A few weeks ago now, I went to see Tom Odell. Live.
And my word, he was amazing. His voice is like liquid gold; it’s haunting and powerful and beautiful all at the same time.
Oli actually proposed to me with one of our favourite Tom Odell songs,‘Grow Old with Me’, playing in the background. And I plan to walk down the aisle to the same song in a few months time; the lyrics so meaningful and lovely (with the exception of some subtly explicit ones towards the end of the song, cheeky Tom, cheeky!) and so when Tom played it live that night, it was a pretty special and exciting moment. A highlight you could say.
But aside from clapping my hands and grinning so widely that my ears hurt and jumping a little from one foot to the other during that song, I behaved myself at the gig. I was very aware of myself and the limited space around me.
Unlike some people. Or a group of three girls in particular.
They annoyed me so much so that I’ve decided to write this little list, illustrating a few of my issues with gigs. So let’s start with numero one:
1. Other people. As in people you do not know, aka the general public.
Let’s start with my main bugbear of the Gig experience; other people. I like to think that I’m quite British; I’m polite, I am an excellent queuer, I move my bag off of empty train chairs if someone requires the seat. I am spatially aware.
Sadly this was not the case for three extremely annoying over excited girls that I had the misfortune of standing next too for the duration of the sets of the two warm up acts.
I’m getting annoyed just remembering them.
They kept dancing. Vigorously. All over me.
Ok, well maybe I’m exaggerating slightly but they kept invading my personal space with what I’m assuming they thought were extremely sexy, enticing moves; which couldn’t have been futher from the truth.
I was elbowed about eleven times and that was ten times too many. And at several points the girl nearest to me, was flicking her hair around so much that it actually landed inside my half empty cup of cider and sat there while she wiggled her hips about. They literally had no comprehension of how annoying they were being and I think this was mainly due to the fact that they kept going to and from the bar (just shy of fifty million times). So they were pretty full of alcohol. How they afforded to keep buying these drinks I have no idea. The beverages were about £6 a pop, which leads me on nicely to issue number two.
2. The extortionate drink prices. Even the J20’s are a rip off.
The drinks are extortionate. I handed over the best part of twelve quid for two mediocre drinks. I felt like crying. I almost did.
The thing is with drinks in plastic cups is, they start of icy cold and refreshing but then end up warm and flat, from the warmth emanating from your palms as you cradle it between intermittent sips. And then you have those people around you, who are rendered incapable of successfully holding a drink without throwing half of it down you. The dancing trio next to me, had a habit of dancing around with their drink cups held aloft, the sticky liquid inside splashing around and threatening to jump out and coat my shoes. I was far from amused, let me assure you.
3. The lack of seats, chairs, pieces of furniture to rest your weary bottom on.
I’ve never been a fan of standing. I love a good seat, sitting down is underrated when at a gig. I completely understand that it’s a lot cooler and sort of trendy to stand at these sorts of events but at least with a seat there’s no question of spacial boundaries. No one is going to encroach on your space, or your chair at least. But when you’re standing up, all sorts of invasions can take place. The rules are unclear, blurred a little.
And your legs ache. Like really ache. And your feet too. I found myself shifting from side to side, trying to relive each foot of my body weight as much as I could without giving into sitting cross-legged on the floor.
4. The where-the-hell-should-I-put-my-bag-and-coat conundrum.
I don’t particularly relish leaving my belongings in a cloakroom. Like ever. I like to keep my possessions with me, where I can see them and make sure that no one tampers with them or removes anything. It’s just the way I am.
But I didn’t even see a cloakroom at the Brixton Academy for handing over my possessions to be a viable option. And at a winter gig, it’s inevitable that you’ll be wearing a coat and possibly even a hat and scarf when you attend it, unless of course you wish to freeze on the way home. You’ll probably have a bag slung over your shoulder too, you know, with your money in it and your phone, a hairbrush maybe, or a novel, some hand cream, your lip balm; I don’t know, a sanitary towel or two. You’ve got to be prepared.
But where do you put it all, do you stand, straddling your pile of winter plumage and possessions for the whole duration of the evening?
And then you’ve got people leaving throughout the gig, either to go to the bar or the toilet or to get some fresh air, and you have to keep flipping on your iPhone torch to illuminate the stuff you’re standing around, so they don’t tread on it or trip over. Utterly exhausting.
5. I didn’t come here for the cocky warm up act. Where’s the main event at? What’s the delay?
The warm up act for Tom Odell was a guy called The Beach and some other band that I can’t remember because they really were not my cup of tea. Not at all. And as good as The Beach was and as important it is for these smaller bands to have the exposure on a tour with someone like Tom Odell, I actually hate warm up acts. I don’t need warming up, I just want to see the main event. NOW!
Let’s just get on with it, eh!
6. The getting-home, catching the last train dilemma.
At Tom Odell, I had to be that person. The person who insists on leaving the gig early, mid song so that they can get out and on their way home, ahead of the massive rush when the concert officially finishes.
I can’t be doing with crowds, I can’t be doing with people pushing me, I can’t be doing with trying to squeeze onto an oversubscribed tube. I also can’t be doing with the stress of racing through London to catch the very last train home and the prospect of missing it is a stressful scenario that I could live without.
So I insisted that Oli and I leave the gig before it had officially finished. Tom Odell had walked on and off the stage a few times and we’d all cheered and clapped profusely, the whole gig was pretty much done but there had been confetti sporadically drifting down throughout his performance and we’d yet to see the culmination of that. So we missed a bit, we missed the confetti. And as much as I love a confetti finale, I love catching the last train home a little bit more.
Gigs should finish a touch earlier and then this dilemma wouldn’t exist.
So there you have it, my many issue with gigs. Truth be told I loved seeing Tom Odell live,, it’s added a whole new dimension to his new album and Oli and I seem to have it on permanent repeat on every car journey at the moment. It’s that good.
I think, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m growing up to be a very grumpy old woman.
And I’m fine with that.