I've been a bit busy with all that crap that fills your time between the fun stuff lately, hence no blog posts - but I though I'd put a quick one together.
I've always liked music - I was in a band for what felt like 5 minutes in the early 90's and around that time I went to every gig I could get to. I've pretty much completely fallen out with the guys I used to go to gigs with, and other than the odd notable exception, (like Motorhead and Alice Cooper at Brighton a few years ago) I only go to gigs with my wife. Not that that is a bad thing in itself, but it means I don't get to the louder, grubbier gigs, you know, the good ones.
This year is different though - somehow, and I'm not sure how, I've ended up booking six gigs in November and December '12. Here's a rundown, with my hugely biased thoughts.
Jack White - Alexandra Palace
Venue was interesting - not been there before. Huge space with loads of bars and food stalls inside.
Support was The Kills - interesting, pretty good - the seven kettle drummers was an interesting touch. Ultimatley they were a bit lost in that massive venue.
Jack White was fabulous - an all girl band (mostly from Nashville apparently) were tight.
Evanesence - Wembley Arena
Agreed to go with an old friend to this one, and damned glad I did. Wembley Arena is much too big as a venue for my tastes, but at least we had standing tickets. We got pretty close to the front.
The Used were support and they were ok - although not as good as they thought they were.
The Headliners were much louder (and therefore better) than I thought they would be. Recommended.
Squeeze - GLive Guildford
Took my lovely wife Suzi to Gulidford's rather nice GLive to see Squeeze. We see them most years and they can be a variable.
This year they were supported by Paul Heaton who was superb - great voice still and a calm but confident stage presence. Highly recommended.
Squeeze was very good, although a little heavy on the new songs for my liking.
Adam Ant - Shepards Bush Empire - Friday November 30th
Venue was excellent - 2000 capacity, plenty of bars with a decent selection of drinks, great sound, clear and loud. We were standing, quite close, maybe 8 rows from the stage.
Support Act: Geogie Girl and her Pouissez Possey. Oh dear. Basically an all girl rock act in the spirit of... I don't know... Heart? Bangles? Lots of Latex and glitter. Music was enthusiastic but terrible.
But, then the main show, and I'm pleased to report that Adam Ant has still got it. The whole band did a creditable job reproducing the classics - and it's been a long time since I saw a band with two full drumkits (maybe 18 years!) and I still don't know why ALL bands don't do that, the sound is truely fantastic.
Redd Kross - Borderline - Monday December 10th
I saw Redd Kross at the Marquee in about '94 when they were my favorite band.
So about 13 years later and 300 yards down Charing Cross road I saw them again.
Back in the 90's Redd Kross always seemed to be on the edge of being massive - but they somehow never quite got there. Having a drink at the bar in the Borderline before the support act came on I felt a little sad that such a great band were playing such a tiny venue (Capacity is only 275) and said support act 'The Sharp Tongues' seemed to fit in great - the set seemed short and sweet and I'll add something of their's to a wishlist.
For the headliners I got myself to the front row and then spent most of the set trying to avoid having an eye taken out by the headstock of Steve McDonald's bass, but honestly, the boys still sound fabulous and I can only show mild bewilderment that these guys are playing a one off gig in a sweaty basement rather than an arena tour. They played tracks from throughout their long career, right up to a couple from the new album, and everything was loud, perfectly formed and delivered with style and a smile. It turns out I still love Redd Kross. Oh, and did I mention their shoes? The McDonald brothers definitely have the best shoes in Rock.
The Damned - The Roundhouse, Camden - Saturday December 15th
I'm a regular at Damned gigs, although I missed the 35th anniversay tour last year.
The Damned have the ability to be fantastic and full of energy... But not always. Bad Damned is depressing and annoying. Hopefully this'll be a good night.
I was let down by my friend who was supposed toc ome with me - which was disapointing although not entirely unexpected.
So second gig of the year that I went to alone.
As with Red Kross, I got myself a couple of stiff drinks and then went and stood at the front.
The Dickies were support and I'll skip giving you a review as my mother said if I've got nothing nice to say...
But the Damned were on brilliant form - The Captain's guitar work was so well done that I'd think it was getting help from a recording - except of course that it stopped when he fell on his arse.
With 36 years of work to call on there were a few surprises in the set, but really, everything was as good as it possibly could be.
I can also highly reccommend the venue - the Roundhouse in Camden is well organised and beautiful and the sound quality and volume were spot on.
I should apologise for the photos in this post I suppose - in my defence I'll just say they were all taken from the crowd with an old iphone.