I've been to a fair number of concerts over the last few weeks, namely, The Guillemots (for the fourth time this year), The Swell Season, Gotan Project and Coldplay, but haven't quite found the time to blog about them just yet. To be quite honest, while all of them were incredibly enjoyable, I just wasn't in the mood to sit down and think about any of the concerts. I'll attempt to do a summary of each of the concerts and might get down to writing about them more in depth over the coming weeks.
- The Swell Season at the Royal Albert Hall (November 10th) - Quite possibly the best concert I have watched all year, which is amazing given that other than that song, I hadn't a clue about any of the songs they would be performing. Glen Hansard was irrepressible; as he joked about how intimidated he felt by the incredible venue and the fact that his entire family had chosen the one gig he was the most nervous at to come to, he then said, "Ah f*** it, it's only a hall. One must always have a healthy disrespect a royal, especially if you're Irish." The chemistry between him and Marketa felt genuine as well, something which I didn't think was possible seeing as they've been on tour for well over a year now. But there it was, and it made me think about my own unusual love story, especially when they performed Falling Slowly which made me tear up just a little. They even had the audience singing to The Frames' People Get Ready (which they had to teach the audience first) which was nice. By the time the concert ended, I was filled with awe at how far these guys have come. Given how quickly fame has come upon them (in a sense), it's incredible how grounded the band seems. And that's what gets you - the sincerity of the band members, and the sense that they, too, are overwhelmed by this just as much as the audience is by the beauty of their music.
- The Guillemots at the Barbican (November 26th) - Though it was an unusually formal setting for a pop concert, Fyfe was his usual energetic, playful self. The only concession to the formality of the venue was that they used a piano instead of a keyboard, something which made this performance nicely different from the other three I'd watched this year. It was especially amusing to watch three members of the quartet try and cram themselves behind the piano to perform Kriss Kross, something which required Fyfe counting the audience in to help the band count in after they'd botched the intro, which was a cute touch. The band also performed the piano version of Sea Out, which was featured on episode 207 Chuck in Real Life of Gossip Girl (a show which Fyfe admitted that he'd never watched a single episode of), which was fantastic, given that this is a song the band has performed a number of times but have never recorded. I'd heard it once before during one of the other performances I've seen but wasn't able to find out the name of the song so I'm glad I've finally figured out what song this is.
- Gotan Project at the Roundhouse (December 11th) - Definitely the sexiest concert I have been to in my entire life. It's a good thing MD came along with me. He definitely got a lot more than he bargained far, and a dance (or possibly a performance) to one of the sexiest songs ever made, Santa Maria. When I caught up with him a few days later, he admitted that he still hadn't managed to get those few minutes out of his mind. And we were both more than fully clothed too, given that the cloakroom was full (i.e. he and I were both wearing sweaters and a coat, in addition to our work wear).
- Coldplay at the O2 (December 16th) - I know there are many who think Chris Martin's warbling and melodramatic lyrics are shite, but I quite like Coldplay. In fact, this is the third time I've seen the band perform, and, if everything works out, I'll be seeing them perform once more at Wembley in September when Jay-Z supports them. In any case, I was rather depressed the day I went to see them, and it did help cheer me up. Coldplay have definitely managed to improve on their audience interaction since I last saw them at the Singapore Indoor Stadium; Yellow featured their by-now trademark yellow balloons filled with confetti dropped over the audience while paper butterflies showered onto the delighted audience during Viva La Vida, my favourite song off their most recent album, and my pick-me-up anthem for the next few weeks because of the anthemic feel of the song. Fix You helped to cheer me up (yes, it can have that effect on people, believe it or not - it's helped me get over another sad time in my life) and this unexpected performance with Simon Pegg (of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead!!) definitely made me laugh. I don't think they did this on the other two nights so I was well pleased I managed to make the one concert when Simon appeared (link to YouTube video here in case the embed doesn't work).
I remember one of the comments I made about their Singapore performance in 2006 was that almost every song off A Rush of Blood to the Head had been remixed and that my friend (a fellow Zoukette) and I had pretty much yelled "remix!" after a number of songs so it was to my great delight and amusement that Coldplay have, as a Christmas present, released the Thin White Duke's remix of Viva La Vida for Christmas on their web site. It will be available for downloading until January 5th. If you don't feel like providing them with an e-mail address (real or otherwise), pop over to Noise Porn and download it there.