Monday, 11 October 2010

Reviews and Forecasts

I mentioned before that I’d bought a ticket to see Jason Manford very early on this year. I’m not 100% how early on in the year it was but I’d happily guess February. Which means since then, I’ve seen Skindred, Trivium, Jeff Dunham, RATM, Bill Bailey (x2), Airbourne and been to Sonisphere! That is a lot to get excited about before Jason Manford. But I was still; whenever it came up in conversation (whether it was talking about his DVD or the show itself) me and the others who were going would talk about how awesome it should be. Interestingly he had no support. Now I’ve been to comedy shows before in big rooms such as Guildhall and there was no support, but it still seems strange. Anyway, the night before Manford came to Portsmouth – the dinosaur which inhabited a place on Southsea common burned (or was burned) down. This led to some early jokes about that. The show was very good. One of the main highlights for me was him taking a stab at Southampton and admitting he will do the same to Portsmouth when he plays in Southampton (got to admire his honesty). I don’t honesty recall an awful lot of his material right now but it was a good show. I’d definitely recommend going to see him live if you get the chance. He did about 2.5hrs in Portsmouth. It is quite funny because he has a joke on the DVD about someone from the city at a show letting the city down (I made sure to wear shoes just to ensure it wasn’t me). Some of the conversations with the crowd were really quite funny but some were plain weird. I don’t recall the context but someone shouted out about Coco Pops. This might be creative license, but I think it confused Jason slightly before he retorted “COCO POPS, THEY TURN THE MILK CHOCOLATEY!” Not to be outdone, during the Q&A, the coco pops man decided to have another go at being funny and asked him if he preferred werewolves or vampires (a clear Twilight reference). The response was funny (“neither really. If I had to choice a mate I’d prefer a milkman. I’m always low on milk!”) The purpose of highlighting that was that I thought it was funny a previous joke of Jason Manford’s was about someone letting the city down, and this man acting like a complete knob-head – letting the city down. Anyway, it was a really good show and well worth the wait. We discussed going again the next night but money got in the way and also I think it was sold out. Shame – still, Soton next year is a possibility (not actually discussed this with anyone!)

Comedy is all well and good (very good actually) but I hadn’t seen any live music since Sonisphere until last week. Bill Bailey has music in his act but I consider that as a part of the stand up show rather than seeing live music. Anyway, one of the bands I thought I’d definitely see at Sonisphere was Lacuna Coil. Before Soni, they had announced a Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms date but I thought I’d give that a miss as I’d be seeing them at Soni and I’d seen them at the Wedge at the tail end of 2008. However, then stage times were announced and they clashed with Evile. This was tough because I loved both bands. I opted for Evile as I hadn’t seen them since the passing of Mike Alexander (which has just passed its one year anniversary – RIP Mike!) This worked out quite nicely for me because it meant I could justify spending the money going to see Lacuna Coil. However Chimaira were due to play the Wedge the day after LC. My original thought process was that gig takes priority as I’d not seen them do a headline show (just a support and festival slot) where with LC; I’d seen them 3 times previous. Anyway, long story long, Chimaira cancelled their tour so LC became top priority again. I’d like to take this time to thank Chimaira for cancelling their tour as LC were fantastic! I cannot believe I even second guessed myself about going. They released an album in 2009 called Shallow Life which not only did I not know about, I only heard it in July for the first time. The album is superb, probably their best yet. There are a few fantastic songs on the album which come across great live. I’m Not Afraid; Survive; I Won’t Tell You; Underdog; and Spellbound – all fantastic songs. They played a fair whack off Karmacode which is by no means a bad thing! Slaves to Gravity supported and they seemed cool as well.

I said in a previous blog that I am aiming to squeeze one more London trip out of this year. I then managed that and am going to see MCR later this month (in less than 2 weeks to be exact). I somehow managed to squeeze in another. I love Stone Sour. They have released 2 awesome albums (I’m still unsure on Audio Secrecy. It’s a good album certainly but the jury is still out on whether it’s awesome). I really hoped they would tour post Download 2010 as I was unable to get there to see them (and actually I’d probably have missed them in favour of Aerosmith had I gone). They announced an arena co-headlining tour which sounded good aside from one major elephant in the room....AVENGED SEVENFOLD AS THE OTHER HEADLINER?! As a famous dragon from the Den would say: “A’m OOT!” (How lame, I do apologise). Anyway, I have no desire to see A7x again after their “performances” at Twickenham and Wacken supporting Iron Maiden. I was never that much of a fan anyway, but the self titled album just turned me off them completely. I haven’t listened to the new album truth be told but I’m just not interested. Anyway, I had resigned myself to another Stone Sour-less year. Haven’t seen them since Download 2007 and it appeared this streak would continue. BUT! They announced a special headline set for a show at a venue called Dingwalls in Camden. In a nutshell, this band that are touring arenas, are playing in a little room in London just a touch bigger than the Wedgewood Rooms (487 capacity!) Oh how win. I arranged to have a week on Wednesday morning off work as well which is nice. So Stone Sour and MCR make up the London trips this month with a little 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster thrown in at the end of the month for good measure. Excellent!

Final unrelated thought – Am I alone in hating X-Factor? I know this is something I’ve probably spoken about before. And this might seem somewhat surprising as I did mention a previous contestant from the show on the last blog (I was criticised for writing about that, but I see that as more of an immigration and hypocrisy issue than one which relates directly to X-Factor). I’m not going to waste my time on this too much but I really don’t see the draw of this show but the social networks become seriously bogged down with people expressing surprise, or their joy/dismay at picks. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t fucking matter. They’ll pick who will make them the most money, regardless of singing ability. Is the contest fixed? There’s a good chance it is – who cares though? If it is, stop giving them your money, simple!

I’ll do my best not to give them a mention again but my word bookface and twitter were overtaken with this bollocks over the weekend!

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