HALESTORM , Avatar , Rews , O2 academy, Brixton, 28-9-18

Back tracking a little bit…When i purchased the M&G package for Sheffield, there was a link for downloading the photos that were took with the band. Somehow, it didn’t seem to work 🙁 So i tried to contact Judy via FB. Pretty much at the same time, she emailed me saying “I actually wanted to reach out to you to see if you were coming to anymore shows, Brixton if I remember correctly, and wanted to see if you could come out to that M&G(free, of course) and let’s redo the group photo and make it a nice one worth framing, ehh?”. Yeah, i’m up for that ! A bit later, i found out that she wasn’t happy with the photos she took that night & was going to offer anyone else who was there a free M&G on the next tour. So this worked out fine for doing it again in Brixton.
Rob was meant to be going to tonight’s gig, but also today he was having an operation on his wrist.I had my doubts that he’d make it to the gig, so sent a msg to him asking if he could give his ticket to Kristina so that it wouldn’t go to waste.(He told me he’d already thought of that. Great minds…) The thinking behind this is that Anette is coming over from Norway ( to do a kind of interview with me) so maybe she could use said ticket. Oh yeah, Kristina had also managed to work it out with Judy that Rob could join for the M&G. So if he couldn’t make it, then obviously Anette could do it.
I’d already booked my trains a while back & i left Boston quite early. As Rob would be having the op & Kristina would be at work, i realised there wasn’t a chance to drop my bag off at Hotel Rob. So i took a smaller one as i’d have to take it into the venue.I’d arranged to meet Jim at Montagu Pyke later in the day (again, why change with tradition).When i changed train at Grantham, they’d cancelled the train i was taking to London! (Hull trains!) Barstewards! Managed to get on the next one, LNER, was super lucky to get a seat ! Got to London & one of the tube lines was closed, but didn’t matter as it wasn’t as i was in a rush 😉 Also, totally unexpected, i got a msg from Jorge that he’d be in London later on & was meeting with Kitti. Said they’ll try get tix for the show. I headed to Camden market for a look around. Wasn’t as busy as i thought it would be.Then went down to Tottenham Court Road to have a wander around. Ended up at FOPP & they had an absolute bargain (which i didn’t buy,as already have it)  Had a bit more of a wander, reminiscing about the old LP/CD shops such as “Shades”. Really should have visited “Reckless Records” & “Sister Ray” but i didn’t want to wear myself out, as it was going to be a long day. I did consider going to “Flat Iron” for food, but as i was on my own & as ever, there was a wait for a table, i decided to not do it.  Eventually went to Montagu Pyke, Jim & Paul were already there 😉 I’d not met Paul before,but he knew a lot about me as Jim had told him. He’s a decent chap, with a good sense of humour. Eventually we made our way to Brixton & for a change we went to the Beehive. Time was getting on & Anette hadn’t arrived yet. Think she got there around 5pm & the M&G was for 5.30. Couldn’t believe how much luggage she’d brought with her ! ( “Just the essentials”) There was quite a few people doing the M&G, so once again, i suggested we go last. When Judy was checking off peoples names, i had a quite word with her that i’d got something for the band, so would like a couple of extra photos if poss. Going in, bags were searched, it seemed to be quite a quick M&G today. Maybe cos of the numbers? We all had a group photo, then individual photos.  Then finally a photo of me giving the band a present 🙂 I’d previously done this before when i saw them at Glasgow 2015 ( Read about it here http://www.gigaddiction.co.uk/halestorm-nothing-more-wilson-barrowlands-glasgow-scotland-6-3-15/ ).
I’d got them some marshmallows with photos of them ! The band seemed to again appreciate it & i doubt they’d last long before they were consumed (The cakes!)  Once again, huge thanks to Judy for the great photos. I hadn’t took a proper pic of the box, so took one on the train down to London haha  After the M&G we were all kicked out of the venue (as usual) & formed a queue again. Of course, if you had a bag with you, then security search it again. I still don’t get it how we can’t just stay in the venue,but gotta follow the protocols 🙂
I got a decent place on front row of balcony (well, i thought i had). As most times, i get talking with people near by. The lass next to me was moaning about how hard her life is…seemed to be making a mountain out of a mole hill…pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to cope with what I’ve been going through for the last 2 & half years 😉
Once again, “Rews” didn’t do anything for me. Seen it all before. Sorry. Sometime during the night, Jorge & Kitti came to see me. They then went to try get some seats, but i think the seats they went to were already occupied (Probably went to get merch or go for a pee!) So didn’t see them any more till briefly after the gig.
Once again, i really enjoyed “Avatar”! They’re great showmen. I even filmed one of their songs tonight

So, to the main act & what we’re all here for : Halestorm !
I think it’s great that they’re mixing the setlist up. Changing the order of songs & sometimes adding extras. I’m pretty sure it makes it more fun for the band & of course anyone who’s seeing multiple shows. Tonight they start with “Vicious”, then go straight into “Love Bites”. The screams/reaction from the crowd, when everyone realises they’re playing the classic “Love Bites” are quite amazing ! (However, i do have to say, from where i was, the sound wasn’t yet dialled in as it should be)

Next up, from their latest album “Vicious”, it’s “Skulls”. I’ve only managed to get to two shows on this tour, but I’ve noticed both times that “Skulls” goes down very well with the crowd. I’m pretty sure that for future tours, this will be kept in the setlist.
After that, they go back to the album “Into The Wildlife”. They play “I’m The Fire”. It’s a great song & really shows of Lzzys vocal prowess.
Next they play “Do Not Disturb”. Personally, i’m still a bit unsure about this one. Can’t make up my mind if it “plods along” or is “really heavy” ! Obviously, the subject matter of the lyrics is interesting though 🙂 I think it really works well on the album,especially as it’s followed by “Conflicted”, but still unsure about the live setting. Hey, maybe i just analyse stuff too much ? 😉
Lzzy then says to the audience “London, what can i get you to do? Anything ?”. “Alright London, i want you to go yeah yeah”. It’s the typical call & response. Whilst doing this, she noticed a little skirmish down the front. From where i was, it looked like a lass with a pony tail headbutted a guy. But straight after that, they seemed to hug each other. Lzzy ; “Are you alright?” “Shall we continue?”. “Now let me hear you go Hell Yeah!” Audience reacts as they should. Lzzy then steps it up a bit “Now let me hear ya say fuck yeah!!” Audience is even louder 😉 Then Lzzy finally says ” London..can i get it…can i get a A-a-a-men?” Now what i like about “Amen”,in the live setting, is how they have a jam towards the end of the song & they really extend it. You can tell they’re all having so much fun up there doing this! To think on the album the song lasts just shy of 3 minutes long, yet live, it’s getting on for 9 minutes ! Fantastic stuff 🙂
After this, it’s the irrepressible “Mz Hyde” followed by Arejays drum solo (Which as always, includes the “Big Sticks”).   They then go back to the album “Strange Case Of..” & we get “Freak Like Me”. Again, fantastic stuff 🙂 I love how fast the start is on “Uncomfortable”…straight ahead rock n roll. But also, if you listen to the lyrics, Lzzy is really making a statement. I love this new song.
Next it’s a total change & totally unexpected. From the live ep “One & Done” (which is hard to find at a reasonable price,as it was released in 2006) they do “Takes My Life”. Wow !

They finish the main set with “Killing Ourselves to Live”. Already, to me, this sounds like an anthem.
The encores were the same as they previously played in Sheffield. Namely, “The Silence” , “I Miss the Misery” & “Here’s to Us”.
The lighting seemed a bit better (than Sheffield) for “The Silence”, so i filmed it 😉

As is always the case, the last song , “Here’s to Us”, finishes on a high with everyone swaying their arms in the air. So yet again, it was another fantastic night out. Once again, i still had the thought “I wish i could go to more shows,like i used to”, but my useless body won’t let me do it. I suppose i should be thankful for the fact i can still get to a couple of gigs…but i’ll always want more 🙂
Afterwards we met up at The Beehive again.I think there might have been a queue for the cloakroom as it seemed a long time before Anette etc got to the Beehive. Briefly said our goodbyes to Jorge & Kitti, then got on the tube to Hotel Rob. Once there, it did seem a little strange that Rob wasn’t there. Had a good nights sleep (i needed that) & following morning we were all up early-ish. As is always the case, left Hotel Rob with plenty of time before train back to Boston. Once at Kings Cross, there was still a bit of time to kill, so myself & Anette went into the Parcel Yard for coffees before we left. I’d prebooked my seat on return journey, whilst Anette just booked a ticket in the hope we could sit near each other on way back to Bostonia. It totally worked ok as someone didn’t make the train in time (or some other reason).
When we got back to Boston, walked the route to my place. This way Anette could see the various photo opportunities. Over the next couple of days, Anette did the video interview with me,took photos of my memorabilia etc. Looking forward to seeing the finished article.

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HALESTORM ,Avatar, Rews, O2 academy, Sheffield , 22-9-18

     Been looking forward to this one for a long time. Last time i saw Halestorm was at the crappy Download festival, back in 2016 !
I used to follow them all around the UK & also saw them abroad in Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Paris. As i could only make it to 2 shows this time (Sheffield & Brixton) i decided to do the M&G at Sheffield. What a great decision that was 🙂
I’d arranged to meet my old Halestorm touring friend Kristina at Sheffield. We both messed up by booking hotels which were stupid prices. If only we knew our plans before, we could have saved a lot of money by sharing a room. Live n learn i guess.
My train journey to Sheffield included changing train at Nottingham. From Boston, it was only 2 carriages & pretty busy. Once at Nottingham, i was amazed that once again it was only 2 carriages. Good thing i reserved my seat as it ended up standing room only! They even stopped people from getting on board at some stops ! Well done EMT for spoiling a few peoples day 🙁
Arriving in Sheffield, there was a high presence of police. They even had horses. I assumed there must be some footy happening.
Managed to check into hotel early & arranged to meet Kristina so we could go for food. Only problem with my hotel is there’s 2 entrances & it seemed that Kristina took the wrong one. But hey, we met up still. I’d decided the “Bankers Draft” would be the best option to go to as it’s bigger than the other Spoons in Sheffield. It was still very busy though & we were lucky to get a table. Kristina insisted on paying for our meals. They seemed to be taking a long time to bring the food to us, so Kristina went to investigate. Would you believe,about a minute (or less) after she’d gone, the food was brought to our table ! Damn did i need that food ! (Thanks Kristina). After that, we both went to our own respective hotels. This time we arranged to meet at the venue 😉 There were already a few people queued up when i arrived. Most of them doing the M&G. The box office wasn’t open due to staff being ill. Great ! After various emails to both Stuart & Kirstie, i’d got everything sorted out so could get in early & Kristina could also join me at the same time…they said go to the box office once there lol. Fortunately, for once, there was a GREAT security guy who understood what i needed & he even said he’d show me where the disabled area is, after the M&G. When Judy came out to hand out the laminates etc, she had exactly the number of them for the  people doing the M&G. I explained to her that Kristina wasn’t doing the M&G, but it had been arranged she could come in as my “helper”. This is where Kristina got very lucky 🙂 Judy said she could also have photos took ! So i decided we should be the last in the line.Thought this way, would get more time to chat with the band.(I mean, there’s been a lot that’s happened since Download festival). To my surprise, Arejay still remembered me ! I think Lzzy remembered me. When chatting with Josh i asked if he remembered when after the Oxford gig he stayed outside talking even though it was raining like hell. He didn’t remember, but as it was 5 years ago & MANY gigs during that time, it’s hardly surprising 🙂 I told Joe that i’d be up in the balcony. So if he wanted to throw a guitar pick up there, that would be cool. He then gave me a pick,which caught me off guard! (“in case my accuracy isn’t good enough” ) It was really nice to “reconnect” with them all.
Tonight it was Judy who took the photos (Where’s Detroit?). Unfortunately, there was a problem with the link to download them, so i emailed her & she said she’d send them via email.  We said our goodbyes, then went back out to join the queue. Once inside, i didn’t see the “Great Security guy”. When i got up on balcony,i saw another security chap & explained to him i didn’t want my seat to be in the disabled area & to start off he didn’t agree to it. But i talked him round to it 😉 Got what i consider the perfect position, on the left side.
The first band “Rews”, i’d never heard off (Same goes for the second “Avatar”). Rews didn’t really impress me. Found them a bit repetitive. Avatar though were quite a fun band. They wore costumes, as did the roadies/techs. Quite liked some of their songs. So much so, that i even filmed a song :

Apparently Halestorm have been changing around their set list on this tour. I totally applaud them for doing this. I wish more bands would do the same. It was a pretty safe bet they’d open with “Black Vultures”, so decided to film the opening song

Next up we get “I Am The Fire”. Btw, i think the latest album is their best so far. They’ve really progressed, but it’s still a rocky album. 
“Uncomfortable” is both great on the album & also great live. Only 3 songs in & i’m enjoying it all so much. We then get a full on rendition of “Skulls”. Those guitars are so heavy. Love it.

Next up, Lzzy does a short Acapella version of “I Get Off” which melds into “Do Not Disturb”. Very nice 🙂
Lzzy then says how happy they are to be playing Sheffield again & she asks “What can i get you to do?”. So this is where we see how loud the audience can be.And yes, we were loud ! I’m pretty sure that they’ve extended “Amen” when playing it live (that’s excluding the to & fro of the chants with the crowd)

After “Vicious” it’s time for Arejay to showcase his talents. Cool to see he’s still using the big sticks 🙂 Years back, there was a time he didn’t have the big sticks, so he used umbrellas ! What i sight to see 🙂  After that it’s a song for all the freaks here tonight. Yes, you guessed it “Freak Like Me” 🙂 Damn this gig is just flying by ! We get some old classics such as “Love Bites (So Do I)”, “Mz. Hyde” & the stomping “It’s Not You”(from their debut album back in 2009).Sometime during the latter part of the show, Joe points to me & throws a guitar pick. It lands just in front of Kristina. it’s only fair that she gets to have that. From the old, to the new, the main set is finished with “Killing Ourselves to Live” (from the latest album “Vicious”)  Btw, When i think about the title of that song, i always think about the Black Sabbath song ” Killing Yourself To Live” 🙂 

“Sheffield, thank you so much. I’ve got to tell you something. We’ve been a band for a while.This year marks 21 years of Halestorm (huge cheers from the crowd) Of course, i started it when i was two 😉 We’ve always,always, always dreamed of commin to the UK. We’ve always said that since we were little. Do you think anyone will let us go to the UK ever…Tonight, you are making our little dreams come true, thank you so much” Then both Lzzy & Joe sit on a box together & do an acoustic version of “The Silence”. ( I wonder if this song is about their relationship?) Lzzy really sings this with such emotion.
Next it’s another old classic Halestorm song “I Miss the Misery”. Again fantastic stuff.
Last song of the night is “Here’s to Us”. This is & has always been, one of the main connections between the band & the fans. Music really does bring people together.

So that’s it. Over & done. We stay in the venue until they kick us out. I decide to get one of the T-shirts. Very reasonable price as £20. When we go outside, there’s a few people already hanging around to meet the band. We’d already decided to wait & meet them again.  ( Me? Psycho eyes?”Psycho Killer” Qu’est-ce que c’est, Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better Run run run run run run run away oh oh” Whilst waiting, i jokingly said to Kristina ” I need £50 from you”. Kristina “Huh?. I paid for lunch!”. Me “C’mon you can’t compare that to getting a free M&G!” Me again “Ok, just a thank you would be fine”. Kristina ” Oh, i thought i’d said that. Well thank you anyway 🙂 “. During this time, we see Detroit going back n forth to the bus. Kristina reminds me that i was too shy to ask for a photo with her years back 😉 I decide i need to have a chat with Detroit as we’ve not seen each other for so long. She’s now been upgraded to the role of tour manager. Nice one. We have a nice chat about old Halestorm gigs etc. I tell her about my health problems & she said that she knew already as the band had been talking about it & told her. They’re all such a nice bunch of caring people. 
Arejay is the first of the band to come out. He does it in his typical quiet fashion….not! 🙂 Gets swamped with people wanting stuff signed or wanting photos. The big guy near him, who i assume is the bodyguard for the band, makes everyone form a queue. You can see he want’s this to be over quickly. Dunno how “new” he is,but, he should realise this band will always stay chatting with the fans for as long as they want to. (I remember a time when we saw them in Oxford 2013 that Josh still stayed chatting even though it was raining!). Eventually the rest of the band come out to chat, sign stuff, have photos took. It was a nice way to finish the day.   

As everyone was going to the bus, Kristina spotted Judy walking back as well. She had a question for her. She’s going to the Birmingham gig & someone let her down(?) so she doesn’t have a ticket. Judy is so nice that she said “Give me your full name & phone number & i’ll sort you out” (Or words to that effect). How cool is that ?
Shortly after that, we make our way to our respective hotels. Kristina has to be up early as she’s going up to Glasgow to see them the following day. I would have loved to have followed the tour, like the old days, but there’s now only so much i can do, due to the shitty chemo etc.
Following morning, my train home is at a reasonable time of 10.35. Walking to the station, there’s still the fresh aroma of the horse shit from yesterday! In fact, they hadn’t fully cleaned it up ! On the route back, i change at Nottingham. Once there, i automatically walked towards platform 2, where it usually departs from. This time though, it was from a totally different platform, 6a ! So over the bridge i go 🙂
On the way home i was thinking about the fact that on Sundays myself & me mum go for Sunday lunch. So i phoned her & asked if she fancied a late lunch at The Endeavour. Jobs a good un, table booked for 2.30.
All in all, a great weekend 🙂

The following day, i tried to download the photos that Judy had took. The link wouldn’t work 🙁 Later i got an email from her saying “…I actually wanted to reach out to you to see if you were coming to anymore shows, Brixton if I remember correctly, and wanted to see if you could come out to that M&G(free, of course) and let’s redo the group photo and make it a nice one worth framing, ehh? “. Around the same time, Kristina sent a msg to me saying that the photos were messed up, but we both thought they looked ok. So it now looks like myself, Kristina & Rob will all join the M&G for free at Brixton Academy on Friday.

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GARBAGE , Dream Wife, O2 Academy,Brixton , London 15-9-18

 Something i should say is that Hotel Rob is great! First thing in the morning, the barrista (Rob!) always serves up a nice coffee for his guests!
But not only that, the chef (Rob) provides a nice breakfast if required. I don’t want you to think that i don’t appreciate it or take it for granted, so i’m saying it here : Thanks Rob for everything 🙂
After having brekky, some of the guests go purchase some beers from the local shop. All different kinds of beers! They even got “Tramps beer” aka Special Brew (yuck!). I guess they need it as will be watching the footy later 😉 Rob handed out some wafer snacks which had chocolate in the middle. Unfortunately, Greg didn’t realise they also included nuts so he had a bit of a scare as he’s allergic to nuts. Rob offered to take him to the hospital, but Greg said he’d just wait here to get over it.
Eventually we all set off to have a meal. Today we go to a Mexican restaurant in Soho, called “Wahaca”. This is a first for me. Gradually, pretty much everyone arrives.  After the meal, we make our way to Brixton. Would you believe it, we again all met up in the Beehive ! As i had checked in, i’m pretty sure Neil saw that, so he also joined us all. Time was getting on, so myself & Neil went to the Academy. Unknown to me at the time,someone (Anne ?) had took a photo of me & then everyone in the group took other photos of them with said photo. I’ve seen this happen a few times & it can be quite funny.  Same as yesterday, the M&G peeps were in a queue to get back in. When we were going in, there was someone in front who seemed to be taking an age to get their tickets ! (Annoying) But thankfully, we still managed to get the front row of balcony. Unlike last night, the balcony had some lights on, so you could actually see where you were going down the steps! (After the darkness or an accident waiting to happen last night, i took a small torch with just in case 😉 ) During “Dream Wife”, we couldn’t believe what someone was doing sat next to Neil : A guy had a video camera & was openly filming a song ! He then later filmed quite a bit of Garbage, again openly ! Surprised he got away with it. Sat to my right was an old chap. We got chatting & he told me he was a sound engineer. This was also his first time seeing Garbage live. After Dream Wife had finished, he said that their sound wasn’t very good. I guess that’s one of the traits when your in the business 😉  Even though i’d not drank much, i was bustin for a pee ! Managed to nip out & back before Garbage started. Phew. My mate Neil didn’t quite time it as well, so i decided to record the first song “Afterglow”.

 

Tonight’s gig was pretty much the same as last night, so i wont go into depth reviewing it all. I’ll let the photos/video clips describe it 🙂 

There was only one slight problem, which was during “Lick The Pavement” Shirley had monitor problems. She stopped the song, then they restarted it.

Again, like the previous night, they played the extra “No Horses”. For the last song of the night, Shirley gave the crowd a choice out of 2 songs. It was either “Starman” or “Cherry Lips”. The crowd made themselves heard to decide which one 🙂

So it was another great night. The chap next to me said he’d enjoyed his first experience of seeing Garbage live. My mate Neil had a nice uncomplicated evening. I myself had a great night also. Out of the two nights, i reckon that the 1st one had the edge. Once again, we agreed to meet at The Beehive (This time Anne didn’t have Robs keys). Whilst waiting, i briefly saw Diletta. Been a while since we last saw each other.
Some people stayed for the after party, but i think most of us head back on tube pretty quickly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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H.E.A.T. + Degreed + Black Diamonds , O2 Academy, Islington, London, 21-11-17

 

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 near 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 😉

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Wonder Stuff , The Wedding Present, The Lottery Winners, o2 academy, Leeds 26-3-16

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Got to Leeds in good time. Found the cheap car park easily. Top tip; it’s Trafalgar street car park. Only £6 all day (cheaper if have Leeds Arena ticket). So much better than the rip off “The Light” etc prices. Went to the pub, had some grub.I was falling asleep in the pub,so thought a bit of fresh air would help, went to venue about 4pm. Typically, i was first person there. Had a lass ask where the box office was. She came back & said it was closed. So i suggested looking for a phone number or going round back of venue & trying to have a word with the scurity to see if they could help. She then said ” Oh! Do you not work here?”. (Damn, it’s been a while since thats happened lol.In the past i’ve even had people wanting to give their tickets to me for entry!) Me: ” No luv, i’m here for the gig myself & i’m just a nice person who likes to try help”. Girl : ” Oh thank you very much. That’s real nice of you!” *Job done, my good deed for the day!*

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During the time in the queue i also saw : A very understated Mr McCarthy going into town. The lovely Katharine taking photos of the venue. She wasn’t quite so happy on her return when it was pissing it down…even under cover, the rain conspired against her when she sat to have a quick fag ; “What?! fuck you !” 😉 Oh yes, the RAIN. It wasn’t for long, but it totally chucked it down. Yup, i got a bit drenched. Amazingly, i was the ONLY person in the O2 priority queue tonight. That was funny in itself. Still, i got the spot on front row that i’d put the effort into to get 🙂
Miles had been plugging “The Lottery Winners” & quite a few made the effort to get in early to see them. They were great. Some great pop/rock. The main guy,Thomas Rylance, was a very funny chap(in a nice way). I dunno if it’s because of where they come from,but, he kind of reminded me of Johnny Vegas or Peter Kay. Brilliant when he posed for the face book photos as well. DSC06402Was also great to see Digby side stage singing along to all their songs. Miles even came onstage to present them with champagne 🙂DSC06400Lottery Winners picI love the way The Wedding Present start their show : Katharine playing the great bass intro,very heavily, to “You Should Always Keep in Touch With Your Friends”. She rocks! DSC06425It’s strange, but somehow “back in the day” i totally missed TWP. It was at the “Indie Daze”festival in 2015 that i first saw them live. I was surprised how many of their songs i knew. So tonight is a nice bonus. There’s a bunch of classics with a couple of new songs for good measure. I particularly liked the newbie “Rachel”. The crowd loved them & when they finished off with “Brassneck” it just erupted. Bloody loved the show.DSC06410
Finally the Stuffies. To think they’ve been on the go for 30 ‘kin years! Well done for keeping it together through the think n thin. I guess it’s suitably apt they kicked off with “30 years in the Bathroom”. The intro was extended with various audio snippets from their history over the years. Slow & brooding build up before the audience is full on rockin out. Only first song in & all the smiles & dancin (both off & on stage) are so inspirational. I dunno if it’s because i’d not listened to it for ages or what,but, next song “Play” i’d almost describe as a heavy metal version! It just seemed so fast! The hits just keep on coming with “On The Ropes” followed by the early days classic “Red Berry Joy Town”. Inevitably, there’s the “…words the audience are not looking forward too…time for a NEW song…”. But hey, when it’s this good as “For The Broken Hearted”, it just fits in greatly. I’m not gonna list all the songs,but, you can be sure so many of the classics were played. Something like a 25 (?) song set, your faves are gonna be in there!

I honestly don’t think there’s another band ive seen over the years where i’m always happy at their gigs jumping around etc. From first seeing them open a couple of times for “Zodiac Mindwarp” (& blowing them off stage) i just knew they’d go far. Reminiscing about it all, so many great memories came back to me during this gig. In fact, it got so damn emotional i got a bit teary…i don’t care, i just felt it all. I reckon that this is the definitive line up of The Wonder Stuff. It’s so obvious that everyone is on the same page & just bloody enjoying themselves up there. As for the audience? Not many acts can get so many 40+ year olds to dance around for a full show like The Stuffies always manage to. Roll on the next gig i’ll see in Norwich 🙂

 

 

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Wolf Alice, bloody knees, swim deep, O2 Academy, Leeds 19-3-16

Scans06092016.3.19 Wolf alice LeedsI’ve really being looking forward to seeing Wolf Alice. I’m a little late getting into them, but, i just love the album so decided to see them live a few times. Nowadays i’m trying to go more gigs on weekends as we’re only in March & already i’ve used a lot of holidays! My journey was very smooth & i found car park easily.Then searched out another car park i’d seen online (as it’s WAY cheaper than where i was staying). Went to the “usual”, the “Cuthbert Broderick” for lunch. Then later met Lorah back there. It was 3 years since we’d had that crazy drunken night after Skunk Anansie gig there. Next there was a freaky coincidence at the gig : As ever, i got talking to the chap next to me. Cannot imagine our surprise when we both realised we’d traveled from Boston & kind of knew each other ! (We’d never previously met) So we had a bit of a laugh. The first band ” Bloody Knees” really try hard. Think Nirvana & that’s a pretty good description. They are full of energy & they get a great reaction from the crowd. Seen it all before, but, good on them for making a fist of things.

Next up it’s ” Swim Deep “. These are different & interesting. During the first song the singer managed to make his ear bleed & he couldn’t seem to understand how. I loved the freaky little keyboards & the main keyboardist was so funny. I say that in a nice way. He was very entertaining. I think in some ways i enjoyed SD more than BK, but, i enjoyed both acts. They did what was intended; warming up the crowd for the main event.

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As soon as Wolf Alice came on stage, the audience went crazy. All around, people were jumping around & pushing. Singing the songs & generally having a great time. Was quite funny seeing the security getting annoyed at the members of the crowd on friends shoulders. No sooner had they told someone to get down than someone else was up! It seems that WA have played the same set every night on this tour,but, it’s one hell of a show! Everything comes over great live. Joff is a great visual guitarist. Damn, can he play!

They had a nice light show which complemented the sounds. Particularly loved it when they slowed things down & Joel (drums) sang ” Swallowtail”. Just beautiful. Talking of beauty, yes, of course Ellie is great. She’s a natural. She did seem a little withdrawn at times, but, it was all good. 

If there was one thing i’d criticize about the show, it would be the lack of interaction with the crowd.Maybe they are a “heads down & rocking” sort of act & they just let the music do the talking? For me personally, i think what really draws me to WA is their balance of pop & rock. An old indie style which rocks out big time. On this tour they’re doing 4 nights at Londons Forum & most of the other dates are selling out. That’s an indication of how their popularity is growing. I really hope they can keep things together & progress well without the pressures ruining them. I’m already interested to think where they will go with the next album release !

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Blondie, Carnabys, @ O2 academy, Sheffield , 29-6-14

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I quite like this venue. It’s a nice size & can get a real good view of everything from the balcony. Tonight we got a reasonable balance of the oldies but goldies plus a few newer songs.  

The end of the main set, they finished with the classic “Heart Of Glass”

One of the biggest surprises was they played ” Hollywood Babylon” (A cover by The Misfits). The show finished with eternal favourites “In The Sun” & “Dreaming”

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