- November 17th, 2011
Going to have a major life info-dump here, had a month of where every week, I had something going on, so it’s time for a big recap.
20th October – Charlie Simpson Gig
Went to my first gig in just about forever. Hell, last (and first) band I saw live happens to be Fightstar, so seeing as it was their lead singer, Charlie Simpson, doing some solo work, it was a good way to get myself back into the scene.
The venue was pretty nice. The Slade Room, in Wolverhampton. Looks like an emptied out pub more than anything. But there was a good amount of space, and drinks weren’t that pricy, especially compared to the O2 arena.
The warm-up acts were pretty good. I particularly enjoyed Dave McPhearson, who did a number of fun songs, including a hilarious cover of ‘Boom, Shake the Room’, mainly made hilarious by the ineptitude of the audience to join in.
Charlie Simpsons stuff was great too. Went through the entire ‘Young Pilgrim’ album, and even threw in a cover of ‘Died in your Arms’. Was all fun, but I had to miss the encore, due to having to catch a bus back home (Was 10:30 when I left, close to 12 when I got home)
While I was there, picked up Dave McPhearsons album, and a Young Pilgrim t-shirt, which some may have seen me wearing on the Saturday of the expo. Was a great night out, and despite being a large crowd, wasn’t too difficult to get around.
27th October – Craig Campbell Stand-up Tour
Was looking forward to this as a nice way to unwind before the expo, and wasn’t disappointed. Was back in the Slade Rooms again, where they had laid out seats and such for everybody. The place wasn’t all that busy this time round, so I was able to sneak myself onto the front row. (Woo!)
It’s hard to describe Craig’s stuff if you haven’t seen him before. He’s originally Canadian but moved to the UK, and likes to talk about the differences he’s discovered while living over here, the different ways people act or thing that are done differently. Particularly likes joking about how reserved we usually are.
It was pretty fun, and he even came out after the show to sign autographs for free, which is always nice, especially as he would take the time to talk to people as he signed photos and posed for pictures. Be interesting to see him if he manages to become more mainstream.
28th – 30th October – London Expo
Having a different experience with expo this time. Generally gone as a patron, or observer, but this time I was going to be helping out. Joining Granny Gertrude and Illapa to help with the Cosplay Desk and the Euro Cosplay itself.
The experience was pretty interesting. I certainly understand just how much work goes into planning and setting up for the weekend, and just how hectic it can be. Can be worth it though when you get to see so many amazing costumes up close, and hang out/chat with a number of cosplayers. Would definitely help out again next year if allowed, and if I’m down there for the event.
Though I was left red-faced helping out on Saturdays mini-masquerade, they had a Scanty and Kneesocks cosplay pair come on, and as I was the one helping people on and off stage, I was desperately trying not to ogle them, though I think Gunstar Vixen noticed this from her jokey comment when helping them back down.
Didn’t pick up all that much stuff. Apart from a handful of DVDs and Manga, the only notable thing I picked up was quite a lovely canvas print. One that as it happens, I saw a few months ago when I was previously in London, but as I was going by on a bus. So seeing the same image at the expo was a surprise!
Crowds were a little better this year. There was still a huge bottle-neck around the entrance, but it felt much easier to walk around the place. I think the space was spot on for next year. Only real issue came from the distance of the hotel, and the whole kerfuffle with my suitcase on Friday night/Saturday morning. Plus there were some people I had hoped to meet up with, but nothing ever happened there.
5th November – Distant Worlds Concert
What started off as a bad day turned into a wonderful night. Didn’t have to worry about getting into London till around 3-4pm, so I had booked my tickets for later in the day. Only to get to my station, and be told I would no longer be travelling via virgin, but instead on the, slower than hell, London-Midland service.
Should have been in London for 3:30pm, but didn’t arrive until around 5pm… Only benefit was that I arrived right by where my hotel was…
So after that, and rushing to the Royal Albert Hall, There was time to meet up with Granny Gertrude and Ailsa Chan for a bit to have a meal before the show. I was really impressed with the building, it looks nice on the outside, but when you get in, the size surprises you. It doesn’t seem all that big from the outside, but from the inside it’s an amazing piece of work and just looks enormous.
The concert itself was amazing. From start to finish, I was enjoying the pieces they selected, even felt some tears welling up during a couple of songs. All the songs they played were performed brilliantly, and no-one seemed to mind if there were any troubles with certain sections, such as the Pipe-Organ solo in ‘Dancing Mad’, where the player had a little trouble with what sounded like quite a fiddly section of the song.
Was so pleased that they announced a return next-year, will certainly be booking tickets again for that!
11th – 13th November – Birthday Get-together
Had been planning this for a while, organised a little get-together with some of my first friends among the expo/con community.
Friday didn’t go all to plan. While only one person was coming that day, that wasn’t so much of an issue. The real problem came from falling ill the day before. Went to work thinking I was ok, but ended up being sent home to rest up. I just felt so drained, sat down after getting home and just didn’t want to move at all. Fortunately, after some rest, and various meds, I felt well enough to get moving.
Met up with Melissa Smith in Birmingham, but we only stayed briefly, as she wasn’t too well either. So it was back home, cooking something for tea (and burning my hand in the process) before letting Mel try her hand at the new Batman game as we chatted away till we called it a night.
Saturday was a late start, spent extra time getting ready in the morning, partially because we wouldn’t be meeting the others until mid-day, and partly because I woke up at 6…
Met up with Amy, Ashe and Mike, then went straight off to my local pub, while we waited for the other to arrive, and looked on in admiration as Mike almost consumed a whole bucket of meat…
After Tom, Faye and Ed arrived, it was time for what I had been looking forward too, laserquest! Which was both fun and exhausting at the same time. Got in there expecting the place to be big already, but it was on multiple levels! 15 minutes almost felt torturous, but we managed, and I bagged 1st place!
We played a couple more games there, another free-for-all, then an excellent team match where we suddenly going round as a little squad, thinking we were proper soldiers! (We lost)
Was back to mine after, but we had been left too exhausted to do anything so we all just sat around and had a chat, while watching Merlin of all things (Never watched it before, but everyone was roped into watching it, and actually enjoyed it) most we did was order a copious amount of pizza for dirt-cheap prices before settling down for a bit of Rock Band, which was ace to finally play it with some friends.
Sunday was fairly quiet. Cooked copious amounts of bacon for everyone before heading into Birmingham to slowly see people off. Having a couple of drinks with Amy at the end of it all.
Was nice time. I’ve always gone over to other people’s places for get-togethers, so it was nice to let them come to mine for a change. Would hope to do this again sometime, perhaps have a trip somewhere too.
13th November – Evanesence Gig
This was going to be good, I just knew it was. Didn’t bother going home after seeing my friends off, just booked into my hotel freshened up and made my way over, blagging my way through the smaller ‘expensive’ tickets queue to get into the standard area (apparently, ‘stalls’ and ‘standing’ are the same thing)
The first warm-up band were just finishing by the time I was in, so I had no idea what they were like. But soon afterwards, ‘The Pretty Reckless’ came on stage, and were a pretty fun band to listen to, though I had trouble figuring out if the singer was male or female at first, not helped that her first song was sung with an Axel Rose style voice. Enjoyed their set though, which included a cover of ‘Seven Nation Army’.
Was left a little annoyed though, about halfway through their set, this couple take a place right new to me at the bar, order just a single drink each. Then suddenly, during after the band finished, they started to shuffle towards the exit. Turns out in the space of 10-15 minutes, they had had a single drink and she had thrown up all down the side of the bar. Luckily I didn’t get anything on me, but had to find a new location to watch the stage from due to the smell.
Evanesence got on stage around 9, and they didn’t disappoint. Breaking straight out with ‘What you Want’, before heading straight into ‘Going Under’, they continually went back and forth between material from the new album and the older stuff, even getting out a grand piano for Amy Lee to play on half-way through the set, before finishing off with ‘Bring me to Life’.
But it didn’t end there. It was 10pm, the crowd was still wild, calling out for the band, and they rewarded us with a 20 minute encore, finally finishing on ‘My immortal’ to which almost every single member of the audience sang along too.
Was a great night, despite the vomit woman, and the usual O2 issue of over-crowding (seriously, you cannot move on the main floor) Even bought myself a new hoody from the merch-booth.
Despite my small number of music gigs, this may well have been my favourite band performance.
Well, that’s that. About a month of my life other almost 4 pages in word, during the space of 3 hours over work. Now to find something to do between now and the new year!