On 21st March 2011 at 12:53 Dave LMS wrote...
Thanks for the pics @UnholyRacket - I'll look into the problems faced uploading your other photos (I've spotted some server/system errors).
Live at O2 Academy Leeds on Saturday, 12th March 2011
On 12th March I got to the O2 Academy at quarter to seven assuming I would be queueing to find the doors had opened early, and that the gig would be finishing earlier than planned so that the Academy could get on with a club night. I assumed that this would mean it was an evening where everything was rushed and not going to plan; however, to my surprise everything went well.
First act Mike Marlin came on to a very small crowd and played an impressive set of his unique take on rock/britpop. His baritone vocals become almost like another instrument. He seems to be lacking confidence tonight however, saying "this one always goes wrong" or "let's hope this song goes better than the last" many times, despite the fact that he was on top form. The cover of 'Stayin' Alive' by The Bee Gees that he played was a superb downbeat take on the classic disco track. He ended the set to a smattering of applause, as everybody then trudged to the bar before making it back just in time for next act Wilko Johnson.
When faced with having to review a legend such as Wilko Johnson I was afraid, because if he played badly I would have to criticise someone that I, as a guitarist, have admired for a very long time. However much to my relief Wilko played brilliantly, and his set of rock n roll tunes went down very well with the crowd too. It seemed as though many people were here just to see Wilko play, as there were many people wearing Wilko Johnson t-shirts and many people singing along to all of his songs.
The way this man moves around the stage is unique, nobody else can be so rigid and still move about so quickly, it is as if he is a statue and somebody is pulling him along, he seems to be in the same position even when moving around.
He played a very polished set that got a great response from the crowd and put everybody in the mood for headline act The Stranglers.
The Stranglers used their song Waltzinblack from their 1980 album 'The Gospel According To The Meninblack' as the song they walked onstage to, and then launched straight into classic track 'I Feel Like A Wog'. The song got a very good response from the crowd and started a moshpit containing a mixture of 40+ year old punks, who were there from the start, and students, who are just starting to get into this music. I was part of the latter group and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of energy that punk still seems to have, 30 years from when it was first around.
The band's singles went down the best: 'Peaches', 'Always The Sun' and 'Golden Brown' in particular going down well, with a huge singalong from the crowd. The crowd continued to dance through the band's very long set, which included songs such as 'Dead Loss Angeles', 'Relentless' and 'Nuclear Device'.
The Stranglers went offstage before coming back on to play 2 encores, the first comprising of 'Hanging Around' and 'Duchess', both of which went down very well and the moshing became increasingly violent.
And then the second encore, which started with a brilliant cover of The Kinks' 'All Day And All Of The Night', which in my opinion was the highlight of the evening. They ended the second encore with their punk anthem 'No More Heroes', which perfectly ended the evening in one big burst of energy, both from the band and their fans.
Everybody then was quickly ordered to leave the academy at 10.30pm so that they could clean the place in a hurry for the 11pm club night, which nobody from this gig seemed to be sticking around for, and there was no need, after a gig like that any other form of entertainment that night would have been a huge disappointment.