Johanna was over for a visit and we went to see Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall.
Johanna was over for a visit and we went to see Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall.
I’ve managed to avoid the O2 Arenta thus far as I’m not generally a fan of big venues, but I really wanted to see Snow Patrol so had to take the plunge. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The layout was really good, there was a clear view from every seat. And the seats were really comfy (yes, this is an old persons view of venues, get with it. :P), at least compared to the horrid plastic buckets of Wembley Arena.
The atmosphere was nice for such a big venue as well. Obviously it’s not the same experience as being in the same physical space with the artist, but arenas give you another kind of rush, of being part of a huge collective experience.
The gig itself was good. Not mind-blowing or anything, but thoroughly enjoyable.
Aaaand here are a view videos I took.
Jeez Louise I’m tired. This is not the first time, nor will it probably be the last, when I curse being too old for these mid-week gigs. Old wimmin need their beauty sleep! But oh my god was it worth all this tiredness though! On the outset, Monto Water Rats isn’t the most pleasant of the venues I’ve been to. Sort of cramped and smelly, with an erratic air conditioning system constantly going from hot to cold, hot to cold. However, what it lacks in general pleasantness, it more than makes up for in the sense of intimacy. You really are in the same breathing space with the artist. So in that sense, it is my kind of venue for sure (wish they did something about the smell though :|). The only time I’ve come that close to the talent before was seeing Johnossi at The Spitz. But this time I could have just reached out my hand and touched Rachael.
To kick off, we got to listen to a set by Meme Love. She was very sweet and had a few interesting songs that showed off her impressive vocals. There’s still some way for her to develop as a songwriter though I think, judging from the fact that she sounded by far the best when singing a cover of Biffy Clyro’s Mountains. Do check out her MySpace though and see what you think for yourself.
Rachael Yamagata didn’t come on stage until it was nearly 10pm. My feet were already aching and I was nodding off by then (so shouldn’t have watched the Oscars as late as I did the previous night), but when she and the band came into the room there was an instant hit of electricity (there certainly is a thing called charisma, and it’s palpable when you share a room with it) and I instantly forgot about my tiredness. The whole band looked a bit jet lagged, having just come to London from Japan, but were clearly in high spirits. Rachael is such a sweetheart. So relaxed and funny and comfortable in her own skin. To think how dark her songs can be, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a gig. In that sense the whole night was a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride, from laughter to rapture. And her voice, oh, her voice.
Also (S look away now), I totally fell in love with the drummer, Chris Giraldi. Now it might have been a mixture of tiredness, euphoria from the music, flashbacks of an old drummer boyfriend from a lifetime ago, and of course Chris being amazing on the drums, but I was as good as done for. I swear we even had a ‘moment’ with direct eye contact sealing the deal! :D If I was 10 years younger I would so follow him on tour, take him to rehab (daydreams are allowed to include stereotypes), and we’d live happily ever after while he played romantic drum solos to me. Yes.
But back to Rachael. Did I mention she was amazing? It’s hard to say what the highlights were, as each and every song was so perfect. Be Be Your Love, Little Life (which is my favourite track on her latest album Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart) and Faster (which possibly kick-started my Chris-obsession) probably gave me the biggest shivers though. She’s playing another gig tonight, and if I thought I could physically do it, I would totally go again. If you ever get a chance to see her live, do not miss it! She alternated between playing the piano and acoustic and electric guitars, and did a few songs completely on her own without the band as well. It was nice to have that variation in moods and sound levels. The whole band completely kicked ass, and they were such a nice bunch to boot – no big egos in sight.
Weird, I just realised Chris is the same age as me (as is Colin actually). Does it say something about me finally reaching an approriate maturity level that I’m at last fancying people the same age as me? Hmm. Perhaps I don’t need to be 10 years younger after all! :D (Just kidding S…)
I kind of wish I’d taken my SLR with me now… there were so many missed opportunities that just couldn’t be captured with a compact. But I’m always so torn between recording video and taking snaps that I sort of figure the Ixus is a good compromise, and less hassle. Hmm. Maybe I should invest in the 5D mkII after all… :P
But yes, couldn’t have wished for a better gig to start this year off with. Snow Patrol certainly has their work cut out for them next month if they want to beat last night’s experience.
And last but not least, here’s the only bit of video I took. I’ll probably kick myself in a year or so, but I just wanted to be more in the moment and it felt sort of overwhelming trying to think about filming at the same time…
I’ve been busy catching up with admin/paperwork today, which makes me feel a bit more organised – in my life and in my head. Last week was somehow just… awful. Lots of conflict, stress and feeling sad. And on top of it all an old problem decided to re-visit me and I broke my stupid tooth. After a couple of dentist trips it’s now ok, I think.
Yesterday I had this somehow really surreal trip to the dentist. My appointment wasn’t until 5pm, so the sun was already setting when I got to central London. My dentist’s (the lovely Maarit Spiridonis) reception is located in a part of town where there are not very many people around at the weekends. Walking through the empty streets felt… peaceful. The reception itself is in a quirky old building and the space is just insane. Antiques and heavy colours everywhere. She took over the lease from a Dentist who retired, and he’d been a big fan of dance. There are these signed fading posters of famous ballerinas, thanking him for his services, on the walls. All the equipment is very old school, but seems to work, and somehow has this very sympathetic feel about it. Somehow the whole thing feels like being inside one of those surreal movies, such as Amélie.
I walked back via Oxford Street, and turning the corner on to it, the throng of people was a shock to the system. It’s funny how turning one corner can change everything. Getting home was a bit of a nightmare with engineering works on most of the tube lines, and I didn’t get back until 9pm.
Regardless of that, the whole trip somehow had this calming and uplifting effect on me. You can’t say that about most trips to the dentist!
Some more pictures of snow. Gee, it’s like I’ve never seen any before. :D This was the view from our front door yesterday.
I made a perilous trip around the corner to the local shop. Really not a good idea with my ankle. This is also where it becomes clear why snow doesn’t belong here. There’s just no infrastructure to deal with it. No gritting on pavements, no ploughing on other that a few main roads… it makes getting around pretty damn difficult.
This was the view that awaited me at the shop. It’s like the end of the world! :D They were all out of bread and eggs.
I’m still working from home today, mostly due to the combination of my sprained ankle and icy streets. Some trains are running but our train line is advising people not to travel. Hopefully tomorrow things will start getting back to normal…
It started snowing in the evening. I kept waking up throughout the night because of my achy ankle, and took a picture out of the window each time. It just kept on snowing.
Finally I woke up to this.
It’s weird. I’ve lived in snow for a big part of my life, but it just seems so out of place here. I think it’s because there are no snow ploughs out there doing anything about it. Everything just stops.
Originally I phoned in to ask to whether I could work from home as I couldn’t walk in the deep snow with my ankle. I soon found out that my trains and all the buses have been cancelled anyway. We’re officially snowed in it seems!
Phew. First workday – done. It was a bit of a shock to the system to first of all wake up to a snowy and freezing London, and then get out of bed when every fibre of my body was convinced it was still night time! It was also a bit difficult to get my ‘work head’ on at first, but by mid day it all started feeling like I’d never been away… Not sure if that’s a good thing.
When we got home yesterday the flat was like a bloody igloo. We’d had the heating turned off (as it costs and arm and a leg) for the two days we were away, and of course those days were the start of the longest cold snap in London in however many decades. Today the inside conditions are starting to be a bit more humane, but last night was certainly no picnic! Oh how I miss Finnish central heating at times like these… Outside it’s a different story, I’m quite liking the cold crisp weather. Although once the snow turned into sleet and icy wind in central London I wasn’t enjoying it that much any more. :P
I’ve decided to ignore my to-do-list for tonight. So there.
Last time, when I saw Tracy Chapman in Helsinki, I was blown away by the power of her voice and the way a live band really made her music come alive. This time it was just her on her own without a band. Her wonderful voice was present, even when suffering from a cold, and I really loved all the old songs performed in this more low-key manner. But I did miss the band a bit, especially the drums… that take-your-breath-away punch, which the last gig delivered, wasn’t quite there. Never the less, I could sit in the same room with her voice for however long, it’s just that incredible.
~The Lady is a Tramp~
Just a few blurry shots from last night’s Lisa Hannigan gig. A couple of videos to come later when I have some time!
St. John’s Church certainly made for an impressive venue.
Gavin Glass performed some of his on solo stuff before Lisa got on stage. There were a few ok songs, but mostly they were perhaps a bit… dare I say it, boring. Although a huge plus point was the fact that if I closed my eyes he sounded just like Colin Farrell. :P
Lisa was adorable! And having not really heard her solo material before I was very impressed. I liked her, a lot.
She was way too lively to take pictures with a compact camera from the back rows. :P
It was a coooold night. Very christmassy views of the Houses of Parliament on the way home though.
Christmas and holiday can’t come fast enough… Yet again another nightmare week, when nothing works in the office and when the bonkers, illogical bureaucracy of this country infuriates me at every juncture. At least I’m liking the crisp, cold weather. It’s nice to be able to breath some fresh air and enjoy the twinkling Christmas lights instead of the endless grey rainy days.