Marc Almond: Birmingham Symphony Hall Gig 41: 28 September 2012 After filing deadline day passed, a couple of beers sunk at a leaving do, I was off to Symphony Hall, to see Marc Almond. Heading up to the gods, the usherette suggested me and Fabrizio (I found his name out later) go to the box office to get stalls tickets, following which I settled down to watch support act Baby Dee, not much to write home about massive red dressed shaggy haired 'entertainer' on the piano who emptied the room. A 15 minute interval then Marc came on, the voice amazing, flanked to my delight by Neal X from Sigue Sigue Sputnik and an hour or so of excellent tunes, for the die hard, full of passion and emotion, and the odd bit of flamenco style, a handbag moment when we were told off for talking and going to the loo in the quiet songs, not as bad a crime as the lighting mans crime of yellow lights destroying the mood. We had a cracking tribute to Andy Williams who had died this week, and then a pick up and a half, Gene Pitneys, somethings got a hold of my heart, Jackie, Ruby Red, the days of Pearly Spencer, Tainted Love, Bed Sitter, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye followed by one of the best covers I have ever seen to finish with, Trex's Hot Love. Interestingly his was the first time I have seen the Symphony Hall rocking, with everyone on their feet. It felt like party time, and I can see why someone like Fabrizio gets obsessed by Marc Almond (he is, we discussed this,he found out when Marc had his motorcycle crash). All round brilliant.
Gig 40: Richard Hawley at Digbeth Institute 22 September 2012 Seeing Richard Hawley tonight was just what the doctor ordered. Having left my beloved Birmingham City in the evening kickoff being trounced 5 Nil by the mighty Barnsley (a team who had lost every away game this year upto now), the biggest home league defeat since the eighties, I needed a tonic. Entering the HMV institute things looked promising, pint of red stripe in hand I shuffled forward to be ready for Hawleys entrance. The stage set had dry ice, trees and plenty of lights bathing the band. Hawley is one of a kind in my experience, a crooner, voice able to fill the room deep and rich, crowd hanging on every syllable. It's not something thats lost on him, he knows his audience is drawn from all age ranges. Then in between every song there was banter, banter that shows Hawley would be he sort of bloke it would be fun to go for a beer with. We heard about his couple of days beer session before being called by Banksy to get 'Tonight the streets are ours' in a film and retorting Fuck off as he thought it Nick Banks from Pulp, whilst hanging the washing out as penance to his Missus for drinking. He felt more cred from the song being used in he Simpsons. The gig rattled through at pace, and Hawley really seemed to be enthused by the audience, who were particularly supportive of Dean the drummer from Erdington. We were told hat in the interval before the encore we were written down in the pinky red tour book, I.e. there's a good chance we will see Hawley again soon. After Oceans it was over, and I got suckered into Hendersons relish (branded Hawley relish) and boiled sweets. I should have bought a record, as I agree to a degree with Hawley that mp3's are buckets of steam and not as good as records and cd's. But thank goodness I had something this good to erase the Blues.