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

04 December 2010: Pendulum – Trent FM Arena, Nottingham, England, UK

What do you get when you combine a visual master class in rock god posturing with solid drum and bass mayhem, a great night out at Nottingham Arena.

Although they lack the stage presence of The Prodigy and the aggression of Combichrist the performance was strangely compelling and there will definitely be a place for electronic rock over the next decade, Pendulum have finally come of age.

The young audience bounced and moshed their way through just over 90 minutes of the most popular songs, primarily from the albums Hold Your Colour, In Silico, and Immersion. One of the highlights was the guest vocals provided by local Drum and Bass supremo MC Spyda on Tarantula.

Yes, I would go and see them again.

19 April 2010: The Primitives – The Bodega Social Club, Nottingham, England, UK

Another day, another reformation. These usually fill me with dread as, with the odd exception (The Jesus And Mary Chain), the happy memories of some wonderful tunes are stealthily stolen away and replaced by a reissue and another hole in your pocket.

But hang on, this one might just be worth it…

Arriving fairly early I was concerned to see that Lucky Soul were due on at 21:00, The Primitives at 21:50 and curfew was at 22:00. Ten minutes of The Primitives is not what I was expecting.

The support, Lucky Soul, are a six-piece pop band from London, who managed to entertain the crowd with what seemed to be a mixture of Maria Mckee, Lone Justice era vocals combined with a pop/guitar/synth style. I particularly liked the keyboard line in Lips Are Unhappy which was very high in the mix and complimented the vocals a treat.

The set passed quickly and the band left the stage to a very positive reaction from the crowd and a large queue at the merchandise stall.

Tonight’s crowd was made up of mainly older faces who were obviously there partly for the memories, but it was nice to see a younger contingent present as well.

21:50 came and passed, but as the clock slipped past 22:00 The Primitives took to the stage to a huge roar from the expectant audience, and raced straight into I’ll Stick With You. The crowd went mad.

Tracy didn’t seem to look any different to the last time I’d seen the band nearly twenty years ago and, aside from slightly less hair, nor did Paul.

The hits streamed past to mounting hysteria from the crowd; Thru The Flowers, Way Behind Me and Stop Killing Me all caused absolute uproar and by the time Sick Of It was over, the venue was ready to explode.

And it did, as next up was Crash, everyone’s favourite pop song.

Tracy dedicated the next song to Steve Dullaghan, the bands original bassist who sadly passed away last year. I absolutely love (We’ve) Found A Way (To The Sun), and it was worth the effort of turning up just to hear this.

The band encored with Nothing Left and Really Stupid, before leaving the stage for a final time.

Another day, another reformation. And this one really was worth it.

Who next, The Darling Buds? See See Rider? Birdland!? We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It..?

Oh dear…

11 April 2010: Airbourne + Black Spiders + Taking Dawn – Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

What better way to spend a Sunday night than going to a gig where you’re only interested in a support band?

The opening act of the evening were Taking Dawn from the good ol’ US of A. For me they were an unknown quantity with an amusing Wikipedia entry which was either penned by the band themselves or some marketing exec trying to build up the hype and shift a few units. First impressions were of being trapped in a time warp from the late 80s or early 90s. Taking Dawn looked and sounded very much in the same vein as Skid Row, Guns ‘n Roses, and so on and so on…… which is not necessarily a bad thing: some modern bands can do the retro thing very well but then again others can’t. On this showing Taking Dawn edged more towards the latter, mainly due to the songs lacking something. They showed flashes of promise with a good riff or two before sadly falling back into genre-conforming mediocrity.

On the plus side, a rock ’n roll round of applause has to go to the drummer who played for the first few minutes wearing ray bans before chucking them high over his shoulder. Also, the front man did a good job of warming up the crowd with his raucous whooping and cheerleading between songs (if that sort of thing warms you up).

If I had to be critical I would’ve preferred to see a more quickfire delivery without the breaks between songs to ask if the crowd are ready to rock. In future please take it as read that the gentlemen and the ladies on all sides of the room are indeed ready to rock.

All in all, highly recommended and looking forward to the debut album coming out soon.

Finally, Airbourne = AC/DC

@Jimbob247247

16 January 2010: Pressgang – Elm Tree, Cambridge, England, UK

I had a few problems getting to (and finding!) the venue, so the band had already started by the time I got there. Shame really, because they were on top form.

The stage was tiny and the venue was one of those narrow pubs that mean that wherever you try to stand you feel in the way – probably great if you just want a pub, but not much good for gigs. Especially bands like Pressgang where people do get that strange urge to dance around a lot…

There were a few new songs in the set, but it seemed to be mostly the old favourites they’ve had in their set for a while. Their unique version of “Hard times” is always great to watch, as is their version of “The Cutty Wren”.

“Merrily Merrily” gets more fantastic every time I see it played live. The first version of this I heard was actually by German band “Lack of Limits” – their version is good, but it lacks the theatrical element that you really only get when you see Pressgang live.

This is not just folk music, this is music that’s decided not to bother with traditional genres and has picked up a storytelling element along the way for good measure.

There were plenty of their livelier numbers in the set this time – “Donkey” always gets people moving as does “Head, heart and hand”. Even acappella numbers like “John Knox” keep the momentum of the set going while showing off what this lot are capable of.

@theasigma

19 September 2009: The Wildhearts + Black Spiders + No Americana – Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

First support was provided by No Americana; 4 young fellas, sounded alright, not really my bag though. The second support act was Black Spiders; loved this lot, whiffs of Sacred Reich, Motorhead and AC/DC which is meant as a compliment, rocked hard and heavy without resorting to the just-need-to-be-fast-to-be-heavy angle – highly recommended. They’re supporting The Answer (a.k.a. poor man’s Black Crowes) soon and I might go along just to catch the Black Spiders.

Rock City had filled up by this stage and I’d guess wasn’t far short, if at all, of being a sellout. It’s great to see people coming out for The Wildhearts once again after a brief lull in their apparent popularity (or marketing).

The Wildhearts came onstage just after 8pm and played the new Chutzpah! album from start to finish as the first half of their set. Even though it’s relatively new, the crowd seemed well into it and helped out with choruses where required. Personal favourites were The Jackson Whites, The Only One and Mazel Tov Cocktail. As on the album, vocal duties were shared by usual singer Ginger, Scott Sorry on bass and CJ on guitar.

The whole band really seemed to be enjoying themselves and appreciating the response of the crowd. Ginger in particular was in a great mood with a huge grin barely leaving his face. Later on, he was so happy that he even necked the best part of a pint of red wine with a little encouragement from Scott.

If I had to be slightly critical I would say the live performance of the songs didn’t really add much to the album versions; sometimes a track can seem to get a life of it’s own when played live. Don’t get me wrong, they were all played superbly – very tidy musicianship, great singing and thoroughly enjoyable. Perhaps it’s because their album performances are so polished these days that it’s not easy to improve on them live.

A special quick mention must go to Ritch Battersby on drums. I’ve been a lifelong fan and he didn’t disappoint tonight. Hard and heavy but always controlled, quick-fire but always tidy, a perfect drummer in other words.

After a short break, the band appeared back on stage to begin a more typical best-of set. Yes, it was the same old songs we’ve heard hundreds of times before but I, and the rest of the crowd, loved every single minute of it. How to pick a highlight? With great difficulty. These are all Brit rock classics which perfectly show off what The Wildhearts have always done best; effortlessly catchy riffs, great harmonies, sing-a-long choruses and destined to get any crowd going. New additions to the set were verses of Living On A Prayer (thankfully only brief) and Peppa Pig (don’t worry, if you don’t have kids you probably won’t have heard this).

Shame they had to be finished by 10pm as it was a club night at Rock City. Even so, The Wildhearts packed enough into the previous 2 hours to satisfy everyone.

Loved The Wildhearts, loved Black Spiders, loved the gig.

Set list; The Jackson Whites/Plastic Jebus/The Only One/John Of ViolenceYou are proof that not all women are insane/Tim Smith/Low Energy Vortex/You took the sunshine from New York/Mazel Tov Cocktail Chutzpah/Break/Nothing Ever Changes/I Wanna Go Where the People Go/Nita Nitro /Sick of Drugs/Caffeine Bomb/Suckerpunch/Headf**k/29 x The Pain

@Jimbob247247

19 June 2009: Southside Festival 2009 – Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany

Thursday 18th June

Arrived in Zweibrucken to beautiful sunshine and a beautiful smiley face of my friend Iris who was picking me up and driving me to Saarbrucken where I was to spend the rest of the day in her garden eating cherries straight from the tree and annoying her cat with a long/thin stick. Later the same day we had a lovely dinner at a rather picturesque local old brewery come restaurant where I was introduced to the delights of krautbeer.

9 am Friday 19th June

Iris, Nichole and me finally finished packing the big van which was to be our home for the next 3 days with everything we could possibly think of minus the kitchen sink. We said our good-byes to the cats, set not 1 but 2 sat-navs and off we went, festival bound.

What I wasn’t aware of was that the tiny airfield in Neuhausen ob Eck where the festival was held was in the middle of the Black Forrest, almost 4hrs drive away from our departing point. Glad to say we took a shortcut (?) through France and shaved some 100km off the journey.

Several beers ater, I mean hours later, we arrived. Thank f***! We drove around a bit, found a spot near the loos (but not too near so we wouldn’t run the risk of suffocating with the notorious vile fumes which would no doubt come from it), unpacked some gear, dressed down to match the already mashed & unwashed revelers in the caravan next to us and off we went to watch a few bands.

We managed to see the last couple of tunes by Less Than Jake. They were up on the Green Stage. I thought they were a good “warm up” band. WIN. Little did I know they were far better than the following act…

Lily Allen was a let down. I didn’t quite get why the fuck she was there in the first place. But I stood there for as long as I possibly could before I walked away from a cold, distant, un-passionate, mechanical set where Lily hardly managed to smile at the crowd and the bored looking musicians. Ok, she is competent and hits her notes but she totally lacked the festival spirit. FAIL

Fleet Foxes were on next at the Blue Stage. If you are not familiar, let me try to describe them: they look like hairy Yetis but sing like angels. Anyway, as they started their set it started to rain quite heavily. Wet and cold we stood there in total awe because they were simply divine! Their mellow tunes delivered to perfection. It was quite an experience and I highly recommend you go watch them. Big WIN

I was soaked to the bone and cold so I duly went to get mashed at a Brazilian kiosk selling caipirinhas. Damn! They were good! So good in fact that I lost track of time, missed Fettes Brot and most of Die Arzte. But I must say that from what I saw of Die Arzte they were really good and a real crowd pleaser. I didn’t stay until the end because their set overlapped with Nick Cave.

I arranged a meeting point with the girls and off I went. Needless to say we never managed to find each other but that’s another story.

Mashed, wet, cold and alone I went to the Blue Stage to watch Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. This one is easy to write about: it was f***ing awesome, mind blowing, brilliant performance! And what a sexy mutha f*ka! Even when the PA died on him, he carried on until the end of the song before leaving the stage for a few short minutes. He returned, apologized to the punters, had a dig at the sound engineers and went on to deliver what was to become the highlight of the festival IMHO. Uber mega bitchin WIN

© AndreaUrbanFox

Originally posted at http://andreaurbanfox.wordpress.com/