Some gigs come with a huge amount of pre-night excitement. The Smashing Pumpkins’ first – and only – UK date on their 2018 ‘Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour’ is one of those times. Firstly, the tour is the first in decades to feature founding guitarist James Iha. In addition, Billy Corgan has already promised “a show like [the fans] have never seen before”. To say there’s a lot riding on the night is a huge understatement. Can the rejuvenated Pumpkins pull off the near impossible? Can they make the soulless environment of the Wembley SSE Arena feel friendly and justify the cost of a hugely expensive ticket?
The London leg of the Star Shaped Festival in 2017 was an absolutely joyous experience. The line up was amazing and Sleeper’s return to a London stage for the first time in nineteen years almost took the roof off. In under an hour, My Life Story’s Jake Shillingford turned an almost full venue from casual indifference to a feeling of unity; Space’s Tommy Scott and The Bluetones’ Mark Morriss were on form with great humour. Yes, that was a day to be treasured forever.
2018 has really been a fantastic year for The Fierce And The Dead. Their third full length release ‘The Euphoric’ has received great reviews across the internet, been championed by Prog magazine and has led to the band playing higher profile gigs. In the previous six months they’ve played their biggest ever headline show and shared a bill with System 7 and Hawkwind. By now, they’ve earned the right to be genuinely considered a cult band.
Hawkwind invited the band as support for a second time in the summer. While Hawkwind fans, on the surface, seem to be the kind of people who know what they like, the band obviously feel The Fierce And The Dead are interesting enough to appeal to their loyal audience. While – as is so often the case – the venue isn’t exactly packed by the time Matt Stevens and company get ready to play, those in attendance know the next half an hour will be…interesting.
In April 2018, Ramsgate Music Hall played host to Japanese indie/punk legends Shonen Knife. It was one of the greatest nights the venue had seen to date. Making what had already promised to be a fun night even better, the night’s support received a rapturous response. That band, KOLARS – a garage rock/retro duo from the US – impressed almost everyone with their display of sweat, sparkle and a tap dancing drummer. Within two weeks, the band had been confirmed to return for their own headline show and on July 16th, they took the stage at Music Hall once more.
It’s the first of July. The British summer time has truly grabbed a hold. In the middle of the unexpected heatwave, the intimate Ramsgate Music Hall is hot. Very hot. The sweaty atmosphere isn’t about to dampen anyone’s spirits, though, especially as tonight’s sell out crowd are in the presence of a true cult legend. This is Kristin Hersh’s second appearance at Music Hall – the first being forty eight hours earlier – and it’s the last night of her successful UK tour. Everyone’s up for it.