Archive for June, 2008

Miniblog 8 – My Bloody Valentine at Manchester Apollo

June 30, 2008

Lovely trip up to Manchester with my friend Mira – we were both at university there back in the 90’s.  Mira and I first saw MBV together some 17 years ago – they were entirely wonderful then and are entirely wonderful now.  I was more relaxed at this gig than at the roundhouse, largely because all my worries about them having ‘lost it’ had been emphatically laid to rest.  It was a quite different experience too – the crowd were noisier, more dancey, less reverent, more chatty – there was little of the tension in the air felt at the roundhouse before they came on – presumably this was because everyone had read the reviews and, like me, felt pretty sure that MBV were going to be good.  And they were.  It was a little less loud than the london gigs (although plenty of people still looked exceedingly uncomfortable during You Made Me Realise), and the vocals had thankfully been turned up considerably, allowing the beauty of the melodies to really come through.  I got a better view too due to the sloping floor – it really looked fantastic.  No interaction with the audience, although there was some communication between band members.  D thwacked the hell out of her bass and gave it lots of attitude, C on drums was jaw-droppingly – i have absolutely no idea how he manages to keep up the drumming for the 25m+ of YMMR at the end of a set.  He did look like he was in considerable pain.  B and KS typical shoegazers and thus looking down most of the time.  No visible indicators that they are standing in front of many amps making nearly criminal levels of noise and reducing the crowd to a trembling, submissive mass. 

Two men nearly had a fight during To Here Knows When.  One of the most beautiful songs ever written, and they felt angry during it.  There is no fathoming other people. 

I bought my boyfriend a t-shirt.  I like to see him wear it.  Luckily he is an MBV fan, so bribes are not required. 

This is not a very  mini miniblog.  What can I say?  I REALLY LOVE MY BLOODY VALENTINE.


Miniblog 7 – Radiohead at Victoria Park

June 30, 2008

I have always had mixed feelings about Radiohead.  At their best they write beautiful and complex music, and some good anthemic tunes too.  At their worst they leave me emotionally untouched.  My experience at Victoria Park did not change this.  They played mainly stuff from In Rainbows, as might be expected, and they did it all very very well indeed.  It sounded great.  And the lightshow was topnotch.  And I liked being outside.  But how much I engaged with the music really varied from song to song, leaving the whole experience feeling a bit patchy for me.  And they suffered from me having been to see My Bloody Valentine the Friday before (which rates for me as one of the very best gigs of my life), who totally hook me emotionally.   Also the crowd contained many idiots.  And it was a bugger getting home.   All in all it was a good gig, rising to occasional magnificence.

Bat For Lashes were good, despite the plug being pulled on the sound at one point.  I was reminded of how much she sounds like Bjork.  I like them much better live than on record, when all the hippy-dippy, mystical stuff gets on my nerves a bit. 

Oh, and I had a cup of tea and hot sugared donuts at the end which was my highlight.

Miniblog 6 – My Bloody Valentine, first night at The Roundhouse

June 30, 2008

Unbelievably, phenomenally, fantastically, awe inspiringly good.

And loud, very very very very loud.  But also beautiful.  Enough has been written about the 26 minute ‘holocaust’ of You Made Me Realise, suffice it to say that my throat was compressed and my skin trembling throughout.  Visuals were marvellous too.  I have never been to a gig where people moved around so little in terms of visits to the bar and the loos.  And everyone looked shellshocked at the end.  Shields vocals were too low though.  And they really are taciturn bastards. 


Miniblog 5 – Air Formation at Industry

June 30, 2008

First up were Deep Cut who I loathe – crap songs, annoying vain singer.  Then a guy from The Telescopes doing an acoustic set – sub-standard Jason Spaceman stuff.  So far so crap.

But then came Air Formation, 4 rather unprepossessing chaps, who did a spellbinding set of quality shoegaze/post-rock.  There is stuff around that might more immediately grab you or insistently clamour for your attention, but I love their slow-burning, strangely (given the amount of noise they produce) gentle music – good for listening to in bed while in the arms of the one you love. 

Miniblog 4 – Melt Banana at ULU

June 30, 2008

Very loud and frenetic.  Good fun.  Pretty great really.  Did I mention loud and frenetic? 

I can’t and don’t listen to Melt Banana at home, but thought they were ace live.  I especially liked the seven short songs, each lasting only a few seconds, “that’s one…that’s two…that’s three”.  The singer is a little dynamo. 

The support act, DJ Scotch Egg (or am i completely making that up?) – seemed more performance art than gig.  Extraordinarily loud electronic tomfoolery. 



Miniblog 3 – Joy Division documentary

June 30, 2008

I went to see this at the Prince Charles cinema in Soho – it didn’t get much of a release.  I thought this film was great, telling a now well-known story simply and effectively.  What struck me anew was how Ian Curtis sang such distressed, bleak lyrics without any of the other band members wondering if anything might be amiss – they said ‘we didn’t really listen to the lyrics’ – while others thought the lyrics were ‘just art’ and did not view them as a genuine representation of his mental state.   In hindsight……

My favourite bit was a recording of John Peel’s radio show, where he put on ‘Atmosphere’ at the wrong speed.  The combination of the comedy speeded-up voice of Ian Curtis, and the homely, non-pretentious apology from John Peel did a great job of pricking the bubble of pretention and weightiness that inevitably surrounds Joy Division. 

The documentary also did a good job of capturing the grimness of post-industrial Manchester.   I was in Manchester just this last weekend, and despite the facelift and general saturday night joie de vivre, there were still plenty of reminders of Manchester’s less glamourous past.

Miniblog 2 – MGMT at The Astoria

June 30, 2008

Having heard snippets on youtube, I thought this lot were going to sound terrible, but they didn’t. Instead they sounded pretty damn fine, althought the sound quality in The Astoria isn’t all that good. Overall, I had mixed feelings about this gig – I really love MGMT’s infectious pop songs, like Time to Pretend and Kids. However, I’m not so keen on the 1970’s prog-rock side of things, and there was a lot of that in evidence with lengthy guitar noodlings. They certainly looked like they were enjoying themselves though.

Florence And The Machine were supporting – they were shit. I would like the machine to mangle Florence in its moving parts until she shuts the fuck up.

Miniblog 1 – All Tomorrow’s Parties

June 30, 2008

I have had no time to blog, but there have been some great gigs in the last month or two that I really can’t let go past without comment, however brief. 

All Tomorrow’s Parties at Butlins in Minehead – curated by Explosions In The Sky – was great.  I loved the manageable size, having own shower, loo and bed, access to the beach, great company, and obviously the music was pretty fantastic too!  Highlights included:- Beach House (good for hangover), Dinosaur Jnr, Four Tet, Jens Lekman (awww, happy!), Mono, Silver Jews, The National and The Field.  With The Field being my overall highlight – being on at 1.45am on the last night, only the hardcore remained.  I’ll definitely be going to further ATP’s – unfortunately the Nightmare Before Christmas looks like having a pretty unappealing lineup.