I stand in the centre of a dark room, months since was last in a position like this, a London indiepop show. The Loves to the right, Monster Bobby some way behind, Iain HDIF to my left and Mr Solo on stage. I am all alone in a room full of (facebook) friends, for I am shy and that's just fine.
Its The Loves's Rocknroll Circus thing, music and entertainment on stage.
I was watching the film Almost Famous yesterday for the first time, it didn't quite reinvigorate my belief in music, its been too long, but there was a little sparkle of was there then. Not 1979 in the film, but music scenes from the mid-90's until five months ago. The two hundred or so people in Jamm in Brixton don't quite work out the same as the stadiumfuls of people Stillwater played to. Besides, the fans in the film were half the age of the fans here tonight. The between band DJs put on Pulp's Babies, from sixteen years ago.
It was a bit of a rush job getting here, I debated whether to take public transport or drive for too long, and then spent too long driving here, so I missed the first few acts and I'm limited to one half pint of beer, when my shyness calls for gallons on booze to be overcome.
The first band I caught were King and The Olive Fields, I must have missed their better tracks cos it was a bit dreary for the last song or two, although for a few brief moments they sounded like the often rumoured Johnny Cash Joy Division covers band Johnny Division.
Next up was Mr Solo, former frontman of David Devant and His Spirit Wife. He has his finger on the pulse and his banter's good, but for all the theatrics I was rather disappointed that after all the faffing about setting up a projector, he only did one song.
On stage right now The Mai 68's are asking for help with the Guardian crossword between Dadaist songs. They're an art school ideal, even more so as a girl stood next to me at the front of the crowd is playing scrabble on her iPhone.
I preferred them when the vocals were lower down in the mix and you had to strain against the fuzz guitar to make out the lyrics. Sure there was a nice wigout at the end when the guitar let loose and noodled his ass off. But I've been following them for years since the Betsey Trotwood basement gig with Town Bike, when it was all smokey. Sure the glugging of pints of red wine is the same, and Indietracks 2008 was a high point, but the years of practising and playing have polished the grit from their set and I think its lost something for that.
To my right some blonde girl has the same camera as me and is videoing half the set, if she ever gets it on YouTube you can check out what I mean.
Imagine, if you will the song 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' by The Smiths, now imagine someone tap-dancing to it. It was a wonderful thing to behold, until the CD cut out halfway through, the dancer soldiered on to the crowd trying to sing along half remembered lyrics, but it was a one-joke act. 'How Soon Is Now?' would have been wonderful.
BobUnderexposed and KittenPainting are not here, according to Songkick they've seen The Loves more often than anyone else, I've seen them lots of times too, but maybe I can catch up.
The Loves' line-up may have changed since last time I saw them, they've swallowed half of Pocketbooks and and half of Arthur and Martha too. Alice on keyboards is looking mighty fine this evening, apart from Simon Loves' bow-tie no one else has really made an effort.
They're still playing 'Little Girl Blues', it still sounds great, but it was part of their original John Peel set a long time ago. I always preferred 'She'll Break Your Heart', the original version too before they cranked up the drums in '07.
There have been a few healthy changes of sound over the years and their smokey blues track 'Can you feel my heart beat (Boom Boom)' is monster track, should be available for download from their MySpace soon, but they've only cranked it up to eight, there's still three steps to go.
Crikey, that girl is still playing Scrabble on her iPhone. Who goes to a gig and stands right at the front and then plays Scrabble? Really? I mean Scrabble Sunday at The Hangover Lounge is all right, but this is Loves gig. Admittedly people are leaving, the place isn't as crowded as it was when I first came in, which is a shame, but understandable, its a school night, work tomorrow and it was a free gig.
Well, no work for me, just stabbing away at flickr photies. Here's a slideshow of all the gig photies I've taken in London since 2007. Its thrilling stuff, not quite a snapshot of the indiepop scene, more of a running trawl.