They Might Be Giants Newcastle Riverside 28 Jan 2016
The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha (frequently shortened to Don Quixote), is a book written by Spanish author Cervantes in the seventeenth century, and often considered to be the first modern novel. The main character, Don Quixote, is an insane man who thinks that windmills are evil giants, often tilting his lance at them. At one point Don Quixote’s trusted servant Sanch Panza asks the Don why he is preparing to attack several windmills with his lance. Don Quixote replies “Why, because they might be giants.” This inspired the name of a 1971 film, They Might Be Giants, and then of the quirky new wave alternative pop/rock band who Laura and I recently saw.
Now They Might Be Giants are pretty difficult to categorise. Their songs are all very different; however they also all share a few common factors: they have great hooks, they are catchy pop tunes, and they are super FUN. A Riverside packed with hipsters in the know was treated to an evening full of their top ditties, causing mucho bopping, dancing and singingalonging. The biggest bop was, of course, reserved for the wondrous Birdhouse in Your Soul (to my shame the only song I really knew). Super crazy cool; man.
Setlist: Walk On Water; Can’t Keep Johnny Down; They Might Be Giants; Music Jail; Why Does the Sun Shine?; Answer; The Statue Got Me High; Meet James Ensor; The Famous Polka; Doctor Worm; Alphabet of Nations; Rhythm Section Want Ad; Your Racist Friend; Bills, Bills, Bills (Destiny’s Child’s cover); Turn Around; I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar (Jonathan Richman cover); Cloisonné; Older; Let Me Tell You About My Operation; Birdhouse in Your Soul; Trouble Awful Devil Evil; Man, It’s So Loud In Here; Fingertips; Memo to Human Resources; Don’t Let’s Start; Damn Good Times
Encores: Particle Man; Robot Parade (Adult Version); James K. Polk; Twisting; Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Posts Tagged ‘new wave’
They Might Be Giants Newcastle Riverside 28 Jan 2016
Maximo Park Newcastle City Hall 19 Nov 2015
This concert was a big deal for Maximo Park. Their Facebook page proudly declared “everyone has played Newcastle City Hall: Bob Dylan, the Beatles; and now we are playing there”. The concert had sold out quickly: a hometown show with the added attraction that the band were showcasing their excellent debut album “A Certain Trigger” in full was bound to be a big draw. Laura was really excited about going but sadly came down with flu on the night of the concert, so along I went to the City Hall on my own.
Maximo Park exploded onto the stage to a big loud and friendly roar from the home crowd. The set was one of two halves, opening with 11 tracks drawing from across their career, starting with “Girls who play guitar”. This was followed by a performance of all 13 tracks from “A Certain Trigger”. Ten years on the songs from the first album sound as fresh and modern as ever. The crowd loved it, and you could see how much the band enjoyed the night, and how keen they had been to grace the City Hall stage. A great performance from a local band who maintain a loyal and strong following.
Setlist: Girls Who Play Guitars; The National Health; A19; The Kids Are Sick Again; This Is What Becomes of the Broken Hearted; Hips and Lips; A Year of Doubt; Midnight on the Hill; Leave This Island; Our Velocity; Books from Boxes; [A Certain Trigger set:]; Signal and Sign; Apply Some Pressure; Graffiti; Postcard of a Painting; Going Missing; I Want You to Stay; Limassol; The Coast Is Always Changing; The Night I Lost My Head; Once, a Glimpse; Now I’m All Over the Shop; Acrobat; Kiss You Better
The Tubes Brudenell Social Club Leeds 11th August 2015
Recently I’ve become very bad at keeping my blog up to date. I lost the momentum that I had when I was writing an entry a day. So apologies for the lateness of this entry.
Norm, Mick and I took a trip to Leeds a couple of weeks ago, our purpose being to reconnect with those crazy Tubes guys. For me, it had been many years since I had sampled the mad delights of our heroes; the last time I saw the Tubes was at Newcastle City Hall in the early 1980s. My two companions went to a Tubes gig 10 or so years ago, when they played Newcastle Academy.
The Tubes are a strange mix of classic rock, great musicianship, punk, vaudeville, shock-rock, camp and musical theatre. Their shows worked best as big productions, and I still have great memories of their first UK tour back in 1977, and their OTT Knebworth appearance a year or so later. The venue for this show was the excellent Brudenell Social Club. I wondered how their show would translate to a smaller stage and an intimate club setting.
We arrived in Brudenell in plenty of time to sample a local hostelry just along the road from the Social Club. As we entered the bar, who should we spot but Tubes drummer Prairie Prince. Norm wandered over for a chat, and Prince kindly signed his ticket from the City Hall 1977 concert. Mick and I joined them. Mick, being a drummer himself, holds Prairie Prince in the highest regard, declaring him his favourite drummer.
Today’s Tubes feature four members from the original band: Prince on drums, our hero and manic front man Fee Waybill on vocals, the excellent Roger Steen on guitar, and Rick Anderson on bass. The Brudenell was packed full of fans from all over the North; Norm ran into some mates from work.
The show started with a short instrumental piece. Soon our hero Fee made his usual dramatic entrance in a big raincoat and hat. I wasn’t sure if he was Frank Sinatra or a Chicago gangster. Actually, no he was Gene Pitney, and soon gave us an excellent rendition of “Town without Pity”. The set was classic Tubes, drawn from throughout their early albums. The show was as theatrical as ever. Of course they didn’t have the stage sets like back in the day, but Fee made up for it in terms of costume changes, facial expression and attitude. He soon became a convict in full striped uniform, and at one point sang through the bars of a small prison cell box which covered his head. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Tubes show without Fee in full outrageous bondage gear for “Mondo Bondage”. Not for the squeamish or the easily shocked. The show came to it’s crazy full-on mad climax with Fay being reborn as Quay Lewd and we all screamed along to “White Punks on Dope”. Classic stuff. We stayed back and got the band’s autographs. Norm took some pics, I will add one later…travelling at the moment. Happy days here again.
Setlist:Getoverture; This Town; Town Without Pity; Power Tools; Rat Race; Crime Medley; Mr. Hate; Amnesia; No Way Out; Life Is Pain; Mondo Bondage; Up From the Deep; What Do You Want From Life; Sushi Girl; Don’t Want to Wait Anymore; Drum Solo (Prairie Prince); Boy Crazy; White Punks On Dope
Encore: She’s A Beauty; I Saw Her Standing There; Talk to Ya Later; Third Stone From The Sun
Patti Smith & Band play Horses Manchester Apollo 8th June 2015
I hate the M62. There are always roadworks, traffic jams or accidents. Well this day was no different. Laura and I left home at 3.30pm; plenty of time (I thought) to drive the 130 miles or so to Manchester to see Patti Smith later that evening. I should have known better. The overhead motorway signs and the radio traffic alerts soon revealed what was in store for us. There had been an accident on the M62; and the westbound carriageway was closed between junctions 24 and 21. I checked, yup, just as I had feared; this would affect us. I started to plan alternative routes; but the traffic alerts warned me that they were all snarled up too. So off down the M62 it was. As we reached junction 24 we joined the queue; which filled every lane. It was around 5.30pm. By 7pm we had reached the junction and we were diverted off the motorway, still nose to tail in a queue of cars which was hardly moving. I decided to leave the queue and try to make my own way to Manchester. We headed into the centre of Huddersfield, then followed signs to Oldham and over Saddleworth moor into Manchester. We arrived in the city around 8pm, just as Patti was due on stage. By 8.10pm we were parked up and in the Apollo. As we took our seats Patti and the band walked onto the stage. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine ….” “G L O R I A” Woh we were off ….In an instant the stress of the journey disappeared. The Patti Smith Group was on stage and rocking. I was transported back to the ’70s; and the days when I first heard “Horses”. “Free Money” and “Gloria” were always my favourites; but last Monday every track sounded classic. Patti was on fire, and had some great cheeky Patti banter with the crowd. She recalled playing Manchester in 1978 (I saw you at Reading and Newcastle City Hall that tour Patti), walking into a guitar shop (“it looked like the one Bob Dylan walked into in Don’t Look Now” said Patti) and buying a Rickenbacker (which she told us she still has).
Patti took a break after “Horses” while the band played a Velvet Underground medley (“the greatest band from New York City”). She returned to sing the end of “White Light, White Heat” and then “Dancing Barefoot”. A guy shouted for “Piss Factory”: “I can’t do that now ….OK I’ll try a little”. The anthemic “Because the Night” had the entire hall singing. “People have the Power” closed the show, as it always seems to now; can’t say that it is my favourite Patti song, but it is growing on me.
For the encore we were back to the ’70s again for a crazy, wailing, totally manic, possessed version of the Who’s “My Generation” which ended with Patti trashing her Fender Strat; breaking each string one by one. As she snapped the last string; which was the thick brass sixth string, she flung the guitar to the floor. Patti and the band left the stage to the sound of the feedback ringing out through the hall. Stunning. Hail the new wave.
Setlist: Gloria; Redondo Beach; Birdland; Free Money; Kimberly; Break It Up; Land (including reprise of Gloria); Elegie; Privilege (Set Me Free); Velvet Underground medley (Rock n Roll – I’m Waiting For The Man – White Light, White Heat); Patti returns towards the end of the medley; Dancing Barefoot; Piss Factory; Because the Night; People Have the Power
Encore: My Generation
Nick Cave Sage Gateshead 29th April 2015
Nick Cave is a dark moody man. His performances are unique experiences in which devotees lose themselves in an intense communion with the man himself. Part preacher, part demon, part artist; part cowboy; part balladeer; the rich diversity of a Cave performance can only be understood by those who have experienced it. Laura is a fan, and I am becoming one. There is so much to take in, so difficult to categorise. The solution is to give up trying to figure out whether the music is rock, country, soul, punk or pop. Does it matter? The influences are many; I can see and hear Elvis, Iggy, Johnny Cash, Screaming Lord Sutch, P J Proby, the Pistols, Tom Waits. He commands the stage, beckoning audience members to come close, touch him. He sings directly to them, so close to some that his face is almost touching theirs. Captivating, spell-binding, crazy, frightening, the guy has no fear, there are few boundaries. Another astounding performance complete with a series of extended encores.
Setlist: Water’s Edge; The Weeping Song; Red Right Hand; Brompton Oratory; Higgs Boson Blues; Mermaids; The Ship Song; Babe, You Turn Me On; From Her to Eternity; I Let Love In; Love Letter; Into My Arms; Up Jumped the Devil; Black Hair; The Mercy Seat; Jubilee Street
Encore 1: We No Who U R; Wide Lovely Eyes; Breathless; God is in the House; And No More Shall We Part; Jack the Ripper; the Lyre of Orpheus
Encore 2: Push the Sky Away.
Morrissey First Direct Arena Leeds 20th March 2015
Support: Buffy Sainte-Marie
Laura is a big Mozza fan so we couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to see him playing “up North”. No Manchester date on this tour; Leeds had the honour of hosting the only northern date. Tickets were a bit pricey with best seats £75 (whats that about Morrissey?) so we plumped for a couple of cheap seats at £45 each. Shortly after buying the tickets Laura realised that she was going away that weekend with a group of friends, but not to worry, after a bit of thought we arranged to meet Dale in Leeds; he bought a ticket outside and drove Laura down to Derbyshire after the show.
Buffy Sainte-Marie was onstage playing “Love takes us up where we belong” as we entered the Arena at 7.30. We saw her play “Universal Soldier” and a couple of more songs; she was finished by 8pm. Morrissey is a fan and had invited her to join him on tour. Good taste and a great choice. Sadly I suspect most of the crowd didn’t know who she was, and that they were witnessing a performance by a legend. There was the usual video sequence during the interval which started with The Ramones and included Jefferson Airplane performing White Rabbit and Penetration playing Don’t Dictate. More good taste and more great choices.
Morrissey took the stage at 8.30 in front of an image of his heroine (not) the Queen; and went straight into “The Queen is Dead”. For this tour he is playing quite a lot of new material with few Smiths tracks so there were a lot of songs that I didn’t know. Having said that I really enjoyed the concert. The sound was loud and crisp; much better than you would normally expect in an arena. And his band were excellent. Morrissey looked quite dapper in a dark shirt with a white V neck and new looking jeans; and he seemed to be a in a good mood. He told us that he had driven through Harrogate on the afternoon and commented on seeing lots of children all dressed the same with fur (from cats he told us, but I really doubt that Morrissey) around their hoods (it was quite an odd comment) and then into “Crashing Bores”; he also had some pretty caustic comments about the coming election and how we couldn’t possible get excited about it (“It’s just Impossible!”). The audience reaction was good, with swaying crushes on the floor, although a little subdued in the seats. There were quite a few empty seats in the upper tier, but the crowd was a respectable size (the arena holds I think 13,500 or so). He finished with Meat is Murder (“Lamb, Spam, Murder”) with the usual shocking video sequence of pigs and cows being slaughtered. “First in the Gang” was the encore. He finished around 10pm. I dashed during the encore to get to the carpark and get out before the queues started (when we drove into the carpark we were told that it can take up to 1.5 hours to get out at the end). Managed to achieve a quick getaway and was back home before midnight.
Setlist: The Queen Is Dead; Suedehead; Staircase At The University; World Peace Is None Of Your Business; Kiss Me A Lot; Istanbul; Neal Cassady Drops Dead; I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris; Irish Blood, English Heart; What She Said; Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before; Scandinavia; The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores; One Of Our Own; Trouble Loves Me; Everyday Is Like Sunday; Kick The Bride Down The Aisle; The Bullfighter Dies; Meat is Murder. Encore: First Of The Gang To Die
Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980
This was the second Futurama festival and it took place at Queens Hall, which was in the centre of Leeds. The Saturday line-up featured U2 (low down on the bill), Echo & The Bunnymen, Soft Cell and Siouxsie & The Banshees (who headlined). I attended the Sunday with my mate Dave and it featured The Psychedelic Furs, Gary Glitter, The Durutti Colum, Classix Nouveaux, Young Marble Giants, Hazel O’Connor, The Soft Boys, Flowers, Naked Lunch, Blurt, Artery, Notsensibles, Vice Versa, Desperate Bicycles, Frantic Elevators, Athletico Spizz 80, Brian Brain, Tribesmen, Boots for Dancing and Household Name. We arrived during the afternoon and missed some of the bands. Queens Hall was a cavernous building, which was originally a tram and bus depot. It was used as a concert venue during the 1980s. It has since been demolished and is now a car park.
When we arrived it looked like a war zone. Punk fans from all over the north, and further afield, had decamped there for the weekend, and had been in the venue all night, sleeping on the floors; there was trash everywhere. We saw faces that we recognised from Middlesbrough Rock Garden, which had closed for the weekend as everyone was going to the festival. We chatted to a few people; everyone was talking about how great Siouxsie (who had headlined the Saturday night) had been. There were stalls around the place and pop-up art performances in dark corners of the hall. I recall one performance which involved a guy having a crap in a bucket; we moved on. The bands were playing on a stage at the end of the massive hall.
This was an opportunity to see bands who went on to stardom: The Frantic Elevators became Simply Red, and Vice Versa became ABC. There was a great mix of bands at the event and the atmosphere was wonderful, really friendly. Although on the surface this festival appeared messy and shambolic, it is actually one of the best I have every attended for the musical range and the feeling in the crowd. Highlights of the day were Hazel O-Connor, who was in the charts with “Eighth Day” and became the robot from “Breaking Glass”, Durutti Column featuring Vini Reilly’s meadering guitar, and the 4″ by 2″s who were a proto-Oi! band featuring Jimmy Lydon (John Lydon’s brother) and also at one point featured Youth of Killing Joke. But the highlight was an incredible performance by Notsensibles, a punk band from Burnley who had some success with their single “I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher”. Their set included a lot of tongue-in-cheek songs, all performed in their strong Northern accent. They’d brought a large contingent of fans, who all sang along with every daft song. Notsensibles motto was “all we want to do is make silly records and play silly gigs”. There is a video on YouTube of them performing “Death To Disco” at the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIGrhea75qU
The festival ran very late into the night (inevitable given the incredible number of bands who were performing) and we left around midnight during Psychedelic Furs set to drive back up North and home, thus missing the headliner who was (also incredibly) the now shamed star Gary Glitter. The Futurama festival had a history of choosing off-the-wall headliners; on another occasion the closing acts was a reformed Bay City Rollers (now that must have been something to experience). A crazy, mad, fun event with some great bands. Happy happy days 🙂