New Year

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a nice time over the holidays. My main present was the new camera lens so I didn’t get much else in the way of gifts, but I ate a lot of food, drank a lot of alcohol and sang some bad karaoke. New Year’s Eve was spent in a similar fashion and I’m feeling quite tired today.

2010 was a good year for me and I managed to reach a lot of goals that I had set for myself. One of them was to do more gig photography, and I ended up shooting Amanda Palmer, Placebo and a whole host of awesome bands at Offset Festival. Another was to revamp this website and get my jewellery business off the ground, which has gotten off to a good start thanks to all my wonderful customers. I also wanted to make good progress on my Open University degree, and my 94% pass on my first unit has certainly bolstered my confidence.

Other highlights of the year include going to New York on my own and meeting Zachary Quinto, a whole host of awesome festivals over the summer, and seeing some incredible bands for the first time like the Pixies, Chemical Brothers and Suede. Here’s to hoping 2011 is just as good.

To end, I have compiled a list of my top 10 albums of 2010.

It’s been a bit of a difficult year for this, as a lot of my favourite bands didn’t release anything this year, so I’ve had to rely on new bands or unexpected surprises. You may be able to guess my number one album, as I’ve blathered on about it nonstop since it was released.

10. Klaxons – Surfing The Void
This was a nice follow-up from Klaxons, although slightly predictable. It was more of the same Klaxons formula that we know and love, but I feel they could have tried to push the boat out a bit more. The title track was a favourite of mine though.

9. Blood Red Shoes – Fire Like This
Not quite as amazing as their first album, but still pretty damn good. Blood Red Shoes make effortless post-punk garage rock that is anthemic and so danceable. Light It Up and Heartsink were fantastic choices for singles.

8. We Are Scientists – Barbara
I wasn’t sure what to expect from We Are Scientists after their last album pretty much divided opinions. On it’s first listen, Barbara looked like it was going to be mostly forgettable, but after a week or so a lot of the songs stayed firmly rooted in my mind. It’s definitely a grower, and I Don’t Bite was one of my songs of the year.

7. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles II
This was another album which turned out to be a grower. In the beginning only a few tracks really stood out (most notably Baptism) but as I listened I ended up liking it more and more. They moved away from their trademark bleepy screechy sounds to give some more melodic vocals a try, and it definitely worked. They released a version of Not In Love with Robert Smith on the lead vocals and I was bowled over. It made such a gigantic change to the whole dynamic of the track! Another one of my favourite songs of the year.

6. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
If according to the rumours that this is LCD Soundsystem’s last album, then at least they went out with a bang. I knew this was going to be a big album even before it was released and it didn’t disappoint. Absolutely packed full of tunes like Drunk Girls and Pow Pow, I love to put this album on and just get lost in it.

5. Foals – Total Life Forever
Foals did this year what The Horrors did last year: Ditch the direction of their mediocre debut album, and release a phenomenal second album. Who would have thought the band that brought us the mildly irritating strains of Cassius would go on to produce the beautiful Spanish Sahara? The songs are more strung out and quietly grandiose than on the first album and it generally feels like they have grown up as a band.

4. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
This album is a wonderfully eclectic mix of styles, from the electronic 80s pop of Stylo to the oriental-rap mashup of White Flag. They use guest vocalists to their full, with almost every track having a different singer, and it works incredibly well and somehow doesn’t make the album feel disjointed. Standout tracks for me are Empire Ants and Rhinestone eyes.

3. Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Blood And Fire
With a revolving lineup of guitarists and their last full length album released 6 years ago, I did not have high hopes for this album at all. But it was a stomping, screeching, growling return to form and I love every song on it. They even managed to squeeze in a rousing singalong ballad in the form of So Long Goodnight.

2. Chemical Brothers – Further
Seeing this album live in its entirety with beautiful fullscreen visuals has probably coloured my opinion, but it’s near perfect. I think to be appreciated most it needs to be listened to in full, but the tracks still do work on their own as well. I challenge anyone to listen to Escape Velocity and not want to dance!

1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Of course this was my number one! I’ve listened to it a ridiculous amount since it came out, and I still love it. A lot of people were bitching and complaining when Arcade Fire were announced as Reading Festival headliners, but this album has cemented their headliner status. Their songs are made to be seen in a large crowd, with everyone around you singing and dancing like mad. The Suburbs, Rococo and Sprawl II are probably my favourites.

Hey kids, it’s blog time again. I’ve been super busy since Halloween so I haven’t even gotten my photos off my camera yet, but I will say that it was an awesome party and the cakes turned out well. Have a strange photo to tide you over for now:

My brother (left) and his best friend (right)

Halloween night saw the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster gig at Heaven, and I actually half considered not going as I was so tired from the previous night. The support acts were a strange motley crew of bands, with the first band Arrows of Love being pretty good but only playing to about 3 people, the second I can’t even remember their name and the third was a surprisingly dire Robots In Disguise. If you know me at all, you will know that Robots are one of my favourite bands, but their whole set just felt very lacklustre and I couldn’t even be bothered to sing along. I’m not sure if it was my own tiredness, the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm or a rubbish performance but either way I was disappointed.

Luckily Eighties Matchbox put in a stellar performance which woke me up and had me thrashing away on the barrier with the rest of the crowd. It was such a sweaty, intense atmosphere that the bands facepaint had melted away halfway through the first song. The security guard in front of me looked like he was having the time of his life, and kept saying “You’re all mental, it’s brilliant” as he hauled crowdsurfer after crowdsurfer over the barrier. The setlist was a mishmash of older and newer tracks, although I was disappointed that In The Garden got overlooked. Another brilliant night with Eighties Matchbox, and I even had Guy hand me his setlist!

On Tuesday I finally had the fortune of attending a recording of Never Mind The Buzzcocks. I had figured out that the guest hosts remaining for the final three episodes were Tim Westwood, Frankie Boyle and Robert Webb and we were praying to every deity that it wouldn’t be Tim. How unlucky we were! I don’t think I have ever seen a more unfunny person in my life. Luckily the guests were vaguely funny, and Phil and Noel more than made up for it. I’m curious to see how it ends up being edited together, as it seemed so patchy and not very cohesive. It was still a good free night though, even with the tube strike starting and having to battle buses to get home.

Other than that, nothing much has been going on in my life. I have become slightly obsessed with Bearbricks though. I never liked them much (not keen on the shape and I prefer the artist based designs of Qees) but I’ve been on a quest to get the Spock Bearbrick from Series 19, and have ended up with quite a few others, including the awesome Iron Man one! May do some photos of them soon.


On Thursday I went to the Garage for the Relentless Energy Sessions. Chrome Hoof, Does It Offend You Yeah? and The Sounds were all playing, and I got the tickets from my PureHMV account so I thought it would be a nice free night. It turned out to be a bit weird, because when we got inside it was only about half full and stayed that way for the rest of the night. Most of the crowd were just confused by Chrome Hoof, and although a section at the front livened up for Does It Offend You Yeah?, they quickly left after they had finished. By the time The Sounds took to the stage at around 10pm the room was about a third full and looked like a school disco gone wrong. It just made me feel uncomfortable really and I couldn’t get into the music, so we ended up leaving after about 5 songs. I don’t know if it was lack of advertising, or if people just weren’t interested, but it seemed really strange to me. We enjoyed Does It Offend You Yeah? anyway so the night wasn’t a total loss. They are supporting Linkin Park in November so hopefully I’ll see them with a bit of a better crowd next time.

On Friday afternoon I got an exciting email come through. After roughly 4 years of trying, I have finally got tickets to a recording of Never Mind The Buzzcocks! It’s for 2nd November and my boss has agreed to let me leave at 3pm so we can go and queue and guarantee our seats. I’m so excited, I hope they have good guests!

Today I went shopping to find some bits to finish off my Halloween outfit. Can you guess what I’m going to be? 😉

I also took a look in the 99p store (as I usually do, to see if they have any good bargains), and they had the Star Trek glasses that the American Burger Kings were giving away last year. I got the Spock and Kirk ones as we don’t have much room in our cupboards, but they all looked awesome.

This week I have lots of gigs coming up. Carl Barat on Wednesday at the Scala, Manic Street Preachers on Friday at Brixton Academy and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Robots In Disguise on Sunday at Heaven. I also have a Halloween party to go to on Saturday so it’s a very busy week for once. Luckily I get paid soon!


I was originally going to go to Offset Festival, as a few of my favourite bands were playing (like Kap Bambino and Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster) but I decided against it in the end due to money and having been to two festivals the month previously.
So imagine my joy when I got an email from GigJunkie asking if I wanted to photograph and review it! I said yes straight away, and on the Saturday morning I got a bus with a friend to Hainault Forest Country Park.

Offset is a wonderful small festival, with a main stage set in the middle and a number of smaller tent stages around in a circle. The bands are mostly up and coming acts, with a few bigger name headliners, and there are other activities going on including a vintage market and sports day races.

We had a great time drinking cider in the sunshine, wandering from stage to stage, dancing in the Trailer Trash tent and watching a drunken space hopper race!

I saw far too many bands to go through them all, but favourites were:

Athens Polytechnic – Not so great punk music, but a very enigmatic frontman who ran around in the audience and had his own dance routines.
Kap Bambino – 35 minutes of non-stop bouncing on the barrier, with Caroline pulling grotesque faces and sitting on photographers shoulders.
Art Brut – Singing along to songs I felt I had known forever.
Monotonix – They play in the audience, and after each song they pick the drumkit up and move forwards a bit. So chaotic and brilliant.
Atari Teenage Riot – Eighties Matchbox were a bit of a disappointment, but ATR made up for it with their infectious digital hardcore and political screechings.

See the rest of my photos at Flickr