First time at the Islington Academy and it is actually a really nice venue, the sort of small, informal place that I really like to see bands in.
It is a three-slot bill put on by Tiscali who are meant to be putting a video of the show online but it doesn't seem to be there right now. In fact currently there is a video of my evil celebrity stalker Patrick Duff(y). Whatever you do don't encourage him: don't listen to his music or watch his videos. I think he will do me harm in the end.
Anyway Gravenhurst did a fantastic show that had the emphasis on their new "power trio" material (the rockier stuff from the Velvet Cell). The performance was great and I really enjoyed it. However during the quieter folky numbers all you could hear was people yakking, completely oblivious to the show. I thought it was rude but then I also realise that for a lot of Londoners gigs are essentially places where you go with your friends to score drugs. These people probably consider any band who might try to perform a distraction from the main business of the day.
That side of things was depressing and it reminded of the huge difference between seeing Underworld in Newport and the Brixton Academy. Newport Leisure Centre actually had a great atmosphere because people really wanted to be there, really wanted to the see the band and really wanted to have a good night. At Brixton I think you could have shoved a naked monkey on stage as long as he was dealing speed and Ecstasy.
So after the set I went up to the stage where Nick Talbot (the main man in the band) was packing up his gear and told him what a good show the band had done. First time I have had both the desire and opportunity to do so. I am glad I did because it was a great show but Nick seemed disappointed by the relatively hostile reception he had received.
Gravenhurst were followed by Morning Runner. Morning Runner are probably going to be huge. For a start they have at least one roadie for every member and they are already entitled to have fresh towels brought on stage before they play.
They also have an extremely handsome singer who has a touch of feminine vulnerability (and for all I know a 10" cock), a powerful rock sound and songs with choruses and everything. And teenage girls love them or rather they love their frontman and that's good enough for rock and roll.
We left mid-set and I really felt a Coldplay moment. I saw Coldplay at Bristol's Louisana not long before their management cut Chris's whitefro and they released Yellow. Coldplay were not very good but if I had been more aware I would have realised that they were going to be big. It's the same with Morning Runner, they have all the trappings of a band making it big but they are boring and formulaic.
Thank heavens for Gravenhurst then.