Guano Apes , Nirwana, Tuinfeest, Lierop, NL 27-8-16

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There’s a bit of a back story to this show, which i feel i should share : As most people who know me will be aware, i’ve personally know GA since the early days, back when i saw their debut UK gig at the Borderline back in 1999 ( http://www.gigaddiction.co.uk/guano-apes-the-borderline-london-23-9-99/ ). After that gig, i “lived the dream” following the band around Europe & at times even travelling with them.
Well, i last saw them in Barcelona in 2014. Many of the old friends who i’d met over the years, also travelled to that show. A great day.
Jump forward to 2016 & the proverbial “shit hit the fan” & for a while i was totally out of action. Radio & chemo therapy does that to you.
With all the messages of support i was recieving, i confess, i was disapointed to not hear anything from my old mates in GA. I tried contacting them in case there had been something i’d done or said to have “upset” them. Eventually, via a mutual contact, i was told there’s nothing wrong, most people are just very busy all the time. Ok, fair enough, at least i’ve not done anything bad.
Imagine my surprise when out of the blue i get an email from my old mate Henning saying : ” I spoke to the band and we thought maybe we could do something good for you by inviting you to the show in Lierop incl. Travel etc. but I’m not sure If you would actually be able to travel? ”
How fooking cool is that ? This was an invite i really had to TRY take up, despite me health being very up & down recently (As close to 3 days before the trip, i had flu type symptoms & it was doubtful if i’d make it or not – hence i didn’t dare “announce” anything on my FB page).
Between myself & Henning, we arranged a schedule that suited me……08.00am return the day after??!! No way ! 😉
Come gig day, my train travel ran smoothly to Stansted airport ( 3 changes & nearly 4 hours travel) & i had plenty of extra time before my flight. Then after a while, i saw this :

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Of all the flights listed, mine was the only one delayed :-( Oh well, bang goes the chance of seeing Danko Jones before Guano Apes.
Fortunately, Stansted to Eindhoven is a relatively short flight. Once there, Benoit was awaiting for me. Henning couldn’t have booked a better hotel for me ; directly at the airport ! Once we’d checked in, we were on the road to the festival. (The last message i’d sent to Henning in the morning, was about arranging to park the car in the artiste/guests area. He said to give him a ring when we’re a few minutes from festival)
Once there, Henning greets us & tells security to open gate for the parking. He quickly wanders off to get our passes from Markus.
Man, it was so great to see Henning again ! Once backstage, we gradually see other members of the band. Stude is having some food which made me wanna bork ! (I have problems with certain food smells nowadays ! For example, i used to love KFC & nowadays i cannot eat it due to the smell! One of the side effects of my treatments i guess) Said hello to Markus & then I explain to Dennis whats been going on. Then he gives me the proper backstage tour. ” Where do you want to watch the show from? ” Me : ” I’d prefer to be onstage as i get a bit tired nowadays “. Dennis : ” Oh, do you want a chair as well? ” Me : “Oh man that would be perfect, just in case “. The crew did this for me :

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Dennis couldn’t have been more helpful. He then showed me the “route” to get back to the other side of the stage (without walking over the actual stage). I then went out into the crowd to say hello to Pezi. She’s been following the band since 2003 i think. Nice to see her again. Then Benoit turns up & i leave him in the capable hands of Pezi on the front row 😉 ( I think Pezi may have asked me if i was gonna stay, but, it wasn’t advisable for me tbh…& anyway, i already had my own special place 😉 )
As well as bringing my camera, i’d also brought my digital audio recorder as i thought i’d make a not so sneaky recording of the whole show from onstage. As luck would have it, i saw Ingo (FOH engineer) a little before the show started. I thought ” Nothing lost by trying..”. Me : ” Hey Ingo, don’t suppose you could record tonights show to my digital recorder? “. He quickly looked at it & said “Yeah” :-) RESULT ! Later, when i was back on stage, he came by & told me he’d got a new battery as the one i had wasn’t enough power. He’s a good man is Ingo :-)
Originally, i’d planned to take some photos from the pit. But when i was made aware photographers only had one song, i decided to just film a video clip instead 😉

After that, they quickly went into ” You Can’t Stop Me “, whilst i walked around to my position on the stage. Whenever i’ve been up on stages before, the sound is generally not as good as out front. Mainly, you just hear drums then other sounds are very small compared. However, i reckon this was the best onstage sound i’ve heard ! Don’t get me wrong, it still wasn’t perfect. But Studes bass sounded great & i could also hear Hennings guitar & even Sandra sounded ok (Sandras was probably the lowest in the mix). But i loved it :-)

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Next up it’s ” Quietly “. An absolute classic from the “modern era” of the Apes. Gotta be honest, i’ve never really liked the song “Fake”. Whilst it *IS* better live than studio, i still don’t find it all that great (sorry)
The next song again is a classic ; “Pretty In Scarlet”. Just love that one :-) I also love the loose funky feel of “Sunday Lover”. If this song performed live does not make you wanna shake your ass or dance, then i’d suggest you check your pulse ! (Sandra got a bit carried away towards the end & fell down during her spins. Though she pulled it off well, so i doubt many would have noticed 😉 )

I couldn’t believe it, but, just before ” Oh What A Night” some dickhead decided he’d try sit down in MY AREA on MY CHAIR !! Honestly, it’s not like it wasn’t marked out or anything! I gave him a bit more of my mind than what i recorded 😉

A young lad, Gijs, got lucky when Sandra spotted him on the front row & she went down to him! I bet all his birthdays & Christmases came at once !

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Next up it was the super classic of “Open Your Eyes”. I will never ever get tired of hearing this song. It has the same vitality today as it had back in the day. Love it.
Next it’s “Fanman”. Probably my favourite “modern era” Apes song. I love the bass line in this one. Once again, it’s funky & just grooves. I love the change of pace in this song, how it’s up & down. So pleased they kept this on in the set list :-)

“Sing That Song”, whilst i like it, i can take it or leave it. At this point i’d much sooner hear something like “All I Wanna Do” 😉
The main set finishes with another classic,the Alphaville cover “Big In Japan”  Man, did that main set just fly by ! It was all pretty solid stuff for sure.

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We then get the encore of the instrumental ” Lez “. I actually couldn’t remember if i’d seen them play this before & had to check when i got home! They did in fact play it in Barcelona last time i saw them ! Doh ! But that’s the thing ; i LOVE it when the guys do these jams as you can tell everyone’s into it ( Though my favourite will always be “Trompeter”,due to the “swing” ;-)) This just rocks.
Then it’s the final song of the night….what else could it be, other than “Lords Of The Boards” ? ! A stompingly good version, then the obligatory group photo was took…erm of only Stude & Sandra 😉

Soon afterwards, i was in the backstage are with a very sweaty Stude ! It was just pouring off him :-) We had some serious talks. He’s not the only band member i really shocked when i explained the extent of my problems. But everyone was very positive (even though shocked) & just told me to fight it all. I do that, to the best of my abilities. As it’s been ages, i decided i needed new photos with the band ! I managed to get a group photo (minus Sandra) with the guys.

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Then had individual ones as well.

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I asked Markus what was Sandra up to & he said soon she’ll be presented with a painting someone has made for her. (It looked great actually & i wish i’d took a photo). So that would be my chance for the Sandra photo 😉
After Sandra had been presented with the painting, as she was walking in my direction, there seemed to be a moment of realisation for her when she recognized me! ” Simon ! You made it ! ” (I don’t think she recognized me when i was on stage tbh). So it was big hugs & very nice chats. It was the first time i’ve been VERY close to breaking down (OK, there were tears from me. To the guys, i hid it all better i think). During our conversation, i learnt something new, which i hadn’t expected. When GA posted on their FB page about me being a fan from the beginning & they linked to my “Borderline Story” on my www.gigaddiction.co.uk page, i was always under the impression it must have been Henning who’d posted that. Nope ! Sandra brought it up & said she posted it ! That kinda shocked me & made me love her even more! Cheers Sandra :-)
As with most people, Sandra told me i must not give up & should keep fighting this cancerous stuff i’m dealing with. Sometimes, it’s so much easier said than done though. We made a “deal” between us ; i won’t give up if she will do something for me in the future ! I cannot say what though & i very much doubt it will happen (Sandra, if you read this, i won’t hold you to it 😉 )

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Eventually it was time to go back to our hotel, so off myself, Benoit & Henning went:-) Once there, Henning sorted out breakfast & we agreed to meet early next morning.
Oh that was hilarious ! The following morning, in the restaurant, the officious bitch said ” I have no information about you being booked in for breakfast!” Well, we had a card entitling us to 2 breakfasts ! So i told her to check out her story as seemed to me someone hadn’t done their job properly 😉 Of course, we were right 😉 Later Henning joined us & he also had a problem with this jobsworth woman : 10mins before breakfast “closed” she said “you need to be making your way out of here”. Again, Henning taking no B.S. said ” I’ll just go round once more ! ” Class 😉
After saying our goodbyes, Benoit & me went to Eindhoven to kill some time (Always remember to use the Sat Nav Beno ! More importantly, if using it, take notice of the directions instead of gassing to me all the time!)But whatever, thank you for doing the driving mate. It was appreciated.
My last thought of the weekend was going through customs at Eindhoven Airport. I couldn’t believe it ; the bastards scanned my bags THREE times & once was with everything tipped out. Eventually, they decided the dodgy item was….my electric toothbrush ! Were they YTS trainees or something? Useless tossers ! :-)
So, summing up, this was a magical experience for me all thanks to my old friends in Guano Apes. Without them, i wouldn’t have got to see them live again, i’m sure. You’ll never know how much i appreciated this kind gesture from you all. It’s hard to put into words, but the easiest thing to say is THANK YOU :-)

 

 

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Ginger Wildheart , Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors, Hey Hello! ,The Brooklyn Bowl, London 22-7-16

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Journey down to London went fine. Once there, traveled straight to the venue area to check it out. Bumped into Jim & waited for doors to open. Strangely, even at 6pm there was only less than 10 of us there. Met with another mate, who didn’t recognize me to start off due to the fact last time he saw me i had hair !
Once inside, we got a great viewpoint on raised area on right hand side. Quickly said hi to my mate Adrian Hextall & settled in for the night.
Later Rob & Kristina arrived & we’re good to go. Hey Hello kicked off things in fine style, with “Swimwear”, followed by “Burn The Rule Book” & ” This Aint Love “. The new vocalist , Cat, fits in very well. Whilst the majority of the audience isn’t exactly bouncing along to everything, there’s a couple down there who are obviously loving every moment.

Don’t tell anyone, but, i think i enjoyed Hey ! Hello! more than the others today 😉 By the time they got to ” Lock For Rock “, the audience was in fine voice. Bloody loved it. A great 10 (?) song set that just flew by.

Next it was “Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors”. I think anything after “Hey! Hello!” would have felt a bit lackluster & that was my feeling during their set. Decent enough music, but, there seemed to be no edge to it. Don’t get me wrong,it was quality,but after HH anything would seem downbeat. Interestingly, Ryan told us all about how in these days of support bands having to “buy onto” tours, Ginger personally invited them to join. Once again, it shows Gingers heart is in the right place. We even got an impromptu jam of ” Take It On The Run” ( REO Speedwagon) where Ginger guested. Most enjoyable :-)

Finally it was time for the main act. With Ginger having such a big back catalog (from his various incarnations) ,gawd knows what the setlist will be tonight. Straight out of the blocks we’re hit with 3 SG5 songs. Nice start ! The first Wildhearts song of the evening was ” Mazel Tov Cocktail”. This was about 10 songs into the set, so we had a varied bunch of songs before this & it rightly showed they don’t have to rely on the Wildhearts songs to keep everyone entertained. Later when they played ” If You Find Yourself In London Town”, there was the surprise guest appearance of Micko Larkin ( He who used to play in Courtney Loves band). The stage did get a bit busy by now 😉
The show was finished with three classic Wildhearts songs ; ” Geordie In Wonderland ” , ” Suckerpunch ” (preceeded with Ginger saying ” Let’s play Kill The Drummer ” ) & then a totally OTT version of ” 29 x The Pain “.

All in all a very good night out. I’d never been to this venue before & was pretty impressed with the place. Will certainly go there again in the future :-)

Someone uploaded the full set :

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Heart , FM, O2 Apollo, Manchester 30-6-16

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The plan today was that Andy would drive us to Lincoln, i’d have my treatment, then drive to Adys at Withern. Ady would then drive us all to Manchester. Best laid plans…. Well, the journey to Lincoln went fine, until we got there. As i was walking up to oncology, it suddenly dawned on me that, i’d forgot to take my medication! What an idiot! First time i’d done that. Thing is, the meds need to be in my system for an hour before they can do radiotherapy. So sheepishy went up to Julie on reception & explained my error. They’re always kind & understanding here & within a minute or so it was arranged that i come back an hour later (when meds had kicked in) & my treatment would follow. We went for a wander around “Go Outdoors” which is close by 😉 Once back, my treatment ran smoothly & we were on our way to Withern by 12.30. Once at Adys we set off for Manchester. The traffic was pretty awful & the weather was threatening rain (Hey, it’s Manchester, what else do you expect?) After a couple of wrong turns etc, we eventually parked up near venue & went for a wander. Found The Pub/Zoo, so had quick drinks there. When we got back to the apollo, doors had opened & we just went straight in to our seats. Whilst they were at end of a row, they were close, so decent view.

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FM started things off & were their usual selves. A fine quality band. Don’t think i’ve ever seen a bad show by them. They only had a short set, of 7 songs, but still managed to cover all bases of their career, with old classics like ” I Belong To The Night “, “That Girl “, “Bad Luck”. A pretty balanced set list, especially when given such a short slot. Steve Overland STILL has a fantastic voice. Loved their set !

Having not played the UK since 2004 ( ! ) Heart were well overdue for their return. When i saw the dates, i decided Manchester & Glasgow were my best options. Whilst the trip to Glasgow is expensive, seeing the size of the venue etc, i decided to push the boat out 😉
Heart started off with ” Magic Man “. An absolute classic from the early days. Then it’s staight into a song from their ’80s commercial peak ;
” What About Love ?”. Anns vocals are sounding pretty fine. At the time of the gig, i didn’t have the new album (might not have been released yet actually), so didn’t know what to expect of the new stuff. We were about to find out what to expect, with the next song , ” Beautiful Broken”. This is a really good song. Has a nice edge to it. Good old school rock n roll! (Please also note, on the studio version, James Hetfield backs them up. This version, in my humble opinion, is even better that the live, on their own, version. Also for the real Fanatics out there 😉 this song was also on the previous album release “Fanatic”. Supposedly it’s totally different sounding. I don’t know as don’t own that album ) Interesting they decided to include a ” Lovemongers” song, called “Sand”, in the setlist. Then we’re back to the heady ’80s for ” These Dreams ”

When is a cover song not a cover song ? When it’s “Two” by Ne-Yo. Apparently they heard the song, asked Ne-Yo if they could use/have it & he agreed. It’s yet to be seen if Ne-Yo does his own version or not. We then get a bunch of old classics including ” Straight On “, ” Sweet Darlin” & “Kick it Out”.

There were a couple of things which surprised me about this show. Firstly, that they didn’t play “Alone”. I think that was their biggest hit in the UK (?) so why not play it?. Secondly,  was the fact they finished with 3 Led Zeppelin covers. It’s a well known fact that the sisters love a bit of Zep, but, surely it would be better to finish with one of your own songs ??
Overall, it was a great night. Very balanced set list which leaned towards the real old songs. Something i liked :-) There were a couple of small moments where i thought Ann might be struggling, but, considering how long they’ve been doing this, it’s amazing her voice has held out so much over the years. Much respect.

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Hands Off Gretel , Desensitised, Dont Look Down, Black Swan, Spalding 24-6-16

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This was another case of frustration about not being able to get to a gig as i’m not allowed to drive ! Arrrrggg! Well, luckily enough, my wonderful niece offered to drive me there. Thank you Alice :-) We got there early & went to Subway for food. Once parked up in town, we made our way to the ” Black Swan “. Having not been in Spalding for many years, a few old memories came flooding back to me : In the ’80s, a few of us would go there to see a local band, “Camargue” at The Pied Calf pub. Another thing, there used to be a hifi shop, “Welec Hifi” close by. I was quite surprised to still see the shop with all the signage there….then i noticed it was empty. The real significance of Welec to me was back in 1985 i bought a “Sony Professional” portable tape recorder to record concerts with. At the time, it was probably the best small-ish portable recorder with manual recording levels etc (Measured about 7 x 4 inches ). It cost a LOT of money, around £250 (at the time, i was probably being paid about £35 per week at work). I remember when i’d tracked it down to Spalding & went to collect it, the manager said ” We thought they’d sent it to us by mistake . We’d never seen anything like this before “. Well from 1985 till about 1990 that deck served me very well capturing maybe 150+ concerts 😉 sony pro

I digress…. HOG were still sound checking when we got in the pub, so we got drinks & had a couple of games of pool. Yes, we were both rubbish at it lol. Eventually it was time for the first band of the night, ” Desensitised”. 3 young ladies who come from Nottingham. They played a lot of own material, so respect to them for that. As an opening band, they were ok. Afterwards i went for a pee & the geezer next to me said “It’s a bit cold out there now…” Kinda strange to talk with others at the urinals lol. He was in the band HOG, maybe they’re a bit more open about that stuff if from Yorkshire way ? ( Hello Joe) lol
Next it was ” Don’t Look Down”, a band from Stamford. These guys seem pretty tight & i’m sure they must have played together for quite a few years. They were a different sort of sound to the first band, which was refreshing. They thanked the crowd for turning out & supporting live music. Something everyone should do nowadays as there are less & less smaller venues to see bands at. Again, a decent set & another good warm up.
I had a nice chat with Helen Tate (Laurens mum) & bought the CD ep. I’m now awaiting for the release of the full album 😉 I must confess, i was surprised when she told me that if they did a “Pledge” campaign, they would have wanted 15% . So not surprised they’ve decided to do it on their own :-)
Finally, it’s headliners Hands Off Gretel. By now, the venue has filled up nicely. I’m pleased we got our spot down the front early 😉 This was my first time seeing them live, so everything was new to me. From what i’ve seen online, Lauren has been around for a few years & has done solo stuff as well as having various bands such as the Bankrupt Brothers along the way. It seems she has now reached the point she was searching for with the latest incarnation that is the wonderful ” Hands Off Gretel “. Their sound reminds me very much of an amalgamation of “L7″ , ” Courtney Love ” & ” Nirvana “. A very ’90s grunge feel to it. Do yourself a favour & check out the old covers on Youtube of songs such as ” Zombie ” (The Pretty Reckless) , ” What’s Up?”( 4 Non Blondes) & ” Whole Lotta Love ” ( Led Zep-accoustic version). Some of these songs Lauren was only 13 or 14 years old !. They show the quality of her vocals & she reminds me of Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) in the way i think she can sing anything & it sounds great. But back to now. The in your face grunge that is HOG.  DSC07492

( Gary & Helen taking photos before everyone moved forward 😉 )

They all seem to have a lot of fun onstage & that’s always a great sign. I love the fact that they seem to be doing things on their own terms as well. For myself, Lauren comes over as a bit of a Jekkyl & Hyde kind of person. Whilst she may look all “girly & innocent”, once she opens her mouth & sings with such raw passion, you’d better believe she’s not to be messed with. The guys all seem very solid. They all have their own entertaining quirks 😉 The short set got a great reaction from the packed out crowd. It was a great set & i look forward to seeing them again :-) DSC07517

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EDIT : I’ve been very slow getting my last reviews up. During that time, i noticed that Shirley Manson has also discovered HOG. She was bigging them up on Twitter (Or was it FB ?). Wouldn’t it be great if Shirley/Garbage offered the opening slot on some gigs to HOG? I know that nowadays bands have to “buy onto ” these types of tour, but, it really would be cool if Shirley was to offer the slot for free & give HOG a leg up. C’mon Shirl ! 😉

 

 

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Virginmarys, Michael Monroe,Therapy?, Darkness, Alice Cooper, StoneFree Festival, Indigo at O2 , O2 Arena, London 18-6-16

 

Scans0672 No, it wasn’t a complimentary ticket (you hand them in on entry & collect them after gigs finished), i paid over £70 for a CRAP service, but to got see some good bands :-)  * Let me just get this rant out of the way *

From the start, i knew this one would be a balls up.In their wisdom, they didn’t post out the tickets (a service i paid for). When i chased them up, they said could be collected from the box office from 11am on gig day.I then requested my postage costs to be refunded, as i paid for a service they didn’t provide. Got the reply : ” Unfortunately, we are unable to refund your transaction as this also covers the cost of placing your tickets for collection from the venue box office”. Oh how typical, anything to rip off their customers.Well,before we got there, Jim contacted me to say the box office wouldn’t be open until 12pm ! Yeah, just know how this is going to go….
When got there, had a little wander around & bumped into my old mate Dave Ling. Not seen him for ages. I asked him how he was & his reply was something like “More to the point, how are you?” That was nice of him. Next we had a little wander around the venue looking at the overpriced eating places 😉 Then i noticed a familiar face coming towards me. It was a lad from Sheffield, Tonito, who i’ve met at loads of gigs (Sheffield/Nottingham etc). Thought it was time we connected on Facebook, so we did :-) Went to join the box office queue & after a while, Eric & Sonia arrived. First thing Sonia said was “You’re looking well”. That was very nice to hear. It may seem small, but to me, that’s a big boost to my well being/confidence.
When box office opened, a few people in front of us came away with no tickets! Strange eh? Once it was our turn, they said that the tickets hadn’t arrived at the box office yet! Oh See Tickets/O2 arena are such professionals ! (sarcasm). Every subsequent customer was told “The tickets will be here in an hour”. So, the first act started at 12.20 & majority of us didn’t have tickets yet ! Personally, i don’t think these so called “professional companies” should be able to get away with this. We paid for a service which they did not provide, TWICE now. Cunts.
Eventually we get our tix & just hope that not many have gone in before us. Poor old Jim was STILL left waiting as his ticket (different company) had still not turned up. Now, i’d planned to go in the balcony & it seemed empty. Asked security & they said ” We won’t open the balcony until the main floor fills up”. I was still livid from the ticket B.S. so had a word with the production manager, a very nice American lady. She said i could have a seat. Well, it turned out it WASN’T in balcony, but in the disabled area, which wasn’t that great a view. So i went back to her & said we had crossed wires. She then told me ” The balcony is closed & only VIPs can go up there” (erm, so the security had totally sold me a bullshit line eh?!!) Well, i gave up on that goose chase & went back in. Place was busying up. Partly cos i was pissed off & partly as i didn’t think the place would get all that busy, i decided to go front row! Watched “Jackaman”, who were new to me & pretty good. Damn, can she sing !

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Next up, it was the band which were the main reason for me coming here : The Virginmarys :-). I absolutely LOVE the latest album, ” Divides”. There’s not many bands i can say i like every track on the album, but this is certainly one of the special few. Songs such as ” I Wanna take you home” really resonate with me. It was a well thought out set list to hit hard & fast.

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The set just seemed to fly by. Ally, as ever, showed his appreciation for the crowd turning up to see them. He also briefly told how they were delayed because of Alice Coopers snake :-) They were easily my band of the day.

To my utter shame,after all these years, i’ve still not got a VMs t-shirt ! (only got a beanie hat ). I didn’t see any merchandise for them around the arena ( The O2 probably wanted too big a cut to sell there 😉 ) so i sent Gareth a msg to see if i could buy one. Unfortunately, they only had ” Tent ” size in the one i wanted :-( So still haven’t got one…

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Michael Monroe was running around like mad. He was making Dunc work hard as regards his microphone stand. I reckon MM does it deliberately 😉 Reminded me of the show at Camden Rocks in 2015. I was stood on the left & we had a moment where i could see the exasperation in the eyes poor old Dunc 😉

Well, whatever, MM played a typical upbeat set. A few times he came down to the barrier to meet his people. Thinking about it, i’ve never seen a bad show by him. He has a solid band behind him & they always seem to have fun. Great stuff.

Next it’s Therapy? Again, you know what you’re gonna get with them. Never seen a bad gig by them. Fun with a capital F ! :-)

We then move to the main arena, where things are already quite busy. I must say, i really don’t think the organizers really thought things through as regards the Indigo O2 room. I mean, what would have happened if a lot of this crowd had wanted to see the acts in the smaller room ? It’s obvious not everyone would have fitted in & there was potential  for even more unsatisfied punters…
So, first band up in the arena was ” Blackberry Smoke”. They were ok i suppose. Next it’s Apocalyptica. They were a great novelty act when they started about 20 years ago, because it was an original idea. I guess it was always going to be a limited potential though, when just playing the cellos. So along the way, they got guest singers for some songs. The standout one for me was when Sandra Nasic (Guano Apes) did “Path Vol 2″ back in 2001 (If my memory is correct, she also had the honor of being the first person to add vocals to an Apocalyptica song). I’ve not really followed their career since then, but did notice they had some great guest vocalists/collaborations along the way. Can’t say as i like the band nowadays & if i’m honest, i’m amazed they’ve managed to make such a good career out of it all. However, i respect the fact they’ve worked for everything & are now even able to play a gig at Royal Festival Hall !

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Somewhere during the night, i bumped into Adrian Hextall. I first met him at the Camden Rocks show a couple of years back. Again, such a nice chap that he asked how i was doing with regards to my tumors etc. Was really appreciated. Next it’s The Darkness. They’ve certainly had some HIGHS 😉 & lows over their career. I reckon one of my fave times seeing them was at the MTV birthday gig at Brixton ,back in 2003.(Along with “The Music” & headliners “Janes Addiction”). They were just starting to become well known at the beginning of their meteoric success. As with many bands, internal problems & drugs caused them to implode & they were away for some years. I wasn’t sure what to expect of them tonight.I could take it or leave it tbh. But, as it was, i mostly REALLY enjoyed their set. It was fun & a laugh. What i DIDN’T like though was when Justin started trying to guess audience members names! Just seemed stupid how he was rambling on. Maybe there was a reason for it ? 😉


Finally it’s time for Alice Cooper. By now i’m starting to feel tired as it’s been such a long day. I was enjoying the set a lot, but, after maybe 40mins or so, i just felt like if i stayed i’d pass out (or something worse). I know when to not push myself.

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So i said goodbye to everyone & arranged to meet Ady back at Stanmore tube. Despite the initial tickets clusterfuck, the day did end up ok. Apologies for my initial rant, but, i just cannot take it when there is such incompetence !

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Garbage, The Pearl Harts ,Troxy, London 13-6-16

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Well, this was always gonna be a special one thanks to some of my great friends with who i go to the Garbage shows. After i was diagnosed with having brain tumors, totally out of the blue, slightly after my birthday, i got this card from my wonderful friends : Scans0654Scans0653

It’s times like these that you know who your true friends are. Yes, i admit it, this did make me cry, but it just shows the love from everyone.

The previous day we were in Nottingham for Download Festival. On the morning of Troxy gig, we drove from Nottingham to Lincoln, so i could have my treatments. Then drove back to Boston, where i caught a train to London ! Yup,takes a lot to stop Mr Gigaddiction.
Straight to Troxy where i met Rob & a bunch of others. Eventually the M&G people go inside. Had a bit of a false start as they let us in main room, then asked us to go back out ! Had to feel for Tess as their travel wasn’t going well & they had M&G tix as well. Could see they wouldn’t make it in time. When we got in proper, it was cool seeing the band soundchecking. They even played a song which wasn’t going to be in the setlist that night :-) After that, they stayed on stage for the Q & A session. That was quite interesting. The best thing i heard though was that they want to do a Version 2.0 anniversary tour. Now THAT’S something i want, to relive those heady days again :-)

Garbage M&G Troxy

Afterwards, we were took backstage to a room where we get the photo opportunity with the band. As i was wearing my ” 50 ” badge, i was wished a happy birthday. I explained my birthday was in fact back in April & how my wonderful friends bought me the M&G package. I showed them my card & got them to autograph it. Duke, being the wise guy, asked ” Are you Daddy Cool ?”
Of course, he had just looked in the card 😉

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I kind of embarrassed Stevo as i told him how we (myself, Rob, Rijkels) started the Steve-o chants… he went a bit red 😉 Finally, i gave Shirley a copy of the Angelfish film i made in Glasgow last year. ” Oh, it was you who was filming it !”
We then were given posters for the Troxy show. I noticed the guy giving them out had extras, so, i just asked if i could have another.
He was fine about it….& then everyone near me was grappling for them lol. Some lead,others follow :-) ( I gave my extra one to Rob)

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We then went back into the main hall. I got a great spot on the raised area, left side obviously, next to mixing desk. Later Tess, joined me there, along with Rob , Jess, Jeff & his missus & Jim. Also saw some other friends including Becky, who i always see on the Garbage tours :-) Once again, it was nice seeing everyone again. Eventually,the rest of the Trashers joined below us on the floor. But Diana kicked ass the most, as she came up & stood other side of barrier,near to the mixing desk ! Stayed there for quite a while as well with no one contesting if she should be there. Maybe they all just knew she is the “Bitch Babe” not to be messed with?

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Pearl Harts opened the night & as ever, i enjoyed their little set. Strangely, i didn’t take any photos or video of them! Probably because i was otherwise occupied ? 😉 Whatever, they got a decent reaction from the crowd,but, we were there for the main course; Garbage !
There was a lot of expectation on my part as Paradiso had been so good. Not only that, but, the last few London shows just seemed to get better each time.
Whilst i think it’s brave of them to open with ” Sometimes”, i think it’s a rubbish opener ! Honestly, i just don’t like it ! I guess the idea is to show a somber mood, but i find it meh. At least they go straight into “Empty “. I love that song. Nice energy pop music :-)

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Then we have the killer old classics “Stupid Girl ” followed by “Special”. It’s great seeing everyone getting off on these songs. Already, i don’t think i’ve enjoyed myself this much at a Garbage gig ever before 😉 It was quite a surprise for them to add “So Like A Rose” into the set & lucky i decided to film it.

Actually, i didn’t film much as i was just enjoying the moment so much. Once again, it was fun to be rocking out etc with Tess. ” #1 Crush ” was pretty intense tonight. Loved ” I Think I’m Paranoid” as always. Bit of jumping around etc. The whole evening was just great. Shirley did quite a talk, including band members introductions, before  “Automatic Systematic Habit “. Stevo got embarrassed 😉 Mr Avery just showed what a bass god he is & we also were told that Duke is the only member of the band to have not cancelled a show due to being fucked up (So, does that mean he has played a few when he WAS fucked up ? 😉 )

Tonights version of ” Vow ” , was easily the best they’ve ever done (that i’ve seen anyways). Shirley was just so wrapped up in it…as were we. They finished with “Only Happy When It Rains” & everyone was rocking out & singing along. Hmm, cannot remember exactly if it was here or before, but, the girls went further into the crowd. I guess they just couldn’t stay at the back 😉
The first song of the encore was ” Even Though Our Love Is Doomed “. Myself , like many no doubt, can really relate to the lyrics in this song. It’s dark & moody & for me, probably my favourite track on the album ( With ” Blackout ” being a close second fave ) . We get the final songs “Why Do You Love Me” & “Cherry Lips”. Before “WDYLM” Shirley made an impassioned short speech about us, their crowd. She genuinely seems to appreciate us all supporting them over the years.

What a night it was ! Finally meeting the band after all these years supporting them, a fantastic show & probably the best London gig i’ve seen, some dancin & ass bumping, full of true friends. Just amazing. Once again, huge thanks to the Trashers who clubbed together to buy the M&G for me. It was truly appreciated like you’ll never know. Today was a day i’ll never forget for so many reasons. Mr Gigaddiction is STILL going strong 😉

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Download Festival, Iron Maiden, Janes Addiction, Halestorm, Delain, Shinedown, Donington park 12-6-16

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Back in 2012 i vowed i’d never go back there again until they improved the set up for the punters. Awful memories of the car getting stuck GOING IN on first day, rivers of MUD & generally a crap festival.I’m only going Sunday, mainly because Maiden are headlining & being a British band, they STILL wont do a proper UK tour – bunch of cunts! There’s a couple more decent bands & i’m also really looking forward to meeting friends there 😉

I realy shoulda listened to myself hey ? It was as crap as 2012, if not worse ! The day started early with Andy picking me up & driving us to our “usual” hotel in Nottingham. There we met Ady & went off to the gig in his car. I’d got the disabled parking permit, so, that was a bonus as we get to park on the hard standing surface instead of the rivers of mud. As i’d arranged this a bit late, it seems they’d cocked up & didn’t send something to get me in on the disabled entry though. First stupid thing : The portacabin for disabled tix etc was all muddy in front of it. An easy example of how they could improve things for the punters : How about some tracking or pallets placed in front of it? After some discussion, eventually a guy came to see us & after i complained, he took us to the disabled entrance,thus jumping the massive queue 😉 Good chap.
The festival site was an absolute mess! Talk about rivers of mud ! I’d hate to think what crap was in there & it’s really not the best place for me to be,due to my immune system dropping right now. But i am rock n roll & i’m doing this mofo !
I didn’t take hardly any photos/videos, due to the crap weather…
First band we saw was ” Monster Truck ” on the main stage. Good old school, kinda southern rock n roll. We stayed there to watch Amon Amarth. They had some nice fire breathing dragons onstage, & we were asked to raise our horns 😉 First time seeing them for me & i doubt i’d go out my way to see them again. Musically good,entertaining yes, but vocals meh !
We then went to the other stage to watch Delain. Finally the weather got a little better & could use camera. I was surprised how it wasn’t very busy. But they did a nice little gig.DSC07243

We then made our way back to the mainstage for Halestorm. Whilst there i met Tina & her friend Carol. Tina seemed very impressed with Halestorm, especially Lzzys great vocals :-) Tina DownloadDSC07248
As the lads are not into Brent Smiths over talking, we decided to move to the other stage (We all like Shinedowns music, but, Brent just goes on too much between songs…”Look to your left…shake the hand off that person..blah blah lol). They went to watch Breaking Benjamin, whilst i waited around to meet Tess. Stood near the “Big Download Dog” (a photo opportunity similar to the Harry Potter thing down London, except, you didn’t have to pay here lol) i could watch a bit of Shinedown on the screens. Totally thought of the lads when Brent did his preaching 😉 With Ghost having cancelled earlier, there were really only two bands i really wanted to see : Janes Addiction & Maiden.The weather was still rubbish & walking through the mud was a PITA. Once Tess arrived,we decided to make our way over to the Encore stage & get a coffee before Janes. Totally random, we bumped into Matt & Vicki Wright ! Was great to see them again. We then all carried on in the direction of Encore stage. Myself & Tess nipped to get a coffee before Janes Addiction. Now i love Janes, have done for many years, but sometimes the “same” show gets a bit much. Today however, was different as i was watching it with a fellow Janes lover who totally gets them :-)
Starting with the usual “Up The Beach” we float into Janes world. Perry is still the Pimp Daddy, in his great old style clothes.

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Then it’s the familiar “Stop” quickly followed by “Ain’t No Right”.Cannot help but shake my ass to this stuff ! Bloody love it.
Tess is beaming as classic after classic is played. During “Mountain Song” the world was exposed to my crappy vocals 😉
Next they play the only really modern song of there’s ” Just Because”. To think this came out in 2003….how quickly time flys.
Next it’s the monumental ” Three Days “. This is one of my all time fave songs by any band. I just love how the bass starts things off & the song ebbs & flows. It’s just amazing

Next it’s the song that everyone knows by Janes Addiction ” Been Caught Stealin “. After “Ocean Size”, there’s a shock when they cover Bowies ” Rebel Rebel “. I really dunno if it worked on not tbh.

Finally we get “Ted Just Admit It”. During which, we had the
suspension girls flying above the band. Why does it not surprise me that Tess said she wants to do that ? 😉 DSC07267DSC07270
The encore is the usual ” Jane Says”. Cracks me up how “comfy” Navarro looks :-)

DSC07272So that was that. Easily my highlight of Download 2016.
Said my goodbyes to Tess,then me & Andy wandered off to see Maiden.
Maiden is a band i’ve followed for many years. Back in the day, i followed tours around the UK. I’m lucky to have seen a bunch of shows from the real “glory years”. In fact, they are in 2nd spot for the band i’ve seen the most. Strangely, it’s a certain German band that currently hold to top spot… So anyway, as soon as you hear UFOs “Doctor Doctor”, you know it’s time. First song was “If Eternity Should Fail “. Took them that song & “Speed Of Light” before it sounded any good. Particularly thought the Nickos drums sounded very tinny. But they got it better for “Children Of The Damned”. An old chestnut. It was a nice moment when Bruce dedicated “Tears Of A Clown” to the late Robin Williams. Was great to hear the classics “The Trooper” & “Powerslave”. Brought back so many memories of the ’80s for me. I think we stayed untill encore time. It had been a long day & it really was taking its toll, so myself & Andy decided to leave early & wait for Ady at the car.

My highlights of the day were Janes Addiction & finally meeting Tess properly. So nice to have a real good chat etc. It was a good craic :-)
So, once again, i say to myself i won’t go to Download again….& this time i mean it ! The money grabbing bastards !

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Camden Rocks, London 4-6-16

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This was my 3rd Camden Rocks festival & tbh, once the set times etc were announced, i thought it sucked due to clashes etc. We decided to travel down on the Friday & crash at Robs. Unfortunately, at Grantham train station, Andy lost his footing on the steps & badly twisted his ankle. This is now the 2nd time he’s done Camden Rocks with a messed up foot! Saturday morning, we set off early & i realised i’d lost my booking reference number for ticket collection! Soon got it sorted though. We then went to the usual Ice Wharf for breakfast. First band we went to see was The Peart Harts @ Belushis Cavern. It was quite busy & a whole bunch of the VMs family were  there as well! Bonus :-) I was stood at the side w/Tina & it was quite a good view until some ignorant lanky git decided to stand in front :-( The Pearl Harts went down very well. Initially, the sound wasn’t great,but, as Rob pointed out, their manager near us told the sound guy what needed doing 😉 I must also say, in that small place the sound was just great & so much better than when i saw them open for Garbage in Amsterdam last week. We then made our way towards The Black Heart where we were gonna split up. Funny coincidence, again , i bumped into Eva as she was crossing the road ! The other guys went off whilst myself & Eva went into the venue. Got drinks & joined the others upstairs. I didn’t know anything about Dirty Thrills, but thought i’d give them a go. Obviously, being a London band, they had good support. I really dunno what to make of them! Need to hear them again. DSC07212Next up it was Hyena Kill. I watched a few songs before i got a msg from Rob saying i should check out what they were watching at the Barfly. Even though i DIDN’T make it there in time, it was probably the most decisive moment of the day : I got in upstairs before it got busy with queues. I saw ” Qemists” & was very impressed with them. Was the most lively set so far of the day.

I then decided i wasn’t gonna move & stayed for “Creeper”. What can i say ? The kids loved them 😉

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Both Qemists & Creeper had very busy crowds & even circle pits. Pretty sure it will stay like this for rest of the night…

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So, to the main act ; The Virginmarys. I was wondering if they’d pull out anything different in this short time slot they had & was very impressed with how they started the show, doing “I Wanna Take You Home “. Totally unexpected & it made for a great opener. Looking over, seeing people really singing along was great.  No letting up, they went into ” Halo ” & already i felt the atmosphere in there was electric. I was very pleased to be in my little spot front left as i sensed everything was really gonna kick off tonight & i didn’t want to have to drop back (for obvious health reasons). I filmed “Falling Down ” & from then onwards, the short set just sped by. I gave up trying to take photos or any more video as things were not easy down there.

Later on, seeing the whole front row to my right basically falling over onto the stage, numerous times, was just crazy. Good old Ally did tell everyone to look after each other, for what it was worth 😉 This was easily the most active crowd i’ve seen at a VMs show, hell it was a total mosh session in there.

DSC07225The last song ” Just A Ride ” took things past overdrive. It really was a bloody mess in that crowd. I’m sure there will be many bruises, sore arms n legs & general “battle scares”. I hope everyone came out of it reasonably well ! Afterwards, once again Gareth gave me the set list (cheers mate) & we all soon went outside to cool down etc.

Scans0665 I had a nice chat with Ally & Danny (got photos which will follow when Andy sends them to me!) & arranged to maybe meet at the Stone Free festival. There wasn’t any other bands i really wanted to see now & as Andy was in considerable pain, we decided to leave. I few quick hugs & goodbyes (sorry to a bunch i know i missed) to the VM family & we were on our way. Final thought : Over all it was a good day,but, easily the weakest Camden Rocks i’ve been too. Too many clashes & not the best headliners. I reckon i’ll probably only go next year if Virginmarys are headliners. Well come on, they deserve it i reckon ! As ever, thanks to all the VMs family. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with every one of you beautiful people. Roll on the next gig (s)

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