Sat 08 Sep 2018
O2 Academy, Birmingham
Artists watched: Abdoujaparov, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Jim Bob, Happy Mondays, Thousand Yard Stare, Shed Seven
My 4th festival in two months - although this one is a one-dayer. It's still an exhausting day out. Birmingham is 140 miles away, you know ...
To make matters worse, I'd booked a hotel next to the original venue, the Genting Arena, only for the organisers to relocate the event 12 miles north west in the city centre - although by all accounts the Academy was a much better place to put it all on anyway.
There's far too many bands to see here for my sixty quid ticket but I have managed to plan a route through the day starting with my first Abdoujaparov gig for a long, long time. As ever the line-up is always changing but of course Les Carter is a constant. A great set although it was a little bit embarrasing when he saw me half-way through and said hello to me from the stage - I was the only person to get this privileged greeting!
Someone else took this photo ... can you see me at the front?
I'm in the mid-size Academy 2 - there are three venues on site and the artists are spread among the three, but I camped at the front to see Abdou and then an acoustic set from Jon and Ratt from Ned's Atomic Dustbin - which I am going to call a Ned's Atomic Dustbin gig for the purposes of recordkeeping! Hearing the songs stripped down reminded me what great songs the Neds actually have. I don't know why I don't listen to them more often.
The third and final set in this venue is from Jim Bob, which is basically a Carter karaoke now. All Carter USM sings and everyone in the crowd bellows along to every work. Including me. It feels good.
Half way through and I wander out of the venue to a nearby Greek restaurant to have the most ridiculously large Greek meal since I last visited my aunt's flat. And Fix beer too!
Back for the second half of the day and I'm in the main arena watching an incredibly tight set from Happy Mondays. People often say you never know which Shaun Ryder is going to turn up - but I must be lucky as every time I've seen them they have all been amazingly on point. And Bez too.
If you didn't know this was a Happy Mondays gig the above photo could be telling all sorts of stories.
As the set ends I hotfoot it upstairs to a packed-out Academy 3 to catch a high-energy set from Thousand Yard Stare. I have to confess I'm flagging a little bit now - but they sound as good as ever.
My final set of the day is back in the main arena to catch Shed Seven - another band who I've really been enjoying watching on their comeback trail over the last few years. Tonight didn't disappoint either. And it was the first time I heard their "I Am The Resurrection" bit too which was good. (Or the first time I remembered them doing it).
Definitely worth every penny of the ticket fee. I did toy with the idea of getting a cab across town to catch The Darling Buds at the Fox and Hounds - but I think they came on a bit early and I wouldn't have been able to catch them.
Most of the setlists haven't been put up on my usual internet source, but the Shed Seven one was probably this:
- Room in My House
- Going for Gold
- On Standby
- She Left Me on Friday
- Disco Down
- Bully Boy
- It's Not Easy
- Getting Better
- Chasing Rainbows