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Our discussion around the Portishead show Jen went to made me realise we don't have a general thread around music gigs.

 

I'm a frequent gig goer and it's still my idea of a good night out. I can tell because the last gig I went to is often among the best things I've ever seen, although Bloc Party were a bit lost in the cavernous Alexandra Palace last Friday. I reckon I've been to 500+ since my first, Howard Jones at the Hammersmith Odeon in December 1984.

 

They've been in all shapes and sizes from Glastonbury (in fact, I've clocked up 12 festivals in total since my first Reading in '89) down to tiny pub and club gigs in places like The Boardwalk in Manchester, where Oasis played their first gig (not a show I was at; in fact I've never seen them and don't especially want to).

 

My current favourite venues are the Union Chapel on Upper Street in Islington - an octagonal church which is a wonderful setting for the right sort of act (chillout/post-rock/sensitive singer-songwriter types) - and the Empire in Shepherd's Bush for the more traditional rock gig.

 

I've seen stuff from ear shredding industrial metal through to The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain via Prince (and he is funky!), great visual spectacles by electronic acts like The Chemical Brothers and more earnest young men with guitars than you can shake a stick at. I've managed the odd "before they were famous" too: Keane playing a support slot at the 100 Club on Oxford Street, Verve doing similar at Manchester Poly in 1991.

 

There's a few that got away: I wish I'd seen The Smiths and The Stone Roses and wonder if Kraftwerk will ever emerge from hibernation again after I missed them in 2004 due to being on holiday. As I said, very pleased to see Portishead back as well.

 

The best? Sigur Ros at the aforementioned Union Chapel in 2000, REM at Brixton Academy in 2003, Primal Scream on the Other stage at Glasto '92, Pixies on their first UK tour at The Town & Country Club (now The Forum) in 1988.

 

The worst? David Bowie at Wembley Stadium on the Glass Spider tour in 1987. Embarrassingly bad, from his haircut outwards. Also, Gorillaz' first attempt to play live, which was back in 2001 and didn't work at all, and Klaxons this year: they were OK, but the audience appeared to be escapees from a chimps' tea party.

 

The most? I don't keep a tally but I think I've seen The Wonder Stuff six times, although Editors may overtake them: I've just booked to see them for the fifth time at Ally Pally next March.

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I don't go to anywhere near as many gigs as I'd like to. Now I've moved out of the big metropolis of Brum, there just aren't the opportunities. There are a few gigs from my past that stand out though. Probably the most momentous was the Stone Roses at Liverpool Poly in 1988. I still have the poster we ripped off the wall! My friend Tracy was totally obsessed with them and managed to get us a "private audience" in the back of their transit van with a bottle of brandy of all things! The gig was amazing - it was just before their album was released, and you could see that they were going to be massive from the crowd's reaction. Others that stand out in my memory are The Smiths at Glastonbury in 84 (my friend's mom took us!); U2 (Joshua Tree tour); INXS in Mandura Western Australia; Echo & the Bunnymen - lots of times, but most recently at the Leeds festival a couple of years ago, and next year at the Royal Albert Hall :D ; Iggy Pop, also at Leeds (legend!)

Big gigs are just too expensive these days though, don't you think? I tend to boycott them on principle, and go to festivals instead where you get a good number of bands for your money. I might make an exception for Led Zep if they announce any more live dates though...

The band I've seen most would be Duran Duran , due to my early teenage obsession with them. Recently though, I've seen Razorlight 4 times now.

I have never seen David Bowie live and don't want to. He is probably my all-time favourite recording artist and I have everything he's ever recorded in at least two versions, but I hear such awful reviews of his live shows, I'd hate to have my image of him ruined.

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I love going to gigs but have learned the hard way that big venues just don't do it for me. I prefer the more intimate venue. The thought of a festival makes me shudder. As Bristol is my nearest city, large venues aren't usually an option anyway.

 

My first gig (and proud) was Wham! at Bournemouth International Centre in 1984 (or thereabouts). They were fantastic. Shuttlecocks down the shorts and everything.

 

Since then I've seen all sorts of people in all sorts of places. The most disappointing were The Happy Mondays at Wembley Arena. Big barn of a place and Shaun Ryder was totally off his face - not sure why I was surprised! Actually, I tell a lie, the worst ever was when Aphex Twin supported Bjork - the audience either left or sat there with their hands over their ears. It was physically painful!

 

Best ever is, of course, the blessed Rufus Wainwright. His Judy Garland concert at the London Palladium back in February was the best night of the year, maybe the decade. He's almost as spellbinding doing his own stuff. I've seen him six times (so far).

 

I've tickets for Goldfrapp at Union Chapel in March and Bjork at Hammersmith Apollo in April but nothing else planned yet. Next year we should have more money and opportunity so I've high hopes.

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the worst ever [gig] was when Aphex Twin supported Bjork - the audience either left or sat there with their hands over their ears. It was physically painful!
Was Aphex Twin supporting Björk or the other way around? I would find it strange that Aphex Twin fans would cover their ears (or leave) when he was twiddling knobs, no doubt from a sideways position. Either way, sounds like my dream gig, since both are favourite of mine that I've yet to catch live.
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Was Aphex Twin supporting Björk or the other way around? I would find it strange that Aphex Twin fans would cover their ears (or leave) when he was twiddling knobs, no doubt from a sideways position. Either way, sounds like my dream gig, since both are favourite of mine that I've yet to catch live.

Bjork was the headline act and I was there to see her. Aphex Twin spent 30 mins or so making all kinds of noise, including parrots squarking. It's the only time I've been to a gig where people have taken advantage of the quiet parts to boo. I could be kind and accept that perhaps he's just a little experimental for me.

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Not a big gig goer anymore - kids put an end to that, well, the lack of a babysitter.

 

1st gig - Eurythmics at the Glasgow SECC

Best gig - Mighty Mighty Bosstones at the Garage

Close 2nd - EMF at the Glasgow Barrowlands the night before my Art History Higher - got home at 4am, still got an A. Closely followed by Deacon Blue just before Christmas at the SECC, ...then Blur at the SECC...

Most seen - Mighty Mighty Bosstones - 5 times now. When will they come back to Glasgow?!

Most surprising - that support act, Interpol, were better than U2 on the Elevation tour at Hampden.

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I don't go to nearly as many gigs as I once did, back in my student days and for a while thereafter I'd probably go to a couple every month. My first was Genesis at Wembley stadium when they toured Invisible Touch, so about 1985 and I would have been still at school. I remember that they did very little from before Duke, just The Cage and the last three tracks from Wind and Wuthering.

 

Since my parents live within walking distance of a station on the Marylebone line I was a fairly regular visitor to the stadium and the arena thereafter, as well as the Hammersmith Odeon. So Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Marillion (last tour with Fish), Jethro Tull, Queensryche and I'm sure there were quite a few others besides. When I came to Bristol for Uni I started going to smaller gigs and those are some of the best ones I've been to. First was Dave Swarbrick and Martin Carthy on a rusting boat called the Thekla in Bristol docks (before it became a nightclub), during my fresher's week I think it was. Also saw Clive Gregson and Christine Collister there year after year until they stopped performing together. They were always excellent.

 

In recent years I only tend to get myself to concerts for Richard Thompson when he tours and Tangerine Dream on their rare visits to the UK, both of which I've seen about half a dozen times. I went to see a performance of various Steve Reich works at the Carnegie Hall in October last year, Music for 18 musicians is a superb spectacle live, not just for the music itself but also the way the musicians have to move around and swap instruments during the piece if it is performed with exactly 18 players. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea though. That has to be my all time favourite concert and I doubt it will be surpassed.

 

I've missed loads out as well, from Alan Hull performing to about 20 people in the upstairs room of a pub in Bedminster to Fairport Convention performing to about 20,000 people in a field near Banbury (my only festival).

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Since then I've seen all sorts of people in all sorts of places. The most disappointing were The Happy Mondays at Wembley Arena. Big barn of a place and Shaun Ryder was totally off his face - not sure why I was surprised!

 

I wen to see The Pogues at Brixton Academy last night, and unsurprisingly Shane MacGowan was much the worse for wear. I have a live recording of a show of theirs from 2001 and whilst his deterioration from their 80s heyday is evident on that he seems to have continued to decline since, his voice little more than a rumbling slurred growl. He seemed together enough not to need his mic stand for support but did stumble a number of times, both physically and one the lyrics, managing to mess up the end of "Fairytale of New York".

 

Nevertheless, the songs sprinkled throughout the set where other members take the lead seem somehow inferior to Shane's own and he still seems a charismatic figure. One of their number is sadly quite ill, with Phil Chevron not able to take the stage; Shane took on the vocals for Chevron's star turn "Thousands are Sailing".

 

As for any reunion show, the hits were present and correct - "A Pair of Brown Eyes", "Dirty Old Town", "Sally Maclennane", "Fiesta" - but a few of my favourites such as "White City" and "London Girl" were absent. A lot of the audience seemed nearly as, um, refreshed as Shane, but in a good natured way by and large.

 

Sadly for me, work prevented me from hitting the pub myself before the gig. Watching The Pogues more or less sober, they are perhaps not quite as appealing a live prospect, but this is still a band enjoying themselves so more power to them.

 

Right, that's my one concession to the festive season out of the way. Back to "bah, humbug" again.

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Not sure why (given my obsession with records!) but I've never been a great gig-goer. However, a few that spring to mind:-

 

First: Slade at Reading Uni, circa 1978

 

Best: Pink Floyd at Earl's Court, 1994 (or 5, can't remember)

 

Most seen: John Otway - Aylesbury, Astoria (twice), Paladium, Redhill, Virgin / Oxford Street

 

Planned for 2008: Bon Jovi at Twickenham

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The worst gig I have ever been to, and it pains me to say this, was a New Order one a few years ago at the Barrowlands. They were on for 40 minutes at best, Gillian Gilbert wasn't there, they didn't do an encore, and they never said one word to the audience. Hubby was just pleased to see them - I wasn't.

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Probably for the best. He does range from beautiful stuff (like On,
, and
) to more aggressive stuff (like Ventolin, which, incidentally, is my ringtone.)

 

Had a chance to listen to those now, was intrigued by the reference to "knob twiddling" as a substantial part of my music collection is made up of knob twiddling (i.e. synthesizer based) music which includes a lot of things based on repeated patterns / sequences. He's more focused on digital sound synthesis than is my preference (I like the sound of the Moog Modular and other analogue synths) but plenty of sequencing and some fairly obvious Tangerine Dream influences in there.

 

The gentler tracks are more to my taste, and seem to be bridging the gap between some of the dance / trance stuff I pickup on the music video channels and one facet of "Berlin school" electronica. Ventolin is too extreme for me, the near continuous high pitched whine just pushes it over the edge and makes it unpleasant for me to listen to rather than challenging.

 

Anyway sorry for the Off topic diversion and ta for the tip about Queensryche, been about 15 years since I saw them tour Empire so I'll look out for UK dates.

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Had a chance to listen to those now, was intrigued by the reference to "knob twiddling" as a substantial part of my music collection is made up of knob twiddling (i.e. synthesizer based) music which includes a lot of things based on repeated patterns / sequences.
My use of "knob twiddling" was down to a collaboration between Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) and Jake Slazenger (Mike Paradinas) called Mike & Rich, with the album called Expert Knob Twiddlers:

 

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The most disappointing were The Happy Mondays at Wembley Arena. Big barn of a place and Shaun Ryder was totally off his face - not sure why I was surprised!

Was that was the first time they played Wembley? I was there too.

 

Not sure what my fav gig was. I saw Nivarna a few times BITD. Their gig at the Astoria in 91? would be somewhere near the top of the list. I'd seen them at the same place a few years earlier on a sub-pop bill with Tad & Mudhoney and wasn't remotely impressed. Such are my talent spotting skills...

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Was that was the first time they played Wembley? I was there too.

No idea. What did you think? I imagine most of their gigs were similar to the one I saw. It didn't help that we were seated along the side of the venue. The moshing Madchester masses seemed to be having a much better time.

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I'd seen them at a smaller venue and that suited them, and me, much better. I was seated high on one side too. I'd blagged on a coach trip that was being run by the local sixth form (my flatmate was a teacher there). The trip was only about half full so whilst we went inside he was touting the remaining tickets outside. I'm not quite sure what that was teaching the kids.

 

I can remember the sound wasn't the best, Ryder snr marching across the stage with a giant letter 'E', and it being incredibly hot. So hot, the beers I'd bought when I first got in suddenly became a powerful bartering tool for other things *cough*, hence my recollections of that night being 'hazy'.

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So hot, the beers I'd bought when I first got in suddenly became a powerful bartering tool for other things *cough*, hence my recollections of that night being 'hazy'.

I don't think I was at the exact same gig as you (I have no recollection of a giant 'E'!) but I do think that you had the right idea. It's what the music demanded. Although I couldn't possibly condone such behaviour, as this is a family forum.

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I have been thinking about posting in this thread for a little while now and have held off as I knew it would take some thinking about and I've not had the pleasure of being able to take the time to post everything I want to.

 

My very first, proper gig (the first that I am happy to admit to anyway :rolleyes:) was Dee-Lite at Brixton Academy, a place which is now in my heart and if pushed I would say this is my favourite ever venue.

 

The artist (and my hero) I have seen the most is Paul Weller (unfortunately not when in The Jam as I was born a little too late). In my hey day I saw The Levellers many times in many countries. I am able to say that I saw The Verve at Reading University before they were a blot on the horizon.

 

One of the most entertaining gigs I have seen is (and I apologise in advance) Rolf Harris at Glastonbury. The year escapes me (sorry - all the years have blended into one :o). Please note I said most entertaining. Rolf has the whole crowd with him, it was so much fun.

 

Most memorable - Paul Weller in a small, intimate venue in Paris - it was here that I was given a red rose by a stranger who disappeared into the haze of the dry ice (in my dreams he was French but I have no clue really as we never spoke).

 

I saw Nirvana play at the Reading Festival in (I think) '92 - it was a complete mud bath but a fantastic gig.

 

I also saw Primal Scream at Glastonbury and nearly cried when Bobby Gillespie appeared on stage as I had been told by all my friends that he was not able to appear due to being too "incapabable" and was subsequently heartbroken.

 

My most recent gig was Jools Holland at Rochester Castle and it was fantastic, an outside gig and the weather was perfect. Jools had many guests who shone and with him in top form too it made for a perfect evening.

 

There are many others I can write about but I will not bore you any more. Recently my gig going has fallen by the wayside slightly but I am determined to sort this out for 2008.

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One of the most entertaining gigs I have seen is (and I apologise in advance) Rolf Harris at Glastonbury. The year escapes me (sorry - all the years have blended into one :o). Please note I said most entertaining. Rolf has the whole crowd with him, it was so much fun.

 

I was there. It was early Friday afternoon at the 1992 festival. Rolf had the place eating out of the palm of his hand. What an entertainer!

 

I saw Nirvana play at the Reading Festival in (I think) '92 - it was a complete mud bath but a fantastic gig.

 

My one and only encounter with Nirvana was almost a before they were famous moment. They played about half way down the bill on a wet Friday afternoon in 1991, which I saw, between (I think) That Petrol Emotion (and what a great band they were) and shoegazers Chapterhouse. They headlined the following year.

 

I don't mind the odd rain shower at a festival but the nadir of my festival going experience was Glastonbury 1997, which was the year much of the bill on the NME stage was cancelled because the stage started to sink. It was horrible, cold, windy, wet, acres of mud that turned to gluey sludge by Sunday. I went with only one other friend where previous visits had been part of a big gang and to be honest we got a bit sick of one another's company. I managed to miss the other thing that that Glasto is legendary for, Radiohead's post-"OK Computer" headlining performance, often voted as one of the all time great Glasto performances. I chose to see The Prodigy instead.

 

I haven't been back to Glastonbury since. I usually camp in the lounge for the weekend and watch it all on TV these days.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think my first gig was Monsters of Rock at Donington in 1982 - AC/DC, Whitesnake, Blue Oyster Cult, Slade, among others. It was a mudbath and we slept in my friend's car because the students whose house we were borrowing hadn't bothered to tell the landlady and she threw us out in the middle of the night.

 

I've seen Alice Cooper 3 times: 1980s at the Hammy, 1999ish Wembley Arena and 2006 at Monsters of Rock, Milton Keynes - I think it was roughly the same crowd as the 1982 MoR, because they were all wearing the same clothes, but were very old and well-behaved, almost no-one was even noticeably drunk! Deep Purple were headlining, but we were so disappointed that we left early (mind you 20 years before we would have probably been hammered and not cared!).

 

Best gig was probably Shaggy at Birmingham Arena, we went expecting him to be a bit of a joke (for my friend's daughter's birthday), and were completely blown away against all expectations.

 

Most frequent is definitely Wilko Johnson (playing utterly classy genuine R&B) with Norman Watt-Roy (Blockhead) on bass. Must have seen him twenty or so times (we used to give him a lift home from his London gigs).

 

More modern bands are the ones I've seen with my kids - InMe (twice), Him, The Ataris. (Skating swiftly over Boyzone and Peter Andre with earlier kids.)

 

One of the most memorable was (again with one of my kids) The Murderdolls at Madame Jojo's. It was a great gig, nice venue, lots of big, sparkly drag queens. And we got to meet Casey Chaos from Amen. Only downer on the evening was that I was with three 15-year-old girls on a school night, at 2am in Soho and forgot where I had parked the car! Found it in the end, but it was a bit sticky for a while there!

 

Most disappointing was probably Bob Dylan at the Fleadh, Finsbury Park. The line-up was brilliant - Bob headlining, Christy Moore, Counting Crows, Billy Bragg, etc. I was so excited, it was going to be amazing, then it poured with rain all afternoon and by evening I was soaked and fed up and to cap it all, Bob sounded rough. I hate to say it, because I love him to bits, but I was sorry I went. Funny how the rain hadn't managed to spoil the Monsters of Rock 20 years ago!! We all get old and a bit pathetic, I suppose!

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  • 2 weeks later...

First gig - Joe Jackson in 1979. I was 15. The same year, I went to Reading and saw The Cure (Three Imaginary Boys was just out and Robert Smith hadn't yet discovered cosmetics), Annie Lennox in The Tourists, The Police, and loads of other bands.

From then I was a committed gig goer. Managed to see Joy Division once before Ian Curtis died, then saw New Order loads of times. Other bands I saw lots of times included The Teardrop Explodes, Echo and The Bunnymen, Wah! Heat (who later became Wah!), The Associates, A Certain Ratio, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Simple Minds, Marine Girls, Cabaret Voltaire, Test Department, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Police... I could go on and on. Growing up in London was amazing. We basically went to gigs every weekend from when I was 15 to when I left London for uni. At 17, I got a job reviewing gigs, LPs and films freelance for the NME which was my fave job ever, and I wrote for them for a couple of years while at school and then during a year out. Halcyon days. (Sigh)

 

I hardly go to gigs at all now. In some ways that was such a golden time - partly because of the bands, partly because of youth - that I know going to gigs now wouldn't be half as exciting.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Plain White Ts at the Roundhouse last night. They were really good, but only played for an hour and a quarter, including encore. I think they played their whole album, so I suppose they just need to gather a bit more material.

 

One big annoyance at any gig is people who insist on shoving past you when you're trying to listen to the music. Why can't they stand in one place for an hour or so???!! And people who leave before the end wind me up too. They must think that they're watching telly and that the people on stage can't see them heading for the door. Rude!

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I went to see Amy MacDonald in Portsmouth on Saturday night. She was really good. I wasn't sure if I'd like her or not - on her album her voice is ok, but sometimes has an annoying twang to it. When I've seen her on live TV or heard her live on the radio the twang seems much more pronounced, and I wasn't sure if this would wind me up. Fortunately, I think it's a nerves thing - the first couple of numbers she played I wanted to leave - after that she settled, and I'm really glad I stayed (right to the end, Boris!). It seemed incredible that she's only just 20 years old - she had a real stage presence. Can't wait to hear when she has written the rest of her new album, because the 2 tracks she previewed for us were fab!

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