Tag Archives: concert

New Order @ Brixton : May 2, 2012

Sometimes when I go to see a band that has been together for ages it can be a great event. The memories of gigs and songs from long ago come back and you end up reliving that time just for a couple of hours.

When I saw The Damned a couple of weeks ago it was a bit like that. These guys started out in 1976 and even after 35 years they bounced all over the stage and put on a real sing-a-long show full of their classics.

With New Order at the Brixton Academy last night it was a different story.

I really like New Order, they are an institution and legends of the Factory label in Manchester – in fact they bankrolled Factory and allowed many other bands from the area to get a start in life. They also avoided the heritage circuit – not that there is anything wrong in performing all your old songs for the fans, but there is a finality to that – acknowledging that your best days are in the past.

At the gig last night they felt old and tired. Gillian and Bernard have never really been all that animated, but it didn’t look like they were having fun. I think they really needed Hooky there to interact with the audience – the live experience is about more than just churning out the songs, a band needs to interact with the crowd for the concert to become a real experience.

They took ages to get going. ‘Regret’ was an early crowd-pleaser, but that was it. Their choice of songs didn’t seem to encourage the crowd to start enjoying the gig early on. By the time it got better we were one or two songs from the encore. And the encore was ‘Transmission’ and ‘Love will tear us apart’ by Joy Division. Great stuff, but why not include a New Order classic there too?

The sound was also pretty bad – mixed poorly so the vocals were hardly audible – singing and speaking. When Bernard did say something it was just a mumbled noise and when he was singing the guitars drowned him out completely, until the keyboards were used and then they drowned everything out.

So I left a bit disappointed. It was one of those shows where you expect a legendary band to behave like legends, but they just do a pretty average pub rock gig in a large venue. A shame really.

Brixton Academy

If you’re in London tonight…

If you are in London tonight and you want to see a great gig then you could do far worse than going to see some mates of mine play at a great venue – the Camden Roundhouse.

This historic venue used to be an old railway shed with a turntable where they could turn engines around. It was also the only British venue that The Doors ever played in – though I never really rated the ‘poetry’ of Jim Morrison myself.

The BibleCode Sundays are supporting the Dropkick Murphys tonight, so at one gig you get to see the best British and American flavours of Irish folk/rock/punk… all in one night. I hope Diageo have supplied extra Guinness to the pubs of Camden for the flood of London Irish that will be on the streets later.

I was supposed to be flying from Brazil to India for a conference next week and I was going to stop in the UK to see this gig, but my travel plans were changed so I’m still at home. It’s a real shame, but I’m working hard to ensure that the BibleCodes get down to Brazil this year – once the London Olympics are over…

Buy tickets for the show here

Music – time to start thinking again

I saw a gorgeous concert on Friday night at the Teatro Municipal theatre in São Paulo. The theatre itself was something quite special and has been closed for years for renovation – only to open again about a month ago.
Teatro Municipal

As you can see from the location of my foot, we had front row seats and the orchestra was located immediately on stage with no pit or other barrier – the violins were right in front of my seat.Front row at the theatre

The music was great, a mixture of Tchaikovsky (No. 1 piano concerto) and a couple of Dvorak pieces, including his 8th symphony. It’s nice to hear music that I do regularly play on my iPod, but the difference with a large orchestra compared to a stereo recording is the call-response nature of the orchestra sections. When you are sitting there in person, it’s just nice to hear the strings play a phrase, to be echoed through various parts of the orchestra.

As I was sitting there listening to the music though, it did start me thinking about how hard it is to just switch off and listen to music these days. When I was a kid I would lie on the floor, or in bed, listening to every note of an album. Now music tends to be something consumed while running, or working… just in the background and not worthy of switching off the phone or Internet.

Have we all lost our attention span to the extent that stopping to focus on something for over one hour feels unusual? Dvorak's 8th

Farewell Ealing Tweetup…

I wrote on my Computer Weekly blog here about the handover of the Ealing Tweetup to Hayden and all the other regulars at the event. It’s been a lot of fun putting these events together and seeing how the event has grown over time – it’s a shame to say goodbye, but I’m sure it’s going to continue growing because the event has a great amount of momentum behind it now.

When I could see the event getting bigger I thought about how it could easily be sponsored. Getting some free food and drinks would make it more attractive to the regulars and would help to start bringing in a bigger audience.

Of course, getting corporate sponsorship is a double-edged sword. It’s great to get free drinks, but it can be hard to keep something like a Tweetup as an informal gathering once companies start pumping money into the event. They want to know who is attending, what company attendees are from, what position they hold, and especially whether there are any people from the media in attendance – being close to the BBC and Sky in west London that’s been quite a common occurrence anyway.

But I don’t think we ever let the sponsorship take over the tweetup. People have been directed together, go and have a chat to so-and-so, but there has never been a formal name-list, name badges, list of attendees. It’s never been that kind of event and I hope it stays that way, even if it means buying a pint in future.

I’m really grateful to the companies that have sponsored the Tweetup – namely 1e and Xerox. They have all realised that to go ‘too corporate’ would ruin their involvement in the event and instead of people feeling genuine gratitude at their help in pulling together something interesting, there would have been a negative reaction at any over-controlling nature.

I hope future sponsors of this, and similar events, can also see the value in getting positive mentions online and building relationships with the blogging community. Good luck for the future tweetups in Ealing!

Introducing the Ealing Tweetup

Ealing Tweetup has a supporter!

The green power management people with an office in Ealing, 1e, have agreed to support the next Ealing Tweetup on February 15th…!

Ealing Tweetup

1e supported the recent launch of Angelica Mari’s new book in London. Just take a look at the images here to see how much fun that party was – and the great thing is that the same band who played at the book launch will be at the next Tweetup.
Reboot book launch @ Waxy's on Dec 2 2010

Yes, it’s the Biblecode Sundays playing live in Ealing on February 15th… check out this link for more information and to sign up for your place…!

Smiths Indeed

I spent much of the 1980s listening to The Smiths. Today they are eulogised as one of the seminal English bands, the Beatles of the 1980s, the only band of the era that managed to combine incredibly poetic lyrics with a bright sound that was at odds with the pop music of the time.

But I have vivid memories of the Smiths, buying ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ on vinyl the moment it arrived at Our Price records, taking a bus to London to buy ‘Strangeways…’ because it would be quicker to go to London, rather than waiting for the album to get to stores in Surrey and Hampshire, spending an entire holiday in France listening to the first album, especially ‘Suffer little children’… I just regret never seeing them live. I probably could have managed it, but I was only 17 when they split – maybe if I lived in London I might have seen them on the final tour, but it was never to be.

So, it’s always fun to see a Smiths tribute band. I’ve seen the Smyths several times now and they are very good – also doing a lot of Morrissey solo material as well as Smiths – but last night I went to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire to see ‘Smiths Indeed’. I had never seen them before this gig, but if they had the guts to book a 2,000-capacity venue as a tribute act then they had to be worth seeing.

They didn’t fill the venue. When I arrived it was still quite empty, maybe 100 people were in there and I was worried it might be a disaster. The crowd filled out eventually to something like 500-600 (my guess), which was good enough to fill out the standing area in front of the stage. By the end of the evening, the crowd were having so much fun, it felt as though the venue was packed to capacity. In a pub that kind of crowd would have been huge, a packed pub heaving to the rafters, but in this venue it felt a bit empty until the crowd really got into the gig.

The smaller crowd meant they cut back a bit on security – there were several stage invasions, which isn’t really much fun for the band or the fans who want to hear the band as some loon runs around the stage trying to grab the mic.

They were really good though. They should have sold out the venue and I’m not sure why it didn’t happen. Maybe it’s too close to Christmas. Maybe it’s because The Smyths had just played in London at the weekend, so old Smiths fans chose that gig instead because it was on a Saturday night. Maybe they just did not do enough promotion – it’s always tough to promote gigs and when the venue is much larger than normal that just makes it even harder.

BUT, forget my moaning about the venue size…

If you closed your eyes, it could have been Morrissey and Marr up there. All four of the guys were very good, but particularly the ‘Marr’ who did a great copy of Marr’s style, and ‘Morrissey’ who really captured the voice and affectations, even if he only bore a passing resemblance to Mozza. They produced a really nice rich sound that was well mixed and sounded a lot better than many bigger gigs I have been to recently.

I’d definitely go to see them again, it was a really great night out!

Smiths Indeed @ Shepherd's Bush

Reboot: The Book Launch on Dec 2nd @ Waxy’s

There is a great blog post here by Rod Trent of 1e that outlines the book launch planned for Angelica’s book on December 2nd in London. It’s going to be a great party and a great way to launch the new book. You can see Angelica’s video invitation here. If you are still not sure about coming then think about this:

  • The first 50 people to arrive get a free copy of the book
  • Everyone gets a free EP of music from the BibleCode Sundays
  • The BibleCode Sundays are playing live
  • We are taking over the Church bar in Waxy O’Connor’s right in the middle in London -and the bar is free thanks to 1e.
  • The food is also free thanks to JD Marketing (they do the marketing for Betfair, who feature in the book).
  • There is a £100 Amazon voucher for whoever uploads the best social content from the evening, tweet, photo, video, blog…
  • 1e are giving away goodie bags full of pens, squeezy polar bears, mints, and various other things, though the bag itself might be the most useful item to carry all the other freebies!

As if you needed any more reasons to party, me and Angelica are getting married the next morning. Yes, launching a book on Thursday and getting married on Friday… and Angelica leaves the country to move to Brazil on Sunday, so this might be your last chance to say goodbye. She will remain as an associate editor of Computer Weekly, but she is entering the realms of virtual working. So you won’t see her often back in London – or me for that matter!

Click here to go and register for the event on LinkedIn…

James Gardner, CTO of the DWP with Reboot