Sunday, October 11, 2009
Where Is My Mind?
What a few weeks. Weddings in Winchester, Weston-Super-Mare and Teeside, and meeting a wonderful brand new person in Cambridge. All terribly grown up, but very much counterbalanced by my single, media life back in London. In fact, life in London is a different kind of reality. The rest of the country seems somehow completely disconnected from the world that I am used to, and therefore feels a little unreal. Although the obvious fact is that it is London life that is unreal. I'm just tuned in to it.
But there has been fun in London's strange parallel universe too. A trip to Wembley Stadium to see Coldplay and very special guests was a treat. I won't bother to try and convert unbelievers, but they're probably the only act I would pay to see in such a huge venue. White Lies, Girls Aloud and Jay-Z all play their respective cameos perfectly, but the space only truly works for Coldplay. It is uncomplicated, uncluttered communal euphoria. We all know it's terminally uncool, clunky and almost embarrassingly earnest, but fuck it, I love it.
And in a very different space, I see Charlotte Hatherley (who, on Ash's 2004 cover of the Buzzcock's 'Everybody's Happy Nowadays', played alongside Chris Martin). I catch her at London's Borderline; a frustratingly small venue for her, frankly. She has some great songs, but in the preceding week I speak to no less than three girls who all seem to hold a grudge against her for having the audacity to join (and significantly improve) Ash's fledgling line up all those years ago. Let it go, girls. I personally can't wait for the new album.
Then there was Florence + The Machine at Shepherd's Bush Empire. Now, the Flo backlash already appears to be gathering momentum post-Mercurys, so I won't add to it. Being that this is the fifth time I've seen her in just over a year (supporting MGMT, on the NME Tour, at Radio 1's Big Weekend and supporting Blur), the set is now perhaps a little over familiar. And as impressive as her voice is, over a full headline set it does get a little... wearing. But hey. A more enlightening discovery is the xx in support, who are almost drowned out by the disinterested Florence fans. They're superb. Sparse, dark, minimalist, gloomy, and absolutely perfect. Their cover of Womack and Womack (and Lovestation's) 'Teardrops' is exquisite. The album is ace, too.
Then finally, finally, finally... Pixies at Brixton Academy. A band that I, like a vast number of the fans attending, got into late. I make no apologies for that, being that they released their masterpiece Doolittle, played tonight in it's entirety, when I was nine. Their legend stands tall in alternative music, and tonight I really see why. The records speak for themselves, but live they are taught, uncompromising, ferocious and quite simply fucking brilliant. Despite their combined physical age of 183, there is not an inch of flab in their performance. It is relentless and dreamlike. I jump around like a lunatic for the majority of the set. Not for a moment does it seem like some nostalgia trip. It feels utterly in the now, perhaps because they were never huge initially, they've never become stale or anachronistic. It's a masterclass in rock. No frills, just extraordinary songs. Ok I'll stop gushing now...
1. Pixies - Doolittle LP.
2. Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man
3. Martha & The Muffins - Echo Beach
4. The Horrors - Who Can Say
5. Charlotte Hatherley - Grey Will Fade
6. James - Laid
7. Biffy Clyro - The Captain
8. Boards Of Canada - 1969
9. Sleeper - Inbetweener
10. Guns n' Roses - November Rain
Greatest wedding themed video ever. Best cake jumping trousers on...
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