REAL GONE GOES OUT: Saint Etienne – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London 9/12/2017

It’s approximately 9pm on a very cold December night. It’s freezing outside and also decidedly chilly inside the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The audience are shuffling around with a casual indifference. We’ve all just been bored to tears by the night’s support act, The Clientele, who appear to have played the same bland dreampop/indie tune ten or eleven times. Judging by the lack of atmosphere on stage and the rambling tunes punctuated by the occasional monosyllabic “thanks…”, the performers seemed just as as bored by their own music. [In retrospect, while they were devastatingly dull, it was easy to see why they were chosen. They weren’t the worst support act ever – that honour will forever be owned by Patrik Fitzgerald – they were just very boring.]

Saint Etienne are about to take the stage, though, so surely things are about to get much better. The minutes pass and a selection of kitschy tunes – almost certainly curated by Saint Et’s own pop historian Bob Stanley – fills time. As it happens, this is all more entertaining than The Clientele. and worthy of an easily accessible Spotify playlist. Saint Etienne founders, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, along with various other musicians, eventually saunter on stage at a rather casual 9:25, followed by vocalist Sarah Cracknell.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Redd Kross, Electric Brixton, London 31/10/2017

It’s Hallowe’en. Across Brixton, various young people are getting ready for spooky festivities. It probably means they’re off to the pub in their best Bride of Frankenstein and Corpse Bride finery before hitting the clubs later, but it seems fairly busy for a Tuesday night. There aren’t any skeletons or pumpkins adorning the Electric Brixton, but a cursory look at the merchandising stand still makes the occasion very clear. A massive poster advertising this show featuring power pop legends Redd Kross and sludgy art rock oddballs the Melvins very much resembles a promotional poster for an eighties slasher flick. As far as gig posters go, it’s incredibly smart, although no more of a spook-show concept should be looked for, especially as the night progresses.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Sleeper – Kentish Town Forum, London, 5/8/2017

It’s approximately 8:30pm. The house lights are wavering and there’s a growing feeling of tense excitement in the venue. Spent in the company of various bands from Britpop’s peak, the Star Shaped Festival has already provided a very enjoyable afternoon, but there’s also been a definite feeling throughout most of the day that a reformed Sleeper are the biggest draw, so perhaps this tense and nervous feeling is more than justified. There’s a lot riding on their return and this next hour.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Bash & Pop, Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate, Kent 30/06/2017

It’s Friday night in Ramsgate. In the harbour, people are going about their usual Friday night business, drinking Belgian beers and eating tapas. On the other side of town, at the Ramsgate Music Hall, something far more unexpected is about to happen. Tommy Stinson is about to take the stage with his band Bash & Pop. For those still unaware, Tommy is a cult hero, possibly even a legend. Between the early 80s and 90s, he played bass with The Replacements, a garage rock/punk band who gained a devoted following and became influential to a future generation of musicians. He’s been a member of both Soul Asylum and Guns N’ Roses. In between those musical ventures, he’s put out a couple of great solo records and two releases with a largely overlooked band, the ironically named Perfect.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Dearly Beloved – Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate, Kent 30/06/2017

It’s been a busy week for Dearly Beloved. They’ve made the long haul trip from Toronto to the UK to play a handful of shows with Tommy Stinson‘s Bash & Pop. Earlier in 2017 they released their fourth full length ‘Admission’ – an excellent record, made with Ramones/White Zombie/Misfits producer Daniel Rey – and while they don’t have the biggest audience in Britain, apparently, at last night’s London gig “they absolutely killed it”. Given such enthusiasm for their live current show, any opportunity to catch them live should be taken and this final night of the UK visit provides an excellent opportunity to see them working in a more intimate environment. Much more intimate.

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