Post with 8 notes
Or rather, about 4 months of them. Seeing as I didn’t see any live music until the first weekend of September, which was when Bingley Music Live happened.
2nd-4th September - Bingley Music Live
Alright. I’m not going to lie, I bought a ticket for this purely because Maximo Park headlined the Saturday night. They were one of my favourite bands a couple of years ago, and I’d always wanted to see them live. They didn’t disappoint - it was my barrier induction, and they were the best band of the weekend by a long way for me. Paul Smith is a fabulous frontman, and we were all a little bit in love with him for a while after that night. I still knew all of the words despite not having listened to the band properly for a while, and left the barrier that night on a massive high. No other band really compared that weekend, although I did buy Mystery Jets’ album afterwards and quite enjoyed their performance.
17th September - The Bluetones, O2 Academy, Leeds
I entered this gig a casual fan and left with another band to add to my list of favourite bands, and a new frontman to add to my list of favourite frontmen. I think I place a lot of emotional significance on this night because it was my last night at home before moving to uni the next day, and I actually put off moving to uni because I had tickets for this gig. They were much better than I expected them to be, and I even found myself singing along to the songs I’d never heard before. It was the first time I’d come out of a gig with my ears ringing, and I felt proud when my friend Josie, whose first gig it was, said that she hadn’t realised it would be that good and she could understand why I like going to gigs so much. The best part of the night? Mark Morriss waving at me (I like to think he was, please don’t shatter my illusions if you were there) during Unpainted Arizona!
22nd September - The Bluetones, O2 Academy, Birmingham
I bought a ticket for this on a whim the day before as I knew it was the band’s farewell tour and couldn’t bear the thought of never seeing them live again. After a bit of a panic about getting there which ended with me dropping my change everywhere when I collected my ticket and collapsing onto the barrier and being asked if I was alright by a couple stood nearby, I had a good night. The gig wasn’t as emotionally intense as the Leeds gig, but I don’t regret going at all.
25th September - Echo & the Bunnymen, Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Bit of a weird one this - it was my first seated gig and the first time I’d been to a gig with my dad, who was an Echo fan in the 80s and saw them live then. He hadn’t originally been coming with me - I would have gone on my own, but my mum insisted on him travelling down to Birmingham to come with me because going to a gig on your own is “sad”, apparently. It was a bit surprising to get a text from him the next day saying “thank you for coming to the gig with me!” But that’s testament to how good they were live - Ocean Rain accompanied by strings sounded wonderful in a proper concert hall,and Ian McCulloch was hilarious (when we could actually tell what he was saying). It was marred a bit by me being convinced that I’d lost my purse only to find it on my desk back in my room at university, but a good evening nonetheless.
13th October - The Joy Formidable, HMV Institute, Birmingham
This was the cheapest of the gigs, and the first time I’d met up with people I’d conversed with online to go to a gig. TJF and their support bands were really LOUD and my ears were somewhat fragile for a few days afterwards (not helped by ending up near the speakers at Gatecrasher the next night, admittedly). They sounded good, the venue was good, and the company was also good. I’d see them live again.
4th November - Arctic Monkeys, LG Arena, Birmingham
My first arena gig, and although I enjoyed it, there was something lacking. Arctic Monkeys were my first ever favourite band, way back when I was about 14 and Whatever People Say I Am… and Favourite Worst Nightmare were the only albums I listened to for a while. I’m glad I finally got to see them live (or rather hear them from behind some rather tall people). We tried and failed to start a Yorkshire chant. I enjoyed the songs from the first two albums more than the ones from Humbug & Suck It and See. I dread to think what was in my hair afterwards, but it did not feel good. While I still like the band, I just didn’t feel like it had been a fantastic gig.
18th November - Death Cab For Cutie, Ballroom, Birmingham
I’d bought a ticket for this after meeting someone and informing him about the gig, only for us to become a couple not long afterwards. It was his first gig and I couldn’t let him go on his own. I’d listened to Death Cab and liked what I’d heard, and I normally enjoy gigs regardless, so I went along. They were much better than I expected - very big sounding: I Will Possess Your Heart sounded massive. I found myself welling up during I Will Follow You Into the Dark, something that’s never happened before at a gig, or happened since, for that matter. It was definitely one of the better gigs I’ve been to this year, and again I felt proud for having taken someone to their first gig and seen how much they’d enjoyed it. Would I see them again? Definitely. I don’t normally enjoy seeing bands live when I don’t know the songs well but that night was an exception.
24th November - Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls, O2 Academy, Birmingham
Out of all the gigs I had tickets to these past few months, this was the one I’d been looking forward to most and I was definitely not disappointed. Frank Turner is one amazing live performer - the way he got the whole crowd to sing along during closing song Photosynthesis was wonderful. The only niggle I had was during acoustic song Nights Become Days, one of my favourites on latest album England Keep My Bones, when the amount of muttering in the background began to really annoy me. Apart from that, it was perfect, and meeting the man himself after the gig made it even better. I was still on a massive high the day before and made it to lectures in half the amount of time it usually takes me. I can’t wait until he does another small venues tour and I can see him live again. I think I might even drag my parents along next time.
6th December - Kasabian, National Indoor Arena, Birmingham
Don’t get me wrong, Kasabian sounded fantastic, and Tom Meighan and Serge Pizzorno are very entertaining live performers, but there was something lacking. I just hadn’t been up for it really to be fair - I had a bit of hassle with the ticket delivery and thought I might not end up going, and I hadn’t listened to the new album before the gig at all. I was right on the barrier but found the experience a bit unpleasant because I wasn’t getting into it properly. While waiting for a taxi outside the venue afterwards I started shaking because it was cold and I was very scared (but I got a nice taxi driver who directed me to where he was by phone). It just wasn’t a night I particularly enjoyed, but I would see Kasabian again, if someone would come with me. I wouldn’t normally mind being on my own but for some reason (possibly because it was in an arena) I did that night.
17/12/2011 - Manic Street Preachers, O2 Arena, London
Here was the big one. The Manics have been my favourite band for about the past 18 months or so, and last time I’d seen them live, I’d felt miserable for weeks afterwards because nothing compared to how good that night had been. In the few months before the gig, my obsession had begun to fade a little bit, and I was a bit sceptical about how good the gig would be because I’d decided I didn’t like arenas that much at all, plus I knew it would cost a lot for the whole weekend (transport to London, accommodation, tube fares etc.). Would it be worth it?
The answer is: yes. Every single penny.
I love the Manics even more now than I did during my most obsessed phase, if that is even possible. The whole night was just perfect - I sang along to every song and came out hoarse; Nicky Wire - my hero - was only a few metres in front of me (and he got his legs out in the second half when he changed into a dress!!); Nina Persson, another musician I admire greatly, joined them onstage and sounded brilliant live…it was the best night of my life so far (I’ve noticed a recurring theme - most of the best nights of my life involve live music in some way). The only things that could have made it better were a certain someone being there with me, or meeting the band afterwards. They pulled it off; I needn’t have worried.
Of course, it wasn’t just the band that made it such an amazing night - I met and/or spent time with some truly wonderful and fantastic people that weekend who I wouldn’t know if I hadn’t become a fan of the Manics. I have so much to thank that band for.
So, my top 10 (well, only 10) gigs of 2011 rank as follows: