Last year Vicky and I saw too classic concerts in Manchester, Jack Johnson at the MEN and Jose Gonzalez at the Apollo. Following this '2 concerts a year theme' we seem to have crammed in two visits to the Apollo in 2 weeks.
First up was Ray Lamontagne. Vicky being the new music generator she is, found this guy last summer, just in time for our road trip to Slovenia. Though the album 'Trouble' has been out for a while, it is still sits in the CD player ( his new offering 'Till the Sun Turns Black' is slowly taking hold ) and it was mainly tracks from this first release that he played. Amazingly talented and painfully shy, it was frustrating to hear the local Manc's shout at him "Speak up Ray", during the breaks between songs. Fortunately he wasn't put off and each time he started a song the crowd were in awe at his unique voice and the passion which he delivered each of his tracks. As the reviewer writes in the Metro, beg, borrow and steal to hear this guy sing live.
In stark contrast we rolled up again to the Apollo this last Friday to hear the rock maestros Wolfmother along with aged Zepp fans in leather jackets and the great un-washed ( aka Students ) looking miserable as ever. With support from 'Wolf & Cub' another Aussie band the stage was set for a rocking. With the biggest afro since Leo Sayer, skin tight jeans and silver shoes, the lead singer Andrew Stockdale took it to another level, from the first riff till the last. With stomping solos from all three members of the band, the soul of Hendrix himself must have been somewhere watching. Throw in a classic cover of Communication Breakdown and it was one of those concerts which we will remember for a very long time. If you have forgotten the roots of rock, buy their album and re-ignite your soul. Zepplin, Sabbath, Cream watch out, their is a new power band on the planet.
So which one was better? Well they were equally as good, but for different reasons. The Apollo is fast becoming a favourite venue and we now have two Wolfmother tour t-shirts which will be worn with pride till they fall off our backs.
1. Moustaches - There is just something about them that gives me the creeps. What are they trying to hide? There are exceptions to the rule; Burt Reynolds ( the Bandit has to have a Moustache ) and Earl ( Jason Lee in 'My Name is Earl' ). Other than those guys, I have yet to meet someone with a clear moustache who I didn't think needed some sort of professional help or just plain locking up.
2. George W Bush - I'm not sure what scares me most, the fact that this chump has the ability to bring to an end all civilisation or the fact that Americans actually voted for him! I look forward to Hilary Clinton getting into office....
3. Bum Bags and Mobile Phone holders - Much likemoustaches, these things give me the heebie-jeebies. I'll quite happily and openly admit that I did have a 'hip pack' back in my early skateboarding days, but that was 20 or so years ago now ( aaaaargh 'getting old alert'! ).
4.Chav cars- If you follow a chav'd up car you are constantly worried that bits will fly off and hit you and if one is behind you, you are constantly worried that it's brakes ( as serviced by Wayne on his front lawn ) will fail and it will end up in your rear passenger seats. Dare I also mention no insurance?
5. Macs- How can a design masterpiece reduce a useful computer user to tears so easily? Is it the lack of a 'right click' or absence of certain keys? Either way if you stick me in front of one I go from being a cocky SOB to being that kid in class who wasn't quite paying attention during quadratic equations.