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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Skunk Anansie, Stereophonics,Gravity Kills, Aston Villa Leisure Centre , Birmingham,15-3-97

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I don’t want to sound over dramatic,but, the importance of this gig to me is pretty much immeasurable. For the last 6 months, since my wife had cheated on me , i hadn’t seen a single gig. I was in a very dark place & things were getting worse daily. I was a bloody mess (not that i let anyone really see it) suffering silently with depression & having the strangest of thoughts. I had totally lost direction in my life. How could the woman i loved do that shit? I was at the end of my tether & wondered whats the point in carrying on? (That is so NOT like me) But then, something just clicked. My friends were going to see Skunk Anansie & i decided wanted to go. I remembered seeing their videos the last couple of years & thinking how i should have gone to see them, but didn’t because of… well, you get it. This was my first step of “She aint worth it”. Pull yourself together. So, lets give it a go & see what happens. Well, i enjoyed the support acts,but, Skunk were just bloody amazing. I thought they were the best live band i’d ever seen. Honestly, this gig turned my life around back to being positive. I got my enthusiasm back for gigs because of this gig. It was still going to be a long journey for me back to normality, but, Skunk Anansie, thank you for “saving me” 🙂

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