SKUNK ANANSIE, o2 Academy, Leeds, 30-8-19

Was supposed to meet Lorah for this gig, but due to illness she couldn’t make it πŸ™
I met Jim at the station. The hotel that I had booked is called “The Clayton Hotel”. Stayed there a few times over the years. It’s approx 15mins walk to there. Nice classy hotel. After we’d dropped bags of at hotel, we went in search of food. There’s a multitude of Wetherspoons in Leeds, but I chose “The Cuthbert Brodrick”. As always, it was rammed. Went upstairs & found a decent table.
After that, I think we went to the venue. Soon got in. Can’t remember if we saw all the soundcheck, but either way, eventually went up to the balcony. Chose the right side (Looking towards the stage) Pretty decent spot.
Again, I’m not going to do a full review of the gig, as Aerosmith would say “Let The Music Do The Talking” πŸ™‚ (+photos)

They started with “Charlie Big Potato”,followed by “Because Of You”. (The majority of this tour they played the same setlist)

Β I thought “Weak” sounded as good as ever (Even though skin might disagree)

You can always tell they’re going to play “Hedonism” because “someone” gets into the light.

We then get a NEW song (to some of the crowd). Apparently they’ve not recorded it yet, hmm, “This Means War”. They finish with “Political” & “Tear The Place Up”

During the first encore they play “Secretly”, “What You Do for Love”, AC/DC cover & “The Skank Heads”

Of course, everyone wants more! So they do a 2nd encore of “You’ll Follow Me down”Β  (Beautiful) & finish with “Little Baby Swastikkka”

What another great night it’s been !
Walked back to hotel & once there I was out like a light πŸ™‚ The following morning, we go our separate ways on different trains…

 

SKUNK ANANSIE , Cambridge Corn Exchange, 28-8-19

I’ve been to Cambridge a few times over the years. Been to the venues “Corn Exchange”, “The Junction” & even “The Portland Arms”. So already could remember the routes around Cambridge before i went. I think my train was a bit late & Jim was already there. Where did we meet up? No prizes : a pub/bar! It was also close to the hotel I’d booked, The Ibis. Once we checked in made our way to the Corn Exchange. Along the way, we stopped at The Regal…yes, you guessed it correctly; A Wetherspoons ! Knock the Wethers as much as you like, but they’re always cheap for food & beers. Once we’ve finished, it’s a short walk to the Corn Exchange. (Oh something I must say about the Corn Exchange. Last time I was there was to see SAXON. But not only that, I had bought a Laminate Pass which allowed getting in early & M&G. Could use it at ANY venue where they headlined (Only went to Cambridge due to health issues). It also included a free ticket. That was the only thing I was disappointed about ; they gave me a ticket which was about half way back in the balcony ! I would have thought it could at least be front row of balcony. Either way, I didn’t take that seat, as I found a mini balcony πŸ˜‰ I digress…. )
When we got to the venue I said to Jim ” The tourist information” used to have posters promoting gigs. When i last got a poster for the gig, the T.I. was opposite the venue. Guess what ? It wasn’t there any more! We also bumped into Aliya out front of the venue.
I think we got in through a side door ? Or was it where the support act were unloading their gear? Whatever, we got in early enough to see Skunks sound checking πŸ™‚
We also went to the “mini balcony” as it’s a great view from there πŸ˜‰
I didn’t take many photos on this night. It was more about getting into the beats & atmosphere…but of course a few video clips πŸ˜‰
As always, the start thing with my fave Skunk song; “Charlie Big Potato”

 

Next it’s “Because Of You”. Closley followed by “All In The Name Of Pity” & “I Can Dream”

Then it’s a classic Skunk song, “Charity”

We then get a more modern song; “My Ugly Boy”. A couple of old classics, “Twisted (Everyday Hurts)” You really hear the bass of Cass at the beginning.

Then skin starts to shine with her vocal prowess during “Weak”. After “Weak”, we get beautiful version of “Cheap Honesty”

After those songs, it’sΒ  “Without You”. Next up it’s “Hedonism”, NEW one called “This Means War”, “Intellectualise My Blackness”, “Yes, It’s Fucking Political” & “Tear The Place Up”

Next up it’s the first encore of “Secretly” & “What You Do For Love”. Then there’s the riff from AC/DC, “Highway To Hell”, they play it pretty much full. Final song is “The Skank Heads”. They finish with the crowd wanting more, soon enough, they’re back on stage and the final song is “Little Baby Swastikkka”

The following day, we go our separate ways back home. Have a few hours in Bostonia, then early morning it’s up to Leeds !

SKUNK ANANSIE , O2 Academy, Bristol , 19-8-19

I’ve been to Bristol a few times over the years (Think the last time was with Tess when we saw Royal Republic in 2016 when they played on a boat ! “Thekla”) I always stayed at The Travelodge cos it was cheap & I knew the route to Colston Hall OR The Hippodrome. But this time, the price of Travelodge was extortionate. So decided to stay at Premier Inn. As I’d not stayed there before, myself & Jim had a right game finding it. Just goes to show, you CANNOT rely on Google maps. I had the idea that we’d find the route to venue, then walk back to hotel (timing it), crash there for a while, then go back to the venue. Best laid plans eh ? When we finally got back to the hotel, I think it was Jim who said “Stay here forΒ  15mins & then go back to the venue?”. As I’d lost all my energy wandering the streets of Bristol, there was no way that short stay would be any good. Think we stayed there more like just under an hour. Thanks to Jim, HE remembered the route back to the venue. I honestly didn’t have a clue where to go ! Looking back on it all, trying to have a bit a of a laugh about it, I wonder what the people would think of us? Jim holding his nose, as was having a nose bleed, myself eyes glazed over like I was a junkie !

Once we got in the venue i went straight to the position that I wanted to be in. Unfortunately, Mr Security didn’t think the same. So after a small argument, he took us to the disabled enclosure. Got front seats. Then a wheel chair arrived. Ok, move to the left. After a while Pete turned up & said something like “No two venues are the same, so this time you have to be here”. I understood that (before he said it) As he was leaving I called him back. ” Can you let the security know I will be taking photos & clips during the gig?” His reply was positive. Didn’t get any hassle during the gig πŸ™‚
I’m not going to write a full review of the gig , but just to say, it’s ALWAYS a great gig SKUNK ANANSIE put on πŸ™‚

Whilst there was an after show, I decided I REALLY needed S-L-E-E-P πŸ™‚ (Also it was along ride back on various trains πŸ˜‰

 

SKUNK ANANSIE, Manchester Academy, 18-8-19

Forgot to say, when we were staying at Hotel Rob, he said they’d be leaving very early, so he gave Jim a key for the flat.
Today (Sunday) the train would depart from Euston at 11.19 arriving Manchester Piccadilly 13.50.
I’ve been to Manchester numerous times for multiple bands, but today, I had trouble getting my bearings correct! After finding the hotel, myself & Jim went to the venue. There were a few people already there. Had a wander to the other side of the venue & saw a security guy.
Asked him if he could find Pete (TM). It wasn’t who I expected to come out ; it was Cass. He then gave us AAA Laminates ( ! ) & took us in.
I thought I remembered a very small balcony, so Cass too us up there. As there was no seating there, Cass opened a door where the bar was. He brought through a small square pouffe so I could sit on that later (Think he also got one for Jim also). Ok we were now set up for later on. We followed Cass downstairs, as we were walking along behind him he said ” What are you doing when you go out ” I replied, “We’re going to find a place that does food”. He then said “Why don’t you get food from the catering in here?” So we did ! I think he took us through to the room where a few people were already having food, after which he took us to catering.(Have a feeling he said to the caterers, it’s ok for these 2 to have food. The list of food that was available, looked very nice! Gave our orders,& the lass said “I’ll bring the through to you when done”. What a service πŸ™‚ Oh, forgot to say that Mark & his parents were also sat in the food room. A couple of the crew came in later to have their food. When they finished, they went back to get desserts. They looked very appetizing… I was already thinking “I’d like one of those”
We had the main course, then went to get a dessert ! When we got back, one of the crew guys said ” You dirty bastard ! ” πŸ˜‰ Pot>kettle ?
Yes, it was so yummy & also saved us a few quid πŸ˜‰ Somewhere along the way, we bumped into skin. I said to her “I was wondering why, at Brixton, you all did one song 5 times ?” Then as some people will already know by now, it was because Paul Weller was gonna step up onstage ! I did ask her how it came about, but can’t remember her reply. But all being said, a unique experience or what ??!!!
When we got back in the balcony, the “seats” had gone. Had a word with security & told him I need a seat as cannot stand up for very long. His reply was “We need room here for 70 people!” I think he then went to get me a seat.
Enough of me rambling Got to say, I’m not so interested in the support bands. I think I saw “Queen Zee” open for Garbage, so I’d already made up my opinion.
But I will say, in my opinion, the best support act they’ve has was “The Virginmarys” (I think that was the 2010 tour) I thought they had the potential to make it big…a few years later, I found out they had “problems” with their management and that led to them doing it all themselves. If you’ve not heard The Virginmarys, have a look on their website www.thevirginmarys.com OR Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheVirginmarysOfficial/along πŸ˜‰

After enduring Queen Zee, we were ready for the mighty Skunk Anansie. I felt sure I took a few photos, but when I got back home there weren’t any photos on the memory card! But there were about 4 video clips πŸ™‚ Oh forgot to say, when we bumped into skin earlier I asked here why she didn’t do the soundcheck (in Manchester) . As expected, she was saving her voice as they had a 3 day run of gigs. I’m not going to do a full review, I’ll just “Let The Music Do The Talking”

When it had finished, we got back to the hotel quicker than I thought it would be πŸ˜‰

 

SKUNK ANANSIE , Brixton Academy, London, 17-8-19

I left Bostonia at 9.50 & arrived at Kings X 12.30. Jim was waiting so we could go to Hotel Rob. Dropped bags off, then went to Brixton.
Met up with Julia & Nadine. It had been prearranged that we could get in for soundcheck. Spoke to some security, then Pete (TM) came to door “Wasn’t expecting as many as this, but come in”.
I think they’d only just started soundcheck. Certainly an interesting SC, as they played one song about 5-6 times. It wasn’t one of their own songs. Soundcheck finishedΒ  & we all needed food. We went round to “Turtle Bay”.

Β Β 

Sorry to hear that Audrey is going back to France, but needs must sometimes. Back in the venue, everyone went downstairs except for me & Audrey. Good chance to have a natter as I wasn’t interested in the support acts πŸ˜‰

Lights went down & we all had great anticipation for the mighty Skunk Anansie ! Just hearing the intro made my hairs stick up ! My fave Skunk song is what they started with : “Charlie Big Potato”. Off to a fantastic start πŸ™‚ They then played “Because of You” , “All in the Name of Pity ” (Great old school stuff), “I Can Dream” (Another absolute classic Skunk song). They then slowed it down a bit, with the highly emotional “You’ll Follow Me Down”. Ace gets his acoustic guitar & Cass a tambourine. Skin really shines with her pipes, still hitting the high notes. This is the first time tonight that she comes out into the crowd. Also, the crowd sings the chorus really well πŸ˜‰

When they played “My Ugly Boy” a couple of years back, I must confess that I wasn’t really into it then. But here in the now, it fits perfectly. A good one to bounce along to. It’s fun !
Seems that skin wants to be in amongst the audience again ! As they start to play “Twisted (Everyday Hurts)” she quickly makes the motion of the crowd parting. She gets as far back as the mixing desk. Unfortunately, it was to tight an angle to film it, but I did catch her jump back in the crowd & then crowd surfed back to the stage

Later on we get a couple of the old classics & in-between those, there’s a new song which will “Rip your face off” !

They finish the main set with a couple of hard hitters; “Intellectualise My Blackness” & “Tear the Place Up”.
When they come back for the first encore, it’s something really special. That song they rehearsed multiple times during the sound check
“You Do Something to Me”. But not only that; the legend that is Paul Weller got to sing it with skin (or vice versa πŸ˜‰ ) Such a cool & meaning full song

Wow ! Just WOW ! Did I say WOW ? You bet you’re arse I did πŸ˜‰ Yes, they might have made a small amount of mistakes, but this was a UNIQUE performance. I’m pretty sure skin had tears in her eyes.
To finish the night of they play “What You Do for Love” & another “face ripper”, “The Skank Heads (Get Off Me)”.
But that can’t be all , can it ?
Yes, ther’s more ! The 2nd encore is started with a beatiful rendition of “Secretly”.

They then have a bit of fun as Ace plays a familiar riff. It’s “Highway to Hell” and they pretty much play it all.
What could be better after THAT song ? Of course it would be on oldy, but, goody “Little Baby Swastikkka”

What a fuckin fantastic day it’s been ! Beyond my wildest dreams ! But also there’s more to look forward to. Tomorrow we go up to Manchester.
Then the next day it’s Bristol. Let’s just see how I cope with 3 gigs in a row.
P.S. Huge thanks to Leigh.

PPS My PC is playing up & I can’t add photos πŸ™

 

GARBAGE , O2 Academy, Leeds, 15-7-19

After the recent problems with trains, I decided to take an earlier departure from Boston. Left at 09.42 (1 min late)
Arrived Grantham, where I needed to change trains. Fortunately,Β the train going from Grantham was slightly delayed, so managed the change over.(There was originally a 10 min change). Upon arrival in Leeds, as I’d not been there for a while, I dropped off my bag at Clayton Hotel. (Couldn’t checkin till 2pm). I then walked to the venue & timed how long the walk was πŸ˜‰ I was surprised to see a guy putting out barriers so early. There was also some work going on at the venue; pretty much all of the front was enclosed by scaffolding etc. Had a short chat to the guy, to check where I need toΒ  queue up. Once that was sorted, I went to get food πŸ™‚ The Cuthbert Brodrick was the closest to the venue. After the grub, I made my way back to the hotel.
Forgot to say, somewhere on Neville Street, there were a group of protesters. The road was closed off to traffic & there was a high police presence. Once back at hotel, I could now check in. Decided to stay there & relax πŸ˜‰
When I got back to the venue, there was still only a small queue. Someone said “Hello Simon”. It was Jonathan. Had a short chat, then he went back in the queue.
Getting in the venue was quite funny. Security had wands. I took my camera out of my pocket, then was wanded again. It beeped. I had a torch in my pocket. Wanded again, it beeped. Wanded again, it beeped. I had a small packet of mints in my pocket!
Wanded again! Finally I could go in ! I was took up to the balcony, couldn’t have expected it, but the front was reserved for disabled guests! I chose to go on left side & the lass said “Why don’t you go centre?” That was because there’s glass there on front row πŸ˜‰ The Garbage set was pretty much the same as normal, opening with “Control”, followed by “#1 Crush” & the always present “Stupid Girl”. Just 3 songs in & the crowd is VERY LOUD ! Shirley says “Whoah ! Leeds this is so crazy ! Thank you so much.” She that talks about the last time they were here. Gestures to Steve & said they were talking backstage about the last time they we here was ’95 or ’96 ? Thanks to Radio 1, I can confirm it was in 1996. There are multiple bootleg versions of the gig at Leeds Metropolitan University from ’96.
Here’s a couple of scans of the boot CDs : They then play “Temptation Waits”

After that, we get the funky “Wicked Ways”. Then the more serious “No Horses”. Followed by “Dumb”.
Whilst Shirley is having a problem with her in-ears, she takes the piss out of the guy trying to put them back in. She then has a little whiskey (Here’s hoping that this is not the start of messing thing up πŸ˜‰ )
They then play “Special”. For those that are observant,towards the end,Shirley adds a few lines from The Pretenders song “Kid”.

Next up it’s “Blood For Poppies”(oof) followed by “On Fire”.
During “Empty”, Shirley REALLY sings it out

Next we get an old clasic,”Vow”. Next up is “Bleed Like Me”. Must confess, it’s not oneΒ  of my favourite G songs.
Thankfully, it’s followed by an oldie but goodie “(I Think I’m) Paranoid” πŸ™‚
Seems like we’re getting towards the end of the show now & they play a song that is timeless to me, “Push It”.
It gets the crowd up & jumping

They the play the early song “Only Happy When It Rains”. Looking down on the crowd, everybody seems to be going for it!
We’re then brought back to (the sad) reality of “Even Though Our Love Is Doomed”. I can certainly relate to this one πŸ˜‰

They then walk off stage, during which, Duke gives a little wave to the balcony. But hey, don’t be sad & gloomy, there’s more to come !! What better song to finish the night with than “When I Grow Up”

So that’s it. Thought it was a great gig. Now I’ve got the 15minute walk, out in the cold, to my hotel. Btw, I’m not into Garbage as much as I used to be & was thinking “If this gig goes tits up, I doubt I’ll go see them again”. This gig semi-restored my faith in them πŸ˜‰

 

THE B52s, Trapdoor Social, Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, 2-7-19

I remember when I was a kid, when I saw the B52s on TV, I thought “They’re quite unique”. So wentΒ  & bought a couple of picture discs by them. I got “Rock Lobster” & “Planet Claire”. My age would be around 13. Being so young, the chances of me seeing them live were pretty slim πŸ˜‰ Move forward to 2019 & I got the chance to see them. I just HAD TO DO THE M&G experience. It was the best Β£250 I’ve spent on a ticket ever. Took a train from Boston to Nottingham, booked a hotel near the RCH & was all set to go. Must admit, as I’d not seen them before, I was wondering how good they’d be πŸ˜‰ As instructed, I went to the box office (or a people say in the states “Will call”) to collect my VIP Laminate pass. I then went back to my hotel to relax for a while. When I went back to RCH, they’d just opened the doors. Went straight in, got my seat, looked around at the almost empty hall, thought to myself ” I think this is going to be an interesting night” πŸ™‚

The support band, “Trapdoor Social”, to start off, I just didn’t get them. But when they were joined by people who played Trumpets, Trombones etc, they seemed to go to another level. (Apparently those guys were from Leeds). As they worked through their set, I liked them more & more. I must confess, sometimes I don’t listen to support bands, but, tonight I thought “Trapdoor Social” sounded great !

So onto what we’re all come for; The B52s ! They played what I expected they would play. The people in the stalls mostly stood up & had a good dance around. The atmosphere in there was one of absolute FUN. I took a few photos & attempted to film a couple of songs, but couldn’t help getting into the groove. Here’s a few of the photos & video clips I took on the night :

Before “Funlpex” Fred told someΒ  ” Could you put your cell phone down please”. I thought that was quite a strange thing as there were a lot of people who were using there mobile phones. (Hell, on the row in front of me, a couple were taking selfies, with the band in the background ! ) But so be it….

As I previously said, I didn’t take many photos or video clips, as I was living in the moment . Towards the end of the show they played a couple of the old classics, namely “Love Shack”

And on the encore, the 1st song they played was “Planet Claire” , followed byΒ ” 6060-842″ . Of course, they had to finish with “Rock Lobster”

They said their thanks to the crowd

then walked off the stage to massive applause What a great night this was ! But it’s not over yet for some of us πŸ˜‰ Those doing the M&G had been told to wait at the merchandise stand & “Hope” would take us all backstage for the M&G. I mean, as if this night couldn’t get better : I’m going to meet the band ! ( To think threeΒ  years ago I was diagnosed with brain tumors & given two years to live & I’m still here is amazing.) During the M&G, we all stood in line to meet & briefly chat with the band members. Hope would take photos of everyone. When it was my turn, I told them that many years ago I bought the picture discs, & I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to see them. When I said that, Fred gave me his drum stick which he had been hitting the cowbell with. Great stuff. Β  As we all leave, we get a “tote bag” full of goodies. I’ve had a few of the “tote bags”, but, nothing can compare to this one : There’s a signed photograf , some pins (as they say in USA). Badges to you & me ;-), a key ring which could be used as a bottle opener. But the main thing, in my opinion, is the red squishy (rock) lobster πŸ™‚ This was a fantastic experience. Absolutely loved it all. Had a quick walk to my hotel & when there, I think I fell asleep very quickly (Even though I was still buzzing after the whole experience.

P.S. My friend Nigel M. was in the balcony & he got a shot which included me ( In the middle, two rows back, grey hoodie, camera in hand )