Monday, 13 March 2017

White Lies at the Troxy

Often one's enjoyment of a gig depends on matters totally extraneous to the act one comes to see. A case in point was White Lies at the Troxy.

Point one, although the Troxy is a lovely small art deco theatre, it is miles away from where I live. And when you have taken a bus, two tubes and the DLR to get there the only worse thought you have is that you will need to do it all in reverse a few hours later.

And second, well you find a good place near the front and then as it gets crowded, other lesser mortals arrive too late for you to move elsewhere. And these are annoying people. And without wishing to sound sexist, some of the most annoying people of all at gigs are women, and this is because of three traits which are not shared by all, or even most women, but were by the ones around me.

So first up is volume. Blokes can be loud, but not quite as piercing. And singing along to your favourite act is fine. If you can sing. But if you sing flatter than a pancake you really should think about toning it down. Its not a a karaoke evening and the rest of us might have come to listen to the person with the good voice on stage.

Second up is the need to spend much of the gig with arms waving above head. Again blokes do it, but not as much. Exacerbated by wearing sleeveless dress. B.O, as well as blocking vision of anyone behind. Just saying.

And third, mini-rucksacks combined with dancing. Blokes seem to arrive at gigs with nothing that won't fit in a pocket. Girls need bags, which they will not put in a cloakroom. Fair enough. But then don't stand still but dance around. bodies dancing, yes well that's what you are there for, fine. Someone's physical presence I am happy to be buffeted by, but not a dirty great swinging rucksack socking into you as they twirl.

So, from all that you might imagine I wasn't that enamoured with this gig. The support at, Alex Cameron, didn't exactly cheer me. Genuinely one of the dullest support acts I have ever seen. And you didn't need to take my word for it; his band members just exuded ennui themselves. the saxophonist kept sitting down when not playing and looking as if this was his most boring night of the week.


But, in the end, despite all of this, it was great gig. just because White Lies are a fabulous act. They have rather become unfashionable, but their third album Friends is terrific and a major return to form after the disappointing Big TV. Whole set was tremendous, but they just have such a good back catalogue now to choose from. Harry McVeigh has enormous vocal strength to carry the songs over the music. He is not the most outgoing of front men, and does smile at the audience with the sort of expression that serial killers would have just before they announce they are going to eat your liver, but nothing can detract from what a great act they are. Looking forward to the next album!


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Kaiser Chiefs at the O2

I wasn't going to go to see the Chiefs again, not because I dislike them but because of the "again". I have seen them many times over the last 15 years and didn't feel the need for another dose. But my mate persuaded me reluctantly to get tickets only for him to pull out at the last moment due to ill-health. Situation saved by finding a colleague who was going herself, so I duly tagged along. And was very glad I did.

We got there in time to see the end of the set of the opening support act, Howl. Very impressed with them. I would see them again on their own in a small venue.

Next up were Spring King. Although they were second support I preferred Howl. Unusual in having the lead singer as the drummer. I felt that if I listened to their stuff enough I would find the songs had a good hook, but just not very interesting sound on a first listen.

But enough of the hors d'oeuvres. 9:15 and the Chiefs appeared.

Neat start on a small stage in front of the curtain. After a couple of songs the curtain came down, the small stage slid back and they filled the space with lights and action.

 And no one fills a space quite like Ricky Wilson. He fairly charges around, climbs up the speakers and even dashes to the back of the crowd.

You don't go to listen to the quality vocals, but you do have to admire the quality of the songs. They have a fine back catalogue. Not yet got used to their newer stuff, but that my just be a matter of time. And one has to admire the bravery of some of their tunes, like the monotonous, but yet entrancing, "Angry Mob", the simple pleasure of "Ruby" the lyrics of Every Day I love you Leas and Less"

The encore included a sort of funk version of NaNaNaNaNa and an excellent cover of the Buzzcocks "Ever Fallen in Love". The audience (ranging from teens to many folk of my age) lapped it all up. And you couldn't complain about the special effects, the dry ice, sparks, confetti, glitter ball. We got a great show. And Ricky had certainly earned his money by the end. He announced at the start that their job was to entertain us and that they certainly did. You would have had to be a music journalist not to like this. And of course even they would, but can't admit it as its not fashionable to like something popular. So the Chiefs will have to make do with thousands of enthusiastic fans of all ages rather than a tiny audience and the plaudits of the NME.