Archive for the ‘2000’ Category

Jay Farrar


 So, since being diagnosed as autistic I can see my thing about music as what’s called a “special interest.”

I think the gigs were too. Other than drinking after work (where my special interest was the office) there wasn’t much else.

As long as people didn’t stand too close to me for too long and the music hit my pleasure centres, the gigs gave me what I needed to be among people.

Familiarity in the same venues and routines:

  • Where significant conversation during the show itself is almost impossible. (I said “yeah” and I nodded a lot. Some of my more successful small talk)
  • Where conversation before and after can be largely fixed on music
  • Where alcohol (and for many years, before the smoking ban) drugs were part of the ritual

In ’99-2000, starting from a thing with ‘alt country’ I discovered Uncle Tupelo.

I came to them late but became quite obsessive.

This was the era of Napster.

I still have folders of live tracks and rarities.

I was giving copies of Anodyne and Still Feel Gone to people as birthday presents.

Obviously, I transferred this love to Wilco.

Not so much to Jay Farrar’s band, Son Volt.

They had a song with a great title (Caryatid Easy), but for me that was honestly it.

So when the guy who’d helped to get me into this, the old bass player from my band, flagged that Jay was playing the Borderline I went with a weird attitude.

I basically went drunk.

I remember it being loud, I remember being towards the front of the venue.

I remember a lot of guys with very little hair getting very irate if anyone made a noise during any of the songs.

I’m not even sure what he would have been playing.

Son Volt was done, and the first solo stuff hadn’t come out.

But hey, I saw Jay Farrar solo in a small London club in 2000.

And at least for me it wasn’t ruined by some drunk guy slopping about and mumbling to his friend between songs.

High: really, none.

Drinking: oh yes.

Thinking: weird vibe.




Well, it’s Radiohead.

I’d seen them at Brixton on the OK Computer tour in 1997 and couldn’t believe what was happening to me when I started sobbing on the first “For a minute there, I lost myself…” on Karma Police.

And I’d seen them earlier in the year in Athens.

I though they were the best live band on the planet.

Even more so when Thom would strap on a third electric guitar for My Iron Lung.

This was tour when they decided to be free of corporate sponsorship and venues, so they set up a big tent in Hackney.

I went with my oldest friend.

We’d just stopped being flatmates after a year, which hadn’t really worked out, and I was living in colleague’s spare room in Clerkenwell round the corner from the office.

It was an odd time, and it was an odd show. It was kind of flat for me.

The tent wasn’t that good for sound, the ground outside was damp and they were really going for the new Kid A songs.

Now I think of those songs as classic period, but then they really did seem a little out there and (call me shallow) I missed the heavy guitars.

Don’t get me wrong. It was an amazing show.

It just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be.

My strongest memory is of reconnecting with my friend, outside the actual tent letting the music come to us.

Then rushing back for Paranoid Android.

High: My Iron Lung, into Karma Police and No Surprises.

Drinking: conversational pints outside the tent.

Thinking: no tent next time, please.

Setlist on



I came to the Pumpkins late.

I first heard them in the back of a car in the summer of ’93. Four of us from university were doing a road-trip thing in the US.

We’d bought the car in Philadelphia and in the end it took to us to LA.

It was the summer of Two Princes. It was the summer of No Rain.

It was the summer I saw the Grateful Dead at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

One of my friends had Siamese Dream on tape.

We played it repeatedly on the drive up through Washington State to Vancouver while he and I sat under a duvet giggling on the back seat.

We’d taken our remaining acid before crossing the border.

Then my flatmate in ’99-2000 was quite obsessive about Melon Collie.

And we both loved Ava Adore, and even tried to pretend that Machina was a great record.

When this show was announced it looked like it would be the final UK gig that the band would play before breaking up. They’d already lost D’Arcy on bass.

We were psyched. There was drama around the whole thing.

On the day, the music papers reported that Billy was going to pull the gig after basically losing his voice in Manchester the night before.

As it was, they played the show.

I remember (and I’ll swear that this is true) sitting in our raked, theatre balcony seats listening to the PA play ALL of (Music From) The Elder by Kiss before the band came on.

I remember thinking that Melissa on bass was amazing.

I can’t remember if this was before or after I’d seen her with Hole, but I had a thing for Melissa.

I remember a cover of David Essex’s Rock On.

I remember Billy’s vocals being occasionally painful.

I remember a proper, amazing, heavy, thrilling, exciting rock and roll show.

High: Tonight Tonight.

This was around the time that I had “Crucify the insincere” inserted into my corporate email signature. I loved that song.

Drinking: Beforehand – but during the show we didn’t want to leave our seats.

Thinking: I am so, so pleased to be seeing this band right here right now.

Setlist on

The whole show on Yes – Billy was clearly having a problem with his voice…

Why: Quite a random one, an afternoon gig that involved a sly departure from work to start drinking in Camden early. Obviously, everyone had loved You’re Gorgeous a few years before, and I had a copy of the latest one at the time, Bugged, which I’d been given and liked. But I didn’t go for Baby Bird. I went for the friend who offered the ticket.

He and I had played guitars together in the mid-nineties but then had one of those things when I broke up with someone and he started dating her almost immediately. Obviously, I blamed her for this and not him, but our relationship was shot for about a year.

This wasn’t about looking like a bright hyper-relevant part of trendy young Camden on someone’s shiny TV cameras – this was part of our coming back together as friends.

High: I’ve toyed with re-watching videos of the show (it was filmed for a ‘Barfly Session’ and you’ll find chunks of it over YouTube), but instead I’ll stick with the memories I find – and they’re of a fantastic show, great performance, great songs and with an arm round a very good friend.

Drinking: From lunchtime.

Thinking: Sometimes, growing up is easy.

Boss Hog: LA2 – April 17th, 2000

Posted: January 13, 2012 in 2000, Boss Hog, LA2
Tags: , ,

Why: I was familiar with Cristina Martinez by reputation (I listened to Jon Spencer and the Trux, and knew who Pussy Galore were – though I was still years from hearing them and realising how dodgy they actually sounded), so I got a copy of Whiteout and a ticket to see Boss Hog.

High: None, really. This was the first time I’d ever gone to a gig on my own and I found it disconcerting. However tight the band and whatever presence Cristina had (and she did) I couldn’t really get into it.

Drinking: On my own.

Thinking: This is a bit lonely. I’m a bit lonely. Oh fuck.

Gig on Songkick

Radiohead: Athens – June 2000

Posted: January 4, 2012 in 2000, Radiohead
Tags: ,

Radiohead, Athens June 2000

Why? Over in Greece for a friend’s wedding, it seemed like a good idea for two of us to flee post-party carnage on Skiathos and hit Athens for Radiohead in an outdoor theatre.

High? Thom hearing loud, wasted English voices down the front and dedicating a song to us (well, I say ‘dedicating’, the actual words were closer to “Anyone here from London? In London a lot of people think it’s cool to take cocaine… this is for you… this is Paranoid Android…”).

Drinking? Literally carrier bags full of cheap cans of lager, supplemented with the weed we’d gone out of our way to track down before heading out to Delphi the day after the show.

Thinking? “I can’t believe I’m getting away with this”, as all that lager and a place at the front meant I didn’t bother with a trip to the toilets so just pissed all over the legs of the girl in front of me. (I got away with it….)

Gig on Songkick

Setlist on