22/05/18 - The Rolling Stones @ London Stadium (Spectator) by Paul Boyling

  Obligatory phone photo (shot on Huawei P9) before the guys in front got too jumpy

Obligatory phone photo (shot on Huawei P9) before the guys in front got too jumpy

  During the encore (again, before the guys in front got too jumpy)

During the encore (again, before the guys in front got too jumpy)

Most of the set-list (below) was comprised the band's greatest hits and most memorable songs - with the exceptions of Ride ‘Em On Down [Jimmy Reed cover] from the most recent Stones release, Blue & Lonesome, as well as Before They Make Me Run (Some Girls) and Slipping Away (Wheels of Steel), with Keith taking vocal duties. This part became the unofficial 'intermission' portion of the show, where the roaring score from before wound down for a more chilled, country-blues based vibe, so that Mick could towel off and do an outfit change before returning to lead Sympathy For The Devil. The momentum soon picked up to the end with Brown Sugar, and an encore with Gimme Shelter and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

It's always good to see the Stones live and they certainly didn't disappoint. Although, for some reason,  I enjoyed their last outing at Hyde Park in 2013 slightly more than this time around. Perhaps it was because that show was the end of the band's 50th anniversary tour, so it had more emotional weight and gravitas behind it - and ended on a big enough bang with a stream of fireworks and tons of confetti raining down on the crowd. (Not to mention the fact it was later released as a live album and concert film.) In comparison, the current No Filter tour, seems more minimalist and stripped back, with only some flares going off during Sympathy For The Devil and a small firework display happening for the finale. That being said, there were no qualms in terms of rowing up the crowd to participate in every sing-along, even with the infectious "Woo Woo" chants pre-empting Sympathy For The Devil before Mick could make it back to the stage.

  (Said) Fireworks

(Said) Fireworks

Nevertheless, I still thoroughly enjoyed the show, and even if I can't make it to photograph them in the pit or just watch them again at Twickenham Stadium on 19th June, I was more than happy to be a part of the audience for another stadium the Stones have conquered. 

 

SETLIST

Street Fighting Man
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
Tumbling Dice
Paint It Back
Ride ‘Em On Down
[Jimmy Reed cover]
Under My Thumb
Fool To Cry
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Honky Tonk Women
Before They Make Me Run*
Slipping Away*
Sympathy For The Devil
Miss You
Midnight Rambler
Start Me Up
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Brown Sugar

ENCORE                                                                                                                                 Gimme Shelter
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

 

  A real scramble to get out of the stadium post-show

A real scramble to get out of the stadium post-show

16/05/18 - The Homesick, Iguana Death Cult + B.A. Johnston @ Old Blue Last by Paul Boyling

A quick gig before heading out to The Great Escape festival in Brighton, I'll be spending Thursday and Friday trying to shoot as many bands as possible. Two of the bands - Iguana Death Cult and The Homesick (from The Netherlands) - will also be at Great Escape, but I thought to see them tonight just in case I don't get to see them over the festival, as they clash with a few other bands I wish to see. Furthermore, the only addition to the line-up tonight who isn't attending Great Escape is Canadian import, B.A. Johnston, but is still appearing at the Hope and Ruin in Brighton on 18th May (as part of the 'Alternative Escape' by non-affiliated venues of the festival), as well as couple of other gigs before heading back to Halifax by the week's end. 

  B.A. Johnston (playing up to the camera)

B.A. Johnston (playing up to the camera)

Nonetheless, B.A. Johnston was a fantastic opening act, especially when as soon as I walked into the door - having missed the opening song - he jumps off the stage towards me and tucks his head under my shirt whilst still performing, before chasing me around the crowd trying to hug me with his sweaty body shortly after. His blend of self-aware, blue-collar comedic rock is as joyously childish as it is unabashed and with blunt irreverence, but was thoroughly entertaining. He spent most of the set in the crowd and writhing around on the sticky floor, to mounting the bar and trying to sneak a drink for the female bartender. He finished by inviting the crowd to hear one last unplugged song in the men's bathroom, conducting the crowd whilst standing on the toilet seat in the stall. The acoustics inside were quite good actually.

I briefly got to listen to B.A.'s music before heading out, and it was an unexpected delight. I would recommend listening to his stuff - Gremlins 3 being his most recent release - and this review sums it up perfectly. 

  Iguana Death Cult

Iguana Death Cult

Their name alone warranted my full attention when looking up the bands on the Great Escape's line up, and Iguana Death Cult didn't disappoint.

11/05/18 - Ghostface Killah & Raekwon @ Troxy + Flesh @ Shacklewell Arms by Paul Boyling

  Ghostface Killah & Raekwon

Ghostface Killah & Raekwon

I didn't expect the opportunity to photograph two member of the Wu Tang Clan live onstage, but I got last minute pit access. Both Ghostface Killah and Raekwon were supposed to be onstage at 21:30, but they arrived fashionably late about 20-25 mins later; but as soon as they did, the roaring chants of "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit" immediately filled the Troxy, as the crowd kicked up into a frenzy. They both rapped classics such as C.R.E.A.M and Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit, on top of co-rapping each other's own solo material, like Daytona 500 and We Made It (Ghostface Killah), as well as Incarcerated Scarfaces and This Is What It Comes Too (Raekwon). In addition to covering Shimmy Shimmy Ya - with Killah Priest made a guest appearence onstage for Don’t U Know - in tribute to Ol' Dirty Bastard.

The rest of the Wu Tang Clan will be reuniting and performing together for a one-off UK show at Lovebox Festival in July - commemorating 25 years since the release of their classic debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). I can't wait.

  Packed house at the Troxy

Packed house at the Troxy

  FLESH

FLESH

The other show I was trying to cover the same night was The Cavemen and their album launch show at the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston. The idea was to see the opening band, FLESH - made up of Jack and Paul from The Cavemen, and Sebastian from Suicide Generation; very much their own supergroup - then shoot at the Troxy, then pop back to see The Cavemen. However, as the show at the Troxy ran late, I didn't get a chance to make it back in time to watch them. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed watching FLESH (having seen them previously at The Finsbury); their mixture of looped synth rhythms, jagged guitar riffs and Sebastian's wailing offered an alternate, punk sound about a nilhistic future. The silver jumpsuits complete the aesthetic.

Moreover, Nuke Earth (Slovenly Records) is The Cavemen's latest album, and you should give it a listen. It's an unapologetic 25-minute rush that feels like you were struck on the head with a baseball bat whilst on speed and cocaine. Favourite songs (on repeat) include Batshit Crazy and Gimme Beer Or Gimme Death. If you're a fan of classic punk from the mid-1970s to early 1980s, this album comes highly recommended.