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 🙂
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 😉 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 🙁
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”
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.
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 🙂 As we were stood there, who should come walking towards us from the venue ? Tracey & Missy ! Perfect timing 🙂 (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 😉 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 🙂
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 & ERICA
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 🙂
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 😉 Was interesting to see how they were gonna shake it up a bit. Especially surprising was the position of “..Barbarian..” in the set.
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 😉
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 😉
“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 🙂
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 🙂
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 !
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 🙂
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 😉 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 😉 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 😉
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 😉
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. The 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 🙂 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 🙂
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 🙂
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 😉
Got down London early afternoon. Visited the usual places which obviously included The Montague Pyke 😉 The weather was pretty rubbish with intermittent 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 ? 😉 ). 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 😉 ( 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 !
This was a last minute thing. When i go to Camden Rocks all dayer,i go down to Robs on the Friday so we can have an early start. Rob had an extra ticket for Rise Against & he offered it to me. I’m still unsure if i’ve seen them before or not (maybe at a festival or support act?) but thought it was worth a punt even if just to check out how they’ve refurbished The Garage. Rob also contacted The Garage about early entry & a seat for me. Most appreciated 😉
Before i set off from Boston, it was a glorious sunny day. Hell, i even wore my shorts, which is a rarity (sorry if i scarred anyone lol). As i got closer to London, the clouds got darker & could see what was gonna happen 😉 By time i got to Stratford, it was absolutely chucking it down. So much so, that i deliberately missed a couple of buses to keep out of it ! Eventually it slowed down a bit so grabbed a bus to Robs place. Kristina was there to greet me. We had a bit of a catch up & then i was on my way to Islington to meet Rob at “The Famous Cock” ! It was so warm that he was having his pint outside 🙂 After a while, we went across road to the Garage. Already a reasonable sized queue for this sold out gig. Rob had a word with security & everything was in place with regards to my seat & early entry. I’ve got to say, the main guy we dealt with was polite & did his job very well. As we had time to kill, we went next door to the “new” sister venue, “The General Store”. It was rather quiet in there,but nice & relaxed. I noticed this on the table next to ours
Soon it was time to get in the venue. It all ran smoothly. Only slight problem was where the security chap placed my chair. There’s a few steps up to the raised area/bar. There’s a handrail in the middle of the steps. He put chair behind said hand rail. I knew this wouldn’t work very well 🙂 So i moved it to behind the mixing desk. Admittedly, if i was sat down, i wouldn’t see a thing, but i planned to stand up for most of the show & the chair was a backup for when i got tired.
The venue soon filled out. I’d never seen the support act, “Milk Teeth” , before tonight. They were quite entertaining, but it was pretty obvious everyone was here for the headliners. This is the last song of their set.
So to the main act ; Rise Against. As i previously said, i don’t know much about them. But i realise they usually play bigger venues than this one & it sold out very quickly. I guess it was part of promoting their new album ” Wolves “. They certainly did rock tonight. There were a couple of songs i recognised, which surprised me !
The show was pretty much full on from the start & the only time for a breather was when the vocalist Tim McIlrath did 3 acoustic songs. He dedicated “Swing Life Away” to Chris Cornell, who recently passed away. He also dedicated “People Live Here” to the people of Manchester who had recently suffered from the attrocity of a terrorist.
Tonight the crowd were great. Often singing louder than the band. It was impressive.
During the last song, the crowd kept security busy as quite a few crowd surfed to the front.
Finally i’m pleased to say that the refurbishment of The Garage is generally quite good & there’s a good chance i’d attend another show there. (Unlike The Borderline which i consider disabled unfriendly)
Last night was a late one, so i was pleased my train too London wasn’t so early. Journey went well & i was soon at Hotel Rob where Kristina greeted me. After a while we set off to Shepherds Bush where we’d meet Rob for pre-gig food/drinks. Jim also joined us. At the venue, there was quite a queue of young uns waiting in line. Fortunately we needed to collect tix from the box office as they held both mine & my “carers” ticket there. We went through side door & waited in a tiny room with about 8 more people. Tonight i was trying the balcony for the first time. I hoped to get a seat on front row,either side. Eventually we all piled into the lift & once up there we were told to go back downstairs ! Reason? PVRIS were doing a M&G in the bar area where we needed to walk through. After a few minutes we once again went up in the rickaty old lift. Started walking through the bar & AGAIN were told to leave ! This time we just waited other side of the door. Eventually we got in & too my disapointment, both sides were totally reserved (assume friends/family & industry peeps). The first row had been took by the M&G peeps already. I thought 2nd row would still be decent view…until some big chap turned up directly in front of me. Live n learn i guess !
The opening band “Pr/des” were pretty bland to me (that’s being nice). Just couldn’t get into them as there wasn’t anything that stood out by them.
PVRIS were their usual selves ; a great little pop rock band. Kicking off with the great singalong song ” You & I “, they set the scene for the evenings entertainment. Sometimes, it’s quite amazing how loud a small audience like this can be. Next we get “Fire”. This really shows what a great vocalist Lynn is. “Mirrors” brings the customary arms waving in the crowd. Lynn has a wee chat to the crowd & things get interesting when they play a couple of songs “stripped”. Just Lynn & Alex up there.
After a stripped version of ” Ghosts “, the rest of the band come back & they play “Smoke”. It’s all quality stuff. Then it’s the real shocker; a NEW song ! It’s called ” Half “. I’ll probably upload it later (quality isn’t great 🙁 ) Oh i thought the old style “street lighting” was different 🙂
The last 2 songs of the night are “Eyelids” & “St Patrick”
Of course, that cannot be all….they encore with “Heaven” & a rousing version of ” My House ” (They always sem to finish with that one). As on previous tours, it was a short set of about 12 songs. Hopefully, when they return later in the year, they’ll flesh out the set as there will be 2 albums to take songs from 😉
Afterwards, we went back to Brewdog when we met a slightly drunk Rob 😉 Stayed there a while with a couple of others. Lack of sleep was catching up with me & i couldn’t wait to get back to Hotel Rob. Had a decent nights sleep & was on my way back home around 1pm.
A while back i thought to myself “Next time i’m in London, i wanna visit The Shard”. Originally was gonna do this with Eva, but her studies kept her away. As luck would have it, another friend, Anette, was coming over from Norway to see the VMs, so we arranged to meet up & do the Shard. (Good thing also was that Eva would be at the Tunbridge Wells gig following day, so we still get that long overdue meet up)
Typically, my train was slightly delayed. Always happens with Hull Trains ! Whilst it was tight, still got to Shard only about 5mins late. Anette & Marco were waiting for me.
My ticket was a bargain at only £ 11.95 for myself & a carer (Would normally be £21.95). It was quite surprising how quick the lift shot up to level 69. After a while there, we went up to level 72 which is more open to the elements. We got lucky with the weather & saw some great views. For sure i’ll visit there again 🙂
We then went for a quick drink in the nearby “Bunch Of Grapes ” bar. Time was getting on & Marco had to leave, so, myself & Anette headed towards the city centre nearer to The Borderline. Had a quick look & there were a couple of people already queued up ! The guy thought he’d got the wrong place till we confirmed he was correct….if a tad early 😉 We then went to my usual stomping ground ; The Montague Pyke. It was very busy. Finally, we went & met up with Rob at The Royal George. Me? At 3 different pubs in one day? With my reputation? 😉
There was a decent queue forming at The Borderline, amongst which were a few of the “VMs family”. But as it was my first time going into the referbed Borderline, i needed to get sorted out with security etc. They were very helpful on the doors & we were soon inside. I couldn’t hardly believe how they’d changed the venue. Yes, it had got a bit shabby over the years so was really in need of a lick of paint. But i didn’t understand how they would take away the raised area & have a totally flat floor. (Well, i did actually as it probably increases the capacity of the venue). If you’re in a wheel chair, i’d advise you to not bother visiting this venue. I had a seat which they’d originally placed on that flat floor on the right. Ridiculous ! Didn’t want to see the backs of the crowd. I moved it to the only place where it was slightly higher, but a pillar partially blocked the view.
I’d never seen The Hyena Kill before tonight,so was interested to see how they’d be. There’s no denying they were both giving it their all. But with a combination of poor viewing & a rough sound i wasn’t very impressed . Sorry. (Maybe it’ll be better tomorrow night in Tunbridge Wells?)
During the course of the night i met a bunch of the VMs family including Eric, Sonia, Andy, Jill & Jim. Still yet to meet/chat with both Glyn & Jody who were also there. Sure it will happen in the future 🙂
The venue got quite busy & i noticed a couple of “Tourists” (A phrase i picked up from Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. At their gigs, if there was someone who didn’t look like a typical Twisted Sister fan, he’d call them “Tourists”. Most times, by the end of the set they were either “converted” or left early haha). I think they were just there to get drunk etc.
As previously on the tour, Virginmarys kicked off with “Dead Mans Shoes” before going straight into “Halo In Her Silhouette”. The crowd was into the show straight away. As the VMs played pretty much the same set each night, i won’t bother listing every song.
Ally introduced the next song by saying “We are Virginmarys from the North !”. He had a right smile on his face whilst saying that. He’s proud of his roots for sure 🙂
The more i hear “Sweet Loretta” in the live enviroment, the more i love the song. In fact, all the new songs sound great.
After “Running For My Life “, we got a bonus song tonight, namely, “Push The Pedal”
Sometime during the night, it kinda kicked off a bit in the crowd (the “tourists”? ). Also , during “Ends Don’t Mend” (i think) someone got a little over excited & stumbled onto the stage. He was a BIG mofo, but wee Gareth aka “Azda”, soon saw it & totally owned the guy getting him off stage promtly ! Respect to you sir 🙂
We’re now at encore time & they come back playing the usual finish of “Motherless Land” & “Bang Bang Bang”. Before BBB, Ally has a little rant about Trump & Brexit also saying that “…we wanna spread some love. Don’t let them fuckers win!”. He asks if everyone has enjoyed themselves & says they’ll return if we do. Of course we will mate. He also asks if we thought the night was worth £12.50 (what a fookin bargain in this day & age when some bands want £100 to see em i a stadium & you’d end up watching the tv screens) then please buy a t-shirt or other merch. I think many people don’t realise how important it is to support the band this way, as they’re certainly not “well off” & the passion for their art will only take them so far.
Afterwards, the security are quick to try get everyone out of the venue. I honestly didn’t understand that because, as far as i’m aware, there was no “club night” afterwards & it probably lost the VMs sales of their merch. We said our goodbyes & went for a swift drink in Montague Pyke again before going back to Robs.
Overall, a great day/night but i doubt i’ll visit Borderline again due to sight lines & the lighting in there.
Tomorrow we’re off to Tunbridge Wells 🙂
Went down London a day before gig to meet up with some old school Skunk friends. (As ever, i stayed at “Hotel Rob” 😉 ) Had a nice meal at Belgo, Soho. Great to catch up & as it wasn’t gig day, it was all nice & relaxed. 🙂Faiz 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 🙂 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” 😉 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 😉 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).
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 🙂 Also 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. 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 😉
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)
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 😉 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: 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 🙂
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…
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 😉
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 Don’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.
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 😉 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” 😉 ) I quickly had to have a word with Ace, to thank him for arranging the day. Final photo of the day/night was this :
Another long night. Some people love their craft so much, that they even take it too bed with them 😉
(Sorry Tess, i just couldn’t resist the opportunity)
It was quite hilarious when Rob came into the room. Tess was fast asleep & Rob made her jump & wake. No doubt there was the milliseconds of thoughts ” Where am i ? Who is that “? etc. We both totally cracked up ! (Soz again Tess). Good lad that Rob is, he gave her another hour before getting up 😉
The other night we were so impressed with “Flat Iron” in Shoreditch that we decided to try another branch, this time in Denmark street. We both bloody loved it 🙂We then left for Shepherds Bush. Once there, we pretty much went straight to the pub ! 😉
Whilst there, we noticed a few police cars zipping by & then the next thing they’d blocked off the road so cars couldn’t go down Shepherds Bush Green (the road directly outside the Empire). They even closed the Underground station. Never did find out what happened. Probably a security scare. But of course it will have messed up some punters travels. When Rob arrived he said he didn’t know anything about station being closed etc. We left Tess in the pub as it was time for us to go in. We actually went in through side/stage door. All smooth & got the position i wanted. Later on, Tess & Nick joined us there.
Wasn’t impressed with Peter Murphy ( ex Bauhaus). Honestly, for myself, it was just dire ! Little or no interaction with the crowd & just boring. Sorry.
Soon enough it was time for The Mission. The good old intro from the ’80s is still being used & they go straight into ” Beyond The Pale”. It’s quickly followed by a real classic “Serpents Kiss”. I’ve already noticed that Mr Hussey doesn’t seem quite on point & he confirms he has in fact got a cold before ” Like a Hurricane”
We’re then brought up to date with their first selection off the latest album ” Another Fall From Grace “, it’s “Tyranny Of Secrets”.
Next there’s a couple of old classics “Naked & Savage” & ” Garden Of Delight”. Interestingly, before “Like A Child Again”, Wayne asks how many people are actually from London. The audience is pretty quiet ! Seems we all travel for The Mission shows 🙂
I dunno why,but tonight i’m just not feeling it, despite the fact it’s a decentish gig. Maybe it’s cos i’ve had 3 gigs in 3 days & i’m just not as fit as i used to be (related to my illness) ? Probably doesn’t help i’ve got some inconsiderate woman behind me who’s coughing & spluttering all through the show. Should have at least put her hand to her mouth to cover it.
I also noticed that Tess didn’t seem too comfortable (not with this woman,just an overall experience). I’d got her to play around with the settings on my camera to try make her feel more “at home” in the environment, but unsure if it worked.
We stay for the first encore, but i’m getting bored & weary tbh. Say goodbyes to Tess & myself & Rob leave early.
So, to sum up the last few days; it involved a lot of travel & “some ups & downs”. Great company & some killer food. Of the bands i saw, Royal Republic were easily the one i enjoyed the most. The energy levels were just great & it was all about having FUN ! (Both onstage & offstage)
Today, the first thing on my mind was PANTS ! Whilst i’d brought a spare pair of trousers (which unfortunately, had a rip in the crotch area) i didn’t have spare pants. So that’s todays mission. Didn’t have enough time to check out the shops in Bristol though. Our train left at 12.30. Once in London, we needed to meet Rob so we could drop off our bags at his place. I think, due to lack of sleep, i just wasn’t on my game with finding where Rob works…even though we were nearby a few days earlier ! All worked out in the end. Once in Stratford bought the pants! After going commando in trousers with a rip in an awkward place, it was great to get fresh new ones hahaha. The day was going so fast. After Tess had shaved me (head!) we were soon off to meet Rob at the Forum. Erm, i mean the pub nearby 😉
Today was the first time i used the “companion ticket” offer for me & Tess. It worked well. Rob came to this gig because Kristina decided to zip off to Stockholm to see Amaranthe….as you do ! When security let us in, Rob winged it & managed to get in same time as us 😉 We had a good spot/view,just above the main floor.
Whilst i have got the OM&M album “Restoring Force (Full Circle), i don’t really know much about them. So this gig was more of a case of slotting in between Royal Republic & The Mission. One things for sure, i can’t be accused of just liking Metal or whatever ! But that’s the way i’ve always thought. If it’s got a good beat,interesting lyrics or most importantly it touches me & makes me listen, i don’t give a damn about the genre. So this gig is going to be all new & fresh to me.
Being totally honest, sometimes i find support acts a pain to watch. So many seem to regurgitate the same stuff. Both ” Hands Like Houses ” & ” Crown The Empire ” don’t do anything much for me. Don’t get me wrong, the kids love them & i’m sure both bands will progress over time. But i’ve seen it all before & it left me feeling “flat”.
Another thing, whilst looking at the mosh pits, i couldn’t help but think how many of this crowd are actually listening or watching the bands?
OM&M hit the stage full on with “Pain”. The crowd straight away becomes a total mess with the mosh pits. It’s not all that often i’ve seen a crowd go for it THIS much on a first song. It’s all so intense. The only downside is I think the sound is pretty poor, especially the vocal mix.
Next up is a song more familiar to me “Feels like Forever” (off the album “Restoring Force:Full Circle”) It’s one of my fave OM&M songs as is the following track “Would You Still Be There?”. I think i prefer these tracks as there’s more singing & less “shouting”. The same goes for later song “Never Giving Up”.
Going back to the earlier subject of mosh pits, there was something i noticed from my vantage point which a lot of people wouldn’t have been aware of : Security stand both sides of venue on the stairs,looking over the crowd. They were very quick & proficient at spotting someone who totally went down. Respect to them for getting in there & taking the bloke out.
When the band came back for the encore, Austin got the crowd to squat down for the build up to ” You’re Not Alone”. How many acts now must have copied that move that Slipknot “invented” ? (Well, i assume it was Slipknot as that was first time i experienced it a few years ago)
All in all, not too bad a night. We went for a quick drink before heading back to Robs 😉
P.S. I later read online that after attempting to play the last couple of UK dates in Portsmouth & Cardiff the band cancelled the rest of the European tour as Austins health is not good. https://www.instagram.com/p/BLbtme2BSgd/
Wishing him all the best for a quick recovery.