NME put out their list of their top 50 albums of the year several weeks ago disappointingly: there goes one of the things I (still) buy the Christmas NME for. The good news, if you care about things such as knowing who the NME thinks are cool (which I definitely don’t) is that I had heard of most bands in it.
I even own a fifth of them. That’s right: 20%. Which could seem like not a lot, really. But what if you factor in that no-one is going to like everything. And that having them all might be weird. Having much more than 20% would just be strange. Admittedly I’ve only properly listened to about half of them. So, I’ve probably heard between 7-9% of the NME’s album of the year. I am still cool. I am still cool. I am inescapably not cool. And I never was.
Let’s just say that in what remains I will try and have a listen to The Savages and 1975 and some other albums I can’t even remember buying and not listening to.
Oh I did really like Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of The City. That means they join a limited group of acts of whom I don’t have low opinions of one of the first three albums. I am sure they will be thrilled.
The NME’s number one album and my number one album are the same, mind. Is that because they pander to the mainstream of indie and I am depressingly mainstream indie? Very probably (definitely). Anyway AM by Arctic Monkeys was definitely and without question the best LP I heard this year, showing an amazing band at the height of its powers.
I saw Arctic Monkeys live this year. They have got even better live as well as on record. Exciting time for people who love them. I love them – it is an exciting time.
Who else have I seen this year? I’ve seen Bastille. See I am cool. Bastille must be cool because they were all over Radio 1 this year…fuck. I only saw them by accident, supporting Two Door Cinema Club. And that was only so my partner had someone to go with. I thought they were both very good though, ssssh don’t tell anyone.
Unsurprisingly I saw Jake Bugg twice this year. You kind of had to if you were in your thirties and wanted it to be known that you were still listening to hip young kids (trying to sound like people from the 60s/90s/same thing).
After somewhat of an absence (me not seeing them, not them not playing live) I saw I am Kloot in February. I made the mistake of going with a friend who has also seen them many times and we hadn’t been for a beer for a while. So we went for a drink 5 hours before the start of the gig and were more interested in the bar than the stage by the time of the gig. Kind of appropriate to be a fuck up pisshead at an I Am Kloot gig.
It was statistically likely that I would see The Charlatans/Tim Burgess at least once this year. So that I saw him once and them once was not an anomaly. I enjoyed both as I really liked his second solo album of last year. There was little doubt that seeing them at Delamere Forest was a more enjoyable experience. As seeing one of one’s favourite bands do a greatest hits set in the sun normally is.
There is a recurring theme of being in one’s mid-3os and clichés of this age group. The thing is I am exactly in the middle of the ages classed as the thirties (30 to 39). And clichés are often clichés because they are true.
Other notable gigs: Jesca Hoop (nearly melted, not emotionally – though I did enjoy it, it was more to do with temperature/size of room/size of crowd); Mick Head (love the scouse bastard – another sweat fest); Albert Hammond Junior (waited a long time to see him live, turns out some things are worth waiting for).
Undeniably, though I might deny it if the fancy took me, the live music experience of the year for me was The Boss. I got the tickets just over 12 months ago. I spent the next few weeks occasionally thinking that I would die before the June concert in Coventry. And it’s a bloody good job that I didn’t die as it was fucking amazing.
He played for THREE HOURS. HE IS SIXTY-THREE. There was no half-hour where he caught his breath with an acoustic set. There was just three hours where he running around doing brilliant songs. It fucking rocked.
You know how often I get home from a concert and immediately investigate seeing the person again within days? Never. Well. Probably have done it before. But I did cost going to see Springsteen in London a few days later. It would have cost quite a bit and I didn’t do it. But I spent 45 minutes on ticket sites and costing up trains and hotels. I’m just saying that’s a good concert.