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    Brand New Manchester setlist – 23/06/09

    The BNUKST blog has been set up by Jamie, the street team leader, which we’ve all been blogging to. Craig posted the set-list from last night’s gig in Manchester, which is below.

    1.The Shower Scene.
    2.The Quiet Things.
    3.The No Seatbelt Song.
    4.Sic Transit Gloria.
    5.Okay I Believe You.
    6.Jaws Theme Swimming.
    7.Play Crack the Sky.
    9.Sowing Season.
    11.Jesus Christ.
    15.You Won’t Know.
    16.Welcome to Bangkok.

    *This was originally posted on my old blog BeanHeartBatman*

    Music and Movies

    Day one: Brand New roadtrip 2009 – Manchester

    It’s monsoon season in Manchester. Or that’s how it would seem two hours before the gig. But that’s never going to put anyone off – we’re an overly enthusiastic bunch and we’ve travelled for miles to get here. And some us may have had the security of a car.

    Louise, Kam and I pick up Jen and head for the venue, dumping the car in a car park and finding the rest of the crew in The Oxford – over the road from the venue. There’s a veritable medley of people from BNUKST board – from Liverpool, Newcastle, Stoke, Birmingham, Scotland to America and Sweden. It’s a good chance to meet fellow boardies and grab dinner.

    Moneen are on first, surprisingly. They play an incredibly enthusiastic set but it’s easy to see that most of the audience have no idea who they are. Hopefully this will have earned them some new fans – they certainly deserved it from tonight’s performance. A new album is out in September and they showcased a new song ‘believe’, whose upbeat lyrics contained the idea of believing in your own way –
    which seems at odds with Brand New’s dower “die young save yourself”.

    Fan favourite Kevin Devine and his Goddam Band were up next and my did they rock. Opening with the required Cotton Crush, a good range of old and new material was played, including several songs from Brothers Blood – released in the UK on 20th July. Having seen Kevin Devine with and without a backing band, with band the songs definitely had more power behind them. But it’ll be nice to see a more stripped down version either on Thursday at the Retrobar or failing that in July when he supports Manchester Orchestra.

    Brand New take the stage promptly at 9.30 and announce that they intend to play straight through to 11pm, without any nonsense. Which always seems a shame as a good amount of onstage banter can make a gig. But this is Brand New and it’s now almost expected.

    They open with Shower Scene and it’s good to hear they’re playing stuff from Your Favourite Weapon. In fact the show seems portioned off into older stuff like Sic Transit Gloria, Quiet Things, Okay I believe you but my tommy gun don’t, Jaws Theme Swimming and No Seatbelt Song as well as newer stuff from The Devil and God and two newer, as yet unreleased, songs. But a new album it’s on it’s way –
    finally! People seem divided on whether this portioning is a good move; to me it works, but I think they’ve done it well, grouping similar sounding stuff and tempos together.

    It’s been two years since they last toured and everyone seemed glad to see them, hear old favourites and new tracks in anticipation from the new album. It was a good gig but the audience didn’t seem as engrossed as I’d have expected. Hopefully the crowds at the other gigs will be better.

    Post-gig we’re all sweaty and in need of a drink. So off to Mc Donalds and back to the hotel. Where we’re asked if we enjoyed Take That – who were also playing in Manchester tonight. That was quickly put right and up to the rooms. Off to Glasgow tomorrow!

    Quote of the day from Kam about Louise’s sat nav “it’s the kind of noise your toaster would make if it was melting”

    *This was originally posted on my old blog BeanHeartBatman*

    Music and Movies

    Birmingham Academy is moving

    Birmingham’s Academy is finally moving. They’ve been threatening this since I started secondary school back in 1996, but it’s finally going off to the old Dome II just off from Smallbrook Queensway to some place apparently called Horse Fair. Editors play the opening night on 10th September.

    This is fantastic news. The current Academy really isn’t fit for purpose. The main room is fairly lacking in atmosphere and the two smaller rooms have incredibly bad views if you’re any further than five people back. Hopefully the new main room will have that same sense of purpose as the Wolverhampton Civic, where the stage is viewable from anywhere within the room and feels like a venue for live music – if a little too mainstream.

    The location isn’t ideal though. Sure, it’s better for students living in Selly Oak (and using the 60’s buses) but worse for the general public as it seems further out from the core city centre and public transport – particularly those coming from out of town needing the train or bus stations. And last time I was around there the pedestrian access seemed lacking, which is concerning given the amount of traffic around that area and the level of drunk people from club nights.

    But I am slightly disappointed that the new academy is essentially replacing like for like and there are no extra venues to match, say, the Manchester Academy.  There is a perception that bands get too big for the B’ham Academy but too small for the NEC/NIA and so go to Wolverhampton. In fact the Civic is the same size as the largest Academy room, the Wulfrun holds 1134 and the Little Civic holds 140. Whereas the Academy 2, old and new, holds 600 (the current one can be reduced to 400) and the Academy 3 currently holds 200 with the newer one holding 250.  So that can’t be the case, but it feels like it.

    The Wolverhampton venues also have the added advantage of being separate venues so three bands can play at once. There rarely seems to be more than one gig hapening at the current academy on an evening and when there is it seems like a real hassle. Something which doesn’t occur in Manchester or Liverpool’s Academys. Hopefully this is something they’ll rectify for the new Academy so more established bands will play in Birmingham instead of Wolves!

    *This was originally posted on my old blog BeanHeartBatman*

    Music and Movies

    All Tomorrow’s Parties 2009 – Breeders

    ATP was, as expected, fantastic and I had one up on last years in that I’d actually seen one of the bands and dragged everyone to see the Bronx. They were fantastic and seemed better than when I saw them before.  And their side project Mariachi el Bronx were surprisingly hilarious too – who knew a punk band could play traditional Mexican music?!

    Beccy had seen Whispertown 2000 in America so we had to see them and they were really enjoyable.  A little twee (bluegrass-country stuff) and the lead singer was dangerously close to flashing, but they were fun.  On the last song the drummer (who was playing guitar at the time) and bassist both mimed into missing mics whilst the two other members of the band sung.  Hilarious.  We spotted the drummer and bassist in the crowd for CSS later who seemed to be having an awesome time.

    Kimya Dawson was another highlight. Her children’s songs were hilarious and the songs from Juno were a big hit.  But not nearly as much as her group hug at the end of her set where she had the whole audience hold hands, wind in and hug.  I’m not sure it’s possible to explain how awesome it was to experience, but it was a thing to behold.

    Other bands I remembered seeing…
    •    Teenage Fanclub attracted the older people in the audience and were enjoyed as background to dinner from Burger King.
    •    Melt Banana seemed frenetically fun but not really to everyone’s taste as friends wanted to leave half way though – which was a shame
    •    The Breeders were also good, even if Beccy and I spent most of it playing on the 2p machines at the back.
    •    Bon Iver’s set didn’t feel like anything spectacular but the music was nice, so I enjoyed it sat on the floor at the back.  
    •    Yann Tierson was fun to watch and had a man on stage reading from a book.
    •    Blood Red Shoes seemed like the usual shouty indie.
    •    CSS were incredibly fun and decorated the stage with balloons that looked amazing.
    •    Tricky threw some god-like moves, was impressive and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
    •    Zach Hill’s drummer was clearly accomplished but got a bit dull after a while.
    •    Some other bands who’ve all melted into one – woops

    Other highlights included the aforementioned 2p machines, the psychedelic carpet (again), crazy dancers, watching other people in the rain, converse parties, gnomes tripping on LSD at a funeral, sarcastic signs, dancing security guards singing ‘stop in the name…’ and checked-shirt spotting.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the world’s most polite festival ever and looking forward to going back to next years!

    *This was originally posted on my old blog BeanHeartBatman*

    Music and Movies

    John Mayer gig at the Birmingham Academy 24/6/08

    24th June 2008
    Birmingham Carling Academy

    John Mayer is relatively unknown in this country, or was before his love-life became the interest of tabloids. His bluesy acoustic-rock is effortlessly accessible and coupled with the Santana gig; it was great to see two legends in one week.

    British singer-songwriter Jack McManus is an inspired choice for support act. His pleasant piano-centric songs are light and breezy and highlight the pop elements of Mayer’s own guitar driven back-catalogue, providing a good set up for the main act.

    Mayer’s set opens with ‘Belief’ extended with a Bluesy ending tainted by misplaced clapping. Like Santana, Mayer descends into jamming on various songs, but adds to the end of his songs rather than a series of instrumentals. The best example of which is on ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ which improves the lamenting sadness of the song more so than the original.

    The biggest cheers are for his earlier works, where Mayer is most honest about its contents explaining he wrote Room for Squares when he didn’t know what was going on and how he distanced himself from his older music in order to turn around, look at it and realise how much he enjoyed it – relating to ‘Welcome to the Real World’, ‘Why Georgia’ and ‘Great Indoors’. Yet notably missing was the teenage favourite ‘Your Body Is A Wonderland’.

    Mayer’s performance is real, honest and entirely a pleasure to watch. His accessibility as a person as well as a musician make his show more than a guy and his guitar, but rather an understanding of what makes his music.

    *This was originally posted on my old blog*

    Music and Movies

    Say Anything gig at the Birmingham Barfly

    Birmingham Barfly
    9th June 2008

    Real life often gets in the way of going to gigs and when it does it’s annoying. What’s more annoying is when you spend more time travelling to and from a show than the band plays on stage. Unfortunately for me, tonight was one of those nights. I spent close to two hours travelling to and from the Say Anything show, thanks to funny train timetables and Say Anything, well they played seven songs.

    I walked in as they were beginning “i can’t get laid in this town…” and the sound seemed spot on. Front-man Max Bemis’s unique singing voice seemed on fine form, but I found out afterwards that he was sick. The crowd were definitely enthused and intense and sung along, cheering loudly for “buy your own flowers, you make me feel the worlds not dead”, which Bemis sung solo.

    Still when the rest of the tour saw shows that lasted at least an hour, short even for most sets, hearing under 45-minutes of music felt like a bit of a slap in the face. The six and a half songs I heard by Say Anything were a fine reflection of the music they produce in a studio, but for such a short time on stage I have to wonder whether it was worth it at all.

    *This was originally posted on my old blog*