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At the beginning of February, I saw Grouplove support Los Campesinos! at Shepherd's Bush Empire and was amazed.

As soon as I got home, I tried to book tickets for their show at Hoxton on the 10th but sadly, tickets were already soldout for that show. Fortunately, there was another show listed at Old Queen's Head, Islington.

Old Queen's Head is a nice Victorian pub in Islington, quite a healthy walk from Angel station. It had a nice pub at the ground floor and a small music room on the first floor which was real cozy and intimate.

Going alone would mean sticking out like a sore thumb at such a small venue so I took this opportunity to finally show up to the Indie Meetup Group found on Meetup.com. I wonder why I was always scared to show up to previous meetups (two Sleigh Bells gigs in the past and a few others) as they were quite a nice bunch of people. At least, I had some people to talk with while waiting for the bands to perform.

Big Deal was the first support for the evening. Being another male and female guitar-wielding duo, I'd compare them to Slow Club but not as amazing. They weren't amazing but weren't bad either, just something in between. Their mix of an electric guitar with an acoustic one was pretty interesting and this fusion may entice me for another listen at some point.

Now that I'm listening to their music on Myspace, I have to say there really is something here, something potentially great. I'll keep them on my radar then.

The second support for the evening was a guy with a keyboard. After just looking him (Hugo Manuel) up, apparently, his act is called Chad Valley who as far as I remember was on the bill for the Flowerpot NYE at The Forum. Missed him though as I was late for that show.

Keyboard equals electronic music yet again, but luckily enough, this is one of those acts which falls in the 'decent' category, a softer and more chill sound which someone could relax to and slowly dance with. With Trophy Wife and Chad Valley, I now sincerely regret not arriving early for the Flowerpot NYE show. Stupid work. Tsk.

It was a little odd though to have an electro act this evening.

Grouplove started at close to 10 in the evening and it was nice to see them again after just a few weeks, and this time much closer than I did at Shepherd's Bush.

No setlist to speak off from their gig but it was an incredible night. With only one EP out so far, it's safe to say they played all those songs plus a few more.

Notable numbers for the evening were Don't Say Oh Well, Naked Kids and of course, Colours which they closed the evening with.

Naked Kids is the kind of song you'd be listening to whilst driving down to the beach.

This gig also soldout and the place was quite full. The band played with such energy despite being in such a small venue.

It was clear they were having fun on stage and really enjoying every minute of it. This energy translated to the crowd loving the performance as well.

Their self-titled EP which has 6 songs just recently came out and is every bit amazing.

I cannot wait for a full LP from these guys which should be out sometime this year. Should be full of more great stuff from this new band from Los Angeles. They sure as hell live up to all the hype surrounding them these days.

Now playing: Grouplove - Get Giddy

Sleigh Bells at Heaven. February 14, 2011.

At my age, I have yet to spend valentines with anyone special let alone a simple date. Totally appalling but I'm caring less as each year passes by.

A few months back, I totally enjoyed running off for my birthday and flying off to Tenerife. During NYE, I avoided the typical boring parties by going to the Foals New Year's Eve party at The Forum which was an absolute blast.

In the tradition of perfecting loneliness, I decided to grab tickets to see Sleigh Bells on February 14 as soon as the gig was announced late last year.

Of course, there was a tiny flicker of hope in me counting on a complete swing of actually spending Valentines day with someone. Blame the hopeless romantic in me who simply won't die already.

Now, I've seen Sleigh Bells last year at XOYO and they were an absolute blast. As I mentioned previously, Sleigh Bells is one of the best new bands I've heard from last year.

To be honest, I didn't expect the Valentine show to live up to the XOYO show. In this case, I was so glad I was SO wrong and had low expectations.

By the time I casually arrived, the first support band was already on stage and the venue was quite a bit packed. MEN was up first and was tearing the place apart with their crazy disco house / punk music  as described by their Myspace page.

Their music was quite dance worthy and their outfits real amusing. Aside from the fact that the vocals sound like a kid singing, I quite enjoyed their energetic performance and disco beats. Sure, there's a bit of electro but it's the good kind.

Certainly a fantastic band to see live and dance along to. A new discovery.

Familiar faces from last year's gig were the second support, Te3th. Still a joy to see them perform live as they were fairly decent last time. In fact, their performance this evening was leagues better than XOYO and this is always a good thing.

The wait for Sleigh Bells was quite long but let me tell you about something I noticed.

One of the most agonising things while waiting for bands to get on stage is seeing couples make out. This ranges from hugs, french kissing, lesbians, etc. Once, there was even a couple french kissing less than 10 inches from my face. Agonising is really an understatement especially for someone who's been alone. Forever.

The remarkable thing with this gig is that I didn't notice ANYONE making out in my immediate vicinity which is awfully peculiar considering it is Valentines Day. Looks like all the couples were all out making sweet love in other places. Good!

Enough drama and on to Sleigh Bells.

In typical fashion, a little intro played over the speakers and Alexis came up on stage with Derek following shortly after blasting off mad riffs on his guitar.

At this point in time, (almost two weeks since) it's real hazy as to which songs they played in which order and setlist.fm does not seem to be of any help.

I mentioned my qualms about this show being better than XOYO, but I was proven wrong from the very start. The venue was packed and as soon as Sleigh Bells came up on stage, craziness ensued and everyone was jumping and screaming along to Alexis.

They were relentless. It was one powerful song after another, blasting lovely noise from the guitars and incredible singing and screaming from Alexis.

Thanks to Heaven's very elevated stage, I got a better view of both Derek and most especially Alexis who was just as fun to watch as her energy levels just fueled everyone through each song.

She looked lovely in her hoodie and even after when she took it off and dawned a Madonna Time shirt. Definitely, one of my top female performers.

I came to Heaven with low expectations but was completely blown away yet again by Sleigh Bells and a performance which was leagues better than XOYO. I've seen them twice now and would gladly see them again just for the sheer rush their live performances injects one with.

Previous Valentine's Day hardly hold any significance to me (mostly from blacking out due to drinking too much as it's also my brother's birthday), but this day will forever be remembered as it has engraved itself in both my heart and mind.

This also marked the sweatiest Valentine's day I've ever had.

Whoever said single people cannot enjoy this day as well.
When I first heard of Esben and the Witch's Marching Song when I discovered their video for it, I was immediately enthralled, drawn in and mesmerized.

This was around summer of 2010. I would have the chance to see them for the first time at Constellations Festival up in Leeds if I didn't wake up too late to catch another bus after a night of heavy drinking.

Being a band from Brighton, it was just a matter of time before they played in London again. Plus a debut album was released a few weeks ago, Violet Cries, which I immediately loved upon first play through.

Venue was XOYO which is slowly growing on me as it's a cozy little venue in Shoreditch who has been host to some cool indie bands which I've seen at the venue so far such as Sleigh Bells, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and now Esben and the Witch. In April, I'll be seeing Asobi Seksu and Architecture In Helsinki.

First support for the evening was Breton, and is another electro indie band based in London. Yes, another. However, I quite enjoyed listening to them play. Their blend of electro, synth and beats was quite pleasing to the ears compared to other electro and synth acts I've seen lately. A bit more polished really and with less beeps and bops. Also, they have a visual style of their own wherein video clips are show as their backdrop which makes things a bit more interesting.

According to their Last.fm profile page, the videos are made by the band who happen to be filmmakers as well under the guise of BretonLABS with a few short films around. Would need to check this out sometime.

Trophy Wife was the second support, a band whom I may have heard before while I was queueing at HMV Forum in attempts to leave my coat in the cloak room. It was a failed attempt, and I missed this band.

This time, I had the chance to properly listen to them. One could say they are yet another electronic band but they aren't just that. Being from Oxford, they share the same artistic flair, air and water familiar to Foals whom they support on NYE. Akin to Foals, they are also a bit math rock which always makes for a good listen.

Two interesting electronic bands for support who I should definitely check out more in the future. This evening was already doing quite well.

Before I move on to Esben and the Witch, I have to say that for the first time I absolutely loathe these "professional" photographers with their big flashy DSLRs. At bigger venues, there is normally a space between the front barrier and stage for real photographers.

With XOYO being so small and Esben and the Witch being lauded as the next big thing, there was a bunch of photographers lined up in front along with the rest of the crowd.

To make matters worse, one was holding her camera over her head whilst taking pictures (she was way short) and blocked my view for the first few songs. You can also notice how they some weren't really here for the band but only for the music.

End of rant.

Esben and the Witch was better than I expected and I was quite blown away by their powerful and eerie performance on stage. As with other electronic bands, their formation is different from typical bands. No full drumset and just a tom tom with cymbals plus guitars and synth.

As with their debut album, they opened their set with Argyria which is more than just appropriate as it is such a song one opens with, calm and slow to begin with, building up the tension and belting out riffs and a beautiful sound towards the middle. The type of song which would start you swaying until you feel yourself just bouncing around.

Similar to the album, the first song transitioned flawlessly to Marching Song which was also available on their EPs of the same name.

Here's the full setlist.

  • Argyria

  • Marching Song

  • Chorea

  • Hexagons IV

  • Marine Fields Glow

  • Lucia, At The Precipice

  • Warpath

  • Battlecry/Mimicry

  • Eumenides

Shame there was no Swoon Song but it was an incredible evening seeing a new band making such an impact so early and actually proving themselves live.

Rachel's voice is quite haunting but completely lovely and beautiful. Gothic but not goth. Watching her alternate from singing to playing the guitar and hitting the drums was enjoyable. She also had quite unusual moves on stage which are always entertaining.

At one point, all members of the band ganged up on the drums and just kept on hitting it. It was quite a joy. I am not completely sure during which song it was. Now that I'm listening to their songs again, it's possible this was during Lucia, At The Precipice which is not on their EP or LP.

Seeing new bands for the first time is always an experience. This is definitely one of those gigs I'll remember for quite sometime in the future and I can say with absolute certainty that I'll be seeing them again the next time they play in London.

If you've never heard of them, do give them a try. You'll most likely read a lot about them by the end of the year.

Now playing: Esben and the Witch - Warpath

The Go! Team at Heaven. February 8, 2011.

Like most things these days, I can't remember the first time I stumbled across The Go! Team. All I know was that I was immediately hooked with their catchy brand of indie-pop (darn, I'm labeling now) which was very upbeat and cheerful. Also, I discovered them along with a similar sounding band called Architecture In Helsinki, whom I shall be seeing in April.

Until Tuesday, I haven't seen either band. For some reason, they haven't been on much gigs since I moved back to London in 2007. I am plenty sure that I didn't miss a London gig of theirs.

Anyway, The Go! Team was ticked off the list last Tuesday with a fantastic show at Heaven Under The Arches near Charing Cross. Architecture In Helsinki will be ticked off in April.

The first support for the evening was Star Slinger whom I won't even link to. He was another DJ spinning tracks, none of which enthralled the crowd. If it weren't for my iPhone, I may done something really bad.

Thankfully, the second support band was so much more decent and was actually quite interesting. They are called Banjo Or Freakout who played a decent set and more than deserve a second listen to.

The Go! Team was a band for the evening and during the wait, I chatted with this Canadian fellow who has seen them in different cities such as Ontario, Vancouver, Singapore, and now London. He was quite surprised that I've never seen them before considering I'm from London. Weird.

With their new album released a few days before this gig, it was to be expected that a lot of material this evening would come from their latest album, Rolling Thunder, and as such, started off with the first track, T.O.R.N.A.D.O.

Much of the evening is quite hazy now not because of the alcohol but because of the craziness on stage. Here's a setlist I found on Setlist.fm.

  • T.O.R.N.A.D.O.

  • Get It Together

  • The Power Is On

  • Bus-Out Brigade

  • Ladyflash

  • Ready To Go Steady

  • Junior Kickstart

  • Buy Nothing Day

  • Grip Like A Vice

  • Bottle Rocket

  • The Running Range

  • Everyone's a V.I.P. to Someone

  • Panther Dash (encore)

  • Rolling Blackouts (encore)

I do believe the list isn't entirely correct as I'm pretty sure the band played Huddle Formation, Secretary Song, and a few more songs their second album, Proof of Youth.

Their performance was pretty incredible. Most members of the band were busy rotating instruments which is always a job to watch in a band on stage. Instruments even included a typewriter.

Front-woman Ninja is probably one of the most energetic person you could watch on stage almost to the point where you would start to feel tired for her. She was busy dancing onstage, doing high kicks, and being an aerobic instructor onstage. It was quite crazy but man, was she fit.

Two other female members of the band also helped out with vocals on a few songs the most notable of which was Ready To Go Steady which is such a cute song.

Highlights of the evening were Huddle Formation, Panther Dash, Get It Together, and Grip Like A Vice.

Ultimately, it was quite an incredible night and the wait to see them live on stage, although grueling, was well worth it.

I am quite looking forward to seeing Architecture In Helsinki in a few months. With that said, I hope The Go! Team play another London date sooner than later.

Note: Apologies for the extremely appalling write up. It feels rushed and written without effort as I really need to just get this out and not have another pile of gigs to blog about. Then again, hardly anyone would read this anyway.

Now playing: The Go! Team - Get It Together
Los Campesinos! is one of my most favourite bands of all-time due to a number of things. Their records are simply amazing to listen to. The lyrics are unusually twisted but totally brilliant. Seeing them live is a completely different experience.

I've seen them twice last year, the first at Koko in February and the second at The Garage in July. There would have been a third time if they didn't cancel their show at Shepherd's Bush Empire in May or if I woke up in time to catch my bus and go all the way up to Leeds for the Constellations Festival.

The first time I saw them was absolutely exhilarating and mind-blowing. I've been to a lot of gigs last year, and the one at Koko was one of the craziest ones. The show at The Garage was a step back even though Johnny Foreigner was supporting as I was with a girl and had to behave myself whilst Los Campesinos! performed.

This time, I had no date and was set on having a totally amazing evening. It turned out so much better than I hoped it to be.

The queue outside Shepherd's Bush Empire was relatively short and there was no need to use O2 Priority access to enter the venue earlier as I had more than enough time before the first support would start on stage.

The first support band already has quite a bit of buzz surrounding them. Their single Colours, is out on Youtube and is a nice introduction to their sound. The band is called Grouplove from California. Their set was pretty incredible but they really got the crowd cheering when they played Colours. This is one band you need to check out sooner than later. Or you could simply wait until the end of the year and read them on a number of year end lists. With that said, I'm seeing them again in a few weeks headlining a show in a much smaller venue (Old Queen's Head).

Second support for the evening was Summer Camp whom I've seen before when they where called to support Kele in November. They weren't as warmly accepted by the crowd compared to Grouplove but they still put on an enjoyable show. There was a small group of girls beside me who were singing and dancing to their songs, clearly big fans of the group. It was very nice seeing them again perform but their sound (synth-pop) doesn't really fit in with Grouplove and Los Campesinos!.

Two support bands are always lovely as it burns the waiting time until the headliner much more quickly than usual. Having someone to talk to is also an option for burning time, but nothing really beats a smartphone.

Los Campesinos! eventually parade on stage with all 7 members. At this point, I was somewhere close to the middle. During the first two songs, I somehow managed to make it to the barrier right in front of the stage.

Los Campesinos! opened up this evening's set with In Media Res, which is also the first song of their latest album, Romance Is Boring. It got crazy right from the start and this time, I was more than prepared to let it all out and absorb the craziness. This was then followed by the first song from Hold On Now, Youngster, Death To Los Campesinos!. Everyone was pretty much pushing and shoving at this point in attempts to dance along with the band.

Up next were two songs with the longest yet most brilliant titles, A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State Or, Letters From Me To Charlotte and This Is How You Spell, "HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics". I really enjoy the All's Well That Ends version of Letters From Me To Charlotte but the original version from Romance Is Boring is always a fun song live. This Is How You Spell... is another favourite live, one which is always great to sing (scream) along with.

As mentioned repeatedly on their Twitter account, new songs were to be expected. Two in a row where played right in the middle of their set, Four Seasons and The Black Bird, The Dark Slope. The first seemed a little bit different but was still well done. The second was more typical Los Campesinos! funfare. According to Gareth, they would be available in the first edition of Heat Rash (their online zine) which should be available soon.

Here's the complete setlist for the evening straight from Setlist.fm.

  • In Media Res

  • Death To Los Campesinos!

  • Miserabilia

  • A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State Or, Letters From Me To Charlotte

  • This Is How You Spell, "HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics"

  • Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1

  • Four Seasons

  • The Black Bird, The Dark Slope

  • Straight In At 101

  • We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

  • Romance Is Boring

  • You! Me! Dancing!

  • The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future

  • Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks

  • Knee Deep At ATP (encore)

  • ... And We Exhale And Roll Our Eyes In Unison (encore)

The songs after the new ones brought back the insanity in the show after the crowd stood back and simply listened at the new ones. You! Me! Dancing! had the longest intro I've seen them do so far and this just built up the anticipation to the song, which is one of their best songs ever.

Things slowed down a little with one of my most favourite songs of 2010 ( I should make this list already), The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future. Just love the smile on Gareth's face when everyone was singing "But you could never kiss a Tory boy without wanting to cut off your tongue again" with him. The song is beyond beautiful and makes me want to drive down to Brighton, sit by the beach and really think about the future.

Closed their regular set Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks which has lines like "When the smaller picture is the same as the bigger picture, you know that you're fucked. When you're trading paper cuts for splinters, you're out of luck". If you don't think that's just beautiful, I don't know what is.

Typically, they were back on stage within a few seconds for an encore which included a couple of songs Knee Deep At ATP and ...And We Exhale And Roll Our Eyes In Unison, a song which I've never heard then play live before which is always a good thing.

Despite hopes of hearing Too Many Flesh Suppers live were shattered, the setlist was quite amazing. The new songs were interesting and make me anticipate Heat Rash even more. The old songs are always fun to hear live and dance/sing along to.

As with Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire, watching Los Campesinos! perform is a truly wondrous experience. It's amazing seven people can be on stage and just have an absolute blast having fun and still play great music.

Mentioned earlier that I was right at the front of the stage. I used to enjoy watching Kim Campesinos! mostly but this evening, I fell in love with someone else, Harriet Campesinos! who plays the violin as I was right in front of her. She just seemed so prim and proper whilst onstage during a rock show. She also has the prettiest smile which she flashed whenever they finished a song. I do think she was a bit conscious as her parents where present and watching her from level 1 seats.

All in all, this clearly was a Los Campesinos! show I was expecting it to be, crazy, insane and fun. As hard as I am these days on trying to cut down on gigs I go to, I will never stop watching Los Campesinos! live. Expect me to be there everytime they play in London.

Now playing: Los Campesinos! - Letters from Me to Charlotte (RSVP)
2010 was kicked off by a gig in Wembley Arena headlined by Brand New which GlassJaw and Thrice supported. To say it was epic is an understatement. We are talking about Glassjaw here and of course Brand New whom I didn't love as much I do now but was totally blown away.

That was the only gig I went to in January of 2010. Maybe it's the weather, but the first month of the year is quite devoid of decent gigs.

With no fancy ones in sight, I decided to look a bit harder and eventually stumbled across Does It Offend You, Yeah? playing on a Monday which is perfect with my current schedule as it's my day off.

Of all things, the movie Fast and the Furious (the 4th one) first introduced me to them when they used We Are Rockstars in their trailer. It was an interesting, upbeat and crazy good song.

DIOYY? seemed like a pretty insane way to start the year which was quite fitting as I'm going with this whole crazy attitude.

Venue was XOYO which was where I watched another insanely good band, Sleigh Bells. They blew the lights out of the place that time.

This time around, there were no support bands at all with DIOYY? set to play at around 2130. To bridge the gap, they had a DJ spinning for almost two hours which further solidified my distaste for clubbing.

Thing is, dancing in a club (or "raving") is a bit more acceptable since everyone there goes to dance. This is a rock show and people came over to watch bands play and then maybe dance. A few people were dancing to the music but most were just standing there drinking and conversing with others. Obviously, this made me feel way bored than usual as watching support bands masks the feeling of me being at another gig alone.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? finally came up on stage and I have to say that Chloe (the bassist) is way cute.

Stop. Gig review. Not that anyone would notice that bit anyway.

Their sound is of the punch you face variety. From the moment they started, the crowd went nuts. The people in front were leaning onto the barrier and one of it's feet was poking out. I felt it hit my foot a few times and decided to move away from it before I hurt myself. I hope nobody got hurt from it.

Back to the band and the gig. I actually can't remember which song they opened with which is a bit silly at this point. I would go with With A Heavy Heart (I Regret To Inform You).

With only one album so far in their repertoire, they had quite a short set but the moshpit was pretty amazing. They played a couple of new songs including We Are The Dead which is such a great song and makes me look forward to their new album which should be available in a few months. For a sample of their insanity onstage and in festivals, check this video out. You can download the single from their website for free. Yeah, I am promoting a band on my website to my massive amount of followers.

Other songs they performed this evening which I could remember were Battle Royale, Attack of the 60 ft Lesbian Octopus, Doomed Now, and Weird Science. Their last song for the evening was of course, We Are Rockstars.

Like most bands, they came back for an encore and played one more song. This is really stupid, but I can't remember which one. It was a good one but it wasn't one which the crowd was cheering for such as Epic Last Song and the very inspirational, Let's Make Out.

Oh, wait! I have a picture of their setlist. Unfortunately, I can't really decipher it.

A high energy gig at a small and intimate venue made the evening very interesting and a great way to start 2011 despite the awful DJ set.

Unlike Sleigh Bells or Crystal Castles whose insanity is comparable to, they are a full band with a lead guitar, a (hot) bassist, vocals, a synth guy and a drummer. It was real nice watching them all on the small stage just rocking out.

If their next show in London falls on my day off, I would most likely watch them again since they are great fun. Plus, their new material sounds promising.

With the bar set, it seems like I am in for another fantastic year of gigs, bands and music.

For February, we have Los Campesinos!, Grouplove, Summer Camp, Esben and the Witch, Sleigh Bells and The Go! Team. Whoa!

Now, if I could only remember the songs bands play during the evening and complete the blog write up a few days after the gig and not a week after.

Do we here a New Year's resolution echoing inside the room? I say, Yes!

Now playing: Does It Offend You, Yeah? - Epic Last Song
2010 was an absolutely mind-blowing year as I went to more gigs in London than ever since moving back in 2007. A switch just flipped and I found myself attending a gig almost every week.

The previous New Year's Eve parties I've been to have been quite bland to say the least. They had their drunken moments but even with the amazing company, I always felt alone. 2009 NYE was a complete disappointment to say the least.

With the insane music ride coupled with the loneliness entailed by yet another traditional celebration, I decided to take the loneliness out in London and go to one of the many New Year's Eve party in the city.

Truth be told, I found out about Foals playing for Flowerpot's NYE party first before I made this decision thanks to a number of flyers being handed out during previous gigs.

When I got my second flyer, I stared at it at home for a few minutes, made sure Foals on the flyer was not just a DJ set and purchased a ticket right away.

Despite going to the party alone, it was one of the best decisions I've made.

Unusual for me but this time, I arrived quite a bit late for the show as I couldn't get off work earlier than 8 in the evening.

This meant missing support acts which sometimes provide decent surprises. Support for the evening was Chad Valley and Trophy Wife. I will try and give them a listen sometime. Apparently, Trophy Wife is good friends with Foals which could only mean good things.

Once I arrived at The Forum, I attempted to leave my coat in the cloakroom but this proved to be an absolute nightmare. Tried the one downstairs but after 15 minutes of hardly any movement, a guy came over saying there's another cloakroom upstairs. Thinking the queue would be shorter, I went upstairs and found a much longer queue. Stayed here and tried to be patient for around 20 minutes until I gave up since there was only 20 minutes left until Foals comes up onstage.

At this point, I decided to join another queue, this time for a pint of lager. As soon as I reached the bar and gave my order, Foals came up on stage.

Now, I've seen Foals a "few" times already and it's safe to say I know what to expect. Twice in 2010 headlining the iTunes Festival and another for their Total Life Forever album tour. Both shows were pretty much exhilarating and epic. And I left both being quite a sweaty mess.

They started playing at a quarter to 11 and opened up with Blue Blood followed by Olympic Airways. Their setlist for the evening is similar to their recent tour setlist but with less songs. To note, The French Open was missing which was slight disappointment but Hummer was thrown in the mix which sort of redeemed things.

Cassius was a crowd favourite as usual. I'm pretty sure that by this was the third song as I already down the pint I had so I could interact more with the crowd and just enjoy myself.

At some point, Spanish Sahara was played which keeps on sounding better live each time I hear it. When I first heard it back in Heaven, it wasn't as polished as it is now and back then, I didn't like it. It's such a beautiful song and is easily one of my favourite songs from Foals.

Other songs played during the evening were Red Socks Pugie, Miami, Balloons, Total Life Forever, and Electric Bloom.

I am plenty sure they also played Tron which they haven't played (in a gig I've been to) in ages.

At 5 minutes to midnight (or so), they started playing Two Steps, Twice which I somehow expected as there isn't really another song more fitting in their repertoire to end and start a year.

With less than a minute to midnight, Foals built up the excitement in the atmosphere with the guitar portion in the middle of the song, dragging it out until it was close to midnight. Then, it was time for the "Pa-pa-ra" portion, still building up as there was still a few more seconds to midnight.

At almost midnight, the chorus came in and the whole place got absolutely crazy. Confetti falling from everywhere. It was epic. It was amazing.

Here's a messy and wild video I took of the few seconds before and after midnight.

After the epic song, everyone greeted each other a Happy New Year and Foals left the stage. Caribou DJ set was on afterwards.

I stayed for another pint, enjoying the DJ set and trying to relax a bit. After the pint, I decided to go home even though DJs were still playing and would be until 4 in the morning.

Even though I basically paid 30 quid to see just one band (playing a shorter set than usual), it was well worth the money. It was an absolutely amazing experience. So much better than watching millions of pounds of taxpayers money being blown up by the Thames.

This was might not be the best Foals gig I've been to, but it will sure as hell be one of the most memorable ones ever. Foals. Two Steps, Twice. HMV Forum. 2011.

I am now thinking why the hell I haven't been to a NYE gig in 2007, 2008, and 2009. I am now looking forward to another one to close what would hopefully be an incredible 2011 and welcome 2012.

That's 12 months away though. In the meantime, it is time to start filling this year up with incredible experiences to make 2011 as good and if possible, better than 2010.

Happy New Year!

Now playing: Foals Countdown To 2011 With Two Steps Twice @ HMV Forum, London (New Year's Eve 2010/2011)
For the longest time, Gareth Campesinos! has been raving about Slow Club on his twitter account. This was way back in June for their show at Koko, Camden.

I finally caved in when I saw tickets for a show at Union Chapel. Purchased a ticket and finally listened to them.

And what I heard was just plain beautiful. If you've never heard of them, you should give them a listen. If you watch Chuck, you would have heard their song Christmas TV as it was used for the Season 2 finale.

The venue was Union Chapel, a congregation church in Highbury. It's a grade II listed building and is a beautiful Victorian gothic building. It was a shame that the outside was being restored and was full of scaffolding. The inside was majestic. You have to check out the panoramic shots on their website. You will be amazed. I spent most of the evening just admiring the beauty of the venue.

As it's a church, there were seats and by the time I got there, the place was quite full already. I had to sit quite a ways towards the back but since it was a small venue, the view was pretty good.

The acoustics in the place were astounding. I am in no way an audiophile but I felt the sound waves traveled and bounce around the venue perfectly. One could shout without being on the microphone and be heard crystal clear.

The first support for the evening was Sweet Baboo who were already playing when I arrived. They are a nice folk band and as per their Myspace page are listed as gospel as well. The vocalist was quite a sweet chap and talked quite a bit on stage. He did turn to be quite funny which is all good.

Next up was The Wave Pictures which were another fun guitar band to watch, just good, simple and upbeat music.

Both support bands suited the venue and the evening perfectly.

The evening was for Slow Club and Charles and Rebecca eventually took stage. This is their 3rd straight year playing at Union Chapel a few days before Christmas. I must say that Rebecca looked quite glamorous more so than I really expected.

They played a number of new songs from their forthcoming album but of course, belted out a number of old ones which actually sounded much better live than on record.

Notables would be the most upbeat and happy song for one with a title called Giving Up On Love, then a personal favourite, Our Most Brilliant Friends.

Because We're Dead was quite brilliant as well even though Rebecca said she's tired of the song and will be retiring it soon. In that case, I'm glad to have heard it once. Then there's It Doesn't Have To Beautiful.

For the most part, it was just Charles and Rebecca on stage but for a few songs, they were joined by a full band.

During their encore, they played Christmas TV (such a fantastic song) and a cover of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). At this point, everyone was asked to stand up and sing along. It was a very fun yet unusual experience.

It's been awhile since I enjoyed a gig while sitting down and this was a perfect band, venue and gig to do so. While sitting down, you had the chance to concentrate on watching the band play and of course, the glorious music.

Rebecca's voice just filled up the venue quite adequately. The simplicity of using just a few instruments was a great change from what I normally listen too.

I know it came way too late, but I finally got into Slow Club and I really enjoy their music. Seeing them live was absolutely fantastic so much so that as soon as I got home, I booked tickets to see them next year at Shepherd's Bush. This time, I'll be dancing and hopefully, square dancing.

Now playing: Slow Club - Dance 'Till the Morning Light

Ratatat at Heaven. December 7, 2010.

Ratatat's music can be classified as a bit odd. It's purely instrumental and is composed of two guys playing guitars, synths, and tom toms. Regardless, their music is quite interesting and pleases the ears. Seventeen Years off their debut album, Ratatat, introduced me to their eclectic music.

I do believe they are another band I discovered through Jeph Jacques' of Questionable Content. To say the man has brilliant taste in music is a clear understatement.

When I noticed they supported Vampire Weekend for their London shows, I was mildly disappointed in grabbing tickets. Due to the number of gigs I go to, I somehow decided to skip Vampire Weekend which I now regret after listening to Contra and Giving Up The Gun a few more times. A week later, they introduced Ratatat as support.

Thankfully, Ratatat announced a headline show of their own and I got tickets right away as the show did sell out.

Thing is, I was unsure about this gig as I didn't realise they released two albums (LP3 and LP4) after their second album, Classics, which is the last album of theirs I heard.

I wasn't disappointed and had a nice evening of pure earporn.

Venue for the evening was Heaven (Under The Arches) which is one of my favourite small venues which aren't in Shoreditch or Camden. With that said, there really aren't any other small venues I've been to in London.

Support for the evening was Minotaur Shock, a solo act from Bristol who does electronica. He was a fairly decent act to listen to on stage while waiting for Ratatat. It was fun watching him switch from one instrument to the other. Decent electronica to chill and relax to.

Despite enjoying the music, I was still doubting why I was here this evening.

These doubts disappeared as soon as Ratatat came up on stage and started the evening by playing Bob Gandhi.  It was another evening to simply enjoy great music.

Most of the songs are from the newer albums which I barely had a chance to listen to. Despite this, the whole set just fit like a glove and sounded perfect. All songs had a familiar feeling to it.

Here's the full setlist for that evening, once again from Setlist.fm.

  • Bob Gandhi

  • Grape Juice City

  • Mirando

  • Mandy

  • Loud Pipes

  • Falcon Jab

  • Mahalo

  • Wildcat

  • Neckbrace

  • Lex

  • Party With Children

  • Drugs

  • Shempi

  • Gettysburg

  • Seventeen Years (encore)

  • Bare Feast

It was unusual evening as gigs often involve singing and screaming along with the band, but it was nice to just listen this time and let the music sink in and be absorbed slowly and properly. It's good for the digestion.

Regardless of the silence when it came to singing, it was more than made up for the crazy riffs, beats of the tom tom, and funky tunes played on the synth. Of course, there was some dancing to be had that evening.

This evening reminded me why I love Indie music so much, it's just pure and clear. Untainted from the hands of greedy record labels who just want more green on their hands.

Ratatat have the freedom to do what music they want, and what they do is just beautiful.

Arcade Fire at The O2. December 1, 2010.

The first time I read about Arcade Fire was back in 2004 when Jeph Jacques' of the brilliant web comic Questionable Content mentioned Funeral as one of his favourite albums of the year. From the moment I first played the album in it's entirety, I was hooked and lauded it as the best thing I've ever heard.

Everytime I came back to listen to Funeral, my mind would be blown. It's that amazing of a record.

Sadly, after more than 3 years, I never had the chance to see them. In 2007, they played at Alexandra Palace and back then I was quite broke and didn't feel confident about commuting to Alexandra Palace. They played in festival as well which are a no go for me and I could only watch with envy on the television set while they performed at Reading this year. Despite the idiot bot, watching them live on the television set was already a surreal experience.

In the 3 years I've been here, I've seen every favourite band of mine except Arcade Fire and Tegan and Sara.

When they announced their European tour for their fantastic new album, The Suburbs, I made good use of my O2 Priority Ticketing access to secure a a ticket.

In the excitement of it all, I purchased another ticket via their pre-sale link on their website. Later found out around November, that I did indeed order a ticket from two sites. I was finally going to see Arcade Fire and I couldn't care less that I have two tickets.

Venue was at The O2 Arena a day after heavy snow covered London. It was cold and trains got delayed a little. Managed to get there before my friend so all was good.

Support for the evening was Devendra Banhart who was a bit underwhelming for such a huge venue such as The O2 Arena. His music was nice and easy to the ears, quite lovely for chilling but certainly not suited for stadium gigs.

It was still pretty easy to move around the arena at this point, but as soon as the support band finished, the crowd started to inch forward and slowly start to fill the place up.

Arcade Fire came up on stage around 9 in the evening and performed Ready To Start to kick of the evening. Quite an excellent choice as it is one of my favourite tracks from the new record and not to mention because of the title.

This was then followed by a Neon Bible song, Keep The Car Running and then one from Funeral, Neighborhood #2 (Laika) which really increased the already energetic pace they were going through. Movement from the crowd was seen at this point.

With first 3 songs taken from each of their 3 albums, this started to turn out as quite an excellent setlist already. Since this was the first time I'm seeing Arcade Fire, I was wishing for as much songs played from Funeral as possible as it is still my favourite album followed by The Suburbs and then Neon Bible.

As you can see from the setlist below, I was not disappointed as they played 7 songs from Funeral and The Suburbs.

  • Ready To Start

  • Keep The Car Running

  • Neighborhood #2 (Laika)

  • No Cars Go

  • Haiti

  • Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

  • Rococo

  • My Body Is A Cage

  • The Suburbs

  • The Suburbs (Continued)

  • Crown Of Love

  • Intervention

  • Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

  • Rebellion (Lies)

  • Month Of May

  • Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

  • We Used To Wait (encore)

  • Wake Up (encore)

Neon Bible was a decent album but it does not come close to The Suburbs. We shouldn't even try comparing it to Funeral. Still, they picked 4 good songs from the album and threw it in the mix.

Highlights for me would be everytime a song from Funeral was played as I've been listening to this record for 6 years now, and it goes with out saying that I know this album best. It's also the record which made me fall in love with this amazing band.

Thing is, the whole setlist is pretty much amazing. Every song was magical in it's own way. I would have wished for Modern Man though but it's not a big deal since this set really blows things out of proportion.

My Body Is A Cage was brilliant and spell binding. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) was an incredible mix of traditional instruments and some techno beats. Regine's voice was simply angelic as well. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) followed by Rebellion (lies) was absolutely perfect. Arcade Fire then closed their set with Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels).

Which now brings us back to the two song encore, starting with We Used To Wait which has an incredible video using HTML5 and Chrome. If you haven't seen it, you must try it here. For the last song of the evening, Arcade Fire played Wake Up which is pure bliss. This is undoubtedly their best song and it's the perfect way to end such a terrific evening.

Listening to this song play always gets me and hits me hard. Watching Arcade Fire perform this song online makes me tear up. Finally watching Arcade Fire in all their sheer brilliance perform this song on stage is a real highlight. A moment you would remember for a very long time.

It wasn't just the amazing sound experience which made the evening great. Arcade Fire is composed of a number of musicians and seeing 10 of them on stage playing all sorts of instruments from guitars to accordions is just an incredible sight.

Things get even more interesting when they start shuffling around using a different instrument for each song. This was more evident with husband and wife duo, Win and Regine.

Then there's "cereal guy" aka William Butler who is the most enjoyable person to watch when Arcade Fire is playing. It's easy to spot him on stage as he is the one playing whatever instrument with the most enthusiasm in the band. If he is playing with drums, he is hitting hit forcefully, running around on stage and throwing it in the air. It would be hard to miss something like that on stage.

With that said, Richard was equally entertaining on stage especially when they played Wake Up and he would switch from accordions to drums.

After 6 years, I finally had the chance to watch such an amazing band which opened my mind to a world of amazing music. It took long enough but it sure as hell was worth the excruciating wait.

The sick indie side of me feels a little bad seeing and "indie" band only now after 6 years at a stadium venue with tens of thousands of other people. Still with such great music, this is one band I wouldn't mind sharing with other people. If you can't appreciate this band, there is something wrong with you.

This is easily one of the highlights of this incredible year. And I wouldn't ever be caught not seeing them again the next time they are in town.

Now playing: Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)