Wednesday 13 December 2006

Babyshambles, Rock City

I'm to see Babyshambles tonight. I hope Pete turns up.

We catch the end of the Holloways, who are quite good.

There's quite an atmosphere, which is something you don't get much at gigs these days. Are they looking forward to seeing the band or have they just come to see if he shows up. Well, not only does Pete turn up this time but he's also bang on time. 9.30 on the dot and the band are on stage. He gets a big cheer when he announces that for the first time ever they have turned up for every night of a tour. He is also on form and is excellent entertainment.

In contrast to the 'Dirty Pretty Things' gig the other week when everyone was five foot tall at most, tonight everyone is six foot six, including most of the women. It is a lively gig, again almost a throw back to the old days. These days crowd reaction seems to be a thing of the past. Tonight there's also a striking reduction in the number of camera phones being used.

Opening with stuff off the new EP and then mixing loads of new tracks with stuff from 'Albion' and Libertines classics such as storming versions of 'Up The Bracket' and 'What Katie Did'. If Carl is appealing to the Mizz crowd then Pete seems to have hung on to the Libertines hardcore. The crowd sing most of 'Can't Stand Me Now', particularly the parts that Carl would have sang. There seems some irony in this.

'Killamangiro' almost causes a riot, then after a Nottinghamised version of Albion, they close with 'Fuck Forever' having played for an hour and twenty. A good innings by today's standards. There's no encore, no 'Loyalty Song', no '32nd Of December'. Is this their choice or the Rock City 11pm curfew. Can image if Rock City told them they'd only got time for one more song, he'd problem tell them to stuff it.

Monday 27 November 2006

Dirty Pretty Things, Rock City

I've been prior warned not to throw my knickers at the band tonight. This stems from the fact that apparently they are pin-ups boys in the teenage girl's mag Mizz.

I get there just in time as the band are due on at 9.30 but I needn't have rushed, they're running late. I look around, there does seem to be a lot of Mizz readers here. Most of the girls are far too dressed up for Rock City and all carrying the most ridiculously huge handbags. Most of them only look about 14. I check the ticket, yep it's an over 18's gig and I know they were doing the 'Challenge 21' thing and checking ID at the door because I saw them. Obviously the in thing now is for girls to dress to look underage! How things have changed! Rather handily hardly any of them appear to be over five-foot tall, which makes seeing the stage no problem at all. I text home and promise to duck the flying g-strings etc.

The band come on stage and I quickly move away from a group of drunk male students who seem to be intent on spending the entire gig taking photo's of each other with their mobile phones. Hello? You're supposed to point that at the stage! Not that you'll be able to tell if it’s Carl Barat or your Grandmother up there playing guitar on a typical poor quality mobile phone photo.

The band are pretty good although the set seems to lose its way in the middle. Things pick up again towards the end, as the more lively tunes are thrown in. During an energetic rendition of 'Gin and Milk', I get thumped in the chest several times by the enormous handbag that is slung over the shoulder of the four-foot tall Mizz reader, who is bopping in front of me. She staggers backwards and stands on my toe with her stiletto heels. Ouch! I stand corrected - Three-foot tall Mizz reader! She turns round and apologises to my naval. I move to safer view of the band behind another handily positioned, but less animated, midget.

I look across at the students, who are still taking photos of each other. I wonder if they know there's a band on.

The encores are excellent and start with a cover of The Jam's 'In the City', which they famously played in London with Paul Weller. No Weller tonight though, unless he's down in the mosh pit. They also play a few Libertines tracks and finish with a fantastic version of 'I Get Along'. During which one of the drunken students dives into the fray and manages to crowd surf to the front. Cue loud cheers from his friends, who are actually looking towards the stage for once, as security removes him from the stage. Then consternation in their ranks as they realise none of them got a photo of it.

Gig over, people start to disperse. The students are comparing phones to see if any of them has got any battery power left, so that they can call for a taxi. Enjoy the walk guys.