My write-up of the Robots in Disguise gig is a bit late due to a friend winning last minute VIP tickets to the Big Chill festival. We had a lovely weekend of lying about in the sun, and I took my DSLR so there are a few photos and words on at the end of the post. But first, on with the Robots review:

Robots in Disguise are one of my favourite live bands, due to their sheer energy and enthusiasm, and a frequent DIY aspect to their instruments, costumes, stage props and performances. I’ve somehow managed to see them over 20 times live in the past few years and each occasion has been a uniquely memorable event. However I was slightly apprehensive about their gig at XOYO due to the lack of promotion I had seen for it. Unfortunately Robots don’t have a major label backing and have recorded and released their newest album, Happiness Vs Sadness, under their own steam and with donations from fans. Although this fits in with their DIY aspect it has meant that all promotion has come from themselves, and mostly their twitter accounts and facebook pages. This is essentially preaching to the converted, and I was worried that I would arrive at XOYO to find a handful of dedicated fans and not much else.

I arrived at about 9pm (XOYO has a curiously late door time of 8pm) to find the support band, Rubricks, halfway through their set and indeed with only a few vaguely interested spectators in front of the stage. Unfortunately their female-fronted electronic-tinged indie pop was unable to rouse more than a half-hearted applause, although more people had started to trickle in by the time they finished. When it got to 9:45, the venue was about as full as it was going to get and the Robots took to the stage with minimal fuss. Despite the rather sparse crowd they seemed pleased to be playing to their home crowd, and the audience responded with loud enthusiasm. The set was obviously heavy on the new album, maybe hoping to tempt a few more people to purchase it at the merch stand, and although some of the tracks lack a punch on record they sounded a lot better live. However the biggest cheers and sing-alongs were reserved for old favourites such as ‘Turn It Up’, ‘GIRL’ and ‘The Sex Has Made Me Stupid’. I was surprised but pleased to hear ‘Argument’ in the encore as I assumed they would have dropped that track in favour of a newer one. The girls snarled and sneered at each other on stage, playing up to their fake quarrel, before launching themselves into the audience to crowd surf. Before long they were clambering back onto the stage and grinning at the cheering crowd as the track ended.

All things considered, it was a pretty successful gig, but my mind can’t help but wander back to the times when they would pack out larger venues and have fans queuing outside for the best spot on the barrier. Here’s to hoping the next tour is a bit better promoted.

As a cheeky bonus, my good friends at the Velvet Onion had a chat with the girls backstage after the gig. Have a look at their interview here. Velvet Onion – Robots In Disguise interview

The Big Chill Festival was the second I had attended, and the second one that I didn’t have to pay for! I’m getting quite used to this VIP lark now! It was as usual, gorgeous weather, good company, a smattering of awesome electronic acts and a giant bloody hill. Myself and my competition winning friend were in the guest camping area, which meant nice toilets and a shorter walk to the arena, but there was also a group of about 10 of my friends in the normal camping area, so we had a large jolly group which is always useful when everyone wants to go in different directions. Since I last went to the Big Chill, Mean Fiddler has taken over and it is quite noticeable with the loss of some of the more interesting bits of the festival. The stages have been shuffled around and now instead of whimsical things like the drive in cinema and art installations, they seem to have a lot of bars and makeshift clubs. The arty parts are still there, but have been relegated to a field at the back while the more commercial and sponsored attractions take prominence. Surprisingly it hasn’t really done a lot to alter the ambience of the place though, and you can still find families, some mid-thirties ravers and a scattering of teenagers all grooving away in the Sunday sunshine to the Norman Jay DJ set.

The Chemical Brothers set on Friday was probably my favourite, although I was extremely surprised by Janelle Monae on Saturday. It helped that my Oxfam-found black and white striped blazer perfectly matched her stage setup! Other great acts included Metronomy, Calvin Harris’s DJ set, Warpaint and my new favourite band, Crystal Fighters. It was a lovely weekend and not even the massive queues at the train station on Monday morning could bring me down. Fingers crossed for another free pass next year!

You can see the rest at the Flickr page.


I got paid on Tuesday, which seemed to be just in time as every gig ticket in the world appears to have gone on sale this week or last. I have spent a large portion of my wages on tickets for Friendly Fires (Brixton Nov 26th), Robots In Disguise (XOYO Jul 27th), IAMX (Heaven Oct 13th), CSS (XOYO Aug 23rd) and Death From Above 1979 (Brixton Oct 7th). Unfortunately I missed out on Incubus and Miles Kane, but that’s what ebay and Scarlet Mist are for.

I have also booked our dealer table for the London Film and Comic Con, so I need to work on building my stock back up again. I got a bit excited when I visited their site and saw all the guests they have (Karen Gillan, Christopher Lloyd, Walter Koenig, Sean Maher, Mark Sheppard, Brent Spiner to name but a few) and I have booked myself photoshoots with Karen Gillan and the TARDIS, and Christopher Lloyd and the Delorean! I may also get some things signed by a few people. How will I even have time to sell jewellery inbetween? Come over and say hi if you are planning to attend, we will have free lollipops on the Saturday.

Lastly, I went to see X-Men: First Class on Wednesday and I was so pleasantly surprised. I’m a massive X-Men nerd and X-Men: Wolverine pretty much shattered my confidence in the films. I was dubious that they would be able to pull First Class off, but they did and I’m so pleased with it. I can ignore the usual canonical issues (Some of the mutants would be the wrong age and wouldn’t even be in the first class, Moira has been bastardised and they are ignoring the fact that Havok is Scott’s brother) and focus on the tasty bromance between Erik and Charles. It has gotten me in the mood to read some more of the comics so I have ordered volumes 5 and 6 of Astonishing X-Men from Amazon. Now I just need to see Thor and I will be happy.


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!