Monday, 6 February 2017

Don't Stop Me Now, Smash Hits...

This week I’m having a bash at music journalism.  I know.  Get me.  If only Smash Hits were still around, I’d be fielding job offers all the day is long.

People who know me will laugh.  I haven’t been a fan of current chart music since 31st December 1989 when my favourite musical decade ended.  As we all flung ourselves into the 1990s – the decade that would contain every single one of my ‘first times’ (oh, and there were many!) the music that accompanied them tended to leave me cold.  My head was always back in the 80s and all that it entailed.  Between Bananarama, Brat Pack films and the Last Christmas video, I will always believe I was born ten years too late for the music, fashion and films I love. 

I continued to remain musically apathetic in the noughties - it’s hard to feel sentimental about a decade the gave us The Crazy Frog - and with the Cowellian overthrow of the music industry in the years that followed, I never really got onboard with current artists beyond my early teen years.  

I have tried though.  I truly believe that anything performed live has inherent merit and I have been to a few gigs in my time that were pretty special.  In recent years I’ve seen Spandau Ballet twice.  They sounded the same as they did when I was seven, and definitely caused raised neck hairs when they sang Through the Barricades just for me. (That’s how I remember it, anyway.)  I also saw Paul McCartney at Anfield in 2008.  Again, it was an epic experience and I loved every second.  But between Macca and Spandau, I’m not exactly embracing current musicians. 

This has changed in recent months, however.   Whether I’m only noticing it for the first time, or whether it’s a hot new trend, local boozers advertising regular live bands seem to be everywhere. 

Last Saturday when I was losing my mind over technology, I escaped to the pub to see my favourite local band.  I know, who knew?   I have a favourite local band!  They’re called Caution, and last week they were in The Clock Face pub, in St. Helens.  The initial lure was beer (obvs) but Caution’s set was exactly what I needed.  It included songs by Queen, Erasure, Aha, Guns and Roses and Whitesnake.  I mean, come on.  That is one helluva night right there.  (There was also some Coldplay, Mika and Killers for the young’uns.)  With the sad reality that I’ll never see Freddie perform live, this was a pretty decent alternative.  (Sidebar - I heard McCartney play Live and Let Die, nine years ago and I heard Caution play it last week.  I’m not talking rubbish when I say both versions were just as awesome to experience.  Both made me want to sing along as loudly as possible, and both gave me shivers when the chorus thundered in.  And while Anfield may have provided pyrotechnics, The Clock had no mile-long toilet queues, and far cheaper bar prices.  Win.)  
Caution - doing their rock thing.

This pub is one of several I’ve spotted over recent months that have weekly live music.  Is this a new phenomenon?  Claire, the manager, has clearly decided to make live music a focal point – (and fair play to her, as it’s definitely had an impact on where I’ve been drinking lately).  Perhaps people are finally over the assembly-line auto-tunings of the X Factor, and want some blood and guts musical passion in their faces?
All weekend, every weekend!
It wasn't like this in my day.

New trend, or coincidence, I am happy to embrace it.  So if you’re local, check out The Clock’s lineup.  If you’re further afield (hello international readers!) see what’s happening down your way.  In these politically troubling times, a night of cold beer, impromptu dancing, and screaming along with the lyrics to Don’t Stop Me Now could be just what you need.

Have a lovely week, folks.

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