Sunday, 31 October 2010

Just to watch him die...

(this really should have been posted in the first week of October...)


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome, to the loudest acoustic evening of your lives...

The Airborne Toxic Event's Mikel Jollett didn't actually say this in Edinburgh last week but he might just as well have...I think the acoustic guitars maybe lasted until about midway through the second song when they were ditched in favour of the full on post-punk-Jam-Clash-U2-if-they-were-any-good wig-out.

My god (that'll be Billy Connolly or Chic Charnley then) this lot are good. That perhaps drags understatement into a whole new sphere. The Airborne Toxic event are fantastic: energetic, tuneful, melodic, exciting, inspiring, grinning, bouncing, anthemic, clever, funny, mesmerising, throbbing and loud. In short, absolutely everything you could ever want in a band.

Any band, yes, any band who have the sheer cajones to segue from their own "Missy" into Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" then into a rockabilly/punk version of "Folsom Prison Blues" has got to be worth seeing. The energy of the Cash cover in particular reminded us all where Johhny Rotten and co. got their ideas from. In my mind's eye, as I watched Mikel and the gang, all I could see was this:

Really. That good.

Obviously I could go on and on and do a full gig-review and all that kind of thing but really, for a flavour of just how fantastic they were (and are) the other fans who've seen them over the last year or so provide a great variety of positivity here.

One reviewer, though, reminded me of part of the evening which should be adopted by other frontmen at gigs: one particularly talkative punter near the front was chatting all the way through the opening couple of numbers and clearly, in such an intimate setting, was making himself heard by everyone from the drummer to the stewards at the back of the hall. Mr. Jollet proceeded to lob a plectrum and a volley of abuse in his face much to the delight of the crowd - "that's the great thing about Scotland, you either wanna love someone or beat their f***in heads in!"

Yup. The Man In Black would be proud, after all, Johnny shot a man in Reno for less...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

You'll be betrayed by your accent and manners...

Well that was an, albeit brief, education.

Seeing as how we are, in actual fact, in the city (Edinburgh) I thought I'd start this blog with a wee Jam lyric. The musically inclined amongst you will spot that indeed I have...but it's from 'Strange Town' and not 'In The City'. How the memory plays tricks. I'd convinced myself that "they say don't know, don't care and I gotta go mate" - Mr. Paul J Weller's tale of a young man coming to London from the outlying provinces -Woking in his case - and finding the big city a tad unfriendly, was told in 'In The City'.

A quick Google gave me pages of lyrics for the song but not the ones I recognised. What on earth was going on? Searching for the lyric rather than the title brought me to Strange Town...whaddya mean all The Jam's songs sounded the same?!

Anyway, none of this is the point. The point is we're in, what for the kids at any rate, is a strange town. Much uncharacteristically tight hand-holding and country-comes-to-town gazing up at high things and double decker buses as we walked from our hotel to the playpark in Princes Street Gardens.

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I once wrote, many years ago now, on another blog, about how a trip to Ireland had been measured in playparks on account of the wee man's obsession for a swing and a seesaw. It's easy to see the attraction. You get to run about mad, jump on things, make a racket and bounce up and down without so much as a sideways glance from the parentals.

It's a bit like being a child in a primary school. I josh.

The park diverted the weans for a good forty minutes before a wee grey squirrel had them tearing off in hot pursuit. Their hot pursuit, however, soon had the little rodent tearing off in the opposite direction...

Onwards then towards the bright lights of Lothian Road in search of some child-friendly sustenance. Having gotten over the shock - and major disappointment - of our old BC (before children) haunt, The Traverse Theatre Cafe Bar, being closed...

...I took the munchkins across the road, past the newly funked-up Usher Hall, to the Filmhouse.

Six o'clock on an October Sunday and it was heaving - a real cross-section of folks, all tucking into hearty looking (if a trifle lentil-friendly) fayre...a tad on the pricey side though and none of the spaghetti bolognese that the youngest had been requesting...I don't think the veggie lasagne or chickpea curry would have satisfied her somehow. Och well, across the road once more to cheap & cheerful Dario's for pizza and pasta. Sometimes simple is best.

On the plus side, we returned to the Filmhouse later for ice cream and a pint. Vanilla for me, IPA & Guinness for the wee ones...

Edinburgh. Done.