Last night's gig was

Pete Astor at The Lexington

Advance apologies for the long dull story.
I bought a CD from The NME in 1994 where you had collect a few tokens and pay them a £3 cheque for postage and they’d send you The Patron Saints Of Teenage CD compilation; an early Creation Records compilation with bands including The Loft, JAMC, Ride, MBV, Sugar… so many bands that I love now where that CD was my first introduction to.

Pete Astor was in The Loft and then The Weather Prophets. I’ve seen him well over five times (maybe 10) over the years. Usually it’s just him and an acoustic guitar as it was tonight and I really enjoyed it. First gig tonight for a long time with my mate and semi regular gig buddy.

The set up at The Lexington was great as was Astor; a huge thank you to both.

Pete Astor is a brilliantly understated and underrated quintessentially British 80s indie musician. Finally after 27 years of loving The Loft song Up The Hill And Down The Slope, I finally got to hear it live. Nice one.

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Saint Sister at Rough Trade East

A “test event” for BMS1. My first socially undistanced gig. I specifically bought and wore a ffp2 mask throughout my time at the venue for this gig.

The venue was approximately half full. I noticed a slight degree of social distancing between groups of two or three actively making sure there was some space between themselves and other groups, but that was somewhat the exception and not the rule.

The lack of masks was the hugely surprising factor and my overriding take home from tonight. I’d estimate there was just 10% of the audience were wearing a mask (dangling a mask under your chin isn’t wearing a mask). I was expecting higher.

I picked the gig as I liked the “folk-electronic” sound and somewhat Radio 2 friendly music and knew the venue to be a relatively open space (if you felt unsafe you can always go back to the bar area near the open exit door, where you can still see and hear the band).
Maybe my own preconceptions but at a quiet folk gig at Rough Trade East at 7pm I was expecting more than 10% of attendees being mask wearers.

The staff were friendly and welcoming and wearing masks and it was otherwise a routine RTE set up and they did have the air conditioners on to high setting.

The band were great and it was just the two women and a harp which provided a brilliant stripped back version of the songs on the albums. Really enjoyed the music.

For me was more of an interest night and to see how things potentially might play out regarding gigs and I understand that this is one gig on a night out in “isolation”. I’ve my own personal safety bar regarding events and activities like all people have.

I felt relatively safe at the venue mainly as it wasn’t sold out and also my mask provides me with more personal protection than my usual blue surgical mask that many people wear. I envisage that I wouldn’t personally feel safe at a sold out Lexington/Sebright Arms gig etc. currently but would do another Rough Trade East gig even if was more busier; I’d just mask up and head towards the back of the venue and still see and hear the band.

This might appear to be a somewhat below average “review” of my night but I really did enjoy it. The band put on a great show and the acoustic versions of the songs were terrific. The feel and the familiarity of the gig as a whole was great and even the recognition and hello between me and a staff member (whilst both of us wearing masks) was a nice encounter as the last time I was there was mid-March 2020. A few post gig drinks with my mate at pub sat outdoors added to a brilliant night.

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This is probably a good indication of what most gigs are going to be like. Doesn’t sound too bad. The average age range in rough grade is usually quite young as well isn’t it?

Do they have a bar there? I’ve only ever been during the day to shop.

The age of the audience varies with who’s playing. Last night the average age was around 30-ish.

They have a bar at the back of the venue. They do coffees too.

Rough Trade gigs are “ideal” or as good/safe as things can be with the lifting of restrictions currently. At small venues like Sebright, Shacklewell and The Lexington you’ve little chance in seeing the band and creating much personal space even if the venue is ½ or ⅔ full.

At Rough Trade East you’ve the option of standing alone at the back with no one near you with the shop door open for fresh air. You can still see and the band albeit from a distance.

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The TV and I have upgraded to these for public transport and tentative forays back to gigs. Glad that easing restrictions involves upgrading one’s own PPE :roll_eyes:

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Just back from Latitude festival - was good.

From (hazy) memory, music-wise we caught Lynks, Goat Girl, Dry Cleaning, Supergrass, Damon Albarn, Working Men’s Club, Chemical Brothers, Sleaford Mods, Self Esteem, Tim Burgess, Rick Astley, Anna Meredith and The Kaiser Chiefs.

Comedy-wise, Rich Hall, Jo Brand, Simon Amstell, Nina Conti, Glenn Moore and Bill Bailey.

Plugging their books in the literary tent, saw Professor Greta Defeyter, Jess Phillips (MP) and John Cooper Clarke.

Top five of the weekend for me:

5 - Lynks
4 - Damon Albarn
3 - Working Men’s Club
2 - Dry Cleaning
1 - Anna Meredith

Just a joy to see live music again, especially as it looked pretty joyous for a lot of the acts too. Next up, got South Facing in a couple of weeks time.

Covid-wise, I felt ok but solely because it took place outside. Covid precautions were basically non-existent.

MUSIC!

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they’re doing quite well in Ireland, i haven’t got massively into them but wouldn’t mind seeing them, only caught a short bit of their set at an awards show pre covid

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Desperate Journalist at Rough Trade East

Rough Trade East gigs seem to be an acceptable compromise of risk-reward for me.

For those that haven’t heard them they’re a young-ish band with a sound that seems to appeal to an audience of mostly over 35 year olds. That’s what I’ve noticed from the last 10-15 times I’ve seen them and again last night. More mask wearers for this gig and also more groups keeping a distance from one another. I’d estimate it was 45% to 50% of the audience wearing masks for this gig.

Music-wise the band haven’t missed a beat from the last time that I saw them which seems an age ago at The Garage in April 2019. It was a delayed album launch gig and I was expecting just songs from the new album but instead the short seven song set did include a few oldies which was brilliant.

Jo Bevan remains one of the best British front women currently with Fightmilk and Porridge Radio. Great gig.

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Enjoy your Desperate Journalist updates :+1:

Have never actually listened to them, but going to change that right now…

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My favourite song of theirs varies often. This one is probably representative of their sound perhaps.

My (ageing) fan boy status of the band has had it’s advantages. @GarethI identified me as BMS1 at an Anna St. Louis gig from the Desperate Journalist tote bag I was carrying at the time and had a great chat and drink with him there.

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I quite liked some of the first album but I’ve completely failed to keep up with them since

Wesley Gonzales at Folklore on Hackney Road (also my local venue, I live across the road!)

I bloody love him, he’s such a great song writer and always has been since his Let’s Wrestle days. He was testing out some new stuff, one of which was the highlight of the set. Hopefully a new record early next year.

Meat were supporting which is somewhat of a mismatch with their Shellac/Swans esq noise but I think at this stage of things opening up again people are just happy to hear stuff that’s good. They’re supporting Drug Store Romeos at Lexington tonight, if you’re going get there to see them too.

Also I’ve been to a couple of gigs since the day the restrictions changed that were modestly attended, this was the first one that was rammed. Realised how much I missed it and what a big part of my life going to gigs is, let alone playing them.

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Can never get it in my head that he was in them, for some reason I keep thinking he’s a mellow lazy acoustic guy … any idea who his name is making me think of instead?

Anyway, what’s his own stuff like? Solo songwriter or still doing the scratchy indie band thing?

Are you thinking of Jose Gonzales? Did that Knife cover years back in the advert.

His stuff now is more wonky synth pop with the most recent record being much groovier and dancier, was only yesterday’s gig I saw him playing guitar for a couple of songs for the first time in the band, but for the longest time I guess he wanted to get away from being “indie”.

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I think Mrs FT and I must have been standing in front of you !! :grin:

Was super pissed off at having to wait until 8 for them to turn up. Very late for RT in stores. But it all melted away when the music started. Our first gig since last February.

Disappointed more weren’t masked up, it’s not especially comfortable, but I would have expected the men of a certain age to be more cautious about their health.

The new songs sound better live, a bit anaemic on the album. Preferred the third album, but there’s something winning about the 80s odour and her vocals .

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I think you must have been immediately in front and to the left of me. I was the Indian bloke in his mid-40s with the ffp2 mask on.

In fairness to Rough Trade, they did advertise doors opening at 7pm and band on stage at 8pm last night as opposed to the usual 6pm door and 7pm for the band. It was just a lucky check by me on stage times yesterday afternoon that I noticed the differing times.

I agree with you on the number of people wearing masks. A lot of the band’s fans seem to be in the age range of 35-50 years old and was expecting more than 50% of people wearing masks. Hard to extrapolate these numbers for gigs in the near future but obviously I would have preferred a higher mask wearing percentage.

I’ve switched from the usual blue surgical masks to the ffp2 masks since last week and find these more comfortable and feel safer wearing these than the former. Obviously there’s an invisible disparity between feeling safe and being actually safe.

I was at the venue for around 1¾ hours masked up and it didn’t lower my enjoyment of the gig. I’m a hospital worker and have been doing 12 hour shifts masked up for well over a year now and so it’s become second nature to be wearing one indoors for prolonged periods.

Not trying to sound preachy and apologise if it comes over as such but ffp2 masks are worth a look into if anyone wants to feel more comfortable in a slightly crowded indoor area. They give you more personal protection and they’re not prohibitively expensive either; a pack of ten for £10 is reasonable if you’re paying a similar amount for a gig and then a pint at London prices.

That is extremely reasonable. Got a (preferably non-Amazon) purchase link?

“Unfortunately” I bought mine from Amazon. I bought two different ones from Amazon and they were the amongst the top five products that come up when you type ffp2 masks into Amazon.

They’re both of the same decent quality and will continue to use these from now on. I certainly have felt better on the tube since last week as the mask wearing numbers have dropped even further since last Monday.

Thanks for the mask tip. I have a load of ‘proper’ gigs lined up for Sept, so if they go ahead, I want to be comfortable and safe for 2-3 hours.

I will watch out for you at future gigs and say hello, as I’m sure we will both be at some of them. I’m tall, glasses, greying !! :grimacing:

I didn’t spot the timing change. Need to re-adjust to the finer points of London gig going……

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