Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Memories of a thousand* gigs #21, #22 & #23

(* probably not actually that many, but who’s counting?)

#21: The Mission
Bristol Hippodrome - 21st March 1990
Also in attendance: TheBruvster, Gary & Julie

Notable for being the only (music) gig my brother has ever been to! I’m not sure how or why he got into the Mission, even if only for a short period, but it made a pleasant, if surprising, change from the terrible, awful commercial dance nonsense he usually insisted on playing. We went with his best mate Gary and Julie, a girl they worked with and who I had gone to school with. Julie had recently passed her driving test and had a new car. Whilst looking for the venue, someone rear-ended us. Not hard, fortunately, but enough to make a bit of a dent and no doubt ruin Julie’s night, even though she was the kind of girl to take it on the chin. The Mission, by the way, were actually very good, and played an encore as their glam rock cover band alter egos The Metal Gurus.

Beyond The Pale – The Mission (from ‘Children’)

#22: Longpigs & Northern Uproar
Sherry’s, Barnstaple - 18th August 1995
Also in attendance: Steve B

A co-headlining tour organised by a Cornish promoter who was in the habit of seizing on bands just before they broke big and getting them a clutch of shows across the west country. Northern Uproar were fast becoming media darlings, a new Oasis or something. I actually don’t remember a lot about them. Longpigs, however, were phenomenal. They’d only released two or three singles by that point and blew me away. They were loud, energetic and musically as tight as you can get. At the end of the show, a rather nice young punk girl asked if she could have the Tank Girl t-shirt I was wearing. As tempted as I was to hand it over, I politely declined as I hadn't another top to wear, and it was rather sweaty... Despite the hype, Northern Uproar amounted to not very much in the end, though they are back together, and released their fourth album last year. Longpigs had a few hits and released a couple of albums before splitting. Guitarist Richard Hawley has since become a highly revered singer/songwriter who also frequently pops up on other people’s records (Elbow, Manics, Arctic Monkeys, etc).

Jesus Christ – Longpigs (from ‘The Sun Is Often Out’)

From A Window – Northern Uproar (from ‘Northern Uproar’)

#23: Kristin Hersh
The Thekla, Bristol - 1st March 2007
Also in attendance: Mrs Robster

The Thekla is a boat formerly owned by legendary maverick Vivian Stanshall, ex-frontman of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. These days it’s docked in Bristol and doubles as a nightclub and gig venue. This was the first time I’d seen Kristin Hersh since that R.E.M. support slot 18 years earlier and was very different show, but no less entertaining. The sound was terrible for the first few songs, but once that was sorted, Kristin treated us to a wonderful set of songs and stories along with some trademark self-deprecation. Even Mrs Robster, never a big Kristin Hersh fan, went home impressed, touched by the warmth and intimacy of the evening.

Winter – Kristin Hersh (from ‘Learn To Sing Like A Star’)

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