Archive for the ‘2004’ Category



So this was the age of the buzz-band.

Even though they sounded nothing like the Strokes, this was all post-Strokes.

Maps remains an amazing song, but honestly –the rest of this album was all about the art.

When a band seems more known for their singer’s stage-wear and performance than the music then I’m not sure it’s for me.

Is she trying to deep-throat the mic? Do I really care about her costume?

But then, I was seeing this gig at a bit of a remove.

I was sober, and we were sitting on a VIP table at the front of the balcony thanks to the girl I shouldn’t have been involved with but who was in the industry and who could arrange things like this.

It added an appropriate theatrical vibe to a theatrical show, and it felt as if it was important to be there because – well, they were a buzz band and we were cool people.

I was never passionate about this band.

High: Maps

Drinking: No.

Thinking: I’m honestly not quite sure what all the fuss is about.




I was sober. But still going out.

It was a difficult time, but it was easier to be in company than going mad at home smoking weed and taking valium to sleep.

I was going out a lot.

I went to this show with my Wedding Present friend.

I remember them opening with Interstate 5 even though I don’t think it was out yet.

I remember a great Blue Eyes and a brilliant Brassneck.

They were heavier and/or moodier than the Weddoes.

High: Blue Eyes.

Drinking: Lime and soda.

Thinking: I can do this.



It was a Sonic Youth curated indie festival, but I managed to miss their set.

Four of went, in a rental car, listening to Soulwax’s 2 Many DJs all the way down.

It was the one with No Fun / Push It on.

I’d built this weekend up quite heavily in my head.

I was turning 31 on the Sunday and I’d been telling everyone and myself that I was going to quit drinking and heavy drugs.

The headline attraction was Sonic Youth, who I’d never seen.

The weather was awful.

And despite having done family holidays in holiday camps in the late 70s and early 80s I was shocked at how basic the chalets were.

We had a huge amount of coke.

This was the weekend when the thing I’d been having with someone turned into an actual affair.

At the time I looked at it like doomed romanticism.

Fucking on drugs when we should have been watching the headline band.


A long lunch at some generic pub on a grey, wet coast alternating Stella Artois with lines in the toilet.

But now it all seems tawdry and sordid. I just didn’t realise it at the time.

I thought my friends were being supportive of me spending time with someone.

It wasn’t till years later I found out that they couldn’t believe what I was doing and they were worried for me.

I don’t make those kind of conversations easy.

I saw part of a Steve Malkmus set. It was OK.

I saw Cat Power stumble through a very weird set.

I saw Explosions in the Sky and Sophia, and Sophia were louder.

There was a running joke between us about Vincent Gallo.

There was a catchphrase of “Are you easily shocked?”

On the Sunday night I’d basically gone back to the chalet and tried to get myself together. I had a four pack and what was left of my stash.

I worked through it feeling really weird and trying to read a book.

It was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

The guys showed up with some other people we knew at midnight.

They’d got Mission of Burma to sign a copy of their new ONoffON album for me. I still have it.

Everyone was listening to Mission of Burma that year.

They’d been in Michael Azzerad’s Our Band Could be Your Life which I think everyone had read.

They were the band that none of us had known about before reading it.

We pretended we liked their set more than we actually did, but Academy Fight Song and Revolver were great.

Everyone chanted along.

At the end of it all, we went to see LCD Soundsystem play a very crowded room.

They were late on stage. Very late, and I didn’t feel very well at all.

I just about remember Losing My Edge.

When I got home on the Monday, I emptied the fridge and poured a bottle of absolut down my sink.

High: insanely

Drinking: insanely

Thinking: insanely

Jesse Malin


He was about to release the second album, but it was all about the debut.

That and the fact that he was known as a “Ryan Adams’ friend.”

But the debut was amazing. It had Wendy on it. Like a turbo-charged Springsteen.

It had Cigarettes and Violets.

It had Riding on the Subway.

I loved that first record.

It had Brooklyn.

The school-friend I shared my Malin-crush with moved to New York permanently around this time.

He would email (still does) with tales of “going to Jesse’s bar” or “seeing Jesse at a gig.”

My friend recently moved out of Manhattan with his second child on the way, and all I hear is that lyric: “You couldn’t live with me, so you moved to Brooklyn.”

I’ll bet he does too.

High: Wendy. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know why.

Drinking: I was sober in May 2004.

Thinking: I don’t like the way that barmen look at me when I order a soft drink. It’s like they think less of me.



This was a strange and confusing time for me.

This show was five days before I quit drinking for a while.

I’d been telling people I was going to do it since the end of 2003.

It was the only way I thought I could make sure it happened – to know that other people would think less of me if I didn’t.

I thought it was odd that no one else was telling me to do it, because I thought I was saving my life.

The first I knew of Sophia was when someone I knew started playing with them.

For a while he was also playing in a weekly pop quiz team in a pub in Finsbury Park.

The rest of the team included Robin from Sophia, Adam from Swervedriver and a couple of well known music journalists.

Then there was me. So I knew some of Sophia.

Here’s what you’d never know about then from listening to the records. They were one of the loudest bands you’d ever see.

And that’s what I remember about this show.

I thought the PA was going to blow.

High? If a Change is Going to Come.

Drinking? Soaked. Absolutely drenched in it.

Thinking? How to do this sober. 

Reviews are here



I haven’t thought about this band in years, but I’ve just put House of Jealous Lovers on the stereo and it takes me right back.

We loved this band.

I remember writing an email to one of my oldest friend the first time I’d played Echoes.

It was “Indecently good,” I told him.

I remember putting Jealous Lovers on a compilation for a someone.

Someone I hoped would become my girlfriend.

It was like being a teenager again, and still just as awkward. I was nearly 30.

She was a college friend who, very much to my surprise, had come home with me from a pub in Camden after a group of us had gone to see a band called the Dawn Parade play the Bull & Gate.

I’d discovered this band through the internet, and bought all their early singles and EPs.

I was very passionate about them.

Because of that show I can date this night to September 2001.

This was one of the years that I very much wanted someone to call a girlfriend. I think I was clutching out at anyone that came even close to interest.

She showed her interest by coming onto me on my sofa then coming up to bed.

After that, I’d convinced myself she was perfect for me.

As you do.

But the only other time I even got to kiss her again was at party at her parents’ house some awkward months later.

I’d brought round this CD.

I remember that Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem was on there too.

LCD and the Rapture were bands who helped people like me feel that we weren’t just stuck listening to exactly the same kind of music.

In my late 20s this felt useful. It felt like a progression.

I remember trying to talk to this girl about things months later.

We were out somewhere down by Angel tube station.

I’d spent the best part of a year since it had happened just waiting for her. This was a very real thing for me.

I’d asked a friend who had the Dawn Parade in for an interview in his office to sign a Christmas card for her.

I thought this was romantic. But the childish scribble of a Christmas tree on a random piece of paper with their names scrawled alongside it looked – even to me – like something a stalker would have put together.

“I might be AWOL for a while”, she’d said that first and only morning.

It looks strange to write it, but I’ll swear that’s what she said. “AWOL.”

So I took it on faith and I waited.

I remember seeing her walk off to the tube as I waited for a cab.

I remember waiting ages before anyone stopped for me.

I remember how she looked when I awkwardly asked what was really going on.

She looked pained. Like I’d put her in a position where she had no choice but to feel sorry for me.

The show would have been good.

I remember it being crowded, and a much better vibe than you’d sometimes get in a packed out Astoria.

There would have been cowbell. Lots of it.

There would have been dancing by people who don’t know how to dance.

High: Sister Saviour at the end of the show.

Drinking: Lime and soda. Seriously.

Thinking: Christ it’s crowded in here.

Why: I was never their biggest fan, but I had a great deal of respect for Spiritualized, even if they’d never improve on the show I saw them play the Astoria in 1998 with Suicide in support and on stage with them at the end for Rocket USA. So I got a ticket for this show, even though the venue wasn’t really ‘them’….

High: All a bit flat as it goes, very probably too stoned and all I can really remember is the lights.

Drinking: Maybe a single shandy and some weed beforehand – I’d knocked the heavy drinking on the head for a while back in April that year and wasn’t really myself again till 2005.

Thinking: I’m not sure I really want to be here.

Gig on Songkick