Monday, 19 September 2011

The Bluetones @O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

Last week, my husband, whilst in a pub trying to explain who these guys were, said that they were like the 3rd Britpop act after Oasis and Blur. I laughed and told him not to be ridiculous.

Having said that, as the gig on Friday night started, and they burst onto the stage on their farewell tour, I thought, well, maybe if I'd paid them more attention at the time, I'd have thought they were the 3rd Britpop act as well. There was something about them, it was easy to tell that this was an excellent touring band who clearly still has a pretty big following.

I have grown used to being at gigs where I'm one of the oldest there. Since The Bluetones is more one of Rob's favourites than mine, and because they are a band who were probably most famous in the 1990s, the crowd was very much different. For starters, when we were a few minutes late after the doors, we walked into a nearly empty venue. We could have stood at the barrier if we had wanted. Instead we chose a nice high viewpoint next to the bar and had the perfect view for the whole evening.

Clearly though, many of the crowd had followed the band since university days and were treating it as a step back in time. There were moments of now fully grown men jumping around like young boys, which was quite frankly hilarious to watch. Although they played a few songs that I didn't really know, they also played a lot that I did. Whether that was down to hubby playing them in the house, or I had actually paid more attention than I remember whilst I was at university, I was glad that I probably knew more than half of the set, and during the old favourites, the audience were all too happy to sing along and get right into the spirit of things.

Personally, I'm not all that keen on Mark Morriss' voice, although it is hugely distinctive, but during the instrumental parts, it occurred to me that the sound is quite rock and roll, which I am a huge fan of - and you can't really argue with the fact that they have been playing shows for 17 years. That's pretty good going. Apart from anything else, there was a lot of humour and plenty of energy in the show, which meant that I did actually enjoy it all very much. And it was nice to be at the farewell tour, knowing that they aren't going to be playing again as a group, the atmosphere was a little bit special. 8/10.

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