Monday, 20 July 2009

What Do I Do Now?


The end is nigh.
At the end of summer, I will no longer post on this here blog so, presumably, it will never see fresh words, attempts at sharp wit (and the subsequent failures) or ramblings about that-band-that-I-love-more-than-life,-yeah? again because NO ONE ELSE EVER POSTS ON HERE. Apart from Kirsty's recent Oxegen review, which you should all read. In effect, its all gone sour. No point in airing dirty laundry on here, but lets just say its not what it once was. The Rent a Groupie dream is done and dusted.

Anyway. That means we have exactly two months and a bit (September counts as summer because I'm a workshy student, mmkay?) to fill this to the rafters with exciting music and beautiful people aka the only two things I ever think about.

Today, we bring you a new Metronomy song concerning the departure of Gabriel Stebbing AND THUS combining my two main thought processes rather neatly. Yayz. What Do I Do Now? is beautiful, almost Knife-esque, like the come down from Nights Out. Mornings After, if you will. Try and make out the lyrics if you like, but don't fool yourself into thinking you can get far. This very nearly made me cry when it was unexpectedly unleashed near the end of the set at Glastonbury. I know, I know, I cry at anything but this is powerful stuff. It'll give you the chills everytime you think of it, let alone listen to it.

Listen here

In a nice inter-connected link, go listen to Stebbing's new band, which, I just relearned, features his BROTHER. I don't know how I didn't process this info months ago when I first read it but flicking through old issues of Kruger, I stumbled back upon that fact and was sent reeling. Amazing. Anyway, Billionaires is like pop gold. I defy you not to at least feel a little bit happy whilst listening to it. Also, at the 1:40ish mark, does anyone else get the urge to do some fight-poppy shouty backing vocals? No? Just me then. Meh. Still. I have just learnt that Your Twenties are playing at the Let's Wrestle album launch in Camden tonight which I was going to attend but now can't because a) I have no bus fare and b) I am ILL. Massively well gutted because now I have to wait until august 4th til I can see them again and I tell you this is not good. I am a YTaholic and I need a fucking fix. Sigh.

Yeah. So listen here and then go find them on twitter and laugh.

Oh yeah, finalement. New issue of Kruger out NOW! Yay.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Oxegen, 2009

It seems like no time since Oxegen 2008; a festival whose offstage antics became shrouded in mystery and all of a sudden it was less about the music and more about the violence. It was these goings on, along with the rubbish credit crunch, that probably attributed to Oxegen falling well below the sell out mark this year. However, those who did attend were not going to let anything get in the way of their weekend away. It does, after all, only rear its naughty head once a year, may as well make the most of it, yeah?
Hmm...maybe not. Because, as I’m sitting here now, I too have fallen suit to the bad press of last year and credit crunched times of this year. Therefore, I did not attend the festival on the Friday. Shock horror and gasp, I know I missed Blur, and it pained me to do so, but part of me doesn’t really know if I would have wanted to see them reform anyway. I know this may sound a little naive, but in my head they were one of the greatest bands of their time, almost unattainable, and to see them now would perhaps taint my thoughts and memories a little. Excuses excuses...
So, I headed up to the festival on Saturday morning, the 11th of July, ready to catch as many bands that was humanly possible. Here are the snippets of what caught my eye, made me dance and provoked me to scream my lungs out...

Saturday 11th July

For some reason, the Saturday just wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be for me. There was a real sense of depression in the air, probably due to the fact that it rained pretty much the whole day. That didn’t stop me from seeing all the bands I wanted to, just put a bit of a dampener on everyone’s parade really.

Jamie Woon, Red Bull Music Academy Stage, 2pm
I have to admit, Jamie Woon was one of the only acts that I stayed to watch the entirety of. I was simultaneously entranced and engrossed by this boy, and what made the set even more special is that I don’t think he knows just how amazing and touching his music is. The beautiful melody of ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ acted as a poignant part of the set and the haunting harmonies of ‘Spirits’ echoed through the small crowd that had gathered. There was no band, no distractions and no gimmicks; which is something that can be hard to find these days.
I honestly cannot think of a more beautiful way to kick off my festival experience. If this guy doesn’t make it, there’s no hope for anyone. Shame on you if you missed it. As a friend of mine said “This isn’t Jamie Woon...this is Jamie Swooon.”

Passion Pit, Hot Press New Bands Stage, 6pm
I didn’t really know much about this band before going to see them. Of course, I’d heard the hype that they had created, but for some reason I never really stopped to take too much notice of it. If I hadn’t been dragged along by my friend I probably wouldn’t have gone. Thank goodness I was. Now I know what all the hype was about! Bursting onto the stage with a flurry of passion, these boys obviously knew how to party, and got the entire tent dancing; their hit single ‘Sleepyhead’ receiving the greatest reaction. Although with only half an hour to perform, it felt like their set was cut short.

Patrick Wolf, Hot Press New Bands Stage, 10pm
This is probably one of the funniest set line up’s that I have ever seen, and it was to Patrick as well “I’m not sure what to think of’s good in a way, makes me feel young again, but after 7 years it’s a bit odd to be back on the New Bands stage!” This unfortunately only allowed him to have a small half an hour slot that weekend, but it didn’t stop him from doing what he does best. Strutting onto the stage in a large feathered coat, it’s really hard to take your eyes off Patrick, who really is such an intriguing character. Playing songs off the new album, as well as his new single ‘Hard Times’, Patrick really proved to the crowd just how amazing and talented he really is. Ending with his classic ‘The Magic Position’, the whole crowd sang along and a sense of awe filled the air. It all seemed to be over in a blink of an eye, yet the best things always do seem like that.

Sunday 12th July

Woke up on Sunday morning feeling a whole lot better! The mood from the previous day had been well and truly lifted and the sun was rearing its sleepy head from between the clouds. To be honest, I had seriously toyed with leaving the festival. This is no reflection on the bands; every single band I had been to see the previous day had been amazing, it was just the general mood of the festival. However, the seriously good line up of Sunday made me think otherwise...

Noisettes, Heineken Green Spheres Stage, 2.55pm
I was majorly excited about seeing Noisettes again, it had been quite a while. The first time I saw them was around three years ago as they made their way around the UK supporting Muse in their stadium tours. Obviously they’ve made their own mark since then, and I was really eager to see just how they had progressed. As I have said time and time again, Shingai is one of the most intriguing women in the music business and probably one of my all time heroines. She really is someone I look up to, not just because she has the most amazing voice I’ve ever had the privilege of delving my ears into, but also because of her brilliantly quirky fashion sense and the amazing and graceful way in which she conducts herself.
Opening with ‘Wild Young Hearts’, Noisettes quickly staked their claim to compete as being one of the best live bands of the day. Then, to really get the crowd going, Shingai lurched into one of their most famous songs to date, ‘Don’t upset the Rhythm’ with enough passion and flurry to feed the five thousand. By this stage the tent was surely completely packed out, and it was almost getting difficult to hear the strong vocals over the screaming lungs of the crowd (me along with everyone else!). As Shingai admitted that she loved the front row but just couldn’t see everyone at the back of the tent, she proceeded to get herself a closer view by climbing up the side of the stage, much to the amusement of the security who were quite frankly so excited they looked as if they might just wet themselves. Shingai stayed up there for quite some time, slinking around the side of the stage like a snake, but not looking uncomfortable or unsteady, just very natural, as she sang the beautiful lyrics to ‘Atticus’. The alluring rhythm of ‘Don’t Give Up’ again allowed the fans to remember just how brilliant Noisettes first album was too. Ending with ‘Never Forget You’, allowed the crowd to sing their lungs out to a familiar tune for the last time. I think the entire tent could have stayed there and listened the whole day.

White Lies, The o2 Stage, 5.10pm
Oh. My. God. I had heard a few things about this band and their live performances, but I’m so glad that I saved my judgement to see them live myself. And I’m glad I did that, but they were astounding. The anthem like ‘Farewell to the Fairground’ provoked the Irish crowd to scream their lungs out, and the incredibly emotional ‘Unfinished Business’, which gets me teary every time I hear it in record, managed to do the same thing live. The upbeat rhythm of ‘EST’ sent the crowd into orbit as they sang ‘I always hoped that I’d learn how to fly, In my dreams I’m there’. Absolutely breathtaking.

Friendly Fires, Heineken Green Spheres Stage, 5.15pm
Friendly Fires are just one of those bands that would manage to make even the world worst dancer go crazy to. Their strong rhythms and catchy lyrics are served up to the crowd on a bed of scrumptious beats that make them, quite frankly, irresistible. I got really quite depressed by the fact that I had managed to miss a good chunk of the set (bad time keeping, lack of a watch, not too good). I did, however, manage to walk in just as they played the, somewhat classic, ‘Paris’. ‘Every night, we’ll watch the stars, they’ll be out for us’, the band sang as the crowd were sent into some sort of fantastic trance.

Maccabees, Hot Press New Bands Stage,6pm
Again, poor planning and even worse time keeping meant that I missed the first song in Maccabees set, yet I still managed to push my way up to the front. The oddest thing about the Maccabees this weekend was where they had been selected to the new bands tent? Maccabees are certainly not a new band, so it was a tad odd to see them up there. It also meant that they were only given a time of 30 minutes, which really wasn’t too good at all. Of course, the band excitedly played most of the songs from their new (and quite frankly amazing) second album, with ‘Can You Give It’, providing one of theme tunes to the weekend. The entire band seemed happy and content with the large crowd that had gathered. Ending with ‘Precious Time’, the band really knew how to make their mark on the weekend, however short the set managed to be. Watching the crowd walk out of their tent singing along to ‘Can You Give It’ with wide grins on their faces proves that Maccabees were one of the best bands of the weekend.

Foals, Heineken Green Spheres Stage, 6.30pm
This is coming from a person who doesn’t really like Foals that much. I don’t know if it was the atmosphere of the day or just some sort of doubt that lifted in my mind, but Foals really impressed me this weekend. ‘Cassius’ made me dance like a complete loon and I suddenly back in love with a band that I haven’t particularly liked for a few years. I take my hat off to you boys.

Of Montreal, Red Bull Music Academy Stage, 8.05pm
Probably one of my greatest surprises of the weekend, I felt like I was high on something incredibly strong the whole way through. I have to admit that I didn’t really know much about this band before coming to see them, so I was really impressed and at the end very excited to be able to say that I had witnessed it! With a number of characters joining the band and dancing to the songs, it was a bit like a comedy sketch that I just didn’t want to take my eyes off (ironically)! Quite frankly amazing, I don’t think I every danced so much in my life and, to be fair, I’m not really much of a dancer!

Glasvegas, Heineken Green Spheres Stage, 9.05pm
Again, Glasvegas were one of the acts I had been most looking forward to seeing over the course of the weekend, my wait was just slightly prolonged due to the fact that they were on pretty much last on the Sunday. Surprisingly, the tent was nowhere near as packed as I thought it might have been, probably because most of the crowd had buggered off to go and see Florence and the Machine (in what was probably the smallest tent I had ever seen). I knew I had definitely made the right choice though, as the almost uplifting rhythm of ‘Go Square Go’ got the crowds pulses racing as ‘It’s My Own Cheating Heart that Makes Me Cry’ sent the sentiment back into everyone’s eyes. You could see that Glasvegas were enjoying this set and it managed to be one of the longest I had ever seen them play. I’m just glad I was there to witness it, because it was only last year at this very festival when I had literally been ten minutes late and missed the entire set. This surely made up for it. The emotive lyrics of ‘S.A.D. Light’ and ‘Geraldine’ nearly had me blubbing all over my friends; it was less depressing, more moving.
Ending with the incredibly emotional ‘Daddy’s Gone’, Glasvegas provided the perfect ending to a somewhat challenging weekend. I shed a bit of a tear and thousands of pieces of tape streamlined their way into the crowd. On that note, I left with a happy heart, knowing that I had just witnessed something truly amazing.

What about the rest?
Okay, so there were other bands that I went to see over the course of the weekend but somehow, everything I wanted to see clashed with something else, so a few tough decisions had to be made. I managed to catch a song or two or St. Vincent who was of course amazing as she played her hits from her newest album ‘Marry Me’. Unfortunately I also tried to steer clear of the Main stage, just because I prefer to be where the smaller bands are. I did however, manage to catch a fair chunk of Yeah Yeah Yeahs who were of course amazing, but Karen O’s voice just seemed a little drowned out on the big stage. I also caught most of Bloc Party’s set, which made me very happy considering that I am such a big fan! However, the intimacy just wasn’t there and I managed to be placed behind a huge t-shirt stall, so really didn’t get to see much. I also managed to catch around three songs by Regina Spektor, which were really astounding, including the sensational ‘Fidelity’. ‘You’re a really beautiful crowd, aren’t you?’ Why, thank you Regina. Bombay Bicycle Club also made quite a big impression as they played on the New Bands stage. Quite the spectacle, they sang their little hearts out to a very pleased crowd.Other than that, I literally cannot believe that Oxegen is over for another year. Again, rumours and speculation are floating around, including those of deaths and violence, but for some reason everything is clouded by this big sheet of mystery. Goodness knows what will happen to the festival; in the three years that I have attended there has been no real progression, and even a sense of regression at some points. Although the line up gets bigger and better every year and that is, of course, the most important part of the festival, there just seems to be something missing. Let’s just hope that the cloud can be lifted, and Oxegen festival can start breathing again once more.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

I am toying with the idea of splitting from RaG.
Last night, after a Maccabees instore and Passion Pit sighting on Bishopsgate, I went to the newly re-opened Garage in Islington for a sort of album launch party in celebration of the release of Bombay Bicycle Club's debut album. Having only ever seen them at festivals (and an instore on Tuesday evening but its pretty much the same as a festival isn't it really? The crowd is never made up completely of dead-on hardcore fans of the band, usually mostly people who want to check them out but don't want to pay on the off-chance they don't like it), last night was my first proper Bombay headline show. I only got there in time to catch the last two songs of Bongo Fury's set but I liked what I heard. Go listen to them here. Thanks.

Anyway. Essentially, the show was one of the best I have seen all year and maybe ever. I'm not sure on that last point but what makes me think it might be is the fact I spent the whole bus journey home itching to write and making creative decisions for my magazine. Sadly, I have no internet access in my room at the moment so I couldn't act on this when I got in. All that thought and desire though was brought on as a result of watching BBC absolutely kill it under the hot stage lights. I think if something can inspire that much creativity and ambition within you then it must be pretty great, right? Right. And I can remember most shows that have had that effect on me, and there's not that many of them, relatively speaking.

I'm considering the name Thamesbeat. You know, like that ill-fated NME scene that all of the bands who were apparently involved with it completely denied the idea that there was such a scene? It seems quite appropriate. I moved to London for the music, all I ever used to dream about was living in London for the music. I don't know. Good name? I'm awful at coming up with names for things. Comments would be welcome. Ta. Anywho. Why not just make a hard copy of RaG? Er, because no one takes us seriously under this moniker. And I very much want people to take me seriously please. Even if I don't, someone else should yes?

Finally. Flashguns new EP Matching Hearts Similar Parts is my new found favourite record of the moment. They're having a launch party tonight at Ginglik in Shepherd's Bush. You should go because I can't. I'm off to Ireland in a matter of hours for Oxegen festival, where upon my return I shall no doubt ramble on more about Bombay Bicycle Club. Sozzzz. xxx

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Glastonbury 2009

Ahoy, groupie renters. I write this from the box bedroom of my parents' house in Essex. Top floor, far right window as you look on us from the outside in. The curtains are closed or I would wave. Sorry about that. Anyway, now is the time for a break from catching up on giving the people who read my beloved Kruger free things. It seems summer is the time give things away. The sun makes us more generous souls, I believe. But yes. Not only this but it is also time for a post-Glastonbury analysis. A dissection of the good, the bad and the "do you know who I am?" brigade. My heart and mind remember the weekend just past as one of utmost excellence, although my feet and knees would tell you a rather different story, could they form words and that.

For the most part of the weekend, I wore a bright orange high-vis tabard. This was not a fashion statement, more an obligation should I wish to remain on site. I would like to tell you that Michael and Emily Eavis have introduced a Glastonbury law which says all festival goers must dress in such a way but alas, it was because I was working. Simultaneously raising money for charity, dancing like a psychiatric patient to new and old bands and making sure none of you blaggers and chancers got entry to the festival. Thank you Oxfam for letting me do so, although I would like to take back some of that thanks for making me work through both Maccabees sets. The cheek of it.

But. On to the more important matter of who I did see. The highlights of this seemingly endless list were as follows:

Two Door Cinema Club. So good I watched them twice. Northern Irish synth-pop. Maybe signed to Kitsune. Maybe not. If they are, I want to be them. Perhaps I shall marry them instead. Watch out for maybe some exciting future announcements about Two Door, some other Norn Iron bands and RaG in the coming months. We may have something up our sleeves.

Kap Bambino. French electro. Is my life. Or a vast majority of it anyway. Yeahhhh.

Metronomy. First time without Le Stebbing. Ohhhh Stebbing. Twas good though, apart from the fact their lights are no longer push lights. And that the PA people cut the power before they could play Radio Ladio. Bastards. On a Stebbing related note. I spent most of my second shift making eyes at Michael Your Twenties, who was wristbanding for Festival Republic. I don't think he noticed my eye-making, or at least I do hope else that'd be well embarrassing, innit?

Golden Silvers - Another Universe made me bawl my eyes out whilst outside relentlessly heavy rain killed my tent.

General Fiasco. More Norn Iron-ness. Included in the watch out announcement 2door statement above.

Rumble Strips. Why can't I love you in London? A new song to add to the this-is-how-I-feel-about-Goldsmiths catalogue. Its getting quite expansive.

The Big Pink. Whom I also saw twice, and both occasions without meaning to. First on the way to see Animal Collective, I was diverted by the reverberations of their synthy noise which never fails to make my body shake with excitement. Second, whilst queuing to get a copy of the Guardian the next morning, the acoustic strains of Velvet made me squeal rather loudly OHMYGODITSTHEBIGPINK. And thus, I stayed and watched them and marvelled at how I could actually hear Robbie's voice for once, what with it being acoustic and synth-less and all.

Bombay Bicycle Club. Whom I am now interviewing tomorrow eve. But sadly only, it transpires, over the phone. With Jamie. Who. Is Kirsty MacColl's nephew. INSANE. This is probably good that I'm not interviewing Jack as he does make me literally weak at the knees a bit. Anyway. Park set. Good times. I was loving life whilst burning my face. Yayyy.

Hockey. Good dance routine to Work, is all I'll say.

Passion Pit. Beatzzz. Jarvis Cocker dedications. Sleepyhead.

Klaxons. In fancy dress. I LOVE YOU.

GoodBooks. Last ever show. I got strangely emotional and actually cried in the first four bars. In full view of Max. Low point.

The Soft Pack. Kept giving me strange looks. Ohhhh dear. Blistering garage-rock watched by pretty much no one as everyone else was being stupid and watching Karen O. Soft Pack > YYYs.

Nick Cave. SEXXXY.

Blur. Obviously... the best thing I have ever seen. Somehow two rows away from the front. Odd. But also sweaty and wet and ewww but also, in the words of Oasis, mad fer it. Badhead and Jubilee and Oily Water and Trimm Trabb and NO ESSEX DOGS. Sad times. Damon crying made me cry (even more). Graham did a VERY sexy dance to the slowed down drum intro of Song 2 which they have apparently failed to broadcast to the world via the BBC. I would complain if I were you. It was hot. Ending on The Universal obviously had the predicted effect of making me weep my tearducts dry. I love you Blur. A million times more than anyone could ever understand.

I return to the old London tomorrow afternoon, phone Jamie BBC, go to Asda to stock up on strawberry cider because I don't think I can handle going cold turkey, maybe go see Deerhoof or maybe instead go see Jamie T. Who knows. You will. After it has happened. YEAH.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

It really really really could happen

If you've read only one of these hear self-indulgent ramblings then you will probably know how excited I am about the Summer of Blur. On Monday, I woke to the news I might've yet again missed out on getting a ticket to an tiny intimate show. Picture this: I'm still half-asleep having just awoken at 1:30pm on a sunny afternoon in New X. I lazily reach out for my mac and check my emails from my bed. Out of force of habit, I click onto the NME home page and then wake the fuck up at the Blur secret gig headline. And then I read the article and feel deflated. 170 wristbands, first come first served, Brixton Academy, 11am. 2 and a half hours ago. Blur. 170 wristbands. I came to the conclusion that they'd all be long gone. Just in case, I checked Graham Coxon's twitter. And then Brixton Academy's. And their home page. And the Blur website. And the Blur forum. And there, there came my flicker of hope. Just about 45 minutes previous, someone had posted saying they had got the 75th wristband, with only ten people behind them in the queue. Could I make it in time? I don't know.. it takes 45 minutes and two buses from New X to Brixton. I had money though, I could get the train and tube... I toyed with calling Brixton Academy but decided against it because otherwise I would stay in bed moping for the rest of the day. And besides, the sun and fresh air would do me good.

So. I raced to Brixton, got annoyed at slow people on the tube (whhyyyy do you walk so slow when you're in a city. You can't be living at country pace in the city. Especially not when there's Blur wristbands to be got) and legged it down the road to the Academy. There was probably about 4 people in front of me when I got there and a very nice steward who mocked my studentness and music journo ambitions, and gave me a slip of paper with the number 170 on. The. Last. Wristband. Halle-fucking-lujah. 'Twould have been embarrassing to have collapsed on the Academy's steps in fits of tears. Probably the one occasion I have been glad to live south of the river. I knew it would pay off one day.

Anyway wristband safely fastened around my wrist (fittingly, the one with my Blur-related tattoo on), I went about my business until it was time to head off to Rough Trade East for the show. Some sexy boy with slicked back hair and one hoop in his left ear offered me a "snout", the first time I'd ever heard someone refer to a cigarette as such. He looked fairly young and I'm not sure of his actual age (so this may become slightly paedophilic but such is life..) but I do believe that I would like him very much. Sadly, I lost sight of him and now we shall never know what would have become of us. Oh yeah, and Blur played and it was probably the best thing I've ever seen. Maybe. On a par with that Pete&Carl Hackney reunion thingymabob. Or slightly better. Its hard to tell when you're older, wiser, more mature, less emotionally unstable etc etc. But anyway, as it was to celebrate the launch of the new Midlife compilation, the set was mostly tha hitzzzz, but with Advert and This is a Low thrown in for good measure. I did some crying during Tender and almost during Beetlebum, End of a Century and perhaps a couple of others. Alex James might have seen me crying (low point) and given me a sympathetic smile (high point). In between his trademark side-to-side fringe flicking, natch. And now... now, I cannot listen to, read about, watch, play anything but Blur in anticipation of next Sunday somewhere in a field in Somerset. Kind of over the Goldsmiths thing... haha. All I wanted was a special bit of intimacy. Would have been nice if it was somewhere that meant something to me but there you go. Maybe I should take it as a sign. We'll see. In the meantime, can we all keep our fingers crossed for Essex Dogs at Glastonbury, for that would truly make my life. If they do play it, there will definitely be tears and tattoo stroking and I'll probably come back and call it the most life-affirming (cliche, ew) moment of mine and anyone else's life, ever.

Oh yes, and in case you were wondering. My tattoo reads as such: 'You'll catch the flu or you'll catch the city...' Its a line from Essex Dogs aka my favourite song ever, about people from Essex and how there's only really two main paths they take in life. The flu - Essex4Life, born there, live there, die there; or the city - make your escape to the Big Smoke as soon you can. Its like a reminder that if I fuck this up I'll be catching the flu, cos there's no way in hell I can afford to stay in London. Oddly, since I got it done I've been getting better. There's been less twatting about and more trying to sort my life out. Apart from Monday night post-Blur when I ended up in hopsital, but that's another story for another time, as they say.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Maccabees mini-Irish tour 09

A couple of us went on a mini-Irish tour this week. As a result, I'm now suffering fun times withdrawal. Argh. Crying on the 45 when you've just left a one day festival of weirdo electro underground obscure freak-noise early is not a good way to spend your Saturday. Anyway, I wrote a little tour diary sort of thing. Follows. 

Dublin, May 27th. 
I am an idiot. I think this is a fairly indisputable fact. On the plane over yesterday, I decided today would be a nice day for a spot of drinking. So. Down two alcopops and then a huge bottle of red wine. And then, well... this would all be fine apart from the fact I then decided it was a good idea to go talk to Felix White aka A BEAUTIFUL MAN WHO I RESPECT VERY MUCH. Fuck you, Beaujolais. I think I forced myself on him a bit. Can't really remember. Not sure. But quite certain. The lovely George wrote my name +1 on his Blackberry and I squinted very hard to check he'd spelt it right. Idiot. 
We (myself and sober Sarah) went back to Sharon's halls in the supremely-better-than-Goldsmiths Trinity, where I threw up and fell asleep. When I awoke, Sarah made me coffee (which I hate at the best of the times) and I had to leg it to the bathroom for round 2. By this point Sharon had gone somewhere so we left too. Stumbled back to the Academy where we found New Amusement supporting. We both found this slightly strange seeing as we saw them support the Rascals at Whelans almost exactly a year ago. Odd. I fell asleep on a sofa at the side of the room and awoke to find Sarah wasn't there. Massive low point. Feeling hugely better though, I managed to sit up and on Sarah's return managed to go and stand in the crowd in preparation for the show. 
I love the Maccabees, right. Seriously. Stupid amounts. I paid £30 (to a tout, natch) in to their Electric Ballroom show at the start of the month and worried that maybe it was a bit of a bad move. Pfft. As if. They make me feel more alive than a shot of adrenalin straight to the heart. Anyway, tonight's show has made it a pure rock solid concrete fact that they are in my top 3 favourite bands of all time. Super duper aces, as per. Now I know the new songs almost as well as the old, it all fits perfectly, coherently... 
After, we saw little point in hanging round and thus legged it catch the last train to Gormanstown and then back to Sarah's fairy tale house in the middle of the desolate Irish countryside for proper beds, tea and toast. Lush. 

Belfast, May 28th. 
Having woke up surprisingly unhungover, we set off on the four mile trek to Gormanstown in the somewhat vain hope that we would catch a bus to Drogheda in time for the only bus to Belfast. Thumbing for a lift most of the way, our mood plummeted as our disgusting sweatiness escalated. Classy. Luckily, we turned up at the bus stop just seconds before the bus and thus made it to Drogheda on time for the one o'clock coach. Winner. 
Two hours down country roads and one international border later, we arrived and met the one and only K Hole before walking down to the appropriately named Katy Daly's bar, next to the venue. Dodgy looking men were sat outside and tried to engage us in conversaton. We refused and instead went and apologised to Felix for my behaviour the previous day. Thanks to Sarah for telling him about me falling asleep at the gig. NICE ONE. George waved us over a bit later and put us on the list and then we went and got much needed food in the same place we went after I interviewed Dirty Pretty Things last year. We found some steps opposite the venue where we sat and talked absolute rubbish as per, smoked, redid make up and tried to work out if security were ID'ing on the door. Not quite sure why but I loved the steps. 
Supporting at Spring and Airbrake was Cutaways, essentially a twee-er Johnny Foreigner, with more focus on synths. They were quite good, but the underlying feeling that I recognised them from somewhere was kind of annoying. After, I thought I saw my number one favourite Northern Irish boy WITH A GIRL so we had to go and check that out. Luckily, I was wrong. Phew. Maccabees came on a little later and owned it. I always get a bit teary when the crowd go mental for them so I spent most of the set fighting back the floods. And then they played Mary. One or two drops might have made it through. 
With hours to kill until I had to catch the coach to the airport, we hung around for a bit and had a pretty surreal chat to Orlando about McDonald's, prostitutes, hairy legs, and Billy Bragg. Nicest guy ever. We thanked George and Felix for the list and then went to sit in a kebab shop to kill time. Some guy came in and tried to talk to us but we couldn't understand a word he was saying. We think he tried to tell us a joke. I think its probably quite hard to be funny when you have your ear safety pinned to your head. Literally. We vacated the premises soon after his arrival and went to get the coach to various places. I had some vague form of sleep then sat in the airport for two hours listening to all my Maccabees on my iPod and watching the sun rise, whilst drinking a cup of tea from Starbucks with half a bag of sugar in it. Gross. Oddly enough, I wasn't even too excited about coming back to London. For all the freaks and weirdos we'd had to endure over the last couple of days, it'd been hella fun and the end felt more than a little premature. 

Sad.Face. Since I've been back, I've distracted myself by listening to these beauties: 
Jack Penate - Everything is New
Pagan Wanderer Lu
Jamie T - Sticks and Stones
Lissy Trullie
Emmy the Great - First Love
Blur - The Great Escape
The Virgins - One Week of Danger

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Concerning freedom, summer and East End vacuousity


Twenty days and no posts. Sozzzz. Exams and summer fun got in the way a bit. Anyway, exactly 8 months after I moved to the LDN I finished my first year of university. Staring at my desk ticket waiting to be dismissed from my last exam, I realised the exact length of time I've been here. It struck me as a bit weird, but then so did most things, wired as I was on Sainsbury's cheap imitation of Red Bull. 5 cans and only a slight tremor. Couple of days previous, 3 cans of the real thing and some pretty hardcore shakes. Pays to go for the more expensive option, sometimes. 

Anyway. Since being free, and indeed in the period leading up to freedom, many many exciting things have happened. Stag and Dagger for one on Thursday night in my favourite area of London, ShoHo/Hoxditch/the place of ridiculous haircuts and everyone being super-ironic and cool. Love. It. Walking through Hoxton Square after getting our VIP wristbands at my favourite ever church, St Leonard's Shoreditch, two "trend researchers" stopped us and asked if they could take photos of our outfits. Ultimate validation right there. I still can't quite decide if it's better, worse or on a par with the time at Metronomy's show at the Macbeth some girl told me I wore my dress well. Hm. After this excitingly vacuous occurrence, we dined at the Bar & Grill aka one of my favourite places, like ever and then went to the Legion to see Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson. Will Blondelle was playing bass, I was a bit distracted and jealous. I interviewed MBAR on Tuesday at the Lexington and he was very lovely. Buriedfed is third most played on my iTunes, and thus I was expecting great, great things from him. Sadly, he wasn't great, just good. I should probably stop thinking everyone and thing is going to be mind-blowingly out of this world. 
Disappointment reigning, we went to the Horse & Groom on Curtain Road in an attempt to watch the Voluntary Butler Scheme, stood there for a second, got fucked off at not being able to get in the room and left for Vibe Bar and the Mae Shi. Saw Veronica and Ximon TEETH!!! before hand, sweated a lot, loved the rainbow sheet perhaps a bit too much, sweated an awful lot more and then rejoiced in the cold cold air outside afterwards. One thing though, why were there only 3 of them? Most importantly, WHERE THE FUCK WAS JEFF AND HIS SHINY KAPPA TRACK JACKET? These, clearly, are very perplexing questions that need answers, goddamnit. Instead of answering them though, we ran back to the Legion to watch Maps, where we found new questions to ponder. Like, what the fuck has happened to Maps? We stayed for about ten seconds, bumped into a very drunk Joe Kruger and legged it over to White Denim at the Bar & Grill so I could forget that the whole Maps fiasco had ever happened. Worked, obviously. 

White Denim, yeah. Had a queue of people down the street trying to get into the show. Wasn't expecting that one. Luckily, our super awesome passes let us skip the queue. I was loving my life at that point. Then there was another queue inside which we couldn't jump and had to stand getting pushed around in for half of WD's set. Yayz. Eventually got in and they were well worth the bruises that appeared the next morning. The next day, I got to interview and assist on a shoot with the boys and, in keeping with their good guy appearances, were lovely as. Good times. 

Now, I'm drinking coke floats, listening to Blur and loving New X in the sun. Quite looking forward to spending the summer here. I bought a book the other day called London: A Social History because I'm a massive geek. But also, the whole preface is about New X (the author grew up here) and there's one comment in it that made me laugh for ages... "No one wants to live in New X Gate". I guess its only funny if you live or have lived here. Or if you're me... but I found it hysterical. It could be worse though, it could be Peckham...