Those following the blog will know for sure that these two artists are pretty much part of my musical heroes’ top league and the idea here is probably not to praise them again…although they probably deserve it both.
Let’s start with Greg Dulli first, leader of the Afghan Whigs and who was back to London around a year after the show at the Koko. I was eagerly waiting for this show as I had read Greg was covering all periods of his prolific career, either with his above-mentioned main band but also with the work he did solo or through the multiple other projects like the Twilight Singers for instance.
But to me the real amazing surprise was this hall based in Islington called the Union Chapel where you really feel being in a church. Drinks and food are actually permitted on a separate floor whilst the actual chapel hall is strictly a free-alcohol place, which makes sense really. The stage is beautiful, particularly the amazing escutcheon which is on top of the musicians.
After a very good and interesting opening act by the Velvet Underground– influenced Italian artist Manuel Agnelli, Greg’s show was a good as expected. His voice is still on top form and bearing this mix of typical white-grungey sound and Tamla Motown black soul influence.
The most moving and beautiful moment of the show was probably the acoustic cover he did on his own for the encore : a very stripped and to the bone version of “Modern Love” by David Bowie. Setlist here.
Press forward and here we are two days later in a totally different environment with good ol’ Bob Mould. For those lost on the internet and reading this review by chance, first be welcome and then be aware that Bob was the driving force behind the seminal bands Husker Du and Sugar.
After a few years in the wilderness and/or busy doing something else (please refer to his great autobiography reviewed here), Bob Mould has been back on a powerful trio mode for a few years now. The element of surprise has probably vanished a little but one has to recognize that the man is probably in one of his best periods ever, either in terms of quality of his new songs or of the level of energy he puts behind every show.
The show was an opportunity to discover new songs from the now available “Patch the Sky” excellent LP and as usual he played also lots of tracks from all periods of his career…which means the setlist was terrific as usual.
…but what made the show really special to me was the place where it occurred. Held inside the aisles of the O2 Arena, Brooklyn Bowl…is actually a place for bowling players! It means that there were indeed bowl players during the show, enjoying their game and the show. Quite funny. I took the opportunity of this unique lay-out to watch the show from one side of the stage, giving really the impression of being backstage. Something I recommend as it give a totally different perspective.
See you soon for other weird places ; a swimming pool next ?