The first gig of 2003 turned out to absolutely fantastic. We went to see The Broken Family Band, Herman Dune, and Of Montreal at the Portland Arms. All three bands were great, but Broken Family Band stole the show with their mixture of Crowded House style jangles, country affectations, and tongue in cheek humour. They’re a local Cambridge band and seem to be destined for big things – keep an eye out for their EP that’s just out.
Herman Dune were very different. A strange mixture of the Velvet Underground and They Might be Giants they sported some regulation length CAMRA beards and made for a fun and interesting kind of band.
Of Montreal were more typical Indie rock and ended the night with the crowd going wild, which wasn’t bad considering the venue was smaller than our living room. Very much a standard punky sort of thing, they had a great sound and seemd to enjoy what they were doing. Ending on Black Sabbath’s War Pigs made sure that we all left feeling pretty high. Those of us who knew what War Pigs was – naming no names, of course…
The 100 Acres that was on in Longstanton the Saturday before last was the first festival of it’s kind in Cambridge and appeared to be a rousing success.
Alabama 3, the headliners, were every bit as good as expected, though the American accents started to slip back towards Edinburgh and Brixton towards the end. Cornershop were great as well, despite the lead singer’s seeming boredom with the whole event. They played a fantastic sitar jam at the end of their set which blew us all away.
A couple of new bands there seem to be worth watching out for. Other Garden (who impressed me with an impromptu cover version of Lazy Sunday Afternoon) and Silverfish.
You wouldn’t think it possible with the weather from the past few days, but I’ve been persuaded to go Californian and buy a pair of Rollerblades.
After a boozy Friday night I crawled out of bed and made it to the rollerblade shop on Mill Rd and got a lovely pair of Cylon boots with detatchable wheels on the bottom. Meeting some people at the Beehive Centre proved too much like exercise so we gave up after an hour and went drinking again.
How nice are the people at Forbidden Planet here in Cambridge? I went in a couple of weeks ago looking for Amazing Spiderman #42 a couple of weeks after it had come out and not surprisingly they had sold all their copies.
Once I asked the lovely manager if they had any, he offered to call around all the FP outlets in the UK to see if anyone had a spare copy. Eventually they had one on Coventry because aparantly no-one buys comics there, so I wandered into town yesterday on the free bus that work provides once a fortnight and picked it up. They still only charged the cover price despite the fact that it probably cost them that much to get it sent down and to phone around. Fantastic!
Last night I managed to head off see The Flaming Lips in the Junction. Having never heard the band before I was ready for anything, but I’ve had good luck and not a little help in getting to see good bands since I’ve been here so why not.
All I can say is, “Bloody hell! Was that just the most orgasmic musical experience I’ve ever had or what?” The Lips had us eating out of the palms of their hands. Consummate showmen without a hint of arrogance or bravado, they played over an hour of the best rawk music I’ve heard. Of course they’re well known for She Don’t Use Jelly (a song I was delighted to recognise), their new album is absolutely fantastic. I’d recommend you all run, don’t walk to the web site for a listen and then go out and buy the bloody thing.
As if that wasn’t a perfect night, the support bands were excellent too. The young Silverfish with an interesting Travis-like sound and Bob Mould who is indescribable. Picture it: a bald thirtyish man plaing heavy indie rock accompanied by a drum machine and various electronic sounds. No it’s not Beck, it’s much less depressing than that.
So there you go. Two nice records to go find and rock to.
After only four matches it’s all over for us. Despite playing their little hearts out, the Irish team are heading home to a heroes welcome. Continuing the tactic of letting in an early goal and clawing through ninety minutes to a spectacular draw, McCarthy’s Eleven went on to take shot after shot at the Spanish goal before losing on penalties. The irony when compared to Italy 1990 is far from lost on me.
On the other hand I did go to see Spiderman during the week. What a fantastic movie. This is everything the Episode II should have been and now with Ang Lee‘s Hulk coming up, it looks like it’s going to be a good year for comic book fans.
Another hint: Check out The Libertines. I saw them at the Peterborough Met on Friday and even though they only played for a half hour, they were amazing. I’ve a feeling these guys are going to be bigger than Blur or Oasis combined. Punk isn’t dead – there is finally life after Steps.
Beer, beer, beer, beer. Beer, beer, beer, beer. Yes, I spent last night at the Cambridge Beer festival over on Jesus Green. An enormous tent filled with a bizarre mixture of students, professionals, Iron Maiden wannabes, normal folks, and strange facial haired CAMRA members. There must have been a hundred or so types of beer for sale and the weather so so good we say in the sun drinking away.
One hint though, if you ask for Stout, don’t expect to be handed a Guinness or Murphy’s. It tastes more like porter that’s been left sitting in the slops tray for a couple of years, heated up, and then served in a filthy glass which was last use for storing sewage.
Two words to strike fear into the heart of adult and child alike: Root Canal.
I’ve had an abcess for a while ever since I had to get eight fillings in one go and decided to find an NHS dentist to take care of it. Little did I know that it’d involve five injections of anaestethic, much drilling, and a good looking dentist poking around in the soft tissue of my gum for fourty minutes all made worse by having my appointment at eight in the morning.
The only thing that kept me sane was munching on Ibuprofen for the rest of the day. I’m probably over my limit, but I’ve a low tolerence for pain and a high tolerence for drugs.
Six days rest not before I go back for more drilling. Good time to watch Marathon Man again.
That was a busy weekend. First I went down to London to meet Iain and then he came back up to Cambridge to potter about the town.
I arrived in London in the afternoon and of course we went down Tottenham Court Road where I went and got a digital camera for next to nothing. Then on to another part of London – South Kensington – and the Science Museum. We hadn’t much time there but we got to see the introductory exhibit, the Space stuff, and some odd, old, household appliances. A cheap Chinese buffet for dinner and then on to O’Neill’s Irish pub to meet Elizabeth, Iain’s girlfriend. I was the only one drinking, but then again, you have to when playing a gooseberry.
Got the last, cancelled, train home and fell asleep. It’s not good for the heart to be woken up by someone banging on the window at the station at 2am, no matter how good looking she is. My chat-up line of, “Oh fuck, sweet Jaysis” didn’t go down well, so I muttered a quiet thanks and wombled off to the taxi rank.