PAPA ROACH + Nothing More, Rock City, Nottingham, 28-4-19

As is always the case, I took the earliest train out of Boston. But today, there was a 2 hour stay in Grantham. So I decided to go to The Tollmache & have some grub πŸ˜‰ Wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be, so a good start. Walked back to train station then got the 15.09 to Nottingham. I’d worked it out that I’d have enough time before early entry. Straight to my hotel, “Roomzzz”. There was someone checking in before me, but once they were done, the chap looked for my booking (Didn’t have to say my name, as they all know me by face nowadays πŸ˜‰ )
Got up to my room & noticed they were cleaning room next to mine. Opening the door I head a strange noise. It was the dishwasher that had been left on ! Tried phoning reception, but was busy. So went out & found a cleaner. She didn’t seem to understand English language, so I gestured to her to come to my room. She switched of the dishwasher…then switched it back on again ! Eventually, she got it that I wanted it off ! This was the start of my day going down hill….

I went to doors of RC at the set time, 5pm, & some people were queuing for the VIP M&G whilst others, like me, were waiting for the “Trust In Papa Roach” package. That cost Β£125. In the email I got about it, it said we’d get an autographed new CD & another merchandise item.
When the first VIPs went in, I noticed they were being searched. This is something that rarely happens at Rock City nowadays. They were being quite tight with the searches (I later overheard the head of security say it was a last minute thing as management requested it)
Later they brought out a load of tables. I assumed that would be so could search people quicker. I’m now stating to think “I wonder if their stopping all cameras in the search?”. I mean, usually they’ll let in any camera that doesn’t have a detachable lens. So decided to ask security if my camera would be allowed it. He said no. So I took it back to hotel. ( To think years back I used to record audio & stuffed it down my trollies, and now I’m giving in easily. But hey, it was expensive ticket). When I got back to RC, there were a few more queuing for the “trust..” package. I even had 2 different people ask if I was security ! Not had that happen in a while πŸ˜‰ After standing for so long, I decided I needed to sit down. So sat on one of the previously mentioned tables. Oh forgot to say, all the beginning of the queue were quite rowdy, singing out loud PR songs. So going back to the tables outside, I sat on one for 5 or 6 minutes & it collapsed ! I did like a backwards somersault, whilst sliding down the table. Yes, those guys singing away laugh when they saw it happen. I was little bit dazed by what happened tbh. I think then someone amongst them realized, whilst it might have been funny to see happen, there was also the possibility i could have hurt myself. (Whoever you were, Thank You). I was quite surprised that security didn’t come rushing out, I was quite a clatter that happened. In the end, i had to tell one of them that the table had collapsed!
Another example of my day going downhill.

After a while, a chap comes out to give purple wristbands to the queue that’s doing the “In Papa Roach We Trust” package. I’d been given one earlier so they waved me through in to the foyer. The same chap was handing out the merch that was included in the “IPRWT”. From the email I received, I was under the impression we’d all be getting an autographed CD + a piece of merchandise. As is often the case nowadays, the other merch included was one of those rubbish “Tote Bags”. (I did question him about it, but he said “That’s it”). I then made my way into the venue proper. Guess what ? They DIDN’T search me or even check my ticket ! So if I’d had the guts, I coulda got camera in ! Oh well…

With not being able to take my camera in, I decided to see how well my mobile phone would cope. Needless to say, photos were grainy & the video clips i made were distorted. However, I must say that I really enjoyed both bands tonight.
I think I first saw Nothing More back in 2014, maybe opening for “Heavens Basement” ? I know that I saw them a bunch of times opening for “Halestorm” in 2015. Man, how they’ve progressed over the years ! I actually think they’re headline material nowadays. Their set list was :

Let ‘Em Burn , Christ Copyright ,Don’t Stop , Go to War , Do You Really Want It? , Fadein/Fadeout , Jenny (STILL a standout song),Ocean Floor,
This Is the Time (Ballast) , They finished with a cover of Queens song “We Will Rock You”. Β 

 

UFO , Tara Lynch, Rock city, Nottingham, 26-3-19

This one really made a change. For once I wasn’t going on the train ! My mate Andy T, drove us there. We set off around 2pm, weather looked a bit dark, but as we travelled further away from Bostonia, it got brighter. Shoulda took my sunnys with me. When we got to Nottingham, we walked from the station into town.(Via a slight diversion called FOPP) Then had lunch at The Roebuck. Surprised it wasn’t very busy. Next stop was Rock City to see if there was much of a queue or not. There was a small one. Also, they’d put barriers out the front, something that I’ve not seen them do before.
We’d still got an hour plus to kill, so went to Premier Inn & hung there for a while. (I had booked a room as it was so cheap)
About 15mins before doors, we went back to RC. Had to “jump the queue” so i could get a seat. Tonight, Andy was my “helper”, so a free ticket for him πŸ˜‰ Managed to get a seat in my favourite spot (Thanks Kev) then the rest of the crowd came in. I Was surprised that it didn’t get very busy. But soon enough it did look a lot busier, which was good to see.

The opening act was “Tara Lynch”. Once again, they didn’t really impress me. As they were playing, I noticed the drummer was someone I thought I’d seen before. Sure enough, it was who I thought it was ; Joe Lazarus. Even he couldn’t “save” Tara Lynch band…that’s just my opinion.

By the time UFO hit the stage, Rock City has filled up a lot more. They amble on to the stage & start with a couple of old classics; “Mother Mary” and one of my faves “We Belong To The Night”

Instantly I notice Phil Mogg is in fine fettle tonight. As he’s now getting on a bit with age, it surprises me that he sings really well. Good on ya Mr Mogg ! ( I just wish that a couple of other oldie vocalists would wake up & realise they’re not as good as they used to be. Classic example : David Coverdale. There’s more guitar solos than him singing πŸ˜‰ )
Tonight they also play “Venus”. According to internet chatter, this was the only time they played it on this tour. Lucky I caught it ;

It’s a cool song. Next they play “Lights Out”. It’s another song what they’re famous for. Phil tells us that they first played it at Rock City in 1982. Either someone gave Phil a wrong setlist or he had trouble reading it, he introduces “Cherry”, but they play “Baby Blue” !! hahah. He then says “I’m so sorry. Someone gave me the wrong setlist. This is called “Burn Your House Down”. What do they do? They play “Only You Can Rock Me” haha. He has a bit of a laugh about it πŸ™‚ TheΒ  guitarist steps up to the microphone & says ” That was “Burn Your House Down”. I’m not keeping up with all these shenanigans !! Then they finally play “Burn Your House Down”.
We finally get “Cherry”

Next up is one of my all time faves ; “Love To Love”. Phil says there’s someone in the audience to dedicate it too. “Where is she ? Oh she’s in the toilet !” Sheer class !

It’s getting towards the end of the show now. What better way to finish with “Makin’ Moves” & “Too Hot To Handle”. Phil has a little joke about Andy being 52…but he said “I do apologise to him, it was a gross exaggeration & mischief making” . Wtf ? Erm, I’m lost now ! He then introduces “Too Hot To Handle”. I dunno if Phil had been back on the sauce again or what. I’m not remembering it all, maybe i got it wrong?

They appear to finish with the long version of “Rock Bottom”. But surely, that can’t be the end ? Of course not ! They encore with a quick couple of songs, namely “Doctor Doctor” & “Shoot Shoot”.
All in all, this has been a fantastic night out (Even though there was confusion from Phil, which in turn confused me haha)
These are the nights that I live for.
P.S. Didn’t take any photos tonight as I was mostly filming it & more importantly getting into the gig πŸ™‚

 

BUCKCHERRY , Hoobastank , Adelitas Way, Rock City, Nottingham, 15-2-19

This time I took a later train from Boston to Nottingham. Arrived Notts about half 3pm. Walked to “Roomzzz” & stayed there till about 15mins before doors opened at Rock City. Tonight was an early start, or rather, it should have been : Doors 5.30 ! They do this when there’s a club night after the gig & there’s usually a curfew of 10pm for the gig. So as usual, I went to venue 15mins before doors. Then had to wait till gone 6pm before was let in. During that wait, I saw members of Buckcherry were doing a Meet & Greet in the foyer. I didn’t even know that was happening. Unsure how many did the M&G but pretty sure there weren’t many. I Spoke to a couple of security guys about getting a seat, the second one dealt with that. Got my fave position in the venue & I sat there thinking “I wonder how busy it will be tonight ? ” (Earlier I’d seen they were doing “2 tickets for the price of for 1” at the London venue).
I hadn’t heard of the opening act “Alitas Way”. Can’t really say that i loved them, but they were entertaining. The singer said something like “…We’re Alitas Way from the USA. We’re pleased to be on this tour. Once we’ve finished it, we’re coming back for Download, then doing our own headline shows in venues similar to the size of here…”. Sorry, but I think you could only play “The Rig” headlining, seeing as tonight’s 3 band bill isn’t close to selling out. But credit due to them, by the end of their set, I’m sure they’d won over a few of the crowd. Something I’ve just remembered was that no one seemed to want to come in the area under the stairs. I wonder if it was because I was wearing my Rock City hoody ? (It’s been a while since anyone thought I was security πŸ˜‰

Next up it’s Hoobastank. I last saw them in this venue back in 2015. A lot has changed for me since then. I think i was on the front row with a local friend & now I’m having to sit watching the show. I’ve got to say,Β  I wasn’t very impressed with their latest album.
Though they’re cover of “Tears For Fears ” song “Head Over Heals” is certainly different πŸ˜‰ It’ll be interesting to see what the setlist is tonight.Β 
They have a short intro, ( I know this music, but can’t place it! Any ideas?) then just amble onto the stage & Doug says ” Hello Nottingham. What the fuck is up? We’re Hoobastank from Los Angeles California & we’re hear to make some noise !” They kick off with a song from their debut album, “Hoobastank”. “Pieces” is a great one to start with.

Next up it’s the classic “Out Of Control”. The audience lap this up. It seems to me that the set is going in the right direction i.e. not many of the new songs will be played tonight (That’s fine by me πŸ˜‰ ) We then get “Remember Me” from their debut album. The audience is looking good bopping around πŸ™‚ I quite enjoy hearing the funky “Inside of You” (From the album “Every Man For Himself”). Next it’s back up to full throttle with “Same Direction”. I’ve always preferred their first couple of albums, “Hoobastank” & “The Reason”, tbh I thought they went a bit down hill after those.

“Running Away” is typical Hoobastank. It’ a good one to wave your arms to πŸ™‚ Tonight’s set is pretty damn good actually.
Doug puts a smile on faces when he’s talking about probably their biggest “hit”. He said something like ” If you know the song, you could help us out… if you don’t know it…fuck you ! “(he’s joking) . Just the intro chords of the song is enough for a cheer from the crowd. Again, it’s great to hear everyone totally getting into “The Reason ”

After that one, Doug says thank you to everyone, introduces the band members & they finish with “Crawling In The Dark” :

Considering time constraints, I think we got a pretty good show.

So to the headliners of tonight BUCKCHERRY. A lot has changed since I last saw them. They have new band members & Josh Todd is now the only original member of the band ! Really don’t know how this will affect things.
I did look at the online setlists before going & was pretty shocked to see they open with a cover song. Mind you, it’s a great song so I’m interested to see what they do with it…Β 

Well I suppose that is a sign that you should NOT try to change a song that was already unique for the right reasons ! After HLAH they play one of their own tunes; “It’s a Party”. That’s more like it πŸ˜‰Β Β Next they play a song of the 2014 EP “Fuck”; namely “Somebody Fucked With Me”. It’s kinda funny they had an EP where the song titles always included the word “Fuck” πŸ˜‰ We then get a song from the “Black Butterfly” album (I’m sure I’ve got the Japanese version hidden somewhere), namely, “Don’t Go Away”. Tbh, I wasn’t over impressed with that album. But this song is cool. It’s one of those where it’s only natural to sway your arms…or have a slow waltz haha. No, joking aside, it’s a nice song !
From the “ying to the yang”, it’s an old classic “Lit Up”. Josh lets us know that the first time he took cocaine was off a Ouija board. Scared ? Nah..

They then go back to the “Fuck EP”. It’s kinda hard to believe that Josh loved “Icona Pop”, but by changing a few lyrics of the original, it became a nasty pop/rock song. To think at the time, the song ” I Love It ” (also featuring “Charli XCX” on vocals) was a disco smash hit & just by changing a few lyrics, it’s totally different. Oh yeah, anyone notice the AC/DC riff in there ? (I’m still unsure if it was a piss take or not!). All i can say is it’s a fun song (wish I’d filmed it, but was getting into the show)
They then play a song that’s off the forthcoming new album “Warpaint”. Warpaint, the song, is typical Buckcherry sound. I Wonder what the rest of the album will be like ? (Due to be released in March)
Next up is “Too Drunk…” Anyone remember the “Dead Kennedys”? The last few songs of the night were “Sorry”, “Bent” (Off the soon to be released “Warpaint” album), “Gluttony” & as ever, “Crazy Bitch” ;

Β 

Unfortunately there was a curfew tonight, so the sets seemed rather short….bloody club nights ! As always, didn’t have far to go to my hotel as it’s virtually next to Rock City. I’ll always recommend “Roomzzz” πŸ™‚
Overall, I’d say my first gig of 2019 was OK. I’m sure the next one will beat it by a mile πŸ˜‰

 

 

GARBAGE , Estrons ,Rock city, Nottingham 11-9-18

I’d been looking forward to this gig for ages. Was hard to believe i’d not seen a gig since June ! I knew i’d be meeting a lot of friends at this show, so that made me even more interested.In the end, i decided to do the “Push It” M&G package ! It cost around $300 ! Reason i did it was that this could be my last chance to do this sort of thing. I took a train whichΒ coincidedΒ with when Rob & Greg would be changing trains at Grantham. As usual, it was just 2 carriages & quite busy. But managed to get a table seat for when Rob & Greg joined. Once aboard, Rob got some cans out “Do you want one?” Me : “Are you taking the piss !?” (Just a slight slip up, but still joked about it). We’d planned that once in Nottingham we’d got get some food, then go check in hotel. I also needed to visit Jessops to try pick up some photos. Luckily they had arrived. I think after that, took em to the hotel then briefly went to meet everyone around the corner at “Alberts” (This used to be “Spanky Van Dykes”). As i was feeling tired, decide to go back to the hotel before going to RC for the M&G (I might have got the order of things wrong lol) As i was doing the M&G thing at 4pm, Rob & Greg went to the pub (Nothing new there lol)
Before going in, i saw a few people i know,namely Paul A, Renee A, Leisha T, Jonathon C,Nigel M etc. Everything went very smoothly with regards to getting in & having my seat in my favourite spot. Emily, who was the concierge organising the M&G was a very nice & bubbly person. You could see she loved her job & interacting with the people doing the M&G. We were took through to watch the band soundcheck. After that, we went into the side room called “Black Cherry Lounge” (Which was once called “The Rig” where they had a few gigs in there. Terrible place for a gig!). The band then came out to chat doing a mini Q&A & they also seemed very interested where everyone had travelled from. When they announced the remaster of Version 2.0, i was really hoping they’d do a 5:1 surround mix (As i thought their style & way of recording would work perfectly), but unfortunately they didn’t do it πŸ™ So i had to ask the question πŸ™‚ Butch seemed interested in the concept of doing it maybe in the future, but Shirley also said something like “How many people do you think have the equipment to play that stuff” That was a reasonable reply i guess.
After the chats, we all lined up to get a photo with the band. I came prepared as i brought a previous photo from the Troxy show & also one that a friend in the States had done πŸ˜‰Β Β This is the actual photo from the Notts M&G :Β 

We then went into the foyer & had a look at the merchandise. At the time, they were still setting up the stall, so Emily said “If you want to come back a bit later, buy your merch, then take it to your hotel, you can still come back & get in earlier than the everyone else”. Excellent.
I’ve got to say, the prices of the merch were really quite extortionate ! I mean, a pair of socks for Β£15, a very small rucksack for Β£50 (apparently it was Β£60 at previous shows), a track-suite style jacket Β£90. You get the idea. In the end, i succumbed to purchasing a few items…might even get something else at Brixton. Rob, being the biggest Garbage memorabilia collector, bought everything ! Emily seemed quite shocked πŸ˜‰ Rob got chatting with her about his website http://www.garbagediscobox.com/ . After taking merch back to hotel, i went straight back to RC. I managed to get in even earlier than expected as the security guy asked me if i wanted to go in then. Was quite funny when i saw all the other M&G peeps walking in later & Emily saw me sat down “Oh Simon i’d been wondering where you were “! She went to the barrier to chat with people. Then i had the bright idea : ” I wonder if as Rob has bought so much merch, she’d let him in early as well?” So i asked & surely enough, she went & got him. They both had a good rapport. Rob even managed to blag a Tote bag from her πŸ˜‰
The room started to fill up & soon enough Jim came to join us. Poor old Greg, in his hurry to get to the front, slipped on the steps & almost face planted himself on the floor ! (At least no one saw it…oops πŸ˜‰ )

First band of the night i’d never even heard of them (actually that’s wrong, as Nigel told me a bit about them earlier outside the venue). Personally, i found the Estrons very “samey”. I seem to find nowadays that it’s very rare that a new band impresses me. Sorry, but not sorry.

So, to the main event of the evening : GARBAGE !

They kicked off with “Afterglow”. A very sombre start.

Next up it was “Deadwood”. When they play “Temptation Waits”, i couldn’t help wishing that i was down in the thick of it jumping around etc. I really miss doing that. Actually, i was surprised at the lack of people in the audience NOT bopping around during the song. Next up it’s the groovy “Wicked Ways”. During this one, they meld in a part of “Personal Jesus”. It works perfectly.
Before “Special”, Shirley explains how rock City is a special place for them. They have footage of the first time they played here. She goes so far as to dedicate the song to Rock City & all the staff & of course all the fans that have travelled on the journey with them.

When playing “13x Forever”, they meld in a short lyric from The Kinks song “Tired Of Waiting”. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but sometime during the gig, there was a mistake & both myself & Rob instantaneously picked up on it (We looked at each other with a face of “What The fuck?”)
Before “Get Busy With The Fizzy” Shirley mentions that she’d forgot how hot Rock City can get. Also talks about having an argument with her dad earlier in the day. She’s also cracking up laughing. Is this the start of the downfall ?

 

Hmm, maybe it was during “Hammering In My Head” that me & Rob had the “WTF?” glance together at same time ? If it wasn’t then, then certainly around the time of “Medication”.
Shirley has a massive rant about some kind of recent review. She starts off by explaining that when they covered “Thirteen” (Big Star) how proud she was that Alex Chiltern (main song writer) had said it’s his favourite cover version by any band ever. She then tells the band about how just before the show, she’d read a review online which some young lady had wrote about Thirteen & she was apparently disgusted about said cover version. (As she’s saying that, Rob shouts out “Shes a cunt !” haha) She then tells us that after being in the business for many years, it still bugs her when she reads a review like like. But she continues saying “Well fuck you mother fucker…cos the man who wrote it loved it ” (with a massive smile on her face). Towards the end of “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”, Shirley goes over to Duke, who at the time was playing keyboards. She joins in with him. To start of, i don’t think that Duke was very impressed by that move. I could also see Billy Bush looking on with a “WTF?” kind of expression. But once Duke had accepted that Shirley was tinkering with the keyboards, Billy had a massive smile on his face πŸ™‚
Towards the end of “Sleep Together”, Shirley ends up writhing around on the stage floor πŸ™‚ Next up it’s a rather feisty version of “Dumb”. It’s funny when Shirley goes over to Steve O πŸ™‚

During “Soldier Through This”, Shirley seems to get very emotional. (I can’t help thinking of the lyric “I feel Intoxicated”, as i’m sure she is lol) After that, it’s one of my favourate songs “Lick The Pavement”. It’s an absolute rocker of a song !

Next we get “Push It”. Shirley is all smiles & the audience is helping out by singing some of the lyrics. I also think that around this time, the booze is really kicking in as they have to restart “When I grow up”

Second try…

The version of “The Trick Is To keep Breathing” i can only describe as embarassing.

When Shirley is introducing the band & comes to Eric Avery, she says ” He’s one of my best friends…i’m in love with him… the fact that we get to play with this formidable talent is insane..” But then she says ” Anyone who’s a Janes Addiction fan, go fuck yourself” (Flicking the bird).
Well fuck YOU Shirley ! I bloody LOVE Janes Addiction, almost as much as i do Garbage. But i’ll let you off this time as you were obviously “under the influence” & you also confess that you are drunk πŸ˜‰

Tonight’s extravaganza finishes with a cover of David Bowies “Starman”. It was so good, they had to do it twice πŸ˜‰Β 
Afterwards, whilst chatting with Lou & Anne, i made an unintentional pun by saying the show was “Absolute Garbage”. I think everyone then went to the Rescue Rooms to carry on drinking & chatting about the gig. Myself, i was bloody knackered, so went straight back to the hotel.
The following morning, i noticed that one of the pair of socks had a hole in them ! So i asked Rob to exchange them when he goes to Newcastle.

Whilst at the time i was pretty annoyed about the performance, in hindsight now, i realise that EVERYONE has a bad day in their life. It also reminded me of when Mark from Skunk Anansie asked me why do i see multiple gigs on the same tour. My reply being that no two gigs are the same. Sometimes the band played perfect & others there could be technical difficulties or the band don’t quite gel. Also, for myself, different audiences can play a part in how i enjoy the shows or not. So i guess tonight was one of those nights where Shirley had an off night. Maybe some people might think i analyse it too much. But if you REALLY know me, then you’ll know i LOVE music, especially LIVE music. We may have different opinions on things, but i always speak what i think. Also, with this show, you could look at it multiple ways : some might find it funny, some might be disappointed, some might not even notice the problems ! Everyone has their own opinion.
I was pleased to hear they played a great show in Newcastle the next day & am really looking forward to seeing both nights at Brixton.

EDIT : The following day Shirley apologised for her performance. Apparently, after the argument with her dad, the combination of painkillers & whiskey put her over the edge. I also found out from a friend that a few people waited for the band to come out in the hope of getting stuff autographed or to have photos with them. Apparently, all the band, except for Duke went straight to the bus.

 

THE STRANGLERS ,+ Therapy?, Rock city, Nottingham, 12-3-18

After Alice had left, i had a look in FOPP, then checked out where Brewdog was (was thinking of going there later). Almost went to see a film, but the price put me off πŸ˜‰ So i spent most of the time in my hotel. Decided i needed some grub to see me through the night,so once again, i visited The Gooseberry Bush. Had a lovely Grilled Chicken Tennessee burger, washed down with Devils Backbone (I’m a creature of habit).By the time i finished that, the rain had just about stopped.Think i had about 40mins in hotel before i needed to go to Rock City. Once there, the queue had grown. As i went to the doors, some one else who had disabilities was just being let in. I told the security chap i needed a seat etc & he kind of questioned me. I saw Kev was there,so asked if i could have the same seat as last night πŸ™‚ His reply was “If i can find it,it’s yours.They keep moving it around the place!”. Couple of minutes later, the seat was brought up to the balcony for me. Must have been in a good 10mins+ before main doors opened.
It’s always interesting seeing people coming into the venue. Some head for the front row on the barrier & others head straight to the bar !
Whilst waiting for Therapy? to take to the stage, a chap to the right of me said ” Well done on getting the seat! Think i could also do with one!” (or words to that effect). When i told him that i NEED to have the seat & briefly told him why, he was initially dumbfounded. We carried on chatting, talking about the gigs we’d been to etc. It was surprising that we’d both sometimes been at the same gig (but obviously then we didn’t know each other) not only that, he doesn’t live too far away from Bostonia! (I think it was Heckington?). I told him about my blog which listed every gig I’ve seen since 1980 & he seemed quite impressed with what i’d done; “That’s amazing!”. Later he said something like ” You’re an inspiration how you cope with things & are still getting to the gigs”.I also said to him something like “It’s not until you see the situation from the other side, that you can really understand how it totally affects your life. Having a sense of positivity really helps”.Then he really shocked me ; ” I’ve been thinking….(He’s a headmaster at a school) Would you come to the school & give a talk about how your life has changed & how you cope with these health issues ?….I’m not putting you on the spot.”
Whilst i can see where he’s coming from, I’ve never been the sort of person that would, or rather COULD, do that type of thing. I said i’d think about it πŸ˜‰ Enough of that, lets get to the reason why we’re all here tonight : A great line up including Therapy? & The Stranglers πŸ™‚

I’ve seen Therapy? a few times over the years. We even saw them in Amsterdam back in 2006 ! (Bet you remember that one Chris H? Something to do with beers πŸ˜‰ ). The thing with Therapy? is you’re always sure that it will be a great gig. When i saw they were opening for the Strangers, i just had to go.
Tonight they kick off with “Die Laughing”. Andy dedicates it to Ken Dodd who recently passed away πŸ™‚ Next, from the album “Infernal Love”, they play “Stories”. A couple of songs in & there’s already a small group in the crowd bopping away.(Actually, i was surprised that more of the crowd didn’t get into Therapy? tonight) I’ve always loved their version of “Isolation”. I really think they made it there own. “Turn” is as great as always. Really wish i’d filmed a couple more songs tonight, but i was enjoying it too much to do that.
They play most of the “hits” from yesteryear; “Turn” , “Teethgrinder” , “Nowhere” , “Knives” all sound as fresh as the day they were released on albums. They finish their set with “Screamager” & “Potato Junkie”. Btw,Just who was “James Joyce” ? πŸ™‚

This Stranglers tour is being called “The Definitive Tour”. After having a quick gander online to see what they’ve been playing, that title pretty much sums it up! I just know it’s gonna be a great night.
Tonight’s show starts with an intro which goes into “Curfew”. What a great way to kick things off.(Pretty sure i can hear the chap next to me singing along πŸ˜‰ )

Next up it’s another classic Stranglers song “(Get a) Grip (On Yourself)”. That’s followed by “15 Steps” & “Bear Cage”. If my memory serves me correctly, the track “Bear Cage” wasn’t on any album & was just a single release. However, it was included on the reissue of “The Raven” CD. Talking of “The Raven”, I remember buying that on vinyl way back in 1979 (?) & it had a special cover. There was a seemingly 3D image of The Raven on the front. Pretty sure I’ve still got that LP somewhere. Hmm, i wonder how limited that release was? Might be worth a bit nowadays πŸ˜‰
Next, from the same album, it’s “Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)”. Some great shouts/interaction from the crowd. Bloody fantastic !

When they play “Peaches” it takes me back to when i was a prepubescent kid. What a great music scene it was back in those days. Growing up with bands like The Stranglers, Sex Pistols, Siouxie & The Banshees, Blondie, Buzzcocks, B52s, The Jam, The Members, etc etc.
One of the most unexpected songs to hear tonight was “Don’t Bring Harry”. Again, i remember when i got “The Raven” album, i really didn’t like that song !
Maybe it was because,at the time, i didn’t know what it was about ? (Heroin). Either way, i just didn’t get it.Β 
They then play 3 of my fave songs, namely “Golden Brown”(Their biggest hit single i think), “Always the Sun” & “Walk On By” (OK, it is a cover of a Dionne Warwick song, but i think they made it their own πŸ˜‰ )
I love the angst(lyrics) & power(music) of “Something Better Change”. Again, it’s right up there with the Stranglers classic songs. After S.B.C. they played “Duchess”

Tonights show comprised of around 22 songs & lasted just shy of 2 hours in length. Talk about value for money πŸ™‚
They finished with “No More Heroes”

After the show finished, i hung around on the balcony & noticed that Michael McKeegan (Therapy? Bassist) was looking down at the crowd leaving. I just felt i needed to go have a brief chat with him. Basically, i just said that i’d seen Therapy? quite a few times over the years & ive not seen a bad show by them. Also mentioned how he always seems to have a smile on his face when he’s playing, so to me, he must be enjoying playing. After that quick chat, i said goodbye to the couple of lads i’d met earlier, then headed back to my hotel.
Damn, this has been such a great couple of days/gigs in Nottingham ! Feeling thoroughly contented with everything πŸ™‚

 

TONIGHT ALIVE, Rock city, Nottingham , 11-3-18

Β 

It’s quite funny how this one happened. I booked a ticket for the gig & when i saw on Pledge there was a M&G package, as it didn’t cost much extra, thought i’d do that as well. I knew Alice (My niece) liked T.A. so asked her if she was going to the gig. Not only was she going, but had also paid the extra for the M&G. Asked her if she was driving there or staying over. I’d already booked my hotel (Roomzz for 2 nights,as next night was seeing The Stranglers) & suggested to her if she decides to stay over in Nottingham, Premier Inn had an offer on where a room only cost around Β£30. So she booked that quickly πŸ™‚
We took quite a later train than usual. The earlier one would have had a 2 hour change over in Grantham ! When we got to Nottingham, we had around 30mins to walk to our hotels, get checked in , then go to rock city for 5pm (M&G time). There were quite a few in the M&G queue….some people who weren’t doing the M&G also joined the queue, but were soon set straight πŸ˜‰ When the guy came out checking names, Alice had still not got to the venue, so i told him she’ll be here soon. As i was waiting, a bizarre coincidence happened ; someone behind me asked “Were you at the Marmozets show in Cambridge?”. I turned around & recognised the 2 girls i’d met in Cambridge ! We had a quick chat about the Marmozets gig & of course i moaned about the rubbish “seats” they had for disabled people πŸ˜‰ Then Alice arrived…just as the dude was handing out the posters & beanie hats πŸ™‚ Once inside the venue, we were took through a side door into the room that used to be called “The Rig”. I think they only use that room for the disco stuff nowadays. That’s a good thing as when it was a gig room, it was absolutely rubbish ! (The one & only gig i went to there was back in ’98. The band ” A ” were opening for “Symposium”. As i couldn’t SEE the band, i sat on the bar! Of course, security rightly told me i couldn’t do that πŸ˜‰ So i said to them “show me a place where i can actually see the band, or i want my money back”! Ended up getting my money back & driving home ! Doubt that would happen nowadays lol)
So, back to the M&G….we all queued up then one by one we met the band, had a photo took, then hung around waiting for the M&G to finish. The band then went on the improvised stage & there was a short Q&A session followed by them playing an acoustic version of “Temple”.Β Β Β We then made our way to the main room. Along the way, i saw “Kev” (security) & reminded him he was gonna sort out a seat for me. We went to the balcony, only to be told it wasn’t open tonight. Ok, plan B it is then : Under the stairs ! Couldn’t believe it when Kev brought me one of the old high back seats! He was wise enough to save one πŸ˜‰ Thanks Kev !
Alice seemed unsure if she wanted to stay in that position or to go down on main floor (I knew already what she’d do πŸ˜‰ ) We watched the support acts from there. The first was called “The Gospel Youth”. Didn’t do a thing for me. Next it was “Roam”. I quite liked their set. Kinda wished i’d filmed a song.
Shortly before Tonight Alive were about to take the stage, Alice decided to go on the main floor to have a bop around. Wise choice πŸ™‚ I woulda if i coulda…After a short intro,the guys walk on stage to huge cheers & when Jenna appears, the crowd get louder. They start the show with ” Book Of Love “. After that it’s ” Lonely Girl ” from the album “The Other Side”. This is a very upbeat sounding song, even if they lyrics don’t really relate to being “up”,so to speak. Next, another one from “The Other Side”. It’s great seeing everyone having a great time during “The Ocean”.Β “Crack In My Heart” sounded great.

During “World Away ” there was a great sing a long from the crowd. I managed to capture the tail end of the song & then the acoustic version of “Say Please”

During the course of the evening, they played around 16 songs.There was always a positive vibe in the room πŸ™‚Β Β 

The show finishes with the song that they earlier played acoustically at the M&G, namely “Temple”. A nice one to finish the night off.

When we leave the venue it’s raining a bit. Alice wanted to try meet the band again, so we hung around for a while. She managed to meet a couple of the guys & have a brief chat.Β Β Obviously, it was Jenna that she really wanted to meet again, so we waited a bit longer. In the end, as it was raining & cold, we thought Jenna might not come out. So kinda gave up. I walked Alice to her hotel & said to her ” You know, it would be just your luck that Jenna might come out after we’ve left!”. When i left her at her hotel, i said i’d text her if Jenna was around. When i got back, you guessed it, Jenna was there! There were only about 3 people there with her. So sent a text to Alice telling her. Literally seconds after i’d sent the txt, Jenna walked back to the venue/bus. So i told Alice to not bother coming back πŸ˜‰
The following day, Alice was going back home. We arranged to meet & have some breakfast in Wethers. Wasn’t as busy as i expected it would be. After that, we walked back to our hotels & i said i’d meet her at the junction near the royal concert hall, so could walk her most of the way to the station. I was waiting a while so txt her as it wasn’t long till her train was due to leave. She’d walked further down, near to Subway (there’s no crossroads there πŸ˜‰ ) So i told her “i’m on the way” haha. Said goodbye at Broadmarsh as i wanted a quick look in FOPP. I then headed back into the city & decided to have a look where Brewdog was. Typical, that they didn’t open till 12.00 & i was there about 11.30 ! As it was pissing it down i thought i’d see what films were on (As would kill a bit of time & i’d be out of the rain). When i saw the prices, i decided against that ! Spent most of the day in my hotel!

 

The DAMNED, Slim Jim Phantom, rock city, Nottingham, 4-2-18

My mate from down London came up for this show. For a change (as they had an offer on!) i stayed at the Premier Inn. I thought i did well booking that for Β£31, but Neil out trumped me as his hotel was Β£27 ! (And by all accounts, it’s a decent hotel). So once we were both in Nottingham, we met up at the Goosberry Bush pub. Was good seeing each other & we had a good catch up.We got to Rock City about 20mins before doors.The usual thing, make security aware we’re here so they can sort out a seat for me & get in before the mad rush. But tonight something strange happened. Whilst chatting away, a woman came over & had a go at me ! She said “I’ve been in the queue since 5pm & it’s not right what you’re doing”. I replied “Don’t worry, you’ll still get your place on the front row. I’ll be going in the balcony & I’m not queue jumping…”. Again, she said ” But i’ve been queuing since 5pm “! I suppose that if you see me you wouldn’t know of my illness, but she could have gone about it a different way. In the end i told her i’ve got brain tumors & (supposedly) only about a year to live…& she still came out with that same phrase she’d been using! Some people should think before they speak…
Anyway, after that stupidity from her, a security chap came out & walked us in, sorted out a seat (the new rubbish LOW ones) & i went downstairs to a place i could see the stage. Neil had a bit of a laugh with me about the womans attitude. I’ll say no more on that.

The opening act tonight is “Slim Jim Phantom”. He who was part of “The Stray Cats”. It was all decent enough, but i was here to see The Damned.
Crazy as it sounds, this was the first time i’ve seen The Damned ! Always been into them for years ,but somehow never got to see them !
The lights go down & the intro tape is played over the PA. (It’s Gustav Holst “The Planets”). Having previously looked online to see what their set list is, it seems they usually start with a pretty rigged set. They play “Lively Arts” , “Silly Kids Games”, “Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow” etc. It’s all good. The new songs sound good & the old classics sound even better. Something i quickly noticed was that whilst Dave Vanian & Captain Sensible don’t seem to have aged much, i couldn’t believe how much Paul Gray had aged! (Sorry to say this)
Tonights show comprised of a few new songs from the yet to be released “Evil Spirits” & a bunch of the old classics like “Neat,Neat,Neat”.

For myself, the highlight of the show was when an old chap named “Johnno” got up on stage. I was surprised he’s still alive if i’m honest. Whilst i’ve never met him, i was made aware of him back in the ’80s. How? Well, back then i used to visit a bunch of “Record Fairs” around the UK. I often visited Leicester, Sheffield & sometimes even London to see what they were selling. Well, one time in Leicester, i bought a fanzine which featured Crazyhead,Ghost Dance etc. There was also an interview with Johnno where he told them how he loved the Damned & would go to multiple shows. He really inspired me. So, to see him up onstage tonight was pretty amazing.Β 

I think he’s about 73-74 years young & he’s still doing his favourite thing. I have so much respect for the guy.
He actually got up on stage towards the end of “Evil Spirits” & introduced “Smash It Up”.

They came back for a second encore of one song, a cover of “Jet Boy, Jet Girl”.

When the show was finished, we once again went to the Goosberry Bush for final drinks of the night ! All in all, a fantastic night out.