Archive for the ‘2006’ Category

Dead Meadow


So, a friend I met in the early 2000s through mutual friends – and who I played guitars with for a while – had a flatmate.

This flatmate was presented as his “stoner rock” mate, and he introduced me to loads of bands, and we did loads of gigs.

Dead Meadow were the one I don’t think I’d have found the way to on my own if it hadn’t been for him.

He was a great guy.

He came to my wedding, was one of the last to leave the after-party at the hotel.

They’re a great band and this was the first time I’d seen them. In such a tiny venue the sound was immense.

As was the buzz.

Down the front, done up on weed and booze, swaying and nodding.

High: I couldn’t name a single song now, or the name of anyone in the band, but I loved it all.

Drinking: my drinking had a new lease of life in 2006.

The receptionist at the job I’d started in December the year before had convinced me that milk thistle was a thing that worked to stave off the worst of a hangover.

For a while I’ll swear it did.

That and the weed.

And the valium to put me down.

Thinking: Stoner rock – what’s not to like?




It was all about Roscoe.

Everyone loved Roscoe. It had a Fleetwood Mac thing. It was propulsive.

It was obscure, but it connected immediately.

It seemed like their sound had come out of nowhere.

And as well as Roscoe I loved the yearning way they sang “She reads Leviathan…” on Head Home.

I’ve never read Leviathan, and I don’t think the girl I would have been projecting that yearning onto at the time would have ever read it either.

But still.

“She never mentions a word to me, she reads Leviathan…. I think I’ll head home.”

Still hits me now.

I don’t remember who I went to see this show with.

What I remember is an incredibly crowded room and a lot of bass.

And it all felt terribly important. Sombre as well as celebratory.

High: The opening of Roscoe and the cheer that goes with it.

Drinking: very much so. And beer was cheap at ULU.

Thinking: She never mentions a word to me. Think I’ll head home.



Well, we’d loved the first album – so we felt we had to come out for this. Though Pieces of the People We Love really wasn’t up to it.

They had a new one that went “Gonna get myself into it…” but I really couldn’t. And I tried.

High: OK, they opened really well. There was Heaven and there was House of Jealous Lovers. There was sax and there was cowbell. There was also Koko’s huge mirror ball in full effect.

Love that mirror ball.

Drinking: yeah, pints, but not many due to crowds and queuing

Thinking: This whole punk/funk/dance thing… You’ve got a lot of people out tonight, and they seem to be loving it, but I’m really not enjoying this.

young knives


They were brothers, and the bass player called himself The House of Lords.

Voices of Animals and Men was an amazing album.

I loved it so much that I didn’t just burn off a copy of the album, I’d used a printer at work to print out the cover art too.

I normally only did that for bootlegs that you couldn’t otherwise have a physical copy of.

I remember it being in the 10 CD changer of my kitchen stereo for months on end.

And they were amazing live.

There’s a 30 second clip of this show up on YouTube and it kind of says everything you need to know about the Astoria in 2006.

High: The Decision.

Drinking: Not too much – far too into it.

Thinking: The House of Lords is way fucking cool.

secret machines


They were heavy, and they were loud, and in 2006 they had a new song called Alone, Jealous and Stoned, which kind of sums it up.

More importantly they were playing a venue that was far too small for them.

The start of 2006 felt good.

I’d started a new job and the shine of self-confidence would last about another six months.

How confident was I feeling that month? Well, I’d gone out one lunchtime to the new office’s local Pret A Manger and bought a sandwich which had tomato in it.

And I didn’t take the tomato out before I ate it, walking back over Holborn Viaduct.

Didn’t take it out,  even though I knew it would have touched the bread, and the chicken.

That it would be wet, slimy and seedy.

All of this repulsed me.

Now I know that my food issues are, in part, connected with my autism – but at the time I felt like I was reinventing myself.

Like I was suddenly some kind of self-empowered hero. Like a young Greek god.  Because I was eating a sandwich with a tomato in it.

Obviously I couldn’t talk about this to anyone.

But I could always talk about music, and I talked a lot about this record.

I’d bought the tickets for me and one of my oldest friends, and on the night I convinced an old colleague – in town from Huddersfield and phoning to see if I fancied a drink – to score a ticket on the door.

It was great to see them both, and to see them both get on. I always fretted about introducing people I knew in different contexts.

In re-introduced the two of them at my wedding in 2011 and they were honestly close to misty eyed about this show.

And with two albums of material to cherry pick from, and a small venue strafed with lights and smoke, the three Secret Machines looked positively cosmic.

The three of us stood at the back with swaying and sweaty plastic pints of Red Stripe.

Last year I had an email from the same old friend.

“Guess what just popped up on my Google Play? Ten Silver Drops. Fuck it’s good.”

I asked him if he’d known that Benjamin Curtis had died three years ago.

He hadn’t.

I think he was genuinely sad for a moment.

High? From the minute they came on.

Drinking? All the lager. All of it.

Thinking? Not alone tonight.

Here’s how the Guardian wrote it up.

Why: I’d seen them before, (tickets posted when I find them) and they were amazing. They had become one of those bands when the tour is an event and so you had to go.

So we went.

High: Obviously, you can’t hear Superman without wanting to sing, weep, hold your hand to your heart etc.

For years now I’ve said I want Superman played at my funeral.

I should write that down somewhere.

Drinking: Vodka with ice. Lots of ice.

Thinking: You know what? You guys really want to change your stage act more over time. That’d make me happy, likewise SHUT UP ABOUT THE FUCKING IRAQ WAR and acting like you and your fans won it somehow.

I don’t remember you guys standing up to be counted like the Dixie Chicks on your home turf. Do you talk like that in Oklahoma? I fucking doubt it. Lovable you may be Wayne, but this is pandering to the crowd (and not in a good way).

Gig on Songkick

Setlist on