Monday, April 17, 2006

Moss gathering 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen we last left our heroine, she was trapped in the cheap seats on the hill at Western Springs, straining to see and hear a bunch of sexagenarian rockers, suffering not at all gladly a bunch of nearby westie rednecks pissing in a cup, hassling passing coppers and hollering "Jagger you old cunt!" every 5 seconds, while her friends lived it up backstage (bastards). Now we return to the story…

As well as hollering obscenities at Jagger, my bogan neighbours thought it a fine joke to bawl, “Turn it up!” at every occasion. In this, I concede they had a point - our crap position meant we suffered shocking speaker drift. No matter what local old farts might claim, this gig could have done with a helluva lot more volume at the back. Occasionally a wind shift meant we would be hit with a boom of bass or a whack of treble, but otherwise it was like listening to it all through cotton wool, a big muddy mess of mids.

I suppose it would be somewhat churlish to complain about the gig because hell, it's the STONES, damn it (and I only paid $50 for my ticket, ensuring some shifty scalper took a proper dive - sucker). The boys certainly rock hard for their age, but… I couldn’t help leaving a tiny bit disappointed.

When they were good they were great, but I base my gigs using the Reilly Barometer (patent pending) – how many times the hairs on your arm raise and give you goosebumps – and my arms stayed, for the whole, remarkably bump-free. And this from a girl who gets the shivers just from hearing Wild Horses on a tinny car radio.

Jumping Jack Flash kicked it off in fine style and a storming rendition of Paint In Black provided a penultimate thrill, but between those two points it mostly fell into a predictable torrent of anthems and boozy singalongs, with just a couple of exceptions.

The band was at its best when getting back to their blues roots, for instance, with the brilliant Midnight Rambler, and the break-out section with Keith doing a solo act was an interesting detour (“Have you had a good night, um, er…?” slurred Keith by way of introduction, forgetting which faceless stadium he was in this time. “Arrgh, I could be anywhere right now”). But ultimately the ’classic hits’ megamix failed to, erm, start me up. It was only rock’n’roll – and I’m not sure I particularly liked it.

No doubt the unimaginative set-list was to be expected on what must surely be their farewell tour (surely), and anything more risky would surely have gained howls of dissent from the old, fat bogan massive, so I guess you can’t really blame the lads.

A few technical problems didn’t help either – the big screen at the back went blank during Miss You and the following three songs, meaning we could neither see nor hear Jagger’s disco stylings. (Probably a good thing as I seem to recall he was dressed in Start Me Up-style leggings by this stage.)

In fact, so predictable was it all that I managed to win $10 by correctly guessing the two encores – a reasonably good trotting out of my No 2 Stones tune You Can’t Always Get What You Want (no 1 Gimme Shelter, not covered; no 3 Sympathy For The Devil, covered but unimpressive) and a turgid Brown Sugar. This was followed by fireworks, which were almost as much of a fizzer.

But, but, but… It’s the STONES innit? OK, so when it comes to old rockers rocking, they might not have been up there with George Clinton, the New York Dolls or James Brown, to name a few recent examples, but my policy is it’s better to have seen and been slightly disappointed than never to have seen at all.

Still can’t believe I didn’t get that backstage pass though. Doh!

You can't always get what you want 

Regrets. I've had a few. But I've never regretted not going out as much as I did on Friday night.

All night long I had been attempting to entice people to accompany me to Crow Bar to see the lovely Sandy Mill do her thing on the mic, but to no avail. Everyone was tired, sun-struck, drunk... I gave up the fight and went home.

As soon as I hit the sheets, the divine Ms Mc called, saying she'd changed her mind and wanted to go to Crow after all. Hmmmm.... I hesitated. But nope, it was too late, I was tucked up cosily in my comfy bed and it seemed like far too much effort to get back out, slather on the slap and hit town.

BIG mistake. For who does Ms Mc end up meeting at Crow? Only Keef Richards' guitar tech, innit, who promptly gives Missy a backstage pass to the gig.

To be fair, I was lucky enough to spend some quality party time on Saturday night with said guitar tech, where over a few beers and smokes, he gave me the inside gen on the tour and the band.

Sadly, I was so concerned about not looking like a groupie that rather than asking about the really juicy sex 'n' drugs stuff, I spent most of the time talking rock'n'roll, specifically debating the pros and cons of a Fender Telecaster, as opposed to, say, a Richenbacher 330 or a Gibson Les Paul. (NB: I know sweet FA about guitars.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, as a late addition to the party there was no backstage pass for this fan, and so I had to live vicariously through Matty Tutt, who managed to meet Keith and (my hero) Charlie at the soundcheck and has a photo of himself playing Keith's guitar in his dressing room, and Ms Mc, who watched the entire gig from the crew/VIP area, the Rattlesnake Bar.

Me, I was up on the hill in the cheap seats, straining to see and hear, and standing next to a bunch of westie rednecks whose idea of fun was to piss in a cup, hassle passing coppers and holler "Jagger you old cunt!" every 5 seconds.


(Gig review follows tomorrow.)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Band behaviour 

Well, as predicted, the last week has been a non-stop bender. I thought I' d discovered clean living out at Piha, but obviously all that was keeping me sober was the prospect of having to drive 45 minutes home.

As well as rediscovering sweet, sweet liquor, I uncovered a few more hither-to-unexperienced pleasures.

Thursday I was summoned to Shanghai Lil's. I wanted so badly to hate it, with its ridiculous hype and A-class, erm, A-list clientele... but I just couldn't. It won me over in about 15 minutes and I gave it my column's first 5/5. It was just fabulous. Ignore Public Enemy and do believe the hype.

Friday I stumbled into, rather, upon The Tutts. The last time I'd seen them was at a mate's farewell bash. After a 7-hour impromptu set I started running out of tunes, but just as the party was quietening down, the dancefloor absolutely lost it when - inexplicably - the Deliverance theme was dropped. And it was the Tutts and Motocade boys who were piggy-squealing the loudest... Anyway, I digress - I'd never seen them in action before and am happy to report they totally rock the party, both on and off the stage.

And Saturday, I finally caught the Hot Grits. I'd fallen instantly in love with their track Formula One after catching it on 95bFM, and this was the first opportunity I'd had to check them out in person. And I fell instantly in love with the band. So good to see the real emergence here of large ensemble bands playing my kinda music - funk, not half-arsed dub styles. This band rocks so much I managed to re-injure my broked-up back jumping about to them. Cheers guys.

So yes, after months of chilled living, I am back in the bars with a vengeance. I did have a moment of worrying realisation on Friday night, dripping with sweat and dancing like a loon while bruising my thighs banging a tambourine, that at 30-something I'm probably approaching the stage where this kind of daft behaviour just ain't allowed any more. But as that famous twat-in-the-hat Jay Kay once said, if I like it, I just do it. Or something.

Bring on the long weekend.

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