Sunday, 20 May 2007

It's a shame about rain... I mean, Ray

Koko disco ball
Originally uploaded by patfoz.
Months into my London sojourn, and I still hadn't really enjoyed any of the things it's famous for, such as Monopoly pub crawls (forced absence due to poverty), art galleries and other la-di-da cultural things (I ran through a few during the timeout scavenger hunt), and live music.

Well actually, I had been dragged along to see DJ Yoda at Koko a while back. I had high hopes that he would be mixing songs so as to put the verbs at the end each sentence in the lyrics, but was sadly disappointed. He wasn't even green. The only high point among the evening of deafeningly loud cheese-mixes was one involving the theme music to super mario bros. You know the tune I'm talking about. That had me excited for a while, but again I was let down. He missed the 1 up on the third screen and didn't even make it to level 2...

But I digress. The night out did leave me impressed with the venue - it's an old theatre now converted for gigs, with the biggest damn disco ball that was ever conceived in a Boy George nightmare (the pic above doesn't do it justice) . Ever since that night I kept noticing review of all the other fantastic evenings at Koko that I would have rather been at... Travis had their new tour/comeback gig there that was a sing-along love-in for all involved... Prince played a last minute quasi-secret gig there not long ago... now finally I've been to one.

You'll all remember Evan Dando as the long-haired slacker at the front of the Lemonheads, the band that had a hit with a cover of 'Mrs Robinson' - came out during our childhoods about the same time as Blind Melon had their hit with 'No Rain' with the fat girl in the bumblebee tutu and another long haired slacker as a front man - you know the one I'm talking about. For some reason I always had the two confused. I think it was the hair. Anyway, Blind Melon went nowhere, Kurt Cobain blew his brains out (possibly the greatest publicity stunt ever), and Evan Dando descended into a world of drugs and meaningless sex (I assume), only to come back stronger than ever. With slightly shorter hair. It's still long enough to cover his face so you can't see his features on stage, but it shows he's cleaned up his act. Just a little anyway.

The crowd in attendance was an odd mix: 30 and 40 year olds who must have been fans of the original Lemonheads incarnation, muttering things about knowing them 'before they were big' while queueing at the bar, as well as pathetic bandwagon fans like myself who only got into them 15 years ago. Since then, Dando went solo, went a little acoustic and a little bit country, but when the band came out and ripped through 'confetti', it was clear the band version was back to being a little bit rock and roll. They stormed through the hits from their back catalogue, and I sang along like a complete tosser (my heartfelt apologies to those people who were in earshot). Dando kicked the band off to have his little acoustic/country moment, and I kept singing along like a complete tosser (apologies again). He left the stage, clearly too early for the show to be over, and although we all knew there would be an encore, everyone clapped and chanted for more like they meant it. The full band came back out, played some more great songs and eventually left. But, and this bit is important, without having played 'Mrs. Robinson'!!!

I was sure that there must be another encore planned, despite the fact the house lights were up and the 'get out of the venue now' music was playing on the PA. I was determined to stick it out to the bitter end, with absolute faith that eventually they'd come back out and play for the hardcore few that stayed. Sadly, it wasn't to be. My gig companions wanted to go home, so I left Koko, stumbled out into a rainy London night and onto a crowded tube home.

Ever since, I've been avoiding all street press, for fear that there'll be a review mentioning the amazing second encore played to only a dozen or so spectators, and although I loved every minute of the show I saw, if there was a minute that I didn't get to see, I'll be ever so pissed. The problem with having a great time is knowing that sooner or later, usually sooner, it all has to end.

But it's all ok now. I looked up the line-up for Glastonbury, and the Proclaimers are going to be there. I'm going to start apologising for my singing now (anyone who's seen me at karaoke will know why)... I'm sorry. Truly.


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