Gig Review: Duran Duran at O2 Academy Birmingham, 14th September 2021

It’s been two and a half years since I last did a gig review on here! I’m a bit out of the habit…

Like many other things in my life post-pandemic, going to gigs is not as frequent an occurrence as it used to be. I like my evenings at home on my sofa and it has to be something special for me to buy tickets these days. However, I have been to a few since the world started returning to normal (nine, by my calculations) and have one or two lined up for the future. It’s probably time I start catching up with some reviews again.

It was, of course, highly appropriate that my first post-pandemic gig back was my first time getting to see Duran Duran. They’ve been my favourite band for years now but for various reasons I just hadn’t had the chance to see them. When a couple of surprise dates were announced in September 2021, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

I reviewed this gig for both Daily Duranie and Cherry Lipstick at the time, so my much fresher thoughts are out there already and I won’t repeat those. Really it’s just nice to look back, in hindsight, at a really special experience – the suddenness of the announcement, heading down to Birmingham for the evening, the incredible atmosphere at the O2 Academy (a much smaller venue than the arenas Duran usually play) and the overwhelming feeling of experiencing something for which I’d waited a long time. Not to mention excitedly livetweeting the gig (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here) 😀

Duran Duran

Now, for the first time in nearly four years, I shall update my Band Aid baby bucket list:

Updated Band Aid baby bucket list progress: song artists 11/37 (29.7%); message artists 2/7 (28.6%); total artists 13/44 (29.5%).

Gig Review: LeBrock at the Head of Steam, 6th February 2020

I find it a bit depressing that this last Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the last time I went to a gig. I had so many booked for the rest of 2020, and now so many postponed ones booked for 2021… but as I’ve mentioned before, I expect it’ll be closer to 2022 before we can watch live music in a venue again.

As such, this very belated review marks the end of event reviewing on this blog for now. The next one – whenever it is – will be very special!

I’ve been really enjoying synthwave for a few years now, but this was only the second time I’d made it to a synthwave gig (the first being The Midnight a few months previously). Really hope we get a few more synthwave bands playing in Newcastle once the pandemic is over.

The support band were Tired of Fighting. Our friend George is in this band and is a huge synthwave fan, which is why they asked for the support slot as I understand it. Their sound isn’t very synthy but it was quite high-energy, creating a good atmosphere for what was to follow.

Tired of Fighting
Blurry photography as usual (there were a lot of dancing people in the way!) so I’ve had to cobble the band together in this image.

LeBrock, when they came on, kept up this energy throughout their set – which was surprisingly short, finishing quite some time before the venue closed, but featured all the songs they were best known for. I loved the set but I wish it had been longer – or that the venue had organised an extra band on the bill to fill the gap, as it sort of felt like the night had been cut short!

There was more energy onstage than it looks like in this image.

So with that early finish from LeBrock, that was the end of my pre-pandemic gig-attending. Not a bad way to end, but I’m really looking forward to the return of music events!

Gig Review: Squeeze at Sage Gateshead, 19th October 2019

It’s been a hectic few weeks and so it’s taken me until now to review the Squeeze gig that Geth and I went to three weeks ago! Still, my motto at the moment is ‘better late than never’, so here it is…

The support band were Heaven 17. I really loved seeing them at Electric Dreams last year and they were even better this time round! One of the highlights was a cover of ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’, duetted by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware. Martyn had the best glittery jacket on, and the two of them were on really good form. The backing singers were fab, too, especially on ‘Temptation’.

Setlist here.

Heaven 17
These are the least blurry pictures, but they’re fairly poor even by my standards.

The main event was of course Squeeze, taking us on a journey through their extensive back catalogue. Pretty much every hit single and notable song was played – my highlights were ‘Hourglass’, ‘Cool For Cats’ and ‘Up The Junction’, all of which were favourites when I was a kid, but it’s been ‘Tempted’ that’s been in my head for the last few weeks because it was such a good rendition!

Nice to see a ukulele on stage too. I’ll be looking out for them more often from now on!

Setlist here.

More blurry ‘photography’.

More gig reviews coming over the next few days!

Gig Review: Gary Numan at O2 Academy Newcastle, 26th September 2019

Last night, in retrospect, wasn’t the best night to have scheduled a trip out to see a gig. Well, it might have been when I booked the tickets a few months ago, but by the time it actually rolled around, Geth and I were both fairly exhausted due to the preceding fortnight being absolutely non-stop for both of us.

However, I’d been waiting to see Gary Numan for a long time (I believe I was first planning to see him play at the notoriously cancelled Alt-Fest festival in 2014) and so I was determined to go out, enjoy myself and not fall asleep! It helped that we arrived just in time for doors, as it meant we were able to get a seat close to the bar and enjoy the show from further back.

The support act was Kanga. I quite liked their industrial stylings at first, although the tracks did start to get a bit samey towards the end. Both Geth and I are in a place where we’ve reached industrial music saturation point over the last year or two – this does happen periodically – and so I will keep the artist in mind for when I’m more in the mood for listening to that kind of thing again.

Kanga, 26th September 2019
Kanga’s stage lighting was not very photography-friendly so this is as clear a picture as you’re getting, I’m afraid!

Once Gary Numan came on, though, the energy in the room was fantastic. He kicked off with ‘My Name Is Ruin’, which is very familiar to audiences now having been the lead single off last year’s hit album Savage. We then had a selection of tracks from pretty much every era of his career, with the ’70s and ’80s hits not really making an appearance until towards the end – being a fan of those early albums I would have liked to hear a few more, but I loved the variation in the set and appreciated the chance to hear some songs that I’m not so familiar with! The encore was also a nice touch, with some quieter songs in the mix, including a demo track (‘Intruder’) that hasn’t been released anywhere yet.

Setlist here.

Gary Numan, 26th September 2019
Legendary and energetic. He did stand still for ‘Absolution’, which is when I snapped this picture!

A great gig, one of my favourites so far this year (although I suspect there’s some stiff competition coming up this autumn).

Here’s a video I took of ‘Are Friends Electric?’. You have to, really, don’t you?

The next gig I’m going to is in three weeks’ time. I will try to be less busy and tired that week!