Let me start by saying these gigs weren’t bad because of anything that the artists themselves did, but rather because of firstly, the venue, and secondly, the crowd.
Grinderman are pretty damn good live, and right now there probably aren’t too many better purveyors of low-down dirty rock and roll. Throw in Nick Cave’s genius lyrics and it should be a good night, right? Wrong. The venue (the Coronet in Elephant and Castle) was terrible:
- Ugly and run-down part of town? Check (Look, I used to live there; there are good people in E&C, but the place is a dive, and not really close to anything);
- Queuing for 25 minutes in pouring rain? Check (Another reason why E&C isn’t such a good venue: this crowd really didn’t need to go through pat-downs and metal detectors);
- Power-crazed bouncer shouting at people in the queue? Check (Shouts at the guy in front of us “stop drinking in my queue! Get out! Go on! Stand over there!” and then starts yelling at my girlfriend for not walking fast enough to overtake the guy in front of us);
- Massively oversold venue? Oh yes indeed. So bad that I spent most of the set “watching” from the corridor to the toilets. Basically couldn’t see anything and might as well have been at home listening to the CD.
It’s a shame: with better staff and a smaller crowd, the venue would be quite nice. There are some great gigs coming up there : LCD Soundsystem with Hot Chip for one. But I won’t be there.
I’ve liked Noah and the Whale for a while; since before they had their big hit, and I’ve seen them play bottom of the bill at a festival and greatly enjoyed them. But after this show (at Somerset House) I think I’ll be giving them a miss. The crowd was terrible: posh types who probably never go to gigs and spent the entire show talking loudly, completely ruining any chance of hearing the quiet songs. The band, quite frankly, deserve better.