Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Keep on Keeping on!

I went along to see Bobby Gillespie and Co. last night and was once again disenchanted by an apathetic Liverpudllian audience. You will, no doubt, often hear of football season ticket holders bemoan the part time, prawn munching fans infecting the game; who come along and create an atmosphere devoid of any passion or energy. The same has to be said for gigs too, especially bands whom without wishing to belittle them in anyway- as they were bloody good, have been around the block several times and have a few "hits" under their belt. With this in mind I actually felt pretty sorry for the band.

They came on the stage and Bobby G was as cool as fuck as you'd expect him to be; roller-skate skinny, long shaggy haired and reassuringly confident in his dance moves and on stage. Despite my friend's belief that they'd open with tracks from Screamedellica, they burst on to the stage with a barrage of rock n' roll numbers from their current album and previous r' n r incarnations from their lengthy and mostly excellent back catalogue. By song three, the audience was subdued and even the blokes in their mid thirties who were off their tits on a no doubt vile concoctions of ecstasy, Stella and Coke stopped jumping into people as they had done during the reprehensibly crap support act The View (I really can't convey just how much I was disappointed with them and hated this band's performance). By the time they played 'Jail bird' it was only polite applause from the indie prawn munches. Without letting it show too much you could see the band's disappointment, and it was clear to me that Gillespie juggled the set around in order to keep the crowd on his side. Thankfully for me though, regardless of the crowd's reaction, the band were great and I was pleasantly surprised with just how many songs of theirs i knew and loved. Disappointingly, the crowd continued to be crap and the plethora of the student union plastic pint glasses containing liquid (probably just water) continued to rain down on to the stage- much to the band's displeasure. After for what was for me was the set's zenith- a segdway of 'Swastika Eyes', 'Vanishing Point' and other songs from the Kevin Shields era of the band, a full cup was lobbed in Mani's direction splattering onto his hefty and ear punishing loud bass cab. He didn't appear to be too enamored, and both he and the guitarist (the one whom resembled Johnny Marr's son...I assume) gesticulated angrily to those responsible. Crest fallen the band ploughed on into the rocktastic 'Country Girl' followed by a lackluster version of 'Rocks' and predictably the crowd reacted positively to this. The hundreds of mobile phones lofted into air by drunken subscribers to Nuts magazine documented what was a tired finale- no doubt appeasement for the hoards of fans whom forked out £25 to come and see them. Okay- I say 'tired' but as the rest of the set was so good, I can be forgiven for being disappointed by the predictability of it all- and I had seen Primal Scream perform 'Rocks' when they headlined the Reading Festival in 1994 with the late great Joe Strummer joining them on stage- so I'm allowed to be under-whelmed.

After a lengthy break, the band arrived back on stage, only this time with a beefy and thoroughly scary member of their security staff in tow. "C'mon, if anymore pints are thrown on stage we're walking off the stage- we've come here to play rock n' roll not get soaked with beer for fuck's sake- and that won't be fair the rest of the crowd". A heard a few boos from the crowd, and I overheard some meat head behind me say to his female companion "has he never played a gig before?" in a manner that suggested that this sort thing was acceptable. There was little I could do but roll my eyes and try an listen to the band. It wasn't long before I was hit on the back of the head by another pint of water. Ho hum.

The band finally wound down and the vocal sample that signified the start of 'Loaded' finally got the crowd moving. In fact the crowd went nuts- swaying from side to side as the hooky bass line hypnotized one and all. No doubt a large portion of the crowd had only attended in order to see the band perform this monster of a tune and once more hundreds of mobile phones captured the moment. Of course each and every one of these people will be watching their recorded footage back with their friends in their taxi on route home- thoroughly displeased with the resulting indistinguishable noise and imagery their precious phones captured, lamenting the fact they could have enjoyed the performance and remembered it, as opposed to watching the performance through a brightly lit mobile phone screen. Their loss not mine.

After 'Loaded' finally wound down and Mr. Gillespie and co thanked the audience they walked off stage. Suddenly and surprisingly the majority of the crowd left, yet the house lights hadn't come one and the roadies and guitar techs were quickly on stage tuning the instruments. "Great- another encore!" I thunked. But, like a fickle football crowd who leave when their team is 1-0 down with five minutes to play, the hall was 3/4 empty in seconds. Eventually, after 5 minutes of shouts from the hardcore P.S fans the band must have thought "fuck it- why bother?" and why not? No doubt the hoards of folks whom fled the venue had no idea that bands do play further encores, but obviously they were too concerned with tomorrow's work or making sure they got home in time to pay the babysitter or watch the repeat of "I'm a Celebrity…".

Perhaps it's time for the band to fuck these fans off and just play new songs for the sake of their sanity and mine.

Oh aye- RIP Robert Altman. Hopefully the beeb will perhaps re-show some of his films, Short Cuts M.A.S.H, Popeye, The Player and erm… OC and Stigs???

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