MARMOZETS , Jamie Lenman : O2 Forum, London, 19-10-18

The day before this gig i’d had a “fun” day…NOT! Thought my bloods were ok to proceed with next round of chemo, but they phoned & said they weren’t. Ended up waiting in Pilgrim for results & having the chemo. Once that was done, a chap took the canular out & said i could leave. What ?
Why is it that i always seem to have to think for others ? I tell him that usually when i leave i take a whole bunch of drugs with me ! “Oh, i’ll look into that”. The drugs are sorted & again i get the prefilled needles. Same again, i have to remind them to give me a sharps box! I’m so pissed off with everything at this time. Even unsure if i should go to the gig tomorrow.
After seeing Josh posting that they might play some new songs at this gig, i thought i shouldn’t miss it. Could be an interesting night….even though i didn’t feel quite right.
Once again, i took an early train to London. It was quite misty/murky for a while, then the sun burned it away. Again, at Grantham, my train was cancelled (Hull trains seem to have some serious problems!) As i’d already experienced this a couple of weeks ago, i knew what to expect lol. Not only that, i knew exactly which screen to check out that showed how busy the carriages were….don’t think many were aware of that 😉
Arriving in London, i headed straight to Hotel Rob. Today, Kristina was off work, so it was gonna be a nice relaxed day. Dropped bag off, had a catch up & then we went into the city. As per, visited FOPP. Kristina got the latest Amaranthe album & i got a bargain with the latest AVATAR only costing £5 ! (I’ve got to say, i enjoyed them when they opened for Halestorm. Pretty entertaining band). Next went to the other usual haunt, “The Montagu Pyke” & had some food. Arranged to meet Rob a bit later & then headed towards Camden.Once there, straight to the Ice Warf. Jim & Paul were already there 😉 Had a natter & drinks then decided to walk to the Forum. It had been a while since walking that route, so seemed longer than it was . Got there in perfect time though. The support act “Jamie Lenman”, i didn’t enjoy.  Just a bit boring & repetitive.  Sat next to me was an old geezer. We had a good chat & we seemed to be on the same page. He was/is a sound engineer, so straight away he said the sound was bad 😉

Tonight’s Marmozets gig wasn’t quite as good as i was expecting. Something just didn’t seem quite right up there. (Maybe something to do with Joshys recent mental issues? Whatever, i hope he gets well soon & the band get back to being super tight again) Don’t get me wrong, they were still great, but i was hoping for at least a couple of new songs (After Joshy said they might play some new songs). The one new song they DID play was quite cool. A typical Marmozets song. I think it should have been on the last album 😉
I also think that after the previous day when i had all sorts of problems, i wasn’t quite in the right frame of mind. It happens sometimes.
Another thing was that i dropped my camera during the show. As the lighting wasn’t very good, i didn’t know if that drop had messed up the camera or not. I did film a couple of songs, but certainly not up to my usual standards.

Overall, i think the highlight of tonight was that they played “Cry”, which i don’t think they’ve done for quite some time.

Gotta say, it was a wise choice to make up the pull out bed earlier in the day, as once back at Hotel Rob, i was out like a light 🙂

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HALESTORM , Avatar , Rews , O2 academy, Brixton, 28-9-18

Back tracking a little bit…When i purchased the M&G package for Sheffield, there was a link for downloading the photos that were took with the band. Somehow, it didn’t seem to work 🙁 So i tried to contact Judy via FB. Pretty much at the same time, she emailed me saying “I actually wanted to reach out to you to see if you were coming to anymore shows, Brixton if I remember correctly, and wanted to see if you could come out to that M&G(free, of course) and let’s redo the group photo and make it a nice one worth framing, ehh?”. Yeah, i’m up for that ! A bit later, i found out that she wasn’t happy with the photos she took that night & was going to offer anyone else who was there a free M&G on the next tour. So this worked out fine for doing it again in Brixton.
Rob was meant to be going to tonight’s gig, but also today he was having an operation on his wrist.I had my doubts that he’d make it to the gig, so sent a msg to him asking if he could give his ticket to Kristina so that it wouldn’t go to waste.(He told me he’d already thought of that. Great minds…) The thinking behind this is that Anette is coming over from Norway ( to do a kind of interview with me) so maybe she could use said ticket. Oh yeah, Kristina had also managed to work it out with Judy that Rob could join for the M&G. So if he couldn’t make it, then obviously Anette could do it.
I’d already booked my trains a while back & i left Boston quite early. As Rob would be having the op & Kristina would be at work, i realised there wasn’t a chance to drop my bag off at Hotel Rob. So i took a smaller one as i’d have to take it into the venue.I’d arranged to meet Jim at Montagu Pyke later in the day (again, why change with tradition).When i changed train at Grantham, they’d cancelled the train i was taking to London! (Hull trains!) Barstewards! Managed to get on the next one, LNER, was super lucky to get a seat ! Got to London & one of the tube lines was closed, but didn’t matter as it wasn’t as i was in a rush 😉 Also, totally unexpected, i got a msg from Jorge that he’d be in London later on & was meeting with Kitti. Said they’ll try get tix for the show. I headed to Camden market for a look around. Wasn’t as busy as i thought it would be.Then went down to Tottenham Court Road to have a wander around. Ended up at FOPP & they had an absolute bargain (which i didn’t buy,as already have it)  Had a bit more of a wander, reminiscing about the old LP/CD shops such as “Shades”. Really should have visited “Reckless Records” & “Sister Ray” but i didn’t want to wear myself out, as it was going to be a long day. I did consider going to “Flat Iron” for food, but as i was on my own & as ever, there was a wait for a table, i decided to not do it.  Eventually went to Montagu Pyke, Jim & Paul were already there 😉 I’d not met Paul before,but he knew a lot about me as Jim had told him. He’s a decent chap, with a good sense of humour. Eventually we made our way to Brixton & for a change we went to the Beehive. Time was getting on & Anette hadn’t arrived yet. Think she got there around 5pm & the M&G was for 5.30. Couldn’t believe how much luggage she’d brought with her ! ( “Just the essentials”) There was quite a few people doing the M&G, so once again, i suggested we go last. When Judy was checking off peoples names, i had a quite word with her that i’d got something for the band, so would like a couple of extra photos if poss. Going in, bags were searched, it seemed to be quite a quick M&G today. Maybe cos of the numbers? We all had a group photo, then individual photos.  Then finally a photo of me giving the band a present 🙂 I’d previously done this before when i saw them at Glasgow 2015 ( Read about it here http://www.gigaddiction.co.uk/halestorm-nothing-more-wilson-barrowlands-glasgow-scotland-6-3-15/ ).
I’d got them some marshmallows with photos of them ! The band seemed to again appreciate it & i doubt they’d last long before they were consumed (The cakes!)  Once again, huge thanks to Judy for the great photos. I hadn’t took a proper pic of the box, so took one on the train down to London haha  After the M&G we were all kicked out of the venue (as usual) & formed a queue again. Of course, if you had a bag with you, then security search it again. I still don’t get it how we can’t just stay in the venue,but gotta follow the protocols 🙂
I got a decent place on front row of balcony (well, i thought i had). As most times, i get talking with people near by. The lass next to me was moaning about how hard her life is…seemed to be making a mountain out of a mole hill…pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to cope with what I’ve been going through for the last 2 & half years 😉
Once again, “Rews” didn’t do anything for me. Seen it all before. Sorry. Sometime during the night, Jorge & Kitti came to see me. They then went to try get some seats, but i think the seats they went to were already occupied (Probably went to get merch or go for a pee!) So didn’t see them any more till briefly after the gig.
Once again, i really enjoyed “Avatar”! They’re great showmen. I even filmed one of their songs tonight

So, to the main act & what we’re all here for : Halestorm !
I think it’s great that they’re mixing the setlist up. Changing the order of songs & sometimes adding extras. I’m pretty sure it makes it more fun for the band & of course anyone who’s seeing multiple shows. Tonight they start with “Vicious”, then go straight into “Love Bites”. The screams/reaction from the crowd, when everyone realises they’re playing the classic “Love Bites” are quite amazing ! (However, i do have to say, from where i was, the sound wasn’t yet dialled in as it should be)

Next up, from their latest album “Vicious”, it’s “Skulls”. I’ve only managed to get to two shows on this tour, but I’ve noticed both times that “Skulls” goes down very well with the crowd. I’m pretty sure that for future tours, this will be kept in the setlist.
After that, they go back to the album “Into The Wildlife”. They play “I’m The Fire”. It’s a great song & really shows of Lzzys vocal prowess.
Next they play “Do Not Disturb”. Personally, i’m still a bit unsure about this one. Can’t make up my mind if it “plods along” or is “really heavy” ! Obviously, the subject matter of the lyrics is interesting though 🙂 I think it really works well on the album,especially as it’s followed by “Conflicted”, but still unsure about the live setting. Hey, maybe i just analyse stuff too much ? 😉
Lzzy then says to the audience “London, what can i get you to do? Anything ?”. “Alright London, i want you to go yeah yeah”. It’s the typical call & response. Whilst doing this, she noticed a little skirmish down the front. From where i was, it looked like a lass with a pony tail headbutted a guy. But straight after that, they seemed to hug each other. Lzzy ; “Are you alright?” “Shall we continue?”. “Now let me hear you go Hell Yeah!” Audience reacts as they should. Lzzy then steps it up a bit “Now let me hear ya say fuck yeah!!” Audience is even louder 😉 Then Lzzy finally says ” London..can i get it…can i get a A-a-a-men?” Now what i like about “Amen”,in the live setting, is how they have a jam towards the end of the song & they really extend it. You can tell they’re all having so much fun up there doing this! To think on the album the song lasts just shy of 3 minutes long, yet live, it’s getting on for 9 minutes ! Fantastic stuff 🙂
After this, it’s the irrepressible “Mz Hyde” followed by Arejays drum solo (Which as always, includes the “Big Sticks”).   They then go back to the album “Strange Case Of..” & we get “Freak Like Me”. Again, fantastic stuff 🙂 I love how fast the start is on “Uncomfortable”…straight ahead rock n roll. But also, if you listen to the lyrics, Lzzy is really making a statement. I love this new song.
Next it’s a total change & totally unexpected. From the live ep “One & Done” (which is hard to find at a reasonable price,as it was released in 2006) they do “Takes My Life”. Wow !

They finish the main set with “Killing Ourselves to Live”. Already, to me, this sounds like an anthem.
The encores were the same as they previously played in Sheffield. Namely, “The Silence” , “I Miss the Misery” & “Here’s to Us”.
The lighting seemed a bit better (than Sheffield) for “The Silence”, so i filmed it 😉

As is always the case, the last song , “Here’s to Us”, finishes on a high with everyone swaying their arms in the air. So yet again, it was another fantastic night out. Once again, i still had the thought “I wish i could go to more shows,like i used to”, but my useless body won’t let me do it. I suppose i should be thankful for the fact i can still get to a couple of gigs…but i’ll always want more 🙂
Afterwards we met up at The Beehive again.I think there might have been a queue for the cloakroom as it seemed a long time before Anette etc got to the Beehive. Briefly said our goodbyes to Jorge & Kitti, then got on the tube to Hotel Rob. Once there, it did seem a little strange that Rob wasn’t there. Had a good nights sleep (i needed that) & following morning we were all up early-ish. As is always the case, left Hotel Rob with plenty of time before train back to Boston. Once at Kings Cross, there was still a bit of time to kill, so myself & Anette went into the Parcel Yard for coffees before we left. I’d prebooked my seat on return journey, whilst Anette just booked a ticket in the hope we could sit near each other on way back to Bostonia. It totally worked ok as someone didn’t make the train in time (or some other reason).
When we got back to Boston, walked the route to my place. This way Anette could see the various photo opportunities. Over the next couple of days, Anette did the video interview with me,took photos of my memorabilia etc. Looking forward to seeing the finished article.

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HALESTORM ,Avatar, Rews, O2 academy, Sheffield , 22-9-18

     Been looking forward to this one for a long time. Last time i saw Halestorm was at the crappy Download festival, back in 2016 !
I used to follow them all around the UK & also saw them abroad in Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Paris. As i could only make it to 2 shows this time (Sheffield & Brixton) i decided to do the M&G at Sheffield. What a great decision that was 🙂
I’d arranged to meet my old Halestorm touring friend Kristina at Sheffield. We both messed up by booking hotels which were stupid prices. If only we knew our plans before, we could have saved a lot of money by sharing a room. Live n learn i guess.
My train journey to Sheffield included changing train at Nottingham. From Boston, it was only 2 carriages & pretty busy. Once at Nottingham, i was amazed that once again it was only 2 carriages. Good thing i reserved my seat as it ended up standing room only! They even stopped people from getting on board at some stops ! Well done EMT for spoiling a few peoples day 🙁
Arriving in Sheffield, there was a high presence of police. They even had horses. I assumed there must be some footy happening.
Managed to check into hotel early & arranged to meet Kristina so we could go for food. Only problem with my hotel is there’s 2 entrances & it seemed that Kristina took the wrong one. But hey, we met up still. I’d decided the “Bankers Draft” would be the best option to go to as it’s bigger than the other Spoons in Sheffield. It was still very busy though & we were lucky to get a table. Kristina insisted on paying for our meals. They seemed to be taking a long time to bring the food to us, so Kristina went to investigate. Would you believe,about a minute (or less) after she’d gone, the food was brought to our table ! Damn did i need that food ! (Thanks Kristina). After that, we both went to our own respective hotels. This time we arranged to meet at the venue 😉 There were already a few people queued up when i arrived. Most of them doing the M&G. The box office wasn’t open due to staff being ill. Great ! After various emails to both Stuart & Kirstie, i’d got everything sorted out so could get in early & Kristina could also join me at the same time…they said go to the box office once there lol. Fortunately, for once, there was a GREAT security guy who understood what i needed & he even said he’d show me where the disabled area is, after the M&G. When Judy came out to hand out the laminates etc, she had exactly the number of them for the  people doing the M&G. I explained to her that Kristina wasn’t doing the M&G, but it had been arranged she could come in as my “helper”. This is where Kristina got very lucky 🙂 Judy said she could also have photos took ! So i decided we should be the last in the line.Thought this way, would get more time to chat with the band.(I mean, there’s been a lot that’s happened since Download festival). To my surprise, Arejay still remembered me ! I think Lzzy remembered me. When chatting with Josh i asked if he remembered when after the Oxford gig he stayed outside talking even though it was raining like hell. He didn’t remember, but as it was 5 years ago & MANY gigs during that time, it’s hardly surprising 🙂 I told Joe that i’d be up in the balcony. So if he wanted to throw a guitar pick up there, that would be cool. He then gave me a pick,which caught me off guard! (“in case my accuracy isn’t good enough” ) It was really nice to “reconnect” with them all.
Tonight it was Judy who took the photos (Where’s Detroit?). Unfortunately, there was a problem with the link to download them, so i emailed her & she said she’d send them via email.  We said our goodbyes, then went back out to join the queue. Once inside, i didn’t see the “Great Security guy”. When i got up on balcony,i saw another security chap & explained to him i didn’t want my seat to be in the disabled area & to start off he didn’t agree to it. But i talked him round to it 😉 Got what i consider the perfect position, on the left side.
The first band “Rews”, i’d never heard off (Same goes for the second “Avatar”). Rews didn’t really impress me. Found them a bit repetitive. Avatar though were quite a fun band. They wore costumes, as did the roadies/techs. Quite liked some of their songs. So much so, that i even filmed a song :

Apparently Halestorm have been changing around their set list on this tour. I totally applaud them for doing this. I wish more bands would do the same. It was a pretty safe bet they’d open with “Black Vultures”, so decided to film the opening song

Next up we get “I Am The Fire”. Btw, i think the latest album is their best so far. They’ve really progressed, but it’s still a rocky album. 
“Uncomfortable” is both great on the album & also great live. Only 3 songs in & i’m enjoying it all so much. We then get a full on rendition of “Skulls”. Those guitars are so heavy. Love it.

Next up, Lzzy does a short Acapella version of “I Get Off” which melds into “Do Not Disturb”. Very nice 🙂
Lzzy then says how happy they are to be playing Sheffield again & she asks “What can i get you to do?”. So this is where we see how loud the audience can be.And yes, we were loud ! I’m pretty sure that they’ve extended “Amen” when playing it live (that’s excluding the to & fro of the chants with the crowd)

After “Vicious” it’s time for Arejay to showcase his talents. Cool to see he’s still using the big sticks 🙂 Years back, there was a time he didn’t have the big sticks, so he used umbrellas ! What i sight to see 🙂  After that it’s a song for all the freaks here tonight. Yes, you guessed it “Freak Like Me” 🙂 Damn this gig is just flying by ! We get some old classics such as “Love Bites (So Do I)”, “Mz. Hyde” & the stomping “It’s Not You”(from their debut album back in 2009).Sometime during the latter part of the show, Joe points to me & throws a guitar pick. It lands just in front of Kristina. it’s only fair that she gets to have that. From the old, to the new, the main set is finished with “Killing Ourselves to Live” (from the latest album “Vicious”)  Btw, When i think about the title of that song, i always think about the Black Sabbath song ” Killing Yourself To Live” 🙂 

“Sheffield, thank you so much. I’ve got to tell you something. We’ve been a band for a while.This year marks 21 years of Halestorm (huge cheers from the crowd) Of course, i started it when i was two 😉 We’ve always,always, always dreamed of commin to the UK. We’ve always said that since we were little. Do you think anyone will let us go to the UK ever…Tonight, you are making our little dreams come true, thank you so much” Then both Lzzy & Joe sit on a box together & do an acoustic version of “The Silence”. ( I wonder if this song is about their relationship?) Lzzy really sings this with such emotion.
Next it’s another old classic Halestorm song “I Miss the Misery”. Again fantastic stuff.
Last song of the night is “Here’s to Us”. This is & has always been, one of the main connections between the band & the fans. Music really does bring people together.

So that’s it. Over & done. We stay in the venue until they kick us out. I decide to get one of the T-shirts. Very reasonable price as £20. When we go outside, there’s a few people already hanging around to meet the band. We’d already decided to wait & meet them again.  ( Me? Psycho eyes?”Psycho Killer” Qu’est-ce que c’est, Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better Run run run run run run run away oh oh” Whilst waiting, i jokingly said to Kristina ” I need £50 from you”. Kristina “Huh?. I paid for lunch!”. Me “C’mon you can’t compare that to getting a free M&G!” Me again “Ok, just a thank you would be fine”. Kristina ” Oh, i thought i’d said that. Well thank you anyway 🙂 “. During this time, we see Detroit going back n forth to the bus. Kristina reminds me that i was too shy to ask for a photo with her years back 😉 I decide i need to have a chat with Detroit as we’ve not seen each other for so long. She’s now been upgraded to the role of tour manager. Nice one. We have a nice chat about old Halestorm gigs etc. I tell her about my health problems & she said that she knew already as the band had been talking about it & told her. They’re all such a nice bunch of caring people. 
Arejay is the first of the band to come out. He does it in his typical quiet fashion….not! 🙂 Gets swamped with people wanting stuff signed or wanting photos. The big guy near him, who i assume is the bodyguard for the band, makes everyone form a queue. You can see he want’s this to be over quickly. Dunno how “new” he is,but, he should realise this band will always stay chatting with the fans for as long as they want to. (I remember a time when we saw them in Oxford 2013 that Josh still stayed chatting even though it was raining!). Eventually the rest of the band come out to chat, sign stuff, have photos took. It was a nice way to finish the day.   

As everyone was going to the bus, Kristina spotted Judy walking back as well. She had a question for her. She’s going to the Birmingham gig & someone let her down(?) so she doesn’t have a ticket. Judy is so nice that she said “Give me your full name & phone number & i’ll sort you out” (Or words to that effect). How cool is that ?
Shortly after that, we make our way to our respective hotels. Kristina has to be up early as she’s going up to Glasgow to see them the following day. I would have loved to have followed the tour, like the old days, but there’s now only so much i can do, due to the shitty chemo etc.
Following morning, my train home is at a reasonable time of 10.35. Walking to the station, there’s still the fresh aroma of the horse shit from yesterday! In fact, they hadn’t fully cleaned it up ! On the route back, i change at Nottingham. Once there, i automatically walked towards platform 2, where it usually departs from. This time though, it was from a totally different platform, 6a ! So over the bridge i go 🙂
On the way home i was thinking about the fact that on Sundays myself & me mum go for Sunday lunch. So i phoned her & asked if she fancied a late lunch at The Endeavour. Jobs a good un, table booked for 2.30.
All in all, a great weekend 🙂

The following day, i tried to download the photos that Judy had took. The link wouldn’t work 🙁 Later i got an email from her saying “…I actually wanted to reach out to you to see if you were coming to anymore shows, Brixton if I remember correctly, and wanted to see if you could come out to that M&G(free, of course) and let’s redo the group photo and make it a nice one worth framing, ehh? “. Around the same time, Kristina sent a msg to me saying that the photos were messed up, but we both thought they looked ok. So it now looks like myself, Kristina & Rob will all join the M&G for free at Brixton Academy on Friday.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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