Skunk Anansie , Pearl Harts, Brixton Academy, London 4-2-17

00981a

Went down London a day before gig to meet up with some old school Skunk friends. (As ever, i stayed at “Hotel Rob” ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Had a nice meal at Belgo, Soho. Great to catch up & as it wasn’t gig day, it was all nice & relaxed. ๐Ÿ™‚DSC09187ย DSC09188Faiz was quite brave trying a new dish

Before setting off to London, the wheels were in motion for me to get a balcony seat (my tix were standing) courtesy of Leigh. I’d contacted Stumpy & he said to either ask for him at stage door or give him a ring around 6.30. Well, that was the START of it all. When we were having the meal, Julia passed me a note.
Basically, she’d been in touch with Ace & had arranged for us to go in for soundcheck tomorrow as a nice surprise ! How cool was that of her?

Gig day. We arranged to meet mid afternoon. Myself & Rob went to a bar in Brixton as he needed food. The Greggs sausage roll i had was enough for me ๐Ÿ™‚ From there went to the Academy. As expected, the majority of the Italian Skunk Army were already queued up. Rob asks me ” Do you know any of them?” My reply “Yeah a couple” ๐Ÿ˜‰ So went over to greet everyone. (Funny thing Rob said to me later in the day ; “I thought you said you only know a couple of them? Everyone was coming up & greeting you !” ). After that we started to walk to stage door. Who was walking towards us? Skin ! “Ello Simon! How are you? “. We had a brief chat about how everything’s going. Before she left, asked me if we were sorted to get in etc. Told her i’ve got Stumpys number & we’re just waiting for Julia & Nadine to arrive. Skin said she wouldn’t be long & if we’re still outside when she gets back, she’d walk us in. Off she trotts to meet the Italian Skunk Army at top of the road, before going on her errand.

Julia & Nadine were running a bit late so myself & Rob decided to wait for them. Then, who should come walking along? Erika !. We had a nice chat. She keeps up on my postings on FB & i told her the latest. Such a nice person. She soon went back in the venue & we continued to wait for the girls. Anyways, skin came back & said “I’ll take you in so you can get passes etc”. For a brief moment there, i was even wearing skins AAA laminate ๐Ÿ˜‰ We got passes from Stumpy, were showed the route through to front of house, then went back outside. By this time Julia & Nadine had arrived & were hanging with Leigh & Stumpy. Heard they were struggling with the internet connection for the FB live thing. After a short while, we all went back in & the girls got their passes. Whilst waiting, Mark walks by. He didn’t recognize me to start off lol We saw Ace & he said to go catering for a coffee or whatever, so we did just that. Later he joined us & we had a good old chat. A funny thing ; when he came into catering, he asked “Where’s Simon?!!” I was getting a coffee & pretty much stood right next to him! ( “…that bright yellow t-shirt doesn’t stand out enough..”) Then Cass popped in (From earlier comment “….when we’re in London, most of us go home for a while. Cass is the one who’s usually the last to get here…”). Already, the day has been super special & it’s about to get even better : we go through to watch the soundcheck.
They have a massive & impressive production with them this time. Great big video screens & some pretty special lighting. I’d go so far as to say it’s their best yet. (I’m pretty sure they wont be able to fit the production into all of the dates on the tour). The guys start jamming a few bits & it’s soon noticable there’s a problem with the bass sound. This is quickly sorted & they start playing songs. Whilst they’re deciding what to play next, totally unexpected, skin says ” You know what? Simon can choose ” (Fortunately i’m not so bumbling as when Ally of the Virginmarys asked similar question when he did a solo gig in Peterborough lol). I shout back ” Intellectualise !”. Cass then quips back “…i gave you a clue Simon!..” (he’d been running through the intro).ย DSC09216

https://www.facebook.com/simon.clapham.3/videos/10208201686215251/

Unfortunately it sounds rubbish as used my mobile phone to record it.
Later on, skin asked what else i’d like to hear! Anyone who knows me will know my fave Skunk song is “Charlie Big Potato”. But i couldn’t really expect them to do that. So i suggested ” 100 Ways “. I also love that song & it was a small payback from me to Julia for arranging this day (“100 Ways To Be A Good Girl” is Julias fave song).
Another really great moment during the soundcheck was when they played “I Will Break You”. Erika joins on this. Both her & skin have a “vocal duel” singing how they will break each other lol. But the best is that you can see what fun they’re having together. Huge smiles & skin getting a bit cheeking kicking Eris bum a couple of times ๐Ÿ™‚ DSC09229 DSC09225Also played during soundcheck were “Cheap Honesty” & ” Without You” + others.
Soon enough, the soundcheck is over & we decide to go find another place for food. The crowd/queue has grown significantly by now. Walking along i see a few friends who were not there earlier. One of which was Aliyah who doesn’t live that far from me. She took a selfie of us which i’m sharing.ย aliyas selfieย The others had got a bit ahead of me as i was gassing a bit. When i caught up, Julia said ” Did you see Laura?!?” Me “What? Where was she?” . I had to go back & see her, shes a great lass from Italy. I’ve Known her since the Skunk reunion at Water Rats in 2009. I was filming those gigs & gave her my ticket so she could get in (A bunch of people came over for the show even though it was sold out. I’ll always help/share where i can). We had a brief chat & then i had to catch up (again! lol) with the others.
Must confess, it did feel a little strange to be leaving the venue at that time & also knowing i didn’t need to worry about getting back in later. But at the same time, i just cannot queue up for hours like i used to as i just get tired due to the illness nowadays.
We went to a nice place called Cabana. I had “Guava-cue Chicken”. Flame grilled skewers ; “Sweet & fruity tropical barbecued chicken”. Was just the right amount.
We had a nice chat about how cool the day had already been & Julia said to me a couple of times ” Just relax! You don’t need to worry about missing anything”. Personally, i don’t think i was fretting much anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

Myself & Rob leave the girls as we wanted to see the opening act “Pearl Harts”. Why is it there’s always a jobsworth security guy?! Trying to get to out seats he said ” You need the silver bracelet to go to seats”. We only had Access All Areas duh ! He wouldn’t listen so we went back to production office. Stumpy wasn’t about but a chap in there said ” Go via downstairs standing & take main stairs up. Should avoid the guy”. We tried that & guess what ? We came out at same place lol. Amazing thing was, Mr Jobsworth had a totally different attitude. Eventually he walked along the seats & found 2 with ” Reserved Clapham ” & he let us in…without the silver bracelet ! Dickhead ! ( I later see Leigh & even she had trouble with the guy & had to get silver bracelets)ย DSC09235
The two girls from Pearl Harts played a similar set to the other times i’ve seen them open for bands (Garbage etc). Dare i say it ? The song “Hit The Bottle” is already becoming a classic to me. Given the earlier circumstances, it’s hardly surprising ๐Ÿ˜‰ The two girls fill out their sound with some guitar loops/tapes which makes it all sound much bigger. The overall sound is a dirty rock n roll kinda thing. Their set flew by & i realised i’d not took hardly any photos & no videos at all. That’s a shame :-(. This is about the only one:DSC09237ย So to the mighty Skunk Anansie ! Lights go down, there’s cheers from crowd, white spotlights spinning around to start, which then turn to red & finally just one red spotlight on stage pointing upwards. Yes, it’s for the coolest dude in rock n roll, Mr Cass Lewis. He comes over & plays his intro to “And Here I Stand”. Such a timeless classic. Down comes the back drop, to reveal tonights massive production. When skin comes on stage you can hear the crowd volume just shoot up. Nope, it’s not enough she gestures ๐Ÿ™‚
Bloody great start i’d say.

After that, they go straight into “Intellectualise My Blackness”. On “Because of You”, Marks hitting those drums so hard. Skin really has powerful vocals on this. Dare i say it? Mark was on fire tonight…DSC09251

Next it’s the fun n games with Erika as they duel on the vocals. Whilst not as fun/unique as during the soundcheck, it’s still bloody great. I guess the smiles on the faces give that away.
“Twisted (Everyday Hurts)” has always been a fave live song of mine. Gawd knows how many times over the years i’ve been jumping around during that one. It does feel strange for me sometimes. I mean, i used to always be down the front, getting in the thick of it all. But i just cant nowadays….

Next we get “My Ugly Boy”. To me, probably their most poppy sounding song. Following it with “Weak” & “Hedonism” redeems them though ๐Ÿ˜‰DSC09256DSC09268
It’s funny how an old songs lyrics can still relate to the times of now. For instance, with all the B.S. from Trump nowadays, you could be forgiven for thinking “We Donโ€™t Need Who You Think You Are” was written towards him. Following that with “Yes It’s Fucking Political” , there could be a message in there ?
During “Little Baby Swastikkka”, skin does the now expected visit into the crowd. Though tonight, there seems more members of the audience who DON’T get down when she asks them to. Either way, it’s still a great song to finish the set with. I see my mates Nom & Liz in this clip. Again, sorry we couldn’t get to meet this time mate.

When they come back for the encore, skinny has a right old rant about Brexit. “Fuck Brexit ! Me & my family are going nowhere! I’m British ! ” She doesn’t mince her words. Total respect to her.

DSC09272

A couple more modern songs follow & i’m then surprised they play “Charlie Big Potato “. I still will always prefer it to be played as an encore as the intro is a great build up to the song. Personal opinions aside, i’ll love that song where ever they put it in the set list. It’s just fantastic.

They come back for one more song “100 Ways to Be a Good Girl” & that’s it for the night. And what a night it was !
We go downstairs to meet Julia & Nadine before we all go up to the after show. (A little secret; i struggled with those stairs this time. My energy levels were depleted, even though i watched the show from seating). Damn that place was super busy as well ! Fortunately, Rob spotted a couple of settees that were available so we went there. It was all catching up with me tbh. Whilst sat there, Cass made his way over & sat on the back of settee whilst we had quite a deep chat (It’s the first time all the Skunk people have seen me since the proverbial shit hit the fan). As ever, he was charmed away by some young lady with drinks ๐Ÿ˜‰ But for me, we had a nice catch up. Eventually, i decide i’ve had enough & we try make our way through the throng. Skin is holding court with the Italians again & we continue by.( Julia later on ” Simon i’m impressed you passed by her” ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I quickly had to have a word with Ace, to thank him for arranging the day. Final photo of the day/night was this :ย DSC09283

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

PJ Harvey, Brixton Academy 30-10-16

Scans0742ย DSC08453

Don’t think i’ve seen PJ since the Troxy show from back in 2011, so looking forward to this one. Couldn’t believe it, when on the train, my old mate Andy & his missus Nina, were sat along side me! We had a good old catch up. Unfortunately, the train got delayed & it looked like we’d miss our connection in Grantham (7mins to switch). As we came into Grantham, running along another line was the train we needed (it too had been delayed). We knew it would be close as had to go up steps & over to other platform. Literally, as we got on other platform, they shut the doors! Queue loads of angry folks ! This meant we had to wait another hour for next connection. I’d previously arranged to meet Rob & Kristina & told them of delay. We met up in KingsX then went to The Joint in Brixton for food (Another great little place that Rob found). Afterwards, Kristina kindly took my bag back to Robs place whilst we went to venue. The queue was small compared to previous times. Not that it mattered as i was using the “Disabled+companion ticket” option. Due to a small cock up, we were slowed down on entry,but still managed front row seats in balcony. Unfortunately, there was no support act so it was a long wait before PJ came on. Had to make use of the O2 offer of 2 for 1 drinks ๐Ÿ™‚ย IMG-20161030-WA0001ย This new PJ show is totally different to previous ones. It’s a “big” show with about 10 musicians on stage. I’m usually on the front row of the stalls,but this time, it’s front row of balcony. It’s pretty cool from this viewpoint actually as can take in the expanse of the show. It eventually (no support act tonight) starts with all the musicians slowly walking onto stage whilst playing “Chain Of Keys”. It’s almost like a funeral march as they snake around the stage to their respective positions. Afterwards, PJ holds her saxophone aloft as she moves to the front of the stage & they then go into “The Ministry Of Defense”. The “backdrop” is a bit strange. It just looks like a bunch of blocks & kind of reminds me of Penrose stairs. (But i doubt that was what they were intending to project).DSC08459ย Tonights show is dominated by selections from “The Hope Six Demolition Project”. But we also get cursory glances to “White Chalk” & “Is This Desire”. There were some great moments tonight. I loved the version of “The Words That Maketh Murder”. The hand claps from the guys onstage & their singing in unison was very cool. Loved it when PJ sang the line ” What if i take my problem to the United Nations?” whilst seemingly asking this question to the guys up there & flitting between who she directed it to & getting no response. ( Am i over analyzing it? Or have i already become totally engrossed in tonights performance? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Towards the end of the set we got some of the old classics like ” 50ft Queenie” , “Down By The Water” & “To Bring You My Love”. With all the musicians up there, the songs sounded quite different. For instance, during “50ft Queenie” it sounded like a “scream” at one point where the saxophone was played. As is always the case, it’s this song where PJ is the most animated.
“Down By The Water” is started by a single violin. We had no idea what would be played tbh. But once PJ sang the immortal line ” I lost my Heart..” we twigged on & there was rapturous applause. Loved the “swimming” movements from her on that one.

Next up it’s ” To Bring You My Love” & the main set is then finished with ” River Anacostia “. During “River Anacostia”, the various musicians joined PJ at the front singing along acapella. Quite a magical moment.DSC08479
The encore is an old favourite; a cover of Dylans ” Highway 61 Revisited “.
Tonights show was a BIG show. Could go as far as saying it’s theatrical even. Whilst PJ in the past has never had much interaction between her & the crowd, tonight it’s even less. Just the occasional “Thank You” is all we get. It certainly makes you focus on the music/show. What i still find amazing about Miss Polly Jean Harvey, after all these years, she is still a unique artiste.

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Clutch , Bombus, Greenleaf, Brixton Academy, 12-12-15

Scans0588DSC06454ย Originally, i was meant to be seeing ” Hey Hello” today, in Sheffield. However, it got cancelled due to Ginger Wildhearts illness. Nowadays, i’m finding it harder & harder to just stay in at weekends, getting tired of my own company, so was on the look out for a “replacement gig “. There were a couple of options : 1. Ash/Amorettes Norwich, 2. Clutch Brixton, 3. New Model Army Rock City, 4. Def Leppard/Whitesnake/ Black Star Riders Nottingham (on 13th). As much as i love Ash & the Amorettes made it even better value, i decided on going to London for Clutch. I met up with Kristina for a late lunch “like the old days”. Rob arrived later & i gave him the Garbage CD i’d got from Japan for him. They then went to another pub, whilst i went to Brixton. I wasn’t expecting for it to be too busy early on (especially after seeing how quiet it was before the recent gig in Nottingham), but was truly shocked to find just one chap waiting around ! As Elliot said, almost made you wonder if people realised the venue had been changed from Shepherds Bush Empire to Brixton ! ( SBE has cancelled gigs till the end of the year as they found structural problems with the balcony !)After a while Jim arrived, closely followed by Carl & Lisa. Great seeing them again & i realised this would be the first time i join them on front row ๐Ÿ˜‰ Typically, the hand scanner didn’t work on my ticket, so was slowed down a little getting in. No worries though as got the spot i wanted. The first band on were “Greenleaf” & were new to me. Lisa & Carl told me a bit about them as they’d seen them a few times on the tour ๐Ÿ˜‰ In fact, they had even put them on guest list tonight :-). They were pretty decent live band. From Sweden & it was soon apparent their inspiration (like many bands from Sweden) stems from ’80s metal. I enjoyed them a lot.ย DSC06460Next it was “Bombus”. Another bunch of metalheads from Sweden ! These are pretty heavy, especially as there are multiple “singers” amongst them ๐Ÿ™‚ They get a great reaction from the crowd.ย DSC06470Finally time for the mighty Clutch. The crowd had swelled a lot, as had the amount of drunks behind us ! ( “I’m sure that pint will end up down my back” ) They started with ” X Ray Visions / Firebirds” & it was soon obvious they were impressed with the turn out tonight ; ย ” It’s a shame about Shepherds Bush, but every cloud…”. ย They also thanked the Brixton crew, who should have had a night off tonight ๐Ÿ˜‰

This was a truly great night from Clutch & what a way to finish their tour & their biggest venue in the UK so far.ย DSC06480

I caught you in there Lisa & Carl ๐Ÿ˜‰

Said quick goodbyes to my friends & was back on the tube to Cockfosters & the 2 hour drive home that followed. About half way home, i just felt hungry, so at about 2 am i was sat in McDonalds ! Later that day i was due to go out for lunch with my mum & i over slept! I was up & outa my place in about 10mins, so breakfast this morning was at the Chinese ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. The last couple of shows i’ve seen at Brixton, someone came along the front row, handed out a clapperboard type thing & took photos to go on Brixton academys website. I had “dressed up” especially & it didn’t happen this night. Anyways, here’s what i was wearing ๐Ÿ˜‰

20151213_231201

 

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Judas Priest + Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock, Brixton Academy 1-12-15

Scans05832015.12.01 Priest Brixton

I got to London nice n early, went to the Beehive for grub & then went to queue at the Academy, 3 hours before doors opened ๐Ÿ˜‰ My mate Jim turned up later, as did his mate Nick. O2 Priority is useful ๐Ÿ™‚ I got front row on the left side, exactly where i wanted to be. Michael Schenkers Temple Of Rock were great, but, their set was way too short. I think probably about 7 songs & around 45mins. But Schenker was on fire. It’s great to see him looking so into the show & smiles all around.

Just the intro of “War Pigs” as enough to set the tone for Priest ! The crowd were so bloody loud singing along. They started with “Battle Cry” & then straight into “Dragonaut” off the latest album. (There were 2 more played tonight off “Redeemer Of Souls”), then bam ! It’s “Metal Gods”. So many Priest classics were played tonight. Rob Halford was spot on with his vocal delivery….something that cannot be said of some previous tours, where it was patchy. The “new” guy Richie brings so much energy & enthusiasm to the show. He fits so well in Priest. Strangely, i felt it was during “Turbo Lover” when the crowd got really rowdy. There was a lot of pushing around (even though it might not be that noticeable from my video). was great ๐Ÿ™‚

When a band is this on & playing to such an up for it audience, there’s nothing can beat this. The show has just took second spot in my “best gigs of the year”. (Garbage @ Paris is number one) For sure i will see them again on the next tour, whenever that is.

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Korn, Snot, Sunflower Dead, Brixton Academy 16-7-15

008962015-07-16 14.37.26

 

I met up with Jim & we had a curry at the Wetherspoons. We then queued for a few hours. When is the O2 priority queue not the O2 priority queue ? lol. Shouldn’t judge, but there were a couple of right piss heads. Was amazed that security let one in when he smashed a bottle (after he’d already told him to calm down & stay off the road numerous times) Doubted we’d get front row & we didn’t.ย Hung at the first barrier back on the right. Sunflower Dead were pretty boring generic stuff. Snot were better & their cover of ” Hit the Lights” was very good. There was a long wait before Korn came on, seemed to be technical problems on the left side. As soon as they were on, the place was like a war zone. I’ve been in that position before, but never experienced a crowd like that. It was crazy good ๐Ÿ™‚ Hardly worth me **attempting** to film anything cos getting a battering most of the time. Really enjoyed Korns show,but, i think i preferred it when they played with Slipknot earlier in the year. But cannot argue with the setlist ๐Ÿ™‚ Had a shit awful drive home. Could see the sheet lightning in the distance & once on the A1, all the way to Stevenage, the skies just opened. Couldn’t see a thing & was down to 20mph. Was half expecting Noah to go by in his Ark! But whatever, it was all worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

DSC04527 DSC04526

The squealing girlie cracks me up…but it was mental down there ๐Ÿ˜‰

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+