Monday, October 30, 2006


It was a slow day in work on Friday so Richard and I took some TOIL and checked out The Garrick bar as we had heard they have a keg behind the bar for Guinness which is a more authentic method. We ordered them up and took up a table by the fireside. While we waited for the beer to pour we picked up Scrabble from the hearth and started up a game. It took around 10 minutes to pour and there were notable differences. It was much lighter and less creamier than normal without the notable head that sits on top replaced by a more ale-type top that dissiapates half way down the pint. Of course such a scientific test can't be run on one pint alone so we ordered another whilst we finished the game. It's hard to beat a quiet afternoon in autumn by the fireside playing scrabble over some Guinness.

Alas such things cannot last and after meeting Brian in town we walked back to his place for some dinner and few beers before jumping in a taxi with Colin and heading to the students union to see Lambchop. I had last seen them back in 2002 at the Empire and I had wondered why they were now playing the Mandela as it was a no-seater venue. These questions were soon answered as we arrived to find the room laid out theatre style and we just managed to get seats at the back left.

After the keyboard and guitarist played warm up by noodling away making sounds akin to Tortoise and Brian Eno but not hitting anything worth taking in, Kurt et all took to the stage and opened with Paperback Bible, the first track off their new album Damaged. They continued with a few more songs from their back catalogue and whilst I couldn't fault the music, I did feel dis-jointed and unemotional about being there because of the lack of intimacy that was evident in the Empire with tables, candles the backdrop of the place adding to the appeal. My pet hate also rose it's ugly head. I've said it before but I cannot fathom why people would want to spend £17.50 for a ticket and then stand at the back and talk all the way through the gig and piss off those in close vicinity who want to enjoy the gig.

With all this stacked against them, it was difficult to really enjoy the gig and I feel that it could have been dramatically improved if the seats were removed allowing those who really wanted to stand by the stage away from the noise at the back and become part of the experience rather than be forced to sit 50 feet away. I really wanted them to play 'The Decline Of Country And Westren Civilization', the last track from Damaged as it is my favourite track. They did and I was still not "feeling it". And that's a shame. Great band, awful venue.


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