Diminishing gigs and gigs of diminishing return.

There are times when I think that readers of this blog are simply bearing witness to the Orwellian tragedy of someone once boundlessly enthusiastic about live music slowly having it ground out of them by the suspicion that I’d be better off reading a book than spending yet another evening squashed, skint and bored in Camden while some overindulged former public schoolboy vomits down a microphone, but oh well, on with the motley.

I was sorting through some things last night – ticket stubs, diaries, anal-retentively compiled whathaveyou – and look, these are all the gigs I went to in 2004, back when Dirty Pretty Things was still a club night named after a Stephen Frears film rather than a by-word for frustratingly pedestrian musical spin-off projects:

February
11th – Hundred Reasons @ London Astoria
18th – the Libertines @ the Duke of Clarence, Islington

March
10th – Static Motion @ the Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon
16th – the Libertines, the Buzzcocks, the Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster, Miss Black America @ Love Music Hate Racism benefit, Astoria

April
8th – Super Furry Animals, Goldie Lookin’ Chain @ Hammersmith Apollo
30th – Static Motion @ Infinity, Mayfair

May
6th – Peter Doherty and Carl Barat @ Filthy McNasty’s, Islington
10th – Liars @ Charing Cross Mean Fiddler
24th – the Lillettes, the Durty Burds, the Priscillas, the A-lines @ LSE
27th – Wolfman @ the Duke of Clarence, Islington

June
2nd – Kasabian @ the 100 Club, Oxford Street
7th – the Libertines @ Dirty Pretty Things, Infinity
14th – Special Needs, the Martini Henry Rifles, and I think at least one of the Bandits @ LSE
18th – Bob Dylan @ Cardiff International Arena
23rd – Kill City, the Owsley Sunshine, Lefthand @ Death Disco

July
1st – Rock Against Racism night @ Infinity
2nd – Holly Golightly, Mr David Viner, the Subways @ the Boston Arms, Tufnell Park
11th – the Others and, ahem, some others @ Tin Pan Alley street festival
12th – the Dash, Past Caring @ Dirty Pretty Things, Infinity
14th – TV Smith, the Cherry Reds @ the Metro, Oxford Street
21st – the Dash @ Death Disco
26th – Carl Barat / Gary Powell / Anthony Rossamondo / Tim Burgess / Har Mar Superstar (yeah…)
Neil’s Children, the Rocks @ Dirty Pretty Things, Infinity

August
2nd – Peter Doherty (or not, as it turned out…) @ the Camden Barfly
7th – Peter Doherty @ the Great Eastern Hotel, Shoreditch
9th – the Unicorns, Shit n’ Shine @ Needles Wine Bar, Belgravia
14th – the Priscillas @ the Metro
19th – Radio Four @ Death Disco
23rd – Mondo Generator @ Islington Academy
25th – Yeti @ the Boogaloo, Highgate

September
3rd – the Cherry Reds @ the Montague Arms, New Cross
Peter Doherty @ the Rhythm Factory, Whitechapel
8th – the Detroit Cobras @ ULU
10th – Kill City @ Club Hell Yeah!, the Buffalo Bar, Islington
12th – Peter Doherty @ Brick Lane
14th – REM, the Thrills, Minnie MOR Drivetime, Jamelia, Razorlight @ Make Trade Fair gig, Hammersmith Apollo
15th – Babyshambles etc @ Worthing Pier
16th – Babyshambles, I think Junkbox, Adam Green? @ Brighton Concorde 2
17th – Babyshambles, Driving South etc @ Portsmouth Uni
18th – Babyshambles, Dot Allison, Andrew Aveling, the Paddingtons @ Cardiff Uni
19th – Selfish Cunt, Kaito, Noblesse Oblige @ Vortex of Now, Islington Academy

December
2nd – Razorlight @ Virgin, Oxford Street
7th – The Chavs @ the Tap & Tin, Chatham
13th – Manic Street Preachers @ Cardiff International Arena
14th – Bloc Party @ Heaven
18th – Morrissey @ Earl’s Court

*

And these are all the gigs I went to in 2005:

January:
12th – Manic Street Preachers, Cardiff International Arena
26th – Yeti, the Boogaloo, Highgate
27th – Peter Doherty/Babyshambles, the George, Whitechapel

February:
1st – Babyshambles, the George
5th – Special Needs, Nambucca, Holloway
– Maximo Park, Frog
7th – Yeti, Oxford Zodiac
22nd – Babyshambles, Brixton Academy

March:
9th – Yeti, the Boogaloo
17th – Peter Doherty/Shane Macgowan, the Boogaloo
18th – Kill City, Camden Barfly
19th – Queen Adreena, Oxford Zodiac
24th – Razorlight, Alexandra Palace

April:
7th – Manic Street Preachers, Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
9th – Interpol, Brixton Academy
18th – Manic Street Preachers, Hammersmith Apollo

May:
1st – Peter Doherty, Trafalgar Square

June:
12th – Peter Doherty, Duke of Clarence, Islington
16th – Patrick Wolf, Clwb Ifor Bach

July:
16th – Graham Coxon/Kill City/Metro Riots, Koko
18th – Vincent Vincent and the Villains/Mitchell Brothers/Patrick Wolf/the Kills, Islington Academy
20th – Yeti, the Boogaloo

August:
1st – Yeti/The Mardous, Oxford Zodiac
4th – Art Brut/Yeti/The Rocks, Koko

September:
16th – Kill City, the Garage, Islington
26th – Art Brut, Cardiff Barfly

October:
10th – Babyshambles, Cardiff University
22nd – Supergrass, Koko
31st – Patrick Wolf, La Scala

November:
21st – Bob Dylan, Brixton Academy

*

2006-07 was mostly spent following the solo endeavours of Carl Barat (I know, I know. Get to fuck) and, latterly, the Indelicates, while I also attempted to get a degree and earn a living. 2009-10, well, I mostly just saw the Indelicates. And Amanda Palmer. And, exceptionally, Magazine.

Now, for comparative purposes, so far in 2011 I’ve seen nothing apart from Comet Gain at the Lexington, the new post-punk-cum-opera project of Faris from the Horrors at the Scala, and a Carl Barat solo effort in the upstairs room of a pub on Essex Road which I was too plastered on Doom Bar and Jagermeister to fully appreciate. Oh, and Stewart Lee, whose stand-up set included a diss of Michael McIntyre song performed in the style of Dylan, which by itself would have been worth the entrance fee if I’d paid one. I can’t see the year getting any better. I can’t even argue that I now go for quality over quantity, since I clearly don’t.

Of course, an obvious observation on the lists above is that the majority of bands on there no longer exist. I don’t think, though, that my gig-going was significantly bound up with that Libertines-and-everything-after London scene which was definitely not known as ‘urch-rock’ but might have been known as ‘Nigel’. (See my probably-not-forthcoming retrospective, ‘Post-Libertines London: the Good, the Bad, and Thee Unstrung’.)

Anyway, this isn’t a satisfactory state of affairs. There must be gigs to go to, and I must go to them. Top tips, anyone?

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