The Marmozets , Rascalton, welly club, Hull, 17-10-17

Andy drove us up to Hull. We parked up in the city. Had a quick walk through the shopping centre, then went to Wetherspoons for grub (Yeah, just for a change πŸ˜‰ )
As we were finding a table, a couple of dickheads were kicking off. Ah, such nice clientele πŸ˜‰ After grub, we made our way to the Welly Club. walking along, in front of us we saw the road was blocked off by police. Aparently, there was some nutter up on a roof throwing tiles off said roof. Ah what a welcome to Hull ! A slight diversion & we were at the club. Got there earlier than expected & as it was cold, we went into the pub across the street (Cheap drinks in Banks Harbour ;-))
I’d been told by an old friend that the Welly Club is “a bit dingy & stage lighting is poor”, so was wondering how the place would be. I’d previously arranged for early entry & getting a seat at the Welly. As we walked over to the venue, there were a couple of security guys walking the line. I had a word with them, told them i’d arranged early entry etc…then he said “Are you Simon? “. That was cool as it showed the manager had made security aware i was coming. We were walked through to the gig room.
Got a nice spot on the right side, raised area. Was a bit close to the PA, so wondered how my camera would cope with the volume.
The room soon got quite busy (though i don’t think it was sold out).
Really enjoyed the support act tonight. They nicely warmed up the audience for the main event : The Marmozets πŸ™‚

Tonight they switched around a few songs (when compared to the recent Sheffield Plug gig) & added more NEW songs from the forthcoming album “Knowing What You Know Now”. They kicked off with the new song “Play”. Only the 2nd time i’ve heard it in the live environment, but already loving it. It has Marmozets classic stamped all over it. Next we get a crowd pleaser from the debut album,namely, “Move, Shake,Hide”. Just two songs in & everyone is giving it their all…both on & off stage !Β 
As they start “Is It Horrible”, Becca says to the crowd ” Thank god we’re all alive & all here! Amen to that…this next song is called Is It Horrible”

During the course of the evening, both Becca & Sam couldn’t resist going into the audience.Β 

We then get the live premiere of a new song ” Suffocation “. This is already a special night.
Next song, “Captivate You”, Becca totally sings her heat out. This is just beautiful. There’s plenty of crowd participation. So many smiles in the room & everyone singing out loud.

Next we get another live premiere “Meant To Be”. Sounding good still. This is closely followed by another classic “Born Young And Free”

Yet another new song “Major System Error” (which they also played in Sheffield). Then the classic “Hit The Wave”. They really are spoiling us tonight as we get yet another new song “Habits”.Β  The night is almost over. But it couldn’t be over without a couple more classics. “Back To You” & “Why Do You Hate Me” are just amazing when they’re played live (well, all their songs are actually !)

Tonights gig was well worth the long drive from Boston (Thanks again to Andy for driving). I’d definitely visit this venue again.
I just worked out that over the course of two gigs (Sheffield+Hull) i’ve seen six songs from the forthcoming album.
I wonder how they’ll mix things up later in the tour ? On Saturday i’m going up to Leeds. Then next Wednesday i’m off down London.
What a cracking band both live & studio. Marmozets certainly are one of the best up & coming acts in the UK. They give their heart & soul everytime they play.
I just bloody love them πŸ™‚

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Seether, Sons Of Texas, LTNT, Forum, Kentish Town, London, 15-10-17

When i ordered my ticket for the show, i requested access to the disabled area downstairs. The complimentary ticket would be for Rob. Anyway, i got an email saying there were more requests for wheechair spaces downstairs & would i change to balcony seating to accomodate those peoople.Of course, I agreed, no problem.
Had a smooth journey down to London. Headed straight to Hotel Rob. When i arrived, he was just preparing some pasta. As i’d not had anything to eat, i took him up on the offer of pasta & mushrooms πŸ™‚
I’d previously asked Rob if he’d got a “Radioactive” sampler CD that i recently found. Included on it was a track listed as Shirley Manson, which was actually Angelfish. There was also a track by “Duke” (no relation to Garbage lol) & most bizarrely a track by Traci Lords ! Don’t think her music career was as suck-sess-ful as her previous one πŸ˜‰ As Rob collects all stuff related to Garbage, i gave him the CD.
Tonight, for a change, Kristina was also joining us for the gig. We got to venue a matter of minutes before doors would open (tubes seemed slow today).Went to box office to get comp ticket & change my downstairs for balcony ticket….then the chap said we could go downstairs! As Kristina had bought a balcony ticket, we opted for balcony.
Strangest thing i’ve seen happened next : they let the O2 priority people in first. Usually it’s the disabled peeps who go in first. It didn’t matter though as we were quickly in & got seats on front row of balcony.I like the balcony at the Forum.
I’d not heard anything by the support acts.First up were “Sons Of Texas”. Never heard of them before, but they put on a good show.The crowd seemed to like them. Wish i’d filmed a clip actually.
Next up was “LTNT”. They were pretty awful ! Also, blokes wearing nightdresses is NOT a new thing. it was done back in the ’80s. I think it would have been better if they were the fist act & Sons Of Texas had the middle slot. Whatever…
After struggling to get through LTNT, it seemed ages before Seether came on stage !

Seether opened with “Stoke the Fire”, which is the first song,from their latest album “Poison The Parish”. I’ve not got the latest album, so anything they play off that tonight, will all be new to me. The next song was a real oldie, dating back to 2004. It was “Gasoline” which was on the “Disclaimer 2” album. I quickly noticed that the lighting was pretty poor tonight. Once again, the band were back lit & there were no follow spots. Seems this is happening more & more nowadays πŸ™
As with the last time i saw Seether, there’s very little audience interaction between Saun Morgan & the crowd. I suppose he prefers to put his head down & get on with things. But that’s not to say the audience weren’t getting into it, they most certainly were. There were many times i looked downat the audience & they were moshing away & also some great sing a longs.
Tonights show was a pretty balanced affair of old & new songs. From the album “Isolate & Medicate” we got “Words as Weapons”, “My Disaster” & “Nobody Praying for Me”

Stand out moments for me were mostly the older classics. Namely, “Country Song”, “Broken”, “Fake It” & “Remedy”Β 

All in all, it was a decent night out. You know what you’re gonna get with Seether, It’s always a good time with great songs. It’s real. Love it.

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Indie Daze,House Of Love, Voice Of The Beehive, Crazyhead, Hunt & Nockalls, Bis, O2 Forum, London, 7-10-17

The previous night i was in Nottingham to see Papa Roach. I took a train from Nottingham to London which departed at 07.30 & arrived about 09.15. Quickly on the tube to make my way to “Hotel Rob”, over at Stratford. Rob & Kristina had only been home a few hours after their latest holiday. Had a chat with Rob, gave him my Max & Igor ticket ( Can’t do it now as the following day i have an appointment with my Oncologist & couldn’t get back in time). Eventually Kristina woke up. Was suffering from jet lag after the long trip home. Had a bit of a natter & then made my way back into the city. Was gonna have a wander around Camden, but it was already too busy for my liking, so i went straight to The Forum in Kentish Town. It was an early start today. First band “Bis” were due on at 1.30. I went to the box office to confirm everything, then decided to go for a quick beer. Didn’t make it though, as i bumped into Eddie. We had a quick chat & he realised he’d got a bottle of Corona in his bag. Obviously, he wouldn’t be able to take that in the venue. So, he gave it to me & i necked it pretty quickly πŸ™‚ As we were stood there, who should come walking towards us from the venue ? Tracey & Missy ! Perfect timing πŸ™‚ (We didn’t get a chance for a natter at the Lexington show as had to dash off quickly for a train)
I asked if we could get some photos now, just in case it got busy after the show. Tracey said “Great idea !”. Thanks to Eddie for taking the photos & also to the random person walking by who took the group photo….& thanks for not running off with my camera πŸ˜‰ Tracey also took a couple of selfies on her mobile phone. Oh yeah, whilst chatting to Tracey, i told her how much i loved hearing “Playing House” live @ The Lexington. She then quietly said to me ” We’re going to play it again tonight”. That was it : my day made already πŸ™‚Β 

Soon enough, the girls were on their way back to the hotel so they could chill/rest up for a bit before their show later on. By now doors were open so myself & Eddie decided to go in. Got our passes sorted & we could go either upstairs or downstairs. As expected, the balcony was pretty much empty. So i quickly went downstairs to check out the merchandise again. Eddie was there & was handing over some badges he’d had made up. He even gave me a few for a small donation. Cheers mate. I quickly went back upstairs to take my spot on the balcony.

The first band on were “Bis”. The venue was pretty empty as it was early in the day. Didn’t know what to expect of them. Back in the day, i bought their single “Euro Disco” . I dunno if it was a “hit” per say , but i loved the track. Liked the quirky disco beat sounds. Today, i didn’t think much to the sound, but they were ok.


Next up it was “Salad”. They were a band that totally passed me by all those years ago. Tbh, can’t even remember them. There was still only a small audience in the room, but there were certainly a couple of people who loved the band. Didn’t really do anything for me though.


Yet again, a name i remember from back in the day. But as far as i’m aware, i never saw them live or bought any or their records. Tbh, i soon got tired of them today !

MILES & ERICAΒ 

Ah finally something i really do know ! I went to many Wonder Stuff shows around the UK back in the ’80s. They were/are one of my fave “jump around” kind of bands. Miles is a great lyricist & i pretty much loved most of the Wonder Stuff catalogue. A funny coincidence is that when VOTB first got back together, back in 2003, they were opening for The Wonder Stuff. At that time, Woody couldn’t do the shows so they had Tom Fenner on drums. All due respect to Tom, but, it just wasn’t quite right without Woody. A nice memory i have of that tour was seeing Miles sat at the back of Hammersmith odeon, on the main floor, watching VOTB soundchecking. He later praised VOTB saying something like ” I’d forgot how many great songs they had”. But i digress…
I’d already seen Miles & Erika do a solo show & really enjoyed it. So i knew this one should be a good one. I have a lot of respect for Milo. He does things how he wants to. An example of that was, today/tonight, he said they were gonna play a bunch of songs from the latest album & we’d have to wait for the Stuffies songs. It was a good show. In some ways, i even think that Miles & Erica doing their own stuff , is as strong as a Stuffies gig. Yes, it’s totally different, but it’s very nice.I got a clip of a new one, but i’m uploading a Stuffies song here πŸ™‚

I’d considered going to one of the warm up dates that Crazyhead played before Indie Daze. Again, back in the day i loved em. But what eventually stopped me from going to any warm up, was the locations. They all seemed to be a bit far out of the towns & as i can no longer drive, i didn’t fancy a late night walk in territory that i don’t know (I’m also adverse to using taxis as i’m a tight bugger!) So i dipped out & decided to see them at Indie Daze. The last time i saw them was back in ’99 when they toured with The Mission & All About Eve. Previous to that, it was The Duke Of Wellington pub in Lincoln (’93). I was looking forward to tonights show. Unfortunately, i messed up though. The previous night i’d used my camera at Papa Roach in Rock City & pretty much drained the battery. The other battery i had, seemed to have not held its charge very well. I only managed to capture a partial amount of one song of Crazyhead.

Fortunately, i had a mini charger that i was using for my phone, so i ended up charging the battery as much as i could before VOTB came on. I enjoyed Crazyheads set, but i felt it seemed too loud & lacked definition.

Apollo 440 : Didn’t enjoy them at all. Even “Stop the Rock” or whatever it’s called, didn’t do anything for me. Maybe i was losing my attention as it had already been a long day & i was just willing that VOTB to get up there? Who knows…
During the next interval, Robert spotted they’d placed VOTBs set list on the mixing desk. I leaned over the balcony & got a photo of it πŸ˜‰ Was interesting to see how they were gonna shake it up a bit. Especially surprising was the position of “..Barbarian..” in the set.Β 

After a while, the familiar intro started playing & they went straight into “Beat Of Love”. Next we got “Trust Me”. This was followed by the song where Tracey relates to the city they’re playing in today. It may be “Just A City”, but we all know how much she loves the place πŸ˜‰Β  Β 
They then go up a gear & we get a nice version of “Just Like You”. I notice a balloon flying around down there. This was something that was Eddies idea : He brought a bunch of balloons to hand out to people in the crowd & thus every so often during the show, you’d see balloons flying around πŸ™‚

Next it’s the slow,but beautiful, “Man In the Moon”. I love how they placed “Look At Me” next to “What You Have Is Enough”. As previously said, Tracey was way ahead of this time about how people are so narcissistic nowadays. Facebook is a prime example of this… Then on the flipside, “What You Have Is Enough” reaffirms this as well πŸ™‚
Oh yeah ,Tracey gives a shout out to April from Australia, before they play “What You Have Is Enough”

Next up is my favourite song on this tour, namely “Playing House”. Missy mentions how some people have travelled very far for these shows, you know who you are guys πŸ˜‰

“Adonis Blue” is as beautiful a song as ever, then we get the shock (well,it would have been if i’d not seen the setlist lol) of “Barbarian” NOT being the encore ! A strange place for it to be in the set, but it still works well. Once again, things are brought down a level with “Sorrow Floats”.
They finish the set with all the major hits, “Dont Call Me Baby” , “I Walk The Earth”, “I Say Nothing” & the last song of “Monsters & Angels”.

What a great show yet again ! I’m not bothered about seeing “House Of Love”, so i make my way downstairs. Get chatting with some of the bees,both new & old. Then i remember i need to collect the Indie Daze poster that i’d won. Went over to merch & collected it. Went back to the others & nobody seemed to know where VOTB guys would be going for a meet up. Initially it was gonna be at The Bull & Gate pub but ended up being in the upstairs bar of the Forum…much better πŸ™‚
It soon got quite busy up there. Was great to see so many happy faces after everyone had seen VOTB. I had a little chat with Dotty, who came over for the shows back in ’03, but i don’t think she really recognized me. Woody asked me how i was. I told him i’m fine & enjoyed the show. He then said “I thought you looked frail at the Lexington”. I suppose as we’d not seen each other for so long & i’ve gone through both radio & chemo therapy, maybe my appearance to many is shocking to how i was before. Whatever, it was really nice to see him again back where he belongs πŸ™‚

I took a few candid snaps, had a nice chat with Missy & then bid my farewells to everyone. By now, i was getting pretty tired & had to travel over to Stratford.
All in all, the whole Beehive experience was a hell of a lot of fun. Great to reconnect not only with the band, but also some of the old school Beehive fans & then some who i’d not met before. This is an experience i’ll remember forever !

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Papa Roach, Ho99o9, rock city, Nottingham, 6-10-17

Β 

Once my train arrived in Nottingham, i made my way to the hotel via The Roebuck Inn πŸ™‚ Upon checking in, the receptionist said to me ” Ah, that’s a name i remember. You’ve stayed with us a few times haven’t you?”. I confirmed this & told her i’ve a bunch of bookings coming up & could she make sure my room is at the end of a corridor, away from the lifts. I told her that Emma,the manager, had agreed to this after i had a bad nights sleep due to a herd of elephants walking by. She smiled knowingly πŸ˜‰ (The “herd of elephants” was in fact a very noisy bunch of women,i assume on a hen night πŸ˜‰ ) I then spent most of the afternoon in my room.
Doors were at 6.30, so went down to rock city about 6.15. Spoke to security about getting a barstool & all went fine. There was already somone in “MY” spot (lol) so i had to move a little to the left. Pretty sure there had been a M&G earlier & that’s how my fave position got took. After a while, my Nottingham friends Jason & Kirsty joined me. Had a bit of a catch up & prepared for the opening act. Tonights show is sold out. It looks very packed on the main floor.
The support act, ” Ho99o9 , were pretty terrible. It seemed most of the audience didn’t like them. The singer (I use that term very lightly lol) seemed to take offence as someone in the crowd voiced his opinion of them. I couldn’t believe it when he went down to the barrier & took a couple of punches at said audience member. I think that security were caught off guard as they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. But they soon swamped him (the band member) & pushed him back to the stage. The perpetrator is on the right in this photo :
Personally, i think their set should have been cut short & he should have been kicked out of the venue due to what he did. I mean, if the tables were turned, the audience member for sure would have been ejected. He needs to understand that being up there, not everyone (anyone?) is going to like what they do & there will be certain knocks along they way. His shouldn’t be punching an audience member.I won’t say anymore. This incident even made the local paper :
http://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/man-rock-city-punched-member-594308 Finally it was time for Papa Roach. The intro music plays then there’s an announcement saying ” Attention This is a serious announcement. Full participation is required. Now put your middle fingers & repeat after me ,FUCK PAPA ROACH ! FUCK PAPA ROACH ! YOU MUTHA FUCKERZ !”. The audience duly complies πŸ™‚

The band kick off with a new one, which is also the title of the latest album, namely, “Croocked Teeth”. There’s plenty of audience interaction with fist pumping the air claping & sing a alongs. Bloody love it

Next it’s an old classic “Getting Away With Murder”. I soon realise that the lighting is a bit of a pain as they are using a lot of lights which are pointing out towards the crowd. This seems to be the norm nowadys. Hardly any bands use follow spots at the back of the room unless it’s in a huge arena.
Next song is “Between Angels & Insects”. About half way through, Jacoby gets the crowd to part. Will it be a “circle pit” or a “wall of death” or just everyone going crazy??
You guessed it; the latter πŸ™‚

Tonight there is a good balance of new & old songs. The next new one is “Born For Greatness”. Pretty much all of the floor gets bouncing along to this. There’s also some great vocals from the crowd. Everyone together & having a bloody great time. A chap goes to the pit/barrier & films it all. Jacoby says “You guys are insane!”
A couple more older songs follow. The audience sings along to “She Loves Me Not”. Then another classic “Scars”. That’s followed by another new song “Periscope”. Seems to go down well. Jacoby then tells the crowd they’ve been a band since 1993…also, “Some of you fuckerz weren’t even born then ” LOL He then asks if “Everybody wants to get rowdy”. Next it’s something unexpected; a great cover of Blurs “Song 2”

We get a couple more new songs ; “Traumatic” & “American Dreams” & it’s soon encore time.
What a way to finish the night ! We get “None Of The Above”(new song), then two old classics which are part of Papa Roachs DNA ; “Dead Cell” & “Last Resort”
Wow! What a night !

I quickly say my goodbys to Jason & Kirsty, then make the long journey to my hotel….ok it wasn’t really that far ! In fact it was next door to Rock City πŸ™‚
As they had the usual club night on after the gig, it meant i could get a bit more sleep. That was needed. Especially as the following day i was travelling down to London for “Indie Daze” all dayer !

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Voice Of The Beehive, The Lexington, London 4-10-17

I honestly didn’t think there could be a “proper” Voice Of The Beehive reunion during my lifetime. Just imagine my excitement when the news started filtering through that it was going to happen ! There were two key elements to making this happen. Firstly, Grant Holby using his tenacity over a couple of years to try make it happen. Secondly & probably the key element, was that Woody would come back into the fold. Tracey has already said, it was down to Woody playing that she agreed to doing it.
So special thanks must go to Woody for agreeing to do it & of course Grants persitance at trying to get it together πŸ™‚
Obviously, where ever they were going to play, i’d be there….

Oh yeah, must say, this gig was not only special to me for the band doing it, but also, since seeing my first gig, Blondie in 1980, this was the 1000th gig i’d been to !
I’ve seen many bands around the UK & Europe over the years, made many friends on my travels & have had a great life. Life without music to me is unimaginable.

I’d never been to The Lexington before,but knew it was a small pub venue. I was hoping there would be some sort of raised area,so i could SEE the show properly.
After recent visits to venues that had been “updated”, such as The Borderline, which is now absolutely useless, it was nice to go Lexington & see some positives !
Raised area at the back near the bar. A nice small room & as we later found out, nice sound.

My day began with a train from Boston to Grantham, then Grantham to Peterborough where i met an old school friend & we carried on to London Kings X. I had the forethought to walk from Kings X to the venue, just in case there was any problem with the Tube. (Guess what…) Went in the Lexington & there was a lone bartender who seemed bored πŸ˜‰ He told us that load-in was to be around 4pm. So we left & went to the Angel (Wetherspoons) pub. Angel Tube is just across the road. Perfect!
Had some nosh & a good catch up before making our way back to The Lexington. Outside, we saw a chap waiting around like an expectant father looking for his children coming home from school. Soon realised it was Grant πŸ˜‰ Whilst i’ve been in contact with him via FB, this was the first time meeting him in person. We had a quick chat & it turned out he was still waiting for the T-shirts & backline to arrive. Could already sense he was getting stressed πŸ˜‰
We went into the pub to chill for a while. During that time Martin & Mike arrived (Woody was already there). Had a nice chat with Mike. Hard to believe we’d not talked since the first reunion back in ’03 ! Robert Graves arrived & he sat with us for a chat. Whilst i’d known him for years, due to his great VOTB website he used to have, we’d never met in person. So that was cool. We had a nice chat about all things Beehive & was good to see we were both “on the same page” about certain aspects of VOTB web presence etc πŸ˜‰
Time seemed to go real slow. Later whilst sat there, we saw/heard a few cop cars go by. It turned out there was a suspect package at nearby Angel. They closed the station & evacuated everyone for the Angel Wetherspoons. I guess we had timed things perfectly.Β  TheΒ Lexington got busier & could see that Grant was getting a bit stressed.

Eventually, we went upstairs to the gig room. Got the perfect spot & the room quickly got packed out. Seemed an eternity before the familiar old intro tape snippet from ” I Love Lucy ” started. The excitement level increased so much then. It was like time travel back to the old days, seeing them multiple times around the UK….
Mike leads the procession on stage ,closely followed by Woody. Once sat down behind his drums, he does a little dance around waving his arms. Happy times πŸ™‚ Missy says “Thank you so much for coming. it means a lot!” Then as the intro dies, she says “We love London !”. Then it’s the familiar strains of “Beat Of Love”. Smiles all around. Some of the audience bouncing around already.

Not a bad start to the show eh? Next up it’s the old classic “Trust Me”. Whilst there might be some kind of problem with Traceys guitar, it’s great to see her smile at the “..Lets go Boys..” part of the song . Before ” Adonis Blue “, Tracey gave shoutouts to Robert Graves , Missy did the same to me πŸ™‚

Next we get a nice version of “Man In The Moon”. Things then go up a notch with the rocky “What You Have Is Enough “. This is followed by a nice surprise. I’d hoped they would play it and they did : “Playing House”. It’s one of my faves & don’t think i’d seen them play this before. We all interpret the songs in our own different ways, but this one i used to play a lot & i related to it when i was having a bad time & my relationship was breaking down. It’s kinda strange that i love this song so much, yet it was at a low point in my life i really got into it.
We all know how much Tracey loves London, so hearing “Just a City” again was most apt. Next they played the fantastic ” 7 Shocks “. Back in the day, i used to always go a bit crazy jumping around to this one. It was an interesting choice to play “Look At Me” & “Perfect Place” back to back. As Tracey had recently posted, “Look At Me” was ahead of it’s time & most certainly i can relate to how social media such as Facebook is a modern day version of this. Whatever though, i’ve always loved the song & the lyrics are so apt nowadays. The next song, “Perfect Place”, i’ve never managed to decide if it’s a song for hope or it’s about being stuck in a rut, wanting to change, yet the dreams don’t come true. I’ve always felt a touch of irony when i hear the lyric ” I walk the earth my darling but i never feel at home” Then thinking of the song “I Walk The earth” with the line “I walk the earth my darling, this is my home”. Maybe i just analyze stuff too much ?


“Just Like You” is just pure pop passion with an edge to it. It’s always been one of my faves when performed live. The mood is brought down a little with the “waltzy” “Sorrow Floats”. “Little Gods” is VOTB perfection. “Monsters & Angels” has a really big sound to it. I always imagine people swaying from side to side (or arms raised) like this is an anthem. “Pocketsized” has always been a fun song live. Love when Missy does the strange quirky vocal scream type thing in it πŸ™‚
The next three songs are true Beehive jems : “Don’t Call Me Baby”, “I Walk The Earth” & ” I Say Nothing “.
The encore was totally unexpected & it certainly mixed things up. Just Tracey & Missy performing “Tattoo Song”. I don’t think this has been done before, but i loved it.
Of course, the gig had to finish with “Barbarian” ! What a great night. Classic Beehive just like the old days. Sure, there were a couple of little errors along the way, but it proves that it’s all real & heartfelt. I don’t think they managed many rehearsals, but once again, it proved they were soon back into the groove & everyone was enjoying it.

The only downside to the day was that we didn’t get the chance to meet the band afterwards as we had to dash off to catch our train home. I’m hoping that will be rectified at the Indie Daze gig on Saturday πŸ˜‰

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The Marmozets, Blackwaters, The Plug, Sheffield 18-8-17

I’d not seen the Marmozets since 2015 (Leeds festival) so when i saw new dates announced, i just had to go to Sheffield. Train journey went ok, even if there wasn’t enough carriages.(Nothing new from EMT) I arranged to meet an old friend before going to the venue. Once checked into hotel, i had a quick walk down to The Plug. Even at about 2.30 there were a few kids already queuing ! Then went to meet my mate Andy at The Bankers Draught. We had a right good catch up as hadn’t seen each other since about October last year. Eventually it was time for me to make my way to the venue. Once back there, there was a decent size queue. Earlier in the week i arranged for getting a seat/stool. The guy just said “When you get there, tell security & they’ll sort you out”. Only problem was, there was no security outside & doors were shut. Eventually someone came out & he said “when you get to the doors, we’ll sort out a stool for you”. Was quite funny going in as whilst waiting for the chap to sort things, another bloke came over & said ” Do you want a wristband so you can buy booze?” Hey if he thinks i look that young, i’ll go with it πŸ˜‰
There was a long wait before the support act were on….good for beer sales πŸ˜‰
The support act, ” The Blackwaters”, were a decent warm up. They got a resonable responce from the crowd. But, like the majority, i was here for The Marmozets πŸ˜‰
The venue was rammed full as it was sold out (as were all of these first few dates).

Marmozets kicked things off with the classic (well it is in my books!) ” Move, Shake, Hide “. As ever, full on, in your face rock n roll ! Everyone both on & off stage was jumping around like crazy. At the end of the song, Will jumped into the audience…complete with his bass ! (I think it was this song). As the band have been a way for so long, it was obvious we’d be getting some NEW songs tonight. The first of which was ” Play “. It went down a treat with this partisan crowd. Next we got another oldie “Is It Horrible”. The energy level in this place is massive. Before another new song, Becca said something like ” This is unreal… i believe last time we were here we had 40 people ? Will corrects her saying ” 30 “. Becca : ” It just shows dreams do come true “. Sam says ” We’re sorry we’ve been away so long…but it will be worth it..trust me”
We then get another new song “Habits”

Next we get a beautiful rendition of “Captivate You”. The crowd sings their hearts out & sometimes are louder than Becca. This is one of those songs that brings people together. After that it’s another classic “Particle”. The crowd pulls out & makes a bit of a circle pit. Then everyone’s jumping around like crazy. The band go straight into another new song. I don’t know the title, but i’ve seen somewhere on the net it’s listed as ” Like A Battery ” (?).

“Hit The Wave” is very cool. (Always been one of my faves) Then we get another new song ! We’re really being spoilt tonight πŸ™‚ It’s called “Run With The Rhythm”. This one is probably the most different sound from the Marmozets, yet at the same time it is familiar (If that makes any sense!) There’s some great vocal harmonies to start it off. Very soulful sounds before it truely kicks in. There’s not much movement in the crowd during this one. But i guess everyone is really listening hard to the new unfamiliar sounds.
Next it’s another old classic “Born Young And Free “. Queue craziness all round from the crowd ! There’s been a few crowd surfers early on, but during the last song ” Why Do You Hate Me ? ” there’s many more surfers. It’s like controlled mayhem. Towards the end of the song, Josh comes down to the mic & says something (dunno what though!) then gets back to the drums & the band seem to jam a long a bit. It builds to a crescendo of noise. Beccas screams are amazing ! At the end Sam climbs up on the PA stack & i half expected he was gonna dive into the crowd from it…but he didn’t. Probably a wise choice πŸ˜‰

Wow ! What a night it’s been. A mix of old & new songs & everything worked very well. I’m very happy that before going to Sheffield i managed to book 3 more dates on the October tour. I’m sure those will also sell out everywhere. Makes me wonder how long before they start playing even bigger venues ? I’m so looking forward to hearing the new album…

EDIT 29-8-17 : Sorry but the video clips were took down by Youtube due to the record company filing a copyright claim πŸ™

 

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Hands Off Gretel, Skating Polly, Crisis Garden, Yardbirds, Grimsby 30-7-17

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With Grimsby being only just over an hour away, i was frustrated that i couldn’t get there due to not being able to drive anymore. Fortunately, a good friend i’ve known for years, offered to drive there. Thanks Andy G ! I’d prearranged with Scott to have 2 tickets held on the door & it worked out fine. As ever, cheers Scott πŸ™‚
We got there around the time that doors opened. It was obviously kinda quiet inside. One advantage of that was we could get a couple of decent seats for a while.
First band on were “Crisis Garden”. Never heard of them before tonight. Didn’t take me long for a “Yay or Nay”. Being brutally honest, there was nothing that stood out from them that peaked my interest. But good on them for getting up there & giving it a go.Β 

Next up, as far as we were concerned, it was the headliners ; Hands Off Gretel πŸ™‚ By now the place had got a bit busier & i’m sure there were a couple of faces in the crowd that i recognised from previous HOG gigs. I saw an old guy with what looked like a monopod & at the top he had some kind of recording device πŸ˜‰
The kicked off with ” World Against She”, closely followed by “Bad Egg”. Tonight they had a stand in bassist since Joe recently quit HOG.* EDIT *: Bassists name is Becky Baldwin. I gotta say she pretty much nailed it tonight. Seems she’s a Professional bassist who has played in various bands. She teaches. (Later Helen told me there’s another temp bassist doing other gigs). Oh a funny moment was when the bassist was really rockin out, in the moment & accidentally whacked her microphone with the bass guitar. Dunno how many saw it, but she was cracking up afterwards πŸ˜‰ Β Before the next song, “Be Mine”, Lauren had to tune up & she told Sean to talk to the crowd…for one second…well, see it here, he’s a funny fooker πŸ™‚

Next up they do “One Eyed Girl”. I already consider this to be a classic in their set πŸ˜‰ The crowd seem to be enjoying everything. The rest of the set flew by.

Β They finished with “My Size”

After HOGs set, the place seemed to almost seem empty. But i think a lot of peeps had gone out for beer/fag breaks. Before Skating Polly took to the stage, it did get busy-ish again. This was the first time i’d seen/heard them. All credit to them for making the journey over from the States. I also think they work well on some bill as HOG. Personally, i need to hear more studio recordings before i decide if i like em or not. We didn’t stay till the end of their set as i was getting a bit tired & both myself & Andy thought we’d seen enough to get a good idea of what they were about. As previously said, we really went there just to see HOG…& anything else was a bonus πŸ˜‰

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Cheap Trick, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London 27-6-17

Got down London early afternoon. Visited the usual places which obviously included The Montague Pyke πŸ˜‰ The weather was pretty rubbish with intermittent Β rain.
Around 5.30 i met Rob & we went for a drink in The College Arms (which is close to where he’s working at the mo). Had a catch up & then he was on his way home. As Rob didn’t want the comp ticket for the gig, i let Neil have it. Got to The Forum about 30mins before doors, sorted out the tix quickly. We had the option of going downstairs of upstairs disabled area. Chose upstairs as better view up there ( maybe not the best choice tonight ? πŸ˜‰ ). Managed front row centre, so perfect position.
Got chatting with a bloke from Northampton. Couldn’t believe he’d never visited the Forum before (or “Town & Country Club” as it used to be called). We exchanged stories about how hard it can be getting to gigs if you cannot drive. He was a decent geezer.
The opening act tonight were called “Stone Broken”. Don’t think i’d seen them before. Seem to be a youngish band &I liked that the vocalist did SING. There’s so many young generic acts around now that do the shouty vocals & i find that boring. They were entertaing enough,but, obviously i was here for Cheap Trick.
The last time i went to a Cheap Trick headline show was back in 2010. But that same day, Skunk Anansie were doing a production rehearsal at LH2 studios. Obviously, Skunk took priority ! By the time Skunk had finished, i thought it would still be cool to catch what i could of Cheap Trick at Shepherds Bush Empire. As expected, the place was rammed & i couldn’t see a thing ! So finally getting this chance to see a headline show in 2017 was a nice prospect.

Tonight was my first time trying out my new camera. I really should have looked at the instructions better as i wasn’t well enough prepared. Some buttons on the Panasonic are in different places to my previous Sony camera & like a total idiot, i kept swithing the thing off when i wanted to make video clips! So what i managed often had a few seconds missing at the start !

Whilst it was nice to finally see a Cheap Trick headline show, i was a little disapointed with the setlist. For myself, there were too many of the mordern songs & not enough of the older classics. Also thought they didn’t need to play so many covers ! But that being said, it was a decent night as the show clocked in around the 2 hour mark.

The highlights for me were towards the end, when the classics were played πŸ˜‰ ( Oh yeah, going back to the chap i was talking with earlier, he even left early as wasn’t so impressed with the new stuff!)

Afterwards, i said my goodbyes to my mate & went out into the rain. I was bloody knackered after this long day. By chance, at the tube staion, i bumped into my old mate Dave Ling. We had a quick natter & i updated him about my general health (or lack of it lol). By the time i got back to Stratford i was totally shattered. Think i managed about a couple hours sleep & then work up with a massive headache which lasted for over an hour. Tbh i was unsure if it was a result of being knackered/dehydrated of if it was to do with the brain tumors. It actually scarred me. Didn’t get chance to say goodbye to Rob as he was out to work early (i heard the door closing). Once Kristina was up, we had a chat about the gig etc & i said i was unsure if i’m fit enough for the next proposed gig. Left Hotel Rob around 10am for my train home. Oh what fun was ahead of me !
Back tracking a bit, i’d booked my return train some time back. Then i recieved an appointment from Oncologist on same day i was returning. So i had to get another ticket so could be back in time to keep appointment. Guess what? She only cancelled the appointment, so i wasted money on the earlier, more expensive rail ticket!
So, back to the (no) fun & games… My train was due to leave KingsX at 12.08. All seemed fine, got on it set to go & they cancelled the train. The next one was at 12.35, so got on that one. Sat on new train ready to go, i checked the train app on phone to see what time my connection would be in Grantham. Would you believe, it showed this one i’m now on was showing cancelled ! Sure enough, a few minutes later the announcement was made train is cancelled ! Eventally got on the 13.08 train & was on our way. Only 7mins in Grantham to change trains. Managed it ok but then there was another announcement saying theres a problem with the line about 3 miles from Boston ! Honestly, what more could go wrong with this trip from hell ?!? As luck would have it, they got the track mostly sorted so we could carry on slowly. Think it arrived about 5-10mins later than should have been.
When i finally got home i was so damn knackered with what i had to contend with this trip i seriously thought about ditching ALL the gigs i’ve got booked up already !

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Camden Rocks Festival, Virginmarys, Royal Republic, Hands Off Gretel, 3-6-17

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As always, we got to Camden early. Once we’d got the tix exchanged for wristbands, we hung in Worlds End pub for a while. Whilst there, various friends turned up. Quite a shock to see Benoit as he pretty much never visits the UK ! I’m guessing it had something to do with meeting Kitti πŸ˜‰ The ever present Jim also joined us as did lovely Eva. The rest of the “VMs family” were in the other part of the bar, but we gradually said our hellos. Couldn’t help goofing around a little πŸ˜‰

There were a few bands i was looking forward to,but, generally i think the lineup for the day wasn’t that great. Obviously VMs headlining, Ally solo, Royal Republic, Hands Off Gretel were my priorities…anything else would be a bonus. Whilst sat in Worlds End, watching everyone go by, someone noticed a lass outside wearing bright purple/pink glitzy trousers. Soon realised it was Lauren from H.O.G. Great idea for the band to hang around there giving out flyers & posing for photos & drumming up more people for their set (Not that the extra bodies were really needed. I mean, they’re kicking up a storm & have already got a great following….but i suppose it was a good idea with a personal touch to turn peeps onto H.O.G. ). As the window was open, i had a quick chat with Helen (Laurens mum) as hadn’t see her for awhile.

Can’t quite remember what we did after the Worlds End pub ! But the first band i saw was Hands Off Gretel in the Underworld (probably saw last minutes of the act before them). The place was rammed, as expected it would be. It was interesting to see the varied age of the audience. H.O.G. obviously appeal to all ages, so that has to be a good thing. Lauren thanked the crowd for choosing their gig instead of any of the others. As ever, they played a great gig. At the end, the crowd really wanted more & kept shouting “one more song,one more song”! Unfortunately, due to time restraints, it wasn’t possible. Managed a couple of videos.

Next we went to the Crowndale to catch a bit of The Kut. Rob spotted a great place in a mini balcony, which was perfect to see it all. I’d not previously heard anything by them before, but i enjoyed what i saw.Β 

We then made our way to Koko to see the amazing Royal Republic. We caught the tail end of “Moses” set. (Didn’t really do anything for me lol)
Soon enough, it was time for the Royals. As ever, they were full of bombast & were bloody great ! They’re such a FUN band to watch !

As ever, they finish with “Full Steam Spacemachine”

We started making our way back to the market. Wandered around looking for food. To start off, i wanted some, but then i got a whiff of something & it totally put me off !Β Rob had some though.
Went to the Kraken stage which was billed as an “amphitheatre” to see Ally acoustic. All the VMs peeps were already there. It was quite nice sitting on the (false) grass steps. The only downside was that the sun was shining, behind Ally, towards us all. Must confess, when Ally spotted a sound problem & the local(?) guy didn’t agree with his opinion, it brought a smile to my face. (I think it was sorted by replacing a cable or something?). As always, Allys performance was pure & from his soul. I’m sure everyone enjoyed his show.Β 

Me? Take sneeky photos? πŸ˜‰Β 

Dunno where the time went today, but soon enough we headed to the Underworld in preparation for the maid band of the day, Virginmarys. But before them, we ended up watching quite a bit of ” Ruts DC”. They were a laugh. (In a good way). Was obvious there were some diehard fans in the crowd. Was surprised i knew a few of their songs (mighta been covers?)
So, to the main reason for coming down to Camden Rocks : The Virginmarys !
The place was soon heaving. We had a nice view from above to the left. They kick off with a ferocious version of “Portrait Of Red”. It’s really cool to see the crowd dancing away down there. Smiles all around πŸ™‚ Without taking a breath, they then play “Taking The Blame/ Halo in Her Silhouette”.

Next it’s one of my faves off the album “Divides”, namely “I Wanna Take You Home”. I always think of someone when they play this song πŸ˜‰ We’re only 5 or 6 songs into the set & i notice it’s already getting quite rough in the pits. As much as i wish i could be down there, it’s times like this i appreciate NOT being down there !
The (relatively) new song “Sweet Loretta” comes over great. The VMs family already know this so they’re singing along with passion.

Then we get the old classics “Free to Do Whatever They Say” & “Running for My Life”. It’s getting noticeably more heated in the pits & i can see there’s 2 or 3 idiots who just seem to be there to push people around. During the super new song “Sitting Ducks” it’s very cool to see Ross stomping around the stage but conversely, i notice the audience is now getting quite violent.
Hell, i even switch off my camera as i’m concerned some of my friends are taking a battering down there.

Next we get “Off To Another Land” & “Into Dust”. I find myself looking more at the audience than the band. I’ve never seen a VMs show where a small minority in the crowd seem to spoil it for the majority. I very much doubt those dickheads even knew a single VMs song. They’d probably rolled in from the bars & just wanted to thrash about. Some people seem to have no respect for others who are there to have a good time. During “For You My Love” it really kicked off in there. I could see at least one of my friends was visibly distressed about what was happening. I ended up filming the guy who was seemingly confronting her…

Got to say, this was the least enjoyable VMs show i’ve witnessed. Not down to the band, but due to some dickheads in the crowd.
“Walk In My Shoes” & “Motherless Land” seemed to go by without the previous altercations in the crowd. The last song, “Just A Ride” flew by. A bunch of us hung around for a while afterwards. Someone took this great photo of us with AllyΒ 

Eventually we all spilled out onto the road & started walking in the direction of Koko. My mate Rob had gone there to see Feeder, so we arranged to meet at the pub opposite. I think Feeder ran over time a little, but whatever, i’d had enough for the night. So once Rob was out, we were on our way back to Stratford. I got a txt from a mate in Boston saying there had been some sort of incident & he was asking if we were ok. (Thanks Andy G. ) On the tube back, we stopped for a few minutes at Mile End. The opposite line was also held. We were beginning to think the tube had been shut down. Eventually, we were on our way, but still wondering exactly what the incident was.

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