As 2006 rolls round so do the inevitable ‘Best Of… ‘ posts. While my singles best of post is causing me no end of stress as I strain to order my favourite Rachel Stevens songs, the gig one is much easier.
The frankly brilliant Apply Some Pressure means that this band could just made bird noises for 40 mins, just play that one song, and the entire gig would be fantastic. For some reason they didn’t do that, and played their whole album making it brilliant++++. At that point I only really knew the singles, and was annoyed I’d missed them at Glastonbury; so heading to the Radio 1 Tent at Reading certainly wasn’t going to be a disappointment. They totally surpassed my expectations though playing a tight set full of catchy hooks. I can’t wait to see them again properly, particularly now that I love the album to bits.
This cold January evening saw us venturing to see The Go! Team at 100 Club, following our hearing and loving of Bottlerocket. The Go! Team were meh, they were okay – the sound was a bit rubbish. But forget them, this was the first introduction to The Pipettes who were their 2nd support act. 3 polka-dotted vixens singing 60s sounding pop – we all fell in love. Since this date we’ve seen them more times than we’ve done many other things in locations such as Stay Beautiful, Cargo & most recently as the headliners back at the 100 Club. When we first saw them they were unsigned. Now they are on Memphis Records, have had a single out and are working on their first album. 2006 is going to be great for these girls.
You can read my review of their last gig at the 100 Club in October here at CD:UK online.
Any gig that gets me in close proximity to Jarvis Cocker gets the thumbs up from me, and there are no surprises that this ULU performance is in practically everyone’ s big ‘gigs of the year’ lists. We’d been a fan of Funeral and in particularly Rebellion (Lies) since getting it on import at the end of 2004. When this gig turned up, we thankfully wasted no time in getting tickets and squeezed our way into an absolutley rammed venue, annoyingly full of tall people. Violins, drumming on crash helmets, all types of fun – they were great when we saw them again at Reading too.
Now this is an odd one. I’d never really listened to McFly although obviously aware of their singles particularly their brilliant debut 5 Colours in her Hair. The 2nd half of the year though found me working on their record campaigns and thus I heard more McFly than ever and realised that actually they were really quite good. This gig at Wembley is memorable in many ways. It was the first ‘pop’ concert I’d been to in ages, and James’ first pop concert ever. The screams audible from the venue as we approached 5 minutes away were enough to scare the poor boy, and the noise inside – my god! I’m scared how much louder Take That next year will be! The gig also firmly cememted the fact that McFly are not some crappy little boys band. Their songs are great and their live performance exceptional. James has also become obsessed with them and has now seen them 3 times including a private gig at Harrods a few weeks ago which was fantastic!
Releasing one of the best albums of 2005, Fischerspooner truly lived up to my expectations this year. We saw them in various guises, first as DJs in NYC’s version of Miss Shapes, then at The Scala in June, at Manumission in September and a couple of weeks later at the Astoria in London. The Scala gig was the first time I’d seen them live, and loving Odyssey as much as I do it was a brilliant concert. It was, however, pretty understated for a Fischerspooner gig as they are so famous for their lavish stage shows. This was very basic, and left some people disappointed. To me, however, the quality of the music was all I needed, and the bruises gained from an Emerge mosh prove that I should never stand at the front of a gig no matter how much I love a band!
XFM annually run an event which includes 40 bands and 8 different venues across Camden. You only get to see about 5 of them because of timings and there is a lot of running about! Milly came down for it and we had fun scarpering across Camden with Mark, Mark & James. From my memory the other bands we saw were Hard-Fi, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and er I can’t remember any more! Maybe Milly can help. Le Tigre had the headline slot at the Barfly on Chalk Farm Road. Now Le Tigre are a big band and Barfly is a tiny weeny venue so it was a big race to get there and get in. It was the 2nd time I’d seen them with them having done a PA at Popstarz late last 2004, but this time I was much more interested having grown to like the albums. Hooray!
I’ve always loved Garbage and before 2005’s release of Bleed Like Me assumed they had split and I’d never get to see them live. That changed this year though as we saw them twice – once in June at Glastonbury and then about 2 weeks later at Exit. Exit is a festival which has been held since 2000 in the city of Novi-Sad in Serbia. Now you may think Serbia would be a weird place to, to bog off on holiday, but we only became aware of this festival through Radio 1 and thus figured it would probably be pretty good. The city was amazing and the views across the Danube stunning. Garbage headlined the 2nd night but instead of coming on stage at midnight, arrived at about 2am due to an absolutely torrential rainfall and thunderstorm. I am so scared of thunder and there we were trapped at the highest point in the city in a big fortress getting soaked. We spent about 2 hours huddled together under a bag which had previously been full of lemons. Bizarro. When they did arrive, they were every bit as good as they had been at Glastonbury, ploughing through pretty much a greatest hits set. Bravo.
Ladytron certainly have their ups and downs. Their first record label Telstar went bust and then Island then signed them, didn’t quite know what to do with them and promptly dropped them at the end of last year. But fear not, I’m told that the excellent Witching Hour has been relicensed to the band and will be re-released in 2006. The next single was planned as International Dateline and then a Destroy Everything You Touch re-release so whether these plans will stay is yet to be seen. Ladytron were another band we caught at Exit on the main stage at 11pm at night bizarrely positioned between the angry (yet cuddly!) Laibach and Fatboy Slim! When Simon told us that he’d booked them for Popstarz though, I nearly wet myself with joy. Although some mistook their popstarz set as bad due to their lack of ‘stage enthusiasm’, the set was in fact perfect with 5 killer songs being played and I’ll forever treasure the memory of birthday boy Simon having a mini dance on the side of the stage to Destroy. It was a great night in many ways.
Read my review of the gig at BBC London Online and my interview with the band at CD:UK online.
I had a bit of a toss up here between the KC’s gigs at Glastonbury and Ibiza Rocks. Glastonbury was fantastic and finally made our mud riddenness seem worth while. Ibiza Rocks was well rocking and it was in the beautiful and ‘misunderstood’ island of Ibiza….
From my CD:UK online review:
An out and out rock band performing in Ibiza, island of the dance, was
always going to be an peculiar experience. This year, The Barfly teamed
up with Manumission at the world’s largest club, to create a new
experience – Ibiza Rocks.
With performances from Goldfrapp
and Babyshambles, the Kaiser’s gig was the planned jewel in their
crown, with Ricky’s face plastered on official posters and T-shirts
from the start. Sold out much earlier in the week (unusual for an Ibiza
venue), doors open at midnight and as time ticks on, and on, we found
ourselves growing rather piqued watching the roadies slowly fiddle
Finally, as the clock strikes 4am, our
patience is rewarded and a huge roar generated from the increasingly
drunken and euphoric crowd as Leeds’ favourite sons took to the stage.
One of the best things about seeing the Kaisers live is the energy they
put into each performance and the look of absolute excitement on their
faces when they see the crowd. As they kicked of with ‘Na Na Na Na
Naa’ this was certainly no exception.
Overdressed for the
sweltering heat of the room, in their traditional waistcoats and suits,
guitarist Andrew, bassist Simon, Pete Doherty look-alike “Peanut” on
keyboard and drummer Nick pummel their instruments in tight formation
as they pound through each of Employment’s killer tracks.
Masterful frontman Ricky Wilson leaps about with characteristic
vivacity and during ‘I Predict a Riot’, he throws caution to the wind
performing his usual stage dive with no thought of his recent leg
injury. Although Ricky returns safely, his microphone remains in the
crowd until the end of the song, leaving an overzealous fan singing
along, while a ruffled Wilson merely conducts the audience from the
During ‘You Can Have It All’ a rabid brunette mounts
the stage and with security standing back with a bemused grin, as the
girl clings to Ricky’s neck and thighs. Realising he’s on his own with
this one, he let’s ‘Kerry’ duet throughout the tune before finally
carrying her back to the crowd.
More restrained admirers in
the crowd include Princess Superstar, Kate Moss (and Mum), Annie Mac,
Jade Jagger and Mylo, all of whom could be seen happily shouting along
with the rest of us as the Kaiser’s closed the set with ‘Oh My God’.
Once again, the Kaiser Chiefs performed with the exuberance and zest
they have become so famous for. They most definitely made their mark on
Well I’d never have predicted this at the beginning of 2005. I randomly bought The Repulsion Box one day in Fopp when I was feeling like buying something ‘cool. Initially I found it bizarrely *too* Scottish. Their accents were so strong that they were getting in the way. But screw that, we were so amazed by their Reading performance that along with Shall we headed off to Kings College Union to see the band perform again in late November which resulted in one of the most spectactularly fantastic gigs I have ever seen.
This is what I told CD:UK about it:
Last time we caught up with Sons and Daughters it was at the back of a tent at Reading Festival. The set was pretty good, but we were far away, a bit muddy and in desperate need of the loo. This time we’re clean, dry and definitely relishing the chance to see them in a much more intimate venue crammed to the rooftops with eager fans.
Their passion and distinctiveness is felt from the moment they strike the first chord. Lead singer Adele’s presence is a whirlwind of energy as they rip through songs from debut album, The Repulsion Box, as well as tracks from first EP, Love the Cup. Adele and lead guitarist Scott compliment each other not only with their snarling, harmony-driven sparring, but also with the seductive way they move round each other on stage.
Scott’s raspy, heavy Glaswegian voice makes ‘Rama Lama’ a mesmerising folk-rock stomp. Lyrically it’s incredibly macabre, but that’s offset by a catchy whistly part, as well as a Kaiser-esque "Wooooaaaaaaah". Meanwhile, ‘Red Receiver’ – the tale of a jilted lover – is delivered with fierce urgency, underlining S&D’s delicious darkness.
Aside from the tightness of the set and the catchiness of the songs, one thing that stands out is just how pretty this band is. Male vocalist and lead guitarist, Scott, looks like the sixth member of Franz Ferdinand, while bassist and mandolin player, Ailidh, dazzles in a bright red dress with her striking, Maggie Gyllenhaal looks. And, with the bewitching Adele Bethnal leading the brigade, Shirley Manson’s reign as the Scottish rock queen is well and truly over.