17 May 2012: Jim Bob – The Greyhound, Beeston, Nottingham, England, UK

As we walked towards the venue, the only things around were two cruising police cars and a stray dog. This didn’t bode well for tonight’s entertainment.

There was a notice on the door of The Greyhound which, from afar, looked like the venue was closed and the gig cancelled but, thankfully, said (and I paraphrase) “For Jim Bob, go round the back”.

So we did…

Jim Bob

In contrast to the outside, the inside was completely packed out and looked well and truly sold out. There were a lot of 40 somethings wandering around in 30 something sweatshirts, but a smattering of younger souls as well.

The support was from Martin Jackson, who put on a brave acoustic performance but ultimately lost out to the crowds almost complete disinterest. Hopefully, he’ll keep plugging away, as it sounded OK to me.

This was the first date of Jim Bob’s tour to support his second novel, Driving Jarvis Ham.

The only time I’d been to a book reading before was to see Nick Cave in Manchester and I can remember he read from a book. Jim did this as well, but he also said he’d play some songs and then read some more, before playing some more songs from the specials board – allowing the audience to pick the songs – and finish with Sheriff Fatman.

The book reading went well and the crowd were very attentive, although Jim did seem a little nervous at first, before settling down to the job. He read a number of passages, most of which raised a few laughs and thankfully didn’t read anything from past about half way.

Then came the songs. Oh, and what songs they were!

Blowed if I can remember, although we did get Falling on a Bruise and Bloodsport for All. I know that we didn’t get Come on Smart Bomb!, Angelstrike, Song for Friends or Georgie’s Marvellous Medicine. Nevermind.

Jim Bob finished with Sheriff Fatman, with (possibly) Mr Spoons on bubble machines. In a chefs hat. Mr Spoons, not Jim Bob. Jim Bob was wearing a suit and tie.

To sum up, a great acoustic set which thrilled and spilled in all the right places. Some great songs all performed superbly with a touch of Jim’s usual humour chucked in.

Probably the best night in The Greyhounds live music history.

Get yourself along to one of the remaining dates. Your Jim Bob needs you.

Oh! And go get a copy of Driving Jarvis Ham. It’s a good read.

14 November 2011: Yuck – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, England, UK

I’ve been waiting a long time for this and it turned out to be extra special.

I Missed most of Fanzine (early starts – again) but the last two numbers sounded good and they should be well worth another listen.

Yuck appeared at about half eight and set up their own kit and back banner. Another 15-20 minutes passed before the lights dimmed and the band reappeared, fully instrumented and ready to roll.

Yuck

They started with Dinosaur Jr. sound-a-like, Holing Out before crashing into The Wall, at which point I’d expected the crowd to mosh into a frenzy. Strangely, and I’ve noticed this more and more recently, there was very little crowd movement at all tonight. If it’d been 1990, there’d have been no place to hide from the mosh pit.

Yuck

Shook down then mellowed us out again, with the lovely lyric “And it’s been a week. And it’s been a week too long” which just seems to be one of those lines that strikes that special chord.

Georgia sped it up again and raced us into a beautifully accoustic Suicide Policeman, which seems to be everyones favourite Yuck tune.

Milkshake was a suprise becasue I’d not heard it before, but it pressed all the right buttons in all the right places.

There seemed to be a bit of an issue with the guitars during Get Away, but I didn’t notice anything out of place and it sounded like rainbows to me.

I think Soothe Me was a new song, but once again it all fitted together nicely and was a great addition to the bands arsenal. Every song sounds like a classic

I think it was Daniel that related the story of how, on the bands first tour, they used to play all these far away places and then travel back to stay at their friends house in Nottingham. So they’d play Glasgow and then drive back to Nottingham to save money. I love these little info-snips that bands give out when they come to a town, it gives a you a piece of their lives which you don’t get if you don’t go to the gigs.

Yuck

Operation was next, a Sonic Youth inspired aural assault with lead vocal duties switched.

They closed by announcing that these were the last two songs and then played us out slowly with Stutter and then mashed us up completely with a long, long version of Rubber, which fed back deliciously and left the ears ringing nicely at the end of the night.

Much better than I’d expected and I’d expected a lot. The Jesus and Mary Chain better watch out, Yuck are coming to steal your noise pop feedback crown.

02 April 2011: IQ – The Robin 2, Bilston, England, UK

My first IQ gig and it was a bit of a special one – the first of their 30th anniversary shows. There was no support band at this gig, instead we got a slideshow of photographs from the past 30 years projected on three screens playing as the band arrived onstage to play a two hour-long set with a few surprises…

Despite a recent lineup change (the addition of Neil Durant on keyboards and return of Tim Esau on bass), the band sounded well rehearsed and professional. Peter Nicholls’ onstage presence is incredible to watch – direct and confrontational with a more subtle and emotional edge to his voice. All of this is contrasted by his onstage banter with the rest of the band, genuinely relaxed and witty with the ability to put the audience at ease and give the impression (even to someone like me, at their first IQ gig) that everyone here has been best mates for years, even more so when one of the audience collapsed and was picked up – without missing a note he stepped forward to offer the guy a bottle of water – always nice to see a band look after their fans!

Being a new fan, there were a few songs in the set I didn’t recognise, but there were some excellent choices there. “War Heroes” went into “Nothing at all” beautifully, “Human Nature”, “Guiding Light” and “Outer Limits” all sounded excellent. As they came to the end of the first part of the set, they treated us to the full version of “The Last Human Gateway” – a real masterpiece played perfectly. All of these were accompanied by beautiful graphics, projected onto the screens behind the band.

For me, the encores had the two best songs of the show – the first encore was “No Love Lost” which would have left me happy, but the second encore was a brilliant version of my favourite – “Awake and Nervous” – made a little more special by the break in the middle where they decided to play part of “Caroline” by Status Quo before going back to finish the song! For me, they’ve managed to get just the right balance of fun and serious going to make a band interesting – something that isn’t easy to determine from listening to their albums, but which comes across brilliantly in their live set.

@theasigma

12 March 2011: Levellers + The Wonderstuff – Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

Has it really been twenty years?

The Wonderstuff arrived on stage at a very early 10 to seven-ish and blazed there way through a greatest hits package which included “Welcome to the Cheap Seats”, “Give, Give, Give Me More, More, More” and “Don’t Let Me Down, Gently”. Thankfully there was no “Dizzy” (at least from what I heard – I missed the first few minutes), which I was dreading, and the packed crowd really enjoyed the set, and judging by the look on Miles’ face, so did the band.

I moved to the edge of the mosh pit for the Levellers and the gig started with a sound and visual show of the last 20 years in 3 minutes. The majority of the events and people portrayed seemed to get viciously booed by the crowd, which just goes to show that whoever you are you’re probably going to get remembered badly by the majority of people, or not at all (I heard one bloke comment after the gig, “They (the Levellers) were brilliant, but how many records have they made in the last 20 years? None.” Well 6 actually, but you obviously weren’t listening).

As it was an album run through the running order was pretty much as the album, so we started with “One Way” – which seemed strange as that usually comes somewhere near the end – had a break at the half way point for some brilliant b-sides, including the brilliant “Hard Fight” (the highlight of my night) and a gloriously fast “Last Days of Winter”, but sadly, no “Plastic Jesus”.

Played just before the b-sides, “Liberty Song” was blinding, as was “Fifteen years”.

There was a spot of trouble in the mosh pit at one point with Mark saying “Be nice” and pointing at people. Security then dived in and probably caused more trouble than was necessary, but the Levs kept going through it all.

Mark introduced side 2 with “This is side two of your vinyl or cassette”, and off we went with “Far From Home”.

A manic version of “Riverflow” and then “Battle of the Beanfield” finished the album off. I can’t remember what happened after that because it all went a bit mad, but we definitely got two encores and “What a Beautiful Day” was played at some point.

Marvelous gig, wonderful atmosphere. Great band.

Has it really been twenty years? It certainly didn’t feel like it…

Oh, and I trod on Miles Hunt’s foot on the way back from the toilet during “Another Man’s Cause”.

Sorry mate.

limur