PVRIS, Brixton Academy, 30-11-17

I met Alice at the train station & we were soon on our way to London. Changed trains at Grantham & we had been booked seats in 1st class ! First time been in 1st class. As i expected, there was a very loud man near us who let everyone know how “important” he was. The couple sitting opposite us were totally down to earth & they too were laughing at “important man”. We had a nice chat. Once at Kings X we went straight to the hotel that had been booked for us. Upon checking in, they said it hadn’t been prepaid, so i put it on my credit card to avoid any confusion. We had a very nice room with 2 double beds.  Eventually, we set off for Brixton.Nathan had arranged that when we got there, i should phone him & he’ll come out to take us in. As luck would have it, PVRIS were doing their soundcheck, so we got to see that. Alice was given her AAA laminate, but it was minus a lanyard. I thought to myself, the “O2 Angels” always have them, so we could nip out & get one later. However, in the end, didn’t need to do it as Matty kindly gave us his lanyard 🙂 We watched the soundcheck from downstairs mainly.  

 Had a quick walk around to find way up to balcony & watch some more from there.   Went back downstairs & saw Matty again & he took us backstage. The band were having some kind of a meeting, so we stayed outside their dressing room. A few minutes later, Brian came out & took us to another room. (Or did Matty take us there & Brian came in a few mins later? Can’t quite remember). There were various drinks laid out & we could have what we wanted. We had a nice conversation with Brian. Told him a bit more about ourselves & where we live etc….”We’re from the ORIGINAL Boston 😉 ” (Funny coincidence eh?)  Time was getting on & Brian needed to be at the M&G session. So we all went out to find where it was. Again, it was busy like in Birmingham a few days back. Matty kindly let us get photos with the band 🙂  We then sat watching everyone having the M&G. Was interesting seeing how some of them had pre-planned how they wanted their photos with the band to be taken. (Then there’s the other exteme of a few people who were nervous about meeting their idols). The band got a lot of gifts from the people they met.
Once the M&G was finished, Lynn asked us if we’d like a cup of tea! Actually, she wrote it down & showed us as she was trying to rest her voice 😉 (She was still suffering like in Birmingham. Respect to her for soldiering on & not cancelling any of the shows) There was a little confusion if we should hang around there or not. We went up to the balcony to find our seats. By now, the bands allocated seats had “Reserved” on them. That is except for 2 seats which were reserved in my name 🙂 
The “Big Mama security woman” asked us if we’d got wristbands. We waved the AAA laminates at her & took our seats. She then came over to us & said “You need wristbands !”. I said to her ” Look, these seats are reserved in my name….i can show you proof of my identity…blah blah”. Then i thought, “Ok, i’ll go back downstairs & get the wristbands if only to make her happy” lol. As i started walking back along the balcony, another security guy turned up. I explained to him what had happened & he said “Just go to your seats”. He was a nice chap. Had a bit of a laugh with him. Once sat down again, “Mama security” came back to us & apologised for the earlier hasstle. That was nice of her. We watched the support bands & somehow missed getting that cup of tea we were offered earlier haha. So later we went backstage again & were told we’d missed 2 cups of tea ! Now, they’d run out of tea bags, so someone was sent to get more teabags from the bus ! (Americans prefer coffee i guess. That’s why they ran out of tea so quickly) We were told to go back to our seats & someone would bring our cuppas to us !
**Now i’m sure some of you reading this might be thinking “This story is quite long winded”. yeah, maybe so. But, i like to document my experiences as much as i can. However, the main thing here & i hope people get it, is that the band/manager/crew are just great people. I mean, even something as small as a cup of tea, they go out of their way to make sure it happened)** Sure enough, a while later, i big burly crew guy brought us our cups of tea. Thank you 🙂

Sometime during the night, i got a tap on my shoulder. I thought “Here we go…round 2 with security!”. But it wasn’t security, it was my mate Rob! I asked how did he get up on balcony considering they’d got stalls/standing tix? He told us that Jim had booked a seating ticket, so he used that to get up here. And where was Jim? You guessed it, downstairs ! The old trick never fails 😉 I told Rob we’d meet him downstairs after the gig. I’d also give him my ticket for the Royal Republic gig which was the next day (I decided it was best i didn’t go as was already under the weather & have finally realised i can’t do as many gigs in a row as i used to, due to my condition)

You could feel the excitement in the air for when PVRIS were about to take to the stage. Same as in Birmingham, they opened with “Heaven”. Again, this was followed with “St Patrick”

Tonights setlist was the same as Birmingham (& i assume the rest of the UK dates). So i’ll let the photos & video clips “describe/represent” the evening.

 

When the gig finished, we went downstairs so could meet Rob & i gave him the Royal Republic ticket for the next day. Said our goodbyes then made our way back up to the VIP bar. Thought the band might be there, but they weren’t. So went back down,backstage, to try find everyone. Brian invited us into their dressing room, so we hung there for a while.    Nathan went off to get the money to pay for the hotel. (I’d Never seen Irish currency before!). After a while, we all went out into the corridor. Chatted a bit more with the band etc  Alice had brought a card with her to thank the band for everything they’d done for us. She read it out & didn’t falter doing so. As she was reading it out, i saw Lynn had slight tears in her eyes 😉 Alice handed over the card & also another picture/postcard of St Botolphs Church, Boston (Which is known locally as “The Stump”). we then got a group photo.

Time was getting on & i was wondering if we’d still be able to get the tube back to our hotel. Didn’t need to worry about that though,as when i mentioned it, Nathan said “We’ve already booked you a cab for your journey back to the hotel”.
Seriously, the generosity & kindness from band/crew etc etc was quite overwhelming ! We got a couple more photos with the band, Alice had a bit more of a chat with Lynn & then Nathan said our taxi was waiting outside. Final hugs of the night & both Nathan & Brian walked us out to the taxi. Oh yeah, as we were walking i asked Nathan what the plans were for next year. He told me about a couple of big things that will happen, but said i need to keep it to myself. I really hope those plans happen & that i’m still around to be able to make it to those shows.
So, summing up, it was a fantastic unbelievable day/night. I’m sure i also speak for Alice when i say Thank You for everyone involved who helped make this happen. Sure it was the best “Early Christmas Present” that Alice will ever have & when i’m gone, i hope it will be a memory she will treasure forever.

EDIT : After i’d finished writing this up, i thought i’d ask Alice if she’d like to add her own comment/memories of the day. This is what she wrote ;

” I enjoyed the train journey to London with Uncle Simon, as we were waiting at Grantham for our connecting train there was a very light dusting of snow floating in the air and it was so magical. We arrived at the Hotel lobby and it was all decorated for Christmas. It smelled like spices and cinnamon which made me feel warm inside. The cold was biting as we arrived at Brixton academy, we walked in with Nathan, one of the lovely PVRIS managers, just as ‘Half’ was being played at soundcheck; which is the song that reminds me most of my Uncle, I felt like the universe was aligning. We met Matty and he was very kind and looked after us really well. The show was beautiful, the sounds, the lights, the colours, the energy. After the music had finished we met with Nathan, Matty, Brian Lyndsey and Alex, to create what would become the most meaningful memory for me. AS everyone gathered round I read out loud some heartfelt words I had written on a Thank You card for everyone who helped make the day happen. The corridor was still and I think even the air particles stopped to listen. We all connected in that moment, with love and altruistic understanding that we had created something so special. My gratitude is eternal and I cannot wait for us all to meet again”.

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PVRIS, O2 Academy, Birmingham, 23-11-17

 Got a train from Nottingham to Birmingham & once there i totally remembered the route from station to The Academy & Pentahotel. This one didn’t get off to a good start for me. Why ? Because i’d not received the details about the VIP M&G i’d booked. I’d sent numerous emails etc, but got no replies. So today i’ll be winging it lol
After hanging at the hotel a while, i thought i’d just nip round the corner (literally!) to see what was happening at the venue. There was already quite a queue. Multiple queues in fact lol. I asked if anyone was doing the M&G, so once confirmed, i joined that queue. After a while someone came out & started handing out the M&G lanyards. When he got to me, i told him i’d not recieved the full info etc, but it wasn’t a problem as my name was on his list, i was then duly ticked off. We all went into a side room, where we lined up around the edges of the room. There were so many doing the M&G, the line circled the whole room & then some. After a while the band came in & slowly,but surely, every filed past, got an item signed, had a brief chat & then a photo with the band.
Sometime before this show, i’d asked my niece what she wanted from me as an Xmas present. She said “Something more personal than usual”.Just need to back track a bit here… Last year a bunch of my “Garbage friends” clubbed together to buy me a M&G with Garbage. They did this shortly after i was diagnosed with brain tumors.I was shocked & astounded that they would do this for me. It was a gesture i’ll remember forever. If you’d like to check out that day, it’s in my blog here : http://www.gigaddiction.co.uk/garbage-troxy-london-13-6-16/
Jump forward a few months, a friend in the USA went to see Garbage & took a copy of my M&G photo with them at Troxy. Again a nice gesture.
So, back to the now, Kevin inspired me to take a photo of when myself & Alice saw PVRIS at Norwich last year & get the band to hold it as well. I had to explain it all to the band & as i was doing so, i just broke down. Once again it was the reality of my situation that caused this. So, through teary eyes, i told them as much as i could. After my photo with the band was took & i started walking away, i got a tap on my shoulder. It was Lynn. She gave me a massive hug. Again started to walk away, but the photographer stopped me & said something like “Can you hang around whilst we finish the M&G? The band want to talk more with you & give you some free merchandise”. I was gobsmacked ! I went & sat on a little chair watching everyone file past the band. Eventually, it was finished & Matty (photographer) told me to follow him & the band through a side door. Once there, we had a longer chat. Lyyn asked if i’d tried Rekki to try help my situation etc. I was also asked if there were any other gigs that myself & Alice could make it too. If so, they would help us to do so. I was pretty sure i could maybe fit in Brixton, so i suggested that. Matty took my email etc & said he’d contact me tomorrow. After a few minutes a lass turned up saying “Are you ready to go on your shopping trip?”. She took me to the merch booth & said “You can have anything you want!” I’m not one to be “greedy”, so i was a bit timid about what i should take. But Leealia (SP?) kept saying “What about that also?”. In the end , there was so much that it took a box to carry it all !
We next went up to the balcony to find a good viewing point. As luck would have it, especially as so many had already took the seats, there were 3 empty seats on front row! So i went there. When we were walking past security, they asked “What’s in the box?!!”. Leealia was having nothing of it. “It’s band merchandise for this guy! Have a look!”. I was still a bit paranoid that security might try shutting me down for taking photos/video clips, so i asked Leealia to explain to them that i had permission to do so.
The first band of the night, i didn’t think much of them. The second on, “Coin”, were pretty cool. I enjoyed their set. Sometime later, Leealia came back as she’d found a big bag to put the merch into. Would be a lot easier to carry than the box (Don’t forget i gotta take this home on the train). Not only that, she also said she’d spoke with security so they shouldn’t hassle me. But as a back up, she also handed  me a AAA laminate ! Wow ! 🙂
Soon enough, PVRIS took to the stage. They opened with “Heaven”. This is also the opening track on their latest album “All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell”.
Even though this is a “new” song, it feels like i’ve known it for years. It’s certainly got all the key elements of a PVRIS song. There’s a single white light pointing at Lynn as she sits at her keyboard & starts singing away. (During the M&G we’d been told that Lynn had some kind of cold/flu, so she wouldn’t be talking much. It was immediately obvious that she wasn’t quite her usual powerful self. It still sounded good though…& i doubt many in the crowd would have even noticed she was struggling a bit) Still, a great song to start the evening with. Next we have a trip back to a song from their debut album “White Noise”. It’s the classic “St Patrick”. I absolutely love this song. When the crowd recognized the song from the keyboard into , they screamed & were totally up for this one.

Next up, another from the debut album, it’s “Smoke”. As with all their songs, it’s very “real” emotional lyrics

We next get another new song from AWKOHAWNOH, which is called “Half”. It starts with a haunting vocal, but soon kicks in to be another “new classic” song. It’s also pretty cool seeing Lynn take to the drums.
It’s great seeing/ hearing the audience chanting the “Woah o oh os” during “You & I “. (Just a shame my camera can’t quite cope with the darkness)

As i’m writing this, i’ve realised that there are not many bands where i can say that i love ALL the songs on ALL their albums. PVRIS is one where i do love everything.
They have such a uniqueness about them. So much passion in both the lyrics & the music & it really connects with just about everybody.
The evening seems to just fly by. They finish the main set with “My House”

Obviously, they’re gonna come back for an encore. We’re treated to another new song to finish the night with ; “No Mercy”.
What a great day/night it’s all been. Never expected that all that would happen. Many thanks to the band/crew etc for EVERYTHING !
Went back to my hotel pretty soon as was knackered. Can’t help thinking what Alices reaction will be when i tell her all about it 😉

 

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Wolf Alice, Sunflower Bean, Superfood, O2 Academy, Leeds, 18-11-17

 

When I booked train tix for this one,I thought it was a strange route they were sending me on. Expected it to be Boston, Grantham, Leeds . Instead it was Boston , Sleaford, Lincoln, Retford , Leeds ! (I later found out ,due to engineering works,trains were not stopping at Grantham). If only ever been through Retford before ,never changed there. It was a strange station as to get to the main line, had to go under the tracks, then walk quite a way, then round the corner to the 2nd part of the station. My train arrives in Leeds on time, so quickly walked to my hotel, the Clayton. I remembered the route & short cut even though hadn’t stayed there for a few years ☺ Checked in ok & they have me a free room upgrade. Sent a msg to Lorah about where we’d meet up & was soon in way back into city. It was very busy. Millennium square had some kind of fun fair going on. The Cuthbert Roderick was rammed so waited outside for Lorah. We then went to the Hedley Verity. Still busy, but got a table ok. Ordered food then had a good old catch up. ( Sorry Lorah if I went on a bit !) Eventually we went to the Academy & I had a chat with security about disabled access & the complimentary companion ticket). Had a bit of a laugh with security guy, (how many pockets in your bag Lorah?!?), He wondered what the “big thing near my pocket” was….It was a portable phone charger lol Then he started telling us about ” Wish “, a website similar to Ebay. A decent geezer unlike some jumped up power hungry security 😉 He got a lass to take us up in the lift to balcony. Poor girl, it was her first day & she hadn’t used the lift before so was a bit uncomfortable lol. Once up on balcony could pretty much go where we wanted. Chose the left side . There were already a bunch of people up there (dunno how they got there before us) but still got a nice view.

Once again “Superfood” opened & again I wasn’t very impressed (same for Lorah). But the crowd seemed to like em.
Next it was “Sunflower Bean” . Came out with the same lines as in Nottingham ” We’re Sunflower Bean from New York ” 😀. Once again I enjoyed their set.
Wolf Alice played the same set as they did at rock city. The crowd were well up for it from the off. There were quite a few circle pits with the kids down there 😉
If anything, I’d say the crowd sing a longs were louder than R.C.

Once again, I loved the show & couldn’t help but make a few video clips 😉

Lorah seemed to have enjoyed the gig & for myself it was nice to spend some time with an old friend instead of being there on me tod.
Man it was cold afterwards ! Lorah was catching a bus home from near train station so we walked there & said out goodbyes. She took a quick selfie before leaving. I got back to hotel even quicker than when I arrived in Leeds….must been cos was so fooking cold ! Didn’t have the best nights sleep as a couple of times noisey peeps walked by.
Next stop is Nottingham to see H.E.A.T…..on the train at midday ! Loving life at the moment ☺

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MR BIG , The Answer , Faster Pussycat , Rock City ,Nottingham 16-11-17

This was a bit of a strange one. To start off, It was an interesting, if mismatched line up. I’d never seen so many disabled people at a RC gig. I got chatting with a couple & we both agreed that after all the years that RC has been here, it’s amazing they’ve not got a better way in for people in wheelchairs (They have two members of security who carry the person up the steps at the back of the venue). We also had similar stories about how sometimes the security just don’t follow the instructions that we have been given about entry. If you’re not aware, the general idea is that disabled customers should pre-book saying what requirements are needed for them for the show. They should take priority entry & get seats (if required) & be in the venue before the mad rush of everyone piling in. It just doesn’t work that way very often nowadays. There must have been about 12+ people who needed seats tonight & they only placed TWO on the balcony! I went to the bar & said more seats are needed. The reply was “We’ve used them all” That was complete bullshit as i’ve seen the stacks of seats previous time i’ve been there. They managed to find me a smaller stool, but, i’m sure there were a lot of unhappy coustomers that night. Another thing about tonight was how early the doors were : 5.30pm ! I’m sure that caught out a lot of people with such an early start (Hello Ady 😉 ) They really do need to inform the punters when there’s such an early start. Why such an early start ? Because the crappy student night seems to be more important than the gigs nowadays ! (The only way they can get 3 acts to play/finish before 10pm, is have a ridiculously early start time)
I thought that this gig would be very busy, but it wasn’t the case : They didn’t sell enough tickets to open the balcony ! I suppose it’s best to have a full downstairs than a half empty floor & balcony though 😉 So, to the gig/bands :
First up was Faster Pussycat. The first time i saw them was the legendary night when they opened for Guns N Roses at this venue back in 1987. They were great back then. The last time i’d seen them was at Yardbirds in Grimsby, about 7 years ago. Tonight at RC, i didn’t have a clue as to if there were any of the original members on this stage tonight! If it was Taime on vocals, then he’s lost a lot of weight since i last saw him. As for the bands show, to me, it just felt like they were just going through the motions. There was no spark or excitement up there. I was a bit dissapointed.
Next up it was “The Answer”. They are a genuine “back to the roots” bluesy rock n roll sort of band. They always deliver a great show. Of the multiple times i’ve seen them over the years, i didn’t see a single bad gig by them. On top of that, they are very nice people to talk with. They were easily the highlight of the night for me 🙂

Finally it’s time for Mr Big. I’ve never been that much of a fan of theirs tbh. Saw them at the height of their fame at RC back in 1992. Think i only saw them one more time after that till tonight. They started their set with ” Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” ( aka Drill Song ;-))

Played a lot of the old classic era songs. But one the guitar/bass solos started i just got bored of it tbh. I think my comment on the night pretty much summed it it ” Too much guitar wankery” 🙂 Whilst some people love that sort of stuff, i’m just not into it at all.
I guess that overall, it was a decent night out, with different bands that played totally different styles of music & good value for money. Band of the night for me was most certainly The Answer. Afterwards, i arranged to meet Ady at the pub. We had a good catch up & i put him straight about a lot of stuff that he wasn’t aware of (about my condition) . I don’t think we’d had a proper chat since seeing Delain in Amsterdam…

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Wolf Alice, Sunflower Bean, Superfood, Rock City, Nottingham, 15-11-17

There was a little drizzle as i walked to the train station. Nothing too much. The trains ran fine & was soon at Nottingham. First stop was Argos as needed to collect a couple of things i couldn’t get in Boston. Then checked into Roomzzz hotel. “You’ve been here before haven’t you? So i don’t need to go over everything with you again?” She was correct 🙂 I got a nice room, almost at end of corridor (The best place as you won’t get people walking by late at night 😉 ) I relaxed for a while, then made my way into town to get food.(Yeah, my usual place lol). Walking back to hotel,as i went past Rock City, i saw a chap queuing who i recognized, so stopped & had a catch up with him. (The funny thing about us knowing each other was that i often saw him at various gigs. I think it was at Wolf Alice Leeds 3-16 that we started chatting. I said something like “Ive seen you at a few gigs & recognise your face”. Coulda knocked me down with a feather when he said he was also from Boston! Small world !) After our chat, i went back to the hotel to relax a bit more. As is the usual preocedure nowadys, i went back to RC about 15 mins before doors, talked with security about having a prearranged seat in balcony, then whilst waiting, had another chat with Nige B. Soon got in, at my fave spot on balcony.
First act tonight were “Superfood”. Can’t say they did anything for me. Second act was a band from New York, called “Sunflower Bean”. They were pretty decent. I enjoyed their set. They also got a good reaction from the crowd. Apparently, they’ll be coming back to Nottingham soon & will be playing The Rescue Rooms. Need to check out their album.

There was a pretty quick turnaround before Wolf Alice came on. I noticed the floor was absolutely rammed. The lights went down & Wolf Alice slowly walked onto the stage. From the off, the crowd was very loud. Pretty sure tonights set list was the same as in Amsterdam. Second song in ” Yk Foo ” really livened things up. Already, there were a couple of mosh pits down there. When they played the familiar opening riff of ” You’re A Germ”, the room just goes crazy! It went to another level. You could also see that Ellie was really enjoying herself. THIS is the Wolf Alice i’ve come to love. “You’re Loves Whore” is fantastic.

The more i think about it, i realise that the Melkweg show was nowhere near as good as Rock City. It had been bugging me that i felt something was “missing” at Melkweg but couldn’t put my finger on it. I now realized the thing that was missing, was the great Rock City crowd 😉 Don’t get me wrong, Melkweg was great night out, but Rock City was another level up 🙂 Tonight’s setlist was similar to the other shows i’ve seen on this tour. I think they just made slight changes as to where the songs were in the set. The night ended with the double wammy of “Blush” & “Giant Peach”.

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