52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I just close my eyes as you walk by

The Editors @ Nottingham Rescue Rooms

There's something about going to a gig like this that is guaranteed to make me feel old. It's probably a combination of a University town at the start of the new Academic year, a small venue, a fairly trendy band and £8 tickets. I don't think I have ever seen as much bum fluff, experimental hair & low-rent Libertines chic (as if that was possible) at a gig before now. Still, I've had a good innings: chewed a few bones, chased a few cats....

The place was rammed. The balcony was open, and a second bar that I never even knew existed had been opened to cope with the demand for warm, flat Stella. I think everyone who was anyone was there. I saw a white guy with bleached dreadlocks who might even have been W. Axl Rose (which, if he regularly travels to obscure venues in the wastelands of the English Midlands, might go some way towards explaining why 'Chinese Democracy' is so delayed....)

As usual, I was attending the gig with Lord B., and we adopted our customary position at the back of the venue just in time to hear the last chords being played by the support - "We Are Scientists" and settled in to wait for main event.

Now, I don't know if you are familiar with The Editors, but they have managed the neat trick of being hailed in some quarters as startlingly original in spite of the fact that they sound like an Interpol tribute band. To my eyes this makes them at least doubly unoriginal: copying a band who themselves are slavishly copying Joy Division. Still. I like Interpol, and I quite like The Editors' debut album , 'The Back Room', so I was quite looking forward to this. Interpol are quite a stylish band: all fringes, sunglasses and black jackets. They have that studied cool that so many New York bands seem to have. Because The Editors sound a bit like them, for some reason I expected them to adopt a similar look. So when they shambled onto the stage wearing jeans and t-shirts, with the Nottingham born guitarist sporting a Forest scarf, I have to say that I was a little bit disappointed. Singer Tom Smith did his best, frequently grabbing his head and whirling his guitar around behind his head, but basically the band lack charisma.

The whole set was about 40 minutes long, and they pretty much played their album through. My verdict? Much the same as the album really: they have one or two really cracking songs ('blood', 'munich') and a few other decent ones, but they just seem to be missing a little something. Originality certainly.

They're young, and they have some promise.... but to be honest I found them a little bit underwhelming (although a whole lot better than staying in and watching the second part of that documentary on that charlatan, Bob Dylan, that's for sure. I'll never forgive him for that truly awful gig at the London Arena where I actually fell asleep he was so bad.)

Bloc Party are next. 16th October @ Rock City.

... six out of ten. better luck next time.


  • At 11:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I liked the bit in the middle where they did that song where the intro sounds like "Sugar Box" by Then Jerico. (and don't start having a pop at Then Jerico - "Big Area" and "Sugar Box" were great records.

    The Editors are probably the least interesting or original band I have ever seen. That doesn't mean it was a rubbish gig by any stretch of the imagination, just, well, entirely predictable.

    And, yes, I will confirm that Axl was in attendance. Sat at the back on the way to the toilets (waiting for a Slash, presumably).

    But for £8 on a dull Tuesday night it beat sitting in watching some old cack on the telly.

    And I like the song they did in the middle that sounded like "Sugar Box" by Then Jerico.

  • At 8:46 am, Blogger Poll Star said…

    You also fell asleep at Old Trafford in August, so perhaps your eyelids aren't a reliable indicator of quality.

  • At 9:24 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    true, but to be fair, I hadn't been drinking at the Dylan concert.... unlike at OT, where I had my first pint with breakfast.

    My memory of the Dylan concert is also clouded by the fact that it's a truly awful venue to get to as it's way out in Docklands, and that we had to walk back into town in the pissing rain.

    He was rubbish though - admit it. Even more annoying when you consider that he was actually touring a decent album for once (Time out of Mind, if memory serves me correctly)


    (I'm just listening to The Editors album again... and it is pretty good. I'll be giving them a second chance live when they support Franz Ferdinand in November....)

  • At 10:36 am, Blogger Statue John said…

    You had a kip at Trent Bridge too. I have evidence!

    With regards to Dylan live, I think Sir John Peel summed it up best: 'Being an enigma at 20 is fun, being an enigma at 30 shows a lack of imagination, and being an enigma at Dylan's age is just plain daft. From the moment the living legend took to the stage, it was evident that here was business he wanted accomplished with the minimum of effort.'

  • At 10:55 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    SJ - I'm not bloody asleep there, I'm concentrating on the cricket. I think the tv cameras caught me like this as well, actually (so my publicist tells me)

    cheeky sod.


  • At 11:15 am, Blogger John McClure said…

    Close examination of that photograph reveals that your eyes are indeed closed, mate.

    Which makes me think that the Dylan gig was as exciting as the Trent Bridge test - which isn't bad for an old git.

  • At 11:34 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    if indeed you can see my eyes through the mirrored sunglasses, and they are indeed closed, then I must have been caught mid-blink. And you'll never be able to prove otherwise, I tell you! Never!


  • At 12:00 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    We Are Scientists are good. If you had gotten there on time, you'd have felt a lot better about the whole value for money thing...

  • At 12:17 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    In fairness, maybe you were obsessing about a lens scratch at the bottom of the lens from the inside.

    Or maybe you were asleep, Rip Van Sozz.

    There's no shame in it. Like Dylan, you're not getting any younger. A man of your years needs a little doze in the afternoon every so often.

  • At 12:30 pm, Blogger LB said…

    I thought we did get there on time. We arrived, I got two pints in, we stood about, and The Editors came on.


    and what "value for money" thing? I thought you were saying that £8 was a bargain?

  • At 1:52 pm, Blogger red one said…

    an Interpol tribute band.


    Whatever next? A CIA tribute band?


  • At 3:58 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    Shame on you Mr Bargain! :-)

    Always get there early and see the support bands. The list of bands that are now dead famous that I've seen at an early stage is huge. On top of that, some didn't become dead famous but I liked them a lot and started buying their records anyway.

  • At 4:15 pm, Blogger LB said…

    shame on me for what?

    It's like asking me to sit through "Supernanny" just because I want to watch "Lost".

    and how is seeing a support band who later became dead famous any better than, like, "seeing them when they were dead famous"? (other for than the simple and spurious "I saw them when they were a support band" boast of course...)

  • At 4:43 pm, Blogger HistoryGeek said…

    I've liked what little I've heard of the Editors - sad to hear they don't have a handle on their live show yet.

    No, Red, a band called CIA wouldn't work too well...they'd never practice, no one would remember the set list, and they'd all be playing a different tune. Just plain chaos.

  • At 5:41 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    spin - I'm probably being a bit harsh on them. Their crime was in being only "okay". The singer has a lot of passion and a good voice, they have some good songs, and they performed them well. I think they'll be okay!

    Damo - I half agree with you. I have seen some great support bands: one that springs immediately to mind is a pre-"run" snow patrol backing Athlete. I have also seen some total toss. I think it all depends (and I've seen more toss than real gems, I must say..., Selina Saliva weas especially bad at a Gene gig, and the idiots supporting Pulp the last time I saw them were just comically awful).

    I totally understand the appeal of both discovering a band who go on to become massive and in finding a gem of a band who never go anywhere (I went to a brilliant Hefner gig when they were supporting Billy Bragg), but I do agree with Lord B that you are walking a fine line here, and you could easily tip into full-on music snobbery / holier-than-thou-ism. I'm not saying you are, but you sound in danger of it!

    In this particular case, we rolled up at the Rescue Rooms at a little after 9pm because Lord B hadn't arrived at mine until 8-ish (having had other things to do), and we had a nice bowl of soup, a natter, and watched a bit of the football. I place more priority on that than on seeing the support, and I'm not sorry we did.


  • At 5:45 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    (and if you chip in with some nugget about Hefner, I think I'll rest my case!)

  • At 5:56 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    I saw Hefner in the Zodiac by accident once - they were handy enough I thought (although perhaps it's telling that I don't own any of their music).

    I was probably drunk.

    Hell, I'm probably drunk now.

  • At 6:23 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    I saw Nirvana in the corner of a primary school playground playing guitars made out of old tissue boxes and elastic bands before any of them were actually born.


  • At 8:29 pm, Blogger swisslet said…


    Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!


  • At 8:39 pm, Blogger LB said…

    I liked the bit in the middle where they did that song that sounded a bit like "Sugar Box" by Then Jerico.

    I saw them live once when they were called Then Wadi As-Saisaban. I think it was about 7000BC.

  • At 9:38 pm, Blogger red one said…

    Lord B is ahead on points so far, i think.


  • At 10:02 pm, Blogger Mark said…

    I had tickets to see Nirvana in November 1991. Tickets £4.50. Was cancelled so they could be on The Word. Grrr.

  • At 3:04 am, Blogger Damo said…

    >and how is seeing a support band who later became dead famous any better than, like, "seeing them when they were dead famous"?

    It's more a 'support live music' thing and a 'discover new talent' thing... if the buzz didn't start somewhere, they'd probably never attain fame in the first place. And we'll all be buying our CDs in supermarkets.

    Swiss - bad luck with the Gene support - I saw Muse support Gene once!

  • At 3:07 am, Blogger Damo said…

    >I totally understand the appeal of both discovering a band who go on to become massive and in finding a gem of a band who never go anywhere (I went to a brilliant Hefner gig when they were supporting Billy Bragg), but I do agree with Lord B that you are walking a fine line here, and you could easily tip into full-on music snobbery / holier-than-thou-ism. I'm not saying you are, but you sound in danger of it!

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I've never been accused of being 'holier than thou' in my life before (or accused of bordering on it, which is possibly a way of saying it politely when you don't want to say it directly).

    You've paid your money. You may get one or more support bands for that. Why not go see them? They might be great!

    I have a new blog entry to write. Although not at 3am. I just got in from a Soulwax/2 Many DJs gig that nearly ended in a riot... oh yeah. I have TWO new blog entries to write.

  • At 8:18 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    nah - if I wanted to say it directly, I'd say it directly. I know that you love music, and that you do genuinely like to hear new music live. I know that.

    All I am saying is that you sounded a teensy bit snobby here. That's all.

    (and by the way, I like buying CDs from little record shops, but if they're a whole lot cheaper, and as they're both a lot more convenient, I will go to Amazon or to sainsburys. Preferrable to me not buying a CD at all, I would say. In your view, are supermarkets a better or worse place to buy a CD than one of the giant chains like HMV or Virgin? Not everyone has access to Championship Vinyl.)


  • At 11:40 am, Blogger Damo said…

    >In your view, are supermarkets a better or worse place to buy a CD than one of the giant chains like HMV or Virgin? Not everyone has access to Championship Vinyl.

    Worse. Not everyone can access specialist record shops a great deal, and that includes me. I use FOPP, Virgin and HMV most of the time that I'm not using online retailers. (I don't own a record player, either...)

    But what supermarkets do is just take the stuff that will sell loads and sell it at virtually cost price (which they can afford to do, but record shops can't). Which obviously takes trade away from record shops. And what record shops do is the hard work of breaking the acts. All supermarkets then have to do is steal the trade, but the stuff they're selling wouldn't even be there if someone else wasn't giving them the basis on which to build their careers.

    And I simply couldn't get half the stuff I want in there anyway. I did the test this week by looking in Asda, Sainsbury and Tesco to see if they had the new Mew album (which I had ordered online). And of course they hadn't. (Nor had Woolworths, for that matter...)

    They're not a huge act, but they're not an indie snob's obscurity either... they seemed to be the most popular choice from my earworms. And if supermarkets drive record shops out of business, you won't be able to buy stuff like that anymore.

    Tower Records once protested against this by selling fruit and veg for a week. Tower Records are no more in the UK, now.

    PS. The business of seeing support acts is another facet of supporting new music and I still refuse to believe there's anything snobbish about encouraging people to do it. It's not about seeing acts because they might go big, it's about seeing them beceause they might be good...

  • At 12:21 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    I find the supermarkets frustrating for the same reason as you do - occasionally I will go in to target buy a CD because I want it NOW and it's the most convenient place to get it. They shock me how poor their ranges are: not surprisingly they focus on existing chart acts and some classic back catalogue ("parachutes" is permanently in the Sainsburys top 40 because they always have it on an offer). They often won't stock an album in its week of release, but will stock it when it actually hits the charts. Very annoying.

    I prefer the experience of shopping in places like Selectadisk and Fopp anyway (although, for the record, C. hates Selectadisk and finds it loud, dark and intimidating).

    I'm not sure that a big online retailer like Amazon is much different to a supermarket in many regards. They buy in bulk, often from abroad, and sell cheap. Do they really break many bands? (to be fair to Amazon, I like some of the review content they have up - you definitely don't get this at a supermarket. You are also able to get the most obscure albums by the most obscure people).

    I despise HMV and Virgin though. They about as interested in the bands as the supermarkets are, but they have no excuses as this is what they do. They are also a total rip=-off. Back catalogue CDs are often £15 when you can get them in a smaller record shop for £5 - why? because they don't sell them in volume. I also hate their price fixing. When I worked for HMV, they were tacitly in cahoots with Virgin not to undercut each others prices: they matched each other. When I was there this price was about £12.99 for a chart CD. This was a couple of quid more expensive than the supermarkets, but they knew that there was a whole swathe of people who would never buy their music from a supermarket, and they exploited them. This has changed a bit, but I still find them more expensive than smaller shops when they should surely be cheaper because of their bulk buy muscle.


    (and don't sweat on it too much - the best part of Glastonbury is seeing someone you have never heard of and discovering that they are absolutely ace. Just be a bit more careful how you phrase stuff - you are open to misinterpretation sometimes.)


  • At 6:29 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    "And what record shops do is the hard work of breaking the acts."

    Record shops don't "break" new acts. Ha. They wish.

    Record COMPANIES "break" new acts, by negotiating ridiculously good discounts on bulk orders, ensuring distribution is dealt with seamlessly, paying for front-of-store displays, clever advertising, using a good PR company who know exactly which media to court and which members of the press to give the best freebies to, etc. The record SHOPS just open the door and take the money.

  • At 6:31 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    Oh, and I saw Gene at their 'showcase' gig in 1994, with practically every member of the indie cognoscenti in attendance, and they were still one of the worst bands I've ever seen. And I just don't care.

    *waves hands in air*

  • At 8:03 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    Mr Fox, you do have a point. I guess what I meant to say is that, generally, if you want to buy the new record by a certain artist, you'll probably at least be able to find it in your local record shop. Which is an improvement on not being able to find it!

  • At 8:15 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    That's down to the distribution network of choice though. If you hear of something you like, read about something you like or find it available in a shop, you can be sure a vast network of distribution and promotion is at work behind the scenes. There is a massive amount of quality music which is obscure right up until the point where well-connected labels - or the band's friends in high places - get involved.

    Basically, if you know it exists, someone has worked hard to make sure you do.


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