A one-line review of every gig I’ve been to in March 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?

Me, at some random karaoke, The Crown, Hackney, 4 Mar – I always get annoyed when I am going to gigs or the cinema in Hackney that I don’t really like any of the pubs round there, and so on this trip I though before going to the Moth club I’d check out some different places further away from the two Overground stations. This is how I suddenly found myself in The Crown while karaoke was on. It was only 7pm on a Monday, everyone already seemed absolutely plastered, there was a group cosplaying as all the characters from Grease and, reader, it quickly escalated …

Pem, Moth Club, Hackney, 4 Mar – That is how I missed Pem.

Joseph In The Backyard, Moth Club, Hackney, 4 Mar – I can’t find any trace of these on the internet but it was like the more melodic bits rather than the scuzzy bits of Sebadoh, but with a woman singing. Would watch again.

Joseph In The Backyard at the Moth Club, Hackney

The New Eves, Moth Club, Hackney, 4 Mar – Are these songs? Is this a ritual? Last time I saw them I said it was like watching the children from The Wicker Man after they had gotten older and formed a band. And I don’t say this lightly, but there has been loads of shouty bloke bands recently, who people are like “This is channeling The Fall”, and all of them have been shite, but The New Eves, while sounding nothing like The Fall, genuinely channel something of those early unsettling Mark E Smith songs like Impression of J Temperance or the slower sections of Jawbone and the Air-Rifle. Folk horror in frocks with a flute. You must go and see them.

Three-quarters of The New Eves at the Moth Club, Hackney

A different three-quarters of The New Eves at the Moth Club, Hackney

Pocket Lint, The Night Owl, Finsbury Park, 8 Mar – Literary singer-songwriter stuff, he said he hadn’t played a gig for years, but it didn’t sound unready.

Pocket Lint at The Night Owl, Finsbury Park

Palindrones, The Night Owl, Finsbury Park, 8 Mar – Is industrial-goth-rave a genre? I quite enjoyed it and she had a good voice but there was slightly more “Whoop! Get yr hands in the air!” than I had been expecting.

Palindrones at The Night Owl, Finsbury Park

Laura Jayne, IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe, 9 Mar – I only saw a tiny bit of this after being in a pub before the gig, which had ran out of draught beer, which feels like a key failing for a pub and means I now have STRONG NEGATIVE FEELINGS about High Wycombe.

Laura Jayne at IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe

Charley Stone with the Actual Band, IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe, 9 Mar – Included an enjoyable rip through OK Cupid by Panic Pocket which I was only dimly aware of before but which is now a firm favourite.

Charley Stone with the Actual Band (all of them, honestly, you can just make out Mel in this photo on her posh drum riser) at IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe

Hurtling, IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe, 9 Mar – A stripped-back two-piece acoustic version of Hurtling which was surprisingly intense given the set-up.

Hurtling at IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe

Baby Teeth, IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe, 9 Mar – Scratchy feminist punk with a decent level of attitude.

Baby Teeth at IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe

Cruush, IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe, 9 Mar – Really enjoyed this shoegaze-y type thing – love to see young people still making genres of music I loved at the same age – and the singer had a really nice voice and coped admirably with a pedals tech-snafu which is especially a nuisance when trying to make those kind of soundscapes with a guitar.

Cruush at IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe

I, Doris, IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe, 9 Mar – Mostly tunes you recognise but with bittersweet-clever gender-swapping and feminist messaging in them.

Three-and-a-half Dorises (Dorisi? Doriss?) at IWD Fest, The Venue, High Wycombe

And then with eight things left on the bill, at about 5.30pm, I popped out to get some food, and while I was doing that, I realised just how shattered and drained I was. So despite the FOMO, I headed to the station.

I missed, among others, Da Googie and The Popguns, but sometimes self-care is listening to your body and going home. This exhausted journalist was back in London and tucked up in bed asleep before the main reason I’d headed there – Desperate Journalist – had even taken the stage.

Walt Disco, Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-sea, 17 Mar – Caught about half of this and wish I’d seen more, a Spear-of-Destiny-meets-Associates sort of vibe with dramatic swooping vocals.

Walt Disco at Cliffs Pavillion, Southend

OMD, Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-sea, 17 Mar – Do I like the weird early more experimental OMD? Yes! But do I also like the goofball pop OMD of Locomotion, Tesla Girls, Sailing On The Seven Seas? Again, yes! And I really like last year’s album too, and this concert had plenty of all of that. I missed the encore as I had to dash for the last train to get back to London, but as you’ll see, that isn’t going to be a problem.

OMD at Cliffs Pavillion, Southend

The Smile, Alexandra Palace, 23 Mar – There is no photo because it is a flat-floored venue, The Smile have the world’s tallest fans and one of the tiniest badly directed video-screen set-ups I’ve ever seen in a large venue, and I did not see a second of them in person with my own eyes. Sixty-four pounds and ten pence.

Howard Jones, O2 Arena, London, 24 Mar – He seems like such a well-balanced gentle soul, and it was lovely to see him get such a great reception in a big venue.

Howard Jones at the O2 Arena

OMD, O2 Arena, London, 24 Mar – “What were you thinking about for the single?” “Well, we’ve got this song about Joan of Arc” “Bit odd. Anything else?” “Another song about Joan of Arc, but this one is in waltz time with electronic bagpipes on it” “Ummmmm …”. I love them. And this time I saw the encore.

OMD at the O2 Arena

Catholic Block, Oslo, Hackney, 26 Mar – I’ve definitely reached the “concerned parent” era of gig-going cos I spent much of this set worrying they were going to trip up over their mic lead and pull all the equipment over. Kind of noir-ish Alphaville/Flock of Seagulls type lo-fi 80s synthpop backing with additional bowed guitar noise and some very dark lyrical content.

Catholic Block at Oslo, Hackney

Whispering Sons, Oslo, Hackney, 26 Mar – One of those bands I just genuinely don’t understand why they aren’t playing bigger venues, such a great taut sound and Fenne is one of the most charismatically intense performers around at the moment.

Whispering Sons at Oslo, Hackney

Also if you are reading this, and you are the blue-haired guy who tried to insert yourself as the main character down the front during Whispering Sons, taking up all the front row with your “dancing” and trying to hand Fenne a beer while they were singing etc, you are a fucking areshole who made the night worse for everyone around you, selfish fucking prick.