O2 Academy, Bristol, Sat 18th January 2014 (19/01/14)

Roger Green:

As pointed out by Nigel at the gig in the evening, Tony and I adhered to the clichés. Yes, that's right, on our way from Ilminster to Bristol, we called in at Glastonbury for a saunter round. And I hold my hands up. Guilty as charged. Yes, I did, in one absent-minded moment, refer to it as "Glasto". I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. But anyway... As promised by Tony, the town is other-worldly. There's plenty of work if you have the right skills. The sign on the door saying "All our therapists are busy" said it all. We had a look in the window of a shop called the Chocolate Love Temple. I was, it has to be said, in need of neither chocolate nor love at the time. Nor was I in the market for 85 quid wellingtons, or a 98 quid satchel. But those are the going rates. I had to interrupt a bloke who was doing some knitting in order to buy a paper. I felt like I ought to apologise. Sorry, if you are reading this. Elsewhere I was encouraged to accelerate my evolution. Yeah, right. A William Hill shop was in the midst of all this. I just wish we had had more time to look round the town, but we had to move on.

When we got to the Travelodge in Bristol, first job was to find the venue, second job was to go slugging tea with my niece at The Bird House, and third job was to get to the show. There is a great contrast between the easy-going nature of a village pub on the Friday night, and the officiousness of the corporate venue on the Saturday night. "Please take your hat off while you go through ticket checking," I was asked. Oh all right then, that is sure to make the job easier. These people were charging £2.25 for small bottles of water. And you couldn't even keep the top. Health and safety issue? Worst of all, the bouncer was not allowing people to drape their jackets over the crush barrier at the front. Fair enough if he was doing this for everybody, but it obviously got difficult when the music started, and his inconsistent approach became evident. Life's too short, and unfortunately you have to put up with this nonsense if you want to see your favourite band in a big city.

JD may also have been making these little observations. When the Meatyard got up on stage, he held up a can of lager and said "The beer's good here. Cheap as well." I noted sarcasm. They got on with it, as they do. John talked about when he went to see The Pixies supporting Wolfgang Press. The tour had not been going long when all concerned decided it was best to swap round the roles of main band and support band. I am not quite sure that JD Meatyard and HMHB are ready to do the same, but these two shows have been the best performances I have seen from John in his various guises as part of the Probe Plus empire.

HMHB opened up with Bob Wilson Anchorman, the one written by Rufus Wainwright. Nigel compared our afternoon in Glastonbury with the band's trip to Cheddar Gorge. But Nigel was clear that they did not go abseiling. "Abseil for no one," he was keen to emphasise. Alan Warboys was in the crowd. Nigel also spotted another player, didn't catch his name, to balance it up between City and Rovers. Apparently the band had all done their own thing in the afternoon, because "we don't get on socially. I don't know what the others did." He spotted Eleanor Oldroyd. He pointed her out to Ken, nudge nudge, and said "Your tag comes off next week, doesn't it?" There was a bit of talk about Tranmere taking a hammering from Peterborough. Before "Dead Men", he said the song would be apt if they crashed on their way home. For the second night on the trot, he talked about Bruce Springsteen doing a song called Dream Baby Dream. It must be worth checking out. Nigel said it was weird being on stage because they could see all the audience, so asked the lighting personnel to switch on the smoke machine or something, so that they could do some Bauhaus covers. Maybe he was mis-heard, because not much seemed to be done about the lights, and a Bauhaus song (She's In Parties) came on the PA at the end of the gig. We always get to hear bits and pieces of (possibly) new songs. Tonight in one instance things went beyond the embryonic sample. I picked up a line about Dr Josef Venglos buying an energy drink. And another bit went "You're so beige / You probably think this song is about somebody else / Standard Liege." I don't know if it will go any further. Maybe it's called You're So Beige, or more likely something like We Need To Talk About Kevin Kilbane. I look forward to its evolution being accelerated. The set list, including the newy, was

Bob Wilson Anchorman
Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus
Bad Losers On Yahoo Chess
A Lilac Harry Quinn
Joy In Leeuwarden
Totnes Bickering Fair
Left Lyrics In The Practice Room
Floreat Inertia
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Dead Men Don't Need Season Tickets
When The Evening Sun Goes Down
Restless Legs
For What Is Chatteris?
Turned Up Clocked On Laid Off
Fix It So She Thinks Of Me
Uffington Wassail
Surging Out Of Convalescence
"You're So Beige"
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
Vatican Broadside
Everything's AOR
National Shite Day
Trumpton Riots

And three in the encore...

River Deep Mountain High
99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd
Joy Division Oven Gloves

I thought it was a good idea to get out of there before I got done for not wearing a tie or something. Back to the Travelodge to catch The Championship. Maybe Saturday gigs aren't so bad after all.