Tag Archives: Music

The line.

The line getting into the gig turns into complete chaos.
A long haired metal head dude with a tattoo on
his face of a small bird has decided to make his way
to the front, pushing and shoving his way through the
line, and that turns all the other metal heads, grungers
and just general rockers and gig goers into a ten minute
mumble fest.

All i can hear from the back to the front, from one
side to the other is the grumbles of complaints about
the man who shoved his way to the front.
The bouncer stops him asking him for his I.D when
a girl from the back shouts “HE PUSHED HIS WAY
TO THE FRONT” and then everyone in the line
joins in and the bouncer asks him to leave the
que and either head to the back or walk away.
The man doesn’t say a thing and he just walks off
around the corner and behind the venue and the line
moves forward.

Inside the venue the man from the line is standing on
the stage with his guitar waiting for the sound guy
to tune him in so he can play his gig, his eyes are
red and he has a bored look on his face like he wants
to go home.
Everyone from the line ouside who see’s him doesnt
say anything about it, they just go off upto he bar
or into a corner mumbling to themselves.

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Cut head in a mosh pit.

The gig is now over, everything hurts from
the neck down. My age might be finally
catching up with me.
I finish off my JD and along with everyone
else i make my way towards the toilet which
is a like a small ritual to seasoned gig
goers.
Standing at the cubicle looking at the walls
of bands i’ve never heard of advertising gigs,
merchandise and upcoming tours, posters from gigs
months ago, a blues band adveritising their
annual christmas gig in the middle of Febuary
with the date christmas 2014 is still on the wall
about the sink.

I hear abit of comotion behind me, so i turn
around to a quick peak at whats going on and a
group small group have gathered around a man half
their size and they’re holding a damp cloth on
his head.
“What the hell happened, son?” one of them says
“It was the mosh, the fucking mosh pit” the small man
says barely getting the drunk slurred words out
“I must have of duckin’ hit someone elses head during
the last bluddy song”
and thats when i notice blood going down the
back of his white t-shirt as i wash my hands.

I leave the toilet leaving the group of men
to clean the blood of the guys head and i exit
the venue wondering what happened and
who the man hit his head on.
As i walk away looking for the nearest pub
i see a long haired metal head sitting on the side
of the road with his friends holding
his forehead complaining of a sharp pain
above his eyes.

The music goes off….

I’m sitting at the back of the pub when the music
goes off, and the dance floor descends into total chaos,
a full on brawl.
The place has only been open an hour, I’ve only had
two drinks and a riot has broken out, it’s a 7 on 7
free for all, chairs are flying over head.
Glasses, Bottles, Shoes are being tossed around
at all angles and it’s slowly making it’s way to my
table where I’m sitting by myself with a Jack Daniel’s
and Coke and I’m a reading a news story on my
phone.

The 7 on 7 aspiring alcoholics, punching, kicking,
choking, glassing and chairing each other get closer and
closer to my table, so I down my drink and close
down my phone ready to make my way towards
the exit to find a new pub.
Thats when the police rush in, I can’t count how many of
them there are but it’s enough to hold off any
unwanted hooligan with a pint of carling in his
hand ready to smash someone’s face in.

They drag them out of the pub and into cars
and riot vans and that’s when I decide to leave
the place.
I look around at the carnage as i walk towards the door
and i see that the bar staff are on the floor somehow,
I never even noticed them getting involved, the chair
throwing and the glassing’s took me away from everything
else that was happening around the place.

So I leave and walking down the street I can hear
the sirens in the distance taking away the brawlers and
crazies and people walking beside me asking questions about
what has happened.
People i recognise that were in the pub are talking and
laughing about what they have just seen, typing on their
phones about the choas.
Then I find an irish pub and walk through the doors
and it’s empty…..

Christmas band.

I turn towards the clocktower in
the centre of the city and i see a christmas
brass band playing classic chrismas carols.
Small children stand by them with red
hats and red ribbons around their arm
and holding a red bucket in their hands.

Poeple stand around them in the freezing
cold holding bags full christmas presents
in one hand and a child in the next, and they
stand patiently waiting for the next song
to be played so they can put the money
in the bucket and run towards their cars
and go home to the warmth.

Drunk men gather around the band and
singalong and dance to the music and chant
like it”s half time at the football and im just
waiting for one of them to pull out a drum
of their own and join in with the band.

Some poeple walk on by like it doesn’t
exsist while others take notice at the music
and others look on in confusion at something
that might be interupting their shop.
I drop some change in one the buckets before
I carry on walking around and leave the football
chants and the brass band playing along
together.

Small tales: The Pogues

Sitting in a pub when you’re 10 years old with a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and a bottle of panda pop with your mum and your uncles and hearing music in the background that you don’t completely undertsand yet, only what they’ve explained in drunken language, it can really get your mind turning in ways you can never imagine.
I can’t remember exactly when I heard The Pogues for the first time but of course it was in a pub, where else could it be? I remember seeing my mum and uncles putting down pints of beer and hearing this crazy Irish music in the background and someone shouting at the barman in an Irish accent “Put that fucking Pogues on” and on comes the Irish rover and my mum says “yes” under her breath and puts her hand into the air and then starts tapping the beer mat on the table.
Every year from then on, especially around Christmas that famous song “Fairytale” is memorialised through re-releases and music t.v  and re plays on Top Of The Pops classics but if this was any other song it would be watered down and put back on the shelves of history and only talked about on documentaries with interviews with celebrities all saying “do you remember that song?” But not for this song, it’s a little bit different and nostalgic for people and they still love to hear it.
The song became their staple song with the voice of Shane and Kirsty and Spiders tin whistle and the lyrics it’s the song people want to hear being played and it’s constantly in the all time greatest Christmas song lists, but I don’t think that’s fair when you find yourself listening to the rest of the bands music.
Through the years of being a teenager listening to indie, punk and my old favourites of classic rock, the Pogues continued to stand out as a band I want to see so I took my time over the next couple of years shifting my way through their record collection and discovering songs that no body who’s heard of the band would have know.

Over the next couple of years I found out everything I could about this crazy front man Shane MacGowan and the music that influenced him, The Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers to name a few where some of the artists he grew up with and I would have to make sure I saved time when I wasn’t playing in bands myself to listening to these bands.
At one point I even became a little bit obsessed with trying to find every documentary made about the man or the band.
I remember a documentary produced by the BBC about the recording of the song Fairytale of New York and I made sure that I recorded it for future reference.
YouTube became very helpful, all I needed to do was type in Shanes name and an interview or a documentary would pop up and I would be glued to the computer screen for the next couple of hours and they all became a repeat viewing, especially when I was unemployed and even today I sometimes find my self re-watching them.
Whenever I mentioned The Pogues to anyone, or even the bands that influenced Shane himself, nobody took time to discover them for themselves, or bothered to even listen to them but at this point I didn’t really care, I’ve found the band that i’ll be listening to until I can’t get out of bed anymore.
Shane took on abit of a personality and his image stood out amongst people, the image of being a drunk and waste of talent, he’s rotten teeth and the guy who should have been dead by the time he was 40 but I slowly come to realise that he’s a poet and that nobody really knows that he’s a poet, for a lot of people he’s just a drunk frontman of a band who wrote a Christmas song that everyone loves, a song that helps you get into the spirit of the season and get over the struggle of it all, but the band and his writing are more than that, it’s poetry and mayhem on stage when they play live, it’s something you can truly get behind and Shane and the rest of the band have never taken on that thing of being “cool” and something for hipsters to follow.

I bought The Pogues live in Paris and I said to myself I’m going to save this for a special night, so I saved it for New Years Eve.
While everyone went out I decided to stay home with a bottle of whiskey and watch the performance and even my mum decided to join me and both of us sat and watched the band play a set with all the mayhem and the craziness the band became known for and when it finished we looked at the bottle and realised we had finished it but my mum remembered she had one hidden away in her cupboard so she got up and got the booze. When she came back we decided to restart the show and make our way through the second bottle of whiskey.
We stayed up till three in the morning watching the DVD, we missed the new year countdown and my dad had gone to bed leaving us both to get drunk.
The next morning we both said we’ll have to do that again next yet, sit up till 3 and get drunk watching the Pogues.
So every year it’s been a tradition, whether I’m at home or not I’ve managed to find a time around new year to watch The Pogues live In Paris, I don’t know if it’s the best performance they had because I was never there in the 80’s when they were at their peak but it’s the one I’ll always remember and it will be the first one I talk about if someone asks me about the Pogues live.

I think we’ve seen the last of the Pogues live, Shane doing his thing with his new set of teeth, the guitarist and one of the lyricist of the band Phil Chevron passed away of cancer not to long ago.
The bands days look to be over, but that’s ok, when I look back at the first time I heard them to discovering the albums and the live performances what more can I ask for from a band and I hope that people can go out of their way and find the band for themselves and experience what I’ve experienced over the years.
I could go into depth about the band and the man who fronted them for 30 years, from the Nipple Erectors to the new Republicans, from Shane’s punk years and the day he had his “ear” bitten off. Maybe I will go in depth one day about the Pogues and maybe one day I can sit and have a quick pint with the man himself and maybe have a chat with Andrew Ranken about the drums, but for now i’ll leave it here. I’m going for a pint.

Small tale of Sun, Booze and Rock: Part 4.

Sitting down at the dodgems in quiet contemplation with a can and a breakfast sandwich thinking about last nights gig, neither of us hurting or aching like we did yesterday morning. I look around at the village and I can’t hear a word being said about last nights gig, no chatter or criticism or complaints about the band. The thought runs through my head, how big was the crowd for them last night? Did they get the same reaction as Muse from two years ago?
“We need to start thinking about tonight and hopefully we can finally see NXT” I say to Sam “We do need to see NXT, we missed it yesterday and i’m not missing it again, it will be a nice buffer before Aerosmith hit the stage”
“Ok dude, lets hang around and have a couple of drinks before we head off, need to rest today, its going to be a killer”
“You gonna be buying a shirt today?”
“I’m not leaving tomorrow morning without a shirt or a hat or a hoodie, I’ve gotta get something this year”.
“Well save it for the Arena, you can get it just before we watch the NXT show and don’t take all day trying to find something we don’t want to miss the show again”.
We take a walk around the village for the next couple of hours to kill time before we make our way into the arena for the last time and I look around at the crowd of people walking around us and I can see the exhaustion in their faces and the aches and pains in their arms and legs and I might not be the only who hasn’t been for a shit since arriving at the festival. When everyone leaves tomorrow morning there will always be that sense of relief that you managed to make out alive but the first conversation you have is who’s going to come next year? Who’s going to buy the tickets? And who’s going to headline?  We all do it and we always will.

After spending most of the day in the village, walking around and even have a quick 3 Jack and cokes in the bar we finally make it to the arena and the entrance was a lot easier to get through than the past couple of days, maybe it’s because we got here a little later than usual.
The first place we head towards to the store so Sam can get something, the old bastards dead serious now, he’s not leaving here until he gets a shirt of something.
“Wait out here you fuck, I won’t be long” he says to me while waving the middle finger at me, so I just stand buy the door with my hands in my pocket and wait for the twat to get something, and I stand and wait and stand and wait and for the next 15 minutes I stare out looking at people walk in and out with something in their hands and now I need a piss but I have to wait.
After 20 minutes he finally emerges wearing a Day To Remember hat, apparently they had to dig it out from the back of the store as they had none left at the front, instead of changing his mind and going for something else he decided to stick with the one he wanted so I had to wait 20 minutes.
I send him to the bar while I go and take a piss up the chain fence while and I notice the time on the board for the NXT show and we’ve missed it, for the third time I’ve missed the show and what makes maters worse is that I can here a group of lads near by talking about how great the show was. I want to put the blame partly on Sam but I’ll leave it and remain silent.
He returns with beers and point towards the sign so he can see the show is over and he just shakes his head “never mind” he says “we will make sure that we get to see it next year if it’s on” and I just look at him and think to myself that it better be on next time we come.

We walk to the main stage and see Alter Bridge finish off there set and we manage to find a space to sit down and rest for the next hour while Aerosmith get ready to play.
Moving forward we get as close to the stage as we can, I want to see as much as I can which is harder than you think being a short bloke and at gigs you always get those monsters who stand right in front of you without taking a look behind them to see who’s view they’re blocking, but everything works out ok, the crowd has filled up nicely behind and nobody can get through, expect for the odd person and I can see the stage and the walk way clearly.
Then they come on and I can see everything, even with my poor eyesight I can make out the band on stage but the monitors are down for the first 4 songs and everyone around has spotted it and commenting on the situation, but at this point I don’t care I’m watching one of favourite bands play Download and it’s possibly going to be the last gig they do over here.
The rest of the gig turns out to be somewhat blurry, the emotional feeling you get when watching one of your favourite bands for the first time has taken over but it’s ok, that feeling is not something you get used to and it’s not something that shows itself on a regular basis. They make their way through the songs I want to hear and the songs the fans in the crowd wanted to hear and they close the show with Walk This Way and playing it the way it’s supposed to be played.
And then it’s over, just like that and we all take that walk back to camp for the last time until next year, slowly shuffling our feet as the crowd slowly moves forward, backs aching, arms aching and necks aching and a slight chill in the air is forming, but every things fine we will all be doing the same thing tomorrow morning and that’s going home.
But what is it that makes people want to come to something like this every year? Why do we think it’s great to spend 3 to 5 days away from home sleeping in a large bag in a field along with thousands of other strangers and spending most of those days drinking warm beer and eating crap food and not to mention the lack of hygiene. It’s something inside all music fans especially rock and roll fans that want to do this every year and no one is ever too old to do it, maybe this is thing we all will do until we die.

Small Tales of Sun, Booze and Rock: Part 3.

When we wake up the next morning we can feel the pain from the night before, legs are aching, back is aching, neck is aching from the head banging and both in need for an urgent piss. So we get dressed and we crawl out of the tent like cavemen gone through a hurricane and making noises like old men just getting up after a long night of snooker and talks about the war and we hobble over to the wired fence and see the line of men pissing up against it and you can smell breakfast being cooked in the air.
We open a can of beer and chill outside the tent and think about the gig last night and what we have planned for later in the day and everyone around us are doing the same thing, we listen to the lads in the tent next to us have a conversation over burgers and bacon about how they are waking up at Download for the first time and how they can’t believe they got to witness System of A Down the night before.
We decide we need food so we open another can and walk towards the village in search of our traditional first morning Chinese breakfast. I cant help but think with my aching legs how am I going to make it over the mountain. Looking around at all the festival goers walking around, all of them nursing a sore head and sore legs and everyone that I notice is carrying an energy drink and that’s new, last year everyone at this time of the morning was carrying cans of booze and walking around still pissed from the night before, has it changed this much in a year since we last been and when we get to the village are we going to see people walking around with small cups of coffee and hot chocolate and eating cornflakes, a combination of food and drink like that could kill you at a festival like this, you need hair of the dog and starchy burgers.
We make it to the foot of the mountain and watch everyone struggle to get over it and we know it’s our turn now but somehow we manage it, our manage not to give way as we pull ourselves over the top and someone behind us shouts “HAS ANYONE GOT A FLAG WE’VE REACHED THE SUMMIT”.
We walk through the village and make it to our destination, the Chinese stall and I order myself a Chicken Chow Mein and Sam gets himself Sweet and Sour chicken either one is the perfect breakfast to start the day, a can of cider and a Chinese it’s what you need to store up enough energy for the rest of the day, you might find yourself blacking out and waking up surrounded by guys dressed as giant dicks and with the lack of energy in your body you could start hallucinating about being carried through a crowd of life sized ants on the backs of men dressed in dick costumes, that’s why you need a breakfast like this to survive the day.
Looking at the line for today neither has interest in seeing a lot of the bands playing, only Biffy, so we decide that when we do we will go see NXT Wrestling something that’s been passing us by every year we’ve been and now we have the perfect opportunity to see the show before we get down and watch Biffy.

After knocking down 7 cans of cider between us we make it to the main arena and start looking for the NXT show but first we head towards the dog bar and wait in line for 30 minutes to be served, everyone around us are complaining about how they’ve been waiting for 40 minutes or 50 minutes for a drink and people who have only been waiting for 10 minutes have been served quicker than they have, the lines for beer at an event can turn people into savages and maniacs and if you were looking from the outside in you would think everyone in line was a crazed alcoholic willing to turn to cannibalism so long as they can get a damn drink. After waiting for 30 minutes finally get served I tell Sam to order 4 pints of cider so I don’t have to wait for another 30 minutes for a fucking drink, so he does and the woman serving asks him for ID and Sam with a face of confusion willingly hands over his ID while shaking his head.
Finally we have cider and we walk towards the NXT tent “Fuck” says Sam “I need to get a shitting shirt this year, every year we come and I’ve still not got a bloody shirt, not even a hoodie”
“Mate I know, we can get one tomorrow, we need to hurry before the bloody shows over”.
We see the big NXT sign over the stalls and rush with two pints of cider and then we see it, the shows over, we missed it by 15 minutes “Oh my god” I say “if it wasn’t for that fucking line full of drunkards we would have got to see the show”
“We can go tomorrow mate, there’s always tomorrow”.
In disappointment we leave the NXT tent and walk towards to the main stage and by chance we find some seats that we can rest and wait for Biffy to hit the stage.

We sit on the seats and wait for Biffy to come on, we take in turns going to the dog bar while we wait.
A Day To Remember finish up their set so me and Sam hand over the chairs to a couple sitting near by and we go for a piss and go grab ourselves a beer before we make our move towards the stage.
We’ve now lost count with the beers, it could be our 8th beer or could be our 11th beer, none of us have a clue what number is but neither of us care we just walk towards the stage and join the crowd of Biffy Clyro fans. I can’t see behind me, I don’t know how big the crowd are for them, the reception for their announcement was mixed but I have a feeling they will smash it tonight.
The sun is setting  right behind the stage and i down my beer as the band walks on stage kicking in with Wolves of Winter and my eyes are glued to the stage for the rest of the performance, I don’t even notice if there’s any mosh pits forming or how people are feeling about them playing, not once do I turn my head to see what’s going on around me.
I was right, they smashed it, I didn’t think anything could beat last night with atmosphere from the crowd and the energy but I think Biffy proved themselves worthy headliners, I forgot how many great songs they have and I got chills at times when they brought our some of their best know tracks.
Taking the long walk back me and Sam don’t say a word to each other, both of us are surprised of how good the good gig was and how much it’s sobered us up, It’s one of those gigs that I won’t forget and we still have one more day left.