Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Killers, Train and Boddingtons Chimney!

Two nights out in a row at gigs last month! I thought those days were over, but apparently not, saw The Killers play Manchester arena on Monday 18/02 and Train at the Apollo on Tuesday 19/02, here's the lowdown.

Night 1: The good lady and I made our way to the Killers gig on Monday night. It was the first time we had been to the arena in Manchester since arriving back to the UK from our nine year overseas 'lost weekend', the obvious thing we noticed was that where the iconic Boddingtons brewery had once stood for the best part of two centuries, there was now a car park and a Travelodge, well actually its a travelod, the g and the e conspicuous by their absence. Honestly, you turn your back for nine years, come back and they've knocked down boddies chimney! As my daughter pointed out when I gave her the bad news, they have literally paved paradise and put up a parking lot! Even though we were out of the country when it was bulldozed, I'm still amazed that this sad news didn't filter out to the colonies!

We arrived too late to check out the support act, although that's not strictly true, as we heard a little of them from the bar queue! This was after we were through the doors and Mrs Baggers handbag had been thoroughly checked, quite right too, never know what these women are carrying into venues! Always makes me chuckle, there are fellas walking in with who knows what in their pockets, yet the ladies get the treatment in case their choice of lip gloss should offend the travelling troubadours! Needless to say we avoided the merch stand, which at 25 sheets a pop for t-shirts, was making a killing, pun intended!

The Killers took to the stage at 9pm sharp, just as predicted by the missus! and what a sound, rocking the house within the first few bars of the first song. Mr Flowers throat was certainly back on form, this being the rescheduled gig which was cancelled in December. The guys ripped through a boatload of stomping tunes before a couple of treats came in mid way through the gig. First, in the shape of a singalongamanchester 'Don't look back in Anger', tipping a hat to the brothers Grimm aka Manchester band, Oasis.  A bigger treat was the appearance of Bernard Sumner, he of New Order fame, introduced by Brandon as 'The Sheriff of Manchester' they dueted on a New order track called 'Crystal'. Not one we were familiar with to be honest, but its video is apparently is where The Killers took their name from. Learn something new everyday! The gems just kept coming in the shape of 'Read my mind', 'Runaways', 'Mr.Brightside'. I came relatively late to this band, only really getting into them via Brandon's solo album, 'Flamingo' about three years ago, then backtracking through the Killers stuff. Mrs B has been into them from day one, so I'm grateful that she turned me on to them , this was a great gig and The Killers go straight into my virtual list as one of the best live bands I've seen, I would highly recommend getting to see them next time around. We beat the solid traffic heading home by nipping down past Strangeways and out via Cheetham Hill, home in time for a nightcap, result!

Train and Gin Wigmore
Night two: Monday 19th, Train at Manchester Apollo, picked up my daughter, and headed into town. After a beer and some fine food in Chinatown we took a cab out to Ardwick,  I strolled into the venue as her bag was thoroughly searched for suspect lip gloss! After we had checked out the merch stand, which at 15 quid, was far better value than the Killers, we gathered a couple of beers and headed upstairs to the circle, the bar was very quiet up there, note to self for next time, 'use upstairs bar!'. We were shown to our seats by a very kind lady with a torch, old school or what!
The seats were in a excellent spot, left of and approximately 40 feet from the stage. Result! The support act was in full swing, and what a performance. A young lady by the name of Gin Wigmore was up there, rocking the house along with her fine band of merry men. Kiwi Gin is new to me but I bought her CD (Gravel and Wine) on the way out, I never, ever buy support merch, so that's a good indicator of how good she is, check out her stuff.
I went to this gig because my daughter is a big fan of the boys from San Francisco and she asked me if I fancied it. So glad I did, Train delivered an awesome set, very different to the Killers, more showbiz to be honest, but extremely good value all the same,  a hardworking band who go the whole nine yards to ensure their audience is fully part of the gig.
Lead singer Pat Monahan has a great voice, even though he was obviously struggling at times with a sore throat in this gig and had been told rest it, he delivered a great performance, highlight of which was when he put down the microphone altogether and sang to the Apollo unaided, very, very impressive! Drops of Jupiter, Save Me San Francisco, Hey Soul Sister, Drive By were the obvious gems, but also Mermaids, Marry me and Bruises for which Gin Wigmore joined the band for a duet were also excellent. This was a great night out, thoroughly enjoyed it, not least of all because I rode a double decker bus back into town for the first time in more years than I care to remember, it was an electric driven double decker at that...Go Manchester!

I received an email from PRSformusic recently advising that they now have a overseas music reporting tool on their website, they also invited me to check it out as I've had issues previously logging known international performances of Summats work, TV, Radio etc. Good to see that they are making an effort even if its still only tiny steps, I will certainly check out the functionality and report back! Or at least I will once I work out why my windows 7 desktop isn't able to login to the PRS site, even though my login works fine from the XP laptop! One senses there is a move from PRSformusic to 'put its house in order', that would certainly be appreciated. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, all radio stations are now be able to provide full information on ALL tracks they have played, there is no need for 'sample days', anyway, rant over for now! Watch this space.

Until next time, take care and keep smiling


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