A one-line review of every gig I’ve been to in October 2023

This monthly series is probably more for my benefit than yours, but maybe your interest will be piqued by one of the reviews. Maybe you’ll scroll straight past. Maybe you’ll unsubscribe thinking what did I see in this blog in the first place?

Midge Ure, Royal Albert Hall, London, 4 Oct – I had a ticket to go and see The Anchoress in Cambridge the same night but train strikes and Midge announcing this was going to be the last time he played the Ultravox Vienna album in full meant I got a late ticket up in the RAH’s standing gallery instead. He slightly oddly started with an acoustic set that then merged into India Electric Co doing their support slot but there was a really warm reception for Midge celebrating his 70th birthday, and a lovely bit of full circle for me as one of the first proper gigs I ever went to was Ultravox’s tour of the Lament album in 1984.

Midge Ure at the Royal Albert Hall

Seb Wesson, Concorde 2, Brighton, 6 Oct – Competent singer-songwriter fare, not really my cup of tea.

Nik Kershaw, Concorde 2, Brighton, 6 Oct – After being a fan since getting his debut album on cassette in 1984 this was, incredibly, the first time I’d ever got to see Nik Kershaw live – I’d not even caught him on the bill of the kind of 80’s nostalgia festival tours I go to.

Billed as “No Glitz, Just Hitz … and Other Bitz!” I would have preferred slightly fewer “other bits” and more of what I consider to be the hits, but fairplay to him, despite it being years since he’s troubled the charts or the airwaves, he’s nine albums into a career and has maintained a very passionate fanbase.

Less ideally, I felt the venue was over-capacity, and after being down near the front for the first eight songs, I went to the toilets/bar and then it seemed impossible to get back into the room, so I watched half the gig on a screen from a room next door. Very odd.

I’ve had better views …

Gary Numan, Hackney Church, London, 16 Oct – I didn’t fancy this “acoustic tour” from Gary, that’s not what I want from a Numan show, but as it got closer I got FOMO about Gary Numan doing a show literally four Overground stops from me. So I managed to bag a last minute resale ticket and then it was … brilliant.

He has often been criticised by certain fandom quarters for relying on backing tracks, including vocals, but the acoustic arrangements really showed off the songs and more than anything his voice. He was also bery humble and funny between songs. And I was drinking beer in a church again [see Laura Jean, reviews passim]

Gary Numan at Hackney Church

Mind you, this did my noodle in. The support at Gary Numan was a video of a Gary Numan concert … and people were flippin’ standing there videoing the video with their phones. And then I took a picture of them filming the video …

People filming a film of Gary Numan for some reason

Blancmange, London Palladium, London, 17 Oct – I’ve seen him in support slots a few times now and it is always good value, and he opened with a lovely piano-driven rendition of The Day Before You Came, one of the most intriguing and haunting songs of all time.

Blancmange at the London Palladium

Howard Jones, London Palladium, London, 17 Oct – Howard was celebrating the 40th anniversary of his debut single, came on with his keytar, had Nick Beggs from Kajagoogoo in the band wearing a leather dress and playing a Chapman Stick, and that’s all you need to know. I loved it.

Howard Jones and his trusty keytar at the London Palladium

Nadine Shah, Chalk, Brighton, 19 Oct – I had a ticket to this comeback gig from Nadine whose stuff I adore but Storm Babet knackered the trains from London to Brighton and back and so I missed it. Booooooo!

The Morphics, The Ostrich Inn, Peterborough, 20 Oct – I’ve been wanting to catch my mate’s 60s garage/psych band for a while and finally – just about, what with trains/storm drama continuing – got to see them at their last ever gig, which was great fun and made me annoyed I hadn’t managed to see them sooner.

The Morphics at the Ostrich Inn in Peterborough

Dogs! Teeth!, The Ostrich Inn, Peterborough, 20 Oct – Three-piece rock band, sort of in the mould of Royal Blood.

m-orchestra, Zed Alley, Bristol, 27 Oct – Some damn fool with a laptop and a blog and a live debut for my version of Klaus Nomi’s Keys of Life. Unfortunately my projector has died at some point, which I only discovered as I was setting up, so this had to be an audio-only show.

m-orchestra’s Halloween look for 2023

Saint Valentine, Zed Alley, Bristol, 27 Oct – Very emotionally raw songs with at times almost-operatic vocals and a neat line in vogueing and the first double-drummer set up I’ve seen since … well … the Fallen Women in Bristol last month, actually.

Saint Valentine at Zed Alley, Bristol

War Against Sleep, Zed Alley, Bristol, 27 Oct – Intricately written lyrics with a wry sense of humour and look at life, reminding me a bit at times of Magnetic Fields.

War Against Sleep at Zed Alley, Bristol

m-orchestra, Thunderbolt, Bristol, 28 Oct – Some damn fool with a laptop and a blog and videos that worked and a couple of different songs from the previous night, including Is Vic There?, which I guess kind of isn’t a Halloween song, but I’ve always found it has quite a creepy air to it.

m-orchestra set-up at the Thunderbolt, Bristol

Felicia, Thunderbolt, Bristol, 28 Oct – Not quite sure what genre this was – political-electro-metal? – but Felicia and guitarist were both super charismatic and put on an energetic show.

Felicia at the Thunderbolt, Bristol

Heading For Venus, Thunderbolt, Bristol, 28 Oct – Party covers band with a spooky theme.

Flyers for the Hell-oween night at the Thunderbolt in Bristol

(Two-fifths of) The Hollies, Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-sea, 29 Oct – I ummmmed and ahhhhhed about seeing a version of the Hollies without either Allan Clarke or Graham Nash but the setlist is a total greatest hits of loads of songs I loved when I was literally a kid playing my parents’ old 45s in the 1970s and their new singer – he’s been in the band nearly twenty years – belts it all out with gusto, so a warm nostslgic time was had by all. The first time I have lowered the average age of attendees at a gig for a while.