We reminisce about our last gigs before the lockdown!
Blossoms – Foolish Loving Spaces Tour – 11th March 2020, O2 Academy Sheffield – Robyn Hartley
After Fever and The Magic Gang kicked the night off to a flying start, the excited crowd became more so as Blossoms’ perfectly devised pre-gig playlist began. From ‘Grease Is The Word’ and ‘You Can Call Me Al’ to ‘Supersonic’ and ‘I Am The Resurrection’, the crowd were riled up as the band finally began with ‘Your Girlfriend’. Along with well-known hits such as ‘Honey Sweet’, ‘At Most A Kiss’, ‘There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)’ and ‘I Can’t Stand It’, the band’s new tracks also went down a treat, particularly ‘My Swimming Brain’, ‘The Keeper’, and ‘If You Think This Is Real Life’. The fact their latest album was released less than two months prior appeared to work to no detriment, frontman, Tom, keeping us firmly in the palm of his hand throughout the set.
Oozing charisma as he effortlessly moved around the stage in a rather wonderful sailor style jacket, he continually paused to hear us sing along, incredibly impressive during fan-favourite, acoustic medley, ‘My Favourite Room’/‘You’re Gorgeous’/‘Half The World Away’, as well as exclaiming ‘stop!’, punching the air to render both the band and crowd silent before a wall of cheer in ‘Oh No (I Think I’m In Love)’. And while it was completely joyous to hear the crowd come together to sing the lyrics of some of my favourite songs, it was the united singing of those classic instrumental riffs, for instance in ‘Charlemagne’, that really gave me goosebumps. This meant although the last time I saw the band was at their highly anticipated homecoming show at Stockport’s Edgeley Park, this was no great pale in comparison. It was pure euphoria, a feeling I wish I could have bottled for this exact moment.
Victorious Festival – Southsea Portsmouth – Chris Connor
My last gig before lockdown was the Friday of Victorious last year (I know a while ago), the line-up featured Dodgy, Doves, the Zutons the Specials and Two Door Cinema Club. The whole day was an absolute treat, Dodgy were a surprise joy with their feelgood 90s tunes, Good Enough and Staying out for the summer suiting the occasion perfectly. Doves also proved a hit with a strong albeit short set of early 00s brilliance .
The Specials were on phenomenal form, having been going for nigh on 40 years they showed no signs of slowing down, powering through classics including Too Much Too Young, Gangsters, A Message To You Rudy, it was a perfect setting on a sun drenched late Summer evening on the Southsea seafront. Two Door Cinema Club rounded things off perfectly delivering their unique blend of indie to an enthralled audience, with Bad Decisions, Something Good can Work and What You Know delivering in a live setting in addition to an assortment of lesser known tracks.
Club Paradise – Lauren Dodd
The last gig I was blessed with before the world literally fell in on itself was a night of Northern legends.
There has yet to be a bad Club Paradise gig. Actually, there’s never been a Club Paradise gig that hasn’t blown the face off its predecessor – and they’ve each been flawless in their own right. Their headliner at Newcastle’s Cobalt venue was a long time coming, and the promotion behind it had been second to none so it was an obvious sell out.
I actually hadn’t heard of Kashmere before this night. For me, that’s a pretty deadly sin seeing as they’re an unsigned four piece from Manchester and unsigned four piece bands from Manchester are 75% of my moral fibre. But these offensively charismatic guests made the stage their own and were the perfect tonic to a scene we’ve grown familiar with.
Look, it was just lush. We were proud of the boys, proud of each other and just proud to be there. More importantly, it was in February when we were all still blissfully ignorant about Miss Rona. You know for a fact if COVID19 was a gig goer it wouldn’t buy in advance, it would only click ‘interested’ on the Facebook event and it would talk all the way through the set.
Inhaler – Emma Edwards
The Dublin 4-piece Inhaler graced the stage at SWG3 in Glasgow in January. The venue was packed with the bands young, ever growing fanbase as well as some more mature U2 fans who were curious to see if the band lead by Bono’s son lived up to the hype. And of course, they did. Elijah, as always, had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he played a tight set including the bands newest single ‘We Have To Move On’.
Seeing it performed live for the first time since its release was the highlight of the show for me. Inhaler’s dreamy synth rock sound filled the venue and created an atmosphere like no other, little did we know that it was the last time we would have a shared live experience like that, for a while at least.
Lewis Capaldi – Lucy Bower
Lewis Capaldi didn’t give a shit that he had the shits (pun intended). From the beginning of the night in early March, he warned us that in any given moment he may have to race off stage before anything too grim happened. You’ll be glad to know then, that for the sake of the audience and Lewis alike, he stood his ground the whole concert and lived up to his loveable and bubbly personality.
Inside the Apollo in Manchester, it was a beautiful vision to see strangers belting out to personal heartbreak, united by Lewis’ sentimental music. Despite having lungs that can hit every note and a brain that wrote one of the finest modern love songs, he’s a pretty cool guy. Stunning songs, Scottish wit and Lewis’ shits were how I spent my last bittersweet gig before lockdown.
Stereophonics – Lee Bellfield
Ironically my last gig before the lockdown was held on Friday the 13th.
I have a lot of gig friends that I hang out with and we have our own little messenger group. I attended this concert with one of those friends.
There was trepidation all week about this gig. In fact part of me was hoping it wouldn’t take place in view of the fact it was being held at the cavernous Manchester Arena. Quite a social gathering.
However, we trusted the authorities and attended the gig (well after some cheeky sharpeners at the Printworks Wetherspoons). That being said Kelly and the boys didn’t disappoint dipping into their huge back catalogue of hits. My highlight was the beautiful “Indian Summer” Kelly even joked about us all being the walking dead. For a couple of hours at least our worries of the big bad world had disappeared and it was an amazing gig.