Review of 2008: Gigs


8 jan. 2009, 20h55m

Based on my event list 2008 was rather mellow for gigs. I’m sure there are a few gigs that I attended but didn’t note down as attended on but as they say “quality over quantity”. Quality is definitely the correct word to describe some of these gigs though; two of which can be considered “all-time favorites”.


Best gig of 2008
Sat 23 Feb – Mike Park, Sundowner, Matthew Reynolds
Fri 9 May – TOUR 2008 L'7~Trans ASIA via PARIS~
Yeah, can't pick just one. Scroll down for reviews and pics.

Worst gig of 2008
Mon 14 Apr – Against Me!, The Steal, Kill Casino
The Academy II is a dire venue, far too thin and long with average sound quality at best. Against Me!'s setlist was mostly made up of songs from New Wave and no one else I went with (expect one maybe) really enjoyed it. Shame really.

Best Festival of 2008
NASS 2008
Cheating here as I only went to one festival this year, however I've been to NASS like 6 or 7 times now and it's always a blast. Pendulum and Less Than Jake were quite a highlight.

Worst Festival of 2008

Best Live Performance of 2008
The World/Inferno Friendship Society. I expected nothing less than a high energy, entertaining and outstanding show. Jack & co delivered so much more, if you’re a fan they should be on your “must see live” list.

Worst Live Performance of 2008
The Dagger Brothers. Supported Kunt and the Gang and were extremely unfunny guys.

Best Venue of 2008
The Croft, Bristol

Worst Venue of 2008
The Carling Academy II, Bristol

The "gig I really wanted to see but couldn't/didn't" of 2008
Girls Aloud at Bowood. A three minute drive away from my house, got cancelled because the 'company' promoting it consisted of useless morons.


Wed 13 Feb – Dropkick Murphys, Mad Caddies, The Briggs at the Carling Academy, Bristol

The year started of with Dropkick Murphys, Mad Caddies, The Briggs. Normally I’m hyped about the headliner, however, it was the opening act I cared for the most. As you can see I’m quite The Briggs fan and although I’ve seen them two times before, I was really looking forward to seeing them again.

Oh I really do hate the “get there early” tip (read: rule) because after collecting my friends, driving to Bristol and parking; the doors had already been open for thirty-five minutes. After a lite jog to the door I could hear the distinctive voice of Joey LaRocca from The Briggs. I believe they were halfway through Media Control, once that was over they announced that “the next is our last song”. Oh fuck I was going to rage quit there and then. You would at least expect the opening act to start 15-20 minutes after the door. Ignoring my inner-annoyance at myself, the venue and silly times I danced away to their last song and tried to look forward to Mad Caddies and Dropkick Murphys.

Next up were Mad Caddies. I’ve now seen Mad Caddies three times; they always manage to put on a good show, full of fun and energy. Caddies were one of those bands I was heavily into before AS/ and I now only seem to listen to them to revise their songs for gigs. Perhaps I’ll give them a few more plays this year…maybe

Finally it was Dropkick Murphys. Like all the bands at this gig, this wasn’t my first experience with DKM. I’m always wary of Little Rich Working Class Oi Boys and their unnecessary aggression at gigs like these, thankfully none were in my perimeter and it was a really enjoyable gig. I did take a little break when any song from The Warrior’s Code was played though – was never a fan of the album.

Sat 23 Feb – Mike Park, Sundowner, Matthew Reynolds at the Homestead, Southampton

Ten days later I was taking a two hour trip to Southampton to attend one of the greatest gigs of my life and my first ever house gig. Equipped with my SatNav and drink for my friends we set-off for this acoustic-awesome-fest. We arrived fairly quickly, and then we started to look for the house, during our walk Mark (sk8rmarky) was recognised by another user. We joined their crew and finally found the house.

Upon entry it was clear it was a student house; fully of bikes, dodgy paintwork and the smell of fags. I felt a little awkward at first, but the relaxed atmosphere soon eased me. We were told the show would be in the over-sized conservatory and were lucky to find a rather good spot to watch the show. The conservatory was made up of sofas, wooden chairs and plane seats (yes, plane seats) placed at the sides but were all taken by eager fans. In the corner was a wooden bench with a one-seat sofa with oversized arms on the top of it, I’m guessing no one else thought it was safe enough - who dares wins, right? It gave us a good view of the (sit down) show whilst being surprisingly comfortable.

Shamefully I can’t remember the first guy on or the band he was from but he set the mood for the entire show. When he started most people were standing up, which made it almost impossible for the people at the back to see anything. I believe it was his bright idea to get most people to sit down thus allowing everyone to see. All I remember of his performance was that he reminded me of Tim Barry.

Matthew Reynolds was up next. He guy is actually a really good singer, in terms of vocal performance he was the best. Unlike everyone else his performance focused on his vocal than the sound coming from his guitar. During one song it was like he never struck a chord. Nice set, wish I listened to both his solo and band material more.

The Larry Arms flannel-wearing fanboys were in full force, you could tell that most were there for Sundowner (aka Chris McCaughan). Chris knew this and mixed his set with Sundowner and The Lawrence Arms songs, almost every song request was for a Larry Arms song. Someone made a request for a song he knew how to play but didn’t remember the lyrics. You might think this was a reasonable excuse but one PDA-equipped kid didn’t; he whipped out his PDA and google’d the lyrics, gave it to Chris and after a short glance began to play. Highly amusing, especially when he had to take a second, third and fourth glace at the PDA during the song. Loved every second of it.

Mike Park was next; I hate to use the word “idol” or “hero” to describe anyone but if I was going to give the title to someone he’d be the first person. In short, I’m a Mr Park and Asian Man Records fanboy. Mike Park at Wasted 2006 was one of my highlights,

Mike opened up with From Korea, however, the only vocals I could hear was Mark’s – he loves the song. I was like “Oh shit, Mike’s voice is to quiet” and “shut the fuck up people, I wanna hear Mike”, in my head obviously. Thankfully people did sit down and shut up; Mike also increased the volume of his voice.

Mike strayed away from his ballad and slow songs, I think he knew that his lighter, fun and ska-ish songs would be appreciated more. At one point he request people to stand up and join in a mini-skank-pit – he started playing a cover of either Skankin’ Pickle or The Bruce Lee Band. It was all a tad chaotic but highly hysterical. After a couple more songs he ended his set.

We left our comfy height sofa to head towards the garden were the merch was being sold. I bought a Mike Park tee, whilst Mark bought the Beans & Toast promotional tour CD. After a quick chat with Mike about how good the atmosphere was we went to find Chris from Sundowner. Chris enjoys music, booze and weed, the very same combination a couple of my friends enjoy. After a quickie with Chris we said our goodbyes, left the house and headed towards the town centre for last minute food before the drive home.

Overall it was an amazing night; we met some amazing people (Mike’s photographer Hiro amused us all with his antics) that made it an unforgettable night.

Fri 9 May – TOUR 2008 L'7~Trans ASIA via PARIS~ at the Le Zénith, Paris

May was the month of my friend’s birthday, the start of my final university exams and L’Arc~en~Ciel at the Le Zénith in Paris. I actually first heard about the L’Arc~en~Ciel concert on the shoutbox, someone mentioned that there was a rumour that Laruku were going to play in Paris. From that moment I was checking the shoutbox, official website and fansites on a daily basis.

The concert was officially confirmed a month or so later, I then asked Mark (sk8rmarky) if he’d want to go on MSN/IM. During one cheap game of Friday night poker at my house I mentioned that I was going, to my surprise others were interested in going. It wasn’t for L’Arc~en~Ciel though, it was to use it as an excuse to party and celebrate a friend’s birthday whilst we were there. Three with Laruku tickets, two without and one German Spaz that was going to met us for the partying.

The planning began; I ordered my Laruku tickets with help from and google translate, booked the eurostar seats and was recommended the Citea Paris La Villette hotel by Kei-o. Organising everything on your own for a small party of people can be rather worrisome – if shit fucks up you’re the one to blame.

For those interested the cost of the trip per person:
£74 for 2 nights with 2 rooms at Citea Paris La Villette
£50 for Chippenham/London return ticket
£84 for London/Paris return Eurostar ticket
£35 for L’Arc~en~Ciel tickets
Total (without Laruku): £208
Total (with Laruku): £243

We boarded the Eurostar around 10am, passed the time with manual poker, card games and the ever-so-jolly ‘disguise the penis’. We booked into our hotel after a short metro trip. The first night was spent being typical British tourist; sightseeing, getting use to foreign customs and drinking alcohol. France should really import more cider – my drinking options were rather limited. Roll on the next day, my first ever non-English concert in a foreign country.

We all made our way to the Le Zenith at 6pm or so, I wanted to leave at 4 but no one was having it. The queues coming from the Zenith almost looked like an octopus; we had no idea which one to join and ended up standing in a free space. This decision paid off, the various gates jotted around the venue opened to let the stampede of fan in. One gate was in the corner where hardly anyone was queuing and we made a mad dash to obtain a good spot – success!

The venue was massive, easily the biggest venue I’ve been to, not that impressive though as most gigs I attend are at pubs and small clubs with a capacity of 200. I believe the Zenith has a capacity of 7000. Whilst the two other ticket holders queued for drinks, I queued at the merch stall for about 15 minutes to buy two expensive tour t-shirts. We walked to the standing zone/area and waited for it to start.

The setlist:
01) get out from the shell (asian version)
02) Driver's High
03) Killing Me
06) winter fall
07) 花葬
08) My Dear
09) forbidden lover
11) Caress of Venus
14) Pretty girl
15) STAY AWAY (formation A)
19) Link
20) あなた

I knew the setlist a couple of weeks before the concert and created a playlist for ‘revision’.

The opening was rather stunning; it really got the crowd into frenzy. The countdown on the curtain begins ‘5-4-3-2-1’, the silhouettes of the band are finally exposed when the last bit of curtain crashes to the floor. From that moment I had a massive grin on my face. Words aren’t enough, go watch this video instead.

Every song was done to perfection if I had to choose my top 5 I’d go with the following:
Caress of Venus
STAY AWAY (formation A)

The main reasons I choose these songs were because the crowd interactions was at its greatest. During MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM people were belting out the English chorus, it almost reminded me of the --video--. Caress of Venus had everyone jumping around releasing all the energy they had. STAY AWAY was the closest thing to a P’UNK~EN~CIEL song, it was a blast and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. READY STEADY GO pleased all the FMA fans. The choir fans bought along by L’Arc~en~Ciel really made あなた magical; a fitting end to a truly world class concert.

300+ photo collection thanks to


  • 0rang3peEl

    get the fuck off the internet stallard

    9 jan. 2009, 20h59m
  • sk8rmarky

    Dave, i thought it was quality. I probably wouldn't do it unless i was paid but hey ho, two mentions gets adam a small cider payment i'm thinking

    12 jan. 2009, 11h32m
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