20 Years Of Live Music: Credits

Article June 8th, 2017

This has been a story of one man’s adventure in the world of live music, but it has not been a totally solo effort. A thank-you is due to all the below.

Mandy Graves for her significant role in the final quarter of this story.

Steve Weeks for getting me into events I would not have otherwise been able to attend.

Bryon Adamson for modus operandi.

Rob from Coventry (sorry mate, that’s how everyone refers to you!) for my M’era Luna introduction.

The independent promoters (some still going, some not, all part of the tale): Flag Promotions, NMTCG, Synchrotrax, Infest, Armalyte and the clubs Reptile, Dead and Buried, Slimelight and Monster Truck.

I cannot name every band, but a friendly wave to a number of local acts where I know at least one member (most are still going in some fashion, a few are not): Die Kur, System:FX, Maxdmyz, Mechanical Cabaret, Killing Miranda (now under a new name), RBN (ditto, can’t keep these two apart, can I?), Deviant UK, Swarf. Earth Loop Recall/This Is Radio Silence, Black Light Ascension, DJ Translight, Inertia, Tenek, Global Citizen, Machine Rox, Paresis, Kommand + Kontrol, STAB Electronics, Bleak, Terminal Gods, Special Love/Grimbergen, Psyche, Autodafeh, Lizard Smile, Rome Burns/Hi-Reprociwatisname, The Memepunks, Drilling Spree, Ventenner, Standgericht, Lilygun,

 

Rest In Peace

Musicians I have seen on stage who have since departed this mortal coil.

John Murphy (Knifeladder and Countless Others)

Paul Raven (Killing Joke and Ministry)

Mike Scaccia (Ministry)

Steve Strange (Visage)

Frank Tovey (Fad Gadget)

Peter Steele (Type O Negative)

Alan Vega (Suicide)

Chris Squire (Yes)

There is a good chance I’ve missed some names, I’ve only included those I know for sure.

That’s all for now – if you started here, you might want to go back to the start.

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20 Years Of Live Music: Top xx Lists

Article, Top xx List June 8th, 2017

Some more lists for the TL:DR people reading this, or those who simply haven’t had enough yet.

 

10 Bands Seen The Most Times

  1. System:FX – 21
  2. Die Kur – 20
  3. Greenhaus – 16
  4. VNV Nation – 15 (+1 “only saw half”)
  5. Diary Of Dreams – 14
  6. MaxDmyz – 13 (+2 curtailed sets)
  7. Deviant UK – 13
  8. Mechanical Cabaret – 13
  9. RBN – 13 (later renamed Stok:Holm, but I never saw them under this title)
  10. Killing Miranda – 12 (and there’s a bit of ‘previous’ putting these two back-to-back…)

Bubbling under….Inertia and Deathboy on 11, AlterRed on 10. I reckon Global Citizen, Machine Rox and Black Light Ascension will all hit double figures soon.

Either Diary of Dreams or VNV count as highest scoring ‘overseas’ band, depending on what nationality you count VNV as, but the three bands above have all had members from overseas too, be it in the live band or as their primary creative force.

Killing Miranda win the prize for the “band seen the most times with exactly the same line upon each occasion”. Unless you count Chewbacca on keyboards one time. Die Kur will probably pass System:FX for first place before 2017 is out. Only about half of these projects are still gigging frequently.

 

20 Bands I Want To See But Haven’t Yet

Oddly, I need only attend Rock Werchter 2017 to bag the top 2, but with barely anything else on the line-up I want to see and the fact that I’ve ‘checked out’ of attending outdoor festivals, we’ll have to wait for a big arena show somewhere.

  1. Radiohead
  2. System Of A Down
  3. Armageddon Dildos
  4. The Cure
  5. Die Form
  6. Aphex Twin
  7. Siouxsie Sioux (under any name)
  8. Mentallo & The Fixer
  9. Moby
  10. Synapscape
  11. Metallica
  12. Machine Head
  13. Rob Zombie
  14. New Order
  15. Spray
  16. X Marks The Pedwalk
  17. Acumen Nation
  18. Staubkind
  19. Garbage
  20. Fortification 55

 

20 Best Performances, Ever

Keeping this to one-per-band, and barring the first few, the order is pretty arbitrary. If you want the story of each gig, go back a few pages

  1. Rammstein at Brixton – December 2001
  2. In Extremo at M’era Luna – August 2004
  3. NIN at The Astoria – March 2005
  4. Fear Factory at The Astoria – December 1998
  5. Front 242 at WGT – May 2007
  6. The Beauty Of Gemina at WGT – May 2015
  7. Rotersand at Elektrowerkz – November 2006
  8. ELR at The Water Rats – February 2004
  9. Leæther Strip at WGT – May 2013
  10. Deine Lakaien at WGT – June 2006
  11. Diary Of Dreams at Gotham – May 2000 (but could have been one of many here)
  12. CHANT. at Infest – August 2015
  13. VNV Nation at The Scala – December 2012
  14. Front Line Assembly (now with Real Leeb!) at WGT – June 2014
  15. Saltatio Mortis at WGT – June 2008
  16. The Human League at WGT – May 2005
  17. Project Pitchfork at Islington Academy – October 2009
  18. Kraftwerk at The Tate Modern – February 2012
  19. Revolting Cocks at WGT – June 2017
  20. mind.in.a.box at Infest – August 2010

Onto the credits, or back to the start.

20 Years Of Live Music: The End, And After?

Article June 8th, 2017

The story ends neatly at the 20 year mark, with plenty of shows still to look forward to later in 2017 and new bands appearing all of the time. But will I still be going to these shows in another 20 years? Hard to say. The prospects beyond the next few years simply aren’t as good as they have been of late, with the demonisation of music venues and the complications of Brexit refusing to go away.

Regardless of individual views, I can’t deny that the free movement within the EU has allowed many bands to play here that wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do so, not to mention a number of promoters and significant proportions of the audience who have come to the UK of their own free will and played a part in our live music experiences.

On the plus side, the growth of the internet has allowed music to cross borders even when the bands themselves do not, and unless they criminalise streaming or even block it at source, the sounds will always make it to these shores thanks to those who know where to look.

Also have to consider the health issues of gigging – it’s probably already had a impact on my hearing, and the ‘beer and junkfood’ diet that accompanies such events doesn’t help either. There are precautions one could take, but after 20 years of such behaviour, I’m simply not convinced I could enjoy the shows as much without the ‘throw caution to the wind’ mentality.

But anyway, as I write this, there are plenty of bands still left to see, and Brexit or no Brexit, we’ll find a way to see them. But I do have other musical objectives in the DJ booth, and as I’ve said several times throughout the text, that is a story in its own right. And I’ll have a go at telling it next year.

Onto the Top xx Lists, or back to the start.

20 Years Of Live Music: 2017

Article June 8th, 2017

2017 is a story as yet unwritten in full, as the 20-year mark where this tale draws to a close arrives in the middle. And hence a lengthy write-up is beyond me, as I don’t have a years worth of context to build the gigging tales round. But there is one event that does justify a bit more, and those of you who have read this far can probably guess what it is.

 

June 2017 – Get Around, Get Around, I Get Around (When it’s time to go, I’m the first to know)

WGT 2017 was always intended as my 20th anniversary of gigging. It was perhaps indicative of the significance that the itinerary for the weekend was planned with enormous precision, going as far as to print out the Monkeypress.de timetable and tracing ideal paths with highlighter pen.

And as if to give me a sign, the travel gods smiled upon me and the plan just ‘worked’. 21 bands were seen in all, of which only one (Skinny Puppy) I had seen before. And with such treats as an all-star cast reviving the Dorsetshire name or Autodafeh up-close-and-personal in the Mortizbastei, this was not a case of scratching around for something to do. But it just so turned out that the two biggest highlights of my festival occurred at the same venue, two nights apart. The Stadtbad, a old swimming baths converted into a venue, would host both.

The first was Kite, a synthpop band from Sweden, but somewhat different from the standard-issue Vince Clarke wannabes (many of whom I admit are bloody good at it!). A stage set that projected images onto satellite dishes, neon piping on the keyboards and a vocalist whose voice it was hard to draw any comparisons to (Demis Roussous is the closest I could get). Add some excellent songwriting and a well-considered running order (‘Castle of Sand’ makes such an epic finale) and it really was a case of an act in an overcrowded genre devising something truly unique.

The second was Revolting Cocks. A band that had existed in an on-off fashion for many years, with a Revolving Lineup. The current form of the band didn’t feature Al Jourgensen, and with Luc Van Acker off sick, there were doubts over the legitimacy of the lineup. No, I’m lying. There weren’t. Richard 23 was back in the band, Chris Connelly was on-board too, as was Paul Barker. With two Acumen Nation members on loan, it was still an industrial supergroup worth seeing.

With R23 handing the first half of the show (the ‘Big Sexy Land’ album) and Chris Connelly the second half (everything else), the thing that amazed me is how such a motley assortment of musicians could come together to actually play a surprisingly tight set (despite a brief ‘total technical’ early on). It was also a reminder that even if their albums weren’t the most finely-tuned things ever to be pressed onto vinyl or silver disc, there were more than enough good tracks to build a set, and with an encore of ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, it was a true case of a performance far beyond expectations. Who else could make Skinny Puppy of all people seem like an anti-climax?

 

Plus these snapshots…..

Already proving to be a great year.

  • Three bands beginning with B to start the year – Black Light Ascension, B-Movie, Blue Zoo. Sang along quite loudly to ‘Remembrance Day’.
  • Another punk double-header (The Rezillos, Spizzenergi) followed by a WGT-style venue hop to see Die Kur play a late set at The Unicorn.
  • Unexpected appearance of Deviant UK supporting Orgy, reminded how good they could be.
  • Last-minute decision to see Aurelio Voltaire the Dome. Don’t normally go for this kind of gig, but this was entertaining! Solo singer-songwriters have to more than strum and sing to work a crowd, this guy certainly grasps that!
  • Finally saw Pig and Cubanate, two elusive 90s industrial names finally back on the road.
  • Diary of Dreams supported by Empathy Test – does Friday evening get better, ever?

Onto the ending, or back to the start.

20 Years Of Live Music: 2016

Article June 8th, 2017

For 2016, I’ve decided not to write a detailed account of WGT or Infest. That’s not to reflect badly on either event, just that I can’t spin any lengthy tale about WGT 2016 that isn’t a slightly-modified version of one you’ve already read. As for Infest 2016, that’s coming in a future piece….so here’s a few less-obvious tales of live music instead.

 

April 2016 – Who Said You Could Die, You Bastard?!

I’ve never really done ‘conventions’, mainly due to my lack of affiliation to one thing at the expense of others. But I do love a certain brand of British Comedy. The death of Rik Mayall came as shock, hitting particularly hard given I’d found out on the train home from the airport during my post-WGT 2014 comedown. Luckily, his fanbase rallied round on social media soon after. Credit must go to my old friend Penny for being the crux of this – she also handles the Infest Army page on Facebook.

This gathering grew into real-world meetups and finally the convention RikCon. Hired for the 2016 event was comedy band “Intermittent Explosive Disorder”. Not content to simply dish out a selection from their repertoire, they’d put together a RikCon set, opening with the theme to ‘The Young Ones’ and then delivering a series of parody tunes referencing moments from Rik’s career. ‘Common People’ became a Alan B’Stard anthem (‘Everybody Hates a Tory’), whilst The Carpenters were turned on their heads with ‘Please Mr Gas Man’ – a totally unexpected twist on what I happen to think is the funniest half-hour of comedy of all time.

And then their ‘original’ for the night – “Who Said You Could Die, You Bastard?!’, a four-minute impersonation of Vyvyan from The Young Ones with a suitable foul-mouthed ‘tribute’ to every Rik role they could think of. Tributes to a man like Rik Mayall have always been heartfelt, but they need not be respectful. A man who was essentially a ‘punk’ comic could not be written into history without at least a little bad taste aimed in his direction. The singer did his voice in with that showing, leaving Lee Cornes (a comic from the same era as Rik) to come on stage to reprise his Dick Head role from Bottom for the final song.

It wasn’t the only Rik tribute I’d see that year – The Damned dedicated ‘Video Nasty’ to him when we saw them in our punk-laden late 2016 live music flurry. The only one of the guest bands from The Young Ones I’ve seen live to date (are Madness still touring?). Though I did miss out Nine Below Zero by one room at some point in Freshers Week way back in 1997.

 

All Through 2016 – Punk Rocks!

Indeed, It’s probably the right moment to bring up The Damned again, as 2016 was notable for a year-long celebration of Punk across London, and history tells us that it was the Damned who ‘got there first’. There was no shortage of events to attend as part of the celebrations, and we also went to plenty of punk-oriented gigs that weren’t officially connected to the 40 years thing(they weren’t all London-oriented either), but since when has punk been official about anything?

I won’t go into detail about all the gigs, so instead have some extended length snapshots!

  • Not actually in London, but hey, stop me – The late confirmation of Public Image Ltd playing a midnight special (actually 1 am) at WGT – the set featured a semi-cover of Leftfield’s Open Up, a song the original band don’t play, so the guest singer took it for his own band!
  • Discovery of a venue in Tottenham called T Chances which just reeked of old-school punk spirit (but without the shit layout of Power Lunches). We were actually there for an industrial-themed charity show headlined by Black Light Ascension, but this inevitably led to….
  • Blank Generation – The final day of a three-day punk festival back T Chances. All very raucous, plenty of unknown bands, but a final run of The Members, The Lurkers, The Outcasts and 999 ensured we bagged a few minor legends in the process.
  • Seeing Television in Brixton, a band that straddles either side of punk without actually being it.
  • Bad Religion and Offspring in Hammersmith the night before the fateful EU Referendum…getting both Crazy Taxi bands in one go was a coup, a pity the gig was full of twats rather than punks. An argument with a bigoted Brexiter with some indeterminate provincial accent (a ‘little Englander’ if you like) in the pub afterwards proved some people just didn’t ‘get’ what this whole style of music was meant to be about.
  • First sight of Youth Code live. For those of you wondering why they get in here, they’re anarcho in spirit if not in musicology – the kind of thing the angry women of punk would have sounded like if they’d gotten into Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 rather than all the three-chord-discord stuff.
  • A gathering outside The Greyhound in Croydon to pay tribute to that town’s part in this story – Captain Sensible was one of the speakers, and even performed an acoustic ‘New Rose’ (even though he wasn’t actually the singer of the Damned……)
  • Killing Joke’s near-perfect set at the Brixton Academy, a band who did more than most to take the principle of punk and build in so many elements without losing their tribal fury.
  • Turning up at the Plough and Harrow in Leytonstone expecting to see Rubella Ballet. They cancelled due to illness late in the day (though we got in free as compensation), so we watched Airdrop and Country Hospital instead.
  • The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing – the most punk of the steampunks, with Andrew O’Neill’s stand-up act as support.
  • The Damned, supported by Penetration, using ELP’s ‘Fanfare To The Common’ man as their intro tape as an ironic statement of everything they sought to destroy. The death of Keith Emerson earlier in the year (Greg Lake to follow soon after) did not affect this stance.
  • Sham 69 and UK Subs shortly before Christmas, an Oi! double billing, with Charlie Harper (now a grandad in his 70s) getting in the festive spirit by playing my favourite festive single of the lot – Hey Santa.

 

Plus these snapshots…..

It wasn’t just punk rock, you know……

  • Das Ich back in London again, and this time rose to the challenge of entertaining an audience that for the most part didn’t understand their lyrics (a trick usually reserved for Rammstein)
  • Author & Punisher – bringing the one-man band concept to industrial, and I DON’T mean by standing behind a laptop – a hand-built mechanical performance rig of a kind I’d never seen before and probably won’t see again anywhere else.
  • Laibach touring the show they put together for North Korea based around ‘The Sound Of Music’.
  • OMD performing ‘Dazzle Ships’ and ‘Architecture and Morality’ at the Albert Hall, only time I’d been inside there despite having lived round the corner once (twice actually).
  • Plastic Noise Experience covering ‘Moving Hands’ by Klinik at around the same time Dirk Ivens was performing it in his all-projects show across town. These two really should have been in the same venue!
  • Test Dept. playing the Dome (the first DJ Terminates Here venue) on the day it was announced I was Djing at Infest.
  • Waking up in Naples, making it home to London, unpacked, sorted out all the details and STILL making it out to see The Last Dance and The Last Cry with The Last of My Funds.
  • Blood Axis finally making it to London. I nearly wrote a long piece about this but as the mere existence of this project seems to be an issue with some people, I won’t take it any further here.

On to 2017, or back to the start.

20 Years Of Live Music: 2015

Article June 8th, 2017

The early days of 2015 saw me quell a number of inner demons that had loomed large for the past couple of years. In terms of live music, there was plenty of action throughout the year, but it once again fell to Wave-Gotik-Treffen to provide the first big story.

 

May 2015 – This Time…..

I could write a book in its own right about our WGT 2015 adventure. Mixtures of health issues (our own and family members) and the looming train strike on arrival in Germany and our return to Britain on Tuesday actually made me feel as certain times that ‘not making it’ was a genuine possibility. But make it we did, hours after we should have done, but in time for the EBM warm-up at The Villa, where the bands never run to schedule anyway (the actual festival runs like clockwork most of the time).

But it was the Saturday that possibly gave my greatest single WGT tale so far. It started with a trip out to the Felsenkeller, back on the festival circuit after a few years out, and that was a good thing, as it’s certainly one of the more fit-for-purpose venues in use (we’ve had a few too many ‘hasty civic conversions’ of late). A couple of supports of moderate interest before a chance to The Beauty of Gemina once more.

Now, they might have been my favourite darkwave/gothic rock hybrid since Diary of Dreams, but my only live experience to date was their SOS acoustic show, a mere sample of their songwriting talents and a pale shadow of their full electric set. Which we got tonight. One track to lead us in, and then ‘This Time’ hit us with such force it felt like a bomb going off. ‘Kings Men Come” and ‘Suicide Landscape’ were heard with their critical synth lines very much intact and when they got to ‘The Lonesome Death Of A Goth DJ’, well, I hardly need tell you how THAT one clicked.

And then a band that had eluded me for years in any form – Megaherz. I’d seen their ex-frontman project Eisbrecher the night before (now regarded as the bigger band of the two), but with a new Alexander W. on vocals (Wohnhaas instead of Wesselsky) and an excellent new album ‘Zombieland’ to play, it was clear the band were here to claim back what line-up changes had taken from them. After years on the back foot, Megaherz had their identity back. There’s something special about that.

But I couldn’t stop and celebrate. I had 15 minutes to get out, find a cab (only two available – I grabbed the first) and a drive across town, legged it into and across the Agra Park, round to the entrance and inside to catch the first song of tonight’s headliner. And who justified such a break from my trams-only WGT procedure?

Front 242, who else? By this point I was so delirious with excitement that I barely recall the details of their set, but the sheer number of things that might have prevented me from making it this far had all been bypassed. That was a classic WGT day, and I still have the 242 hoody as a souvenir.

The rest-of-the-fest didn’t disappoint of course – first chances to see Goethes Erben, Mono Inc., ClockDVA and Lights of Euphoria, the least-worst performance I’d see of US gothic ‘legends’ London After Slimelight (that’s what I call them) and the usual defies-any-extreme reaction show by Clan Of Xymox. The threatened train strikes were eventually called off, too, though our journey home was delayed-at-every-stage from Berlin Schoenfeld onwards anyway. But every WGT needs a day like the Saturday of WGT 2015.

 

July 2015 – He’s Just Trying To Survive

I’m very much aware of a significant body of work from New York in the late 60s and early-to-mid 70s that paved the way for much of the alternative sounds we know and love today. However, I had never seen any of the notable bands from that era play live – most had split up and many simply didn’t have enough living members remaining to have any hope of reformation. Suicide, pioneers of electronic music and/or punk (depending which musical historian you ask) were still going, and an event was booked at The Barbican Centre entitled ‘A Punk Mass’ as part of a series of related events dedicated to something-or-other.

And yes, this was more of an ‘event’ than a ‘gig’, with Henry Rollins providing an opening talk about his own discovery of the band, before each of the members came on in turn to perform material from their solo careers, aided by a Moog operator toward the rear of stage. Martin Rev was in good shape (not many men of pensionable age can pull off a PVC suit), but Alan Vega was not. Unable to stand for any length of time, he still put every bit of energy he could muster into his performance. I only hope his appearance here was voluntary and not part of any music industry coercion, as it didn’t seem right to keep a 77-year old stroke survivor on tour against his will.

But this was the spirit of the original punk movement contained in the last venue anyone would have expected to have found it. The second half of the show was dedicated to Suicide material proper. Or should that be ‘improper’. Unwilling to take the easy route out, they launched into a set consisting of fragments of known pieces and backcatalogue obscurities, cutting from one line of attack to another, the kind of all-over-the-place performance that would have had the unknowing music critic turning up their noses in disgust. But this was Suicide. An anarchic performance like this was exactly what we SHOULD have expected. Not content with ripping up the rulebook back in the 70s by playing those synthesizer things, they ripped up their own rulebook for good measure.

And as if to prove this was the last act of defiance by a project who simply wouldn’t play with convention – Suicide never performed live again. Alan Vega died in his sleep a little over a year later, and another New York legend had fallen.

 

August 2015 – I’ve Got Blood On My Hands

The feeling I had before Infest 2015 was that I had unfinished business from the previous year. Project Pitchfork were back having cancelled last time, but what I really wanted was one ‘blow me away’ performance, from any band, in any style. I’d previously established the first two bands playing Friday were both in styles that weren’t for us, so we got an early evening train and saved having to take a day off work.

Cocksure were the only Friday band not doing ‘dance music masquerading as something else’ and a first chance to see Chris Connelly on stage to boot. Day two kicked off with Altered, well known from regular London shows. Decided to go for a curry after them, but wanted to get back in time for a band called Chant. The name didn’t give much away, but a number of people who’s opinion I’ve come to rely upon were saying great things about them, and it was clear whatever style there were, they were seriously good in their own right and not just playing to this week’s style of choice.

I did not expect the frontman (Bradley Bills) to be a singer-drummer, rarely seen in this genre or any other (no references to Phil Collins, please!). I did not expect a mere two people to be able to generate such an intense percussive assault. And I did not expect the NIN concept for US industrial rock to be picked up and taken in a direction so ear-catchingly rhythmic. This was the most essential act I’d seen at Infest for many years, certainly the best “new discovery” the festival has ever offered. Perhaps I got over-emotional at the end, but that awkward feeling of 2014 was finally beaten out of me by Bradley’s tribal fury.

L’ame Immortelle were an anti-climax after this, and I only mention the fact as most of the reviews I read seem to have boycotted them entirely. Still, had a lot of fun with Mechanical Cabaret, BhamBhamHara and Project Pitchfork on the final day, the ghosts of one year ago very much exorcised.

The remainder of the year saw a selection of live events to attend, possibly too many – by December I was getting live band fatigue, to the point where I just couldn’t get into a show that should have been a dead-cert (Fear Factory performing ‘Demanufacture’). Maybe time for a new approach next year?

 

Plus these snapshots…..

Trying to be selective here….

  • Seeing all surviving members of Throbbing Gristle live at some point. Carter Tutti playing Chris and Cosey worked out very well, Genesis P.Orridge in Psychic TV less so.
  • Agent Side Grinder playing London the night before we were due to fly to WGT.
  • Seeing Part 1 in the woeful ‘Power Lunches’ venue shortly before the place closed for good. I usually regret the loss our live venues, but this is one we are better off without.
  • Going to see Cradle Of Filth, for shits and giggles if nothing else.
  • AlterRed doing the most convincing Kubrick Stare I’d ever seen at their Clockwork Orange-themed Halloween show at Reptile.

On to 2016, or back to the start.

 

20 Years Of Live Music: 2014

Article June 8th, 2017

There was a healthy run of interesting shows early in 2014. Laibach were back on tour, as were B-Movie, another chance to see Tenek and rare appearance of Rosa Crux, still one of the most unique stage shows you’ll ever see. But I’m determined that this piece is about documenting the influence of live music on the person, not a dry collection of live reviews. And in a year in which I was rarely in a truly happy place (reasons to be discussed elsewhere), I needed something more than isolated gigs to move me.

 

June 2014 – This Volatile Paradox Will Never Stand

It indeed took until Leipzig for a truly moving live experience. A late one usually means a hot one and this was no exception. Early on were my first live experiences of The Eternal Afflict, The Fair Sex, Poupee Fabrikk, White Lies and Placebo Effect, a scrappy showing by Apop and a truly intense one by The Klinik (Dirk Ivens never fails us). And then – Front Line Assembly.

A controversial name in WGT circles (google ‘Soy Leeb’ if you don’t know the story) and now with me. Leeb has never been afraid to jump on a bandwagon to keep his sound fresh, but his appropriation of dubstep influences on his last two albums, followed by a turd-in-a-CD case remix comp (maybe it kept sounding like a stuck CD ’cause the critics had wanked over it so much?) and my opinion of him had never been lower. I’d gone as far as boycotting his London 2013 show, the reports of ‘This is the future of industrial – Dubstep influence will save us’ were beyond the pale.

But when the band hit the stage, this time it was REAL Leeb. And REAL FLA. One brief hint of a bass drop early on, but otherwise the new and old material actually meshed together to cohesive whole rather than the jarring review bait practised by others, the more blatant references to the now-fading music fad already phased out. A band you expect to be great all the time is one thing – but a “Return To Glory” performance is that much sweeter.

Indeed, influences can be unexpected. Borghesia played the next day, and tried to escape the tag of being ‘Slovenia’s 2nd-most famous industrial band’ by returning from their lengthy hiatus in the form of a psychedelic rock act. On a mixed-genre stage it might have worked, maybe even somewhere like Infest (remember Mind,in.a.box?), but on a specialist EBM stage between Vomito Negro (another first for me) and Spetsnaz, it was never going to work, they almost cleared the room, but I still got curious enough to check out the album later on.

Have to end on a sour note, though. My festival experience might have been positive in terms of the music, but the post-festival comedown was the worst ever. It was ‘straight back to bad times’ almost as soon as I’d hit UK soil. WGT had not cured my unsteady state of mind, it was merely a 5-day pause button. As I discovered later that year, even the pause button trick wasn’t guaranteed to work.

 

August 2014 – Alt? Delete!

Alt-Fest, meant as my goodbye to outdoor fests, fell to pieces in a much-publicised story. I won’t repeat the story as I was never really involved, but the fallout pulled a second, smaller festival under, and it was left to UK promoters to pull together hastily-improvised line-ups for the intended weekend. One had to be grateful for any live action back then, no-one made any real money out of the debacle and many lost big, but there was no hiding from the awkward atmosphere.

Still, the British spirit is best exemplified by our small-scale fests and making do with less than the best, and Flag Promotions (who deserve credit for many of the gigs previously mentioned here) called on their contacts and rallied what they could of the originally-booked Alt-Fest bands plus a few extras and made a three-day festival at Elektrowerkz, entitled SOS (Save Our Scene). Enough bands were willing to play for free (or close enough) to make it worth doing.

I went to the first two days (work commitments prevented the third), and actually quite enjoyed the first, local favorites Jordan Reyne and Black Light Ascension coming in late in the day to play sets and then a first chance to see Spiritual Front. Day two was devoted to the gothic bands – my first chance to see The Beauty of Gemina was sadly an acoustic show (either cutting costs or just choosing that variant of their sound for the occasion), with my main memory being She Past Away immediately winning a UK fanbase having come all the way from Turkey – so someone at least deservedly benefited from this mess!

Infest came a few weeks later, originally rumoured to be sitting out 2014 but deciding to go ahead anyway. Limited in terms of the bands they could book, hit further by three cancellations, included my hoped-for Project Pitchfork, replaced by the now long-past-best VNV Nation, unexpectedly available after the ‘big’ festival failed. A name band when one was needed for sure, but off the back of the lifeless ‘Transnational’ not longer a guaranteed ‘must see’.

The end result was a very sociable festival, the bitching and backbiting having subsided by now, but a lineup that ended up too reliant on melodic synth acts and no one big performance that stood out in the memory. Maybe I was in the wrong state of mind, a mini-breakdown of sorts on Sunday night on the way back to the hotel backs up that theory. Oh, and singing ‘Open Up’ by Leftfield/Lydon in the karaoke room and fucking up my voice in the process.

But for whatever reason, the trick that worked at Infest 2005, 2008 and 2011 in a ‘pick yourself up and move on’ manner didn’t work at Infest 2014. Blame cannot and will not be apportioned – sometimes the stars simply don’t align.

 

December 2014 – Stop!

2014 didn’t get any easier, it continued the feeling of scrabbling around, making good where possible and trying not to get sucked under. By mid-December I was out of ideas and just zoning through to Christmas. One final gig remained – Erasure. I might have overdosed on synthpop at Infest but let’s at least see how the masters do it. We even got the bonus of Parralox on support – any band with the guts to kick off their set with a cover of ‘Eye In The Sky’ by rock dinosaurs Alan Parsons Project gets my respect, for sheer gumption if nothing else.

But we were here for Erasure. And if ever there was a template for the prize of ‘the perfect pop band’, it would be an dead-heat between them and the Pet Shop Boys (sorry, I say what I think even if it undermines the gravity of a statement). My first chance to see synth-meister Vince Clarke live in any project, and with Andy Bell, camp enough to house a million festival-goers but always a true performer, it was the perfect environment to forget concerns and just have some fun.

A couple of well-rehearsed backing singers and the show was complete. Erasure are a band who know what their audience wants – pick the best three off the new album and mix them in with all the hits. The inevitable call for an encore followed – we sort of knew ‘Sometimes’ would feature, but given the time of year, I was also half-hoping for a cut from their recent ‘Christmas’ album. And what does Andy do? Come back with his backing singers and sing ‘Gaudete’. A Capella. Just the way it should be.

And only THEN sing ‘Sometimes’, with Vince back on the keyboards.

This was also the gig which sparked a viral video, triggered after show, of a whole tube platform singing ‘A Little Respect’. I sadly missed this, but I assure you I would have joined in had I been there. Nothing like a communal sing-song to boost morale (why do so many people hate these?).

But for me, It was a last act of note in a year where I’d never truly felt ‘in sync’ with the world going on around me. Stress-related illness would see me out of the loop until New Year’s Eve on a social level, but the enforced break definitely did me good – doing nothing for a few weeks was indeed the solution. Any negativity you’ve observed over the past few chapters ends in 2015.

 

Plus these snapshots…..

Amid everything that happened, some memories still remain.

  • Leaves Eyes at the Garage, meaning I’d seen every Liv Kristine project live once, and Theatre of Tragedy once with each singer.
  • Arriving at a Rosa Crux gig to find the middle of the floor occupied by a large plastic sheet. It’s purpose only became clear when the dust-dancers came on.
  • Kirlian Camera and Die Krupps playing London, two bright lights in an otherwise muggy, tense and uncomfortable summer. Die Krupps had my other favourite Die K band (Die Kur) as support – you’ll read a LOT more about these guys when I write my DJ story!
  • Underworld playing ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’ start-to-end and all the B-sides and Lemon Interrupt material from the same era.
  • Stompa finally sees new-school old-school EBM (for the want of a better term) reach London, and a precursor to the Ad:Rem event I’ll cover in my DJ story.

Onto 2015, or back to the start.

20 Years Of Live Music: 2013

Article June 8th, 2017

The other notable event in 2012 was the start of a relationship that’s still going strong today. It’s not something I’m going to write about here or in any future piece, Mandy is very happy to remain the ‘private’ half of the couple, but I can’t write this piece without giving her some credit for my live music experiences, especially in 2013. The story of how we obtained Kraftwerk tickets, for instance – is hers to tell, not mine, and it’s also thanks to her that my return to Wave-Gotik-Treffen was secured, as was my farewell to outdoor festivals.

 

February 2013 – Music-Non-Stop

This was not my first experience of Kraftwerk live – I’d seen them on their 2004 tour, the one you see on the Minimum-Maximum DVD. But the story of this set of shows and the ticketing fiasco preceding it has passed into legend – suffice to say I was going to see the sixth of the eight “classic album” performances in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. The album “Techno Pop”, previously released as “Electric Café” was thought to be one of their ‘lesser’ recordings, but given the circumstances, we’d take anything.

On arrival, we received a pair of 3D glasses, an unexpected development. It seems that despite being down to a single original member touring no material less than a decade old, they weren’t going to turn down a chance to ‘get with the times’. 3D cinema might now be thought of as a passing fad, but here it was the “right place, right time”. Never happy to sit on their laurels, these most static of live performers had a decided that a third dimension was the most logical next step to take.

As for the show, the ‘classic’ album was delivered within the first half-hour of the event (BOING-BOOM-TSCHAK – PING!) leaving the remaining time for a decent run through the classics, including full-length takes on ‘Autobahn’ and ‘Trans-Europe Express’, a reference to ‘Fukushima’ inserted into ‘Radioactivity’ (did I mention they liked to keep with the times) and nearly all of ‘The Man-Machine’.

I remember ‘Spacelab’ cropping up unexpectedly, yet genuinely feeling the space-station imagery was flying out of the screen and across the venue, the only time I’d experience 3D cinema and felt the effect. The concept that Kraftwerk now think of themselves as curators of an exhibit rather than a traditional live band might have come across as quite pretentious had it from a lesser name, but they at least have earned the right.

 

May 2013 – This Ain’t No Disco…..

Back, at last, to Wave-Gotik-Treffen. 2009 was skipped due to the expense – I had other valid used for the money, and history tells me this was nothing if not prudent, so I don’t regret missing that one, especially as many of the Brit scene crowd joined me in absence for similar credit-crunch oriented reasons. 2010 was all personal baggage, 2011 was all about buying a flat, so missing WGT those years was also understandable. By 2012, I’d fallen out of the habit. Regulars warn you of the dangers of ‘giving up your hotel room’, but in reality that only matters if you have a loyalty to a particular one.

Anyway, my return was important on a personal level, but also on a musical one. Remember my comment about three bands that were essentially old-school EBM at Infest 2012 and how it failed to spark a revival in the style in the UK? No problems with that in Germany, where the style was much in evidence and even resulted in complaints about there not being enough ‘harsh’ (new-school) EBM on the bill and the resultant creation of a Thursday Night Tactical Sekt show. Fellow Brits asked me if they’d see me there. Of course not, I was off watching Jäger 90 at the old-school warm-up……

We weren’t just watching EBM. In Strict Confidence headlined the CabbageCircus on the Friday night. I remember Mandy described the band as “namby pamby” and the female singer as a “gothic clothes horse”. I actually liked their songs enough not to worry about that, but the thinking behind that comment became clear 24 hours later. Not before I finally saw Velvet Acid Christ live, great songs but not a frontman comfortable in massive venues, his subsequent UK shows were much better.

Add a Suicide Commando set comprised of 90s material and we were all ready for Leæther Strip, now a husband & husband live show. Kurt remains behind the keyboard stand throughout, leaving Claus Larsen to throw his substantial frame around the Agra stage. This was the musical equivalent of a raw meat main course (VAC providing the vegan starter) and the mosh-pit was in motion throughout.

Mainly Saxons and Swedes from what I could tell, but with the cropped hair, obscure EBM band T-shirt and suchlike, I realised that for the duration of this set at least, these men were my body-beat brothers. The set delivered all the favourites, but the usual closing cover of ‘Sex Dwarf’ was replaced with a cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Nodisco’. Remembering the Essex connection – Nitzer Ebb hail from there, as do I – it was time to belt it out like a Brit.

Good shows would also be seen by the likes of A Split-Second, Pankow, Orange Sector and Brigade Werther. Even KMFDM seemed to have found their touch again. Bands like IAMX and VNV Nation just seemed saccharine-sweet and ponderous in comparison to this. The bitterest pill was the train home from the airport on the Tuesday – I was returning to a scene where I was increasingly losing connection with what was going on. Individuality is no fun if it kills your social life. Perhaps a break from the industrial scene would help?

 

July 2013 – I’m a Professional Cynic, But My Heart’s Not In It

When Rock Werchter announced its early line-up, it looked surprisingly tempting – Editors (not seen yet), Depeche Mode (not seen for 10 years), Blur (90s revival!) and Rammstein (haven’t you been paying attention?). Only two trains from St.Pancras, too, so tickets were booked. Finding accommodation was tricky (no lectures about camping, please) and the only other band of interest to join the bill thereafter was Nick Cave, but in any case, we were set for a weekend back in the mainstream.

Initial impressions were not good – the stages were offering a mix of landfill indie, on-trend EDM (nice lightshows, shame about the music) and ‘emotional’ singer-songwriters, something the music industry regards as an ‘easy sell’ in these times. Also plenty of drunken lunatics thrashing their limbs about (mosh-pitting is communal, bashing people mindlessly isn’t). Briefly thought about an hour after arrival that “this wasn’t such a good idea”. Then discovered you could earn free drinks by collection empty glasses – 20 cups = 1 drink token. Litter pickers paid in beer? That’ll cover us until something good comes on. It duly became an obsession – by my estimation we save 40 Euros on drinks during the weekend via this economy.

Vitalic eventually dished up a modern dance style we could actually dance to, and Blur finally played in the early hours of the morning, and a band from my pre-gigging era was finally in the bag. The next day saw my first live experience of Nick Cave – always a good songwriter and professional performer, and my only recent experience of the now-massive Rammstein stage show. The HD screens erected might have helped us pick out details we couldn’t otherwise see, but even from a distance you can really FEEL an R+ show in all it’s fire and glory.

The final day could deliver quite insipid performances by Depeche Mode and Editors, both acts seemingly past their best, but at least we got a surprisingly entertaining show by 30 Seconds To Mars, not my usual rock sound of choice, but who at least knew that big festival stages were about more than slogging through the setlist and really played to the crowd as a result.

All that said, my final assessment was “Glad I did it once, but never again!”, Some good music, but I never felt like I fitted in. You’ll never see me at the big corporate UK festivals, I’ve retired from doing M’era Luna and whilst I was planning one last outdoor jaunt with Alt-Fest 2014, we probably all remember what went wrong there…..

As for the rest of the year, a mix of old favourites and small club-level shows occupied us (read the snapshots if you must know), before returning to Belgium for BIMFest in December. Compared with Rock Werchter it was a line-up much more ‘us’, and would be the first time in four attempts that I’d see Belgian bands on Belgian soil. Unfortunately, the venue was a room in a soulless, otherwise deserted complex on the ring road, no catering and no side-events (I’m told they’ve since moved somewhere with a little more character). A reminder that whilst bands are crucial to music festivals, you need more than that to make them truly memorable.

 

Plus these snapshots…..

A real mix here…..

  • A number of excursions into a venue called ‘Mother Live’ on Old Street. I was just about to book it myself when it closed down for an up-market conversion. Gentrification, anyone?
  • Watching UK Decay play outside Rough Trade on Records Store Day.
  • OMD supported by John Foxx. So good to hear electronic music that had space to breathe and let beautiful things hang there.
  • Discovering a significant sum of money had gone missing from my bank account just before a Funker Vogt gig and then trying to work out what the fuck had gone wrong via smartphone.
  • Ageing Crass co-founder Steve Ignorant proving at a November show that there’s more to being an activist than just getting angry about everything – Anarcho isn’t my punk style of choice but age and experience gives a person perspective and Steve has plenty of both.
  • A double dose of Claus Larsen in December – the ‘Strip and Klutæ all in one night.

Onto 2014, or back to the start.

20 Years Of Live Music: 2012

Article June 8th, 2017

This is one of the hardest years to write about in terms of my ‘man in the crowd’ perspective, as this was the era when my DJing and gigging schedules crossed over the most. I’ve already said that stories of those events will be told at a later date. Luckily, I didn’t quit being a ‘regular punter’ entirely, and hence there are a few live stories to be told.

Most of my 2012 live experiences occurred in small venues. I saw The Mission and The Cult in the Hammersmith Apollo (it was meant to be somewhere bigger and also feature Killing Joke, but wasn’t meant to be), and the next largest venues I visited were Bradford Uni (for Infest) and The Scala (for VNV). Most of the other shows I attended were in bar or pub level venues. In many cases, this featured bands ‘just starting out’ – plus (dare I say) a few cases of ‘has-been’ and ‘never quite was’, so the sparks of greatness were thinner on the ground than some years, but compensated for by the sheer variety and volume.

 

January and December 2012 – In a Solitary Field, In Some Nameless Foreign Land

VNV Nation have a habit of cropping up in this story time after time. Maybe it’s the devoted fanbase, maybe it’s Ronan’s Irish charm, but VNV gigs always used to have a certain ‘atmosphere’ about them. I say this in the past tense, as from 2013 onwards, their live shows have become labored, flabby and lacking in ‘guts’. It’s the kind of decline bands rarely recover from – so I was fortunate that my 2012 was book-ended by what I can only guess will be the last two VNV shows I’ll ever enjoy.

January 2012 is of course in the lyrics to ‘Honour’, and VNV played some shows to mark it, including the bizarre decision to play in the Purple Turtle pub, a 200-capacity venue that sold out very quickly. Indeed, the gig over-sold to the point that the regular guest-list had to be turned away Given how I never became a lasting member of that fraternity, all I can say to that is ‘schadenfreude’. The band even polled online to decide what songs to play, though this was a missed opportunity as most people voted for stuff already in the touring setlist. Anyway, this was a hot, packed and intense show, an rare occasion to see a band that had made it ‘big’ up-close.

The year ended with another VNV show, this time at The Forum. This was a straight ‘greatest hits’ set, but memorable as the only time since I first saw them where my two favourite songs (Joy and Solitary) got played on the same night, and numerous other favourites made it in too (sadly nothing from Advance and Follow, but otherwise on the money). It was a rare chance to get a truly exciting gig in that ‘between Christmas and New Year’ period, and a farewell to me enjoying this band as a live proposition.

 

August 2012 – Moving Your Hands

Infest provided the other live notable live action of the year, and it provided one of the strongest line-ups for ages. Their pick of the UK scene bands was spot-on. My East London friends in System:FX finally got a shot at playing the festival, electronics done with all energy and no messin’ about. There was also my first live experience of Tenek, successors to The Nine, but still the catchiest of catchy synthpop – the kind of thing that has you singing along with the choruses before you know what the lyrics are.

As for the overseas acts, much as I enjoyed Absurd Minds and Solitary Experiments, it was a trio of The Klinik (Dirk is something of an Infest legend), A Split-Second and Blitzmaschine that provided this festival’s defining moments. Old-school EBM rarely reaches these shores, and in an era where the wider electronic music scene was obsessing over Deadmau5 and Skrillex (fuck that), this felt like a real “pay attention children, you might learn something” moment. Suicide Commando, one of the names most credited for the 00s harsh EBM trend, might had headlined, but simply lacked the dynamism of the more stripped-down acts that came before.

The thing that got me was that whilst these three bands seem to have been well-received at the festival, it didn’t result in the revival of the style in the UK. Infest themselves booked very few acts in this style thereafter, though the 2017 line-up promises a return in that direction, whilst the club scene carried on with the tastemakers pushing various nightmarish EDM/dubstep inspired material, arguments usually being resolved on the “brute force” basis of either “who has the biggest friends list on Facebook” or “who has the highest-profile DJ slot”. If you think that last line is aimed at you, swallow your pride, it probably is.

Oh, and for those of you about to accuse me of some form of ‘genre fascism’, I do usually adopt a “live and let live” approach to style I don’t like. But only if I can either steer clear of them (most genres with ‘core’ in them fall under that banner). But the trends in electronic music at the time flaunted their stuff to such an extent that I could not afford this movement (of the bowel-churning bass variety) the same tolerance.

 

Plus these snapshots…..

You’ll read about most of the rest in my DJ story, but here’s a few more fragment from a ‘paying punter’ perpective.

  • Getting stranded in London after a Clan of Xymox gig due a broken tube line and a snowfall messing up the buses.
  • Spotting Gary Numan in the crowd in the Purple Turtle watching Sulpher. No, I didn’t say hello – he’d waited as long as me to see them again, after all.
  • A dubstep DJ playing on stage between Heretics and She Wants Revenge – totally unsuited to the event and not in the booth where support DJs belong (we know our place). Do you now understand why I felt that genre flaunted its stuff just a little too much?
  • Watching The Cult – Ian Astbury prefaced Sanctuary with a comment about a time when DJs were brave enough to play such things on the radio. I eventually did hear it on the radio two years later. On a local station. In Belfast.
  • A number of small-scale events involving the Terminal Gods. I have to mention this as I suspect at least one of the band members will end up reading this and I’ve mentioned most of the other London local favourites at least once.

Onto 2013, or back to the start.

20 Years Of Live Music: 2011

Article June 8th, 2017

2010 was an eventful year, for sure. But nothing stops when a calendar gets chucked. And sure enough, 2011 was almost as busy. Gig-wise, the key feature of this year was the increased merging of my DJing with my gigging. Four times I played the role of support DJ at live music events. However, there’s a lot more to those stories than the memories of the live music, significant that it was. Those stories will be written later, in a separate volume looking into my Djing life.

One other fact – it was the third consecutive year where I attended no overseas festivals or gigs. This isn’t something I’d given up on, it’s just I had other demands on the money at the time. Infest, the low-budget indoor festival in Bradford, was still an option, however.

 

August 2011 – 8-Bits!

The early part of 2011 offer relatively few gigging stories, as I was occupied with buying a flat and then doing all the things you have to do to get it up and running. Getting a mortgage in the midst of the credit crunch was a stressful affair, but luckily none of the adventures you’ve read about so far had damaged my credit rating, so I finally had a roof over my head that I could call my own. Sort of.

But as a result of the above processes and my determination to get ‘closure’ on the whole process, I’d neglected my health – physical, mental, emotional, financial, the lot and hence arrived at Infest 2011 a broken man. Despite everything I’d achieved during the year to date, it had come at great cost. So I made a decision. Have one last 3-day bender, one final weekend of irresponsibility, get it out of the system and then pull myself together and get on with life again. Dosed up on vitamin pills to alleviate the need to ever care about my diet over the weekend, that was indeed the case….

The event as a whole remains something of a blur. I can’t really remember which bands played this year or last, nor how much money I spent. I do remember giving the karaoke machine a go, singing Sham 69′s ‘If The Kids Are United’. In an obscenity-laced London accent. In the middle of West Yorkshire. I probably sung along to VNV Nation even louder, but I believe that’s the idea at their shows.

And earlier that day, I’d finally seen mind.in.a.box live. I’d heard very varied stories about their live shows so far (not that they’d played many), and my curiosity was piqued further when I saw them setting up guitar, drums and other ‘real’ instruments – rarely seen at InFest. They appeared on stage and I was even more confused – were they supposed to be a kind of ‘progressive futurepop’ four-piece, or some kind of synth-enhanced Pink Floyd tribute band?

It’s at times like this that the alcohol really serves it’s purpose, because I stopped caring about genres and realized that whatever it was they were playing, I actually really liked it. I was tripping out during the quiet bits and dancing wildly whenever the drums kicked in. I did, however, long for a no-holds barred anthem. mind.in.a.box are a very ‘technical’ band, which does sometimes impact the ‘instant appeal’ nature of their music. How the hell were they going to end their set on anything other than a drawn-out anticlimax?

Oh, 8-Bits. Not exactly typical of their style, but a perfect set closer, and it still worked surprisingly well with the addition of ‘real’ instruments. Cheered to the rafters (or whatever it was holding the roof up), there was no time for an encore, even if the band had had one to play (looking at tour setlists, they probably didn’t). But my must-see band of InFest, one who had a varied live reputation so far, had delivered the goods this time.

 

October 2011 – Shine, Shine Your Light On Me

InFest had given me the drive to get my life back on track, but a couple of months on and I still felt there was something missing from my life. In a year of practical achievements, I was feeling increasingly hollow inside. My body and mind were on the road to recovery, but my soul remained on ice. I was a walking, talking automaton. Something had to give.

My epiphany came from a quite unexpected source. A VNV Nation concert. Unexpected, because I’d seen them many, many times before, and whilst I regarded their recent ‘Automatic’ album as a ‘Return to Glory’ release, I wasn’t expecting anything more than some bouncy music interspersed with the between-song chit-chat that’s something of a feature at every VNV gig. And so it was….new songs mixed with (relatively) old ones, nothing pre-Empires, though. Dance a lot, sing along with favourite choruses and go nuts during the instant hit and current set-closer ‘Control’.

And then came the encore. Having cancelled a gig the night before due to voice issues, we had no idea how long Ronan was going to last, but there was enough left in him to manage a quartet of songs. Including one new track that I’d previously heard at InFest but not really appreciated the true nature of until tonight. The song was ‘Nova’. And when the song burst into life a minute or so it, with the trippy LED backdrop as accompaniment, I finally realised what I was missing.

“Shine. Shine Your Light On Me. Illuminate Me. Make Me Complete”

There was a long way to go, but was no longer adrift and lost. Back on track for sure.

 

Plus these snapshots…..

My mind may have been elsewhere, but I can’t help what it captures along the way. Or fails to.

  • Totally forgetting I’d seen the gothic rock band Grooving In Green in March when I became a fan of their recordings a few years later, and then seeing them in the same venue in 2016 thinking it was the first time I’d been to one of their shows. Only worked it out when I started writing this thing.
  • If my house move hadn’t already did for me – a Sunday in July saw a trip to Ikea and back, then off to run a D&D game, and finally off to see four-band bill topped off by Combichrist – the gig where I began to discover how unpleasant they were becoming. Nothing left in the tank? I was sure of it now
  • A colleague suggesting I went to see Magazine at Shepherd’s Bush. His reasoning – “I’m too old for gigging so you’ll have to go for me”. He clearly hasn’t met some of my friends yet.
  • Diary of Dreams topping off the last-ever Gotham festival, having made their UK mark with their appearance at the first. Adrian Hates pointed the fact out with the oh-so-trad comment “First and Last and Always”.
  • Front 242 finally making it to London again, but neutered by noise limits – my return to European festivals would surely have to follow.

Onto 2012, or back to the start.