Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Name Check

Peter has managed to name-check so many artists in the last few weeks that he has shamed me into a post with as many artists as I can muster under one tenuous roof. I salute his endurance for festival going with the kids. If the price of warm beer wasn't enough I'd have to say the complete lack of decent seating now really puts me off. And my God, the price of a ticket. I am the developing world's correspondent for this blog, so the cost of a Leeds festival ticket would keep me in fairly stylish cloth sacking for a whole year. Or possibly a lacoste bag for the Mrs.

Back to that tenuous roof (rather apt given that the ceiling in the second bedroom is being re-plastered today). A Friday night pint with guest poster Tom C (him of the Funky Chicken Rufus Thomas post) had me reminiscing about favourite and formative gigs of the past. A good reminisce is about all I can do on the topic of live music, as my gig-going days are well behind me and highly unlikely to return.

Of a thousand gigs over the years I'm not sure any will ever compete with my youthful exuberance for the early and mid - eighties Spear of Destiny. My mind plays tricks on me as to how many times I saw them live, although it always seemed to be at Hanley Victoria Hall or Nottingham's Rock City. Certain tracks from the 1985 World Service album can still make the hairs on my neck stand up, given the right mixture of beer consumed and heady nostalgia. Oh to be a teenager again and find something that blows your socks off.

It would probably be around the same time, the early 80's, that I saw The Cult, with Ian Astbury as the high priest of acceptable, alternative, lip-licking Indie-dom. It says something for my honest naivety that I found him to be a mesmeric performer live. He lacked Kirk Brandon's epileptic energy, but oozed a certain class in a daft costume. Spiritwalker, indeed.

Two dismal college going years seemed only tolerable because we went to see The Mission almost every weekend, or at least Pop Will Eat Itself (before they became a t-shirt), or The Mighty Lemon Drops. Every gig seemed to have Balaam and the Angel on the line up, or All About Eve. The Pogues also seemed to be almost permanently on tour, as did New Model Army, who also managed to play Telford Ice Rink at what must have been a low point in their career.

Oddities in my gig-going teens include what appeared to me to be an OAP fronted UK Subs, and a very scary evening where I think I may have seen Conflict. Sigue Sigue Sputnik at Birmingham Powerhouse was a great evening, not that I remember any of it, and Mr Lydon's PIL outfit in about '86 were excellent.

'86 saw me at Glastonbury for my one and only visit, where Billy Bragg lived up to all my expectations and played a stormer. The Cure were largely unengaging, although the pissing rain didn't help. Christy Moore was a giant amongst the pygmies of Level 42 and Simply Red on the main stage, although the Housemartins were hilarious.

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