There are some bands that mean more than others. Both globally and personally. For me Guns were one of the most exciting bands on the planet. I saw them a number times in the early '90s when I first discovered there were bands other than Queen (my first and biggest love). Nothing has come close to the feeling of anticipation I felt back in the day when waiting for a GNR gig. They lived breathed rock n roll. They WERE rock n roll.
Who I Saw: Aerosmith / Alter Bridge / Steel Panther / Airbourne / In Flames
Sunday is normally my day. Pretty much classic rock all the way. That of course meant an earlier start. Despite this I wasn't early enough to see the Dead Daisies who were on at the ridiculous time of 12.30. Love their albums but hey I need my sleep. I did though manage to make it to the site around 14.30 with a few delays on bag checking slowing my entrance (although only for a short while. Again the security were excellent all
Who I Saw: Biffy Clyro / Wednesday 13 / Sick Puppies / The LaFontaines
Day two and the festival really kicks into gear. Staying in a hotel this year helps (camping is for wimps as we all know). The Holiday Inn near Derby train station may not sound glamorous but it is really ideal for travel with a fantastic shuttle bus service taking you to and from the site.
Who I Saw: System Of A Down / Prophets of Rage / Suicidal Tendencies
You would think the times we live in would make people feel like hiding away but the spirit shown this weekend at Download was truly heart warming. Yes there may have been more bag checks, longer queues (but really not bad at all) and more security including armed police
It seems silly to post this in the light of the days tragic events...but London keeps on rolling. Nothing will stop it. Fuck everyone that tries. Camden Town is such a vibrant place, although understandably a little more sombre than usual tonight. In the middle of Camden, surrounded by pubs and tattooists, is the Electric Ballroom. It was packed and defiant. Life really does go on.
I like a lot of music styles. At least I think I do. Then again most people that say they have an eclectic taste in music...really don't. The gigs I go to usually involve loud guitars and over long drum solos. Ladyhawke (Pip Brown) definitely doesn't fit into that category. She ain't no Whitesnake. There are similarities though. Both have dodgy hairstyles and wear clothes that were stylish in 1976.
The recent Top of the Pops repeats on BBC 4 have made me hungry for all things early 1980s...and there is no one that sums up that period better than Adam Ant. 35 years ago he was the man that everyone wanted to see, then in the fickle world of '80s music no one seemed to care. Thankfully, judging by the huge successes of recent tours, he is back with a bang.
Seven months on from the original cancelled date we were back in Nottingham to see James, a band I may have seen once or twice before (actually the tenth time in total and fourth time this year. I like this band).
I won't lie...I got these tickets for free. I'd never heard of any of the groups playing...yet this was three up and coming bands, a venue I had never been to before and a Friday night. Why the hell not? First up were Manchester based band, Mohawk Radio. Lead singer Mia Page (from Bermuda no less) is the focal point with a powerful rock voice and excellent stage presence...
Little Steven (or Stevie Van Zandt to his friends) announced his first gig in 27 years a month ago. Tickets bought. Queue queued. Position found. You may or may not know much of Stevie's solo output. To say he has been round the block in music terms is an understatement. The E Street Band, Southside Johnny, Gary U.S Bonds and of course his solo work...also lets not forget this guy.
I got the gig bug in the late '80s. Those were innocent days when I always made sure to see the support bands* (something which I'm ashamed to say I don't always do these days) and not be propped up at the bar having a few pre gig pints (which I'm ashamed to say I very much do these days).
Another gig, another new venue. Tonight in Tufnell Park we were at the Dome for an album launch...and a meet and greet...and a bit of a session as well. All great except that I knew very little about the band we were there to see. I shouldn't have worried.
First time at Camden's Koko for me. We were here to see singer Izzy Bizu. The gig, originally set to take place in June, is a showcase for her debut album (A Moment of Madness) released a few weeks ago.
Koko is a grand old building, old style yet quirky as hell. Magnificent. Tonight it was packed and was buzzing with life from the off with an excellent support set from Jay Prince
You never know what a gig will be like. Will the artist be on form? Will they be up for it? Hell will they even turn up? Some shows though are home bankers. Never in doubt. 100% nailed on going to be good. Paul Heaton gigs always fall into this category. This was my first 'forest gig' so it helps when you go with seasoned...
We knew the drill. Get there early. Queue up. Get in the pit. See Bruce. Then profess your undying love for the man to all that will listen. All good. Seemed straightforward enough. Usually works. Alas complacency and the size of the venue led us to not get in the pit this time. Gutting...but despite this we were only a few back from the pit barrier and centre stage. It would have to do.
I love this band. I love that they were formed all the way back in 1982 and hired some guy called Tim to be a dancer. I love that said dancer became the lead singer. I love that they appear to be more creative now than ever before. I love that they have just had a number two studio album (only beaten to the top spot by Adele) and I love
Tonight is all about thirty years of The Wonder Stuff. 'Est 1986'. The same year that Maradona punched the ball into the English net (I'm still bitter) and Thatcher and Reagan were best buddies. A long time ago in other words.
Record signings can be awkward affairs. Excited fans queuing for ages* for that chance to meet their heroes. In return the artist in question sits down, pen in hand, looking tired, bored and a little fed up at trying to be nice to all their 'Number One Fans'. Fans who own every record they have ever released and who met their partner at a gig of theirs back in 1982...
James are busy lads these days...what with pouring out new music and playing gigs of all shapes and sizes. Strange for a group that formed over 30 years ago. Luckily that is a very good thing as on both record and stage they are a band on a creative high.
Hot footing it over from Rough Trade I made it to the fab Old Blue Last pub with signed LP in hand. Plenty of time for a few swift Monday night beers (bloody expensive but that's Shoreditch for you, trendy haircuts and expensive beer) before Wendy's free gig at the venue.
Monday night saw the launch of the new solo album, The Price of the Ticket, from Wendy James. The former Transvision Vamp lead singer looked excited, nervous but overall genuinely delighted at the great turn out. The launch was at London's world famous 'Rough Trade East' record store.
After getting dragged to see NMA in this very venue last year I somehow found myself back (one day short of) a year later. The gig in 2014 was an eye opener for me. A sea of shirtless fans (including a few women). Most moshing good naturedly, others with their arms outstretched whilst sat on the shoulders of friends or strangers. There was no change tonight.
I never, in a million years, thought I would persuade my wife to come with me to see Fish. Not least because she had no idea who he is. Indeed the run up to this gig included questions about why he was called Fish, what his real name was (when answered all I got in return was "no really, what is his real name") and major doubts about the
The Struts have been playing to ever growing crowds in the UK for a few years and in the process have developed a reputation as a top live band. That reputation is helped in no small part by a front man (Luke Spiller) who, like his obvious heroes, is here to entertain but the band as a whole are a well oiled unit. Now America has started to take notice.
Since seeing the videos for Bathroom Wall and You're So Vain on 'Headbangers Ball' in the late 80's (ah Vanessa Warwick I remember you well) I knew Faster Pussycat were a band for me. The voice, the style and the swagger. Tonight I finally got to see them live at Camden's Underworld.