29 April 2008
I’ve just realised that almost three months has gone by since my last post. That’s quite simply because I’ve been rather busy and haven’t found the time to write any blog posts... other than the occasional one for Google Blogoscoped, which celebrated five years in the blogosphere yesterday. (Congratulations Philipp!)
One of the many reasons why I’ve been so busy is because I’ve been going to lots of gigs. So here’s a big long post wrapping up all the gigs I’ve been to this month to make up for it.
Scouting For Girls – Tuesday 8th April 2008
I’d seen Scouting For Girls on BBC2’s Something For The Weekend the Sunday before the gig and they seemed like decent lads who were still enjoying their newfound fame, having only been signed for a year or so. Their excitement is quite obvious when they’re performing. In fact, I think the lead singer was more excited to play the Sheffield Octagon gig than usual because they’d had to cancel four gigs the previous week due to him having a sore throat or something. Although still recovering from this, his ability to work the audience – which mainly consisted of teenage girls, some of which were even holding banners they’d presumably made at school by sticking a few A4 pieces of coloured paper together – didn’t suffer one bit.
Their young fan-base aside, my main grumble would be that they seem to be one of these bands that likes to play a song, get half way through, stop playing, chat with the audience for a while, and then end the song with a ‘big finish’ a couple of minutes later. This would be fine for one song, and maybe two maximum, but it gets a bit tiresome when it feels like it’s almost every song, probably emphasised by the fact that some of the songs do sound quite similar. Other than that, it was a pretty good gig.
Reverend and The Makers – Friday 11th April 2008
To be honest, the main reason for going to this gig was to be there for the opening night of the venue. Around 10 years ago, everyone at university used to go to The Roxy every Wednesday night. The promise of free entry and free beer before 11pm got the crowds of poor students through its doors without fail. But with deals like those, it wasn’t going to stay open for much longer. Apart from a crazy spell where it was home to St Thomas’s Church for a while, it’s been empty pretty much since then until the Academy Music Group took over in November last year and turned it into the Carling Academy Sheffield. Having watched the outside of the venue being slowly transformed from The Roxy Disco into Carling Academy Sheffield, I was intrigued to see what they’d done with the place.
As it turns out, they’d done a pretty good job on the inside of the venue. From my hazy memories of the place, I think they’ve moved a couple of bars, refitted the balcony and generally given it a lick of paint and freshened up everywhere a bit. I was particularly pleased to see they’ve got a red neon ROXY sign upstairs as a tribute to the venue’s historical signs on each side of the building which were removed as part of the refurbishment.
It’s a shame they’d not given as much attention to the support acts they’d booked for the opening night. The first band didn’t sound too bad when we walked through the doors, but then their Kelly-Osbourne-esque singer started to literally murder the rest of their set with her noise. And the next act was even worse. Consisting of what appeared to be two bouncers, two chav girls drinking alcopops and some guy on the decks, the best thing about their act was their “Radio Head” mascot who had a boom box for a head and did poor robotic-style dancing for some of the songs. I can only imagine that they chose these two terrible acts to make The Reverend seem better by comparison.
Despite what Chris Hill has to say about them, I quite like Reverend and The Makers. They should really be called The Makers and Reverend though because it’s The Makers who provide pretty much all of the talent, playing real instruments and belting out some tight tunes. What helped to keep me amused was the fact that The Reverend looked like my mate Gav who was the bass player in a band I was in years ago. Still, they played all the best tunes from the album and they sounded pretty similar actually – and much better than their live performances I’ve caught on TV – so I wasn’t disappointed.
Towards the end of the gig, I went to get my coat and wait for Suzy and Chris near the doors, only to see the entire audience running towards me. I found out afterwards that The Reverend had grabbed his acoustic guitar and told everyone to follow him through the front doors of the venue, where he was making his way to the fictional Penelope’s venue (which turned out to be outside The Crucible) where he was doing a post-gig acoustic set as advertised on some flyers which were being given out before the gig. I soon gathered what was going on when security were trying to make way for him to get out. Since I was stood in the middle of the door way, I stepped to one side and gave him a pat on the back, telling him he’d played a good gig.
The Fratellis – Sunday 13th April 2008
I was really surprised a few weeks ago to hear that The Fratellis were playing a small venue like The Leadmill and jumped at the chance to get tickets. They could have easily have filled a much bigger venue and on the night The Leadmill was absolutely packed, more than I’d even seen it before.
Bar service is usually pretty slow anyway on gig nights, but given that for this gig they were decanting every single bottle at the bottle bar into plastic glasses, it took us 40 minutes to get a drink, made worse by the fact some idiot staff member had seemingly ordered only half pint (284ml) plastic glasses which the bar staff were then using for 330ml bottles of beer and just throwing the rest of the beer away until some guy pointed out they were ripping everyone off!
Bar problems aside, the gig was fantastic. I’ve heard some of The Fratellis’ live stuff before and was expecting it to sound a bit raw, so I was pleasantly surprised when their sound was really polished. Embarrassingly, it took Suzy and I about half a song to realise it was actually them who’d taken to the stage because the lead singer had wet his hair, instead of having the big curly mop he usually has, and they opened with a new song we’d not heard before. It’s a shame they hadn’t released their new album before the gig (it’s out in June) but if the new tracks they played are anything to go by, it’s going to be a good ’un...
Anyway, check out what you missed and watch the video above or view the rest of the photos and videos on Flickr.
We Are Scientists – Thursday 17th April 2008
I first saw We Are Scientists when they supported Kaiser Chiefs at Sheffield Arena last December. Having bought their album after that gig, it seems I first heard them when I played Burnout on my Xbox, which features one of their track. They’re a really good live band who really try and interact with the audience. This didn’t work too well when they were in Sheffield Arena in front of an audience waiting to see Kaiser Chiefs but worked really well at Sheffield Octagon.
I seem to remember there being some discussion about Yorkshire puddings but I can’t remember much about it as I’d drunk more than I should have done really. But from what I remember about the gig, it was good.
The Kooks – Monday 28th April 2008
For the final gig of the month, we went to see The Kooks again, having really enjoyed seeing them play their V Festival warm-up gig at Doncaster Dome last year. Another gig at The Roxy, but the support act was much better than the last time we were there. Palladium kind of looked and sounded like they’d stepped into 2008 straight from the 1980s, but in a good way; you just don’t hear enough guitar licks and synth sounds like those anymore!
Before going to the gig, I’d been listening to The Kooks’ new album. There are some mixed reviews knocking around but I think it’s pretty good. I reckon it’s quite similar to the first album. There’s a good mix of catchy tunes on there. In keeping with the neon KONK sign on the new album cover, when the curtain dropped there was a massive flashing, buzzing, blue neon KOOKS sign above the stage. Much to my amusement, due to the dodgy neon font they’d used, the sign looked more like it said BOOBS rather than KOOKS though.
Once again, we spotted some banners saying things like “LUKE IS A SEX GOD” and “I ♥ THE KOOKS” and a cleverly timed banner just saying “YES” in response to the lyric, “Do you wanna make love to me?” The audience did’t seem that young at this gig though, so perhaps this is just the latest thing. Maybe I’ll make some for when we go to see some more bands next month...
Anyway, despite the banners that made us feel like we were at a Take That concert, this was an excellent gig. They played all the best songs from both albums and I had a right good sing-a-long!
Again, you can watch the video above or view the rest of the photos and videos on Flickr.