A one-line review of every gig I’ve been to in June 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 Remainder, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 1 Jun – Neil Arthur was supporting himself as this project which also features Finlay Shakespeare and Liam Hutton (who also make up Blancmange live). It doesn’t really sound anything different from the recent things Arthur has recorded as Blancmange, and I kind of figured doing it this way meant he could play a set of new material with the joy and freedom of no pressure to play “hits”, although he said it was only their ninth gig as The Remainder and he was “terrified”, somewhat making my theory bunkum.

Neil Arthur at Islington Assembly Hall

Blancmange, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 1 Jun – I wasn’t fussed buying a ticket to this when it was first announced but I enjoyed the Blancmange set so much when I saw him supporting Howard Jones in October I decided to come along, and honestly it was so so good, and I think Neil Arthur was a bit taken back by the reception. The set got held up a couple of times because people just wouldn’t stop applauding. Sobbed my way all the way through The Day Before You Came, of course, which is one of those songs that always floors me.

I didn’t take any decent pictures during Blancmange, but it looked exactly like this except now he was wearing a black top and jacket

Gary Numan, Roundhouse, Camden, 9 Jun – Why yes, I did see him do the exact same show some three weeks earlier in Norwich at the start of the tour. It was pretty much every single song he released in 1979 and I thoroughly loved it again.

Gary Numan at the Roundhouse, Camden

Cast, O2 Arena, London, 11 Jun – Alright was a live favourite when The La’s used to play it, and I made the effort to get a ticket for Liam Gallagher on a night when Cast were supporting, but I recognised less than I had anticipated.

Liam Gallagher, O2 Arena, London, 11 Jun – I know, I know, the most 90s straight dad Britpop there could be, but you had to be there when Oasis made their debut on The Word and the next day mates of mine walked into the pub one-by-one and were all immediately going “Blimey, did you see that band on The Word” etc etc

Liam is a star and got the whole of a sold out O2 on their feet from the first note of Rock’n’Roll Star and nobody sat down again. In the last 12 months I’ve seen Blur, Pulp, Suede and I’m due to see the Manics in the summer – gotta catch ’em all – and as much as I enjoyed it, I definitely feel more at home in a Blur/Pulp/Suede/Manics crowd than an Oasis crowd.

Liam Gallagher at the O2 Arena

Shame, London Stadium, 20 Jun – I was in the stadium while this was happening, but I had my noise cancelling headphones on listening to England v Denmark at the Euros, sorry lads.

Wet Leg, London Stadium, 20 Jun – I know it is absolute catnip to centrist 6Music dads like me, but I can’t help it, I think they are great. Always clearly having an absolute ball playing live, and Rhian’s sudden burst of unexpected operatic signing in unreleased track Obvious bought the stadium to a sudden surprised hush.

Wet Let at the Olympic Stadium

Foo Fighters, London Stadium, 20 Jun – Dave Grohl is an incredible frontman, no doubt about that, but one of those occasions where there are 79,999 people busting their lungs out to every word and I was like “Oh, I only came here out of curiosity and cos I had a couple of their albums back in the 90s, I didn’t think people loved them this much!”

Uncanny, The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 25 June – Not a gig, but the theatre tour of the Danny Robins podcast of the same name – essentially an episode done in front of you with theatrical flourishes and resident experts Ciarán O’Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow. Mostly scripted but with the randomising factor of asking for contributions from the audience, which very much varied from helpful questions about what they had been discussing to “This is more of a comment than a question really, and is the prepared remark I wanted to make this evening should I get hold of the microphone”. Bless. I was lucky enough to meet all the cast afterwards, but did not see the famous Man in Grey ghost of the Drury Lane theatre.

[As an aside, well in advance I realised that this would clash with England’s last group match at Euro2024, but was relaxed about it, because under Gareth Southgate we always always get out of the group, usually early. As was the case this tournament too.]

Night In Athens, Santacruz, Death Drive, PC World, Sebright Arms, Bethnal Green, 27 Jun – A new low for old-manism in that I actually made it to the venue for this, had one beer, and then decided I was too old/over-heated/tired after work to watch bands. Still at least I got some steps in, some fresh air, and saw a dishevelled woman carrying a rather surprised looking ferret/weasel/stoat through Weavers Fields on the way there, so the evening wasn’t entirely without merit.

… and yet I was in bed asleep by 9pm

Shiver and Shake, Walthamstow Trades Hall, London, 28 June – Also not a gig, but a 70s/80s/90s post-punk and alt disco evening, which mixed things I really wanted to hear, and things I didn’t know but clearly would have wanted to hear because they were right in my weirdo wheelhouse, leading to much use of Shazam during the evening. I wore my new Sparks t-shirt too.

On my way to Shiver & Shake with my newest Sparks shirt

Read more of my one-line reviews of gigs.