A year in the life – all the gigs from 2022
Updated: Dec 16, 2022
After the hit we all took in 2020 with lockdown, it was amazing in 2021 to get gigs back. That first gig (436 days – my first post-lockdown gig: Gruff Rhys @ Islington Assembly Hall, 21st May 2021), even with its limited numbers, strict seating rules, mask wearing etc was a revelation.
For months, I worried that gigs would be taken away again, that the pandemic would take hold again, and we would have to forsake gigs in the interests of protecting the wider community and saving our NHS (something I would have whole-heartedly supported).
So, it’s amazing to be looking back at 2022, having had the first full year of gigs again since 2019. Here’s our list of gigs for 2022, including a few full reviews I never got round to writing (I need to be less of a slacker in 2023!).
28th January - Teddy Thompson, supported by Roseanne Reid – EartH, London
The first gig of the year, and I was delighted to pop this year’s cherry, as it were, with my friend Natalie…though I doubt she will share any enthusiasm for this description of that experience…
I reviewed the gig at the time (Teddy Thompson and Roseanne Reid - EartH, London); it was a good start, both acts the children of very established artists. Though the memory of the lovely Teddy’s rather intense face and his “Scandinavian mountain tour guide and an evil goth Smurf” outfit still haunts me…
7th February - Echo & The Bunnymen – Roundhouse, London
Purple haze dry ice and lights, magnificent, massive hair, trench coats, unintelligible audience baiting, swirling guitars, rambling on about Liverpool FC, huge tunes, blistering guitars…it’s your standard Bunnymen gig…fabulous. I reviewed it in full here - Is it the reds I'm singing? - Echo & the Bunnymen.
17th February - Threescore Devotional – The Betsey Trotwood, London
A tribute night to Triffids’ leader David McComb (Threescore Devotional - Celebrating David McComb - The Betsey Trotwood, London), this was just lovely, especially hearing Pete Astor covering one of David’s B-sides - I've Heard Things Turn Out This Way – trainspotter heaven.
19th February - Desperate Journalist – Lafayette, London
I love Desperate Journalist more than I can explain, they’ve nailed a brilliant mix of totally original indie sounding rock, yet it conjures up Bunnymen, Cult, Cure in a way I can never pinpoint. And Jo Bevan’s voice is just superb. This is the first of two gigs we’d see by them this year, plus we saw Jo and Charley in Joanne Joanne mid-year as well.
It remains a travesty to me that Desperate Journalist are not huge, and like my friend Vincent, I will be dragging more people along to see them when they next play, like a mad evangelist…Reviewed in full here - Desperate Journalist - Lafayette, London.
5th March - Bessie Turner - MOTH Club, London
A new discovery in 2022, Bessie is a mix of Belly and Pip Blom. This was a great show, if a little shambolic and too much between song chat. Ciao Bella from her latest EP has made the cut for this year’s 2022 Xmas CD. We will definitely check her out in 2023 again. Reviewed in full here - Bessie Turner - Moth Club, London.
15th March - Gang Of Youths - Brixton Academy, London
My album of 2022, angel in realtime, is a stone-cold classic, with a narrative running through the songs about the loss of singer David’s father and the subsequent revelations that emerged about his life, his family and the unknown siblings then discovered.
It’s an album full of love, confusion and forgiveness, delivered with admirable candour. It’s so good and so moving, I had to stop listening to it walking to work, as I would have tears in my eyes by the time I was walking across Westminster Bridge. The gig, sadly, did not quite land as well, mired by poor sound and the usual frustrations that gigs at Brixton Academy bring. But I will definitely see them again. The full review is here - Gang Of Youths - Brixton Academy.
28th March – Sparks - Town Hall, NYC
A few days in New York, staying with a good friend, checking out some great theatre (David Mamet’s American Buffalo, with Lawrence Fishburne and an amazing Sam Rockwell) and also catching two gigs. The first was the irrepressible and uncategorisable Sparks – perhaps our expectations were too high, perhaps it was the COVID infected second guitarist having to miss the show, perhaps it was the high price tickets, yet lack of a stage set, coupled with the outrageous bar prices, but this again didn’t quite land...
It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t flow – and maybe they just can’t, given how varied their 24 albums have been. Glad I saw them properly on their own, but I won’t be going again. Reviewed in full here - Sparks - The Town Hall, New York.
1st April – Parquet Courts – Brooklyn Steel, New York
Parquet Courts = Punk Floyd. Reviewed in full here - Parquet Courts - Brooklyn Steel, New York.
14th April - Gaz Coombes, supported by Piney Gir- The Lexington, London
The first of two Gaz shows in 2022, with another booked in 2023. Gaz is on me and Mrs JO’B’s list of bands we see whenever they are in London. This was an acoustic show to road test a couple of the new songs he’d just recorded for his new album (Turn The Car Around, out 13th January 2023). His shows are firmly Supergrass-free zones, and all the better for it. Come along to see him on 29th April at the Electric Ballroom, he is fabulous!
Reviewed here, along with The Boo Radleys, Teenage Fanclub and Lloyd Cole - Five gigs, a funeral and a birthday.
18th April - The Boo Radleys - Prysm, Kingston
After 2021’s unexpected and revelatory comeback shows, they were back again in 2022, with their first album in 24 years, and first album ever without songwriter in chief Martin Carr. Mrs JO’B and I enjoyed the 2021 show so much, we head down to Kingston for the night to see them again – a trip made worthwhile if nothing else for the addition of the two-minute wonder that is Lazy Day to the set. There is another album on its way for 2023 – who knew they had it in them? And how lovely!
Reviewed here, along with Gaz Coombes, Teenage Fanclub and Lloyd Cole - Five gigs, a funeral and a birthday.
19th April - Teenage Fanclub - Union Chapel, London
Great songs, but just a little too relaxed, a little too gentle, a little too much chat about issues with trousers…maybe they just miss Gerry Love? There are moments where the show shines, but it’s all a little too “grandad’ rock…
Reviewed here, along with Gaz Coombes, The Boo Radleys and Lloyd Cole - Five gigs, a funeral and a birthday.
21st April - Lloyd Cole - Cadogan Hall, London
Lloyd Cole, the thinking librarian’s crumpet, is older than Teenage Fanclub, playing an exclusively acoustic show, yet he had more fire in his belly than an electric, full band Teenage Fanclub. Maybe the secret is double denim…
Each song is interspersed with his occasionally caustic, more often self-deprecating humour. He is very entertaining and it was a great show.
Reviewed here, along with Gaz Coombes, The Boo Radleys and Teenage Fanclub - Five gigs, a funeral and a birthday.
26th April - Wet Leg - Electric Ballroom, London
I never got round to publishing this, so here is a full review!
I’ve already seen Wet Leg twice - I caught the last song, the inevitable Chaise Longue, when they supported Inhaler last year. Then I caught their full set supporting Sports Team at Brixton Academy back in December. They were good – not amazing, but solid and it wasn’t just one song – others stood out. They were a great support band.
That ubiquitous single is a stone cold classic and I remain baffled when I see them being mocked or criticised on various indie FB groups I am part of. Lots of keyboard warriors dismissing them as hyped, as not good enough, as having not earned their stripes. Sad to say if Wet Leg were posh men, instead of seemingly posh women, I don’t think they’d get the stick – Sports Team don’t and I see little difference between them. Misogyny – it’s like water, it finds a way into everything. What a fucker.
Anyway, by the time we see them at the Electric Ballroom there is a major buzz about them. The debut album has gone in at number 1. And it’s good. Really good (thanks for my copy, Lozzer!). The Guardian seemed to criticise it as a bit predictable indie by numbers, not matching the creativity to the big hit. I can see that, but they have had a couple of additional cracking singles (UR Mum and Wet Dream) and there are a few strong album tracks.
The buzz means demand is high and the venue has been upgraded from The Scala to here. It’s a belated birthday present for my friend Simon, so we grab some food and toddle down. Simon recently became a dad so we sacrifice seeing the support band in favour of catching up for a beer – naughty, but it was good to chat and opportunities are now more limited. But we head in for the band, even manage to grab a quick beer from the heaving bar before they take the stage.
It’s rammed, sold out and excitable. Lots of young hipsters are here - dressed to the nines and looking very cool. Fabulous tartan trousers appear to be de rigeur.
The band take the stage and kick off proceedings with the album’s opener, Being In Love, swiftly followed by Convincing. It’s solid, but things pick up when they belt out Wet Dream – handclaps, mass crowd singalongs (though I hope no one is actually touching themselves…). It’s a cracker. Supermarket has a pleasing Sleeper/Britpop feel to it and I am suddenly conscious of how much older I am than most people here. I am almost certainly the only person in a tweed jacket (unless someone here is being ironic). I am relieved when I notice the man behind me looks like a punk Rod Stewart. Phew – I feel better.
Three beers in and I need the loo. Two strange things happen:
a lot of people are just watching on the TVs by the bar. I know the gig is rammed so you can’t see the stage, but this just feels slightly soul destroying. I guess we do it at big festival and stadium gigs, but it’s not that hard to see the band
a man in the gents looks like a hang dog Albert Einstein - he glares at me, seemingly not having much fun - was it his chaise longue they used? Did they assign someone to worry his mother? I guess that would be quite annoying.
The rest of the show is good – UR Mum has a pleasing, guttural scream whilst I Want To Be Abducted (By A UFO)has Rhian Teasdale drop her guitar and take the centre stage as front woman, channelling her inner Claire Grogan and doing a fabulous job of it. Angelica is a great, Glitter Band feedback driven stomper and of course, Chaise Longue brings the house down. And then they are gone. No encores, leave ‘em wanting more.
It’s good, but not quite the hype – new bands rarely can meet the wild expectations set by a money grabbing label and over-excitable music journos, looking for the latest job. Wet Leg are solid and could be brilliant. We’ll have to wait and see. I just need to go acquire a certain piece of furniture while we wait…
4th May – Blondie, supported by Johnny Marr - First Direct Arena, Leeds
I got a last-minute call…my friend and her sister had a spare ticket to see this marvellous gig in Leeds – my main office and my team are there so I combined a trip up to Leeds with work and the gig – result!
Johnny was fabulous as always, blasting out a short support set, a mix of solo, Smiths and Electronic tracks to a rapturous reception. Like Johnny, there is not an ounce of fat on the show – Spirit, Power and Soul sounds huge, a Depeche Mode inspired stomper, and Armatopia and Night And Day stand well alongside the stone cold classics. This Charming Man and Getting Away With It bring the house down, and How Soon Is Now? initiates mass dancing.
Pleasingly though, the stand out track is his own Easy Money – I hope soon he will play a gig where it’s just his own stuff – I think people would love it! The photo below, which is also on the cover of this year’s Xmas CD playlist, is three people standing in front of us, during Johnny’s set, losing their shit and looking spangly and glamorous in the process…I love it…
The main act follow, with an amazing catalogue to draw on. Sadly, it’s only one third Blondie – Debbie, with Clem on drums; Chris Stein is too ill to tour and the others are long gone. They are joined on bass by the dapper and underrated Glenn Matlock, of Sex Pistols fame…and three rather annoying session musicians, with a tendency to gurn, split their legs as far apart as possible as they rock out, adorned by truly terrible mullets that will hopefully earn them a kicking later on if they head out into Leeds…at one point they are literally Bill & Ted masturbating their guitars on stage…very disappointing.
But that said, though her voice is not as strong as it was, Debbie is never less than mesmerising on stage, and we bellow along to Hanging On The Telephone, Heart Of Glass, Maria, The Tide Is High, Dreaming, One Way Or Another, Atomic…it’s a fantastic set and a great gig, and I have ticked off another from the list of bands I haven't seen yet. Thanks to the lovely Gill and Jo for the ticket!.
11th -14th May - The Great Escape - Brighton
Sadly, Mrs JO’B was not able to join me, so this was a three-day solo sojourn into new bands (and a few old familiars). Always worth the trip and we will be back in 2023. Ailbhe Reddy on her own with an acoustic guitar (though I didn’t think she was a protest singer), was the star and we are off to see her again in April. Reviewed in full here - Brighton Rock - The Great Escape 2022.
24th May - Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, supported by Stella Donnelly – O2 Academy, Oxford
Mrs JO’B, 17 years in Britain, but still a sweary Aussie at heart, and I schlep up to Oxford for a night to see a down-under double header – Rolling Blackouts CF (God, what an annoying name, which they must regret), supported by Western Australia’s Stella Donnelly.
I’ve lost my notes from this gig (slack work JO’B, slack work…), but from memory this was fab. A tiny venue, and we got in just as Stella took the stage, and played a tight set, with several songs from this year’s Flood album. She is as ever effervescent, bubbly and huge fun.
Rolling Blackouts are tight, ripped, snakey, energised by a new album to tour, plus their second album, which didn’t get the live showing it might have, due to COVID. It’s lazy to compare them to The Go-Betweens, and yet inevitable, as they do have their feel, though rockier, as if Johnny Marr had joined Forster and McLennan. That’s high praise, by the way. The songs crackle live, and their only concern remains that despite however good the first three albums have been (and that’s VERY good), they haven’t topped The French Press, from their first ep, and I am not sure they can, as it’s perfection. Live it rocks. Go see them when they play next, you will not be disappointed.
18th June – Beck - The Forum, London
A birthday present for Stevey, I am knackered after a mad busy week at work, but Beck is still a revelation. 36 songs motored through in less than two hours, with rarely a let-up. He’s a chameleon, swinging between electronic robot funk, hip-hop and folk in the space of three back-to-back songs.
Hits are everywhere, some of his most famous casually dispensed in the first 15 minutes of the show – the songs more hackneyed artists would save until the encore…Loser is still a standout, but the songs from 2017’s Colors album were my favourites…a great gig.
29th June - LCD Soundsystem – Brixton Academy, London
Another gig I’ve lost my notes from, but it just rocked and grooved, as James Murphy’s army belted out the hits. Beer may have been had with my friend Helen, but I just remember this being cool – the third of a six-night run at Brixton and all the songs I wanted were played. They had bypassed me when they came out. I think I kicked against friends telling me I would LOVE them – belligerent to the end…my friends were right and it was great to see them live up to expectations.
5th July - Ingrid Address - London
An album launch in a venue in King's Cross, with a free bar which somehow my friend Rob has blagged two tickets to. I show admirable restraint at the bar (two bottles of beer, it's a school night) and we listen to Ingrid play a few songs from her new album. She is chatty (and Jesus, I do mean chatty) and charming, playing solo, with some guitar accompaniment. The songs are sweet, sincere and she has a charming turn of phrase and a lovely voice.
It's a little bit too saccharine for me, but it's fun to see Rob and Ingrid has loads of potential. Maybe the cynical Brit in me just needs a bit more misery and a little less sitting cross-legged and talking about love.
8th July - Kelley Stoltz - The Lexington, London
A half empty room for a cool performer who deserves better. My notes from this gig are splendidly vague to say the least:
· Mohawk sun-in
· Paranoid Barry Manilow meets Scott Walker
· Depressed prostitute from Neighbours
· Wearing two shirts a la Steve Bannon
· Girlfriend is in a video by U2
I wish I had taken better notes, as I think he’s hugely underappreciated. He’s a back bedroom Brian Wilson, but from an alternative universe where Brian had loved a different Liverpudlian band – the Bunnymen instead of the Beatles. I met him at a gig at The Borderline back in 2010, just before I saw him supporting the Bunnymen a couple of weeks later in Birmingham. He subsequently ended up touring with the Bunnymen as their rhythm guitarist. Such a lovely chap, and his albums are fantastic. Well worth checking out. Though I was a little perturbed by how much his guitarist looks like Chuck Norris…
10th July - Duran Duran, and Nile Rogers’ CHIC - Hyde Park, London
A great day out, with my bestie Lozzer the Rozzer, watching new romantic legends still banging out the hits with flair and style. I was always Duran over Spandau, like all good hearted people (though I do like the Spands these days too). And fair play, they deliver a career covering setlist, though let’s be honest, if they just did what Joanne Joanne do and play songs from their debut and Rio, this would be one of my favourite ever gigs.
Reviewed in full here, alongside a gig by Joanne Joanne, the all-female Duran Duran tribute band - Even better than the real thing - Duran Duran vs Joanne Joanne live.
12th July - Arlo Parks - Somerset House, London
Part of the Somerset House gigs, this was a bit “meh”. She has a gorgeous voice and last year’s Collapsed In Sunbeams was just lovely. But live, it was….ok. Just ok. Hey ho, there’s just not enough lively tracks for the show to light up. I’ll give it a few more albums and check her out again some time.
14th July - Joanne Joanne - The Lexington, London
New Religion, Late Bar, Friends Of Mine…Let’s be honest, Joanne Joanne are better than Duran Duran. If you don’t believe me, come and see them next time they play!
Reviewed in full here, alongside a gig by Duran Duran, the all-male Joanne Joanne tribute band - Even better than the real thing - Duran Duran vs Joanne Joanne live.
20th July – Yola – Koko, London
I love her two solo albums, plus the music she made with Bristol’s Phantom Limb is just beautiful. And there is no denying she has an AMAZING voice. But…but…but…I just didn’t get into this. I think it was the venue – Koko is great but we went up in the Gods, and we should have been down on the floor. A bad choice. Mrs JO’B loved it, but I couldn’t quite click with the show. Plus, I think I was outraged by the £17 for a pint and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc – daylight robbery. Shame.
5th September – Crushed Kid, aka Suede – MOTH Club, London
A secret gig, ticket acquired on the day, in the hope this was in fact a Suede gig, though all the signs looked good…and the gamble paid off. Suede were at their most on fire, with a new post-punk sound, belting out their 11 songs unreleased (at the time) from the new album. And just a few feet away from us, rather than in some enormodome….up close and personal, Brett Anderson’s sweat flying passed your head, this was a great night. Reviewed in full here - Crushed Kid AKA Suede - a secret gig.
15th September - Night Beats - Studio 9294, London
Rocking swampy blues wig outs at a brilliant new venue, 15 minutes from home – what’s not to love? Sweaty, dancey, marvellous. Read the full review here - Night Beats - Studio 9294.
20th September – Gwenno - Village Underground, London
If you like your electronic psychedelia sung exclusively in Cornish, by a Welsh woman, then this is the gig for you. Read the full review here - Gwenno - Village Underground.
22nd September - Robyn Hitchcock - Lighthouse, Deal
Surreal, weird, elegant, cat-obsessed, dead wives, live wives, tea-towels, spiders, genius. Read the review in full here - Robyn Hitchcock, live at The Lighthouse, Deal.
25th September - The House Of Love, supported by Pete Astor - The Garage, London
Two stars of my 80s teenage years, made even better by chatting to the lovely Pete who recognised my blog (red cheeks were blushing and chuffed!), and also being on the guest list for the first time in YEARS! Read the full review here - The House Of Love, supported by Pete Astor - The Garage, London.
5th October - The Dears - The Garage, London
Another pandemic Jenga gig – dates rearranged and re-re-arranged until finally the gig arrives. My friend Oksana joined me for this one and they blew me away. I bought the tickets on a whim, loving Lost In The Plot, their Damon Albarn sings Morrissey classic. The songs were strong, Murrays’ voice fabulous, though his wife and keyboard player’s voice, enthusiastic, but less strong. Together though they shine and I’ll see them again next time they come.
7th October - Maximo Park, supported by Pip Blom – Roundhouse, London
My gig of the year. A fantastic support band, the Dutch power-pop of Pip Blom, coupled with Maximo Park on fire. The headliners play hit after hit after hit. The run of Going Missing, Books From Boxes, Versions Of You and Apply Some Pressure might be the best run of life-affirming songs I have ever seen at a gig. And all that, whilst still wearing a hat that never slips out of place one. Amazing.
Read the full review here - Maxïmo Park, supported by Pip Blom - The Roundhouse, London.
14th October - Roxy Music - O2 Arena, London
Glam, stylish, smooth, wild, subdued, classy, ridiculous, amazing. And I’ve finally see Virginia Plain live. Boom. Read the full review here: Roxy Music - The O2 Arena.
15th October - Peter Hook and the Light - The Palladium, London
Since 2010, after his bitter departure from New Order, Hooky has carrying the torch for Joy Division and the first six New Order albums, playing them live in various combinations – a treat for hardcore fans. Though his voice is not his strongest asset, his magnificent and inspirational bass playing is, along with his near zealot like passion for the legacy he played such a key part in producing.
In particular, he treats the Joy Division catalogue with great respect, like the keeper of the late Ian Curtis’ legacy, giving fans a chance to hear songs they would never otherwise see live.
This show was a second small tour with an orchestra, having played something similar in 2019. I am accompanied by my colleague and friend Daniel, dressed in a black Mod-style bomber jacket, black tee and cool black jeans and boots. He is a Goth meets Mod – or Moth (though certainly not a God).
Beers are consumed (possibly TOO many…actually, DEFINITELY too many) in advance of the gig, accompanied by genuine shock at how expensive it is to drink in Soho – truly ridiculous. Then we head into the Palladium, for two hours of bombastic, yet subtle music, with Hooky fortified by three singers, a fey male Curtis lookalike, a blond soul singer and a young woman who is playing her second ever professional gig, her first being Hooky’s show the night before in Manchester. She is a revelation.
My Moth friend enjoys the show, and in no way did he fall asleep at one point, falling to the soporific sounds and warm, cosy, seated venue. This definitely did not happen…
Highlights were These Days, which I had not seen him play before, and the string-backed Ceremony and Transmission.
Would Curtis approve? Probably not – it might be a bit too showbiz, a bit too gauche for his high-brow tastes. But at least you can see Hooky striving to do something different, to experiment and still give the crowd what they want. Much as I love New Order, with the exception of the fantastic Music Complete album, and the shows they played with a 12-piece synthesiser orchestra back in 2017, they have played it very safe with their tours, playing sets drawn from less than 30 songs, when they have a couple of hundred they could play.
18th October - Angel Olsen - Brixton Academy, London
A catch up with the lovely Mark, and an evening of country and Americana. Not quite my cup of tea, but she has a marvellous voice.
19th October - Japanese Breakfast, supported by Barrie – Hoxton Church, London
Barrie are a strange, US electronica pop band, playing songs with an early Depeche Mode feel – they look like a cult, with intricate, intertwined, gymnastic dance routines. The cult vibe is exacerbated by the gig being in a church. Very strange! Our sinister sect concerns are dissipated by top tunes and the occasional pop cover (Sheryl Crow’s Soak Up The Sun). They are great fun.
Main act, Japanese Breakfast are cool. Lively, energetic, a band who have moved in three albums from indie guitars to a much more expansive guitar-pop sound. I didn’t write much down, as I just wanted to enjoy this. They were great, and check out her last album:
22nd October - Big Joanie – Central Library, Coventry
A gig in a library. Three black women challenging the lack of intersectionality in indie and punk rock. No beer. Brilliant fun and tight as fuck music. We are seeing them again at The Garage in London in January. Read the full review here - Big Joanie - Central Library, Coventry.
3rd November – Gaz Coombes – Lafayette, London
Our second Gaz gig this year, this time with a full electric band, and playing a lot more songs from his forthcoming album (pre-ordered and arriving in January – how exciting). The gig is great, the audience enthusiastic, the new songs strong, though it’s a shame no songs from his first album. As the drunk young man proclaims through the gig, “this song’s a banger” – praise that could be applied to most songs that night.
Read the full review here - Gaz Coombes and Tim Burgess live 2022.
9th November - Tim Burgess – Lafayette, London
Hmm. Love Tim, love his solo music, which is more edgy and experimental than his Charlatans output, and he is charming and cool on stage. But to be honest, some of his fans are arseholes. Beery, leery, jeery lads, the worst of Britpoppers, now older, fatter but still shouting out for old Charlatans songs, talking loudly through the songs – just selfish wankers. Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr are playing Crystal Palace in 2023 – it will be a great show, but I am not going, as it will be full of these f***ers. What a shame.
Read the full review here - Gaz Coombes and Tim Burgess live 2022.
13th November - Courtney Barnett, Cate Le Bon and Big Joanie at Pitchfork Festival – Roundhouse, London
Me and Mrs JO’B got quite drunk at this. Which was huge fun. Big Joanie looked good on the huge stage and sounded better. Fabulous to see them going down so well at some a big gig for them. Cate Le Bon is quirky, strange, another Welsh electronica performer and Courtney Barnett just rocked – a slacker band that are as tight as I have ever seen. We dance, chat to random strangers who are equally squiffy and lovely. Definitely will check out the Pitchfork festival next year, a top line-up.
15th November - The Heavy Heavy with Artemas and Melin Melyn - London Oslo
This was one of the "First 50" gigs for next year's Great Escape festival. Melin Melyn were bonkers - huge fun, with a woman painting on stage throughout their show, playing a fabulous cover of Rhinstone Cowboy, interrupted by a call from the singer's mum, before restarting where they left off with comedy precision. Crazy outfits, monsters in the crowd, they are worth a look live.
Artemas can sing, and initially he and his band have a "Fountains of Wayne does rap" feel, which could be cool. But at times he is unintelligible, his band are rocking some pretty bad mullets and he needs to decide what he is. He dresses like a slacker, but seems to want to be a pop star balladeer. Instead, he comes across as Westlife shouting. The stalker vibes of I Love You To Death was not great...
The main act, and why we came, are The Heavy Heavy - recommended to me by the fab Casbah Records in Greenwich and appearing on this year's Xmas CD. They have a southern rock gospel soul feel, like Fleetwood Mac if they came from Brighton, via Georgia...The bass player is even a ginger Lindsay Buckingham. Fab harmonies, they are like Teenage Fanclub if they'd listened to Gospel and Creedence, instead of Big Star. Love the Tamla Motown T-shirt - literally wearing their influences on their sleeve - they are tight as fuck and even get away with bass and drums solos. Check them out, great vocals, superb guitar playing...we will DEFINITELY be seeing them again...
17th November - Desperate Journalist – Oslo, London
Our second outing with DJ, a gig supporting a charity dealing with domestic violence. A blistering set, Jo’s voice was just astonishing. Be warned, as I said earlier, I will be dragging you to see them when they next play and you will thank me, as I thanked my lovely friend Vincent (who took the marvellous picture below).
26th November - Jane Weaver - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
I LOVE Jane Weaver. New Order electronica meets Prince and Goldfrapp – a brilliant mix. My friend Helen joins me, as Mrs JO’B for some reason just can’t get Jane. We drink red wine (£25 for two large glasses is quite disturbing) and buy records (I buy a badge too, I may be excitable about seeing Jane) and she plays a great, tight set. No staging, no big show, just a cool woman on stage, comfortable in her own skin and making synth-psych-funk music. I so hope we get a new album in 2023. Her one-off single this year, Oblique Fantasy, was a one-off release with Speedy Wunderground and is probably my favourite song of the year – such a shame she didn’t play it, but it made my Xmas CD 2022 playlist. Check it out and also listen to her last album, Flock (Jane Weaver - Flock).
2nd December - The Blue Aeroplanes – The Fleece, London
My 12th time seeing them (it may be more?), and me and Mrs JO’B’s second trip down to Bristol for their annual Xmas gig at the Fleece, which they either own or run (I can’t remember which). The Blue Aeroplanes are 41 years young and must have had 60 odd members over the years, like a YTS training scheme for up and coming young Bristolian musicians, taken under the wings of a sunglass wearing, Television/Velvets inspired beat poet and his muscle bound, elegant, graceful Polish dancer (a pre-Bez revelation).
Five songs from their 1990 classic Swagger, new songs from their 13th album, Culture Gun, and the show finishing with their cover of Tom Verlaine’s Breaking In My Heart (with which they have ended every show they have ever played). I am seeing them again at the Electric Ballroom in April in London. I am already stupidly excited.
They are always different, always the same, still the best live band I have ever seen.
And that was it. 2022 in gigs. Though I am currently in Melbourne, on Tixel, so I might have to update this if I can nab tickets to see Cut Copy tonight….
To paraphrase Dr Samuel Johnson , when a man is bored of gigs, he is bored of life. And I remain far from bored….