Now, I haven’t posted here in about a month due to my last few uni deadlines, so I’m worried blog writing skills may be a bit rusty. To get the ball rolling again I’m gonna post up a Great Gig i’ve been meaning to talk about for ages, my favourite gig ever!
Belle & Sebastian, as i’ve mentioned on here before, are among my favourite all time acts, and I got into them around about four years ago when my sister, having pilfered it from a then-boyfriend, played me their 2006 pop-infused album The Life Pursuit in her car. It was a revelation, the joy of it, the unashamed sixties pop swagger of it, the fact it was cathcy music with beautiful lyrics, and not an auto-tune in sight.
To my horror, I soon realised B&S were on a lengthy hiatus. And so began a personal plunge into their then-8-album-strong back catalogue. From the DIY wistful teenage stories on Tigermilk to the dance-around-your-bedroom hits of Trevor Horn produced Dear Catastrope Waitress, I loved it all, and I was obsessed. I was making mixtapes and playlists for just about anyone who would take them, to mixed response - it seemed they weren’t for everyone.
When a return to the live arena was finally announced, it was a no-brainer. I was going. It was in Suffolk.. It was a festival.. These factors couldn’t stop the fanboy born within me so, after convincing a total of zero people to come with me, I set off in that same old car with a stack of CDs the day after my 19th birhday. When I finally arrived the gig was everything I could’ve hoped for.
The setting was lovely, a family friendly festival with no lairy teens or naff metal in sight. I bought a B&S T shirt. I ate a burrito. Any concerns that they mighn’t have been any good were washed away by the point I was bopping my head along to Paulo Nutini during the afternoon.
When they finally came on and burst straight into slow-building Sarah Martin-lead number I Didn’t See It Coming, I was in heaven. Stuart sauntered on stage in a burberry jacket and some bizarre eye-wear. I remember thinking he was a slightly camper performer than I had imagined as he awkwardly teetered around the stage, with knee issues meaning his erratic-jumping-about dancing style from the 90s had settled into a calmer, but still very enjoyable, performance. They burst into fan favourites I’m A Cuckoo and Step Into My Office, Baby and now my solitary bedroom enjoyment had somehow expanded into a 35,000 crowd of like minded hipsters. A trio of early material tracks were then played, ensuring that all kinds of B&S fans were happy.
Then, just as they slowed down, about to perform Fox in the Snow, the audience were instructed to hug the people next to them. A pang of sudden lonelyness and loserdom shot through me. As the saddening slow number started my ecstatic morale dipped. I thought about heading home, beating the traffic. But then the loveliest thing happened, a circle pit… of hugs. All around me strangers were hugging, and it developed into a big arm-in-arm circle of loser indie kids (some alot older to actually be termed ‘kids’) singing along together, me included. It was lovely, it was a phenomenon, and it cemented the show as my favourite ever.
More brilliant new songs were outed and an impromptu cover of The Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash inspired by a charming story of guitarist Stevie’s pre-gig nightmare of being told onstage by Stuart to play the track he didn’t know. An encore of upbeat sixties pop number Legal Man ended the gig perfectly, and the approaching long journey home, and the fact I went on my own, stopped being problems and just became other things which made this huge show feel somehow like the most touching and personal gig I’ve ever been to. In short… It was awesome :D
main-set closer Sleep the Clock Around:
Photo courtesy of the Guardian website.