Monday, 14 December 2020

Little Boots live in London November 2019

The story of how I ended up in London in 2019 watching Little Boots is quite a long one. Back in 2007 I saw Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark live at Lycabettus Theatre in Athens. Back then I thought that no-one was listening to synth-pop anymore. But at the same gig I discovered that support band Marsheaux not only listened to, but played synth-pop as well. Trying to find a way to buy their albums I joined their MySpace page. Through that page I was informed when they decided to start a forum page. At that forum we didn't just talk about Marsheaux but about other synth pop artists. One of the artists that I discovered through the Marsheaux Forum was Little Boots. Another one was La Roux. Anyway back then I thought of Little Boots as "the Lady GaGa of synth-pop". So having seen the real Lady GaGa in 2014, I thought "Why haven't I seen Little Boots yet?".  One of the reasons was probably that she preferred doing DJ sets instead of gigs. My chance finally came up with the 10th anniversary of her first album "Hands". She released a special deluxe edition of it and I was part of the crowdfunding process. She also announced an anniversary mini-tour where most of the dates were in the USA and one, just one in the UK: London on the 23rd of November 2019. I bought a ticket even though I didn't know if I was going to be able to go and it was lucky that I did because it was soon sold out.
On the night of Friday the 22nd I went straight to the airport from work. And since I wasn't working on Monday I was going to make this a long weekend. I was able to find a hotel room in my favourite area of London, Bayswater (where I had also lived for a year!) and the venue was on Holloway Road near University Of North London (it has a different name now), where I got my first degree from. So this was like a trip down memory lane! 

I was there on time, before the doors opened and so I joined the queue that had formed. Once we got in, I didn't go to check the merchandise stand, I just went to secure my place as close to the front as possible. As this was a sold out gig, I knew that it would fill up quickly.

Opening act Girli was a pleasant surprise. At that time I was worried because I couldn't find her music anywhere, however she has now released an album and I'm planning on ordering that soon. 

The wait for Little Boots was over when the opening notes of "New In Town" were heard. Because yes, she was going to play the complete "Hands" album from start to finish! One of the highlights was a special extended version of "Stuck On Repeat", while "Remedy" was, at least for me, the best part of that night... so far (Because the best part of the night for me would come at the after show party... read on!). 

On "Perfect Symmetry" Phil Oakey's part was sung by Tom Aspaul. Unfortunately her beloved Tenori-On gave up halfway through the gig.

After the main part of "Hands", she sat at the keyboard and treated us to an acoustic medley of "No Brakes" (the last track from "Hands"), "Echoes" (an outtake now finally released in the deluxe edition) and two cover versions: New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" and Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill". 

And she told us about how her boyfriend had proposed to her (and that she had said yes!). It wasn't over though, because then she treated us to songs from her later albums, ending with my favourite from "Nocturnes" (her second one) called "Shake" where Girli, Tom Aspaul,her mum and several members of the audience joined her on stage. 

That was the end of the gig but there was an after show party coming up upstairs. I still hadn't decided whether I would go to that one, so I hang out at the merchandise stand which was manned by her brother, so I got to meet him as well. I bought a 12 inch EP I didn't have and a long-sleeved t-shirt. 

Then we were told that the venue would have to close and would we please move on upstairs for the after-show party. So, right there and then, 12 inch in hand, I decided to go. I wanted to experience one of her DJ-sets anyway. And the fact that the London Underground is now running through the night on weekends meant that I wouldn't have any trouble getting back to my hotel. Technically, the upstairs area of The Garage is a different club called The Grace. So I found myself on a Saturday night in London going nightclubbing! Not bad!
She didn't spend much time behind the decks though. She was mostly among the crowd. I was too shy to talk to her though. But then someone from the crowd noticed me standing there with my 12 inch and thought that I wanted her to sign it for me (well, I did!) and he talked to her mum (I got to meet her as well!) who in turned talk to Victoria who signed my record and took a picture with me. Thank you Wayne for taking that picture! Meanwhile, I told her all about how I had come all the way from Greece for that gig. All the while I was enjoying the music, this was a very good DJ set featuring amazing soings from the 70's ("Use It Up And Wear It Out"), 80's ("Funkytown"), 90's and even 00's favourites ("I Follow Rivers"). And even Little Boots' own songs ("Get Things Done"). I even got a drink from the bar and I was surprised at how reasonably it was priced. Totally unlike the clubs in Greece. 

And so, at the end of the night, with my now signed 12 inch still in hand I made it to the London Underground and back to Bayswater and my hotel.

I spent the next day strolling through London, I went to the Clash's "London Calling" Exhibition at the Museum Of London and shopping for clothes at Primark among other things but these will probably be the subject of another blog post.
On Monday morning I went to the airport to go back to Greece. What I didn't know then was that this would be my last trip and gig abroad because of the subsequent lockdowns. It was a special one, though!

01. New In Town
02. Earthquake
03. Stuck On Repeat
04. Click
05. Remedy
06. Meddle
07. Ghost
08. Mathematics
09. Symmetry
10. Tune Into My Heart
11. Hearts Collide
12. No Brakes / Echoes / Bizarre Love Triangle/ Running Up That Hill
Encore 2:
13. Working Girl
14. Get Things Done
15. Shadows
16. Motorway
17. Every Night I Say A Prayer
18. Shake

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