BLUE BLUE ELECTRIC BLUE, THAT’S THE COLOUR OF MY ROOM.
On 28th September we staged an enormous gig at World Headquarters in Newcastle. I had been organising this since February and put a lot of my own money into it, so it simply had to go well. In most part it did and I’m very pleased I did it.
"I'm in this business for too long to be half-hearted about anything." – Lou Reed
The Bowie Experience are a David Bowie tribute band from that Bournemouth in the South of England. They are actually the best Bowie tribute in the world. I know this because I had put the band on in the same venue a couple of years ago and beforehand carried out some extensive research into Bowie tribute acts. We got the band all the way from Bournemouth because they are the best. That’s really all there was to it.
I supported with invisible band, Meiosis. It’s really nice playing a bigger venue (it holds about 300 and I am used to performing in pubs) to a crowd who are up for having a lovely night out. I played a handful of songs from my new album, Historical Depictions of the Future, a couple of old ones and a cover of Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love. I wanted to play a Bowie related song that was not Mr Bowie himself as the band would already have that kind of thing covered. I thought one that came from an album produced by Bowie and also featured his wonderful backing vocals would do the trick, so Satellite of Love it was to be. It is also a great song of course and we had a little (not a lot but enough of a) crowd sing-a-long at the end.
Here is some evidence:
MEIOSIS – CHEWING GUM WRAPPED AROUND MY HEART, LIVE AT WHQ
"These are really terribly rough times, and we really should try to be as nice to each other as possible." – Lou Reed
World Headquarters is almost a perfect venue for me to work with. It is one of few independent venues left in Newcastle and the history of how it came about is quite remarkably interesting. Their ethos and stance on all things, musically and culturally, in this world is pretty much in tune with any other liberal minded person and I quite clearly adore the place. You can find out more about the club, and I urge you to read the very comprehensive history section, on their website www.welovewhq.com
The downside of putting bands on at WHQ is that it takes a lot of work to set the room up for a live performance (it’s set up incredibly well for DJs), so I have to hire a huge PA for it to work, which costs a bit more than I’m used to. We also hire lights and it takes about 4 or 5 hours to get the place ready for a band. I now actually can’t believe I used to put a local band night on there once a month with around 7 bands on the bill. We’d play until 1 or 2am sometimes and I just can’t remember where I found the organisational skills, time or energy needed to do that! I think perhaps the best thing about World Headquarters is that all the staff are really friendly and helpful, along with the manager having experience with and the empathy for being a promoter.
"I tried to give up drugs by drinking." – Lou Reed
Soon came 9.30 and time for The Bowie Experience to take to the stage. On came Laurence dressed in full Ziggy Stardust circa 1972 regalia complete with a wonderful Japanese style cape (I think it’s correct to refer to it as a cape, I could research it but I don’t think it’s worth the hassle as if I referred to it by it’s proper name, I’d have still have to open some brackets and let you know that it’s like a big cape). They opened with Ziggy Stardust and quickly rattled though storming versions of Bowie’s early to mid 1970s back catalogue. Aladdin Saine, Lady Grinning Soul, Changes, Oh! You Pretty Things, John, I’m Only Dancing, Starman, Life On Mars?, Sorrow & The Jean Genie are some examples I can remember from the top of my head. An hour and at least one costume change later I felt we’d been transported back to 1974 and it was already time to move on.
Here is some evidence:
THE BOWIE EXPERIENCE – SOUL LOVE/MOONAGE DAYDREAM/SPACE ODDITY, LIVE AT WHQ
After a 20 minute break and a serious (moonlight style) costume change the band returned with their 2nd set. Station to Station set the parameters before Young Americans- I forgot Laurence can play saxophone too! Sound & Vision, China Girl, Fame, Modern Love, Ashes To Ashes, a great version of Let’s Dance and a personal favourite of mine, Afraid, from 2002’s album Heathen. We were also treated to a couple of songs from the new Bowie album, namely Valentines Day & The Stars Are Out Tonight before the contractually obligated awesome version of Heroes (I think this is my favourite song ever written anywhere by anybody) and they closed with a lovely rendition of All the Young Dudes, to which I believe every single person present sang along to very loudly, happily and with the muster of an audience who had paid 8 quid to see a Bowie tribute band and got a million quid’s worth of Bowiesque satisfaction.
Here is some evidence:
THE BOWIE EXPERIENCE – THE STARS ARE OUT TONIGHT, LIVE AT WHQ
THE BOWIE EXPERIENCE – FASHION, LIVE AT WHQ
So there we had it. We ended at a bit to midnight, I retired to WHQ’s Uplifting Groove night upstairs, the band drove through the night all the way back to Bournemouth and a fantastic night was had by all who attended.
This is the second time I have put this band on in Newcastle. Both times they have been truly entertaining and professional, easy to work with and great company. I’d very much like to do it again sometime and the band are well up for travelling back to perform here soon but there is a small stumbling point in that plan and that I’m afraid that is YOU! I lost too much money this time for me to be keen to do it again. If you have a solution to this dilemma then please do get in touch because I’d love to hear about it. The venue is perfect, the band is awesome and the promoter is … well it’s me so perhaps I’m the one who needs to be taken out of the equation to make it more profitable.
"I think that everything happens for a reason, everything happens when it's going to happen." – Lou Reed
I have hung up my promoter’s hat for a while now. I’m better at being a creative – an artist, a performer – and I should probably concentrate on being those things a little more and being better at them than I am now. You know what they say about a jack of all trades?
Having said that, I’m promoting a Meiosis gig at The Central in Gateshead on Friday 9th November!
Our old friends Psy of the Dead and Ian Courtney will be playing along with a man we discovered through doing the Friendly Atmosphere Newcastle Music Scene Podcast, who has mysteriously entitled his act Euan Lynn. It’s £4 entry or we are running a special offer if you want to buy your tickets in advance where you can get in for just £2 (£2!!!! I must be mad!) from www.wegottickets.com/event/245327 Meiosis will headline as I am second loudest! Headlining one of my own gigs is something I haven’t had the confidence to do for a long while so it’d be great if you could come down and give me some support. In return, I’ll try and give you a good show. I have been rehearsing some old tunes from back in the 1999/2000 Meiosis days and I’ll chuck in a couple of covers too. Will anybody mind if I perform two Lou Reed songs?
There is a Facebook event page here:
And if you don’t like Facebook there is a webpage here about the event:
I’ll see you there!
"I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine." – Lou Reed
MEIOSIS – SATELLITE OF LOVE, LIVE AT WHQ
"One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz." – Lou Reed
Dedicated to the memory of the world renowned musical genius, Lou Reed 1942 - 2013