So last week produced two concerts in two days. One reasonably new band deserving success, one old band reinvigorated from a new album with 20 new songs to perform if they wish. Both gigs involved leaving my home (of course!), making the short walk to the tube station (I’ve lived here 6 months and I still can’t believe how short that walk is!) and hopping on the district line. Both gigs involved leaving said train at Westminster and changing for the Jubilee line.
Are you with me so far? This is where the contrasts begin.
Friday night, I get off at Canning Town. Saturday night, I leave one stop earlier at North Greenwich.
Friday, I leave the tube station and a guy in an orange jacket asks me if I like live music. I joke with him and say “yes, but tonight I’m already going somewhere”. I know from the sign on his back he’s pushing the Swarf gig and eventually we laugh.
Saturday, I just follow the crowds heading from the tube station to that odd shaped collection of buildings we used to call the “Millennium Dome” but now call the o2 arena. It looks the same but people want to go there now.
Friday, its into a deserted industrial estate, past the local car pound and tramping onward following the red and white signs for “BH2”. Thankfully there are plenty of them.
Saturday, it’s up an escalator in order to go down an escalator. Who designed this place?
Friday, the only lights in sight are the local MOT centre which is curiously still lit up at this time of night. You’ve guessed it, the club is in the other half of the building and apparently run by the same people.
Saturday, a nice steward clears my credentials and guides me to my seat, past the endless supply of merchandise I don’t need (okay, I bought a t-shirt).
Friday, I order a Corona. They don’t have a Corona. So I end up with a beer I normally only drink in Indian take-aways.
Saturday, I really don’t want one of their nasty lukewarm drinks so I wait in my seat and wait for the lights to go down. When the lights on stage go up, it’s evident that they’ve spent a fortune on the stage-lighting but at these ticket prices (hey, I got in free!) they can afford it.
Friday, when the lights go down, they never seem to light the stage and there are moments when it is difficult to see clearly.
And on Friday, there were thirty people in that place, all gathered together, loving the music.
And on Saturday, there were twenty thousand people in that place, all gathered together, loving the music.
Friday, I stumble out into the cold night having seen a show I will remember a long time, full of great songs and energy. Back on to the train for my journey home.
Saturday, I stumble out into the cold night having seen a show I will remember a long time, full of great songs and energy. Back on to the train for my journey home.
I really love this city!!