I’m going to begin with the musical event which brought me the most joy. It’s Jimmy Eat World at Brixton Academy.
This year, I ticked of fmy list somethingI have wanted to do for 5 years. I saw Jimmy Eat world play a headline show. I got wind that they were releasing a new album. This means a tour. The second the tickets went on sale, I snapped mine up. When it arrived in the post, I danced around gleefully as I imagine the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow dances around his pot o’gold. When the day actually arrived, I was ready to wet my knickers with excitement.
Jimmy Eat World are one of the two bands that have persisted and remained relevant to me for more than 10 years. You do not get that kind of band coming along very often. I have loved them since they released ‘Clarity’ in 1999 and they have never disappointed me. A great band of honest and genuine guys. There are actually no words to describe just how much seeing them play live meant to me. It wasn’t just something off my ‘to do’ list. It was on the ‘to do before you die’ list. Anyway, enough gushing about Jimmy Eat World. Let me tell you about the gig.
Being as excited as I was, I went straight after work and stood in the queue. Unbeknownst to me, if you are on the O2 mobile phone network, you get priority queuing and entry to Brixton Academy. I got to skip past a load of people with a quick flash of my phone. This meant I got very close to the front without any need to push through bodies. Brilliant!! I was really close to the front and excited as hell. Excellent combination. The first thing I took a photo of was the sparkling drum kit. Check it out!
The next thing I got excited about was Jimmy Eat World coming on stage. Honestly, I have never been so close to not knowing what to do with myself because I am so excited. My brain could not process all of the emotions. I didn’t know if I should cheer, jump, clap, cry, or what. It was the most blissful feeling. And then the music started. I will confess, I took 3 photos. That’s all I could manage. I was too busy fulfilling part of my life’s wish for the rest of the show. One of the shots I got get Jim in all his glory!
They played every song I could have wished for. I also stood in the crowd and sobbed unashamedly during ‘For Me This is Heaven’ and ‘Hear You Me’. They played the full 8 minutes of ‘Goodbye Sky Harbour’ and all of my favourite songs from ‘Clarity’. The only song I missed was ‘Lucky Denver Mint’. Considering I was not expecting to hear anything from ‘Clarity’ I was just the happiest girl in the world. If I had walked out of the Academy and been hit by a bus, I would have been ok with it. It was an evening of my life that I will have fond dreams about for the rest of my days. A gig that I will tell people about in 40 years time as one of the best moments of my life. To cement my jubilation, Jimmy Eat World posted a picture of the crowd on twitter after the gig, and I’m in it. I circled myself as I am quite small.
I believe the next event of note would be the Lost prophets CD signing and gig at Brixton Academy. They were very good and I enjoyed them immensely. Here’s a snap of Ian Watkins I managed to get whilst in the middle of the mosh pit.
One poor boy actually fainted right in front of us and we had to do the obligatory “GET HIM TO THE FRONT!!!” yelling before he got trampled on. I don’t know, these young’uns just don’t have the stamina. I saw ‘Kids In Glass Houses’ as their support for the first time at this gig and I was pretty impressed. I went to see them later in the year with a friend when they played Koko in Camden. I didn’t take any photo’s of that gig though so you can see one from the Lost Prophets gig instead. Again it was mid mosh pit and therefore the quality is dubious.
I think it’s time I took you out of London just for a while. Those of you who know me will know that my Brother in Law and I have identical musical tastes. This results in us going to a lot of gigs together. This year, we have been to four events together. The one I will recount now was our jaunt to see Green Day at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester. I travelled over from London to Lincolnshire and then we drove to Manchester. I was incredibly excited. I had seen Green Day three times previously and they had blown my mind every time so I was expecting something really special from them in such a huge venue. I was not disappointed.
First of all, both support acts were fabulous. Frank Turner first, then Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. Thoroughly entertaining. Frank Turner really made an impression and I saw him play a headline show at Brixton Academy very recently.
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
When Green Day eventually hit the stage, we knew we were in for a real treat. We got pretty close to the front at one point and I managed to grab this blurry picture of Billy Joe but I will confess, Green Day mosh pits are the most mental mosh pits I have ever been in (and I’ve been in a lot of pits). I think we lasted 5 songs or so before we had to bail out.
The guys were up to their usual tricks during the show. They had people from the crowd on stage with them singing whole songs, dancing and generally whipping the crowd to fever pitch. They are masters of making everyone feel like they’re part of the show. At one point a hose pipe came out. it was shortly followed by an American Baseball style Tee-shirt gun. The whole band and their extra musicians looked as if they were having the best time. They all laid down for an entire song. They all dressed up for several songs.
They swapped instruments for a song.
Tre’s bonnet is particularly fetching.
They just had a blast, and everyone in the crowd was right there with them. Green Day remain the kings of live shows fr all out entertainment. I have never been disappointed when I have seen them live and I doubt I will be should I see them again.
The drive home was really on our minds so we left before the encore but we could still hear them playing 25 minutes after we left the stadium with final fireworks going off about 40 minutes after the encore started. Green Day are crowd pleasers and have lost nothing since I saw them for the first time nearly 6 years ago. We arrived home very late after the car had burnt all it’s oil and we replaced it with automatic transmission oil. It was eventful and enjoyable. That was my jaunt to Manchester!
What I’ll do now then, is tell you about what I did in the 4 days before Green Day. I was at Download festival. What a weekend! I will admit, I was drunk for most of it so there aren’t many pictures. What I remeber about Download 2010 the most are the following:-
How much I enjoyed Billy Idol when I really didn’t expect to
How good Switchfoot were
How surprised I was by ‘Napalm Death’
AC/DC and their own stage
Rage Against the Machine
The festival was well organised as usual and I had a fabulous time. We had upgraded the tent somewhat since last year and now had a very comfortable sleeps four in three rooms almost house sized tent. It served us so well. My stand out performance of Download 2010 was Rage Against the Machine. I will admit to being a little biased as I had seen them play their Christmas Number 1 celebratory free gig in Finsbury park the weekend before Download with friends and was on a little RATM high. They are just stunning live though. Tom Morello is the guitar equivalent of a mad scientist. He played a solo without touching his guitar. Crackers! Here’s a snap I got of them on stage.
I always forget how many people there are at festivals. This year, I made sure to take a picture of the crowd behind where I was for RATM. I think you’ll agree, it’s mind boggling.
My biggest disappointment of Download 2010 was ‘Them Crooked Vultures’. Let me explain. I am a HUGE Foo Fighters fan, a MASSIVE Queens of the Stone Age fan and a FAIR Led Zeppelin fan so how could they possibly be a disappointment? Well, basically, they didn’t do enough to make their presence felt in such a big place. I feel as thought I could have sat in a field with a hifi and their CD on at full blast and had the same experience. Technically, they were faultless. Dave Ghrol is a metronome and the guitar work was superb but show wise, they didn’t have it. I think they would probably have it in a smaller venue, but in a forum as monsterous as a festival, they couldn’t pull it off. Sorry boys!
I think it’s time to try a different festival next year. I have done Download two years on the trot now and feel ready for a change. I wish I had tickets for Glastonbury 2011 but feel that’s a pipe dream.
So onwards, or backwards, in the year. I can’t remember which. This is not a chronological blog, it’s a ‘How it comes out of my brain’ blog. Oh, I know, a quick ditty about seeing Good Charlotte. I didn’t know who they were but the ticket was only a tenner so I went. I am pleased I did because their support band ‘Canterbury’ were blooming brilliant. I took a photo of someone in Good Charlotte. I’m not sure who it is. They were rubbish.
I’ll move swiftly on to some of the amazing music I have heard at Open mic nights this year. The Open Mic nights that I frequent happen in The Victoria near Mile End tube, The Ship near Kennington tube, The Grosvenor near Stockwell tube, The Imperial just off Leicester Square and The Embassy in Islington.
I will reel off my favourite finds who also happen to be amazing people. The first has to be Mr Andy Sharrocks. His blend of dirty blues gets your foot stomping and your hand slapping your thigh. He plays as ‘Andy Sharrocks & The Smokin Jackets’ with a variety of other members. I have only ever seen him play with Husky Jack and Captain Bliss. I purchased his CD ‘Dirt’ and I have not regretted the readies I handed over for it. My favourite tracks are the title song ‘Dirt’ and also ‘Davey’s Blues’. More than one of his tracks have made it onto my cycling playlist. They keep the legs going. Here’s a shot of Andy, Captain Bliss and Panama Dave at The Victoria Open Mic. You will discover who Panama Dave is in just a moment.
So next, I present to you a guitar virtuoso that makes my knees go a little weak every time I see him walk into a venue because I know just what’s coming. Panama Dave. He plays solo guitar pieces and he plays them exceptionally. His CD ‘Panama’ is simply the most beautiful Sunday morning sound track. Actually, just any morning soundtrack. You should absolutely listen and appreciate his skill. Here’s a shot of him playing at The Imperial’s ‘Secret Sing for Your Supper’ event hosted by the delectable Carl Chamberlain.
Next, I will move onto Mark Harrison. He plays blues that speak to the soul. His tunes are superb and when he plays with his entire ensemble, it is truly mesmerising. In this shot, you can see him with Captain Bliss (Mark is playing the resonator guitar in the background) as part of a duo. Mark also hosts a couple of roots music nights around London that I must make it too very soon.
My final discovery is the afore mentioned Captain Bliss. I first saw him play solo at The Victoria and was lost for words. I had never heard a mouth harp sound like he made it sound. He is often found touting his skills alongside Andy Sharrocks or Mark Harrison. When he plays solo, he can hold the entire room to attention. No one speaks, no one drinks, some even forget to breathe because listening to his harmonica skill is simply unmissable. I captured him playing at The Imperial.
None of the acts above should be missed. if you can make a show they are playing at, you should.
I need to report on seeing Linkin Park at the O2 and seeing Paramore at the O2. I’ll start with Linkin Park.
To say I was excited about seeing Linkin Park is an understatement. I loved them from the first second I heard Hybrid theory and I never really stopped. Seeing Linkin Park play live was one of the things that had been on my ‘to do’ list for far too long and I was irrationally over the moon that the day had finally arrived. My Brother in law was just as excited as me. We both stood through the one support act who I quite liked (Does it Offend You, Yeah?) and then it was time. The lights went down, the drums started and from that point on, I was completely underwhelmed. The only truly and breathtakingly remarkable thing about the show was the drummer. Rob Bourdon is a drumming machine. His skill behind the kit is unquestionable. Unfortunately this is the best shot I could get of him.
They all played well but it wasn’t what I had built it up to be. I was expecting a high octane roller coaster and instead I got the Cups and Saucers ride. There’s nothing wrong with the cups and saucers but it’s always a let down when you thought you’d been queuing for the roller coaster. The crowd was tame which meant we got to the front very quickly and felt under no pressure to move back. Being at the front meant that I got some amazing photographs of the guys. We were to the right side of the stage which is where the bassist (David “Pheonix” Farrell) stood for most of the gig. Here’s a shot of him.
The singer, Chester Bennington, moved around the stage somewhat and I managed to get a pretty good close up of him when he ventured over to our side of the stage. You can even see Rob Bourdon a little in the background.
Finally, I got a pretty good shot of Brad Delson, the lead guitarist.
I really didn’t manage to get any good shots of the rest of the band as they didn’t come and say hello very often. If they did, I couldn’t whip my camera out in time.
Overall, I am definitely pleased I saw Linkin Park and if I had a DeLorean I wouldn’t go back in time to stop myself buying the tickets but I do remain a little deflated by the experience.
Finally, I will tell you about seeing Paramore at the O2. I don’t really have much to say about this gig as it was full of teeny boppers who didn’t seem to understand the concept of a gig and the pushing/shoving that occurs at one. All we received from the kids were black looks and elbows in ribs for absolutely no reason. It was very reminiscent of the Fall Out Boy gig I went to last year. We soon got bored and bailed out right to the back because the little so and so’s had irritated us. That’s where I took this shot from.
Paramore played very well and boy that girl can sing. I couldn’t fault their stage presence or performance at all. They really were excellent fun to watch and dance to. Would I go see them again? No, because most of their fans are rubbish.
So, all in all. A blinking tip top year guvna.