I get around.
When I was a few years younger, I blew all the money I had on going to gigs and festivals. It really didn’t matter all that much who I was seeing. I just wanted to be there for the experience.
I’ve seen bands lugging instruments out of their van into some dingy little bar that looked more like a crack den than a stage. The kind of place where you do the safety dance. You know the one. Check for your wallet, phone and keys. Wallet, phone, keys. Repeat.
I’ve also seen the other side. Festivals. Academies. Arenas. I have to say I don’t care for the arena gigs that much. Who has air conditioning at a gig? It’s practically law to leave a gig sweating and clutching for fresh air.
I’m fairly confident the bands won’t remember me, but I sure remember them. In fact, I keep a list. I’ve stood in front of 247 different bands and artists and some of these I’ve seen multiple times. For instance, I’ve seen Ocean Colour Scene 11 times in 11 different venues with them in varying states of band members.
So I thought I would share with you what I consider to be my favourite 5 gigs. The one thing I couldn’t do was set them entirely apart. So they are in no particular order.
* The Libertines – Leeds Festival.
They arrived to Vera Lynn to crown what was their first official reformation gig. They were reckless and loud and I lost both my shoes to the crowd. It was truly exceptional. I went on to see them again in London for the second reunion and whilst they were more professional, the first gig beats it.
* Turbowolf – The Harley, Sheffield.
This was my first and only time seeing Turbowolf live and they set an example of how to play intimate gigs. The Harley was the perfect setting for their brand of high speed punk. They’re also one of the nicest bands you’ll meet.
* Ocean Colour Scene – The Plug, Sheffield.
This would be one of my first gigs and my first experience of not trusting the liquid that flies backwards from the front row. I was starstruck by the sounds in front of me. Steve Craddock remains one of my favourite guitarists purely based on this gig. He was large and the sound larger.
* The Civil Wars – Night and Day Cafe, Manchester.
Romantic. That’s how I would explain this one. A terrific venue full of character and characters. The Americana duo held us in the palm of their hands and brought one man next to me to tears. I swear it wasn’t me.
* Ryan Adams – Sheffield City Hall
All that was missing from this gig was a cigar and a nice glass of red. Ryan Adams took us all on a journey and made the enormous city hall feel like someones front room. At times it was a like a stand up act just broken up with the odd song. Ryan Adams doesn’t come across the pond often so when he does, jump at the chance.
There’s so many more I could choose but these are those that spring to mind.Maybe sometime I’ll tell you about my trip to Little Man Tate’s last ever gig, watching Kasabian with the lead singer from Reverend and The Makers, watching football with Milburn or when I pissed off Alex Turner.
Maybe next time.