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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Take Off & Landing of Everything – Elbow at the Hammersmith Apollo

Okay, so it is really the Eventim Apollo these days but before we start talking Elbow, it brought me back. Okay, so I saw Kate Bush in September, but before that, I saw many, many gigs at the Hammersmith Apollo when I was a student and beyond! Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and ¬†the Banshees, REM supported by 10,000 Maniacs …. and lots more. Distraught at not seeing Tom Waites and David Bowie, though a lady I worked with at the Hammersmith Hospital was the ice cream lady and told me all about them ūüôā

So, I love Elbow. Didn’t get into them early, about the time of The Seldom Seen Kid. Just as they were becoming famous. And once they became famous, that was it, wasn’t it? The perfect festival band with anthemnic songs and affable band members. I watched their 2014 TV performance at Glastonbury.¬†How wonderful were they? But, you know, unless you can guarantee me the weather, I’m too old for festivals! Would do one in an RV or camper van though. Anyone up for GreenMan 2015?

Okay, back to Elbow. So, when they announced the theatre gigs, I though that would be where I would really like to see them. Find a friend who would come. Sorted!

And we weren’t disappointed. They had done the Manchester Apollo the previous week and we knew what to expect. Old and new – a gig for the “real” fans! The set list was epic. They were just how I imagined they would be. Engaging, Guy Garvey’s voice just note perfect. And he got to play a guitar on some of the “old favourites”. The stories and banter in between songs¬†had just the right note of deprecation and familiarity. Singing along to “One Day Like This” – perfect!

We had standing in the stalls tickets and one of the great things is that the floor slopes upwards. Gig goers will know how wonderful this is! Stand half way up and you can see easily – despite the tall people in front of you!

You know, I just loved it. But can’t imagine seeing them again as I don’t think it would get much better.

Thank you Elbow.

Some Reviews



The Upcoming

Louder Than War (Manchester)

Evening Standard


And Some YouTubes

One Day Like This

My Sad Captains

Fly Boy Blue

Fugitive Motel

Lippy Kids

Grounds for Divorce


This Blue World

Switching Off

Take Off and Landing of Everything



Year of Augustines – Monday December 8th at The Roundhouse

Well, that was it, the last gig of 2014. At last I have seemed to get my live music mojo back and have absolutely LOVED this years’ gigs/concerts.

So, the year finished with Augustines at the Roundhouse in London. Having seen them in Oxford in March, which was one of the best gigs that I have ever witnessed (including the continuation of the gig outside on the Cowley Road, then pledging to Kickstarter for the documentary Rise: The Story of Augustines my friend Penny and I decided it would be great to go and see their biggest UK gig (that was also being filmed as part of the doc!) Go Penny! I wouldn’t have gone had you not suggested it and boy, was it worth it!

Luckily there are lots of reviews online, so you can read from the ecstatic to the okay. I will put links at the bottom of the page.

So, you really don’t have to read much of mine. HOWEVER, once again, their communication with the audience really is phenomenal. At first, I was a bit worried, Billy didn’t seem to connect with the audience the way he did at Oxford, but then when he started to talk, he was obvious he was losing his voice and funnily enough it seemed to get stronger as the gig went on.

The audience went wild and the encore, that lasted an hour!, included the boys singing from the balcony (excuse the poor photo) and in the middle of the crowd before they finished to rapturous appreciation.

Read about the gig here:



Line of Best Fit


Every Record Tells A Story




Thoughts from West Five


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Here’s My Kate Bush Blog!

It’s a month since Kate Bush finished her month or so long series of concerts and, what?, 6 months since the announcement of the dates. A real surprise to everyone.

At first, I was sort of underwhelmed. As a punk back in the late 70s, Kate Bush was the sort of “oddity” we liked, but the music … well. Sorry, didn’t do much for me at the time. Funnily enough, in The Kate Bush Story¬†documentary, John Lydon said much the same thing. We (as in punks) should have liked her, but, and I come back to it again, it was the music. Coming from prog rock and some “performance art’ thrown in, she just “wasn’t one of us”.

So, I more or less ignored her. Then came Cloudbusting. That amazing video with Donald Sutherland, the anthemic nature of the music. I started to take notice. The¬†next step on the Road to Damascus¬†was listening to Placebo’s version of Running Up That Hill. Okay, I wasn’t hooked, I wasn’t a “fan”, but Kate Bush was back on my radar.

Maybe it was the FOMO phenomenon, but as the excitement started to grow, I wondered if I shouldn’t be a part. Texted a friend, who I thought would have been a fan, back in the day to say that if I applied for tickets, would she want to come. Was surprised when a text came back to say, not that bothered, actually. A phone call the next day to another gig going friend to ask if he was going for tickets and got the affirmative, my mind was made up. Yep, I would sit by my computer Friday March 26 at 9am and see what I could do. My afore mentioned gig going friend and I decided the best bet was mid-week, mid-tour.

Date decided on, up early and in to work. 9am. Mouse ready. 2 tickets please. Any seat. Yes, there they were. 2 tickets, Row Z. Click on accept, enter credit card details. TWO TICKETS FOR KATE BUSH!! Tuesday 9th September 2014.

Post on Facebook.

Facebook - Kate Bush

At something like 9.15am, it was officially confirmed that all tickets were gone. Blinkin’ ‘eck. That was fast.

So, gig going friend didn’t get any tickets. I offered him my spare one. His wife wouldn’t be very pleased, so fan/not fan friend also got caught up in the excitement and became my +1.

Lots of time to wait, so that’s it. Forgotten about for a while.

So, fast forward to August and the gigs start. A forum friend had given me a great tip when going to gigs where¬†you don’t know the band that well. Get yourself to Setlistfm, look at the set list, make a Spotify playlist and voila!, you are least familiar with the songs. Epic! Have done it a few times now and it so works!

Day 1 and the reviews were excellent. By Days 3 & 4, it seems like she is doing an identical show every night. Spotify playlist made.

Reviews. There are plenty and all much better written than mine, so I will put them here in the blog. But my very favourite has to be Tracey Thorne in the New Statesman. That line when her daughter walks in to the kitchen and says “You are not listening to Kate Bush, again are you?”. I paraphrase. But that’s what I did. I became an obsessive. And I loved it. I was obviously ready for Kate Bush!

The day came, plans for children made. Train to London. And we were there. Before the Dawn.


It had to be done. A ridiculous selfie.


There was a no filming during the performance request and most people stuck to it! I did sneak a Before the Performance stage shot. Don’t forget, we were in Row Z!


It was, as the reviews said Рabsolutely superb. I felt emotional. I felt uplifted. I felt privileged to be there. I was glad I was familiar with the set though.

I choose my gigs carefully, and I’m glad I chose this one.

Caitlin Moran

Simon Price at The Quietus

Youth from Killing Joke at Louder than War

A Round Up at the BBC Website

And someone always has to spoil the party! Boris Johnson’s sister no less. Don’t listen to her.

Her review is rubbish.

Kate was sublime.

Kate Bush

Kate Bush? Wanna Hear?

Yes, you do.¬†But can’t now, cos it’s tea time!

I will return SOON.


John Grant at the RSC in Stratford

I think I said earlier, I wasn’t really planning to go to this but somehow couldn’t resist when I saw on the site that there were only a few tickets left. And I am so glad I did.

Not sure it was as good as the O2 in Oxford. Mainly, I think, because we had to sit down! The venue was, of course, beautiful and that’s really why I wanted to go, but I like watching gigs standing and jigging! However, I had a great seat. Okay, I was ‘up top’ but had a front row seat!

The audience was certainly more diverse than Oxford but as enthusiastic. John’s voice was as wonderful as ever and the banter between songs as engaging as I’ve heard him.

Thank goodness someone has written a great review, with wonderful pics, of both John Grant and the support Gemma Ray, who I really enjoyed too.

You can read that here.

However, nothing beats a tweet by @minniewoolsey


John grant at rsc tonight- like your shambolic brother with heaven in his gob & a punch in your heart .. Incredible. #johngrantlovein


Describes it perfectly!

And my photos and my view.

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Not on the Gig List, But Worth A Mention. Future Islands

On Letterman and a great review in The Quietus by Simon Price.







Okay, so I really didn’t want to write this. I had hoped that some kind soul would have written a beautifully scripted review of the Augustines gig at the 02 Academy in Oxford on Monday 12th May. And all I would need to do was link, add a few of my photos and video and there was my aide-m√©moire. But no such luck. I have searched the web and cannot believe no one has written about one of those “I was there” gigs.

So here goes. Apologies to all those learned and accomplished reviewers but thanks to the person who put the set list on Setlist.fm.

Decided not to get there in time to see Neon Waltz so can’t comment. Arrived about 10 minutes before set time at 8.45 pm. Showed our tickets, proceeded into the venue to find that downstairs was completely empty. What? They took our tickets, didn’t say anything about the gig being cancelled. What’s going on? Hmm, there was an upstairs! Much smaller than downstairs, so it looked as though it was going to be a pretty intimate gig.

Quick beer, find our places and we’re set! Lots of warm up prep. by the roadie, who we later learnt was called Alex. There’ll be more on Alex later.

About 10 minutes after they were due on stage, we heard the opening bars of’Into the Abyss’, lights went down and we’re off. An internet friend of mine made a great suggestion about gigs and that was to check on Setlist and make a playlist to listen to before the gig, so if you are not that familiar with all the songs, it’s a great way to prepare for the gig! So, first 2 songs were as expected but the band kept running off to the side and talking to the roadie and, as we later found out, the tour manager. So, after Chapel Song we were treated to an unplugged version of Toots and the Maytals Pressure Drop, while the acoustics were sorted.

The gig then got underway, with Billy McCarthy and the band giving their all, despite a “fucked up voice. Not that you’d think it as he had us all singing along “The Oxford Choir”! We were regaled with a story of how they had to cancel a gig in Salt Lake City as they only sold 11 tickets!! Don’t think you’d get many bands admitting that – would you?

Thanks to people and their video phones, here are some of the songs from the night on YouTube.

Cruel City

Philadelphia – City of Brotherly Love

Hold Onto Anything

Now You Are Free

Ballad of a Patient Man

So, if you’ve got this far! It was almost almost 11 o’clock and Curfew time. Billy announced they had 15 minutes left, while the crowd tried to persuade him that ‘the establishment’ said he had an extra 35 minutes! We were all having a great time, Billy drinking “men’s flowers” – whiskey! and no one wanted to leave. So, it was suggested we went outside and carry on out there. Really? “You wanna do this?”

“Yes” we cried and off we went into the Cowley Rd.

The rest, they say, is history!

I got this close! It was tremendous. Heard the security guards moaning, the tour manager being given a hard time and after this, saw the band disappear into The Library to continue.

We left, as The Library¬†is small and we’d had a never to be repeated experience.