Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Status Quo - Croydon Fairfield Halls - Tuesday 22nd November

Same set as Oxford last week, although played with less enthusiasm. Maybe it was our "Royal Box" seats overlooking the stage, or maybe something else, but this didn't seem to have the energy of the Oxford show. Rick looked particularly under the weather and withdrawn. All in all, not a bad show (Quo's rarely are!), but not their best by any stretch of the imagination.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Status Quo - Oxford New Theatre - Friday 18th November

As the last train home was going to mean missing half the show, we decided the Oxford Tube was the best bet from Central London. Very efficient service it was too. Also, bearing in mind Oxford's reputation, it seemed rude to pass up the opportunity to visit some of the City's public houses, so a mid-morning start was in order.

Starting in the Cowley Road area - there were a very decidedly dodgy characters hanging around on street corners, eyeing up everyone and garbling into mobile phones. Probably being naive here, but I'm assuming "do you know where the station is" is code for "do you want to buy any drugs?". The pubs weren't up to much - indeed many didn't seem to bother opening on a Friday Lunchtime. There were a couple of second hand records shops though, so that was a bit more interesting.

The city centre itself was much better for pubs, with the best being The Turf Tavern, The Bear and the slightly out of town, Jude The Obscure.

Anyway, enough of that - how was the show? Well, excellent now you come to ask. We had decentish seats - central in the 7th Row. The band seemed on top form (despite being a bit tired from the "warm up" mimed appearance on "Children In Need" earlier in the evening). Only disappointment was the removal from the set of the new album title track - "The Party Ain't Over Yet", which was a shame as I hadn't heard it live. One thing we did notice was that Francis seemed to be enjoying himself much more when he was using his famous green Telecaster as opposed to any other guitar and as a result the show seemed quite "guitar heavy" - and that's good in my book!

Got out in time to get the late "Oxford Tube" back to London and made the connection at Victoria with seconds to spare. A tiring, but fulfilling day all round.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Billy Idol - Brixton Academy - Friday 11th November 2005

Billy Idol. Not my normal type of show, I must admit. Not too sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a good fun evening.

We met in the at Alexandra, Clapham Common. Despite the fact it's no more than 50 yds from the tube, I headed off in completely the wrong direction - but once I found it, it was a pretty decent pub. Deciding with Richard that we'd have a mini crawl to Brixton - next stop was the "Bar Local" which had Becks on draft - good effort! Torrential rain meant a quick dash 20 yds to the next bar (Belle View) for a swift Staropramen.

The rain had then stopped, so a 5 minute stroll in the general direction of Brixton bought us to another pub in Clapham Park Road (no, I didn't get the name). A short bus ride (until it turned South unexpectedly) and a swift half in the Trinity Arms, together with a good chat with a Classic Rock fan (hope you got your Deep Purple ticket) and it was time to go in...

A brisk frisk on the door (pointless as Richard's 100 - perfectly legal - prescription tablets went unnoticed). Just in time too as Mr Idol came on at 8.40. It was more packed than I was expecting (bearing in mind tickets were still available at the box office), but we secured our normal Brixton standing location in front of the left hand speaker, about 15yds from the front row.

Now I'm not familiar with much of his work, other than the hits, but what we got here was 2hrs 20 of good quality "rock 'n' roll". Not wishing to offend anyone, but punk this was not, what with Billy's delicate throwing of the microphone from one hand to the other (milding amusing actually), handing out of drumsticks, acapella "Twenty Flight Rock" and a bit of percussion from the man himself. I'm tempted to say that this was a fairly mainstream rock show - and I mean that as a compliment - I enjoyed it all the more for that.

The only time I'd seen him before was part of the Who's Quadrophenia tour, where Billy played the Punk (to PJ Proby's Godfather), but these were his first UK solo shows for ages.

Sound was awful for the first 4 songs (always is at the Brixton Academy) and then improved so that the vocals were much clearer.

The audience was polite - a real mix of middle aged men and women and some fantastic mohican style haircuts (great effort by the blonde girl who passed us a couple of times - how can you get to sleep with your hair like that?!!). We noticed a couple of girls behind us were struggling to see (yes, I'm one of those annoying 6ft 3" blokes you always end up behind, just as I always end up behind the 6ft 5" bloke with a tall hat!), so we let them stand in front, which seemed popular.

The only mildly irratating thing was the lead guitarist. If he'd just got on with things and played it would have been fine. However, 3 extended guitar solos (OK, but not great), playing behind your head and with your teeth - oh come on! He wasn't bad, but Jimi Hendrix he was not !!

After pretty much all the hits that we knew, most of the new album (not bad), and a few "Generation X" oldies, the show closed with a 20 minute "Mony Mony". We had heard that Billy sometimes does the Who's "Who Are You" or Led Zepps "Rock 'N' Roll", but sadly not tonight.

We retired at just past eleven to the "Oh Canteenho de Portugual" - a bizarre place if ever there was. We were the only people in there speaking English, but everyone was friendly and the beer was good. The Portuguse equivilent of "East Enders" on the TV was gripping! Check it out if you're in the Stockwell / Brixton area. Especially if you need some "Green Apple" Mentos sweets!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rachel Fuller - Bedford Arms, Balham - 18th October 2005

It was nice to hear Pete Townshend and guests soundchecking with "I'm One" whilst we waited in the main bar in the Bedford. It certainly gave a taste of what was to come later.

For the main show, Mikey Cuthbert, Foy Vance and Simon Townshend played (and were all very good). Rachel was on next, followed by "special guest", Pete Townshend (or "Pete Towsend" as the billboard on the door stated!!). Rock legend up close and personal in a pub environment - rarely does it get better than that!

Rachel Fuller Setlist (probably!)

Cigarettes And Housework
Into Your Heart
Shine
Outside My Window
Ghost in Your Room
Jigsaw
The Seeker
Spin

Pete Townshend Setlist
Drowned
Behind Blue Eyes
Christine's Song (Devil In Disguise)
Heart To Hang Onto
Greyhound Girl
In The Ether (with Rachel Fuller)
Let's See Action
I'm One (with all other guests)

Pete Townshend, Simon Townshend and Foy Vance during "I'm One"
Check out petetownshend.net for David Stark's photos & video


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Start..

H'mm... Blogging eh? I'm a bit new to this, so let's see what happens...

Not quite sure what direction this site is going to take, but I suspect I'll start with some diary notes on the gigs I go to... hopefully something meaningful will appear here soon.

My most recent shows were Rachel Fuller (Balham) , Dan Baird (Mean Fiddler), The Quireboys (Kingston Peel) and Dead Men Walking (Burgess Hill). The next one is Billy Idol this Friday at Brixton. If you went to any of these - let me know what you thought.

Matthew