A one-line review of every gig I’ve been to in April and May 2024

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?

The Look Back Bores, Dublin Castle, Camden, 12 Apr – An annual tribute to the Fall by massive fans of the Fall for massive fans of the Fall, and one year I will get to see it, but this year despite having a ticket I was stuck looking after this doofus.

Notably not the Look Back Bores

That means April 2024 was the first month that I went to ZERO gigs since lockdown times. (I supported Pye Corner Audio as m-orchestra on 5 March 2020 and my next gig was watching OMD doing a sort of test reopening event at Indigo @ O2 in June 2021 and there hadn’t been a gig-free month since)

Callum Easter, Heaven, London, 2 May – This was great. You think your own music is weird, and then you go see a bloke who looks like Ian Curtis playing accordion with an additional drummer and a couple of hidden gospel singers and he’s doing distorted pedal-laden miserable rockabilly. Superb.

Callum Easter at Heaven

Nadine Shah, Heaven, London, 2 May – God I loathe Heaven as a gig venue. I’m sure it’s a perfectly brilliant legendary club for young people but it’s a flat floor so even though the stage is elevated the sight lines are terrible, the bar is set up for an evening when people have bought their own … ummm … stimulants rather than wanting to buy drinks regularly, the toilets have some poor soul on sub-minimum wage either menacing you for money when you wash your hands or casting the loud tut of disapproval at people who didn’t, and it’s under the railway arches so it’s damp, claustrophobic, smelly and there is no phone signal. All of that is why I did not buy a ticket to see Nadine Shah here, then got consumed with so much FOMO I ended up smashing the refresh button on Twickets every twenty seconds for days until I managed to get in. She was, of course, absolutely fucking brilliant. Easily my favourite new solo artist of the last decade and one of the most intense performers I’ve ever seen.

Nadine Shah at Heaven

Art of Noise, Indigo @ O2, London, 17 May – I saw them once before, at the big Wembley Arena show for Trevor Horn, and this time it was enjoyable enough, but I found it a bit sterile as a live performance, despite the addition of Paul Morley coming on to do very-ZTT-sleevenote spoken word/poetry bits before a couple of the tracks. They did a lovely tribute to Duane Eddy at the end though.

Art of Noise plus Max Headroom at the Indigo @ O2

Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey, Indigo @ O2, London, 17 May – Last time I saw Tom Bailey playing all of Into The Gap live in 2022 I wrote a standalone piece about it in which I under-stated “I had knackered my ankle earlier in the day so I mostly just leaned against solid things and waved my hands” when in fact what had happened was I went to the gig having BROKEN MY FUCKING ANKLE and cried all the way through due to a mix of nostalgia/shock/ankle/alcohol. Anyway I was very close to the stage for this London one, ankle was fine, I danced all night, and still cried.

Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey at the Indigo @ O2

Also a big shout out to Nick Beggs who now appears to be attempting to out-do Charley Stone by being in every band I want to go and see live.

Nick Beggs at the Indigo @ O2, playing bass for Tom Bailey, just weeks after I saw him playing bass for Howard Jones

Gary Numan, UEA, Norwich, 19 May – I can be very dim and obviously this was billed as a 45th anniversary tour but I hadn’t quite clocked that Gary Numan would only be playing tracks released in 1979, so it was a brilliant chance to see lots of things I’ve maybe only seen him play once or twice before if at all, and also living testimony to the fact that maybe when I first heard the plaintive lyric of an android saying “Please don’t turn me off, I don’t know what I’m doing outside” I took it as a mission statement. I really do often feel quite like an android who doesn’t exactly know what he is doing outside.

Gary Numan at UEA in Norwich

Minimal Schlager and Curses, Moth Club, Hackney, 21 May – Not the dog’s fault this time, but another of the increasingly frequent casualties of “I have tickets for this but work today left me too drained to leave the house”. And that was before they called the election.

Charlie Havenick, Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney, 28 May – On recordings Charlie has a shoegazey sort of Mercury Rev vibe, but this was stripped back and acoustic and there was a lot of self-deprecating between song banter which was unnecessary because the songs were really good.

Charlie Havenick at Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney

The Lovely Good, Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney, 28 May – Lots of lovely good harmonies and swapping round of lovely good lead singers.

The Lovely Good at Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney

Voilet Malice, EartH, Hackney, 30 May – Spoken word poetry mostly about sexual encounters which veered into tales of sexual abuse and domestic violence. At times laugh-out-loud turns of phrase, and at other times complete silence descended on the room because bloody hell that was bleak. Also hugely impressed by someone on stage being able to just go “This one’s called ‘Posh Cunt'”.

The Lovely Eggs, EartH, Hackney, 30 May – Always riotous indie psychedelic fun and I went right down to the barrier because I’m 52 and I will be doing that when I can forever.

The Lovely Eggs at EartH Hackney, which is actually in Dalston

Read more of my one-line reviews of gigs.