UK (5.7.10 – 5.11.10)

On Friday, I had lunch with Peter and my Granny, and then went to the train station around 2:30 to head back to London, because that night I was going to see GOGOL BORDELLO! Around 6PM, I left for the Hammersmith Apollo, and was delighted when I saw the poster for the show, which said that Matt and Kim were one of the opening acts. When I went in, a screamy band from California was playing; I was under whelmed. They finished and said that Gogol Bordello were up next… so, despite what the flier said, Matt and Kim were not playing that night. I was a bit disappointed because not long after discovering that they would be playing and getting excited to see them, I then discovered that the opposite was true; it was never explained why they weren’t there… it was quite odd. Before long, Gogol Bordello took the stage, and the sexy whirlwind of magnificent stage presence that is Eugene Hutz captivated the audience with his dreamy Ukrainian accent, his guitar, and his moustache. I’ve been to more shows in my life than I can reasonably count, but I can guarantee that it is easily in the hundreds; I estimate that the number lies somewhere in the range of 400-500 concerts. So, believe me when I say it’s a big deal for a show to make the top-ten list. This show instantly was in the top ten shows I’ve ever been to. The whole band was energetic and frantic; they played as if they were possessed. All that is left to say is that I will be sure to never miss a show whenever they come through Arizona. After the show, I went back home and slept well.
On Saturday, I headed to Oxford to see Bad Manners. I had gotten a really good deal on my ticket to Oxford, and when I got to the station, I discovered that I had managed to buy my ticket for the wrong day. I then had to make a choice, did I want to pay the twenty for a new ticket, or just forget it, and thus forfeit the money I had spent on the ticket to Bad Manners and the cost of my hostel for the night. Despite my frustration in having to pay for so much for something I had already paid for, I decided to just go for it. My hostel was close to the station, and very easy to find. I quickly made friends with a kiwi, and hung out with him for a few hours before the show. We called Beer o’ clock at 5PM, and drank accordingly. We went and got kebabs for dinner, and I then had to head out to the show. Doors were at 10PM, which I thought couldn’t be the case, but it certainly was. When I arrived, a band called the Untouchables was playing; they’re a cover band who has been playing for thirty years. They were very good, but I imagine it’s easy to stay together for so long if you only play covers… there aren’t likely to be many fights over creative differences. Next up was a two-tone band called One Stop Experience, who were fronted by a passionate woman vocalist. They were followed by a fairly mediocre third-wave ska band called Smoke Like a Fish. Up next were Bad Manners, and oh gosh, was I excited. Unfortunately, Buster Bloodvessel kept having mic trouble throughout the night, and despite the fact that the sound guy would then check the mic after each song, when he began to sing, the sound would cut out. Their performance was good, but it was obvious that the sound troubles were pissing Buster off, and it was affecting his mood and the overall performance. I have seen Bad Manners once before, back in Arizona… another show that makes the top-ten list. Based on the quality of the performance I had seen the time before, I was convinced that this show would be of the same quality, if not better, than when I had seen them before. Unfortunately, I was a bit let down. On the whole, the night was excellent, and I was definitely glad that I had gone. The show didn’t let out until 2:30AM, so I didn’t get back to the hostel until 3. I stayed up with some of the other hostel guests before calling it a night, because I had an early train to catch the next morning.
On Sunday, I had to get up around 8AM, so that I could eat breakfast, check out, and catch my 9AM train to London. In London, I then had to switch stations so that I could catch another train down to Brighton. I arrived in the early afternoon and had several hours to kill before I could go to my Aunt Rachael’s house, so I decided to find the venue where I would be going that night to see Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds. After finding the venue and picking up my ticket, I wandered the surrounding area, which is referred to as ‘The Lanes’, and is lined with charming independent boutiques and fascinating little shops. There were a few shop windows that I had to tear myself away from for my own good… or is that the good of my wallet? I then spent a few hours in a coffee shop, and actually did a bit of writing, finally! At about 4:30PM, I started walking to my aunt’s house and was greeted by a small cousin opening the door upon my arrival. I spent the next few hours enjoying their company as I hadn’t seen them since November (when I was in Brighton for The Specials concert), and it had been five years before that! After a fantastic dinner, made y my Uncle Tom, I caught the bus into town to go to the show. I was late, so I missed the opening act, but Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds hadn’t yet started, so all was well. I didn’t have to wait long before they began their set, which was superb from start to finish. So, this band is fronted by a man who is well known name in English comedy. His prime was around thirty years ago, when he was in ‘The Young Ones,’ and another series called ‘Bottom.’ He has now started a band, and they play classic punk songs in a folk music style… I’m going to list the whole set list here, because I can.
1. Anarchy in the UK (Sex Pistols)
2. Up Against the Wall (Tom Robinson Band)
3. Teenage Kicks (The Undertones)
4. No More Heroes (The Stranglers)
5. Panic (The Smiths)
6. Whole Wide World (Wreckless Eric)
7. Rise (Public Image Limited)
8. Down in the Tue Station at Midnight (The Jam)
9. Sound of the Suburbs (The Members)
10. Friday Night, Saturday Morning (The Specials)
11. London Calling (The Clash)
12. Once in a Lifetime (The Talking Heads)
13. Ever Fallen in Love with Someone You Shouldn’t Have Fallen in Love with (The Buzzcocks)
14. A Ramones mix that consisted of Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, into Shock Treatment, into Blitzkrieg Bop, back into Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue (The Ramones)
15. God Save the Queen (The Sex Pistols)
ENCORE:
16. Yan Tyan Tethera Methera (Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds)
17. White Riot (The Clash)
18. Hurry up Harry (Sham 69)

The night was excellent, the set list was impeccable, and the show vastly exceeded my expectations. I thought perhaps it would be a bit gimmicky, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that Adrian Edmondson is an excellent musician, a wonderful vocalist, and is accompanied by some truly talented musicians. At the end of the night, the band came out to sign CD’s, and to my delight, I was able to get a picture with Adrian Edmondson. After the show, I got the bus back to my aunt’s house and went to bed.
On Monday morning, I woke up early so that I would get to spend a bit more time with my cousins before we all had to leave. My aunt left for work, taking the kids to school en route, and I left at the same time. I walked into town, and spent the time before my train back to London writing in another coffee shop. Once back in London, I took to packing my bags because I was leaving to go to Ireland for a week the next morning. That night, my aunt and uncle took me out for a belated birthday dinner, because that had been the first night since my birthday when we all had time to go out. It was very kind of them, and we enjoyed a very nice meal.
On Tuesday, I woke early and had to take off a little before 9AM to get to Baker’s Street Station in order to catch my EasyBus bus to the airport. Security was a breeze, and before long I was on a plane headed to Belfast.

Eugene Hutz… be still, my heart!!

I mean, really, can’t we just be married already?

Buster Bloodvessel!

Adrian Edmondson

Adrian again

Adrian Edmondson and Liz Miller!!!

and next… off to Ireland!

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