So after my last blog on the We Were Here tour, I never did get to tell you about Brighton. Sure, you could hear some of it in the podcast here, but I never actually told you about the gig or the audience or the night… It was pretty awesome. And since seeing all the pics and details about the USA shows has left me with a heavy case of “missing them Turin Brakes boys”, I thought it was time to finish what I started… So here it goes.
So, as I wrote in November, Brighton was to be the main event, for me, but that gig being in a church I wanted to experience to proper London gig night too. And Shepherd’s Bush turned out to be quite like that. Proper gig and church gig experience. All in the pocket. Except Brighton wasn’t a real church gig.
It started as one and all the ingredients were there: the huge cross, the statues, the clearly improvised bar, the seating and the acoustics. And I suppose Kevin Pearce did his best to add to the church vibe with his beautiful voice. Kevin played a similar set to the one at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the main difference to me was that I now knew the songs and was prepared for the singing along and the beautiful songs. I was present with my good friend and default gig partner Shazia and new musical soul mate Colin, who I met at a Bedford gig back in 2012. I also got the chance to catch up with Martin and Maria, who I also met at previous gigs. We all agreed this was an excellent set and I’m happy to report that a part of Kevin’s set is for sale on his Bandcamp. It includes 4 songs and if you listen very carefully you might hear me in the crowd…
After Kevin’s set there was a short break before the boys came out to play. The microphones suggested that once again we’d get guest musicians – like we did in London. The setlist was similar: kicking off with the same quarter of We Were Here Songs and the guest flute player. We got the horns during Guess You Heard and they sounded better than in London.
The venue was crowded – sold-out even – with people sitting in the main “stalls”, some people on the balcony, and lots of people standing to the right of the stage and in the back.. At every gig there’s this woman (it’s usually a woman in my experience) who’s had a little bit too much to drink. Perhaps she is a fan, perhaps she’s a friend of a fan who decided “I might not know this band very well but I’m sure as hell going to enjoy them.” And she starts dancing. Now, this happened at the London gig where my friend was ensnared in an enthusiastic embrace, In St Georges Church in Brighton however, a mostly seated venue, these girls started dancing and it was annoying for the people in the crowd who just came to listen and slightly-less annoying for the people who wanted to dance but were stuck in the middle of a row seats (*me*).
Now I wouldn’t want to credit this superenthustiastic girl with something she didn’t do, most of all they were drinking one of the crappiest Dutch beers around: Oranjeboom (DON’T EVER DRINK IT), but it sort of worked on her group of friends, and it sort of worked on the people standing around them. I think the band even commented on them saying that they realised there was an awkward battle between people sitting and listening, and people dancing.
It’s safe to say: the dancing people won. After the main set, I was like “screw this”, I’m gonna dance” and we worked our way to the dancing group. And there were more, during The Sea Change more people stood up and started grooving to the catchy melodies. Yes, this was a TB gig. There was a little breather during No Mercy but after that: things went crazy… Highlight after highlight happened and the space between the seats and the stage (that wasn’t a real stage anyway), was filled with people dancing. The combination Underdog (Save Me) and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (the Neill Young cover) was an absolute highlight for me. Kevin Pearce came back for the latter and sung along. The song went down a storm with the crowd, which featured plenty of people who knew the song. It felt like we were all together in that moment, celebrating music. It felt insane, everything felt right in that moment. This was what I do this for: the fandom, the flying to other countries, the fansite… This made it all worth it. What a night!
The only downside was there wasn’t a proper place nearby to have a real afterparty, so instead we ended up talking outside the venue. Still on a proper high from the winter music and the winter ale, we had a lovely low-key fan ending to a great weekend.
The next day I remember sitting in this coffee place, healing after what was all-in-all a crappy night’s sleep (the hotel wasn’t very good and the people sleeping in it didn’t behave very well – knocking on every door there was and shouting etc). But overall this trip was excellent and it proved yet again to me how great this band is live. Also thanks to Kevin Pearce for the great support, he’s got a new fan.
Hopefully there’ll be plenty of live gigs to follow :).