8 March 2020
13 February 2020
15 December 2019
This has been a really good year for us, musically. We have attended a great number of gigs and seen some bands that we never thought would be possible. Here’s a nutshell view of the gigs we’ve been to this year.
In February, we headed off to Oxford for an evening with the magnificent Post Modern Jukebox for an evening of classic remakes of modern songs, and they certainly did not disappoint.
In March, we spent an evening with long-time loves, Slovenian avant-garde group Laibach. I’ve have loved Laibach since my late teens, and spending the evening with them was a really special moment for me. The fist half of the evening, they shared their documentary Liberation Day about going to North Korea with us, and then performed a number of beloved songs from the Sound of Music and more.
Dead Can Dance
Dead Can Dance is one of the first bands that the husband and I shared a love for, and their music has been a constant in our lives both before we met and since then. In May, we were fortunate enough to experience the magnificence of Dead Can Dance live. Lisa Gerrard’s voice transported us to many worlds, and certainly did not disappoint. Paired with Brendan Perry’s vocals, and a blend of magical sounds, this is probably one of the best gigs we’ve ever been to, and one we will remember for a long time. It was also one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences for us, as the band no longer plays gigs that regularly.
In June, we headed off to the Olympic Park Stadium in London for an evening with Muse and friends. Muse is certainly worthy of such a big, magnificent venue and fills up the space with their sound and energy. Another great gig and night to remember.
Later in June, I spent an evening with Nick Cave for the very intimate Conversations with Nick Cave. It was an evening with just Nick Cave on stage with his piano and a microphone, answering questions from the audience, providing us with a glimpse into his mind and soul, and sharing the beauty of his music with us.
Wacken Open Air
Going to Wacken has become a bit of an annual pilgrimage for us, returning to the Holy Metal land to watch as many bands as possible and being with the best community in the world, and this year was no exception. We saw a large number of bands as always, but for me the highlights were seeing The Sisters of Mercy, Brass Against, Facing the Gallows, Bloodywood, Hammerfall, Powerwolf and one of my new favourite bands, The Vintage Caravan.
I joined the husband and some friends at the Killswitch Engage gig in London in October. They’re not typically my cup of tea, but it was a good night out and they certainly put on a good show.
Another favourite from my younger years is The Cult, and we were fortunate enough to catch their Sonic Temple tour in London in October. They were supported by The Last Internationale, which we’d never heard before but was absolutely phenomenal. Another bucket list band seen, and the support band has also made it into my regular playlist now.
Opeth and The Vintage Caravan
October was a really busy month for us, as we also got to see Opeth, with The Vintage Caravan in support, towards the end of October. Opeth is one of my top 5 favourite bands at the moment, and seeing them live finally was a very special night for me.
a-ha was one of the first bands I ever loved, and the start of my musical love affair with the Nordic countries. Seeing them live at the Royal Albert Hall in November was truly special.
Our last gig of the year was seeing Swedish greats Hypocrisy, Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth, at the end of November in London. Amon Amarth is another one of my current favourite bands, regularly featuring in my playlists, and seeing them live never disappoints. I’ve seen them a few times at Wacken, but this was the first time seeing them in a smaller setting – and it was still a spectacular event.
Thank you to each of the bands we have seen, and every other band we listen to on a regular basis, for the music and the memories.
23 November 2019
Music has always been a constant in my life, from when I was a very young human. My taste in music may have expanded over the years, and it changes according to my mood, but there are some constants throughout.
Every now and again on social media there will be some kind of music challenge – 10 songs that changed your life, 20 albums that influenced you, etc – and I will always participate, because it is so absolutely core to me. Even when I do not listen to music for weeks on end because, well, life gets in the way.
I bought my first walkman when I was 9 years old. It was a cheap piece of shit, but it was a start.
When I was 10, I saved my pocket money for months until I had enough to go and buy a good walkman. This one was much better.
When I was 12, I again saved my pocket money and finally bought myself a boombox – except I would never have called it a boombox. It was a deluxe double tape deck FM/AM radio. The double tape deck was the important thing, because it was the time of mix tapes.
And taping your favourite songs from the radio.
That was an art in itself. You had to time it perfectly. You had to know the first few beats of the song, and hit the button just as the DJ stopped talking, and then hit the pause button – never stop, always pause – as the song approaches the last few beats, just before the ad for got knows what ruins the ending completely.
And this is why you needed a double tape deck.So you can edit out these little annoyances. And compile the songs in an order that tells a story – mostly that you are making googly eyes at some guy :)
My walkman and I went everywhere. There was no greater freedom than me, my bicycle, long summer days and my walkman. I would cycle around the neighbourhood aimlessly, just so I could listen to music. It was glorious.
These days, my phone is my walkman, and I have Spotify – so there is no need to wait next to the radio to hear my favourite song to make a compilation, and I have the world’s music at my finger tips, for the most part. There are still a few favourite bands that are not on Spotify, but I can savour them at the right moments.
So I’ve been making a bit of a mixtape again. A mixtape with no limits. And every song I love. It is a work in progress, a labour of love.