Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Top of the Pops 2013

It's that time of the year again - time to be sat in a room and tortured. No, not being in the same vicinity as your family for Christmas, but by facing the onslaught of Christmas TOTP. I've blogged this for the past few years, so I suppose it's a tradition, like having a festive punch up, or puking up. 
With the spectre of Jimmy Saville hanging over the show - and now the reminder of real-life monster Ian Watkins (no, not that one) permeating round Fearne Cotton - we look to Reggie Yates for some wholesome entertainment, ha. Heaven help us. 
First up, John Newman. I don't know who that is. He sounds like he has a mouth full of biscuits. It's like Prof Green, Plan B and James Arthur have been mashed into one person, as if the three of them weren't bad enough (I actually like James Arthur, even though that's not socially acceptable). 
Oh no, I'm not going to know who anyone is, am I? Old age! I curse you. 
My mums boyfriend just came in to discuss Ian Watkins. Fearne Cotton: you are now firmly associated with baby rape. I don't think even she deserves this. 
I have seen Chase and Status on some Glastonbury footage, I think. Is anything new anymore? Everything is referencing or sampling something else. Dear God, I AM OLD. 
Next up: Boyzone. Gately was the only likeable one, really. One looks like a potato. One ruined Corrie. One has tattoos and some quirky eyebrows. One 'nearly got punched in a fight, it's alright.' But is it? 
I don't understand this Rizzle Kicks thing. It sounds like Suggs. It makes me want to smash a cup, too. Is that a trombone? Yegads. 
Who is Tom Odell? Is he for those who find Ed Sheeran a bit perky? 
Ah, here's Jessie J, she'll get things going. Seriously, who are her fans? I've never met one. She's channelling Brian Molko with 'your only friend is your phone.' Except he's good. I would happily watch her burn. BURN! Burn her. 
I'm getting hungry now. My mum's boyfriend is shocked I don't know who this indie band is - Bastille. The frontman looks like Nick Grimshaw. There's too many beards in indie at the moment. I refuse to like any band containing more than one beard. This is not doing anything for me. No amount of confetti can melt my grinch heart. 
The Saturdays look waxy. Have they been reanimated? Does anyone know anything about any of these women? They are like girlband Sims. There's not a personality between five of them. And a couple of bras wouldn't go amiss. People are eating. 
Oh God, not more garage! Is garage back now? I missed who this was but it's another Plan B type, someone looking creepy in a coat, and sounding like Daniel Beddingfield. Is this what we want from a popstar? I didn't ask for this.
Even my mum - who you'd think was the target audience - is appalled by the sight of James Blunt. Imagine being in James Blunt's backing band. I'd rather be Jedward's guitarist. The drummer's got his scarf on, ready to leave. It's like watching Prince William get up to sing a carol at Christmas. 
There's now an argument going on about bread sauce. This is in real life, not on TOTP. 
I'm getting fucked off now. Not more shouty sub-garage, sub-trance, sub-drum-and-bass. This is virtually the same song that was on at the start. I need a wee. There's no pause. I want my dinner. 
Is there no rap or rock in the world anymore? 
Ellie Goulding is so awful she's making me pine for Olly Murs. 
Who are OneRepublic? Is this a man band? Who's the audience for this turkey shit? This band is seedy. 
My mum is upset that McFly haven't been on. I think even I'm upset that McFly haven't been on. That's how bad this has been. 
And number one is... Sam Bailey. Oh well, at least after today I'll never have to hear this song again. Happy Christmas. 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Live: Placebo at Brixton Academy (16 December 2013)

I arose from my pit to go to my annual gig last night (although I think I saw Desaparecidos this year too) and staggered out to Brixton Academy to see Brian and the boys (and girl). I decided on my usual no coat/ no drinks policy to get as close as possible: I didn’t count on pissing down rain and a car going through a puddle at high speed in Brixton soaking us from head to foot. Oh, well. At least any beer splashed on me after this point seemed harmless.
We just caught the end of support act Toy, who looked quite decent, and slinked down the side, so we were one place behind the barrier on the side (my favourite spot). The people around us seemed quite normal. So far, so good.
No dirgy intro vids with Placebo (I’m looking at you, Morrissey), they hit the stage promptly soon after nine, opening with crappy single B3 –‘ passion flower, catherine wheel’, check. Still it was exciting to see our Brian on the stage. I knew the set would be new album heavy which I didn’t mind as I really like the new album but they played such a lot of other songs that it didn’t seem that way. I wanted to hear a mix of brand new or quite old, and I wasn’t disappointed.
 Loud Like Love was the first one they played and ‘breathe, breathe, believe’ sounded epic at this volume (and right by the speakers).
The last album was only touched on with the Gameboy kitsch of For What It’s Worth and later, Speak in Tongues, which was pretty much the right balance (although I did miss Battle for the Sun). Me and my boyfriend exchanged glances when they played Twenty Years as neither of us like it, as it seems to go on for twenty years, but actually the second half of the song is quite good live. I might need to give it another chance. They followed it with the unmatchable Every Me, Every You (the only time a song has ever been ‘reimagined’ live to be better than the original) which really got the energy going. The couple next to me were very enthusiastic!
Too Many Friends was brilliant and made highly ironic by all the camera phone idiots filming it whilst Brian sang the line, ‘when all people do all day, is stare into a phone’. The camera phones, and the size of them, do make me feel a bit old, and the bouncers were like vultures, pouncing on anyone who was filming rather than taking a pic. One particularly annoying girl got hers knocked out of her hand by a bouncer after he’d told her a few times, and it seemed to stop working, which cheered me up immensely, as she’d been bumping into me about five minutes before. Thems the breaks, indeed.
Scene of the Crime was really good (handclaps! Washing machine!) and Rob the Bank is gloriously stupid. A nice surprise was Space Monkey, one of many tracks off Meds to follow (although sadly not Because I Want Youuuuuuuuu-ooooooo). My boyfriend recognised Space Monkey long before I did. I must admit, I still do pine for the toy megaphone. I think a computer does the voice distortion now. Still, better than when he just did it with his own hands one year. Space Monkey and all the fab Meds songs bring back memories of the best Placebo Gig EVER Rock am Ring, with the sunset going down. I think we must have watched that about 20 times. Not that I was there. But I wish I had been. There were some good visuals for Space Monkey going on at Brixton, too. Next they played Blind, which is OK, but I don’t think I can ever get over the lyrics of ‘your eyes forever glued to mine’ – ouch.
It was lovely to hear Meds (was dancing quite a bit by this point) and not at all lovely to hear the terrible Song to Say Goodbye – not helped by a vertically challenged little dick trying to pick a fight with me. ‘Is there space there for a midget?’ No there isn’t, plus I’M a midget. He ended up pushing my boyfriend, which is always delightful. I just love leaving the house and mingling with the human race!
Anyway, this ended up as a bit of a result for me, as my boyfriend moved me in front of him, out of the midget eyeline, and I ended up having a better spot, just in time for the singalong greatness of Special K. The crowd was really going mad by this time, and there was a great atmosphere. By the time the first notes of The Bitter End kicked in, the roof was off. Yeah, I said it! The roof was off. Amazing.
After the encore, they came back and did the slowed down version of Teenage Angst (I’d prefer the normal version) and the epic Running Up That Hill. I love the way Brian sings ‘God’ as ‘Gaaaaaaad’.
The best part though, were the final two songs of Post Blue ‘It’s in the water, baby’ and the unstoppable Infrared. I was amazed they did so much off Meds, and if there’s a better line on record than ‘Someone call the ambulance/ there’s gonna be an accident’ I’d like to hear it. Just a fantastic way to end.
Brian doesn’t say much, but he doesn’t need to, the songs do the talking. He and Stefan have a great rapport with the crowd, and with each other, and looked genuinely happy to be there. And despite a puddle and a self-proclaimed midget threatening to ruin things, the force than is Placebo could not be ruined. Thanks for a good night, Brian.