Monday, 24 November 2014

Memories of a thousand* gigs #34, #35 & #36

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

Three shows from back in the day that, for different reasons, drew derision from me, not always fairly…

#34: EMF
Great Hall, Exeter Unversity - 7 May 1991
Also in attendance: Wayne

Wayne and I scornfully observed the place, realising we were older than half the audience (and we were still just 19!). We scoffed at the mums and dads waiting outside to pick their little cherubs up after the show. We dismissed EMF as “crap” and tried to forget we ever went.

The truth is that having just had one of the biggest pop hits of the past 12 months, EMF were always going to draw a young crowd; they probably weren’t as bad as we made them out to be; and we had conveniently forgotten that just three years earlier, our mums had been outside the same venue waiting for us to emerge from seeing the Wedding Present. Ha, music snobbery, eh? What a couple of hipsters…

#35: Manic Street Preachers
Riviera Centre, Torquay - summer 1993
Support: Blaggers I.T.A. / Credit To The Nation
Also in attendance: Higgz

Higgz and I had travelled to Torquay to interview Blaggers I.T.A. for our fanzine-that-never-was. I remember Higgz being concerned that Blaggers were “hard as fucking nails” and that we didn’t say anything to upset them - it was during this tour that Matty Blag assaulted a Melody Maker hack. As it turned out, Blaggers were very accommodating, even though you could feel a crackle of tension amongst them and us. This may have been the first time I saw Credit To The Nation, the very right-on, left-wing rap outfit who I saw a few more times supporting the likes of Chumbawamba and Back to the Planet. Blaggers I.T.A. blew the roof off the place, by far the best act of the night.

As for the Manics? They were touring on ‘Gold Against The Soul’, their second album, and I think I’d already made up my mind that I hated them before they even played a note. I love them now, of course, but at this show I couldn’t see beyond the make-up, the silly rock posturing and the controversy-courting quotes in the press. They came across as a bad Guns ‘n’ Roses tribute band and I sneered contemptuously throughout. The truth is, I probably just didn’t get it. Whatever, my overriding memory of this show is that the Manics were terrible and it would take a while before they would eventually win me over.


#36: Blameless
Golden Lion Tap, Barnstaple - 26 August 1995
Support: Star 69

Hotly-tipped indie band from Sheffield plays poorly-attended gig in the backroom of a North Devon pub. Members have a fight onstage a few songs in. Singer storms off. Hilarious, if a little sad. The only time I’ve seen a band disintegrate before my very eyes. They failed to turn up for a gig with Feeder the following night, but did manage to hold it together for another year or so. They enjoyed a minor hit the following summer, but finally bit the dust before a second album was recorded.

I remember being far more taken with the support band, Star 69, and described their singer as "stunning" in a review. I stand by that statement! Their single I'm Insane still sounds good, in a Veruca Salt/Belly kind of way.


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