Category Archives: Music

The Hold Steady

I’ve not had a lot of luck in catching the Hold Steady on tour. Mostly because they don’t often have dates beyond London.

I did once see them in Newcastle, at the Riverside, a few years ago; they were silly good. Last January, i had a ticket for a London gig, but there was a lot going on in the bar, so i ended up not going.

I actually made it yesterday, though. Sort of. I couldn’t stay over, since I needed to be home this morning for the dog. Train times didn’t work out (eight hours overnight), so that left the bus.

Unfortunately, with a late-ish start to the gig, I had to miss half of it. Next time, I’ll find someone to watch the hound.

Still, they were ridiculously good.

And, since we have a keg of their beer in the bar right now, I did squeeze in a visit to Hackney Church’s tap room. It’s well worth a visit.


Yes, we went to see her a few months ago (feels like ages) in Nottingham. And she was great.

And we saw her again last night. She was greater.


Watch out, she’s going to be huge.

We want to be a cowboy, baby.


Most people know I’m rather fond of Glasgow. I am.

So, it was an obvious choice of location to see Queens of the Stone Age. I’d never actually been to one of their gigs before, having only seen them a couple of times at festivals.

And, on the night, I realised that it’d been some time since I’d been to an arena gig. And around a dozen years since I’d been to that particular venue.

It was a good one too.

The only negative of the night, in common with most venues, was the shocking choice of drinks. I mean, not everyone drinks lager.

Another negative, the day before, was the discovery that the 13th Note, my most favourite bar in Glasgow, had closed in July.

According to a guy in Mono, around the corner, someone new was brought in to manage the place. Their treatment of staff hadn’t been great, resulting in their joining a union and, ultimately, striking.

Of course, this was all second hand, and the notice in the window seemed to give another side to the story. Still, it was so sad to see the place closed.

On a positive note, new bars were discovered, such as the State Bar. A great little pub with a good selection of hand-pulls.

Harriet was a big hit there, with staff and customers making a fuss of her. They were even happy to see her back the next day.

It was the same in Sloan’s. While I’ve been there many times, it was the first time with the hound.

The hound was also brilliant on the train, not that she’s ever been anything but good. But that does mean that we can plan other trips with her.

The Split Squad

Until fairly recently, I’d not heard of the Split Squad.

But, when I’d heard that Clem Burke was their drummer, and they had a gig around the corner in the Central Bar, I bought a couple of tickets right away.

In the days leading up to the gig, I played their stuff in the bar. Some of it sounded a little dated at first, like US indie music from the early 90s. But it really grew on me.

The band were genuinely good too, it was a great gig.

And Clem Burke was a lovely guy.

The Dead South

I might have inflicted the Dead South on customers in the bar over the past couple of weeks.

I’d wanted to see them when they last toured the UK, but somehow it never happened. Despite a virus that’s been hanging on for weeks, I wasn’t going to miss them last night.

And I’m so glad I made the effort. They were just brilliant.

Paul Carrack

A few days ago, with a rather nice bunch of people, I spent the day in York, ending with Paul Carrack at the Barbican.

Even though I’ve spent a lot of time in York, often walking past the Barbican, I’d never been there for a gig.

And it was a good one – such a talented guy.

Another two

So, last week, it was Fat Freddy’s Drop. In Durham.

And, the week before, Belle & Sebastian. Wonderful.

And another

Another week, another gig. I’ve not been to many in recent times; Covid, then the bar, got in the way. In the last year, I’ve even felt the need to miss a couple of gigs because I was too busy.

Now that the bar’s stable, and I’m working less hours, there’s more time to fit things in.

The other day, I saw the Beat at the Boilershop. Of course, there are two versions of the band. I did see the Ranking Roger-led version a decade or so ago. They were pretty good, but lacked the original lead vocal sound.

This time, Dave Wakeling led this version of the band. While he was the only original band member this time around, and his Birmingham accent is no more, the band worked really well.

One of my favourite bands of the early 80s, I never actually got to see them at the time. And their time together was relatively short.

A good night though, with Bow Wow Wow, another 80s band that disappeared a long time ago.

Three weeks

So, I’ve been to three gigs in three weeks; something I’ve not done in a long time. Only because I don’t get a lot of time away from the bar right now.

Anyway, all three were great. There’s nothing more to say really.

CMAT, the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham.

Kip Moore, the Sage, Gateshead.

Interpol, O2 Academy, Edinburgh.