2017 has been an incredible year for music with many highlights.
This year I've been to a great many gigs some amazing and one that I walked out of. I'm not going to mention all of them here, but here are some of my favourites - not in any particular order. I'm often asked "what's your favourite/best gig this year?", well that changes depending on what day it is (although Kraftwerk in Antwerp was particularly awesome).
20 May 2017 - Queen Elisabeth Hall, Antwerp, Belgium
We (Susan Lucy & I), went to see Kraftwerk perform Autobahn in Antwerp. Antwerp is probably my favourite Belgian city and has the greatest pub in the world1, The Kulminator.
The gig was at the newly refurbished Koningin Elisabeth Zaal. In fact it was so newly refurbished that, when we left, the exit was still not finished and was just bare concrete walls.
Our seats were on row AA so when we walked in I headed to the row just behind row Z, however it turned out that row AA was the very front row,( in fact our seats were just in front of Ralf).
The acoustics in the hall were the best I've ever heard. There was not 1 flat surface, which meant that the sound was never bounced off a surface back at you. To top that, Kraftwerk had spent a few days making sure that the audio and video were perfectly set up.
They played all of the tracks from Autobahn2 and also some of their other greatest tracks, including one of my favourites Tour de France3.
20 September 2017 - Hammersmith Apollo
We (Adrian, James & I) went to this gig and really there's only one way to describe this gig: WOW!
The lighting was immense, in fact they used the walls as well as the stage. They had 3 video screens behind each other so they could create 3D visuals. They had smoke machines pumping smoke out the of upstairs and over the balcony.
In the second half of the show they came out behind the first video screen.
The music was monumental and emotional.
Adrian, started filming one of the tracks4, thinking he'd film 30 seconds and ended up filming over 6 mins.
Prophets of Rage
13 June 2017 - Brixton Academy
We (Nick, Jamie & I) went to this gig, based on the reaction of Ian & Michala when they went to see them in New York in September 2016.
The Prophets of Rage5 are a super group made up of members of Rage Against the Machine6, Public Enemy7 & Cypress Hill8.
I thought I was too old for mosh pits it turns out not, with the help of Jamie working as human barrier for me.
The energy was intense and powerful - a stupendous gig.
The encore was a cover of Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name Of. Jamie filmed this9.
29 September 2017 - Brixton Academy
I went to this with Adrian.This was a great gig. We met Adam there too who dropped his phone in the mosh pit and then got it back later in the evening as someone had handed it in.
The lighting was insane! Everything lit up - the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the speakers, the equipment - everything except Justice.
The lighting was so bright that the video I filmed10 had to be shot through my sun glasses.
Other highlights this year:
- The Orb & Friends - Festival Hall - 21 April 2017 - Set 1, Set 2
- Underworld - Alexandra Palace11 - 17 March 2017 - Setlist
- Radiophonic Workshop - Jazz Cafe12 - 22 March 2017 - Setlist
- Leftfield playing Leftism - Brixton Academy - 12 May 2017 - Setlist
- Public Service Broadcasting - Hammersmith Apollo13 - 26 October 2017 - Setlist
- Chase & Status - Brixton Academy - 1 November 2017 - Setlist
- Orbital - Hammersmith Apollo - 2 December 2017 - Setlist
I haven't been clubbing many times this year, but during those times I've discovered two amazing new venues, Oval Space & Printworks.
11 February 2017 - Oval Space
When we first arrived I was really dubious about this; we could hear nothing at all. As we checked our coats into the cloakroom and worked our way upstairs to the main room, we could still hear nothing. As soon as we opened the door, there was the bass! It had been hiding behind the amazing soundproofing.
The wall on the right was entirely glazed and quadruple glazed at that. This had the effect that when you looked out and saw the terraced housing, the lighting reflected in the window looked like aliens were invading Bethnal Green.
Laurent Garnier was supported by French Techno DJ, DJ Deep. Just like Laurent Garnier he was banging - unless you were Issac Small!
Issac Small, took great exception to DJ Deep playing a "Banging Set" and he'd gone round the venue and defacing all the posters explaining:
Warm up DJs, should Warm Up not play a Banging set to distract from the main act Issac Smalls
7 April 2017 - Printworks
Printworks is another incredible venue, it used to house the printing presses of the Evening Standard.
The lighting rig is amazing.
4 November 2017 - XOYO
Greg is just awesome, love the guy, here's his set from this night. There were a great many of us who went and we had our own private podium next to the DJ booth.
This year I did quite a few festivals:
25-28 May 2017 - Lineup
Bearded Theory as always was fantastic - this one more so with it being the 10th anniversary
On the Thursday, they had the same lineup as the first Bearded Theory - Dreadzone15 closed the Pallet stage.
On Friday, Megadog took over the Magical Sounds Dance tent. I pretty much stayed in there all day - Banco de Gaia16 were brilliant
Saturday I spent most of the day in the Dance tent, again, featuring Youth, Gaudi and System 7, I also loved The Fall on the Woodlands stage. During the System 717, set Miquette became unwell and it turned into a Steve Hillage Jam session, BRILLIANT!
Sunday was a fun fun day featuring Sugar Hill Gang & Furious Five, Kismet & Reverend & the Makers.
3 June 2017 - Lineup
Field day was, originally, about 1 thing and 1 thing alone Aphex Twin - That was until I learnt about Loyle Carner.
Loyle Carner was brilliant, as he has been all the times i've seen him this year.
Aphex Twin, well what can I say about this? Firstly they'd built a Tent (when I say tent I mean aircraft Hanger) so that he could play in the dark for the videos & lasers.
When we got in to the tent, it was rammed - easily 20,000 people. The 1st 10 minutes were just white noise, that cleared out a few hipsters! The gig was streamed live18. Photo by Me
21-25 June 2017 - Lineup
Glastonbury, as always ,was excellent fun.
The Orb Glade takeover - Thursday 18:00-02:50 Glade Stage, featuring The Orb, Steve Hillage, Gaudi and many others
Sleaford Mods - Friday 21:00 - Park Stage Introduced by Lord Buckethead19
Jeremy Corbyn - Saturday 16:00 - Pyramid Stage
Loyle Carner - Saturday 16:50 - John Peel Stage
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Sunday 14:30 - John Peel Stage
System 7 - Sunday 22:55 - Glade Stage
28 July 2017 - Lineup
I only went for 1 day; Orbital Day.
The bonus was, Kate Tempest also played that day and, boy, was she amazing20!
Orbital were the reason I went in the first place - they were good (not great but good) - mostly due to the crowd.
I shan't go to Standon Calling again, for me there were too many teenagers and it just wasn't for me.
9-12 August 2017 - Lineup
I'm not telling you about Boomtown. All you need to know is you need to experience it for yourself.
Beyond the Tracks
15 September 2017 - Lineup
We only went for 1 day, the Friday. Leftfield supporting Orbital. Top top night!
While there have been many great albums this year, 4 have blown me away they are:
Loyle Carner - Yesterday's Gone
Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley
Unkle - The Road pt 1
Chase & Status - Tribes
Bunch of Kunst - Sleaford Mods
I found this one of the best music documentaries I've ever seen. If you get the chance go see it.
Lunar Orbit - A film about The Orb
Fascinating insight into the life of Alex & Thomas.
1 Kulminator rated as the best pub in the world
2 Autobahn the Album - Wikipedia
3 Tour De France by Kraftwerk live in Antwerp
4 Sigur Ros live at Hammersmith Apollo filmed by Adrian
5 Prophets of Rage - Wikipedia
6 Rage Against the Machine - Wikipedia
7 Public Enemy - Wikipedia
8 Cypress Hill - Wikipedia
9 Killing in the Name of by Prophets of Rage live at Brixton Academy, fillmed by Jamie
10 Justice live at Brixton Academy, filmed by me
11 Underworld Scribbler live at Alexandra Palace, filmed by Me
12 Radiophonic Workshop Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, filmed by Me
13 Public Service Broadcasting playing Gagarin live at Hammersmith Apollo
14 Booka Shade live at Printworks, video by Me
15 Dreadzone live at Bearded Theory 2017
16 Banco de Gaia live at Bearded Theory 2017
17 System 7 live at Bearded Theory, video by Me
18 Aphex Twin Field Day set list
19 Lord Buckethead introducing the Sleaford Mods, video by Me
20 Kate Tempest live at Standon Calling, video by Me