Out and About

Published Categorised as Life in General, Music No Comments on Out and About

I went to two gigs this week, there couldn’t have been more of a contrast.

On Sunday I went to a gig that my friend Toby was play­ing. It was an acous­tic affair in a student house, they’d decked out their base­ment with a big old mattress and cush­ions, and pinned some fairy lights on the wall with a white sheet for projec­tions. The first act was a guy with a span­ish guitar and a guy with a xylo­phone. They sang about board games and giant robot cats, and they had a shad­ow puppet show of a tragic love story between an octopus and a squir­rel. Then there was Toby’s band, who are usually a straight up punk band, this being the only time they’ve ever played acous­tic­ally. The sing­er had to be stopped from perform­ing a Take That song. Then there was a Boards of Canada type guy (also in Toby’s band) with anim­ated projec­tions, and an amer­ic­an guy called Brook some­thing whose name I didn’t catch who did Herman Dune type songs with funny stor­ies about living in New York inbetween. Someone had a go at crowd­surf­ing across the seated people on the mattress, and it was the most sedate crowd­surf­ing ever. The whole thing was charm­ing and fun, cost noth­ing but a dona­tion for the bands and the drink you brought with you, and was enter­tain­ing through­out. (Though going in the kitchen gave me a shud­der of students days ..)

The other gig was the Joy Formid­able at Audio. Vicky had a spare tick­et, so I went along. Audio is a band venue along the seafront, there’s a swish cock­tail place upstairs and a band room/​nightclub down­stairs. Most band venues are kind of dives, but this place is slick. The drinks are expens­ive (most things were £3.80 and had a lot of ice to drink) and there isn’t much atmo­sphere. It’s one of those places that has a good sound system, and a decent light­ing setup, but some­how manages to suck all life from the stage, even though everything’s tech­nic­ally set up right. The Joy Formid­able are always a good live prospect, but the support bands were a real let down. Airship were like a limp Jesus & Mary Chain, made up of blandly hand­some boys from cent­ral art student cast­ing. Baddies were like Green Day do Talk­ing Heads. Both bands were tight, and talen­ted musi­cians, but there was abso­lutely no spark, and I felt like I was hear­ing less­er versions of songs by other people. The Joy Formid­able were good, but the non-atmo­sphere of the place didn’t do much for them, I enjoyed them much more the other times I’d seen them. The crowd was also strangely full of little bald middle aged men. I guess they are in love with the sing­er.

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