Archive for February, 2012

Bad Manners, Islington Assembly Room, February 18th 2012

Take 400 or so middle-aged men and some women, mix in some beer and other alcoholic beverages, add nine jolly musicians in a ska band and finally stir in a larger than life character person of Buster Bloodvessel on home turf and what have you got? One great excuse for a rollicking party.

The crowd didn’t need much excuse. They had already been more warmed up by the excellent ska group The Skanx and had been singing and dancing along to nostalgia tunes on the loud speakers between acts from Madness, The Specials, The Selecter and The Jam.

Bad Manners open their show at Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK, February 18th 2012

Bad Manners open their show at Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK, February 18th 2012

And although you could sense the anticipation in the air, Bad Manners arrival merely continued this vibe. Buster aka Douglas Trendle hadn’t even come on the stage and yet large sections of the audience were already bending the knees ska-stylie with the Ska instrumental being played by the rest of the band. When he did finally arrive to the affectionate crowd chants of “You fat b**stard, you fat b**stard” he brought with him that cheeky irreverence that we have come to know and love over the years. He stood at the front of the stage surveying the crowd like a king surveying his realm taking in the cheers in almost mock adulation and then gave forth “For those of who don’t know, This is Ska”, an bold statement that launched the band into the song of that name and the crowd into frenetic dancing.

Buster Bloodvessel from Bad Manners strikes a pose at Islington Assembly Hall, February 18th, 2012

Buster Bloodvessel from Bad Manners strikes a pose at Islington Assembly Hall, February 18th 2012

And that’s what the evening was about: dancing wildly and jumping around, generally making merry and having a good time. There were the hits, of course. “Lorraine”, a story about a tempestuous relationship between boy and girl always seems to have a fun pantomime element to it with interaction between Buster and backing vocalist.  “Just a feeling” told a story about a girl or flatmate taking over the living space of guy who is essentially a slob to a slower more sombre ska beat. The dreamy rhythms and harmonica of  “Special Brew” at the end of the main set belied the fact that song is not a love song but a song about a person’s addiction to extra strong beer. Many people forget that behind the fun persona of the group they produced some well observed and hard hitting social commentary about UK life in the early 80’s, no more so than “Inner London Violence”, a tune that when played live visible cranked the aggression in the mosh pit and another hit “Walking in the Sunshine” a song about wanting to escape from dire everyday life.

But this concert was all about the energy and fun levels and there were many many moments of those. Buster exhorted the crowd to jump up and down in “Feel like Jumping” which they duly did. “Fatty Fatty” got Buster to proudly show off his generously proportioned shape and in a cover version of “Too Good to Be True”, the naughty lad even slipped in the F-word.

There was even a guest star mid-set in the form of Max Splodge who Buster claimed was even madder than him. Indeed, with such cover tunes as Tenpole Tudor’s ubermasculine classic “Swords of 1000 Men”, Sham 69’s “Hurry Up Harry” and Splodge’s own manic “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps”. Although some parts of the crowd disappeared to the side bars for a top-up, many stayed and pogo’ed.

The encore section from Bad Manners was positively climatic with untamed dancing, singing and chanting from all quarters to the carnivalesque “Lip Up Fatty” and a mass knees-up to their greatest hit “Can Can”. How the band managed to jog around the stage while playing their instruments, I will never know.

The crowd were obviously there to let loose and boy – did they ever and then some. During the show, I saw one guy standing on a radiator with shirt and bare torso and there was even a wheelchair moving about rhythmically. By the time Can Can brought the show down, Buster Bloodvessel stuck his giant tongue out at the crowd, did a cheeky little moon and exited ; several gallons of sweat had perspired from me and so much energy has been spent that I was practically on my knees with exhaustion. What a gig!  Goes down in my top 3 of most manic concerts of all time.

And for anyone was thinking Bad Manners was a group with only minor success. Let me put this in context. The UK Top 5 for 4th July 1981 saw sitting them with very illustrious company.

  1. Michael Jackson – One Day in Your Life
  2. The Specials – Ghost Town
  3. Bad Manners – Can Can
  4. Odyssey – Going Back to My Roots
  5. Being with You – Smokey Robinson

Bad Manners would stay at Number 3 for 4 weeks.

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Londongigger’s  Top 15 Most Manic concerts ever

This post resulted from my exhaustion from the Bad Manners gig I attended last night. Practically crawling out of this gig, I started to recall other similar ones that had been amazing but physically and mentally intense. To American readers viewing this post, I can only say it’s very British orientated. There may some British bands you have never heard of. I think there’s a natural pent-up rebelliousness and latent aggression in the Brits that finds its expression and outlet in music. I am not saying that American artists and bands don’t have a degree of that as well (Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop are two good examples) but it seems to be more prevalent in the UK. So here are 15 of the most frenetic, energetic or just downright mad concerts I have experienced. 

1. Sex Pistols, Brixton Academy, Monday 12th November 2007

 With Johnny Rotten pacing up and down the stage like a demon king, manically staring down at the audience, at times it was more like Theatrical in the UK. I was standing within 30 feet from the front of the stage at Brixton surrounding by young nouveau punks with their classic spiky hair and old former punks reliving their youth. (Believe it or not there were a few families mixed in there as well). The result was an insane giant mosh and pogo pit where everyone bounced off each other. This 50 year old guy put his arm round my shoulder and we started pogo-ing like mad. “Holidays in the Sun” and “Anarchy in the UK” were especially intense. It’s the only concert I’ve ever come out of black and blue and every muscle in my body aching in spite of the drinks but the post concert high was one of the most amazing feelings ever. I even bought and wore a “Never mind the B**llocks tee-shirt after and wore it  prominently displayed on the tube almost as a badge of honour.

2) Madness, Madstock Event, Finsbury Park, Sunday 9th August 1992 (yes 1992 – you did read right, yes I am that old)

 Madness are institution in the UK and have a permanent place in the hearts of many music lovers. They had around 20 Top 20 hits in the UK but only one – “Our House” in the US  However, they had split up in 1986 and nobody seriously thought they would get back together. Of course, nowadays they perform virtually every year but back in 1992 they had been split up for 6 years. So, to the delight and surprise of their many fans they announced two reunions concert in north London’s Finsbury Park. The tickets proved to be some of the bestselling of that year. On the bill there was also Morrissey (who on the Sunday cancelled) and Ian Drury and the Blockhead amongst others. So, jampacked in with 30,000 others, this was one big bounce-along for 2 hours. There was not much else you could as the crowd was so tightly packed. It’s also to this day the only concert I’ve been to where everyone knew all the words to all the songs and sang their hearts out to all of them. There were some comic and dangerous moments as well. A guy who decided to be clever and climb up a tree to get a better view got pelted with fruit. Trouble was we were near the tree, so at one point we trying to avoid flying oranges, apples and a grapefruit. Have you ever been hit by a hurled orange. Let me tell you it hurts. Some of the people towards the front also experienced near crushing

Nonetheless, the concert was great and in fact, is also in my top five of all-time.

3         Bad Manners, Islington Assembly Room, Saturday 18th February 2012

 What can I say Bad Manners are the reason I’m writing this post. Just saw them yesterday (February 18th 2012). This ska band from north London with their larger than life irreverent frontman Buster Bloodvessel kept up a frenetic pace as did the crowd. Mosh pits,wild dancing from men and women of a certain, beer showers and the pace never let up. The gig finished with a massive knees-up to Bad Manners’ version of the Can Can.  Rarely have I felt so exhausted after a gig. I was on my knees practically going out of the venue but a fantastic gig anyway.

 4         Basement Jaxx, Wireless Festival, Sunday 4th July 2009

Strangely  this is the only Dance Act to make my list, on a nice summer’s evening In Hyde Park, me, my brother-in law, my niece and her boyfriend got our funk for an hour and a half non-stop. We were towards the back of the 30,000  or so crowd but it didn’t matter. We had the space to dance but my-oh-my, how we got down to the non-stop party sound track of this excellent band. We bounced, we hopped, we freaked, we let it all out. Undoubtedly, this was one of my best ever festival gigs.

5         The Specials, Brixton Academy, June 8th 2009

There’s a line in a Peter Gabriel song which goes “If looks could kill they probably will”. Well, being at a Specials gig, is more a case of “If sweat could thrill, it probably will”. To classic social British ska songs like “Too much too young”, “Ghost Town” and “A message to you Rudy”, Brixton was like a seething mass of former British rude boys. The temperature went up, it was like an oven in the auditorium and even though, me and my friend, were out of the main crowd, raised up on the side, there were still people squashed against dancing as were we. Came out of this one, completely dripping in sweat as did everyone we saw going out. Women’s hair-dos had wilted under the heat and sweat and mascara was running. Blokes en masse had sweat stains on the tee-shirts. Still a great gig for the ska nostalgics.

 6         Kaiser Chiefs, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Sunday 3rd March 2007

 With songs titles likes “The Angry Mob” and “I predict a riot”, the Frontman Ricky Wilson almost caused one by leaping off the stage into the crowd but the crowd buckled under the force and he fell. However, he recovered to go on and the band and crowd movement literally shock the foundations of Shepherd’s Bush Empire theatre. I was in the front row on Level 1 with my wife and as we stood we could feel the balcony moving back and forth underneath us. We had never experienced this before and never have since.

 7         The Rakes, Koko, April 29th 2009

This has to be the most frenetic gig I have experienced. These indie heavyweight performed almost 24 songs in just one hour hardly pausing for breath. The mosh pits were violent and full of mad teenagers.

 8         Franz Ferdinand, Brixton Academy, Saturday 24th October 2009

 The excellent music aside, “Take Me Out”, “No You Girls” etc; this was the gig for you if you liked late nights (the gig started at a quarter to midnight), people pushing past you, treading on your feet and beer showers. One beer shower was particularly interesting as it was more like a beer bomb. I was hit full on the back of the head by a virtually full plastic glass of beer, which bounced off me and splattered about 10 people around me. That said, all this was worth it to see Franz Ferdinand sublime techno-end to the concert with the track “Lucid Dreams” , that unexpectedly transformed from an Indie to techno section, the latter of which lasted nearly 10 minutes and completed  bemused all those diehard Franz Ferdinand fans.

 9         Lacuna Coil, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, February 5th 2010

I don’t normally headbang. However, I got a bit carried away that evening and ended up hanging off the Level 1 side balcony pumping my fist, singing the song and headbanging the night away to the gothic metal tunes. Gig full of drama and emotional angst and the mosh pit down below was violent.

10     Juliette Lewis, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Friday 23rd October 2009

This one I’ll never forget, the crowd were already jigging up and down in a frenzy but then Juliet Lewis, a Hollywood star and right-on indie starlet gets off the stage and plunges into the crowd at Shepherd’s Bush and is singing surrounded by people, me being one of them. What a moment and yes, I’m not ashamed to say it, my head was turned a bit.

 11     Micheal Franti and Spearhead, Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, Saturday 2nd July 2011

Thirty minutes of festival mosh pit madness that I experienced at last year’s Wireless festival. I had listened to Michael Franti’s music before on CD and had been expecting some gentle laid back danceable ballads so I put myself at the front but instead it was fast and furious and everyone around turned the show into a frenetic posh pit. Was bump, bruised and battered – not on the scale of the Sex Pistols, of course. And then, of course the crowd was joined by Michael Franti himself with guitar who sang, jumper hopped and skipped his way around the tent whipping the crowd into a frenzy as his went.

12     Super Furry Animals, Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, Sunday 25th June 2006

I did not see the whole of this as I was stuck outside the festival tent waiting to get in but I’ll always remember jumping up and down in a euphoric crowd for about 10 minutes repeatedly singing the chorus of “They don’t give a f**k about anybody else.

13     Primal Scream, Hyde Park Calling Festival, Hyde Park, Thursday 6th July 2006

 What  can I say? Primal Scream were awesome. Once again a euphoric festival crowd were absolutely high on tunes like the stomping “Country Girl”, the mellow “Come Together” and “Loaded “and quite a few were just loaded – period. Yes the weed was flying around big time. The crowd just danced hippy early 90’s style  – many high as a kite.

 14     Fischerspooner, Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, Friday 24th June 2005

 Fischerspooner love performance art and dressing. In the gig this american band was dressed up in old fashioned baseball uniforms made up with black around the eye on one side and white on the other. Later at another gig of theirs, I saw in that same year, the lead singer – Casey Spooner dressed up as a Roman Emperor and had dancers around him dressed as vestal virgins. This gig was held in a small tent and it was bursting at the seams. The people inside completely let loose to the mellow electro-tunes of “Just Let Go” and “A Kick in the Teeth”.

 15     The Whip, Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, Saturday 5th July 2008

 Another festival gig and another in a tent. In fact it was the first of the day at 2:30pm on a hot summer’s afternoon and I did not expect much. I could not have been more surprised and more wrong when this Electro indie-outfit produced one of the gigs of the festival. Fast-paced, frenetic electro with relentless danceable drum beats. The audience, mainly made up of teenagers went crazy for it. Spontaneous mosh pit sprung up all around and then disapated throughout the show. Crowdsurfacing was de-rigueur. It may have only been the first gig of the day but my energy was already spent and I had to spend the next hour chilling out in the grass recovering.

Terra Naomi lands an acoustic delight with support from Paper Aeroplanes, Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK Friday 10th February 2012

 

Terra Naomi performs an Acoutic set at Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK, February 10th 2012

The lovely Terra Naomi performs an Acoutic set at Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK, February 10th 2012

It takes a very accomplished artist indeed to hold a crowd for over an hour just doing an acoustic set but that’s exactly what the lovely Terra Naomi did on Friday night at Islington Assembly Hall. This grand 1930’s art deco venue that has been recently opened to the public for concert, complimented the singer’s performance perfectly by, not only providing a great backdrop but also enhancing the sound quality of the singer’s vocal modulations and acoustic guitar.

Terra was one of several artists who found success in 2006 by cleverly using the Internet to broadcast virtual concerts. The UK’ own Sandi Thom was another.  In fact, Terra was one of the first to win a You Tube video award. I came across her in 2007 supporting Martha Wainwright and was impressed by her range of vocal tonality and the strength of her lyrics.  She was a performer, I thought, definitely worth seeing in own right as headliner. Then, she was signed to major record label Island Record and lived in London for a year or so, a fact she referred to in the concert. As she’s no longer signed to this label, it looks like she has raised funds independently to make her second album and this show was part of the European tour to promote it.

So back to the show: Terra ambled on stage rather innocuously and gradually the audience applause levels went up. Taking some moments to install herself properly at the piano, she provoked light ripples of laughter by declaring to the audience “if we’re settled in then we’ll get started”. She started with a classical piano ballad with a real 70’s feel “If I Could Stay” evoking beautifully the feeling of distance and lost time between two people in relationship. A good start to the show, then,  drawing the audience in at emotional level.

After declaring herself delighted to be back in London after a 3 and half year absence, she dedicated “The Vicadin Song” –  to two people named Rebecca in the audience.

“You for Me” was an up-tempo song portraying a fantasy of  idealistic  life  and vocally exuded the optimistic feel of Kate Nash stylistically. At one point Terra voice’s suddenly slid far up the octave scales and down again with such effortless ease, she could have been taken for a world class yodeller.

London, or least the part of it that was there in the hall responded well, even when Terra initiated a guessing game for a song for which she had changed the original arrangement. The song was nonetheless recognisable as “Jenny”. The 2006 You Tube sensation “Say it’s possible” followed afterwards, was sung beautifully and with note perfect precision on the acoustic guitar.

Clearly at ease by now with the audience, Terra relayed some quirky stories: including one about being asked to compose a song to a sex scene for the film Super, mentioning Liv Tyler and Rainn Wilson in the process but I think she meant Ellen Page. I am sure no-one present in the audience will ever think about these actors in the same way again. The song that came out of this process was called “Someday Soon” , a slow acoustic track that showcased Terra’s songbird range.

More references to video followed with Terra, just before playing the song about stealing someone else’s boyfriend –“Not Sorry”, describing how on the video for that song she had to film while walking up the stairs sometimes backwards.

There were a couple of excellent covers including a most original  version of Micheal Jackson’s Billie Jean framed in sombre minor chords on the guitar sung with the passionate folky crescendo of someone like Mary Hopkins (c 1968). (Those who don’t remember that singer – she was a Welsh folk singer signed to the Apple label –same one as the Beatles). This is probably the best non-dance cover of this iconic Jackson record that I’ve ever heard – beautiful in its simplicity.

Terra Naomi at the Piano , Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK , Febraury 10th 2012

For the other cover, which was another classic, Terra moved back to the piano and gave an accomplished rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over troubled Waters. She was to stay at the piano for her last song pre-encore “I’ll be Waiting”, taken from latest album “To Know I’m OK”.

In the show  there were of comic moments when Terra attempted to move back and forth between acoustic microphone and the piano and kept knocking the guitar stands over. It’s endearing to see that performers are normal human beings.

For the final song of the encore someone in the audience shouted a request  for “Flesh for Bones” and Terra, in a matter of fact way, went “OK”, took the guitar and launched into this beautiful song with its deep and varied acoustic chords. Terra’s voice was at its finest. It was fitting end to a mesmerising acoustic tour de force. After the show Terra Naomi met her fans and was as warm and likable off-stage as she was on it.

Paper Aeroplanes supporting Terra Naomi, Islington Assembly Hall, Friday 10th February 2012

The support band Paper Aeroplanes must also be mentioned as they provided worthy support in a long slot lasting 40 minutes. They combined acoustic with folk elements. The cello added a touch of magic. “Orange Lights” was my personal favourite and definitely had a touch of the atmosphere of “Martha’s Harbour” about it. Sarah Howell’s voice was a delight as was her wry sense of humour especially the reference comparing Terra Naomi’s European odyssey to arriving from Fulham for the gig on the Piccadilly line tube. Hilarious. Their music was relaxed and enjoyable and is worth checking out live. This band certainly have what it takes to succeed and would perfectly compliment artists of the style and stature of Laura Marling.

I sit here writing this , still trying to take  in the news I heard on Sky at 2am last night.  I’m still in shock, feel sick to the stomach and cannot help thinking, oh my god here we go again – another talent taken away before their time and another loss to the music world. Whitney, of course has had a well publicized battle against drugs but its not known as I write this whether drugs were the cause. The news is reporting prescription drugs were found but this is pure speculation. What is clear is that someone who was a true star and by all accounts a decent human being has been taken away.  I suppose it has hit me particularly because I’m in the same generation.

Although, I’m more rock orientated, I am all-round music lover.  Whitney was one of the artist I grew up with in the  early-mid eighties clubbing scene in London. She wasn’t the only one, of course: there were other top class acts such as Steve Arrington, Chaka Khan, Cameo,Alexander O’Neal but none could match the range, control and richness of her Whitney Houston voice at her peak.  This is, of course, a personal view and I realise that the R n B genre, which we used to call ” soul” in the 80’s, is not to everyone’s taste but I believe her voice was simply sublime and transcended genres.

 I still have and  listen to Whitney’s second album Whitney and remember those tracks that filled the dance floor every week  like I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Love will Save the Day.  Others will no doubt will remember the ballads and in fact, I am pretty sure I did quite a number of  slow smoochy dances to her tunes at the end of club nights.

It is my biggest regret I never got to see her in concert at her peak. I considered going to see her on her UK 2010 but an acquaintance had  advised me against saying that, unfortunately, that beautiful voice was a shadow of its former self. It turned out to be the right advice as Whitney went into meltdown on the UK leg. I am glad I didn’t witness that.

Instead, I want to remember that vibrant beautiful young woman, that graced our TV’s, airways and clubs in the late 80’s and hope she’s up there making sweet music with Amy and Michael.

As a music lover across genres, thanks for the music you made and the pleasure you gave.

RIP
WHITNEY HOUSTON
AUGUST 9TH 1963 -FEBRUARY 11TH 2011

 

 

London Gigger’s All- Time Top 10 Support Acts

One of the posts I follow –  Quantization gave me an idea from the Bands to Perform in my own personal hell article. I thought why not do a short piece devoted to those unsung heroes – the support acts that do the difficult job of warming up the crowd. The trouble is that over the years, there are very few that made grade or went on to do big things. The vast majority were forgettable and some were downwright awful. Unfortunately, the terrible ones were more memorable than the average ones. That’s unfortunate because many of the performers were not bad musicians it’s just that they looked lost on the big stages of say Brixton Academy, Hammersmith Apollo or Shepherds Bush Empire. Probably, entertaining in a smaller venue or even in a pub they would be many acts would be perfectly servicable.

I know these acts have to be given their chance or how else do they develop and grow but why oh why do promoters think that putting some poor local guy or gal with an acoustic guitar before a big headline gig is going to stimulate a chatting crowd, bored crowd or even no crowd. It almost feels that they have to do sometime to fill that void between 7 and 9pm. So sadly, a good 90% of supports just don’t do it for me and if you see them doing multiple supports over a prolonged period, there’s normally a reason for it.

However, their remains that 10% where your snuggling into your seat or if you’re standing propping up the bar, where you turn round or sit up and go wow, that’s amazing. This posts picks out the best of the best that I’ve seen.

One thing, it does not include support acts at festivals because technically any act under the headliner could be classified as a support act and some of those are biggies.

Here goes:

1. The Killers, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, supporting Gary Numan, March 5th 2004

Without any shadow of doubt this was the best support act ever by a country mile. It was early – just before 8pm when the band came on. In a venue that holds just 2000, there were probably not more than 200 in. The ones that were there were bunched up in the final third of the auditorium, attentive enough, applauding politely but not expecting too much. By the end of 30 minutes, this mood had totally changed. The excitement going round the floor was palpable. Everyone was asking who this band was. They did not know it but they and I had just witnessed a full-on rock performance of 3/4 of what was to become the album Hot Fuss. The whole band but in particular Brandon Flowers totally rocked the place in front of that small crowd. Truly awesome to behold. Nine months later Hot Fuss was No.1 in the UK and The Killers were well on their way to becoming a global phenomenon. I feel privileged to have been in that small crowd that day.

2. Scouting for Girls, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, supporting Just Jack, 16th October 2007

This is another gig where the support Act was as good as the main act. Lots of excited teenage girls in the audience but that did not take anything from this very English energised quirky piano based group whose songs including She So Lovely and James Bond had the empire a-moving and a-rocking. Never before had I seen that happen for a support group.

3.John Foxx, Shepherd’s Bush Empire supporting The Human League, 18th December 2003

What can I say except – awesome. Foxx is a cult legend in the history of  electronic and synth music. As a founder member of Ultravox , he is revered by some more than Midge Ure. All I can is that it was a delight to see him performing some of well known material. It still sends shivers down my spine when I think of the drama soaring orchestral synth of Underpass that filled up the space at the Empire. Should not have been a support act at all.

4.Ellie Goulding, Shepherd’s Bush Empire supporting Little Boots, Friday 11th December 2009

A great introduction  to this, at the time, budding young pop star. A calm and assured performance. 2009 was notable for a revival of electro led by new female acts such La Roux , Little Boots and Ladyhawke. You could that influence in her work together with some catchy ballads from the Lights album.

5.Terra Naomi, supporting Martha Wainwright, Shepherd’s Bush Empire August 17th 2007

With a sound pitching somewhere between  Alanis Morrissette and Tori Amos, this talented songwriter from New York via Los Angeles was a pleasant surprise and in fact I’m re-seeing her again this week as a main act after a 5 year gap. A review will follow.

6. Annie, supporting  St.Etienne, Shepherd Bush Empire, October 16th 2009

In the 3rd floor Balcony of Shepherd’s Bush, with very view people having arrived, I rocked out with masses of empty seats either side of me to the catchy electro-pop  and soaring vocals of  Norwegian songstress Annie Lilia Berge Strand. She had a great song entitled “I know you girlfriend hates me.”  God , I love Scandinavian electro. It’s some of the best on the planet.

7. The Upper Room supporting Texas, Hammersmith Apollo, May 16th 2006

This band is unfortunately now defunct . They only lasted about 2 years but at their peak in 2006 supported Texas at Hammersmith Apollo. They were an upbeat sort of a band with songs about largely about personal relationships and were heavy on the upper scale range rhythm guitar but I really got into their engaging style at this gig. Again they were another band with a quintessentially English style, typical of the 2000’s.

8. The Delays supporting Manic Street Preachers, Hammersmith Apollo, April 18th 2005

This band has to hold the record for me for the loudest support act, even outstripping the Manics in volume. I did not need to have my ears syringed after listening to this group and their ample use of synth and guitars. They created a dreamy but booming indie pop  sound enhanced by the high pitch falsetto of the lead singer. In spite of the volume it was a creative performance and enjoyable performance .  This  group are now successful in their own right with 4 studio albums to their name.

9.Jack Martello supporting Christina Perri, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, January 18th 2012.

I know earlier I stuck the boot into the one man and his guitar support acts but this was one guy who bucked the trend. This bright young twenty something overcame crowd reticence with his engaging personality and upbeat rhythm acoustic guitar and taps. He even got the crowd going participating with handclaps and a sing-along. This is unheard of from a support act. His lyrics and vocals complemented the style of the whole evening with themes of personal relationships and personal dreams. I will not flatter myself but I hope that someone from a record company reads this and signs up this talented young man.

10. The XX supporting Florence and the Machine, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, September 28th 2009

Supporting the uber trendy Florence and the Machine, the XX were touted as the next big thing and this show was highly anticipated as much as Florence Welch herself. With their cool brand of electro-indie pop they did not disappoint.

So that’s the list. Raise your glass to all those thousands of support acts who keep the public entertained while they wait for the main event. Some succeed, many more fail but at least they have the balls to get up on that stage and try in the first place. Let’s hear it for the support acts.

I’d be interested from anyone out there to know what your favourite support acts were over the years.