Last Thursday I went to see The Kills at Heaven. It was a gig I had been looking forward to immensely, so in my excitement I decided to go and queue straight from work. The doors opened at 6:30 and I managed to get a fantastic spot on the right of the stage, second row behind two short girls. Unfortunately I then had to stand around for an hour and a half waiting for something to happen. Promoters, venues, here’s a tip; don’t let people in at 6:30 and then have your first band start at 8! They could have just as easily opened the doors at 7 or 7:30. I wasted a lot of time playing Broken Sword on my iPhone before the support act, S.C.U.M, took to the stage.
I had heard of S.C.U.M before but had no idea what their music was like, so I was pleasantly surprised when the group of mismatched youngsters produced some wonderful psychedelic post-punk, quite reminiscent of The Horrors’s last album. The lead singer looked like Nick Cave’s long lost song in a bad linen suit, but his voice was really lovely and I found myself enjoying them a lot. They seemed to have little effect on the audience though, as they left in as much silence as they had arrived.
Finally it was (just after) 9 and it was time for The Kills. They arrived on stage without much fanfare, but to a loud chorus of screams from the waiting crowd, and launched into ‘No Wow’ from their second album. They played a set which was heavy on the new album, Blood Pressures, and which saw Alison Mosshart play a range of instruments instead of just her usual guitar and vocal duties. When not encumbered by an instrument she prowled the stage like a caged animal, alternating between crooning sweetly and shrieking like a banshee all whilst avoiding the audience’s gaze. Jamie took over most of the crowd interaction, muttering his thanks in between songs and taking it upon himself to verbally break up a fight between a man and a woman. His frenzied guitar riffs were expertly delivered and sounded just perfect in the gritty, intimate atmosphere of Heaven. The rest of the set was peppered with fan favourites such as ‘U.R.A. Fever’, ‘Kissy Kissy’ and ‘Tape Song’, with the latter getting the biggest crowd reaction of the night.
After a short break they were back for the encore with a beautiful rendition of new song ‘The Last Goodbye’ and ending on the classic ‘Fried My Little Brains’. The audience screamed their appreciation as they took a bow and left the stage smiling, and we all tumbled satisfied into the cool London evening. I really enjoyed myself and the gig felt quite intimate compared to the previous times I had seen The Kills (mostly large festivals), plus the new tracks all sounded brilliant. I’m still unsure if I will get tickets for their Roundhouse gig in June, but I’m sure I will see them at at least one of my festivals over the summer.
Future Starts Slow
Heart Is a Beating Drum
The Last Goodbye
Pots and Pans
Fried My Little Brains
Yesterday myself and my mum went to Brixton Academy for a special Japan Tsunami Benefit gig, arranged by Liam Gallagher and Beady Eye. I’m not much of a fan of Liam Gallagher, but the rest of the line up was too good to miss with the likes of Primal Scream, Paul Weller and Graham Coxon all playing.
We arrived about 15 minutes after the doors were supposed to open only to find a massive queue of people still waiting outside the Academy. This was useful for us, as we could slip into the O2 Priority queue and get in before the masses! We managed to bag ourselves spots on the barrier which meant we had a lovely view, and drink in hand we watched The Coral start the proceedings. I don’t mind The Coral as long as they don’t play too long, so their 6 song set (including crowd-pleaser ‘Dreaming Of You’) was fine by me. They ended with a cover of The Beatles ‘Ticket To Ride’ which seemed to set a Beatles-themed precedent for the whole evening.
Graham Coxon was up next, shambling onto the stage minus his glasses and wearing jeans that were far too small for him. He played a set that was a mix of old and new and it was a wonderful, if slightly mad experience. He ended the final song by doing a backwards roll on the floor and then shuffled off again, leaving half the audience confused and the other half grinning widely.
Crowd-favourite Paul Weller was the next act and he played a (deservedly) slightly longer set, that focussed less on his newer efforts and more on the older crowd pleasers like ‘Eton Rifles’ and ‘Start’. He too ended on a cover of The Beatles, ‘Come Together’, along with the help of Kelly Jones on guitar and vocals. Kelly Jones played a short acoustic set after, and although I usually detest The Stereophonics, the crowd singing along to ‘Dakota’ was enough to make me smile.
Primal Scream were up next and they were really my highlight of the evening. Having nothing new to promote at all (apart from the Screamadelica tour they are currently on) they too stuck to the hits, and it had an electric effect on the booze-soaked crowd. Bobby Gillespie danced around the stage like a man possessed and encouraged the fans to sing back to him, and they responded enthusiastically. ‘Movin On Up’ and ‘Loaded’ were incredible and had the whole audience moving and singing and I was pretty certain that no-one else could top that performance.
Richard Ashcroft made a brief appearance while the stage was being set for Beady Eye and churned out a few Verve songs on his acoustic guitar. He also made the strange mistake of playing a new song last, which brought the audience’s spirits right down after a mass singalong to ‘Sonnet’ and ‘Lucky Man’.
Beady Eye were on last, and as usual Liam was a man of few words and many scowls. We stuck around for about half of their set and then pretty much got bored and decided to leave in order to catch our train. Apparently we missed a final Beatles cover, but I wasn’t too bothered really. Their music is ok, but it just sounds like the worst parts of Oasis to me. I’ve always been a Noel fan myself.
We were informed before the evening ended that £150,000 had been raised already, so even if some of the performances had been a bit lukewarm, it was all for a good cause. Plus it has confirmed my decision to see Primal Scream at Glastonbury instead of the incredibly dull U2.