Posts Tagged ‘Gigs’


November 21st, 2010 No comments

Linkin Park

I have been lucky enough to get to a number of gigs over the last month or so and I thought I would put a quick post up about them.

November started with Linkin Park at the MEN Arena in Manchester. I used to love Linkin Park back when I was a youngish teenager but I have to admit that I had kind of drifted away from their music over the last few years, bar the odd scream-along at Wendy House when one of their singles came on. This meant I surprised myself as much as anyone else when I suggested to Chris that I tagged along with him to go and see them play.

The gig was pretty good all round, despite the fact we were sat at the back of the arena on the upper tier (about as far away from the stage as possible). Their new material from the album A Thousand Suns is really good, but not necessarily designed for arena tours. I felt that they blended the new stuff in pretty well with their older material. Chris posts his views on the gig here, where he disagrees with my view on this.

I had a really good time at the concert and it was fun to relive some of my angsty youth.

The second gig of the month was a freebie from work in recognition of some of the work I have been doing over the last few months. I got an email on a Thursday to say that I had been awarded two tickets to see a concert at the MEN on the Friday (as in the next day!) This was quite a shock and meant that I would have to arrange travel etc to Manchester and find someone to go with. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but for some reason whenever I get tickets to stuff from work there never seems to be anyone that wants to go.


Luckily for me, the tickets were to see Gorillaz, which is an awesome band, so I didn’t mind the last minute running around trying to sort everything out. The other lucky break was that another girl from my ofice had also won tickets, so meant that it didn’t matter if I found someone to go with I could always tag along with her and her partner. Little did I know at this stage that the running around trying to find someone to come would prove to be the least stressful thing of the whole occasion!

I left work on the Friday at three-thirty and headed back to my colleague’s house to grab a quick drink and then catch a train from Dewsbury to Manchester. This journey normally takes a little over an hour, however on this occasion it took nearly 4 hours, including having to change at Rochdale due to the train being too late to carry on!

Anyway, we eventually made it to the gig about 2 hours later than expected and got into the arena just in time to see that last couple of songs by the support act, De La Soul, who were really rather good. Chris showed up just as Gorillaz started (see his story here) and we enjoyed a fantastic show. The event was made even sweeter by the realisation that all our drinks and food were on expenses.

The Gorillaz themselves were really good. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect as I struggled to work out how an animated band would translate to real life performance, but Damon Albarn really pulled it off with his high energy style and fantastic animation of the band on the giant screen on stage.

I am not a huge Gorillaz fan beyond a few of their singles, but the concert was really good (the free beer helped no doubt) and I would recommend them to anyone who wants a really fun, live band who don’t take themselves too seriously!

Kevin Bridges

The final gig of November saw me head to York’s Theatre Royal to see comedian Kevin Bridges perform. I have come across Kevin Bridges a few times, mainly on TV shows like Mock The Week and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, and I have always found him to be really funny. He is a Glaswegian and proud of it and has some fantastic material covering crazy people, nostalgia and self-image issues.

I went with some friends from work and we enjoyed a few beverages on the train and then in York, which is always a nice palce to go drinking, before heading to the theatre. The support act was a young Scot whose name escapes me now, but he was funny enough and a good warm-up act using plenty of crowd interaction to get us in the mood. Kevin’s set was fairly long and had me in stitches quite a few times. The funniest part of the night was when he learned (from a member of the audience) that suit pockets are really pockets and if he undid the temporary stitching he could use them. They say everyday’s a school day!

Again, an act I would recommend to those that like some not too mainstream comedy but also not too alternative. A good laugh.

V Fest

August 19th, 2008 No comments

I’ve never been to one of the mainstream festivals before – Leeds/Reading, V Fest, Glastonbury etc. This is for several reasons, firstly the cost – £150 for a festival is too expensive, secondly there is the fact that they are massively ovwercrowded – 30000 people is just too many, finally there is the stigma. I usually don’t see myself as a music snob, but it seems that the sort of music fans that attend the mainstream festivals are the sort of music fan that pisses people off.

Having said all that, Muse were playing V Fest this year and, for those of you that don’t know, my girlfriend Liz is obsessed with them. The moment she heard they were playing she booked two tickets for the day they were headlining at the Staffordshire version of the festival. This mean attending one of the festivals I never thought I would, especially since the escapades of last summer!

We got up early on the Sunday, leaving about 9am to drive the 130 miles from Leeds to Weston Park, near Cannock, Staffordshire. The drive was pretty uneventful and there were no jams getting into the venue. The queueing wasn’t too bad to get into the actual arena either – maybe 20 minutes. Once in the arena we headed over to the main stage area to try and camp out for the headliners so we would be near(ish) the front. We managed to get to the first few rows right in the middle for the first few acts – The Futureheads, Alannis Morrisette, Lostprophets and Maximo Park. Unfortuantely, as mentioned above the sort of music fans that attend these festivals are prats, so after about 5 hours of getting squashed, beaten, crushed, kicked and being generally uncomfortable (and the fact that I had managed to lose my mobile telephone for the first time in nearly 10 years) we abandoned our position and fled the main stage area. We rustled ourselves up ome food – which considering the fact we were at a festival was not too over priced. We managed to find a place that did a giant Yorkshire pudding filled with sausage, mash, onions and gravy for a fiver! We also managed to find somewhere to sit amongst all the mud.

After queueing for a while to use the “toilets” and having missed The Kooks’ set. We headed back for the headliners. We didn’t go so deep into the crowd, but found ourselves a nice little spot not too far back where we could enjoy the music and see the stage without fear for our lives. The first headline act were the Stereophonics. They were absolutely awesome live. Kelly Jones really knows how to work the crowd and their back catelogue is impressive. I know it’s a festival and bands play their singles but I really had hoped they would play a few of the album tracks! Muse were the second headline act and they know how to put ona show. I am not the world’s biggest Muse fan – most of it is just noise – but they are good live, if only for their light and special effects show! Six giant satellites mounted with lasers and spotlights aodrned or surrounded the stage!! All in all a fun day, except for the hour or so queue in the mud to get out of the car park – but even that wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

Pleasently surprised is probably the right phrase. I wouldn’t pay to go back again, but if the chance arose to attend for the day again for free then I would probably think about and it would depend on who was playing.

Keep an eye out for more detailed reviews of the sets people played.

She said “see you later boy”…

June 16th, 2008 4 comments

A couple of weeks ago Chris, Michelle, George and I went across to Manchester to see Avril Lavigne live on tour. I had a few reservations about the trip when Chris first approached me with the idea. Avril is not everybody’s cup of tea and her target audience is definitely not the twenty-something year old male!

The gig was awesome. She is really good live. Her set was a little predictable, but with five albums now there are not that many variations she can make. The encore epitomised the predictability as she sent out dancers before she appeared, removing any hint of spontaneity. The music was good though and Avril commands the stage like few others. She may only be my age but she definitely is a star.

Twelve days to Avril…

May 17th, 2008 1 comment

That’s right, there are now just twelve days until Chris, George, Michelle and I head over to Manchester to see Avril lavigne’s latest tour hit town. I can’t wait, not just because it is a well earned chance to let my hair down but alse as it signifies my last exam – it being the day after the gig (I’ll worry about that later). Exams have been going okay this time round, although I am getting less adept at judging my own performance. I am putting the work in for these too, which is something of a divergence from past exam periods. I am even letting my revision disturb and interrupt my social life too! Although, that is less of a worry as the group’s end of exams/graduation celebtrations are going to make any event held now seema trifle in comparison! Check out the events at and take a loof for yourselves!

I have two exams this week, which are the two hardest of the ones I’m taking, so not much opportunity for relaxing. However, our main houseparty is on Friday so that should be good. Just need to learn all the Avril lyrics now so that I am not outdone by the ten year olds at the gig!!

V Festival 2008

March 7th, 2008 1 comment

I have just bought a day ticket to this year’s V Festival. Liz and I are going for the Sunday as Muse are headlining. We ummed and arred about getting weekend tickets but couldn’t justify the £150. There are some great bands playing on the Sunday though, including the likes of Muse, Stereophonics, Maximo Park, The Prodigy and The Kooks (see the full line-up here).

I can’t believe it is festival season already!

2007: A Year in Review

January 7th, 2008 1 comment

The Christmas festivities are over, the New Year hangovers have subsided and 2008 is nearly a week old. This seems like the perfect opportunity to take a look back at 2007 and the people, events and ideas that made it.

Christmas and New Year are always a time for reflection and nostalgia and this year was no different. My family was all together for the first time in a while, including some of the new additions. I had an enjoyable time with several highlights – firstly, I caught up with some old friends and relived some of those moments from my youth that I miss. I also had a good time Christmas Day as I actually felt part of the family for the first time in many years. The end of December was also a good time for me, I spent it with Liz and her family and really felt accepted.

Anyway, back to my review of the year.

January was an interesting month, fisrt it saw the blossoming of a new friendship, one that would lead to something quite special – although i didn’t know that at the time of course. This month saw the final plans for the new academic year’s housing plans and all the arguments that surrounded that decision. This is probably the time that I cemented my friendship with a number of people whom I now consider my closest allies.

January’s exam period was hard for me, not just for the obvious reasons, but because it saw the dawning in my mind that I had lost my passion in Materials Engineering, that the course was no longer the inspiration I required. I began to toy with the idea of leaving university, or at least changing course.

I don’t remember much of February apart from starting at McDonald’s and buying a new car. I also went to Langdale in the Lake District with my mum.

March was an interesting month, I saw Barenaked Ladies in concert in Leeds which was amazing, visited Sarann in the Lakes and most importantly I started this blog.

Now here is the definition of a rollercoaster ride. I reached some of the lowest points of my life but also touched some of the highest highs. I ran Rationalist Week, spent a week in a self-destructive spiral of drinking, partying and depression, I met a girl and fell in love.

May was a busy month. Liz and my relationship went from strength to strength, went to see Soweto Kinch and The Who live in concert and Blackpool won in the League One play-offs and got themselves promoted to the Championship.

Festivals were the order of the day/month for June. I went to Sunrise and Farmyard Party to work in a chip van with Sarann. I had a great time but it meant not seeing Liz for a lot of the month – the first real test for our relationship. I think we ended up stronger than ever! Chris ended up in hospital with a serious bout of appendicitis and I spent a lot of time helping Matt sort out his car.

July was quite boring compared to the surrounding months.I went to Workhouse in Wales, had minor computing issues and moved in with my new housemates – Sarann, Michelle, B and Chris.

Always a quiet month, with uni still a month away and the excitement of breaking up long since faded away. I spent most of the month taking stock and seeing what was what in my life. I did go to Solfest, however, which was definitely a personal highlight of the year!

I made only seven blog posts in September, which gives a good indication of how little I did. I did start a new course at university though and turned twenty-three – which also explains the lack of blogging! The combination of Fresher’s week and birthday celebrations will do that to a man.

A difficult month for me. A lot of things happened in my private life that left me somewhat adrift. I did get a new computer though, which is always nice!

November saw things pick up a bit with the A-Soc London trip, Atheist Week and the discovery of the Lancashire Hotpots! London was worth all the effort that I put into it, it turned out better than anyone had predicted and nothing really bad happened. Liz and I went from strength to strength and I even managed to find time to do some uni work!

A month of WoW and family. Not a lot to report on really, except what is already included at the top of this post. It was a good festive period all in all. I think it set me up for 2008 quite nicely.

The Who

May 27th, 2007 1 comment

Last night I had the honour of attending one of the greatest music concerts I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Standing fifteen feet from the stage, braving the pouring rain in hull’s KC Stadium I rocked the night away listening to The Who. Probably the greatest rock band ever.

Singing and dancing to classics like “Who Are You”, “My Generation”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Pinball Wizard” along with tracks from their new album Endless Wire, Liz and I were part of one of those rare moments you get with ageing bands, we felt transported to the swinging sixties and rocking seventies. We felt part of the Who Generation.

The concert as a whole lived up to my massive expectations. The two support acts were the perfect counterfoil to The Who. Jackson Analogue, an Isle of Wight based indie-rock band, were superb. I had never heard of them before last night but I have been inspired to investigate them further and would definitely buy their album and pay to see them in their own right. Their sound was difficult to pigeon hole. They seemed like a cross of the modern indie sound (like bands such as Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand) and the softer pop-rock of bands like Ash with a pinch of stagemanship like the Killers. Highly recommended!

The second support act were an enigma. They are a band that I resolutely dislike both on the radio and on disc. However, I found that live, they came into their own. Whether it was the atmosphere of a packed stadium, the atrocious weather lowering our expectations or they just perform better live I don’t know. I like them. They got me bobbing up and down, nodding my head to the deep bass rhythms and funky guitar licks. I definitely feel that the band comes from a different era, they would have been at home in Brighton in the late 60s and early 70s, driving Vespas. They had really well put together set list, remarkable energy and just the right sound for the occasion made them a spectacle in their own right. I really enjoyed the forty minutes they were on stage.

After a long delay whilst the stage was put together, we got the main attraction, the raison d’etre…The Who!

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey strolled onto stage, Roger carrying what seems to be the eponymous mug of tea and the concert kicked off. They opened with a barrage of hits – “Can’t Explain”, “Substitute” and then “Behind Blue Eyes”. The crowd was really geting into the set. Hit followed hit followed hit with songs like “Baba O’Riley”, “You Better Bet”, “Relay” and “The Seeker”. The songs from the new album really demonstrated a change for the band, gone are the guitar driven songs of the older albums and enter the vocals of Roger Daltrey who really has developed singing as an instrument to a new level. His rock tones mixed beautifully with the clever musicianship of Townshend and you ahve a recipe for success. I really enjoyed two of the songs, “Fragments” and “Man in a Purple Dress” both masterfully crafted.

By the time that The Who left the stage at about 10.30, we had been standing up for over five hours yet I could have gone all night listening to the entire back catalogue of songs. Amazing as The Who are on disc they really excel live. The presence of the two remaining band members was obvious. They owned the stage and what is more, they owned the audience. It was magical.

If anybody gets the chance to see them live then I recommend it, even if you don’t really follow the band. Liz knew very few of the songs yet she says that she had a great time, the music just carries you away; you can’t help but get caught up in the moment. I am not supposed to mention this but a certain somebody suggested that the gig was better than a certain other band (which she is obsessed about….).

All in all it was an amazing night, I literally cannot enthrall about it enough. There just are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe the elation, joy and awe I felt throughout the concert.

It was an added joy to be able to share this experience with Liz. I have never been to a concert with a girlfriend before as I rarely share musical tastes with them, I tend to enjoy the more obscure and older sections of the musical spectrum. I had a great time at the concert and some of that has to be attributed to Liz.

Sorry to those that went to Cabbage last night, but by the time I had driven to Lincoln to pick liz up then driven to Hull then back to Leeds I was shattered!

Potterhanworth, the centre of the known universe?

May 18th, 2007 1 comment

Regular readers of my blog will be aware that I have recently embarked on a new relationship with a lovely young lady called Liz. Well, for the past week I have been staying with her at her Nan’s house whilst her grandparents are away on holiday for a couple of weeks. The reasons for me staying are two fold, a) it gave me an opportunity to spend some real and quality time with Liz away from the pressures of Leeds, friends and family and b) it gave me an opportunity to recharge my batteries and take stock of my life in a relaxed atmosphere.

I think both reasons have worked out for the very best. Liz and I have really gotten to know each other this week in the way you only achieve through spending time together. Having the house to ourselves was a real bonus, it has led to our relationship really developing into a beautiful adult relationship. Liz is a pretty good host too, she brings me cups of tea in the morning! Although, to be fair, I have actually done most of the work in terms of cooking, cleaning, washing etc and I have decided that Liz only really wants me for my car – it seems my chauffering skills are second to none, literally as there is no one else!

The second reason has almost been as amazing. I have really gotten to know myself through letting Liz get to know me. I think I am now in a position to move forward with my life, to start again as it were. The future holds many challenges for me and until recently I would have shied away from them and stuck my head in the sand. Now it is different. I am up for the challenge, I am relishing the challenge and most importantly I am willing to fight for what I want and fight to win.

The week in Potter’ has been relaxed although not entirely without action. Liz and I arrived from Leeds on Sunday afternoon and chilled out for most of the afternoon, we had take away – which wasn’t really up the high stabdards of Milano’s but not entirely inedible, after watching some telly we ended up going to bed relatively early. Monday was fairly standard too, didn’t really do all that much apart from a bit of shopping and some work. Tuesday saw me head back to Leeds for the morning, I picked up some quality newvinyl which gives m an excuse to update my hi-fi system, which is in the process of coming to fruition. We ended up going out into Lincoln with Liz, Edd and some of Edd’s friends to a club called Sugarcubes. It was a dive. Your standard student rock based night. Cheap drinks though at £1 for a bottle of lager/soft drink. Liz got very very drunk and I took her home. We were both quite ill on our return and as I hadn’t been drinking I wasn’t convinced it was the alcohol.

Liz returned to work on Wednesday after a few days off due to stress. Whilst she was there I did some reading and caught up with some work. A few problems occurred during the evening, none of which are really suitable for discussion here. Thursday was a faily quiet day, we watched the Lincoln City vs Bristol Rovers play off semi-final 2nd leg and I was a little dismayed to see Lincoln lose. Lincoln are not my team, but as I have several connections to the city, I have a certain affection for the club. A couple of films and a late night later we arrive at today, Friday. Liz is at work from 4-9pm this evening and then I imagine we will be heading back to Leeds.

Our plans for the weekend include watching he Blackpool game on Saturday, followed by the FA Cup final then Wendy House. Sunday will be a chilled out day then liz will head home whilst I get on with some chores and errands. Finally, I thought I would mention the fact that I have tickets to see The Who!!

Soweto Kinch

May 6th, 2007 2 comments

Liz and I went to the Wardrobe last night to see Soweto Kinch and his band play. I wouldn’t normally have thought about this gig as something I would go and see, but after Kieran’s review a few months ago when i saw the name I headed straight into town and bought me some tickets.

I am really glad that I went, the tickets were a bit on the pricey side at £14 each and the Wardrobe is definitely no the cheapest place to drink in Leeds but even so, the atmosphere is amazing and the gig itself was second to none.

Soweto Kinch is a saxophonist and an MC, backed by a quartet consisting of a trumpeter, guitarist, bassist (double and electric) and a drummer. They have a totoally unique style of jazz music, combining the funky side of jazz with hip-hop and rap. Kinch’s talents as an MC were clear to see and were especially evident during the free-style piece he did at the end to photo’s submitted by the audience. These skills were, however, eclipsed by his sax skills. He produces a rich, clear tone with an ability to really make the music touch you. At times I was completely lost in the music.

The band was also brilliant and I feel that special mention must go to the bassist who was by far and away the best bassist I have seen live in any genre of music. His skill on the double bass was frankly awesome, the speed and complexity at which he produced spine tingling riffs and beats created the sort of bassline that you just cannot ignore. I occasionally feel with some jazz bassists that they kind of wish they had learned the trumpet or something, but this guy’s passion was obvious to everyone.

The set list was superbly designed, giving a real mix of flavours yet somehow managing to get everything to gel so smoothly that you lost track of time and totally forgot you were in a crowded club.

There were a couple of highlights for me, first I agree with Kieran’s choice of “The House That Love Built” and I also have to say that I loved their final encore piece, I can’t remember the exact name but it was something about a basketball game. The piece was basically a solo off between the trumpeter and saxophonist and I have to say they were both winners, we were treated to five minut solo’s from both musicians, interspersed with some of the finest drumming I have had the pleasure to see and hear. Every track was a journey of music, each with a story to tell. A totally awesome experience.

The night was rounded off when the band came out to sit in the bar with the audience that hadn’t run out the moment the set finished. All of the band members I spoke to had a great sense of involvement with the crowd and were more than happy to sit and talk to everyone – a feat that I wish some main stream pop/rock artists would try sometimes.

I bought their album and even managed to get Soweto to sign it for me – one for the collection, or it would have been if I hadn’t given it to Liz who had a really great time. I found out she is a regular in the Jazz Bar in Lincoln. I took a risk buying the tickets without asking her first, but it looked like the gamble paid off. This has to go down as not only one of the best gigs I have been to but also one of the finest dates.

Thanks to Soweto and the gang for making a good night out unforgettable!

Barenaked Ladies

March 30th, 2007 1 comment

I finally got round to going to see the Barenaked Ladies live tonight. They are a band I have admired for a long time, both for their imaginative lyrics and their uncanny ad libbing skills.

They played a good set including most of their well known songs – One Week, Old Apartment, Brian Wilson, Easy etc and finished off the encore with a tremendous version of If I Had $1,000,000.

Defining the music they play is tough, they manage to combine the originality and musical talent of a singer-songwriter, with a splash of pop and a dash of rock and roll. They are also excellent MCs with the microphones. The band consists of two front men, one singer and one guitarist (although both sing and play the guitar…) and then a backing band of pianist/keyboardist/guitarist/accordianist, a percussionist and a bassist. They seem to have found that sparkle you get when you play with people you love. All in all it was an amazing gig. Chilled out yet rocking at the same time. Funky enough to dance to yet with the rhythm and melody you would expect from an indie style band.

The wonderful B accompanied me and considering she knew of one BNL song, she had a great time singing and dancing.

The evening finished with a few of us in the Packhorse and then takeaway and back to Chris’s place.