17 January 1998

Fan Review: Brixton Academy 1998

Brixton Academy
London, UK
January 16 & 17, 1998

Well, what can I say? Was it any good? Was it crap? Who are The Rolling People?

Read on......

The vibe was all set, and the anticipation was mounting....we left nice and early to ensure arrival at Brixton in good time.

Hit The Beehive at approx. 6.45 and the place was packed out, but anyway, managed to meet up with Steve and co. (nice one mate!) and headed up to the Academy at 8.15 to be greeted by one hell of a queue.

Eventually got through the Hare Krishna and E sellers, got the beers in and established ourselves down the front and got engrossed in Wayne's set which was pretty wild - some nice jazz grooves, but it was very hard to keep up with the slide show - different one either side of the stage - well confusing!

Wayne left and as the stage darkened there was some reaction from the crowd as The Verve took to the stage at approx 9.10 almost immediately as Wayne left, and what was the first song? Well, it was a fucking loud noise, that's for sure! I knew that Verve were loud, but this was ear blistering. The sound was a total mess, just one loud, ear blistering dirge. Despite the eardrum buzz (© Wire), we could just make out Richards words and it was A Northern Soul - our journey had commenced...

Thankfully, after this, I think the sound evened out and the crowd began to get lost in the music....or so I thought...there were a few of us (Rolling People) getting well into it, but there were plenty of lifeless souls too.

Richard and Jonesy in particular were in fine form egging on the crowd with chants and gestures of "Come On", but Nick looked a bit pissed off all night, couldn't quite see Pete or Tongy's reactions though.

I can't remember the exact set list (I'm not a trainspotter), but This Is Music (again a bit of a dirge but just about recognizable), Life's An Ocean (apparently Life is no longer a fuckin' Ocean, as it was last time I saw them!) Stormy Clouds (quality, but no Reprise), History (as awesome as ever, but no strings man!) and On Your Own (again truly awesome) were others played from A Northern Soul and the enthusiasm we were showing for these was not quite so forthcoming from other sections of the crowd, but I didn't give a shit what looks I got for clapping/cheering/grooving on down to these songs, that I know and love, from people who obviously had never heard them before.

Sadly, there was nothing from pre-ANS, not even Slide Away or Gravity Grave (which someone behind kept shouting for, but his demands fell on deaf ears). From UH, there was Sonnet, Catching The Butterfly, Neon Wilderness, Drugs Don't Work, The Rolling People (awesome, and there were a few of us ;-)), Space and Time, Lucky Man....... The greatest cheer of the evening, surprise, surprise, was for BSS, which was supposed to be played earlier in the set but was plagued by technical problems - "We were gonna play Bittersweet Symphony then, but as usual it fucked up!!". But when it was played, it was great, and had an interesting out-tro, which was unexpected as was Neon Wilderness - This for me is a pretty crap track on UH, but live it is barely recognizable, and proved to be one of the highlights, at least for me anyway.

Lucky Man was also very well received, and was quite stirring. Richard did Space and Time on his own with the acoustic, which was nice (© The Fast Show), but the band were definitely missed.

We knew it was the end of the evening, when Come On was played, which again was very loud, but the sound actually suited the vitality of this song, and quite a lot of the crowd actually woke up for this one - it was impossible not to move, the way Pete was pounding the drums and almost everyone went mental!!

When it was over at around 10:40 there was rapturous applause, and I don't think anyone wanted to leave, but we had to and it was a bit of a squeeze getting out, as everyone had to use the one main exit - for some reason the fire exits around the sides of the Academy were not to be used.

So there we have it - only an hour and a half, but not a bad gig, not by any means, but it could have been oh so much better...

The Rolling People?

The Rolling People My Arse!!!! *******

Don't get me wrong here fellow rollers - it's just that there weren't enough rollers there to make it happen!


Brixton x2 (contrasting emotions)

WELL, I've read the two separate posts that deal with the two different nights and to the most part i have to agree. sat saw the best contemporary band at their most majestic rocking and rolling the crowd sound and vision in beautiful harmony. However Fri was different, i think Richard summed it up when introducing bitter sweet symphony (which had to be aborted once)"it's fucking us up tonight". the sound was pretty poor, loud and harsh to begin with northern soul /this is music near unrecognizable. yet as the gig wore on your ears became attuned to the situation and sounds such as lucky man seemed to be coming off better. perhaps rich's statement "we're not showbiz" was aimed at the massing celebs i saw on Friday as both zoe ball and half the seahorses (who are three musical half wits and a misguided individual...i am apologizing now for shouting in the lead singers face though he seemed to see the funny side to my unfavourable comparison of his band to my favourite on show) who were conspicuously absent on the second night .

Sat was magnificent and triumphant as everything came off and the sound was note perfect. a fluffed catching the butterfly ("we're gonna start with a nice easy one") became startling. Who here who went to both noticed any difference in the technical aspects of the performance...(mock audience participation)...yep that's it Pete changed his right hand part from a swing orientated rhythm to straight fours.Easier to pull off, beautiful.

those who went on Fri may have thought that the screen and lighting was under employed, well compared to sat it was . the lights were all over the shop moving with the times. the fact that the played the reprise with stormy clouds led to more showing of the sorrowful young man running away with his kite. history was great on both nights despite what anybody may say. come on / lucky man sat lovely.

i had tickets for the balcony both nights and sat their all through Fri and half of sat(i went down for the encore COME ON!!!). those who may have been sitting near the middle near the front on Fri may have seen a prat in a kappa top (it may have been you i don't know),but what was he doing . he kept standing up holding a mock microphone to his mouth bouncing up and down, oh we behind him did have some fun. sat saw much more participation as rich beckoned to us punching his fists. yet there were so many forty+ round where i was sitting (no offense those on the list but really you could at least nod your head or something). A lot fewer people went down on sat as well (though i don't know why) and the toilets upstairs were not flooded.

great fun was had at both nights (stop whining its a better than going to the pub). I put the differing quality down to the human aspect of the band. every one has good days and bad days , not every day can be a triumph.
  • Source: Verve-Tribute: A tribute to what was website
  • Reviews by Susan