Half a gig for the price of two!
It has been a weird old week gig wise at Chez Marmite. I had two gigs to look forward to this time last week. I was due to see Amusement Parks On Fire on Tuesday and was to follow it up by seeing Billy Bragg on Thursday at an event called Arms Aloft at Acton Town Hall in West London.
On Tuesday I travelled up to Hoxton with my mate Jim to see APOF. I had seen half a set by them at Reading a couple of years back and had bought both there excellent albums so I was really looking forward to seeing them again. Unfortunately it didn't go exactly to plan. We arrived at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in plenty of time but it was clear that the venue were very disorganised when it came to setting the band equipment up. APOF were due to hit the stage at 10 o'clock giving us a shot at seeing a really good set. However, because of a lot of fannying around they didn't come on until 10:30. As we had to leave at 11 for our train we only saw 30 minutes of the set. This is a shame because what we did see was very good indeed. The sound quality as superb and you could really hear the different layers of sound that APOF build up. They are part 'Post-Rock' part 'Shoegazey' and should really be checked out. I hope to see a full set by them soon. Third time lucky.
This was not the end of my 'failed to see what I paid for' week though. On Saturday my best friend from school rang and said that good mate of his had a ticket going spare for Billy Bragg at Acton Town Hall. It was a gig to commemorate the last time Joe Strummer, erstwhile lead singer of The Clash, performed on stage in London. The original gig was five years ago and was a benefit for the Fire Brigades Union. Hugh and I arrived at the venue at about 7:15, just as the doors opened and stood around chatting and having a beer. We went into the hall to watch the support band Take The Fifth a pretty decent Clash covers band and were really looking forward to seeing Billy. However, all was not well.
The support went off at about 9:30 and unfortunately we were joined by a second support band (I won't go into just how into themselves they were but it wasn't a pretty sight). As they didn't come on until 10 o'clock we started to get worried. I asked the bloke running the bar when Bragg was on and he said that he should be on at 11 o'clock!! This was not good news as my last train was at 11:18 and Hugh had a taxi booked back to darkest Buckinghamshire for 11:00. I confirmed the start time with a young woman behind the tee-shirt stall. We weren't not happy! The promoter had not made any mention of such a late finish. If they had we wouldn't have gone. it is impossible to get back from London to the 'Burbs' by public transport that late at night so we wasted £17.50 to see a covers band. Gigs in London never finish after 11:00 unless particularly specified and there was no excuse for this.
I'm sure that we weren't the only ones caught out on Thursday and it's a shame because there was no need for the gig to go on so late. I'm still paying for the travelling in extra amounts of pain which would have been worth it had I actually seen something. I hope I'll be luckier next time.