Thirty Thousand Streets

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Glorious Day

And it was a glorious day. Woke up, opened my window, stared out across London. A crisp blue sky; the London Eye glinting in the distance. Bliss.

That said, it is all slightly unseasonal. The first properly sunny day in 2005 I remember being before the Good Friday in April, when I skipped out of work at M&C Saatchi to be confronted by a strangely Arcadian Soho, shining in the sun like childhood. They say Christmas comes earlier every year and I guess that's true of Spring now, too. Shame. There are some good things to be said about winter, mind: Coats and fires.. yeah, that's about it. Oh and snow. Though it was only one day this year, and pretty thin on the ground it was too. Part of me tells me this can't be good; the other half really wants to wear sunglasses.

Went and met Will on the embankment outside the NFT and talked for a while, while the world went by and bought overpriced paperbacks from the trestle tables under the bridge. Headed off at half six home to meet Sam, on a mission down from the East End. We went for food at The refurbished Sun and Doves. We were in the mood for some stodge, so initially we both ordered the Steak and Ale pie, but there were no chips! so I got the fishcakes instead, which it must be said, were excellent. After that we jumped on the 345 to Brixton, and thence to the Ritzy, where under Sam's auspices, I snuck in on guestlist.

I've never been to the 'Carling' Brixton Academy, though it reminds me a little of the Apollo in Manchester. Which used to be the 'Labatts' Apollo, and then (whoa) was the 'Carling' Apollo for a while, apparently. A quick Google for "Manchester Apollo" actually yielded the Carling website as its top hit, though I did find this hilarious quote on the page itself:

"Carling are no longer title sponsors of the Manchester Apollo - but you can still enjoy an Ice cold Carling - however if you have any queries with this venue please contact them direct."

What, let me get this straight, I can still buy a Carling at the Manchester Apollo, despite it no longer being the 'Carling' Manchester Apollo? Well that's a relief. I might still go again, sometime, safe in the knowledge I can 'Belong'. Twats.


The Academy is an amazing building. Huge and cavernous with a fancy castle bit around the stage, you could have filmed Lord of The Rings in there, or at least the Mines of Moria segment anyway (and probably got some of the crowd as extras, now I come to think about it). Ladytron were on first, who I've seen before at the Futuresonic Festival in Manchester in 2002 alongside Bent and some ebay friendly electronic acts from the Skam label. Ladytron are a kind of foxy Kraftwerk, fronted* as they are by three girls with crisp black skirt/shirt combos, and hair so sharp it probably cuts scissors. And they play keyboards and guitars and sing in an intonal 'We Are The Machiiines' style. Fuck. It's like a Robert Palmer video gone right.

After that, we trotted up to the 'VIP' area where Sam had some business to take care of (which isn't a euphemism for a gangland hit should you be wondering). The view from up there was pretty impressive, commanding as it did a panoramic view of the gig. Nine Inch Nails were on next, so while Sam talked shop I looked out over the proceedings through one of a set of Archways enclosed by plexiglass. This made the sound oddly muted.. and staring out across the crowds below and the incandescent light show it felt like I was witnessing a distant nuclear war from the safety of a bunker (and I guess a bunker would be the ultimate 'VIP' area, in the event on an actual nuclear war ocurring).

After Sam had finished up we headed down again to the gig proper to check it out. It has to be said, I know very little of Nine Inch Nails apart from 'The Downward Spiral', but they were really impressive. A really heavy percussive sound, underpinned with satisfyingly crunchy industrial effects and overlaid with screeching guitars. And that Reznor bloke singing. Hung around for the faintly blasphemous electronic squawk of 'Closer to God' and then headed on out. Hopped on the 345 to Camberwell while Sam caught the tube to Liverpool Street (I'm guessing).

It's now Monday morning. My booking for this week collapsed late Friday afternoon like climate talks in 2000, leaving me free to read Ian M Banks before bed. It's a hard knock life. Ho hum.

*I say fronted, because it It must be noted, 50% of Ladytron are male. And a fine job they did too.


gridrunner said...

The last time I was at Brixton Academy was when I actually saw Kraftwerk there. I remember wondering whether one could get up into the 'battlements' of that 'castle bit' around the stage.

Now I'm jealous.

The Eyechild said...

Hmm, it wasn't actually in the bit above the stage, it was in the fortified circle directly opposite, though still feel free to be jealous..

I can imagine a Kraftwerk gig there being amazing too.