Well, I have been to London. On my first night I have been to a pub with live music across the street from where I stayed and saw two mediocre bands - afterwards I talked to one of the people working there who wanted to sell me the headliner as the next big thing….well, I don’t think so. Especially after I have been to Alcopopalooza two days later - I knew most of the bands/artists playing beforehand just from hearing them on CD. It is so, so amazing when you finally see them live and they are even more amazing! I am - as you might have noticed - a massive fan of Alcopop Records and their rooster (read this for an example) but have only seen a few of them live during the 2 years I have been following this label.
It all happened in the Brixton Windmill. After a little walk around Brixton (well, I got a bit lost) I arrived just in time to see the first artist. The day was divided into two parts - the first part of today was filled with outdoor acoustic music and the second with loud and louder rock music inside of the Windmill. And in between we had a fabulous BBQ.
The first artist was Norwegian artist Bellman. He was one of the few artist I haven’t heard of until then. He actually released an album last week called “The Curse”. I liked him. He is making wonderful Pop songs. When I got back home I realized that his band sat in the audience as well. The little garden filled up with people rather fast but yet it took a few more artists until many more people found their way to the Windmill.
After a few minutes the second artist was Dexy without his band The Hand me Downs took the stage. The way he looks (and his shirt) give a good idea of how his music sounds and probably about the people who inspired him, too. It’s a bit of Rock’n’Roll, a bit of Country, a bit of Pop - this direction. Since I have heard a bit of him before it was very nice to see him perform. He covered a song by Weezer and dedicated a song to his cat who died a few weeks ago (and if start to get into Alcopop you’ll learn to love puppies and kittens). All in all a very good set.
He was followed by Shoes And Socks Off who made a little mess with his two guitars (acoustic and electric) and quite a few pedals. Of this complete day he is the one I have seen the most often. He played a few new tracks which sounded very good. As always I wished I could have understand all his lyrics while I hear them. I am gutted I couldn’t buy the new album of his other band Love Among The Mannequins! I will just have to wait until I can order it. And he has a lyric book (with a CD with demos) coming out soon which should be quite rad.
Next up were †Hymns† with their first ever acoustic set. By this time the garden was filled. The singer was the first one who actually didn’t need the microphone. They usually make catchy Rock music and on Alcopopalooza they made acoustic Rock with piano, guitar or a bit of drums (not all of it at the same - they are “only” a duo usually with guitar and drums). It was actually very interesting to see them for the first time and acoustic. It was well amazing. Now I want to see them playing not acoustic! They have also released a video to their single “A Punch To The Temple” just a few days ago (watch here). SASO and †Hymns† are both on Big Scary Monsters and on tour in this month.
The last but not least one was Katie Malco. Again a very different sound to the ears. She is making wonderful Pop music. I am not sure why I haven’t checked her out before - I have heard so many good things about her and yet I had to travel all this way to see her live and fall in love with her music. I might had been close to having a tear in the corner of my eye. While I write this I’m listening to her last EP “Four Goodbyes”. A new one is coming soon (actually October but time is running fast).
And I can’t understand why some people couldn’t wait until she is finished to get to the BBQ and had to make their way to it through her set, a load of people who listened and the “stage” while she was still playing… some are just very weird….Well, I think Katie reacted very well. And also it their own fault for missing out on such amazing music.
She was the last one to play outside. I haven’t caught a lot of Delta/Alaska really - the first band inside (because of standing in a row and eating and so on). I don’t feel like being able to say something about them from just a few bits of their last song. But from what remember from their track on BSM ‘10 Collection they have a sound with complex melodious sound.
Next up were The Attika State - a band I have been loving into pieces and I am pretty sure to have listen to their album “Measures” for days since it got released last year. And there was this little bit of fear that I just couldn’t match my high expectations (which I had for every band playing this evening). They have played the perfect Rock concert. I mean huge smiles on their faces and our faces. Huge sing-a-longs all over (of these kind which just happen because everyone can’t help themselves but sing the songs they love and not being asked for “help”). And incredible lots of fun and sweat. Singer Rudi stood in front of the stage with the result that he went into the audience and the rest had enough space to jump and dance. It was one this on the point concerts. The energy was just amazing. Yes, I very much love The Attika State more than I ever did (never thought that was possible).
Of course I am now left with that usual problem: When will I see them live again? (A problem I have with all the bands I saw that night.)
Can you see the smiles?
And then Ute. Loved their set. The way singer Ollie tells/sings the stories is amazing. I mean the songs are full stories and that is how he presents them - more as a story teller then a pure singer. And I love his voice. They sure had a few technical difficulties but that doesn’t matter in the end. They had this point in their set where they were shouting and rolling over the floor and everything up to a point where it almost seemed too ridiculous. Well, but to be honest I can’t describe this properly with words (in any language). It is one of the things you have to see to get it.
I missed (sort of sadly) quite a lot of Jumping Ships set. I just got into the first row right in time to hear “Heart And Hope” and a song of their “Orientation” EP. As all bands they seemed to enjoy their set as well. And well, they sure got the jumping of their name right. Young and wild.
They should be releasing something any time soon, I hope (I think).
I have missed Light Guides, the latest signing of Alcopop, mainly because I need a little break and some fresh air and started chatting with some people (bands) about how much I love their stuff. Nevertheless: it was so hot inside! I saw their (Brixton Windmill’s) security system or how to keep women inside the club because they are scared. I have heard it is an Irish thing. Is it?
My First Tooth! Amazing! That simple (or not). It is fascinating to watch Sophie juggling all her instruments (but mainly she played her violin). They have played among others “Dubrovnik” which I really loved - it is one of my most favourite tracks of their album “Territories”. They are going more into a Folk direction. I know their music for quite some time now - a bit after I learned about Alcopop Records I felt for them. It’s more of a silent love in a way but I am so happy that I have seen them finally, too.
The last one on stage (and before everyone had to run for their trains) was Johnny Foreigner. As always amazing. They brought the punk to the BBQ. And more sweat and dancing and sing-a-longs and happiness and Jack finally joining the dancing crowd. And some people leaving early because of the last train (but as I figured out the night buses in London are pretty good…anyway).
Now it feels so unreal that I have been there! It is like a dream. Well worth the travelling - I might have said it before but I only regret the things I didn’t do and can just imagine how hard I would kick my ass if I would have stayed at home (in Berlin). It was one of the best things I have attended in a very long time.
What made Alcopopalooza a (huge) bit different from many other concerts I have seen (in general) is that many of the bands are friends and everyone just loves Jack Pop (you’ll have to). And that is a whole different vibe to just putting together some bands playing on the same day. You can just feel this different energy.
I think I’ll be back for next years Alcopopalooza IV.
Thank you for reading,
P.S. A few more photos are on my flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/_heilewelt_/sets/72157627169889088/ :)
P.P.S. I might have forgotten to mention a few things but maybe you get an idea and check out all the bands! I think they all have more heart in their shows and songs and everything then a lot of the bigger ones.
It’s been an odd but certainly wonderful evening full of really good live music (talking about last Thursday). The odd part is something you’ll learn about at some point later this month. But when the music was playing I didn’t feel odd. As usual. It was musically seen a perfect evening for me. If you follow my blog a bit you know how much I’ve been looking forward to see Tubelord and Shoes And Socks Off. If you haven’t followed it the short story: I saw both late September. I did knew SASO before then and love his music ever since I heard it for the first time. And I saw Tubelord playing a little acoustic concert with Alan Welsh of Tangled Hair singing instead of Jo. I was rather curious to see how they play and sound in a “normal” set.
Did my expectations get fulfilled? Yes. They are quite different from what I know from the first CD and everything but I knew that. I wish it had been full and sweaty instead of rather empty but therefore a lady had enough room to dance. I think my mind slipped away for a bit - I can’t tell you what songs they actually played but that I enjoyed every single one of them and I smiled in between because of happiness. Maybe it was a tiny little bit to short. They reminded me that I have to go to more louder concerts again.
Their support was Shoes And Socks Off, Tobias Hayes. He is great. He is basically a man with a guitar but with a difference to other men with guitars I have heard lately. Not because he is doing happy music but the way he sings and his lyrics are, they are sort of depressive but in much different way. I wish I was able to hear out all lyrics when I hear a song for the first time and not only snippets.
He was first and the venue was pretty empty at that point and some were talking which is (as always) rather disrespectful, I think. But then the venue seemed to prepare the club night during the concert of SASO and Tubelord. It’s been a while since I saw staff filling the bar, bringing ice etc. while the concert is on. That just has been a bit strange. Sure it is almost as strange as being at a restaurant to see some live music action.
Or in other words: I headed to the second set of Clusterfuck at the White Trash hosted by Elyas Khan after SASO and Tubelord finished (can’t believe it was already time for it again - where have the last weeks been?). It was amazing as always. This time there were a banjo, guitars, bass, drums, a mandolin and an accordion. And what also changed since the last time: the “front man” changed more often. We had Ivan playing a cover of (I think) “Somebody To Love” which was simply awesome. There was this automatic smile one my face and a certain joy. SImply joy.
Ivan, super banjo guy (who later played a song which had a lot of New Orleans in it):
Afterwards I talked to Jim who played the accordion and while the DJ out on some classic rock tune he told me that he plays this song on drums and accordion….at the same time (!) and sings to it (!). Who wouldn’t like to see that? I am super curious to see how this works out. He told me he is playing 4 times a week in a underground station in Berlin and makes a living out of it. Amazing.
Super bass player, Jim, Elyas Khan:
I feel so sorry for not remembering all names and songs that were played over the whole evening. Had to soak up the music. :D
Thank you for reading.
P.S. I also got my physical copy of Kim Boekbinder’s fabulous record “The Impossible Girl”. It has such a beautiful artwork! I did an Interview with her a little while ago and wrote a bit more about her record over there. Go and listen!
P.P.S. Must see another bearded musician next week. Who is in Berlin?
…are Tubelord and Shoes And Socks Off in town. I am waiting for it since September last year and got pretty excited by now. Should be all sorts of awesome. I am eager to see if they can keep my month of beards going.
See here one of many reasons why:
Can’t even tell you how much like a fanatic I feel now (but I think so far it is under control. ha ha). It’s strange when look forward to something for such a relatively long time and then it is finally there! A thrill of anticipation (I hope that the right word combination, anticipation sounds rather negative) is with me since about a week.
And talking about being fanatic (it’s under control, I promise) and beards, here is a new bit from William Fitzsimmons. He is talking about his new album. His new album is so beautiful. Trust me, it is. I already love it to pieces.
And I finally asked one of the persons (well, his publicist) I wanted to do an interview with for years if it was possible. Maybe someday it will happen. I hope. So many unanswered question buzzing in my head.
Time for bed. Thank you for reading.