was & then went to get the wristbands/tickets/passes. Had prearranged to collect everything at the “Disabled Window” at the Leeds arena. Asked a security chap where said window was & he said “I don’t know. I’ll ask my manager” (Yup, we’re off to a great start). Eventually, i see the head of security & he’s also a bit unsure! When i finally get the wristbands & had gone back to Alice, i realised they didn’t give us the passes we need to meet PVRIS ! So once again, the head of security goes to the window to ask about those. By now, as it’s pretty warm & the last few nights i’d not had much sleep, i’m already feeling knackered & annoyed by all the tomfoolery going on. Guess what ? The passes were at the other collection point, back near the hotel !
As we were back down that end, i thought it might be a good idea to see if we could check in early (official time was 3pm). As luck would have it, we managed to get checked in around 14.10 ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a decent enough room, but i noticed a couple of things that were not right. Firstly, the TV could only get one channel ! Second, the toilet seat was broken !ย ย Whilst we were there, Alice somehow watched “The Dangerous Summer” on her phone. I guess they must have been streaming it live.
We then decide to go try to get some food. I know a few Wetherspoons in Leeds. The first one, Beckets Bank, was absolutely rammed. No worries, theres a couple more ๐Ÿ™‚ We end up at The Hedley Verity. Whilst there, i get a txt from Garry. I say “Come to here to meet us. We’re just about to have food”. A few minutes later he arrives. He decides to just have a beer & no food. The food i had was pretty rubbish tbh. Even with a steak knife, the chicken was hard work to cut! Ended up leaving most of it. After that, we all went to the “Rocksound Breakout Stage” as Alice wanted to see “Dream Straight”. What a joke that room was ! It was a really small room which was rammed. We see there’s a small balcony, which is about 6 steps up.It was pitch black trying to get up those stairs! If it wasn’t for Garry waving his mobile phone, i wouldn’t have a clue where he was! If fact, it was so damn dark you couldn’t even see where you were putting your feet! I certainly don’t think there was a Health & Safety issue there LOL. After that wonderful experience, we went to the underground carpark ! What ? Yes, you ready correctly! This was where a load of merchandise was being sold & throughout the day, some of the bands would be there. Alice wanted to meet “Dangerous Summer”. I didn’t realise that she was so into them. She showed them a tattoo she has on her ankle to do with the band. They seemed quite impressed about that.ย ย After that, Garry left us to go get himself some food. We decide to go back to the hotel to have a little rest & also to collect the PVRIS photos. We hung there for a while. Later we went to the underground car park again ! This time it was because Alice wanted to meet “Dream State”.ย Again, i took some photos for Aliceย ย We then go back into the arena (Jagermeister Stage) to watch Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. During “Wild Flowers”, he certainly didn’t get as many girls on stage as in Nottingham ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once again, they finished with “I Hate You” (But unlike Nottingham, he didn’t direct his Hate towards anyone )

As PVRIS are the next band, we stay there.ย ย Tonight there set is shorter than it should have been. I think it was due to time constraints, that they had to miss playing three songs. They start off with “Heaven”

Next up is “St Patrick”. Again, they skip a song, so next it’s “Half”. That’s closely followed by “You & I “. The rest of the set comprises of “What’s Wrong”, “Winter”, “Anyone Else”, “No Mercy”

And they finish with a rowdy version of “My House”. Whilst it was a short set, it was still great ๐Ÿ™‚ย When they’ve finished, we go outside the venue. I see I’ve had a missed call from Lisa B (PVRIS tour manager). Also i got at txt saying “Please call me”. Then a txt saying ” security was very very tight, so i’ll come meet you to take you back to the bands room”. As we’d already checked out where the backstage entrance was, i thought lets see how far we can get. Just showed our wristbands at a table outside, then walked inside! There was no one around, so we just looked for a sign as to where PVRIS dressing room was. Found it easy. I knock on the door & Lisa comes. I think she’s probably a bit shocked that we got in so easily ๐Ÿ˜‰ There’s quite a few people in the dressing room & Lisa kindly asks them to leave as we’re going to have a wee meet & greet with PVRIS.
We all say our hellos & have hugs etc. They ask me how i’m doing as regards health wise. I ask Brian if the proposed big London show which was meant to be at the end of the year, is still on. He replies “No, we’ve decided to leave it for a while & instead take some time to start writing for the next album”. This is also the first time I’ve met the drummer Justin. (Previous times we’ve met them he’s never been there). We have a bit of a chat & he soon leaves the room. But not before we get a full group photo or two ๐Ÿ˜‰ย ย I quickly take a selfie with Lynnย ย Then i show them the photos (Smallest one is Norwich UEA 2-4-16 when myself & Alice did the M&G) The bigger one is when i went on my own to see them in Birmigham 23-11-17 And boy did that gig lift my spirits! Never expected what would happen at that one ๐Ÿ˜‰ & finally a photo from Brixton 30-11-17 where both myself & Alice went to & the band paid for our trains & hotel!
I suggest to them that we get another photo,of a photo of a photo , to carry on the tradition ๐Ÿ™‚ Lynn, Alice & Alex hold the photos whilst Lisa (or was it someone else?) takes the photo ย Our time with the guys seemed to fly by. Eventually we said our goodbyes & off we were going to see what was still happening. Unfortunately though, Alice had forgot to take the photos with her ! So i quickly send a txt to Lisa to ask if she could bring us the photos & we make our way back to the backstage entrance. As we’re going there,who should we bump into, but Alex ! I tell him that Alice forgot to take the photos with her, which i think he found amusing ๐Ÿ™‚ Whilst we’re waiting for Lisa, we get a quick selfie with himย 
I then notice Lisa running towards us with the photos in hand. Once again, thank you Lisa ๐Ÿ™‚
By now it was around 10pm. We go to the Signature stage to watch a bit of “As It Is”. I think that the singer sounds a bit like Brian Molko. I took a couple of photos & filmed one song :ย 

The last band of the night we see is Jimmy Eat World. Again, i filmed one song.

After that, we made our way back to the hotel. Along the way, we had a look to see if any place like Tesco was still open as Alice was hungry.
I think it was around 11pm & was surprised to see a few places we closed. Carried on to the hotel. I reckon that even though Alice looked sleepy, she was as high as a kite after this day. Myself, i was knackered ! Alice then had the bright idea of ordering some food via room service. I thought it was quite expensive tbh. But she managed to change my mind ๐Ÿ™‚

Early next morning, Alice got a txt to say she needed to be somewhere in town, earlier than had previously been arranged. She phoned Athula to ask him to bring some clothes/make up as time wise, it would be cutting things quite short. I could see she was getting wound up. Made sure we got to the train station early & Alice decided she needed to have a coffee so i waited opposite the shop. After a while i thought “Where is she? She’s not in the shop still”. I assumed she’d gone to the platform where i train was leaving from, so i made my way there. Once i got on the train, she wasn’t there. So i txt her to see where she was. It was only about 5 mins till departure! Fortunately, she gets there quickly. Hell it would have been a mess if she’d missed the train as would have had to buy another ticket! I think it was down to lack of communication that we didn’t get to the train at the same time. But it didn’t matter, as we both made it on time & were soon on the way back home ๐Ÿ™‚ Athula picked us up at Grantham & drove us from there to Boston. A few days earlier, i’d ordered some new speakers for my PC & they could be collected on this day. So i asked Athula if once we’ve dropped off Alice, he could take me back to Tescos to pick up the speakers. No problem. Alice then said “But that means he has to go into town & then back to Tescos. Think we should stop at Tescos before dropping me off”. I said no to that as she needed to be at the meeting on time. Also it’s not as if it would cause any problems for Athula. Most certainly, i didn’t want to be blamed for her arriving late (especially as she had been wound up since the morning!) It was the logical thing to do dropping Alice off and then going back to Tescos ๐Ÿ™‚
Finally, fate was not on my side today. When i got the speakers home, setting them up, i thought the bass sub sounds too weak. Upon inspection, i found it had a bad wire connection, so i had to return them ! Hilarious eh ?

But hey, at least the gig was great ๐Ÿ™‚

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MACHINE HEAD Rock city, Nottingham, 21-5-18

I was soooo looking forward to this show ! I took a later train than i originally planned to (gave me more time to relax). Once i got to Nottingham, i headed straight to my hotel, “Roomzzz”. Upon checking in, the manageress asked me “How are you? Which gig are you seeing tonight?”
(As i stay there so often, she always asks me those questions). I reply “I’m ok, but have a slight problem with a future booking”. I explain that i wont be able to come in June to see Stone Sour as i’ll be having more chemotherapy & ask if i could get a refund for the room i’d pre-booked. She said “Normally it would be non refundable, but, as it’s exceptional circumstances, I’ll phone through to central reservations, to see if we can get a refund for you”. Went to my room & 5 mins later she phoned me to confirm i CAN get a refund ! Phew ! That’s over ยฃ100 coming back to me ๐Ÿ™‚ I then start thinking about if i can sell on the ticket for Stone Sour. I’d heard of “Twickets”, so thought I’d try it on there if none of my friends don’t want it. (I’d payed extra for the M&G so total cost was ยฃ146 !)
Didn’t bother going to my usual(s) for food, as I’d took some with me ๐Ÿ˜‰ Phoned Rock City to confirm time for doors as on tickets it said 7pm ,yet on their website it said 6.30pm ! Doors were confirmed for 7pm. So stayed in the hotel for rest of the day.
Went to RC about 15mins before doors. Bumped into a lad i often see at gigs (Hi Tonito ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) & asked him if he’d be interested in Stone Sour ticket. He’s already going somewhere else on the same date ๐Ÿ™ After a while, they let us disabled people in. Again i got the best seat…one of the security said “Go to Bar 2 & ask for a seat”. Me “Which bar is that then?” He then said “Ah you can have this one i’m sat on!” Then told another security chap to take it through to the gig room. Very kind of him. Wish it could work this way always ๐Ÿ˜‰ There were probably about 30+ people in there already as there had been a M&G earlier. Still managed to get my fave spot though. Whilst waiting, i see a mate Gary come in & he went up in the balcony. We then txt each each other about what was in store for tonight ๐Ÿ˜‰
Rock City was absolutely RAMMED tonight. Totally sold out. There was no support act, just Machine Head playing a super long set, which was getting towards 3 hours long. A bit later i saw Richard M. & his Mrs making their way through the crowd to get near the front.
Tonight’s gig was just fuckin amazing, full on metal ! I ended up filming quite a few songs, but this is the only clip I’ve uploaded so far.

Afterwards, tried to meet up with Garry, but we didn’t manage it (I waited across the road for 5-10mins & thought he’d nipped of sharpish. Following day, he told me he was in the queue for car park as i was going into my hotel ! Oh well c’est La Vie ! Hope to meet up later in the year). I had a great time tonight. It’ll be one of the two gigs that i can do before i restart the chemotherapy on 30th May.

3-6-18 Slight edit, now a 2-cam mix of “The Blood the Sweat The Tears ” (thanks mate)ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

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VIRGINMARYS , Massive Wagons, Big Boy Bloater & The Limits, Lincolnshire Showground ,21-4-18

This was another gig hanging in the balance for a couple of reasons. Firstly, was unsure if Alice would be able to drive us there & secondly, i was still waiting for appointment with my Oncologist. Obviously, i didn’t want to buy a ticket & then not be able to go. I mentioned this to Danny & he kindly offered myself & Alice guest list places. That way, if couldn’t make it, wouldn’t be out of pocket etc. In the end, everything fell into place very well.
Earlier on gig day, Alice had been playing her own gig which was part of some sort of a small festival in Horncastle. She had a 30minute slot. She told me that she enjoyed it. If any of you are interested in hearing any of her songs, here’s a link to her latest song :
https://alicekat.bandcamp.com/track/i-want-everything (She’s released a 12″vinyl EP & a CDr of some of her songs, which you can purchase there ;-)).
You can also listen to her songs for free (or make a donation) on Soundcloud : https://soundcloud.com/alice-kat

Can’t remember what time Alice picked me up, but we made sure we’d be there in good time before the doors opened. We went the same route as she’d done earlier in the day, via Horncastle, skirting around Lincoln (Which would have been very busy at that time). It was nice weather for travelling this day (unlike a couple of days before). When we got to the Showground, the sat nav sent us to the wrong place, but it was easy enough to find the correct entrance. (Btw Alice,please get some kind of a holder for your mobile phone so it will be higher up & you wont have to look down at it. We all love you & don’t want you to have an accident just because you looked down).
They had a one-way-system to the parking, so that was nice & easy. We drove past loads of people enjoying the sunny day drinking their beers etc.
I had the fore thought to take a pack up because i hadn’t eaten anything since brekky & i doubted that Alice would have had any lunch. So we shared that. I told her that the plastic container is older than her ! I used to use it when going to Monsters Of Rock/Download. But i didn’t put much food in it then…i sneaked in my camcorder using it ! (I’d wrap it in kitchen foil & take the container out when they searched bags ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
As the doors to the venue were open, we wandered in there. The guys were just finishing their soundcheck. First person i spoke to was Gareth. After our hellos/hugs & introducing Alice to him, I mentioned that Danny had put us on the guest list & i hadn’t arranged the seat. Good old Gareth then went off to sort out the wristbands & seats! (As ever mate, it’s always appreciated) We also saw Stuart walking around so said hellos & introduced him to Alice.
Looking at the stage barrier, i think if the crowd gets rowdy, it wont be much use. As this is the first event to happen here, if it’s a success & they subsequently get more people attending, then they’ll most certainly will have to get a better barrier ๐Ÿ˜‰ย ย When sound check had finished, Ally came & had a chat with us. I introduced him to Alice, but he said he remembered her from when he did a solo gig at Brewery Tap,Peterborough.Nice one.
After a while, we went out of the venue to chill for a while near the car.ย ย Later we went & sat on the benches in the lovely sun. I did take a wee video as i was walkin back. But seem to have lost it.
There was a great vibe as everyone was hanging drinking beers on this glorious day.
I don’t know how long it was before doors opened, but i suggested to Alice, if we want to get photos with the VMs, it would probably be best to do it before they play. That way we could get a quick exit when leaving & not get stuck in traffic. I think at the time, the lads were watching the footy on TV. Can’t remember who i asked to get the group photo.(Might have been Danny)ย 

The lads wandered off & Ross stayed for a while. It was cool as this was the first time i’d had a proper chat with him. He most certainly has his heart in the right place. A great chap. It’s obvious he has a passion for playing. No disrespect to Matt,but, i really think he fits in well with the VMs. Hopefully they’ll make him a permanent member ๐Ÿ™‚

Eventually it was time for the first band. When we went in, the seats hadn’t been moved, which kinda surprised me. Obviously it’s a crowd that respects others. First act was “Big Boy Bloater & The Limits”. I’d never heard of them before. They had a typical rock n roll kind of sound.
They seemed to get a good reaction.ย 

Next up it was “Massive Wagons”. From memory, i think i saw them open for The Wildhearts in 2017. They have a lot of energy & to me, seem more professional than BBB. They rock like crazy & get an even better reaction from the crowd.

Finally, it’s time for Virginmarys.
I love it how, at the beginning of “Dead Mans Shoes”, Ross plays air drums ! (Didn’t quite capture it unfortunately)

A couple of songs in i try to have a little jump around/dance, but it’s not the same without the VMs family. Alice took a sneaky shot of me doing it ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

Also, i think i had more enery than Alice did. (But as she’s already had a long day, it’s hardly surprising)
In general, i think the audience was probably the weakest i’ve seen of all the VMs gigs. Only saw a couple of pockets of people jumping around etc.
As always, they finished the show with “Bang Bang Bang”. It was so cute to see a little kid hit the gong…& was pretty much in time :

So, overall, a nice day out. Can’t remember when it happened,but, Primordial took a group photo of everyone outside…i duly pinched it ๐Ÿ˜‰ย ย We got out of the car park nice & quickly before everyone else started leaving. Took a different route home, through Lincoln, as there wouldn’t be much traffic by then.

 

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VIRGINMARYS + Dig Lazarus + Kynch + Callum Cook ,The Soundhouse, Leicester, 6-4-18

Woke up early in Sheffield & decided i’d go have breakfast at The Bankers Draft. Went straight upstairs as knew it wouldn’t be busy. In fact, there were only about 3 tables taken. Had a nice breakfast, then walked through the city back to my hotel. As my train to Leicester didn’t leave until 12.49, i stayed in the hotel as long as i could do ๐Ÿ™‚ When i got to the station, my train was running a bit late. No problem though as couldn’t check into hotel in Leicester ’till 2pm. Once on the train, they pretty much managed to make up most of the time that it had been delayed.
When i was younger, i used to visit Leicester a lot as i’d see gigs at De Montfort Hall, the University & the Poly.I drove there so often that i didn’t need any map (this is pre sat navs days lol). Ah that’s just brought a memory back of when i was very young & my dad used to drive me & my mates there. Somehow, he always seemed to take a different route in the city every time ! It’s a funny, but nice, memory of him.
When i arrived via train, it didn’t seem that much had changed. I was quite surprised how close both my hotel & Wetherspoons were to the train station ๐Ÿ™‚
I’d booked the Mercure Grand Hotel. It might sound posh, but it isn’t ! It was a nice room, with a separate bathroom. The bathroom windows could certainly do with an upgrade though,as they didn’t close properly! In fact, the bathroom was quite cold because of that! Certainly was the quickest shower I’ve ever had ! Thankfully, there’s a door between the bedroom & bathroom, so the cold couldn’t get into the bedroom ๐Ÿ˜‰ Still think it was ok for ยฃ60 though.ย ย Once i’d checked into the hotel, i did my usual thing : Walking the route to the venue. Again, it was pretty close to my hotel. I was surprised to see that the venue was closed as i thought it was a pub with a small room for bands. Maybe it’s just a bit too far from city centre for them to open in the afternoons? Who knows, maybe they don’t get much trade until in the evenings? Whatever, i found the venue easily & my next stop would be the either my hotel or the Wetherspoons pub ๐Ÿ™‚
I already knew that for this gig it would be one of the biggest fan meetups…a lot of the regulars + a few more.
The first two people i met today were Garry & Ross. Where better to meet than the local Wetherspoons ? ๐Ÿ˜‰ . “The Last Plantagenent” was in the perfect location; on same road as my hotel & not far away from the venue. Now usually when i meet up with the VMs family, it’s just a quick hello then get down to business with the gig. But today, it’s different, as we have a lot more time to talk with each other. I can safely say, we got to know each other a lot more. Was interesting sharing our stories about previous gigs etc. Though i have to confess, i had to ask Ross to repeat a couple of things due to his heavy Scottish accent ๐Ÿ˜‰ Eventually we decided to mosey on down to the venue. Was quite surprised that it was still closed. Not only that, we were the only ones there ! Garry decided he’d nip off to get a sarnie or whatever as he hadn’t eaten all day. I took a couple of photos of Ross outside the venue :ย ย Eventually, a few more people arrived. When doors opened, going in i told the couple taking tickets that i’d pre arranged a seat/stool for tonight. The chap said wait over there & i’ll sort it out. Seemed like after 10mins he’d either forgot about me or was more interested in getting the punters in. Now at most venues, they get the disabled people in BEFORE the main crowd as it makes things easier for everyone.A lesson to be learnt there i think ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seeing how tiny the room was, i was getting a bit bothered as he’d not sorted out the seat. During this wait, a few more of the VMs travelling family arrived. Said our hellos etc. As luck would have it, Ally came walking towards me (from direction of the doors) & asked if i was ok. I told him i’m still waiting for the geezer to get me the seat. So what does Ally do? Yep, you guessed it, HE goes to find me the seat! (Thanks Ally) He brings back a short stool. Intitally, i go down the left side right against the stage & close to the ladies toilets. Then i think it would be better on the right side seeing as i might be in the way of peeps going to the loo etc. That was a good choice to move to the right.
Tonight there’s 3 support acts. I sit on said stool for most of them ๐Ÿ˜‰ The first one up is Callam Cook. Just himself & an acoustic guitar. He’s got a fine vocal abilty. He plays some cover songs etc. It’s a gentle start to the evening. Next it’s “Kynch” followed by “Dig Lazarus”. I thought that both of these were a bit “samey”. Certainly nothing that i hadn’t heard before by numerous other bands. Out of those two, i think Dig Lazarus were notch up over Kynch ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

Am i too harsh as regards support acts? I dunno. For myself, after seeing so many bands over the years, i’ll only prick my ears up if i hear something different or quirky.
During the Virginmarys set, the front row was mostly the VMs travelling family of fans. From what i can remember,starting on the right side, going left, it was myself, Eva, Simon B, Ross, Garry, Rachel…any more ? ย (Thanks to Simon B. for the photos) I’d already decided that tonight i was gonna have a bit of a jump around etc. Maybe one last hurrah? Who knows? (Yes, i did film a couple of songs & took a few photos-it’s ingrained in me-but i most certainly jumped/danced or whatever you wanna call it for the longest time since 2 years back. I bloody loved it!)
As ever on this tour, they kicked off with “Portrait Of Red”. It’s great seeing everyone having big wide grins on their faces & jumping around like there’ll be no tomorrow….& this is just the first song of the night ! Next we get a one/two of “Dead Mans Shoes” & “Free To Do”. Then it’s one of my faves off “Divides”, namely ; “I wanna Take You Home”. Just 4 songs in & i’m already thinking this is a totally special night.

The video clip is a little shaky as couldn’t help myself not moving around etc ๐Ÿ˜‰ During “Halo…” i just had to switch off the camera & have more of a proper jump/dance. After that, i thought to myself “I don’t want to burn myself out too quick”, so decided to film the next song “Sweet Loretta”

From then on wards, i was pretty much on my feet for the rest of the show. Living in the moment, feeling so happy to be doing this. All the shit went from my mind & i was kinda elated to be sharing this time with not only the band, but also the VMs family. Best time ever this year for sure.ย ย ย The evening just flew by. I’m sure a lot of us got a bit tired after jumping around etc. Encore time was a good moment to catch our breaths.ย 
For the very last song of the night, they did something different : Rachel had the honour of banging Dannys gong ! (take that which ever way you like ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). As this was a unique thing to happen, i took a few photos & then realised i should have made a video of it. Soz to Rachel i didn’t capture it all..ย ย 

When the gig finished, someone said “hello” to me. In all honesty, i recognised his face, but couldn’t put a name to it! All i could think was that i knew him from meeting at a gig somewhere.(That happens a lot to me). Later on i realised it was James Chamberlain, who, yes, i had met at a gig ๐Ÿ™‚ Damn what a night this was ! I loved every moment of it all. All my troubles were washed away due to the music & the community of the fans. I’ll never forget this show ! The one thing we did miss tonight though, was the group photo ! I only realised that after some people said they were leaving. We all said our goodbyes & went our separate ways. Walking back to my hotel, i think if anyone saw me, they’d think i was high on drugs or something. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat & thinking about what happened today/tonight. The only slight downer of the day was when i was walking down the street where my hotel was, there were a bunch of kids having a fight. It wasn’t a fair fight either as it seemed a few of them were ganging up against one lad. I just kept my head down & stayed on the opposite side of the street as didn’t want to get involved in it all.ย 

P.S. There’s one thing i didn’t tell anyone on this night. By a very strange coincidence on this very date, 2 years ago, i had the seizure which would eventually be diagnosed as me having brain tumors. Think i did quite well to keep that quiet .

 

 

 

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VIRGINMARYS + Ten Eighty Trees + Quesey @ cafe totem, Sheffield, 5-4-18

This gig & the next one were kinda hanging in the balance. I’d recently got my last M.R.I. results & they were not good. Tbh, to start off with, i wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be going. After speaking with my nurse, i decided to go. As i’d never been to this venue before, i wondered if i’d be able to SEE anything or not. When i emailed them about having a seat, it all seemed a bit sketchy….
Last time i visited Sheffield i checked out where Cafe Totum was, cos i’d never heard of the place ! (It used to be called “The Rocking Chair”)
I left Bostonia at 11.50. Changed train at Nottingham & finally arrived at Sheffield around 14.45. Stayed at Jurys Inn this time. A nice room, at a reasonable price & pretty close to the venue ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

After checking in, i had a walk to “The Waterworks” & had a late lunch. As it was Thursday, i had to have the usual Curry Club deal ๐Ÿ™‚ On the way back i decided to have a look in Cafe Totum & confirm about the seat for later. The lass at the bar said the manager was downstairs in gig room, so i went down. Door was locked though! Luckily, i could see in the room & caught the eye of Gareth. We kinda sign languaged lol, Telling me to go back up stairs. Met him there then he took me into the gig room. The guys were finishing off sound checking. Even though i thought the room would be small, it really surprised me just how tiny it was. There was no way, even with a stool, i’d be able to see the stage. I noticed a kind of ledge right at the back, so decided to try perch myself up on there. Simon (another one ….too many Simons!) said he’d already took a snap from up there. It was a bit of a balancing act once up there, but seemed ok. Gareth got me a stool so i could use it to get up there (+ also put a note on it to say it was reserved. Nice one mate). Myself & Danny then went up to the bar for a drink & a natter. There was a slight problem at the bar ๐Ÿ˜‰ During which time Stuart also came up. So i bought the round of drinks. We had a real good chat about “the business & contracts” etc (Hey Danny, don’t forget about those master tapes i filmed ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
The closer to doors time, the more busy the bar got. I later saw, Gary, Ross et al turned up & they went over into a corner. Do i smell bad ? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Then i saw Helen Tate & her clan arrive. She came over & had a chat with me (Maybe i don’t smell that bad after all lol). Always nice to see her & Lauren. Again, we briefly talked about the music industry & how hard it is for small bands to make it big. She mentioned about how Facebook has changed. Apparently, if they paid something like a tenner the posts would get more views. HOG have around 14,000 subscribers, but after the change, the most recent announcement for a new gig was only seen by about 160 people. What a load of rubbish is that eh? After a while she went back to her kids. I then noticed the room wasn’t so busy. Most peeps had gone downstairs to the gig room. So i went down. as expected, it was pretty rammed. I was surprised that no one had pinched my stool. I sat on said stool for the support acts; neither of which really did much for me.
There was a lad near me who was already pissed up. I told him i’d be going up on that “perch”. He said “Yeah…reckon i’ll do that as well”. I’m thinking to myself “I can see him having an accident just trying to get up there!”
The guys kicked off with “Portrait Of Red” & then went straight into “Dead Mans Shoes”. I then realised that the lighting in this venue is REALLY poor. Basically, i could see Ross & Danny ok, but there wasn’t any lighting on Allys side. Trying to film a clip, the camera just couldn’t see Ally. So i ended up just filming Danny, Ross & Garry ! Garry? Yes, he was nicely lit up on front row ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next it’s “Free To Do” & then, one of my faves from “Divides” “I Wanna Take You Home”. Again, due to poor lighting, the photos i tried to take are pretty naff.ย 

A bit later, they played a new song called “Don’t Wanna be Free”. Was interesting to hear that. About half way through the set, i noticed the pissed up guy next to me was wobbling on the perch & then he started knocking me. Sorry to say it, but, i was thinking “Just fall down already!” ๐Ÿ™‚ I think i lost my focus then as was bothered about the chap next to me ! The guys played a lot of good uns, namely “Running For My Life”, “Into Dust”, “Blind Lead The Blind” etc. Again i had a go at filming another song:

When they got to “Lost Weekend”, i thought i’d try my mobile to see how it picked up the band in low lighting (I’ve never used mobile to film stuff as i’m sure sound would distort) As it was, it did pick up Ally better than my camera, but the resolution was a lot lower. Was an interesting experiment ๐Ÿ™‚

“Sitting Ducks”, from the last ep they released, always goes down well. Then another classic VM song is played, namely, “Motherless Land “. We’re then treated to another new song “Look Out For My Brother”. Lovely stuff ๐Ÿ™‚
The main set finishes with “Just A Ride” & “Ends Don’t Mend”. From my perch, i didn’t see much jumping around during the gig & also the crowd were not over loud. I think waiting for the encore even had a brief time when no one was clapping/cheering for them to come back !ย  Eventually they return & we get “Northern Sun” & “Bang Bang Bang”. Tonight they didn’t use the gong though ๐Ÿ™ A few people hung around for a little while in the gig room, whilst others made their way up to the bar…or left ! Oh yeah, earlier in the day, an old local friend from the ’80s sent a message to me about meeting up as he was working in Sheffield. We ended up meeting after the gig had finished. He came down into the gig room, then we went up to the bar. Had a real good catch up. Hadn’t seen each other for years! Was great seeing you again Graham ๐Ÿ™‚ .Before i went to my hotel, i said my goodbyes & got a quick photo with Ally & Danny.ย 

P.S. The Hero of the evening was Ross. Why ? Because he’d not been well recently but battled though the lurgy & played the gig. Good on ya Ross ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

 

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THE STRANGLERS ,+ Therapy?, Rock city, Nottingham, 12-3-18

After Alice had left, i had a look in FOPP, then checked out where Brewdog was (was thinking of going there later). Almost went to see a film, but the price put me off ๐Ÿ˜‰ So i spent most of the time in my hotel. Decided i needed some grub to see me through the night,so once again, i visited The Gooseberry Bush. Had a lovely Grilled Chicken Tennessee burger, washed down with Devils Backbone (I’m a creature of habit).By the time i finished that, the rain had just about stopped.Think i had about 40mins in hotel before i needed to go to Rock City. Once there, the queue had grown. As i went to the doors, some one else who had disabilities was just being let in. I told the security chap i needed a seat etc & he kind of questioned me. I saw Kev was there,so asked if i could have the same seat as last night ๐Ÿ™‚ His reply was “If i can find it,it’s yours.They keep moving it around the place!”. Couple of minutes later, the seat was brought up to the balcony for me. Must have been in a good 10mins+ before main doors opened.
It’s always interesting seeing people coming into the venue. Some head for the front row on the barrier & others head straight to the bar !
Whilst waiting for Therapy? to take to the stage, a chap to the right of me said ” Well done on getting the seat! Think i could also do with one!” (or words to that effect). When i told him that i NEED to have the seat & briefly told him why, he was initially dumbfounded. We carried on chatting, talking about the gigs we’d been to etc. It was surprising that we’d both sometimes been at the same gig (but obviously then we didn’t know each other) not only that, he doesn’t live too far away from Bostonia! (I think it was Heckington?). I told him about my blog which listed every gig I’ve seen since 1980 & he seemed quite impressed with what i’d done; “That’s amazing!”. Later he said something like ” You’re an inspiration how you cope with things & are still getting to the gigs”.I also said to him something like “It’s not until you see the situation from the other side, that you can really understand how it totally affects your life. Having a sense of positivity really helps”.Then he really shocked me ; ” I’ve been thinking….(He’s a headmaster at a school) Would you come to the school & give a talk about how your life has changed & how you cope with these health issues ?….I’m not putting you on the spot.”
Whilst i can see where he’s coming from, I’ve never been the sort of person that would, or rather COULD, do that type of thing. I said i’d think about it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enough of that, lets get to the reason why we’re all here tonight : A great line up including Therapy? & The Stranglers ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve seen Therapy? a few times over the years. We even saw them in Amsterdam back in 2006 ! (Bet you remember that one Chris H? Something to do with beers ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). The thing with Therapy? is you’re always sure that it will be a great gig. When i saw they were opening for the Strangers, i just had to go.
Tonight they kick off with “Die Laughing”. Andy dedicates it to Ken Dodd who recently passed away ๐Ÿ™‚ Next, from the album “Infernal Love”, they play “Stories”. A couple of songs in & there’s already a small group in the crowd bopping away.(Actually, i was surprised that more of the crowd didn’t get into Therapy? tonight) I’ve always loved their version of “Isolation”. I really think they made it there own. “Turn” is as great as always. Really wish i’d filmed a couple more songs tonight, but i was enjoying it too much to do that.
They play most of the “hits” from yesteryear; “Turn” , “Teethgrinder” , “Nowhere” , “Knives” all sound as fresh as the day they were released on albums. They finish their set with “Screamager” & “Potato Junkie”. Btw,Just who was “James Joyce” ? ๐Ÿ™‚

This Stranglers tour is being called “The Definitive Tour”. After having a quick gander online to see what they’ve been playing, that title pretty much sums it up! I just know it’s gonna be a great night.
Tonight’s show starts with an intro which goes into “Curfew”. What a great way to kick things off.(Pretty sure i can hear the chap next to me singing along ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Next up it’s another classic Stranglers song “(Get a) Grip (On Yourself)”. That’s followed by “15 Steps” & “Bear Cage”. If my memory serves me correctly, the track “Bear Cage” wasn’t on any album & was just a single release. However, it was included on the reissue of “The Raven” CD. Talking of “The Raven”, I remember buying that on vinyl way back in 1979 (?) & it had a special cover. There was a seemingly 3D image of The Raven on the front. Pretty sure I’ve still got that LP somewhere. Hmm, i wonder how limited that release was? Might be worth a bit nowadays ๐Ÿ˜‰
Next, from the same album, it’s “Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)”. Some great shouts/interaction from the crowd. Bloody fantastic !

When they play “Peaches” it takes me back to when i was a prepubescent kid. What a great music scene it was back in those days. Growing up with bands like The Stranglers, Sex Pistols, Siouxie & The Banshees, Blondie, Buzzcocks, B52s, The Jam, The Members, etc etc.
One of the most unexpected songs to hear tonight was “Don’t Bring Harry”. Again, i remember when i got “The Raven” album, i really didn’t like that song !
Maybe it was because,at the time, i didn’t know what it was about ? (Heroin). Either way, i just didn’t get it.ย 
They then play 3 of my fave songs, namely “Golden Brown”(Their biggest hit single i think), “Always the Sun” & “Walk On By” (OK, it is a cover of a Dionne Warwick song, but i think they made it their own ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
I love the angst(lyrics) & power(music) of “Something Better Change”. Again, it’s right up there with the Stranglers classic songs. After S.B.C. they played “Duchess”

Tonights show comprised of around 22 songs & lasted just shy of 2 hours in length. Talk about value for money ๐Ÿ™‚
They finished with “No More Heroes”

After the show finished, i hung around on the balcony & noticed that Michael McKeegan (Therapy? Bassist) was looking down at the crowd leaving. I just felt i needed to go have a brief chat with him. Basically, i just said that i’d seen Therapy? quite a few times over the years & ive not seen a bad show by them. Also mentioned how he always seems to have a smile on his face when he’s playing, so to me, he must be enjoying playing. After that quick chat, i said goodbye to the couple of lads i’d met earlier, then headed back to my hotel.
Damn, this has been such a great couple of days/gigs in Nottingham ! Feeling thoroughly contented with everything ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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