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’m back from Glasto, and just about recovered enough to write down a few coherent thoughts and reviews.

Firstly though, before I forget, I want to just jot down a few words on the Patrick Wolf gig I attended last Monday at the Garage. It was a private gig to celebrate his newest release, Lupercalia, and the tickets were given away to fans who had preordered the album. It was quite an unusual gig with no support act and a start time of 8pm (which of course turned into 8:30pm as Patrick was late) and the fans felt a bit more subdued than his normal crowd. Perhaps it was a case of people winning the tickets who wouldn’t normally have paid to go and see him. Nevertheless I enjoyed myself and we got a few treats in the form of the rarely played ‘Teignmouth’ and ‘Wolf Song’, plus hearing some of the new songs live has made me like them more. ‘Together’ is now ensconced as one of my favourite tracks from the new album. Patrick himself veered between emotional and ecstatic, and spent most of the encore in with the crowd, singing and dancing with his fans. Overall it was not the best gig I’ve seen him do (possibly owing to the fact I’m not a fan of Lupercalia in general) but it was still a pleasant evening. Plus there was the bonus of getting home before 11 for a change!

See below for the setlist:

Time Of My Life
Wolf Song
The Libertine
Slow Motions
The Falcons
Bermondsey Street
The Days
The Bachelor
This City
The Future
Tristan Remix

Glastonbury, oh Glastonbury. It’s barely been a day, and I’ve already mostly forgotten the horrible slog from the carpark to the campsite, the sea of mud and the Friday full of pissing rain. All that I remember now are the sunny days, the strong cider and the glorious bands. It really was an experience, although I am secretly glad that there isn’t another one until 2013. I don’t think I’ve walked so much over a single weekend in my life! Band highlights include The Vaccines really living up to their hype, Biffy Clyro rocking out despite the rain, Yuck being sublime, The Horrors blowing me away with a surprisingly fantastic performance, The Chemical Brothers and their massive field of ravers, and of course Queens of the Stone Age, for closing Glastonbury with the best set I have seen in a long time. We also did the Arcadia and Shangri-La experience on Saturday night after The Chems, and that was like a whole festival of its own. We saw Orbital on the revolving DJ booth in the Spider in Arcadia, spent a good few hours in the block 9 gay club NYC Downlow, before getting lost in the backstreet slums of the contaminated Shangri-La. We trekked back to our camp as the sun rose and it seemed like a perfect festival moment. I also managed to get up to the Park to see one of the weekends special guests, Radiohead, although as I couldn’t see or hear much it wasn’t all too spectacular.

I’ll do another roundup of Glasto bits when I get my photos back from the developers sometime next week.

This week is the Arcade Fire gig at Hyde Park, and I’m planning to be down the front and going insane for the whole thing. With support from Owen Pallett, The Vaccines, Beirut and Mumford & Sons, it looks set to be an awesome day.


On Wednesday I got to skip free from work at 3pm (after being given an Easter Egg) and make my way to Leicester Square for the XFM session featuring Miles Kane. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, so after some food and cheeky cocktails in the pub we ventured into the Global Radio headquarters. We waited in the reception area until most of the other competition winners had arrived (there were about 25 of us in total) and then we were ushered into the ‘Green Room’ bar where we were served free beer. Beer only tastes good when it’s free! The walls had been signed by previous XFM guests so we wasted time trying to spot the best ones. The Wombats had scrawled their name in massive letters, possibly to compensate for how sh*t their music is.. Eventually everyone had arrived and the band was ready, so we were led into a room just off the recording studio, which had massive glass windows so we could see inside. It felt a bit like we were in a zoo and Miles Kane was a rare tiger exhibit.

Steve Harris was in with us, and introduced Miles and asked him a few questions before they played their set. They played the three singles plus an album track and I was really impressed with how polished it all sounded. I knew it would be good, but they really exceeded my expectations. It was over too soon and we were taken back to the bar and told that Miles would be with us in a moment. After signing the wall himself (and right over Alex James by mistake!) he made his way round the room and chatted to each pair of competition winners, thanking them for coming and signing things and having photos taken. It was a really nice touch, although when he reached us my friend started off the conversation by saying she didn’t actually know who he was! Luckily she recovered and went on to say that she was really impressed, and asked if he was playing Reading and Leeds. He confirmed that he was and after two hilariously bad photos with us, it was time to leave.

All in all it was a really fun afternoon. We got to see bits of the XFM studios, have lots of free beer, watch a great set and meet Miles Kane afterwards. I’ll definitely be trying to win my way into more sessions in the future.

Last night the entire Glastonbury lineup was revealed, which took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting it for another couple of weeks! The biggest announcement for me is Queens of the Stone Age headlining the Other Stage on the Sunday. I was wondering who I was going to see instead of Beyonce, and now I’m incredibly happy. A lot of the smaller bands are also playing Reading so if there are clashes it won’t be the end of the world.

Bands I am most excited for include:
Biffy Clyro
Two Door Cinema Club
Primal Scream
Bright Eyes
The Chemical Brothers
Friendly Fires
The Kills
Queens Of The Stone Age
TV on the Radio
Bombay Bicycle Club
Miles Kane
The Horrors
Ok Go
The Joy Formidable
Crystal Castles
Graham Coxon
Patrick Wolf