Review of 2009

Best Gig of 2009: The Dead Weather, Brixton Academy

There were a number of gigs in the running for the ‘Best Gig of 2009’. ‘The British Sea Power’s’ gig in Regent’s Park was not only excellent, but very odd. ‘Them Crooked Vultures’, a gig I was really looking forward to, was excellent but it looses out because I had such high expectations. ‘Placebo’, ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’, ‘Pearl Jam’, were all great gigs. But the best gig for me was ‘The Dead Weather’ at Brixton Academy. Jack White’s new band have managed to produce an album that really sounds good live.

Best Stadium Gig: U2, Wembley Stadium

Only one band in the running for this (because I only went to one stadium gig) and that’s U2. Like them or loathe them (or at least Bono), they do know how to put on a show.

Best Arena Gig: Placebo, O2

There were two bands in the running for this. ‘Pearl Jam’s’ gig at the O2 was almost perfect. But was just pipped to the post by an excellent gig by Placebo, also at the O2.

Best new venue: Scala

There were a number of gigs at new venues for me. ‘The British Sea Power’ played the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park. Nice venue, but it the security were heavy handed. The Boston Rooms for the ‘Dead Weather’s’ warm up gig in North London, was another new venue, with it’s ‘school hall’ feel that allowed you to get very close to the band. But the winner is Scala, near Kings Cross. This tiny club is not only convenient for me travelling back from London, but is a great sounding venue for small warm up gigs.

Weirdest Gig: British Sea Power, Open Air Theatre, Hyde Park

No contest for this. This is my facebook status from the night:

Paul is wondering what he’s just witnessed? A pensioner(!) had to be ejected by security. He was drunk and trying to get on the stage. A fight broke out between two people who were old enough to know better. A security guard pushed a member of the audience to the floor who was trying to get on the stage. Oh and a 6 foot bear attacked the guitarist! Good gig!

There was also a lass in the front row knitting!!!

Watching ‘oldies’ trying to make a brake for the stage was hilarious. Security even had to drag the bassist down from the tent rigging. Weird.

This was the first time I’d seen ‘British Sea Power’ live. This is one band I’ll make sure I follow in 2010

Best Supergroup Gig: The Dead Weather, Brixton Academy

I was surprised at this one. A band consisting of John Paul Jones, David Grohl, and Josh Homme, should have walked away with this, and they very nearly did. However, the talented Jack White managed to team up with the excellent Alison Mosshart from ‘The Kills’, along with members of QOTSA and ‘The Raconteurs’, to produce his own supergroup, and boy do they rock. Their ‘dirty blues’ with big sexy riffs really works well live.

Hopefully both groups will record second albums and tour again in 2010.

Most surprising gig: NIN, O2

This was billed as a double header. ‘Nine Inch Nails’ playing after the reformed Jane’s Addiction’. I’ve never really liked NIN and went to this gig purely to watch ‘Jane’s Addiction’. But NIN blew me away. After 20 years of playing live, they really were very tight. The only disappointment with this gig was.

Worst Act: Jane’s Addiction, O2

I was really looking forward to seeing Jane’s Addiction. But they were really shown up by NIN. The gig was at the O2 and the big issue for me was Jane’s sound just didn’t fill the venue. Sometimes you can put it down to sound levels but in this case, the band just really weren’t very good!

Best support act: Sweethead

As always support acts can vary from great to truly awful. Sonic Youth’s support act at Scala were awful. But there were some that stood out.

I thought ‘The Horrors’ supporting Placebo were really good. I suspect I was only one though, most of the crowd didn’t seem to like 80s influence indie sound. The second band that stood out was ‘Sweethead’ who supported both the ‘Them Crooked Vultures’ and ‘Eagles of Death Metal’. On both occasions they managed to standout. Hopefully, I’ll see more of them.