So I haven’t really done a proper written update in ages. I tend to just do brief, usually badly written rambles off my phone but I’ve had a chance now to sit down on a computer for the first time in a while and I figure now is a good chance to log down what I’ve been up to and how wonderful everything is going right now in my life. If only so I can look back a few years from now and laugh at how sad I was back then.
June thus far has been a really quite exciting month for me. It all started off on Jubilee weekend when i was working at Field Day in Victoria Park. It was my first time working for a new temp company that specialise in Bar work really. I’ve done a lot of this for other companies and it’s not anything glamorous or overly exciting in the slightest, but it’s easy money at a Festival where I can listen to good music and chat to similar people. And so it’s an offer I’m happy to take up. I got an e-mail from Citrus (the company I was working for) saying I had to arrive before 9am to check in and so I left at around 7 in the morning to make sure I arrived before 8:30 just to be safe. It turned out that my shift didn’t start until 10:30am and so I was left sitting around for a good two hours on my lonesome in a cold, wet British weather feeling very tired and glum. Eventually I got talking to a group of people in a similar situation who were also working for Citrus for the first time. The three of them all seemed really friendly and cool and it was a pity that I found out they weren’t working in the same section as I was.
I got allocated to work in a Red Bull tent with 5 others and it was pretty damn boring until about 2pm as we didn’t sell a single drink until that moment. The stall was really badly set up with no advertising or price lists whatsoever and so anyone who did make their way to come talk to us expected free Red Bull and were extremely reluctant to pay when they found out we couldn’t offer them that. As the day wore on we started to get some customers mainly for the Vodka that was on offer too. £7.10 for a double Vodka Red Bull isn’t the most attractive price sure, but you’re at a Festival so I guess you expect these things.
It was a strange day in that for some reason I seemed to be very popular amongst the Festival goers. Guys wanted to shake my hands, random girls were complimenting me, and some people were even giving me tips just for the sheer fact that I went to Coachella! I must have got about 40 pound in tips just on my own which was a lot more than anyone else on our stall. Sadly we had to share the tips and so I didn’t quite get that much but we also got a 40 pound tip as a collective from a group of older men who seemed to be really enjoying splashing the cash.On numerous occasions throughout the day they would come and buy 16 double Vodka Red Bulls pricing in at around £115 pound or so. Madness. It’s nice to see someone enjoying themselves and you can’t complain when you’re receiving tips like that for doing nothing of that much value really at all.
It was a pretty long day, being a 13 hour shift with only a 30 minute break but despite that I enjoyed it greatly and was my best Festival experience working somewhere. I ended up getting into conversations with quite a few people and lots of punters would come back and find me especially when buying more drinks later on to catch up and chat and so on. And possibly because I was relatively generous with my Vodka servings!
The way home wasn’t quite so wonderful. I sadly missed the last train home by all of 10 seconds and it proved to be really awkward getting back. I had to get a train, then a bus and then a cab from Edmonton and didn’t make it home till around 3am.
I didn’t get to see many bands throughout the day but there was a stage called the Red Bull tent that was right next to our stall so we got to see all of the action on that stage. Chairlift were really good headliners on that stage and Jessie Ware pulled a huge crowd earlier in the day. Is got to catch a bit of Pond and Friends and also got to listen to all of Beirut and Franz Ferdinand closing out the main stage. Beirut sounded brilliant and really brightened up my evening somewhat. Would really like to go see them live again if I get the chance as I didn’t feel like I really appreciated them when I saw them at Hyde Park last year.
In the week after Field Day I found myself going to two gigs. I saw 2:54 at Scala and then Blink 182 at the O2 Arena. I really like Scala as a venue and Stevie and I found a really good spot on top of a speaker with which to sit and enjoy 2:54’s set. I would definitely recommend seeing them or picking up their album if you get a chance. Blink 182 didn’t disappoint though I must admit my expectations weren’t exactly sky high. It’s amazing to think of how many hit records they have and the crowd seemed to be having a ball. We were in pretty much the highest point possible at the O2, which when you first sit down in is slightly intimidating. The place is so damn steep after all! Though after you’ve been up there a while it’s not too bad and the view, despite being far away is actually pretty awesome. It was a much better spot than the last time I saw Kings of Leon there a few years ago and made me think being seated at The O2 isn’t quite as bad as my inital thoughts had been.
On the 11th of June was an evening I had been awaiting for so damn long. The Gaslight Anthem’s return to live shows in London. I hadn’t seen them live since Reading 2010 and being my favourite band and I expected and hoped for something special. Looking back, this may well have been the best gig I’ve ever been to. Genuinely. When I look back at my favourite gigs I think of a few:
- Bon Iver at Hammersmith for the pure emotion I went through.
- Arcade Fire at Hyde Park/Reading 2010 for the awe of how great a live band possibly be.
- Florence at Hammersmith/Coachella for her stage presence and having the most jawdropping live voice around.
- The xx for their chemistry they have on stage though this would be just behind for the fact that being a headline set it was too short.
- Mumford at Reading 2010 for just how much fun I had during that set after the inital struggle of being horrible squashed. And at Hyde Park too they were great.
All of these and most probably a few others that I can’t think of would make my current top 10’s of live performances but this night, The Gaslight Anthem at Koko on the 11th June 2012 will be one that will I’m sure forever be a top 5 gig, whatever and whomever I see from now on in. It was just perfect in so many ways:
- Brian was flawless vocally. I mean I love Brian Fallon’s voice and when it sounds great, it sounds fucking great but he does have the odd shaky/iffy moment and thankfully there was none of that going on.
- The setlist. 25+ songs mean you know you’re getting value for money. They covered a bit of Brand New’s Jesus Christ (one of my favourite all time songs!). They covered House of the Rising Sun for the first time which is my favourite Gaslight cover! There was old and new, and it flowed seamlessly. There wasn’t a single lull whatsoever during that show. The “new” songs (45 & Biloxi Parish) went down an absolute treat, everyone went mad for the classics (Angry Johnny, 59 Sound, Drive, Great Expectations etc…) and we all sung out hearts out during the slow ones (Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts, Here’s Looking At You, Kid)
- The crowd. Everyone was so happy to be there. One of the things both myself and other people I know have really noticed about Gaslight fans is they really do truly love their band and seem to be pretty happy about it. We all want them to get big and change the world and everyone else to love them. Sometimes fans want bands to be just for themselves, but with Gaslight it just seems like everyone just wants them to get the praise they deserve and warrant. Everyone was really respectful and polite there and just wanted to have a great time. And when I think about some of the other gigs I’ve been to lately and the people I’ve seen, it was just a pleasure to be around people like that.
- The moment. I feel as though this is a time I’ll always look back on so fondly. For personal reasons, I was at the gig with a girl I love in a really exciting point of my life with a great summer ahead. We were both enjoying it so much and were really pretty drunk too! In terms of the band, this may be the last chance I get to see Gaslight play in front of a crowd that small. Yeah I mean it was still a biggish crowd, but considering they are set to be playing a few nights at Brixton following by a possible future Arena tour, Koko felt pretty intimate a venue for a band this big.
- Anything else? Well Brian’s modesty and sheer rambles always make me happy. You just can’t hate that guy. As much as he can talk a load of shit half the time, he always means well, he writes the most beautiful lyrics and he really does play for the fans.
So yeah, that gig, has shot to number 1 and it will most likely remain there for some time. I’m so excited to see them again at Reading and then when they tour later in the year. I want to get as many people as I can to go to one of the Brixton dates. I’ll have to try drag Emily, Chris and a few others along I think!
After Gaslight the next real port of call was our trip to Glasgow to see some friends up there and Bloc Party’s first show for around 3 years! We flew up there on Monday and after getting a great TGI Fridays, drinking some cocktails and meeting Emily we were greatly welcomed by Chris and his girlfriend Lynn at her house. They all sorted us out with rooms to stay and gave us Strongbow and Sourz to drink. We all just chilled in the evening chatting about music, catching up and taking it in turns to pick a song to add to the queue on Spotify. As always I started with Gaslight and made my way from there onto some other current favourites. It was nice to hear other people’s choices and good to sit down and talk with Chris and Emily about music. They both know so much about music and have been to so many live shows it’s always nice and interesting to talk about bands we all love or want each other to love!
On Tuesday Stevie and I went back into Central Glasgow to get another TGI Fridays after a great experience there the night before. I had only ever been there once before when I was around 15 and wasn’t too keen but now I’m a firm fan of their food and cocktails! In the evening, we set off to go see Bloc Party and then planned to go out to a club later that Chris had sorted out for us. The gig itself was really good. The things I noticed most was how amazing Bloc Party sound like from an instrumental point of view. The lighting there was spectacular as well which really added to it and you got a real sense that you were seeing something special. The new songs all sounded really promising though my main gripe was the fact that they played a lot of them at the start and it took me a little while to really get into the gig. They didn’t play a few of my favourites though Like Eating Glass and This Modern Love were brilliant live and personal favourites from the night I think.
We bought drinks in the venue and we had an amusing moment where Stevie, Emily and I were commenting at how cheap they were and Chris and Lynn were moaning that it was horrendously expensive in there. I guess that’s what London prices do to you! £4 for a double seems pretty damn reasonable at a gig to me. I think had I of not seen Gaslight and the most perfect gig the week before this would have been right up there in the gig of the year stakes but as it is, it may just slot down a little lower than that but I enjoyed it immensely and it was great to see Bloc Party back.
After the gig we went off to a local Wetherspoons and met a load of Emily, Chris and Lynn’s friends. We spent about 2 hours there before heading off to the club. When we got in I had my doubts about whether the night was about to be ruined by the lack of any atmosphere in the place though that was quickly rectified once I saw the price of the drinks. £1 for a single and £2 for a double. We were all in drunken dreamland. I must have bought at least 10 double Vodka Red Bulls in there and I certainly felt the full affects of it when I got home later. Especially considering I had already been drinking since 6pm having Jagerbombs, random cocktails, a few Ciders and Sourz shots. It takes me a fair amount to get drunk and a vast amount was consumed. I was absolutely smashed and ended up having a really good night at this club that was playing mostly house/dance music which isn’t normally my thing though I do enjoy it sometimes.
We flew back on the Wednesday (yesterday) and felt very downbeat about it. Emily was staying on for another night and Stevie & I were incredibly jealous of that. We now both want to move to Glasgow, such was the impression it had on us in those few nights.
I’m not sure what else to add really. Being back home sucks and I don’t think I really did it justice in that post above but I’m pretty bored of typing now. This is one hell of a mega post and I highly doubt anyone will bother reading it though it will make good material for me a few months from now when I’m re-living this wonderful summer through my Tumblr posts.
This weekend I’m off to Hackney Weekend on the Sunday and I’m looking forward to seeing Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard & Florence the most. Also hoping to catch Lana Del Rey and a few others. It’s a pretty amazing event in terms of mainstream music though it would be nice if there were a few more decent rock/indie acts on offer. I suppose with the state of the charts right now it’s no surprise really.