Tracks Monkeys With Lasers

Frank Turner @ New Slang, McClusky’s – 27/08
August 31, 2009, 5:07 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: , , , , , ,

This had been a gig I’d only decided to go to at the last minute, getting my ticket from Banquet Records just the day before as I’d originally planned to go along to see another band that night (the night itself was a ‘New Slang’ night at the venue put on by Banquet themselves). As regular followers of TMWL will know, I’m what you may call a fan of Frank’s (see the other two or three reviews of his I’ve done) and McClusky’s was also a venue I’d never been to so in the end it was an easy to decision to make to go along. On the evening of the gig I also found out he was playing with his band and this would be the first show of his I’d not seen solo, making it an even better decision!

After making the trip down to Kingston I managed to find my way to the venue (with the help of two guys; one of which was Frank’s guitarist who I didn’t recognise to start with) and after hanging out on the river for a bit I made my way inside after navigating security heavier than that I had to go through at the airport only a few weeks back.

Once in, I was pretty surprised at the scale of the venue as the places I’d seen him in beforehand had always been much smaller. It was also a pretty cool place and the bar was pretty reasonable as well (always a bonus!) So after a drink, it was time to head over to the stage for the first support act of the night, Dave House.

Before the show I’d only heard Dave House’s new album ‘Intersections’ which was pretty good but felt a bit too overproduced to me. Live though, the songs I knew came across much better. The set opener, Lungs, was one such track; everything about it sounded so much better live than on record. Like Frank later, Dave also played with his band and altogether they were great with a really tight performance and really good energy. There was a nice mix of new tracks (ie ones I knew) and older tracks with one purely acoustic track which mixed up the set a little. Altogether, it was a good opening set from the local lad and he with the band playing, he was a really good front man.

Download ‘Follow Me’ (from 2009’s ‘Intersections’) from here (courtesy of

The second support band were Fake Problems; a band Frank has toured with in the States and one of the bands who’ll be supporting him on his UK tour later this year. Before the gig I’d never heard any of their music but they really impressed me. They have a slightly unusual sound that comprises punk rock, folk and Springsteen-esque rock (and on their record even a little bit of ska) but it all comes together really well with a few having good little singalong parts as well. With the guitars flitting between power chords, little riffs and ska twangs, the set was really well varied and went along at a really good pace. The band were all really good individually as well, with the frontman, Chris, really shining as the focal point. I really enjoyed their set and can’t wait to see them back over here for Frank’s tour. Defnitely ones to check out!

Download ‘The Dream Team’ (from 2009’s ‘It’s Great To Be Alive’) from here (courtesy of

And so it was on to the main event of Mr Turner and his merry band. As tradition dictates, they came bounding onto the stage and launched straight into ‘I Knew Prufrock’ with the crowd all singing along which, as always, set the scene for the night. The set itself was a nice mix of some of his older and new stuff with the ‘classics’ all in there, such as Photosynthesis, Substitute, Long Live The Queen and The Real Damage, but there was also a smattering of material off the new album with The Road, Try This At Home, Live Fast Die Old and Poetry Of The Deed all getting outings.

As I said previously, I’ve seen Frank play solo a number of times before but with a band it was completely different; everything from how much better some of the songs sounded to Frank’s presence on stage. All of the songs I’d heard live had such a different feel to them with the guitars, drums and piano playing as well as Frank’s acoustic. Even simple songs like The Real Damage felt different with the simple piano line playing alongside the guitar. This different sound made the experience so different to what I’d seen previously and made it into more of a ‘gig’ with everyone dancing along as this never happened so much at his acoustic shows. And, as I said, the fact that Frank had a backing band ‘freed’ him up on stage so he was happy to rock out on stage and looked like he was enjoying himself massively because of it.

All of this meant it was such a different atmosphere to the shows I’d seen before and is probably the best show of his I’ve seen because of it. Songs I’d heard before were taken to another level and the band were all great and this all made the atmosphere of the gig absolutely brilliant. Frank deserves all the success currently coming his way and I can’t wait until the Shepherds Bush show now!

Audio live from McClusky’s;

Follow Me – Dave House

Don’t Worry Baby – Fake Problems

The Road – Frank Turner

The Real Damage – Frank Turner

Animal Collective @ Brixton Academy – 20/08
August 26, 2009, 4:38 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: , ,

First things first; I’m not a massive Animal Collective fan. I only have the latest album, Merriweather Post Pavillion, and I wouldn’t probably put it on my top ten albums of the year so far. I got the album at the beginning of the year as a number of friends (who were fans) raved about it to me so I gave it a pop and it’s fair to say it’s not really my thing.

However, another friend (in a slightly similar position) asked me if I wanted to go along to the gig. It’s not very often I don’t prefer a band live to on record and had heard that AC were incredible live so decided to go along and see whether this would be the case.

We missed the support band, Gang Gang Dance, as I had been moving house that day so was in a bit of a mad rush and I hadn’t seen said friend in a while so we went for a drink beforehand (as well as this, Gang Gang Dance are a band in a similar position to AC for me; friends say a lot of good things about them but I just don’t get it).

So we eventually got along to the Academy with about 15 minutes before AC were going to come out and the venue seemed much busier than when I saw TV On The Radio a few months ago but this may have been due to the fact that we were stood halfway back in the venue rather than right down the front for the other gig. This felt like the right place to stand as we both admitted to not being huge fans of the band. But after the inevitable faffing on stage, the guys finally came out.

Now the biggest problem of reviewing this gig is that I didn’t know all the songs played and even with the ones I do know, it takes me a little bit of time to figure out which one it is (bar a couple) so I’ve whacked the setlist for the gig down the bottom of the review.

The opening track wasa decent enough opener and set the scene for the night. But the following track was My Girls, for which the crowd went mental. This is fair enough as it is a great track but it quickly became apparant that I wasn’t in the minority only knowing the new album as the crowds reaction to the following track was the polar opposite to that for My Girls, going from jumping around and singing to standing around and talking and this was how the whole gig panned out.

I can’t just stand around at gigs so was bobbing along to tracks, even if I didn’t know them but people around would get into conversations when tracks they didn’t know were being played. It was only when Guys Eyes was being played the crowd got going again. The set itself was pretty impressive and there were a couple of tracks that really stood out (but as I say I can’t name them); one of the best being the slow number they played. The best tracks easily were the ones played towards the end of the set when the guitars were out in force and the drums being used. The final song of the set was my favourite of MPP, Brother Sport, and (again) the crowd went crazy for it.

At this point it should probably be mentioned that the actual spectacle of the show was as amazing as anything. The stage itself had the MPP artwork as a backdrop with a giant sphere hanging from the roof with videos being projected onto it throughout the show. Add to this the fact that the keyboard/synth stands were on top of lights that reminded of something from a school disco. On top of this, the lighting either drowned the stage in colour are gave beams onto the stage/crowd.

All in all, the gig itself was pretty good and pretty relentless with only one pause during the show between songs (and this was only to sort out an amp). Even after this problem was ‘sorted’ the sound levels were disappointing. Also, the atmosphere from the crowd was surprisingly flat at times but when it got going it was great. Brother Sport was probably my highlight, as was  Fireworks (See vid below – taken by someone else) and the encore of Lion In A Coma was also fantastic.

The gig was by no means the best gig I’ve been to but was one of the best spectacles I’ve seen in quite a while. I’d be quite keen to see these guys again with the sound levels just right and with a crowd of actual fans, even if I’m not one of those myself!

Podcast #18

Yo La Tengo – Here To Fall
Tubelord – I Am Azerrad
The Xcerts – Nightschool
Errors – Mr Milk
Jim Lockey – The Boat Song
Oxygen Thief – There Can Only Be One
The Gaslight Anthem – Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
Polar Bear Club – Living Saints
NOFX – All Of Me
Rise Against – Ready To Fall
Frightened Rabbit – Fast Blood
There Will Be Fireworks – We Were A Roman Candle
Snuff – Nick Motown
Less Than Jake – Faction
Future Of The Left – Lapsed Catholics

Download from here.

Back In Business
August 17, 2009, 11:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After a brief hiatus (i.e. family holiday; you’re never too old for one of those) TMWL should be back up and running over the next few days!

Plenty of full and mini album reviews to come, some new stuff I’ve been listening to, a new podcast and a smattering of gigs in there for good measure.


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