Whoa, what a gig.
But let's start at the beginning. I had never been to the 100 Club. Hubby had been called out to the States and so he couldn't make it (he was pretty gutted) and all of my friends apparently were away/already had plans. So I took a deep breath and went to my first gig all by myself. Thankfully, within a few minutes of arriving at the venue, I met Nikky, Laura, Kirstie and Claire.
I also realised that whilst I wasn't particularly early, I was first in the queue. Amazing. And a couple of the guys came out for a chat (or perhaps to just go out to McDonalds), but they did stop for a couple of photos.
The club is teeny (capacity is about 350), with a long thin stage couple of feet off the floor, and no barrier, so we had an excellent spot.
Onto the music. Support was provided by Jack Savoretti and his band. From the first strum of his guitar and words he sang, the audience were clearly up for a big night as they pumped out song after song full of energy. The sound is pretty hard to describe, it's got tinges of country music, funk, soul and his voice I can only describe as beautiful and just a little bit edgy. And without the ego that you get from some people with beautiful voices, just lots of fun and smiles. I think he and the band picked up a whole roomful of new fans, it's one of the few times I've seen an audience nearly as nuts for the support as for the main act. Please do go and check it out, there's plenty of live videos up on his facebook page
So then, the Plain White T's. A lot of people had been patiently waiting for this gig, and it really was worth the wait in every sense of the word. I don't think I can actually find fault. The setlist was a fabulous mashup of a load of songs from the new album plus favourites from the previous ones.
The thing I love about the band is that over all of their albums, there's not a single song I dislike. There's one that freaks me out, because it's utterly bonkers (Cirque dans la Rue), but the rest I love to the point that they are my albums of choice whenever I'm travelling or chilling out. To be honest, they could have sung anything and I think I would have been happy (the cover of Runaway on Daytrotter is one of my favourite covers ever, I love sixties music and they pull off this sound perfectly). Their own songs make me feel warm hearted and lovey. And I think that during some of the banter, the guys hit on what makes them different from a lot of other bands - they are a pretty romantic bunch! It's damn brave and big of them to put pieces of themselves out there like they do. And fair enough, that's not everyone's cup of tea, but to me, if you listen carefully to the lyrics, if you hear some of the stories behind why they were written and then you REALLY listen to them, then there seems to be a connection to experiences which any of us might have gone through or felt (the hubby always laughs when he hears Natural Disaster and points at me, no idea why).
So let's talk about the live show. Firstly, the songs were better than you hear on the albums because of all that added extra liveness and excitement. They can really SING - no auto-tuning here baby. The harmonies are stop you in your tracks beautiful, it's louder, sweatier, closer, and with a good deal of extra oomph. I have no idea how De'Mar didn't fall off his stool, he was going for it with the drums so much (I'm awestruck). Lots of concentration, lots of smiles (and a couple of teary-eyed emotional moments from the guys during particular songs, which were quite sweet to see). The finishing touch was a collection of very beautiful guitars and spiffy outfits to tie into the Wonders of the Younger album artwork. It felt a bit like being in a dark entertainment tent at a fairground or a circus. They described the latest album as a way to try and get back to the fun way things used to be when you were younger, before you have all the grown up stuff to worry about. It's a beautiful thought, right?
They kicked off with the lead track from Wonders of the Younger, 'Irrational Anthem' which just explodes after a few seconds in to a massive tune. I was also really happy to hear Tom sing one of my favourites on the album 'Broken Record', it just makes me giggle, it's got a bit of a retro feel to it which I love and it's impossible not to groove to it. We also got to hear 'Sunlight' from Big Bad World album. It's one of my favourites although I always seem to end up with a trembly chin and tears running down my face. (I'm pretty sure nobody saw that tho). It was fab to hear the lead being taken in a few of the songs by Tim, and 'Rhythm of Love' from the new Wonders of the Younger album was full of the light and mellow sound of his voice. Of course the set wouldn't have been complete without Hey There Delilah, which is probably the song that introduced most people in the UK to the Plain White T's. The full setlist is below.
I think everyone is hoping that next time they won't leave it so long, and with the bosses there to see how things went, and the reaction from the crowd (who seemed to know most of the new songs - always a good sign), I'm certain they will be back soon.
I honestly can't knock anything but like a miniature 0.1 off here (I think it could have started 30 mins earlier so people didn't have to leave to go get coaches/trains before the end). I love their music, the live show was perfect, and they were sweet and chatty, and also more hilarious than I ever realised, so for me - 9.9/10. Intimate gigs are fun; it's fab to be in a place with other people who are there because they are so into the band and the music. And what with all that beautiful magic and imagination in the air, I think I might just have fallen a little bit in love with them all.
Plain White T's played:
Our Time Now
Big Bad World
Welcome to Mystery
Rhythm of Love
Take Me Away
Write You A Song
Cirque dans la Rue
Hey There Delilah
Wonders of the Younger
Photos courtesy of Nicky Barrett and Kirstie Keir.