I took my train down to London around midday. Only took about an hour. Today, it felt like “The Gods Of Rock” were with me all the way ! Why ? Well because it seemed that every tube/bus i took down there, id get to whatever station & didn’t have to wait at all for any transport ; it was always there ! A very smooth journey to “Hotel Rob”. Of course, i’d pre-booked my stay 😉
Kristina had took the day off work, so she was there to greet me once i arrived. We had a bit of a natter & i mentioned how my old friend Kevin (from USA) was in town & he wanted to meet us & go see Marmozets. But of course it was sold out 🙁 I ‘d happened to see someone was selling a couple of tickets on the event page which was on Facebook. I sent him the link, but he couldn’t work out how to use it. Kristina then got her laptop out to try see if the tix were still available. There was one left! So she contacted the lass to see about purchasing it. As she was doing that, i got a msg from Kevin saying he’d contacted her & would meet her at the venue to by the ticket. Job done !
After a while myself & Kristina went into the city to have some food & meet up with Kevin. As the venue was so close to Montague Pyke, we just had to go there 😉 Once there, i sent a msg to Kevin & he said he’d be there soon. After about an hour waiting, i wondered if he’d got lost. I jokingly said to Kristina “He’s probably gone to the wrong place & ended up in Shepherds Bush or something !”.
When Kevin did arrive, he said “It took a bit longer that i thought it would, as i was coming from Shepherds Bush”. Kristina & myself just looked at each other & cracked up laughing! You couldn’t have made it up! Of course, Kevin was wondering what we were laughing about, so we explained 🙂
After a catch up we made our way to the area where ULU venue is. Nearby, we met Rob at….you guessed it, a PUB 😉 We all had a natter for a while before we made our way to ULU. Tonight Rob wasn’t seeing Marmozets as he chose to see Alien Ant Farm instead.
As is the norm nowadays, i’d prearranged to have a seat in the balcony. Having never been to this venue before, i didn’t know what to expect. I managed to get on the front row so had a great view of everything. There was something like plexiglass running along the front of the balcony. I wondered how my camera would cope trying to take photos etc. (Oh yes, talking about the balcony, Kristina had a stalls/standing ticket & i tried emailing the venue to see if she could change it for a balcony ticket. But they never replied 🙁 Even more stranger; the ticket Kevin had was supposedly a balcony ticket,yet security wouldn’t let him go up to the balcony! Go figure…But i think in the end, as they managed to get front row downstairs, they both enjoyed it more than they would in the balcony)
Tonight the opening band was “Queen Zee”. Never have liked them! So was wishing for Marmozets to get on stage 😉
Once again, the Marmozets played the same set. There was a lot of energy in that room. As much as i don’t like to say it, i thought the audience tonight were the loudest & best of the 4 shows i was seeing on this tour. (I’ve often thought that London audiences don’t rock as much as audiences in other parts of the UK ! Why? Well because they’re “spoilt”. I mean, if a band is gonna play a one off show, chances are it will be London & nowhere else! I suppose it’s down to which band is playing, but i think London audiences can be a bit blasé)
Tonight i saw something which I’ve never seen before. As the band started playing “Run With The Rhythm” a few people towards the back of the main floor, sat down & started rowing! Then a bunch more did the same ! Dunno why they did it as it’s nothing to do with the song being played, but was both bizarre & hilarious to see ! (I’ll probably upload the clip when i get a chance to)
When the show had finished, i went downstairs to meet Kevin & Kristina. We didn’t hang around long. Outside we said our goodbyes as Kevin was taking a different tube than we were.
Once again, the tubes were always there as we got to them! When we got to Stratford, whilst walking down the stairs to get out, i got a tap on my shoulder & it was Rob! Talk about perfect timing lol
After a great gig/experience in Nottingham, i was really looking forward to this one. Originally, Eva was going to join me, but due to her work place being short staffed, she had to cancel (more than one gig). As i’d booked an earlier train than usual, i had to spend more time in London as there wouldn’t be anyone home at “Hotel Rob” till later in the afternoon. So i went to the usual places like FOPP etc to kill time. Eventually it was time to travel to Stratford to drop of my bag. Had a quick chat with Kristina & then i was off to Islington.
As is the norm nowadays, i’d pre-arranged getting a seat & hoped i’d be up in the balcony. Once i got to the Academy, everything went down hill 🙁
“Why?” You ask. All down to one jumped up, power hungry, “I’m so important” security guy ! (From now on he will be called “Mr Dickhead”)
As per usual, i explained to him how i’d phoned to arranged seat early entry etc. Firstly, he told me to go join the queue. After a while, i got tired & sat down on the floor. Mr Dickhead was walking back n forth along the queue & when he got to me, he had a slight change of attitude ; ” Are you ok?”. My reply was “Well given the circumstances, i suppose it’s as good as it can be”. He then said something really weird “….you’re looking at me like i’m something strange ..” (or words to that effect). I think maybe his few brain cells got confused & he thought i was drunk or on drugs & he was hoping to get some brownie points! At this point, there were many things i would have liked to have said to him. But i didn’t because he was so up himself that i know if i “upset” him, he probably wouldn’t have let me in the venue. Then he came out with something else which i thought was very demeaning towards me…(& everyone nearby heard him say it) “….you realise this is a standing CONCERT you’re going to…”. Once again, there’s so much i could have said, but again i kept my mouth shut. ( Now I’m sure some of you, like myself, will be thinking “As id arranged a seat for the gig, surely this caring (not!) Mr Dickhead would be able to put 2 & 2 together & realise i might ALREADY need a seat outside in this queue “. But no he didn’t.)
Eventually the doors opened & someone walked me through to the disabled area. Looking towards the stage, it was on the right side.It was a very oblique angle of viewing. All it needed was for some tall guy standing at the barrier & there would be not hardly any viewing of the stage. I asked if i could go upstairs, but i couldn’t as they’d not opened it. Shame on you London for not selling enough tickets to open the balcony. Nottingham had already kicked your ass before a band even got on stage ! 😉 So i had to make do with this rubbish position…. oh yeah, it had the added bonus of people walking by a lot to get backstage & also a (different) security guy in the area.
Anyone who checks out this webpage of mine will know i like to take a few photos & video clips of the show. Tonight it was a bit of a dilemma. Crappy angle to the stage & security stood new by. During “Degreed”, i took a couple of pics to see if there was any reaction from the security near me.
It wasn’t until about half way through H.E.A.T.s set, that i attempted any filming. I had to catch Eriks crowd surf to the bar 🙂
What little i did film, was barely worth it as i had no vantage point to shoot from…& i’m also a short arse 🙂
Can’t really say i enjoyed the night, for obvious reasons. It got to the point of wanting it to just finish !
After this shitty experience i very much doubt i’ll go to this venue again unless i’m sure the balcony is open. When i pay money to see a gig, i expect to be able to SEE the gig !! P.S. Would be an added bonus if Mr Dickhead wasn’t there also 😉
P.P.S. Even without all the fiasco, Nottingham had already kicked Londons asses 😉
Originally, i’d planned to go see Placebo @ Brixton & then a couple of days later see Marmozets also in London. It seemed pointless & not cost effective to go back n forth to Boston a couple of times, so i was gonna stay at Hotel Rob for 3 days. I was umming & arring about if i should go see Metallica between the 2 shows or not. I don’t really like the O2 Arena as it’s just too ‘kin big ! In the end, i decided that as Metallica were playing “in the round” (i.e. Middle of the floor) i’d give it a punt. There were not many tickets still available, but thought it might be ok as it’s in the round.
Myself & Kristina made our way to the O2. Rob was gonna join later when he’d finished work.As we came up out of the tube, the station had a couple of signs which were quite cool :
I knew my seat would be in the corner & reasonably high up, but what a didn’t realise was that as it was an access point below. What i thought would be 16 rows up, ended up with having just one row in front of me ! It was a great view point.(Just two seats to the left & it would have been a rubbish view) For a while, there were some empty seats directly in front of me. I just hoped no “big” people would sit there. (When i say big, i mean tall 😉 ) I was quite surprised no one came to those seats during “Kvelertak”. Then i started thinking “They’re probably on the piss & will come sit there totally drunk”. Once again, i had another bit of luck : A couple of guys came to those seats. Whilst i don’t think they were drunk, one of them was so big (I mean fat now lol) he struggled to fit in the seat ! After sitting there a couple of minutes, they both got up & walked off….& never came back ! Hows that for luck? I’ve now got a perfect view point 🙂 It was interesting to see the set up for the cameras that were down below. Seem like a mini TV studio !
I thought to myself “This is just too good a position to not try filming a lot of the show”. So i had a good go at it 😉
Things start with the old intro & they go straight into the first 2 songs off the latest album “Hardwired To Self Destruct”, namely “Hardwired” & “Atlas Arise”. After those, James says “Metallica feels very welcomed & loved by the London Metallica family ! So tonight, let’s take it to another level huh? We’re gonna play new songs, but now… old stuff !” They play the classic “Seek & Destroy”. There’s some great crowd interaction on the “whoa-o whoa-o whoa-o” parts. Damn, we’re only 3 songs in & it’s just an amazing night already (Btw, i think Hardwired is a great album !).
(Please note, whilst the audio from my camera is rather good, a friend synced up the soundboard audio to “Seek & Destroy”)
James then quietly teases us ” More old stuff?” Hell yeah we’ll have that ! So next up is the super heavy “Leper Messiah”
Staying with the classic “Master Of Puppets” album, we then get my fave song from that album,”Fade To Black”.
James mentions that the Sunday show set the highest attendance at the O2 ever & asks us “I hope everybody can hear everything all right? What about you way up there?” *queue huge cheers* “London ! Are you alive? You know if you wanna live forever, first you must die”! I then notice there’s what looks like 4 boxes on the stage. We then get a couple more from the “Hardwired” album “Now That We’re Dead” & “Confusion”. During “Now That..” all the guys get drumsticks & start playing the said boxes.(On closer inspection, they seem to have 4 drum pads on them) That’s certainly different.
Next we get what’s probably my 2nd fave Metallica song ; “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. It’s heavy as fuck. Bloody love it 😉
Next another new one “Halo On Fire”. That’s followed by Rob & Kirk having a bit of fun jamming.They do parts of “Phantom Of The Opera Jam” (Which got off to a false start as Kirk had only learnt/jammed it earlier that day) “Ace Of Spades” (much better 😉 )
“Before we go any further…I’ve Got Something To Say”. A Cool version of “Last Caress” which goes into the early song “Creeping Death”. During “Creepin..” there were a couple of pissed up lads near me & they noticed i was filming the song. They got all gobby & totally out of time attempting to sing a long or maybe trying to ruin the sound of my recording? So there you go guys, your 10 seconds of fame, now fuck off ! (It’s a funny coincidence that after the song, James says how everyone wants to be famous nowadays 😉 ) He then dedicates “Moth Into Flame” to Amy Winehouse. During this song, a whole load of drones came out & were hovering/circling above the band/stage. (After the gig, my mate Rob, who was on the other side of the arena, said one of them went haywire & crashed into the crowd ! )
After Moths, James seemed to talk to the crowd for quite a long time (Maybe there were technical problems? I dunno). One of the questions he asked was “How many people here tonight, is it your first Metallica experience?”. I was amazed at how many newbies lifted their hands. “It doesn’t mater what took you so long…it really doesn’t….you’re here now!” He followed that with “How many here have seen us one, twice, a hundred times?” *Loads oh raised hands* He also said “Technically, i haven’t really see us so i cant raise my hand”. Nice & humble self-deprecation 😉 This is probably the longest time I’ve ever seen James talk to the crowd. He talks with someone who’s pregnant & then to a couple of kiddies. It’s quite funny hows he’s going on. It must have over 4 mins of chatter! Finally, he asks the question ” London, do you like your music heavy ?!? Metallica gives you heavy !” They then chug along with “Sad But True”.
Pretty much all the way through this, the boxes hanging from the lighting truss are going up & down. Oops! just realised i forgot to mention those earlier ! Basically the boxes sometimes have images projected onto them & they also have lights on them. It’s a cool idea & i think it works really well. Now where was i ? Oh yeah, thats it, they finish the song with James being the last one on stage making his guitar scream…
Soon it’s encore time. There were a couple of small guitar mess ups as “One” started up, but it still was good. They went straight into “Master Of Puppets” after that. I Love the classic old Metallica 🙂 (It’s hard to believe that when i saw them on the Puppets tour at Sheffield city hall, back in ’86, there were not many people there)
Next, we’re in for a real treat : the live debut of “Spit Out The Bone”
It’s great that they’re changing up the setlists at different venues. I wish more bands would do this.
They all leave the stage for a short time. Kirk is the first one back & he starts the intro to “Nothing Else Matters”. James then comes up & joins in with the harmony guitars. Cracking stuff. Once it ends, it then meanders into the last song of the night “Enter Sandman”. Fuckin brilliant. Metallica at the top of their game.
Even though i’m not a fan of huge venues,tonight, somehow it didn’t feel as big as it actually was. I loved every aspect of the show. I’d probably even say it was in my top 3 gigs I’ve seen this year. I think something that really helped was that they were playing in the round. In theory, wherever you were sat, you’d get a good view. After it all finished, i met up with Rob & Kristina for the journey back to “Hotel Rob”. The following day i decided to come back home to Boston (seeing as the other gig i was meant to be seeing had got cancelled, there was no point in staying down London another day/night)
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 seem 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.