Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Lemonheads in Derby

Lemonheads at the Venue Derby

Gig 19: 21 April 2012
Arriving at the venue proved a real challenge for the sat nav as it kept trying to send me down a pedestrian alley, although I let it redirect me incorrectly down the same no left turn junction twice.

Arriving at the little Venue, tucked away it was interesting, a poster listing it's plus points for hiring as a capacity if 250 and ample parking, which were definitely true. Feels like a big youth club.  The loos had a school loo smell to them, bit mouldy maybe, but a reasonable new Venue on the scene.

The support band were local lads the Fontana Instincts with 'bluesy sounding country/folk' who are clearly at home in their home town. A really assured set, with the singer supported by a sitting picking guitarist - first time I have seen this since Dolly Parton, and a good looking lady on bass. I will be watching their progress as they record their debut with interest.

The crowd thinned and I wandered forward, I got closer and closer and then was right at the barrier. This seemed a good idea until my ears started aching with the noise, but I held out for Evan Dando, man of legend (well he was legendary in Melody Maker when I avidly read it) to come on stage, he played 3 quick acoustic guitar led tracks to rapturous applause. He looked at ease with a guitar in hand, well worn with long hair beard and red lumberjack shirt. He kept banter to a minimum to say the least.

On came the band and I slunk back in the Venue to enjoy a race through a 75 minute set, Evan swapped the acoustic for an electric guitar and launched into tunes at breakneck speed, with a thank you in between and the next song starting before applause had died down, feeling a bit rushed.

It's a shame about Ray was a standout for me, as I have always loved the song, it was able to transport me back to the days of courting Mrs P, joss sticks, chilled life, which was worth the entrance fee alone.

The rest of the band went off for a few more songs, simple 2 minute pop songs, played on Evans electric guitar, then they were back for a finale, Style, sample lyrics to finish

Don't wanna get stoned
I don't wanna get stoned
But I don't wanna not get stoned
I don't wanna not get stoned

Summed it up nicely, no encore, would have been nice to hear Mrs Robinson, but hey, all good.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Record Store Day 2012 in Brum

Record Store Day in Brum

Needing to buy a present for an upcoming party I had the excuse to go into town to sample record store day 5. A phenomenon that had been buzzing virtually left right and centre on the net.

I pottered over to Swordfish records and was amazed to see it empty, no one in there, no boxes of records, no buzz, just the usual personnel shuffling around the same as on a week day, so I had a root around some of the records and found a superb lp, a rerelease of the Nuggets album, double gatefold heavy vinyl, nice.

So I went for a wander round town, got the pressies, urban outfitters is the way forward, after the ground floor of Selfridges and being very disappointed with Record Store Day I whipped out my blackberry as a last resort.

First was a tweet slagging off record store day, the second let me know where another record shop was in Brum. Ignite. Never heard of it and found it on the blackberry, in Oasis. Now I probably haven't been in Oasis since school, and walking in it was the same, a department store for students, smelling of joss sticks and feeling far easier to walk round than when I was feeling very self conscious at school. The only thing I remember buying years ago was a spray painted teeshirt, which I loved and cost a fortune, can't remember the picture now, but the booth was still there still selling individual sprayed tees.

The store was a winner because it had a box of record store merchandise. I went through and found a few interesting things, the new Inspirals single (signed), the Ramones Blitzkrieg Bop, Belle and Sebastians cover of Crash by the Primitives and MC5 Kick out the Jams, all on (bloody expensive) seven inch . There was only me in the little store, with the ex indie buyer from Tempest who ran he stall. He had been scraping by, but doing so, and said he was just looking to survive. He had had a queue of about 100 people on opening though, and even better the next customer was a school girl, going through the indie vinyl who was a regular.

So I bought the most expensive 7" records in my collection, but was very happy to support a record shop, and happy to then retire to urban coffee, relax over an Americano and lovingly look through my records purchased, read the times mag piece by Caitlin Moran and watch the Blues game on twitter, very like watching on Ceefax, just with background noise from other random tweets. Refresh.

I then went back to Swordfish for a transformed shop, full of people of my age, packed in to watch the Wonder Stuff or Miles Hunt and Erica from said band, perform their 5th in store of the day, consisting 4 tunes, 3 covers (Slade, the Beat and the Move) and an oldie. Miles had good banter, telling us about his uncle who had been in ELO, the Move and Wizard and the first 7" in 20 years for the Stuffies. The was part of their From the Midlands with love project, covers of songs that had inspired them, and celebrating (in a typically self deprecating fashion) the world of the Brummie.

The songs were great, a self confessed not too sure of the chords to Slades tune, a couple of wrong words in verses (self confessed again) but overall a very warm feel. We bought the 7" after and I met Miles with the same star struck look I always get on these photos, plus gave him my pen for everyone else. Miles was a very warm chap among friends, he had been a regular customer of the owner, and it showed, he warned us not to let the record store become a thing of the past to reminisce about and then I left, happy to have participated in records store day 2012.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A Sea of Bees who were out of this world or at least off this planet

So another trip to the Hare and Hounds who turn out to be the tardiest venue I have come across, as arriving 20 past the advertised doors opening time there was just closed doors up stairs with a couple of people stood patiently outside shrugging sheepishly waiting for the sound check to finish, suited me so I had a jar, a bit of a chat and cleared some emails.

When we got in, there were a number of nice little tables with red jars and candles, very nice. A quick chat to the soundman about what time were the bands yielded the reply of ooh don't know, I should find out. So I settled down at a little table (result) and awaited the first band. Dust motes, a local band representing a nice nervous quiet chap sitting on a stool acoustic guitar in hand with no eye contact and apologetic banter between songs and a bass player who smiled a bit but stroked his bass in the most gentle manner I have ever seen. Pleasant banter between songs and not a bad little set, there is a place in the world for head phones and 'Nervous Rock' copyright 2012.

Planty arrived mid motes and ensured we shared a nice romantic table with more premium than cooking lager, and on came the next band, Stealing Sheep, three potentially students from Liverpool, central mouthier one playing stand up drums, flanked by guitarist and keyboards (who turned out to be from Lichfield but an honorary scouse). They then started sharing out the banter playing quirky songs with odd instruments thrown in. Lots of track from the forthcoming album were played, with the 3rd track on the set list the stand out, I think it was one word starting with an M when I spoke to the guitarist, but who knows.

There was an awkward moment when 2 young ladies decided to stand in front of the romantic table. I plucked up courage, tapped on the shoulder, mentioned the view and they moved, sadly in front of Planty, but a bit more staring into the backs of their necks and they took the hit and wandered off.

The 2 lasting memories were the hey nonny now electric song, and a finale using one of the best sounding instruments I have ever seen, which I believe the technical term is a 'brilliantly circly click click Wooden thing'

To the main event and on came Sea of Bees, who had been lingering in the audience and by the CDs for the first 2 bands shouting encouragement quirkily.

Song one, and on came Jules and support guitarist amber, this first song was pretty average and the singers pained face led this to feel like it would be a long night, but then on came a long haired guitarist and a geeky drummer, and the sound was filled out. It's hard to Pigeon hole the sound to a genre, with quirky little noises picking out of the end of the songs. A bit of country coming out too, a bit of California, just ace.

The blokes turned out to have been picked up post flight to the UK in Kent, and a jet lagged 13 hour practice session.

SOB then filled the stage and the songs, each being previewed by a discussion about where the inspiration from the song came from, from a weirdly distracted mind and lots of 'you know's when if I'm honest all the audience probably didn't.

Lots of songs with one word titles, and a cover of 'leaving on a jet plane' which was flagged I think of the song of her life story, based on looking jealously on her brothers happiness in his relationship. Amber was also a real star of the show too, great banter including various small animal noises,

Huge warmth to SOB came back from the audience, and not a small amount from the fact that the was a heartfelt joy of having returned to Brum where they have enjoyed a couple of gigs previously, and 2 sets of friends in the audience for the Californians.

It was also a great touch that SOB were selling a hand made live CD, screen printed cover, which having listened to on the way home ally captured the feel, particular a slight banter before the first song, the stand out Gnomes.

All topped off with a McDonalds with voucher on way home.

Back to the Eighties, Howard Jones:

A gig it was impossible to turn down, 27 years on from seeing the Dream into Action tour with Mom and Dad for my 13th Birthday, he was back in town to play the full album and humans lib at the dome.

Posting this fact on Facebook also revealed a lot of love for Howard and memories being rekindled from as far away as Thailand.

Getting there we were greeted by large merchandise banners telling us about the £35, £30 and £20 box sets on offer, a little rich for my taste no matter how well remastered the albums sounded.

Settled in with cooking lager, on walked Howard, but actual fact it was a baldy man reemphasising the value of the box sets, and telling us that real Howard Jones fans felt his new album was the best he has ever done - the inference being I suppose I am not a real fan, pah

Then on came 2 chaps behind a bank of electric drums and computer, neither Howard but they played a mash up of the first album, leaving me concerned that the actual album would be reinterpreted, but no, on bounced Howard, looking mad professor, large forehead and red leather jacket - back to the eighties is on.

The gig kicked off with a personal favourite Automaton and the song took me right back to the days of lp heavy rotation, on Mom and Dads old stereo in my room, with clicks and pops and wirrs. A time when I had maybe 4 records to my name.

A nice touch to the songs were the backing videos. Not the most amazing but well thought through, Automaton launching with a video showing a massive Howard Head looking very Holly from Red Dwarf.

We got lots of discussion between songs, things like when recording Dream into Action, at the playback to the record company they slated it for no hits and HJ went home in a panic to write life in one day over night for a massive smash. Another touching story was how HJ's Mum (82 years old now) being part of the fan club and writing letters to fans, and particularly HJ being given a scrap book from a fan (clearing space) and finding letters from his Mom he had never read.

A massive part of the 80's was Jed the mime artist for HJ and he was there, in spirit with 2 of he films featuring him, the first a miming of eating dinner at a table in silhouette (Jed's a little more portly now) and then in the second half a cracking video where a split screen head of Jed was incredibly expressive, one all colourful, one black and white, both looking aged.

What else jumped out, the sing alongside, HJ would wander to the front Nd lead lots of sing songs and the crowd were transported back, as was HJ to the NEC, and the filming of LiF in one da live at the concert by the man who went on to direct Michael Jacksons videos.

After a half our interval, HJ was back with Humans Lib, after another baldy man sales pitch, and confirming from back stage that he had reached 10,000 followers on twitter.

Other things, a false start on one song to prove it was all live, the fat chap on keyboards playing media ski poles - bizarre and in line with HJ's experimentation in the 80's, that's one of he things hat grabbed me he was always so forward looking with his music, which when he came out for the encore with his guitar keyboard, cutting edge to retro in a mere 27 years.

The keyboard guitar encore was for New Song, not hard to guess the encore being the massive hit and only song missing from the run through of Humans Lib, HJ walked us through it in a slow appreciation the blasted out a massive sing along.

Ending on a high, I absolutely loved HJ way back when, and played Dream into Action and Humans Lib (a cassette copy) no end.

A real value for money gig and whilst not quite back to 1985 in a Delorean,

Was I tempted with the mega bucks box sets?

No I picked up Humans Lib on vinyl off eBay for 99p, which was the album and format I had coveted back in the eighties.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

First Trip to St Andrews on Match Day

The first trip to St Andrews on matchday.

Saturday 14 April 2012 and Birmingham City drew 2 v 2 with Bristol City. Not a particularly remarkable match but the first game I had been to with my boy, and at one point in the game when we equalised a game that left me with a lump in my throat.

Earlier in the week it dawned on me that I could take D to the football, Dad was on holiday and so his ticket was available, so having checked with Mum I broached the subject with D, his reply amazed me, "I had always hoped you would ask me" he can be cute at times but this was superb.

Building up to the match was exciting, announcing the fact I would take D to Stans for the first time on Facebook offered threats of NSPCC tip offs but Saturday rolled round.

After Ben Gardner's party at the Wacky, I was a little concerned D would be tired but armed with a bag full of provisions we went to town. Parking at my office (due to repeated smashed windows when parking on the streets) i realised the first challenge, the Blues is 2 miles from work, a bit knackering for me and Dad, a marathon for a 5 year old, so we potted through town, passed the building made of Smarties as D noted it and to the bus stop.

We caught the Bus from the back of Selfridges, and were off up to the ground. We jumped off to early, following blokes off to their local, but followed the small crowds early walking the final bit up to the ground. D spent the last bit of the walk on my shoulders (he's getting a bit heavy) spotting Blues shirts and telling me the numbers on the back.

We bought a programme and a matchday badge souvenir (£3 each) and then navigated the turnstiles, sitting down in our seats at 2:15. It was then I realised that I had 45 minutes to entertain D before the teams even came out, but luckily Beau Brummie came out, with his girl friend and was meeting kids at the side of the pitch, perfect I thought, D would you like to meet Beau? No. Really come on let's, no! Ok then let's just go and watch, and then ok says D.

Getting down the front and always one for a photo opportunity, I used a bit of pleading to get D to have his picture taken which came out as a brilliant snap. We then had a little wander round the ground, sat back in our seats and got out the Birthday pressie Nintendo 3DS which turned out to have no charge! At this point I did panic a little, as that was to have been the main method to entertain D in moments of blandness in the game, which historically at Stans have been many and frequent.

As a last resort we bought some snacks, bottle of squash and a wisps, £2.85. And importantly due to the serious security hazard a bottle of squash can provide we weren't allowed a lid. This drink got us to kick off, the teams came out and we cheered the mighty Blues on against the reds.

I could have written the script, the Blues came out looking knackered from the exertions of a 3 all away draw to promotion rivals Wetspam and promptly lost the marmitey Fahey to injury. Quick as a flash Blues then went 2 nil down, Bristols only 2 attacks, although luckily D didn't really notice, being fascinated by Wispas and smarties and his whoopee cushion from his party bag.

He did know about the game a minute before half time, the ball worked to Marlon 'he scores goals Millord' King who's deflected shot crept in at the far end of the pitch, We leapt to our feet and D was launched into the air (I just about managed to keep hold) and we bounced together to celebrate Blues coming to life. Then half time came.

We popped down to see cousin Nige and kids, Faith, Holly and Charlie were all there and we had a catch up whilst D squirted everyone with his whoopee cushion. Bumped into Will to to discuss kids. This was definitely a half time of being a proud Dad.

The second half kicked off, Blues kicking towards us and I must admit there were only a handful of things I remembered, a phenomenal nutmeg in the box by right back Ramage and Burke (Burke will tear you apart again) getting into the box and squaring to Zigic (who had been useless all match) to score from a yard out and again launching D into the air to celebrate the equaliser. This really was an amazing moment, the way D looked at me when we were bouncing together was amazing, a really happy smiley brilliant moment.

The biggest highlight of the second half for everyone round me though was D's none stop playing with his whoopee cushion, whether sitting on it, squirting it in my face (there is nothing in the world that smells like the rubbery whoopee cushion spit of a small child) and lots of smiling and comments arose.

We nicked off in injury time to miss a bit of the crush to get out with the game finishing in a draw, 2 2, just like it was when my Dad took me in 1980.

So the trip back to the car was undertaken with D riding high on my shoulders all the way back, that was a long 2 miles. When I arrived in the office my cheeks were bright red and I had a sweat on.

So was it a success, yes, I am chuffed to bits that D got to come to the Blues with me and start the 3rd generation at Stans.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

There's no such thing as a free lunch (with the Futureheads)

Futureheads, Nottingham Glee Club, 12 April 2012

There's no such thing as a free lunch the saying goes, but sometimes the 'free' lunches taste so nice you don't begrudge paying a bit for them.

Why's this relevant for gig (16) of 2012, well because the fantastic Glee club, fast becoming my favourite venue, offered free tickets to see The Futureheads new gig. This was perfect because whilst liking the FH, accapella is not really my bag, compared to indie rock, but my record collection is eclectic, so why not, Glee also sorted out the ticket on the door when I couldn't do the code on website bit.

Apart from being in Nottingham rather than Brum, a minor oversight, and running a bit late, and it pouring with rain, torrentially, all was great for my freebie. Sitting down on came the support, the Cornshed Sisters, I waited with cider in hand and it was 4 lasses, all with personality, banter between tracks and sharing lead duties on all the folky but beautifully sung feisty songs. There was even a run out for their joke 'I had a drunk Spanish actor in the pub last night, Havier Bardham?, no he's just had a warning' best said with a Mackem accent.

A Mackem accent was important, because the middle singer (obscured by the end singer as I watched, who looked like Mrs Doyle from where I was sitting, in a good way) looked very familiar, and as this progressed it became clear that she was Marie Du Santiago from Kenickie and Rosita, having seen Kenickie a few times I even recognised the swaying side to side action whilst singing, and style of banter.
After the support set, I had to run out the venue, get some cash and run back (Glee has very helpful bouncers) to attack the merchandise stall, buying my first new vinyl for a long long time, Cornshed Sisters new album, and this was nice white vinyl, with download code, happy days. I also had it sold to me by Marie, and entered my usual star struck mode, merely commenting how ace they were and how well she had aged, to the comment of how young she had been in Kenickie. Mrs Doyle made sure that I got my free tote bag with my vinyl which was much appreciated.

On came the FH's and I was looking forward to it given Marie's reassurance that it would be brilliant. The first thing that was brilliant was that they were surrounded by many and varied (acoustic) instruments, so we were out of solely accapella territory, secondly here were 4 really witty chaps who seemed to be best mates having a laugh in between superb songs, challenges about the number of bottles of water consumed, showing nipples, ripped trousers, being the best on stage, quizzes to win sweaty towels all made for a Jarvis style audience interaction.

The Futureheads also were very good at dealing with hecklers, well one heckler from Chester Le Street, who was very keen to give us a running commentary and join in. This was topped off by the lead singers off the cuff comment in McIntyre of 'I'm getting pretty McIntyred of you' a superb put down, and Chester Le Street went quiet, and his made got up shakily, fell onto the wheelchair lady behind him and they exited stage left.

The set was really varied and mixed, Blackeyed peas and Kelis covers, FH songs done folk and old traditional songs. They all came together fantastically with the highlight for me being a cover of Sparks 'number one song in heaven'.

An encore and finish with the Hounds of Love (Oh Ah Oh) and it was back to the merchandise stand for the Rant album.

Whilst not a free lunch in the end, definitely worth while.

11 years is Pulp. At the Royal Albert Hall

Pulp : The Royal Albert Hall, 31 March 2012 - Gig 13!
Phoning the Missus up to say you've got tickets to see Pulp at the Royal Albert Hall on a Saturday night is an impressive gesture. It would be better if I had heard Mrs P tell me that she wanted to go and that it was perfect because it was on our wedding anniversary, still half points for effort, nil for listening skills.

So a day in London, train down, travelling surprisingly lightly, time in Portobello rd market, Rough Trade records, Pizza Express, Houses of Parliament, Emma Bridgewater, flash hotel then we were ready.

Into the Royal Albert Hall, nice seats and ready for the support, Cats Eyes, a really interesting band as half of the songs have a bit of energy about them, and are great, and half are slow and nothing better than dirgey. But a reasonable support.

This was followed (after shocking £4 bottles of becks) by messages from our sponsors, Teenage Cancer Trust, and meeting some of the people who had benefitted through them coming on stage with Roger Daltry. Really a cause that jumps out as worthwhile.

Then it was time words came across the screen to hype the audience up (bizarre given I had seen this only 5 days earlier for Noah and the Whale) which is a very effective way of hyping the audience, the words asked if we were ready, leading up to whether we remembered the first time.....

Yes, first Pulp gig, 5 October 1994 at Villa Leisure Centre, supporting Blur who were just about to go massive along with indie music and Britpop. Jarvis was mesmerising great banter, and I left desperate to find the song Razmatazz. I can't remember being left so keen after a support band before or since and without the Internet it took ages to find Razmatazz, but well worth the wait.

Yes. The first Pulp record bought, the 4 track CD single with Babies on it, from Powercuts in Manchester, a brilliant basement record shop and the single cost the princely sum of a £1. It got played and played in the early stages of my courting of Mrs P.

Jarvis bursts on and not having seen them live for years I was hit straight away by his gangling legs. The set started with do you remember the first time followed by several blistering hits and the audience were away, guests came and went, until Richard Hawley joined the band and never left.

After the blistering set we got into a few lesser known songs from the trees era, good but enhanced by Jarvis's legendary banter inbetween songs.

Common People came on at the end of the set, to rapturous response, and the wall of sound for the chorus of 'LIKE YOU LA LA LA LA' just blew me away.

The finale included a Pulp song written when Jarvis was a teenager, which fitted with the charity, for this tune, Jarvis was joined by his sister and school friend who had done backing vocals on the original record, which was nice.

Then how can you wrap up, a song about learning about sex in a wardrobe, (Babies rather than anything to do with Boris Becker) then the sing along dancing Disco 2000 now sounding suitably retro rather than the anthem for the future it was when it first came out.

After the gig it was off to the merchandise stall to get a book on rock star recipes, signed by the photographer / writer. I have never known someone take so much time and care over an autograph but it was much appreciated, as I had managed to push into the queue accidentally near the front.

Nice wedding anniversary, 11 years on.

Set List:
'Do You Remember The First Time?'
'Something Changed'
'Sorted For E's And Wizz'
'I Spy'
'The Birds In Your Garden'
'Bad Cover Version'
'Like A Friend'
'This Is Hardcore'
'Bar Italia'
'Common People'
'My Lighthouse'
'Disco 2000'

Friday, 13 April 2012

Noah and the Whale, inspired dance

Noah and the Whale: Wolverhampton Civic Hall

Gig 12: 29 March 2012

By now the merely going along to 40 gigs this year seemed eminently achievable and I am definitely enjoying the challenge or getting a little bit obsessed with going along to gigs, not having huge amounts of spare time, its taken the place of going to the Gym, another win!

So Noah and the Whale was selected by me and Planty from Song Kick to attend, and the date rolled round, having been to a leaving do for someone from work and stopped chatting a little bit too long, the journey to Wolverhampton was incredibly speedy, I played the game of beat the satnav to very good effect arriving in the usual spot and racing up and into the gig.

I was keen to catch the support and cooking lager in hand I got in to see Lucy Rose who I had researched a little on youtube and really enjoyed, singer, guitar, quirky songs, just my particular cup of tea, a bit like this Youtube clip:

Live however this cracking song writer had surrounded herself with a band who just didn't seem to be playing anything to do with Lucy's songs, and I was a bit underwhelmed.

May have been the big venue, the fact I was stood under the balcony at the Civic and the sound wasn't perfect or I missed the point, but I would give Lucy a second chance hopefully when she returns to the Little Civic in June.

The crowd was in good attendance for the support and gave a better response than me I suppose, whilst I finished off my cooking lager with traditional plastic glass.

It was clear that the audience were ready for Noah and the Whale, there was a palpable buzz going round and when the support music turned off, lights dimmed and the curtain at the back was lit up in Mondriane style the buzz increased. This was then brilliantly captured by the Noah's punctuating little messages in the squares building the anticipation, more and more, are you ready?, are you ready? here we go! NOAH AND THE WHALE, ending with the back drop as the photo above, a really impressive build up.

Coming on to Life is Life, I was immediately in, ooooooh I like this one mode, rocking back and forth on my heels (my preferred gig shimmying) to the songs, and venturing out from under the balcony to be greeted by a much better all round sound.

I wasn't the only person enjoying this, the rest of the audience were very much into it, as was in particular the lady in front of me, who was a dancing whirlwind, well when I say whirlwind, she danced like the dancing priest from Father Ted, not in time to the music, just really enjoying herself.

I loved this free spirit and emotion, reminded me of Phoebe from Friends when she went running through Central Park and ran like a 5 year old arms and legs going all over the place in abandon, I've tried this (admittedly running through a forest where no-one could see me and it is liberating).

The thing that struck me as we went through the gig was how tight the band were on stage and how far from the Mumford and Sons / Laura Marling twee folks they were, the gig was really rousing and cracking, upbeat and fun, and as a result there were great engaged sing alongs with the audience.

A nice touch was for Love of an Orchestra where an Orchestra was wheeled in, but virtually, where violinist Tom steps off stage right and then back into the orchestra in celluloid. A very nice touch which was Charlie Fink commented was made even more remarkable by this vortex being able to change all of Tom's clothes, but again a great tune.

The songs kept coming and I kept thinking how I like this one, I like this one, Noah and the Whale have secretly snook up on me without me knowing! Last song of the set was L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N which was a perfect way to finish, ensuring mass sing along and everyone was happy.

Having satisfied everyone, the encore was the indulgent wig out of The First Days of Spring, but I had already Lifegoeson lodged in my brain for the drive home and sleep. A cracking nights entertainment and well worth the entrance fee.

Set List:

  1. (Heart cover)
  2. Encore:

Sunday, 8 April 2012

A Cast of (well hundreds) in Brum

Cast - Gig 15!

Another trip to 1995 arises with the chance to get reacquainted with John Power after quite a long time. Having pottered down to the ticket office to save the 20% transaction fees incurred through Internet charges I headed down to the Dome, stopping only to buy my (and a homeless chaps) tea from the very reasonable eat for less (but try not to think what's in your baguette) chain 99p per baguette.

It was good to see Cast's name up in lights although I was brought back crashing into 2012 when they were playing in the smaller venue at the O2 Academy. Cast were supported by a couple of bands, first pleasant enough local lads Looca, followed by scousers Cold Shoulder who despite looking older than me were getting ready for their debut ep. They did have a number of good tunes though, good harmonies.

After a while Cast came on, each band member coming on and tuning up together before John Power came on to decent applause. JP warned all present that he would be playing a lot of songs from the new album, with a few older ones which seemed reasonable, although a greatest hits set would have gone down better with the keen mosh pit. The mosh pit was definitely a blade convention, so I felt quite at home, although happy to watch as ever from the edge.

The songs cracked on, JP launching into a new one, which sounded cracking, a real return to form, followed however by 2 or 3 which were definitely filler rather than killer. JP did however have a nice line in holding his guitar vertically for an impressive strum.

Then came an extended intro for Sandstorm, and I was back to 95 again. Britpop was in full flow and the crowd started bouncing. This was then repeated for the rest of the gig, couple of new, oldie bounce, then the run through to end and a run of singles reminding me how fine an ear for a pop single JP had.

Encore started off with one I think JP thought was a lost gem from the early albums, again so so, followed by Alright which was superb, and then the final song started with loads of weird keyboard noises being played out of a guitar....the song then cracked on as normal, finishing with each band member doing a solo....finally from the drummer, finishing on a drum solo was a nice unique approach and something I've not seen for some time.

It didn't matter that JP was losing his voice, the pop gems carried smoothed over this.

All in all, new stuff one choon, old stuff cracking pop gems.

Set List

  1. Encore: