One of my other great passions is music. I’m lucky enough to be married to someone who is obsessed with finding new bands and artists so we’re always listening to something new in our house and we try to go to gigs whenever we can, although that’s definitely decreased as we’ve got older. Gigs on a schoolnight? In my thirties? Nada.
I’m not a massive fan of festivals per se but I do like Glasto, even with the mud. This year I managed to catch Radiohead and Pulp doing ‘secret’ gigs at The Park stage. Very good indeed. But not as good as Janelle Monae – she was awesome. I caught up with my chum Simon (of the superlative music/running/geekery blog Minor 9th) and we danced our little socks off with our respective partners providing the attractive backing dancers on the Saturday night. Big Boi followed with a stomping set complete with overweight male dancers in matching green tracksuits. Fantastic.
Another band that blew me away was The Walkmen (pictured above). They’ve been going since the Strokes emerged onto the music scene and have often been compared to them, but there’s no comparison – they’re very different. The frontman Hamilton Leithauser (what a great name!) is a hugely passionate singer who often looks as if he’s about to beat you up or stalk off stage. Pitchfork describes them as ‘kings of dejection’ and I guess that’s mostly true, but there are some moments in their songs, especially off the latest album Lisbon, where they just transport you elsewhere. If you like listening to music where occasionally you have a tear in your eye and a lump in your throat, then listen to them. Recommended: The Rat and Angela Surf City.
Week after next we’re off to ATP’s I’ll Be Your Mirror at Ally Pally. Curated by Portishead it will feature PJ Harvey (which I’m very excited about), Liars, Caribou and Grinderman. Liars and Caribou will be particular highlights. Liars are punky little upstarts (recommended: The Overachievers) and Caribouhave taken up where LCD Soundsystem left off (recommended: Odessa). And it’s just around the corner from our house. Hooray!