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 finished & we all needed food. We went round to “Turtle Bay”.
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 😉
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 🙂 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 😉
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 😉 ) Such a cool & meaning full song
Wow ! Just WOW ! Did I say WOW ? You bet you’re arse I did 😉 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 🙁
**HUGE thanks to Mel for letting me have the extra ticket !** I’d never seen them before, so this should be interesting. I changed the ticket to balcony. Managed to get on 2nd row. As soon as Die Antwoord were on stage, it seemed the whole crowd were JUMPING ! That includes the BALCONY ! Even though on entry, one of the security said “No standing on the first two rows”, everyone in the balcony seemed to stand up ! So much so, that the balcony was moving ! Had trouble with the camera keeping it steady !
Rob had told everyone to meet at “Tap East” Westfield centre as it would be the easiest way. So, after finally working out proper exit for Robs side, now it messes up my mind as i’m going in the opposite direction! Not been there for a while, but eventually found it. Upon arrival, no one was there ! But soon enough, the whole gang arrived & they were on the beers…
Most of us head back to Hotel Rob to drop off bags. Once there food is bought. Eventually we head off to Brixton. Go to the usual pub “The Beehive”. Jims already there & has got a table.So we all pile in there. As it was “Fish Friday”,that’s what i had to eat 🙂 We were tightly packed around this small table, so ate it off my lap. After a while Mel arrives. Actually, it was a last minute thing that Mel decided to come. She messaged me to say she wanted to meet me as we’d not seen each other for ages. As luck would have it, she didn’t need a ticket as i’d arranged for a “helper” ticket for both nights. She’d brought with her some dayglo orange nail varnish (to tie in with the V2.0 album colour) “Simon, i want to do your nails !”. I was a bit reluctant to start off, but then thought “fuck it, lets have a bit of fun” 😉 A couple of the others caught this monumental moment lol
After a while, we set off to the venue. Along the way Mel said to me ” I’m disappointed in you Simon” Huh? “You’re not wearing the old red fleece that you wore on the V2.0 tour” 🙂 I didn’t even think about doing that 🙁 Walking towards the box office entrance, i see that the M&G people are all in a line waiting to go back in. Say hello to Renee, Paul & Sophie. Then i notice Mike sat down. Don’t think he recognised me to start of with as I’ve now not got any hair & am skinnier. Had a nice brief chat. Emily then came out to get the M&G peeps back in.Seemed to take a while for us to get the helper ticket, but once in, still managed to get front row. Yay !
Tonight it’s “Dream Wife” who are opening the show. Tbh, we didn’t really watch them much, as we were having a catch up ! A funny thing was that Mel asked me “Simon,who would be your dream wife?”. My first reply was that after what my previous wife did, i’d never get married again! Whilst Mel went to get a drink, i had a think about it. It’s easy to lust after someone because of their looks,but you still don’t know if they’re a (cheating) bitch or not haha. My confessions were Katie McGrath (played Morgana in TV series “Merlin”). I love the Irish accent & in interviews she seems fun. Eleanor Tomlinson (Played Esmeralda in TV series Poldark) I’ve always had a bit of a thing about red haired lasses. Now if only i could find an Irish lass with red hair who’s fun…haha Mels answer was a lot less complicated 😉
After the show in Nottingham, i just KNEW Brixton would be better. They’re still playing the same set as before, but i’m hoping for a switch around or a couple of different songs added. It kicks off with “Afterglow”, then it’s “Deadwood”. I’m still don’t like how they start with such sombre songs. Fortunately, the next one “Temptation Waits” is a lot more up beat. Btw, i do love the links between songs. As an example, the “Are you flirtin with me?” line, which is Juliette Lewis from the film “Natural Born Killers” works so well. (I wonder if they have to pay any kind of royalties to use that sort of thing? I’m sure Juliet would be fine about it, but wonder what the companies would think)
After “Wicked ways” the crowd is so damn loud. This is much more like a home coming show. I’m loving it already. Shirley gives the speel about how long they’ve been playing at Brixton Academy & how grateful they are. Also mentions her dads there…i’m sure by now they’ll have gotten over that wee argument before Nottingham…& she thanks us fans who have stuck by them for all these years.
Next it’s “Special”. This is always a fun song. I’m still not too keen on “The World Is Not Enough”. “13x Forever” & “Get Busy With The Fizzy” i enjoy. Going back to the links between songs, after the “Hammering in My Head” the clip used from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, where Hal says “Take a stress pill and think things over” fits perfectly before going into “Medication” 🙂
Of course, Shirley is still proud about the fact that their cover version of “Thirteen” was the best cover version ever. Next song is another cover version “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” by The Seeds.
“I Think I’m Paranoid” is still such a classic. I really wish i could go down there in the thick of things…Mel decides SHE needs to go downstairs for a bit of fun…
I don’t know exactly what happened between ITIP & Sleep Together, but Shirley asks if everyone down the front is ok. Maybe it was down to Mel or rather, someone giving her a hard elbow 😉
“Lick The Pavement” is one of my favourites I love the rawness of this song. It’s short n sweet.
The rest of the show, just seems to go so quick 🙁 For the encore,they start with “The Trick Is to Keep Breathing”. But then they do something i wanted the to do : change the set list ! They played “No Horses”
Not only that though, they also played “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)”. What a way to finish the show !
I met Alice at the train station & we were soon on our way to London. Changed trains at Grantham & we had been booked seats in 1st class ! First time been in 1st class. As i expected, there was a very loud man near us who let everyone know how “important” he was. The couple sitting opposite us were totally down to earth & they too were laughing at “important man”. We had a nice chat. Once at Kings X we went straight to the hotel that had been booked for us. Upon checking in, they said it hadn’t been prepaid, so i put it on my credit card to avoid any confusion. We had a very nice room with 2 double beds. Eventually, we set off for Brixton.Nathan had arranged that when we got there, i should phone him & he’ll come out to take us in. As luck would have it, PVRIS were doing their soundcheck, so we got to see that. Alice was given her AAA laminate, but it was minus a lanyard. I thought to myself, the “O2 Angels” always have them, so we could nip out & get one later. However, in the end, didn’t need to do it as Matty kindly gave us his lanyard 🙂 We watched the soundcheck from downstairs mainly.
Had a quick walk around to find way up to balcony & watch some more from there. Went back downstairs & saw Matty again & he took us backstage. The band were having some kind of a meeting, so we stayed outside their dressing room. A few minutes later, Brian came out & took us to another room. (Or did Matty take us there & Brian came in a few mins later? Can’t quite remember). There were various drinks laid out & we could have what we wanted. We had a nice conversation with Brian. Told him a bit more about ourselves & where we live etc….”We’re from the ORIGINAL Boston 😉 ” (Funny coincidence eh?) Time was getting on & Brian needed to be at the M&G session. So we all went out to find where it was. Again, it was busy like in Birmingham a few days back. Matty kindly let us get photos with the band 🙂 We then sat watching everyone having the M&G. Was interesting seeing how some of them had pre-planned how they wanted their photos with the band to be taken. (Then there’s the other exteme of a few people who were nervous about meeting their idols). The band got a lot of gifts from the people they met.
Once the M&G was finished, Lynn asked us if we’d like a cup of tea! Actually, she wrote it down & showed us as she was trying to rest her voice 😉 (She was still suffering like in Birmingham. Respect to her for soldiering on & not cancelling any of the shows) There was a little confusion if we should hang around there or not. We went up to the balcony to find our seats. By now, the bands allocated seats had “Reserved” on them. That is except for 2 seats which were reserved in my name 🙂
The “Big Mama security woman” asked us if we’d got wristbands. We waved the AAA laminates at her & took our seats. She then came over to us & said “You need wristbands !”. I said to her ” Look, these seats are reserved in my name….i can show you proof of my identity…blah blah”. Then i thought, “Ok, i’ll go back downstairs & get the wristbands if only to make her happy” lol. As i started walking back along the balcony, another security guy turned up. I explained to him what had happened & he said “Just go to your seats”. He was a nice chap. Had a bit of a laugh with him. Once sat down again, “Mama security” came back to us & apologised for the earlier hasstle. That was nice of her. We watched the support bands & somehow missed getting that cup of tea we were offered earlier haha. So later we went backstage again & were told we’d missed 2 cups of tea ! Now, they’d run out of tea bags, so someone was sent to get more teabags from the bus ! (Americans prefer coffee i guess. That’s why they ran out of tea so quickly) We were told to go back to our seats & someone would bring our cuppas to us !
**Now i’m sure some of you reading this might be thinking “This story is quite long winded”. yeah, maybe so. But, i like to document my experiences as much as i can. However, the main thing here & i hope people get it, is that the band/manager/crew are just great people. I mean, even something as small as a cup of tea, they go out of their way to make sure it happened)** Sure enough, a while later, i big burly crew guy brought us our cups of tea. Thank you 🙂
Sometime during the night, i got a tap on my shoulder. I thought “Here we go…round 2 with security!”. But it wasn’t security, it was my mate Rob! I asked how did he get up on balcony considering they’d got stalls/standing tix? He told us that Jim had booked a seating ticket, so he used that to get up here. And where was Jim? You guessed it, downstairs ! The old trick never fails 😉 I told Rob we’d meet him downstairs after the gig. I’d also give him my ticket for the Royal Republic gig which was the next day (I decided it was best i didn’t go as was already under the weather & have finally realised i can’t do as many gigs in a row as i used to, due to my condition)
You could feel the excitement in the air for when PVRIS were about to take to the stage. Same as in Birmingham, they opened with “Heaven”. Again, this was followed with “St Patrick”
Tonights setlist was the same as Birmingham (& i assume the rest of the UK dates). So i’ll let the photos & video clips “describe/represent” the evening.
When the gig finished, we went downstairs so could meet Rob & i gave him the Royal Republic ticket for the next day. Said our goodbyes then made our way back up to the VIP bar. Thought the band might be there, but they weren’t. So went back down,backstage, to try find everyone. Brian invited us into their dressing room, so we hung there for a while. Nathan went off to get the money to pay for the hotel. (I’d Never seen Irish currency before!). After a while, we all went out into the corridor. Chatted a bit more with the band etc. Alice had brought a card with her to thank the band for everything they’d done for us. She read it out & didn’t falter doing so. As she was reading it out, i saw Lynn had slight tears in her eyes 😉 Alice handed over the card & also another picture/postcard of St Botolphs Church, Boston (Which is known locally as “The Stump”). we then got a group photo.
Time was getting on & i was wondering if we’d still be able to get the tube back to our hotel. Didn’t need to worry about that though,as when i mentioned it, Nathan said “We’ve already booked you a cab for your journey back to the hotel”.
Seriously, the generosity & kindness from band/crew etc etc was quite overwhelming ! We got a couple more photos with the band, Alice had a bit more of a chat with Lynn & then Nathan said our taxi was waiting outside. Final hugs of the night & both Nathan & Brian walked us out to the taxi. Oh yeah, as we were walking i asked Nathan what the plans were for next year. He told me about a couple of big things that will happen, but said i need to keep it to myself. I really hope those plans happen & that i’m still around to be able to make it to those shows.
So, summing up, it was a fantastic unbelievable day/night. I’m sure i also speak for Alice when i say Thank You for everyone involved who helped make this happen. Sure it was the best “Early Christmas Present” that Alice will ever have & when i’m gone, i hope it will be a memory she will treasure forever.
EDIT : After i’d finished writing this up, i thought i’d ask Alice if she’d like to add her own comment/memories of the day. This is what she wrote ;
” I enjoyed the train journey to London with Uncle Simon, as we were waiting at Grantham for our connecting train there was a very light dusting of snow floating in the air and it was so magical. We arrived at the Hotel lobby and it was all decorated for Christmas. It smelled like spices and cinnamon which made me feel warm inside. The cold was biting as we arrived at Brixton academy, we walked in with Nathan, one of the lovely PVRIS managers, just as ‘Half’ was being played at soundcheck; which is the song that reminds me most of my Uncle, I felt like the universe was aligning. We met Matty and he was very kind and looked after us really well. The show was beautiful, the sounds, the lights, the colours, the energy. After the music had finished we met with Nathan, Matty, Brian Lyndsey and Alex, to create what would become the most meaningful memory for me. AS everyone gathered round I read out loud some heartfelt words I had written on a Thank You card for everyone who helped make the day happen. The corridor was still and I think even the air particles stopped to listen. We all connected in that moment, with love and altruistic understanding that we had created something so special. My gratitude is eternal and I cannot wait for us all to meet again”.
I’d arranged to meet my mate Neil at the venue. He was going to have the free companion/helper ticket tonight. He got there just in the nick of time as doors were about to open. We went straight to Neils fave position on the front row 😉 The support band tonight were called “Husky Loops”. Can’t say that i enjoyed them though lol.
As was documented before this gig, Placebo had to cancel/reschedule a couple of gigs due to Brian Molko having a problem with his throat. So dunno what to expect tonight. Generally speaking, i think he did a pretty good job tonight,considering the circumstances. However, from the off, tonight i just felt something was missing & i expected more of the “Hits” to be played. Overall, it was a decent night out, but i’ve certainly seen them do better shows than tonight.
Went down London a day before gig to meet up with some old school Skunk friends. (As ever, i stayed at “Hotel Rob” 😉 ) Had a nice meal at Belgo, Soho. Great to catch up & as it wasn’t gig day, it was all nice & relaxed. 🙂 Faiz was quite brave trying a new dish
Before setting off to London, the wheels were in motion for me to get a balcony seat (my tix were standing) courtesy of Leigh. I’d contacted Stumpy & he said to either ask for him at stage door or give him a ring around 6.30. Well, that was the START of it all. When we were having the meal, Julia passed me a note.
Basically, she’d been in touch with Ace & had arranged for us to go in for soundcheck tomorrow as a nice surprise ! How cool was that of her?
Gig day. We arranged to meet mid afternoon. Myself & Rob went to a bar in Brixton as he needed food. The Greggs sausage roll i had was enough for me 🙂 From there went to the Academy. As expected, the majority of the Italian Skunk Army were already queued up. Rob asks me ” Do you know any of them?” My reply “Yeah a couple” 😉 So went over to greet everyone. (Funny thing Rob said to me later in the day ; “I thought you said you only know a couple of them? Everyone was coming up & greeting you !” ). After that we started to walk to stage door. Who was walking towards us? Skin ! “Ello Simon! How are you? “. We had a brief chat about how everything’s going. Before she left, asked me if we were sorted to get in etc. Told her i’ve got Stumpys number & we’re just waiting for Julia & Nadine to arrive. Skin said she wouldn’t be long & if we’re still outside when she gets back, she’d walk us in. Off she trotts to meet the Italian Skunk Army at top of the road, before going on her errand.
Julia & Nadine were running a bit late so myself & Rob decided to wait for them. Then, who should come walking along? Erika !. We had a nice chat. She keeps up on my postings on FB & i told her the latest. Such a nice person. She soon went back in the venue & we continued to wait for the girls. Anyways, skin came back & said “I’ll take you in so you can get passes etc”. For a brief moment there, i was even wearing skins AAA laminate 😉 We got passes from Stumpy, were showed the route through to front of house, then went back outside. By this time Julia & Nadine had arrived & were hanging with Leigh & Stumpy. Heard they were struggling with the internet connection for the FB live thing. After a short while, we all went back in & the girls got their passes. Whilst waiting, Mark walks by. He didn’t recognize me to start off lol We saw Ace & he said to go catering for a coffee or whatever, so we did just that. Later he joined us & we had a good old chat. A funny thing ; when he came into catering, he asked “Where’s Simon?!!” I was getting a coffee & pretty much stood right next to him! ( “…that bright yellow t-shirt doesn’t stand out enough..”) Then Cass popped in (From earlier comment “….when we’re in London, most of us go home for a while. Cass is the one who’s usually the last to get here…”). Already, the day has been super special & it’s about to get even better : we go through to watch the soundcheck.
They have a massive & impressive production with them this time. Great big video screens & some pretty special lighting. I’d go so far as to say it’s their best yet. (I’m pretty sure they wont be able to fit the production into all of the dates on the tour). The guys start jamming a few bits & it’s soon noticable there’s a problem with the bass sound. This is quickly sorted & they start playing songs. Whilst they’re deciding what to play next, totally unexpected, skin says ” You know what? Simon can choose ” (Fortunately i’m not so bumbling as when Ally of the Virginmarys asked similar question when he did a solo gig in Peterborough lol). I shout back ” Intellectualise !”. Cass then quips back “…i gave you a clue Simon!..” (he’d been running through the intro).
Unfortunately it sounds rubbish as used my mobile phone to record it.
Later on, skin asked what else i’d like to hear! Anyone who knows me will know my fave Skunk song is “Charlie Big Potato”. But i couldn’t really expect them to do that. So i suggested ” 100 Ways “. I also love that song & it was a small payback from me to Julia for arranging this day (“100 Ways To Be A Good Girl” is Julias fave song).
Another really great moment during the soundcheck was when they played “I Will Break You”. Erika joins on this. Both her & skin have a “vocal duel” singing how they will break each other lol. But the best is that you can see what fun they’re having together. Huge smiles & skin getting a bit cheeking kicking Eris bum a couple of times 🙂 Also played during soundcheck were “Cheap Honesty” & ” Without You” + others.
Soon enough, the soundcheck is over & we decide to go find another place for food. The crowd/queue has grown significantly by now. Walking along i see a few friends who were not there earlier. One of which was Aliyah who doesn’t live that far from me. She took a selfie of us which i’m sharing. The others had got a bit ahead of me as i was gassing a bit. When i caught up, Julia said ” Did you see Laura?!?” Me “What? Where was she?” . I had to go back & see her, shes a great lass from Italy. I’ve Known her since the Skunk reunion at Water Rats in 2009. I was filming those gigs & gave her my ticket so she could get in (A bunch of people came over for the show even though it was sold out. I’ll always help/share where i can). We had a brief chat & then i had to catch up (again! lol) with the others.
Must confess, it did feel a little strange to be leaving the venue at that time & also knowing i didn’t need to worry about getting back in later. But at the same time, i just cannot queue up for hours like i used to as i just get tired due to the illness nowadays.
We went to a nice place called Cabana. I had “Guava-cue Chicken”. Flame grilled skewers ; “Sweet & fruity tropical barbecued chicken”. Was just the right amount.
We had a nice chat about how cool the day had already been & Julia said to me a couple of times ” Just relax! You don’t need to worry about missing anything”. Personally, i don’t think i was fretting much anyway 😉
Myself & Rob leave the girls as we wanted to see the opening act “Pearl Harts”. Why is it there’s always a jobsworth security guy?! Trying to get to out seats he said ” You need the silver bracelet to go to seats”. We only had Access All Areas duh ! He wouldn’t listen so we went back to production office. Stumpy wasn’t about but a chap in there said ” Go via downstairs standing & take main stairs up. Should avoid the guy”. We tried that & guess what ? We came out at same place lol. Amazing thing was, Mr Jobsworth had a totally different attitude. Eventually he walked along the seats & found 2 with ” Reserved Clapham ” & he let us in…without the silver bracelet ! Dickhead ! ( I later see Leigh & even she had trouble with the guy & had to get silver bracelets)
The two girls from Pearl Harts played a similar set to the other times i’ve seen them open for bands (Garbage etc). Dare i say it ? The song “Hit The Bottle” is already becoming a classic to me. Given the earlier circumstances, it’s hardly surprising 😉 The two girls fill out their sound with some guitar loops/tapes which makes it all sound much bigger. The overall sound is a dirty rock n roll kinda thing. Their set flew by & i realised i’d not took hardly any photos & no videos at all. That’s a shame :-(. This is about the only one: So to the mighty Skunk Anansie ! Lights go down, there’s cheers from crowd, white spotlights spinning around to start, which then turn to red & finally just one red spotlight on stage pointing upwards. Yes, it’s for the coolest dude in rock n roll, Mr Cass Lewis. He comes over & plays his intro to “And Here I Stand”. Such a timeless classic. Down comes the back drop, to reveal tonights massive production. When skin comes on stage you can hear the crowd volume just shoot up. Nope, it’s not enough she gestures 🙂
Bloody great start i’d say.
After that, they go straight into “Intellectualise My Blackness”. On “Because of You”, Marks hitting those drums so hard. Skin really has powerful vocals on this. Dare i say it? Mark was on fire tonight…
Next it’s the fun n games with Erika as they duel on the vocals. Whilst not as fun/unique as during the soundcheck, it’s still bloody great. I guess the smiles on the faces give that away.
“Twisted (Everyday Hurts)” has always been a fave live song of mine. Gawd knows how many times over the years i’ve been jumping around during that one. It does feel strange for me sometimes. I mean, i used to always be down the front, getting in the thick of it all. But i just cant nowadays….
Next we get “My Ugly Boy”. To me, probably their most poppy sounding song. Following it with “Weak” & “Hedonism” redeems them though 😉
It’s funny how an old songs lyrics can still relate to the times of now. For instance, with all the B.S. from Trump nowadays, you could be forgiven for thinking “We Don’t Need Who You Think You Are” was written towards him. Following that with “Yes It’s Fucking Political” , there could be a message in there ?
During “Little Baby Swastikkka”, skin does the now expected visit into the crowd. Though tonight, there seems more members of the audience who DON’T get down when she asks them to. Either way, it’s still a great song to finish the set with. I see my mates Nom & Liz in this clip. Again, sorry we couldn’t get to meet this time mate.
When they come back for the encore, skinny has a right old rant about Brexit. “Fuck Brexit ! Me & my family are going nowhere! I’m British ! ” She doesn’t mince her words. Total respect to her.
A couple more modern songs follow & i’m then surprised they play “Charlie Big Potato “. I still will always prefer it to be played as an encore as the intro is a great build up to the song. Personal opinions aside, i’ll love that song where ever they put it in the set list. It’s just fantastic.
They come back for one more song “100 Ways to Be a Good Girl” & that’s it for the night. And what a night it was !
We go downstairs to meet Julia & Nadine before we all go up to the after show. (A little secret; i struggled with those stairs this time. My energy levels were depleted, even though i watched the show from seating). Damn that place was super busy as well ! Fortunately, Rob spotted a couple of settees that were available so we went there. It was all catching up with me tbh. Whilst sat there, Cass made his way over & sat on the back of settee whilst we had quite a deep chat (It’s the first time all the Skunk people have seen me since the proverbial shit hit the fan). As ever, he was charmed away by some young lady with drinks 😉 But for me, we had a nice catch up. Eventually, i decide i’ve had enough & we try make our way through the throng. Skin is holding court with the Italians again & we continue by.( Julia later on ” Simon i’m impressed you passed by her” 😉 ) I quickly had to have a word with Ace, to thank him for arranging the day. Final photo of the day/night was this :
Don’t think i’ve seen PJ since the Troxy show from back in 2011, so looking forward to this one. Couldn’t believe it, when on the train, my old mate Andy & his missus Nina, were sat along side me! We had a good old catch up. Unfortunately, the train got delayed & it looked like we’d miss our connection in Grantham (7mins to switch). As we came into Grantham, running along another line was the train we needed (it too had been delayed). We knew it would be close as had to go up steps & over to other platform. Literally, as we got on other platform, they shut the doors! Queue loads of angry folks ! This meant we had to wait another hour for next connection. I’d previously arranged to meet Rob & Kristina & told them of delay. We met up in KingsX then went to The Joint in Brixton for food (Another great little place that Rob found). Afterwards, Kristina kindly took my bag back to Robs place whilst we went to venue. The queue was small compared to previous times. Not that it mattered as i was using the “Disabled+companion ticket” option. Due to a small cock up, we were slowed down on entry,but still managed front row seats in balcony. Unfortunately, there was no support act so it was a long wait before PJ came on. Had to make use of the O2 offer of 2 for 1 drinks 🙂 This new PJ show is totally different to previous ones. It’s a “big” show with about 10 musicians on stage. I’m usually on the front row of the stalls,but this time, it’s front row of balcony. It’s pretty cool from this viewpoint actually as can take in the expanse of the show. It eventually (no support act tonight) starts with all the musicians slowly walking onto stage whilst playing “Chain Of Keys”. It’s almost like a funeral march as they snake around the stage to their respective positions. Afterwards, PJ holds her saxophone aloft as she moves to the front of the stage & they then go into “The Ministry Of Defense”. The “backdrop” is a bit strange. It just looks like a bunch of blocks & kind of reminds me of Penrose stairs. (But i doubt that was what they were intending to project). Tonights show is dominated by selections from “The Hope Six Demolition Project”. But we also get cursory glances to “White Chalk” & “Is This Desire”. There were some great moments tonight. I loved the version of “The Words That Maketh Murder”. The hand claps from the guys onstage & their singing in unison was very cool. Loved it when PJ sang the line ” What if i take my problem to the United Nations?” whilst seemingly asking this question to the guys up there & flitting between who she directed it to & getting no response. ( Am i over analyzing it? Or have i already become totally engrossed in tonights performance? 😉 )
Towards the end of the set we got some of the old classics like ” 50ft Queenie” , “Down By The Water” & “To Bring You My Love”. With all the musicians up there, the songs sounded quite different. For instance, during “50ft Queenie” it sounded like a “scream” at one point where the saxophone was played. As is always the case, it’s this song where PJ is the most animated.
“Down By The Water” is started by a single violin. We had no idea what would be played tbh. But once PJ sang the immortal line ” I lost my Heart..” we twigged on & there was rapturous applause. Loved the “swimming” movements from her on that one.
Next up it’s ” To Bring You My Love” & the main set is then finished with ” River Anacostia “. During “River Anacostia”, the various musicians joined PJ at the front singing along acapella. Quite a magical moment.
The encore is an old favourite; a cover of Dylans ” Highway 61 Revisited “.
Tonights show was a BIG show. Could go as far as saying it’s theatrical even. Whilst PJ in the past has never had much interaction between her & the crowd, tonight it’s even less. Just the occasional “Thank You” is all we get. It certainly makes you focus on the music/show. What i still find amazing about Miss Polly Jean Harvey, after all these years, she is still a unique artiste.
Originally, i was meant to be seeing ” Hey Hello” today, in Sheffield. However, it got cancelled due to Ginger Wildhearts illness. Nowadays, i’m finding it harder & harder to just stay in at weekends, getting tired of my own company, so was on the look out for a “replacement gig “. There were a couple of options : 1. Ash/Amorettes Norwich, 2. Clutch Brixton, 3. New Model Army Rock City, 4. Def Leppard/Whitesnake/ Black Star Riders Nottingham (on 13th). As much as i love Ash & the Amorettes made it even better value, i decided on going to London for Clutch. I met up with Kristina for a late lunch “like the old days”. Rob arrived later & i gave him the Garbage CD i’d got from Japan for him. They then went to another pub, whilst i went to Brixton. I wasn’t expecting for it to be too busy early on (especially after seeing how quiet it was before the recent gig in Nottingham), but was truly shocked to find just one chap waiting around ! As Elliot said, almost made you wonder if people realised the venue had been changed from Shepherds Bush Empire to Brixton ! ( SBE has cancelled gigs till the end of the year as they found structural problems with the balcony !)After a while Jim arrived, closely followed by Carl & Lisa. Great seeing them again & i realised this would be the first time i join them on front row 😉 Typically, the hand scanner didn’t work on my ticket, so was slowed down a little getting in. No worries though as got the spot i wanted. The first band on were “Greenleaf” & were new to me. Lisa & Carl told me a bit about them as they’d seen them a few times on the tour 😉 In fact, they had even put them on guest list tonight :-). They were pretty decent live band. From Sweden & it was soon apparent their inspiration (like many bands from Sweden) stems from ’80s metal. I enjoyed them a lot. Next it was “Bombus”. Another bunch of metalheads from Sweden ! These are pretty heavy, especially as there are multiple “singers” amongst them 🙂 They get a great reaction from the crowd. Finally time for the mighty Clutch. The crowd had swelled a lot, as had the amount of drunks behind us ! ( “I’m sure that pint will end up down my back” ) They started with ” X Ray Visions / Firebirds” & it was soon obvious they were impressed with the turn out tonight ; ” It’s a shame about Shepherds Bush, but every cloud…”. They also thanked the Brixton crew, who should have had a night off tonight 😉
I caught you in there Lisa & Carl 😉
Said quick goodbyes to my friends & was back on the tube to Cockfosters & the 2 hour drive home that followed. About half way home, i just felt hungry, so at about 2 am i was sat in McDonalds ! Later that day i was due to go out for lunch with my mum & i over slept! I was up & outa my place in about 10mins, so breakfast this morning was at the Chinese 🙂
P.S. The last couple of shows i’ve seen at Brixton, someone came along the front row, handed out a clapperboard type thing & took photos to go on Brixton academys website. I had “dressed up” especially & it didn’t happen this night. Anyways, here’s what i was wearing 😉
I got to London nice n early, went to the Beehive for grub & then went to queue at the Academy, 3 hours before doors opened 😉 My mate Jim turned up later, as did his mate Nick. O2 Priority is useful 🙂 I got front row on the left side, exactly where i wanted to be. Michael Schenkers Temple Of Rock were great, but, their set was way too short. I think probably about 7 songs & around 45mins. But Schenker was on fire. It’s great to see him looking so into the show & smiles all around.
Just the intro of “War Pigs” as enough to set the tone for Priest ! The crowd were so bloody loud singing along. They started with “Battle Cry” & then straight into “Dragonaut” off the latest album. (There were 2 more played tonight off “Redeemer Of Souls”), then bam ! It’s “Metal Gods”. So many Priest classics were played tonight. Rob Halford was spot on with his vocal delivery….something that cannot be said of some previous tours, where it was patchy. The “new” guy Richie brings so much energy & enthusiasm to the show. He fits so well in Priest. Strangely, i felt it was during “Turbo Lover” when the crowd got really rowdy. There was a lot of pushing around (even though it might not be that noticeable from my video). was great 🙂
When a band is this on & playing to such an up for it audience, there’s nothing can beat this. The show has just took second spot in my “best gigs of the year”. (Garbage @ Paris is number one) For sure i will see them again on the next tour, whenever that is.