Friday, 23 February 2018

30 years ago, I went to London to buy records and saw Erasure Live

It was not exactly 30 years ago, it was the 7th of May 1988. I did indeed go to London to buy records. All those rare 7'' and 12'' singles (and the new - at the time - CD singles) that I could not find in Greece. From Heathrow, I went straight to my hotel in Paddington and from then straight on to Virgin Megastore on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street. From then I moved further west down Oxford Street to HMV. And it was there that I noticed a box office stand. I looked to see if there were any gigs that night. I noticed that Erasure were playing Hammersmith Odeon. "Have you got any tickets for Erasure tonight?" I asked. "No, I don't have any here, you have to go to the venue" the guy answered. "Where's that?" I asked. "Er... Hammersmith" (stupid question). Thankfully, it was just outside Hammersmith Tube station, I went there, got my ticket, went back to the West End to buy more records and later that night I went to see Erasure. It was the time of the "Innocents" tour (their 3rd album). Andy was amazing on stage but what has stayed with me ever since was the way he introduced "A Little Respect" (that was the first time I heard that song)
"When I was a little... girl,
I asked my mother what will I be...
Will I be homosexual?
Will I be heterosexual?
Or will I be bisexual?
And mu mother said
The next day was Sunday, the shops were closed (it was, after all 1988), my flight was later in the afternoon and so I went for a little sightseeing to Big Ben and Tower Bridge.
In 2009 Erasure released a 21st aniversary edition of "The Innocents" which featured a DVD of a gig from that tour (It was Birningham NEC later that year). But the bonus CD also featured a few tracks from Hammersmith Odeon. What had happened was this: The gig I went to was on Saturday the 7th of May. They had also played there on Friday the 6th and Sunday the 8th. The Sunday gig was broadcast by the BBC, so that's where these tracks came from.

20 years later, in 2008,  I saw a Vince Clarke band again! It was Yazoo this time at the Manchester Apollo on their Reconnected tour. It seems that on almost every tear ending in 8 I see Vince Clarke. Because, now, in 2018, 30 years after my first Erasure gig, I'm going to see them again, at exactly the same place, Hammersmith Odeon (which is now called Eventim Apollo).
See you there!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Mary you are a Goddess!

Ten years ago, we were living in the "MySpace" era. For example, when I first discovered Marsheaux, I went to their MySpace page to find out more information about them. Later that summer, a friend of mine recommended that I check another band from MySpace: "Mary And The Boy". They described their music as "piano punk" and that's probably exactly what it was. And on top of that I was immediately mesmerized by the haunting sound of Mary's voice.
So, when they announced a gig at An Club in Athens, I immediately called my friend up insisting that we go to that one. And there I was once again mesmerized by Mary's stage presence. Mary And The Boy were exactly what their name described: Mary on vocals and The Boy on synths and various keyboards. On stage they were joined by a female dancer and another guy which ten years later, I can't exactly remember what it was that he was doing.
The gig took place exactly ten years ago. I decided to revisit it as I usually do with gigs on their tenth anniversary. To my surprise, while searching through my hard disks I realized that I did not have much material from that night. A few dark photos and only a couple of short clips. It's no wonder since it was dark in there that night, very dark. An appropriate environment for the band's music. And they played for many hours well into the night. And what I most remember about it was the girl who was constantly shouting to Mary "You are a goddess!".

Mary And The Boy disbanded a year later, having released two albums. In the meantime Mary secured a major role in the Academy Award nominated Greek film "Dogtooth". The Boy continued as a solo artist.
Unfortunately, this 10th anniversary is not a pleasant one. Mary left this world last year at the age of 30.
Goodnight Mary. To paraphrase somebody else "this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you". You will be a Goddess forever...

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Monday, 1 January 2018

Gazing ahead into 2018...

I am wondering what gigs the new year will (probably) bring. Hopefully there will be more details in future posts along with memories on the anniversaries of old gigs. Finally I hope to have more time for the travel posts that I have promised. Happy new year everyone!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 was brought to you by...

Well I'm not going to say by Sony, but there's been a change of camera as of late last year because  as you can see from the photo above which had to be taken with the old camera (the new one cannot take selfies of itself!) dust had crept inside the lens and nothing could be done about it.
So, I finally said goodbye to the old one which had been with me to all the concerts since 2009.
I had of course a new mobile since late 2015 (which was joined by a similar tablet earlier this year), and the pictures they can take are clearer and sharper than the old camera, but they are not of much use in a concert unless you are close to the stage because of the lack of a significant zoom.
Nevertheless they were both used on the first gig of the year which was in a small venue. Now, I don't normally bring my tablet to gigs, but I went to that one straught after work, so I was carrying it with me and I had the opportunity to test it.
Finally, hoping for more gigs in 2018, I leave you with memories from the two main ones of 2017; this...

...and this!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Fly Beeyond Festival 2007

In the last of my "10 years ago" series for 2007, I want to take a look back at what was promised as Greece's first pop music festival on July 17, 18 and 19 but didn't turn out as good as it looked on paper.
First of all, I wanted to attend day 2 (like everybody else), not only because the newly reformed James were headlining but also because of Tori Amos whose fan I had been since 1992 and I had wanted to see her live ever since. And I knew I would probably enjoy seeing Air whose "Kelly Watch The Stars" was a song I really liked when I discovered it a few years earlier on a British TV feature on "Charlie's Angels" (Did you know that it was actually written for Kelly from that series?). Then I looked at the line up of day 3 and although I didn't care much for Pink who was headlining I thought that I would love to see Sugababes. I wasn't a fan, but I had noticed that I actually loved most of their singles. So it was going to be day 2 and 3 I thought. But because a 2 day ticket was cheaper that two one day ones and a 3 day ticket was cheaper than 3 one day ones, I thought "why not see the whole thing?". I wouldn't mind seeing Avril Lavigne who was headlining the first day.
When I arrived on the first day, Mikro were on stage who had replaced The Rasmus at the last moment. I was really happy about that, since I had already seen Marsheaux a few weeks earlier. They put on a great show and one unforgettable moment was when the teen (and probably pre-teen as well) girl fans were chanting "Avril, Avril..." the lead singer responded by saying "Later! Now it's MIKRO!!!"

Avril Lavigne did indeed appear later and did not disppoint. What I mostly enjoyed about her set was her cover of "All The Small Things" by Blink 182 at the end.
On day 2 I was there early to catch Tori Amos. I love her set, but most people ignored her. 
Then I decided to get a drink before Air came up and got stuck in a long queue for about 90 minutes. I watched the beginning of Air's set from the bar queue, but I was back in my place (with alcohol included) in time for "Kelly Watch The Stars".
Finally James came on, the highlight of the festival. We were all singing along and dancing with "Sit Down", "Tomorrow", "Laid" and "Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)". They also played one of their new songs plus a special extended version of "Gold Mother". "This is not a reunion, it's a rebirth" as Tim Booth said...
On day 3 I knew something was wrong from the beginning when Onirama's set lasted for 90 minutes. They even said goodbye and then came back. They were playing one of their own songs and then a cover. Then one of their songs and then a cover. And so on...
Sugababes were late and when they appeared only 2 of them came up on stage. And then they left after 20 minutes! Considering that the ticket for day 3 was refunded it was still an enjoyable 20 minutes, plenty of time for them to realize that the (very few) people attending knew the lyrics to their songs.
After they left it was announced that Pink would not appear because she was stuck back at the hotel with "stomach problems". Oh well... As I said the price of the day 3 ticket was refunded, I got my 20 minutes of Sugababes so I can't really complain. Rumours were going arould that Pink (and probably the 3rd Sugababe) did not appear because of the fact that only a few people bothered to attend. (There weren't many people on the first day either, but Avril, a true professional, went out and performed anyway).

What we learned from the whole experience was something that we suspected: That Greeks do not go to pop concerts. They would sell out the Olympic Stadium the following year for Madonna, but that is of course another story...

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Going down to The Dream Syndicate and Dustbowl show

Back in the early 80's The Dream Syndicate debut album "Days Of Wine And Roses" was marketed by their record company alongside the debut album by the Violent Femmes. As something "American" and "alternative". The truth is that each of the two bands has a different and quite distinct sound, but this ad, was the reason for me, who was already listening to the Violent Femmes to explore The Dream Syndicate.
I finally saw the Violent Femmes live 3 years ago and now it was time to see The Dream Syndicate. There was an extra reson for doing so. Support was provided by Dustbowl whom I had seen twice before, three years ago on their Johnny Cash Tribute show and two years ago at the Music Highway Festival previewing their latest album "The Great Fandango".
I arrived at the venue just as Dustbowl had started playing, a setlist mostly based on that very same album. I was glad to hear these songs again now that I'm familiar with "The Great Fandango", an album that according to my own personal list was one of the best albums of 2016.

On top of that, Dustbowl's sound is a perfect match foe the southern rock of The Dream Syndicate.
So the headliners came on stage and we started suspecting that we were in for a special treat when Steve Wynn announced that this was the last date of their European Tour.

Their set was over in 90 minutes and just as we were wondering if that was all, it was followed not by one, but by two lengthy encores.

The only thing that disappointed me was the version of "Medicine Show" they decided to play, but I have to stress out that this is my own personal opinion.

They more than made up for it when they managed to sneak in a Tom Petty tribute within "Boston".

They even played music from their latest album (Yes, they do have a new album out) and even that was one of the highlights of the night.

They finally wrapped things up in the most appropriate way: With "John Coltrane Stereo Blues"

They had played in Athens again in 2013 but I had missed that one. So this night was a dream come true for me...

01. Linger On
02. Sweet Flowers And Vine
03. Lay Me Down Easy
05. The Mourner
06. Heavy Chain Ball
07. Bread And Soil
08. Strain Of Care
09. The Great Fandango
10. The Boat
11. Billy

The Dream Syndicate
01. Halloween
02. The Circle
03. 80 West
04. Armed With An Empty Gun
05. Like Mary
07. Filter Me Through You
08. Burn
09. Whatever You Please
11. How Did I Find Myself Here
12. Forest For the Trees
13. That's What You Always Say
14. The Days Of Wine and Roses
15. Glide
16. The Side I'll Never Show
Encore 2:
18. When The Curtain Falls
20. John Coltrane Stereo Blues