John Bishop – Portsmouth Guildhall 13/12/10
One longstanding obligation for a comedian is making fun of those people arrive late. The closer they are sitting to the front the better is usually is. This was extra entertaining when 6 people were late for Jason Manford’s show at Portsmouth Guildhall and they not only had seats in the front row, but front and centre – right in Manford’s eye line. However, this obligation can only be upheld on one condition - the comedian has to be on-time himself. Arriving at Portsmouth Guildhall at 19.31 worrying that I would be the late one to face ridicule because the show was starting at 19.30. About 15/20 minutes pass and it is announced that the show is running slightly late so you’ve got time to go and get another drink in. This for me was perfect as I was busting for a slash (that might be too much information, but that announcement was very good to me). I would also like say at this time I found out the Big Four of Thrash (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax) are headlining Sonisphere so I was put in a fantastic mood by this. At 20.10 the lights went dim, which in the business means either one of two things: 1) the show is about to start; or 2) the lighting guy has probably just overheard the fact I have a hangover and wants to see how loud he can make the crowd scream (that goes out to you lighting tech at Hammersmith, you arsehole!)
Anyway, in this instance it meant the show was about to start, and after a short animation of Bishop, the man himself arrives on stage, apologising for being late. His reason seems somewhat fair – all the other shows on the tour start at 8pm, so it wasn’t until 7.30 that he realised himself that the show started then. What followed was a rundown of a year in the life of a struggling comedian who has made it big; a middle aged parent who’s been married for 17 years; the differences between those people with kids and those without and the embarrassments that can arise from a new-found show business lifestyle. I will discuss two bits for me which was my personal favourites. He discussed arguing with teenagers and how your wonderful little child will turn into a demon. “There is not a parent in the room who in this scenario hasn’t thought that their child is a twat”. That single line made me laugh for two reasons – 1) my parents were in the room but slightly further away from me; and 2) it is probably very true. The other joke which I loved is about offensive words on the BBC and the 2nd most complained phrase is “cunt” and how the first most complained phrase is “Jesus Christ”. “So if you have a joke which has the punch line ‘so Jesus Christ is a cunt’ it is probably not going to get on TV.” Saying much more about the material would be giving it away so I will leave it there and end with saying he was superb and if the chance arises to go and see him, make sure you do. I’m contemplating going again in April if I get my act (no pun intended) together!
Hatebreed – Wedgewood Rooms 15/12/10
Here’s the thing, I didn’t go in the end. Had a ticket, also had a headache. Can’t be helped sometimes. I’m sure they were wonderful and played everything the crowd wanted to hear. Or, they might have been shite, but I’ll never know. Moving on...
Ginger & Friends – Talking Heads, Southampton 23/12/10
This was probably the gig I was most looking forward to of the post-Sonisphere part of 2010 due to how early I bought the ticket. I saw The Wildhearts last year and they were fantastic – it was literally one of the most fun gigs I’ve ever been to. So when I heard that that Ginger from the Wildhearts would be playing in Southampton and the set would consist of Wildhearts songs, it had to be done. The journey wasn’t anything special other than some of the small stations on the way into Southampton really look like they should be in the deep south in America (or at least in the movie Deliverance). Anyway, the Talking Heads is a pretty awesome venue actually. I’ve only ever been there before for a drink. It is a different shape to the Wedgewood Rooms but I’d say it’s not much smaller. The main difference is that the beer there is good! Yes, £3.20 for a pint of fosters is criminal in a standard pub but for a gig venue to charge this price, that is fine, especially when it’s good beer!
Anyway, this gig was the 2nd I’ve seen in the format of the headline act supporting themselves with a band in the middle. Ginger and Hot Steve did an acoustic set before the gig. This was very good – awesome music and fun crowd interactions. Highlights of this set for me (aside from being down the front) were Loveshit, This Is Only a Problem and Geordie in Wonderland. Geordie in Wonderland being the best I’d say purely due to the fact the crowd took over vocals and did a massive sing-along which was just awesome. After a voyage to the bar and the smoking area, I ended up in the back of the room for Oaf. Oaf is a two piece band who plays pretty heavy music. They were fairly entertaining and did a good job of warming up the crowd. I couldn’t see a way back to the front during Oaf so reluctantly went to smoke again, deciding that if I smoked and they finished that people would likely head back to the bar/come to smoke and I could find a way through. Sure enough, that happened. Ginger and Friends came out and played what can only be described as an awesome set. If you love Wildhearts/Ginger music, then this set had it all. Usually I would say the highlights of a set at this stage but it isn’t possible because it was all awesome. This was literally one of the best gigs of 2010 and I am pleased it is the one which closed out the year.
2010 is at a close, the next post will be a year summary type of deal where I’ll talk about my favourite memories of 2010 and looking to 2011.