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!


Rich said...

Its the Belle Vue. The pub you couldn't remember was the Steam Rooms. Having said that I forgot he did Twenty Flight Rock which must be the reason I was singing it to myself over the weekend!

MatthewB2 said...

1 step, 2 step, 3 step, 4 !

(I'm too tired to rock)