Paul Goodwin

Grasping to Stay in the Present

31 Jan 2017

I made a relatively last minute decision to see The Hotelier the other night (one off The List already!). I cycled like the wind to make the 6.45 train and, unbelievably, found a space on the first floor of the new station cycle park. I'd not been to The Dome in Tufnell Park before, but it's in the same building (and a similar feel) as The Boston Music Hall where I saw Frightened Rabbit at about the same time last year. I particularly enjoy the shocking state of the ceiling. I was completely obsessed with Goodness for a month or two last year but I'd not been entirely convinced about seeing them live because of a few youtube videos from a few years ago where they didn't sound that great.

The support act, Crying were a really good support act. Not bad, but really not that good. They reminded me of the closing credits of an early 90's teen movie - lots of (programmed) synths and guitar solos with that quite processed 80s sound. It was a bit annoying at first but I sort of came round to them. The drummer was inconspicuously awesome - it can't have been easy keeping perfectly in time with the pretty complicated backing tracks.

I needn't have worried about how the band sounded. They had some technical problems with one of the guitars for the first song but carried on regardless and by the second song it was as live shows should be - like the albums but bigger and more intense. Everything they did from Goodness sounded lovely but the highlight for me was Your Deep Rest. A bit emo I know, but that bit where the drums go half speed is huge. It's so hard to get to things these days that I have quite a lot invested in each one. Most things have lived up recently and this was no exception. I also went to the Grill House for chips and meat and garlic mayonnaise on the way home for the first time in half a decade. That also lived up.

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Resolutions

9 Jan 2017

Herewith my New Years Gradings and Resolutions. 

Bands I've seen this year: John Moreland (alright), Jason Isbell (really great), The Wave Pictures (not the best I've seen them), Muncie Girls (good), Tellison (the best I've seen them and I've loved every time I've seen them), Frightened Rabbit (x2) (really great), Caveman (pretty shit), Bruce Springsteen (a bit disappointing), The Smith Street Band (not the slightest bit disappointing), Chris T-T (brilliant as always).

Last year's resolutions:

  • Do more than 5 solo performances of some sort. YES - 7 (seven!). All in Cambridge. First full band gig since 2012.
  • Release the record and try to at least 3/4-arse promoting it. YES, I actually worked quite hard trying to promote it and all the reviews were good. Nobody gave a shit obviously.
  • Write on here at least once every 2 months and if I do/go to gigs. FAIL. Lots of gigs I missed
  • Cross 2 more bands off The List.  YES - Jason Isbell, Frightened Rabbit, The Smith Street Band, Bruce Springsteen.
  • Write a song. I managed one last year. YES. I think it's really good.

This year then. Pretty similar.

  • Take bags to the supermarket so I don't have to pay 5p every time.
  • Go to a Cambridge game.
  • Do more than 5 solo performances of some sort.
  • Release an ep. I have the songs. Can't be arsed to promote it.. 
  • Write on here at least once every 2 months and if I do/go to gigs.
  • Cross 2 more bands off The List 
  • Write a song. Not got anything on the go at the moment.

‚ÄčThe List: The Gin Blossoms, The Hotelier, Modern Baseball, Brand New, Say Anything, King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players, The Wrens, Waxahatchee, La Dispute, Bad Books. I've crossed more off than I've found this year.

Quite a good year really. I didn't play that much but on the whole I feel I'm better than I've ever been. I'm very pleased I got the album out and got a little bit of press and stuff, even if nobody bought it. I'm really proud of it which has to be the main thing. I can listen to it happily, and not quite believe I wrote the songs. I'd like to write more. Life.

Trying to Escape From Europe

6 Dec 2016

I played at The Blue Moon the other night supporting Model Village and Owl and Mouse. I finished this year's new song in between getting home from work and leaving for soundcheck (if I could write that many lines even every month I'd have a lot more than a song a year. Nothing like a deadline etc...) and so was determined to play it. I tried to run through it in my head on the walk there, but the walk there is only about 5 minutes and someone was randomly following me round the back streets with "The Final Countdown" playing very loudly on their car stereo, which made it very hard to concentrate. For reasons that made sense at the time I ended up playing it last, and couldn't remember the first line of the bridge so I ended up finishing the whole set with "I can't remember any more, so I guess that's me!". Stupid Europe. The first half sounded pretty great/upsetting to me though, I think it's a good one. It's called "There are no Happy Endings" as I disappear into a self-referential black hole. I also played "Romantic False Lead" and forgot half of that. On the whole though I think I'm better than I've ever been. It's a shame I'm not playing much.

Setlist: The Ghost of Paddy's Night Past, Watertight, This Place is Dead Anyway, Muscle Memory, So Finally a Love Song, Romantic False Lead, Heat Death, There Are No Happy Endings. 

I enjoyed the other bands a lot. Owl and Mouse were really nice and bleepy though it seemed like quite a short set. I could've happily listened for a lot longer. I'd definitely see them again if they came back and I could get out ever! I used to see Model Village a lot back in the day, but hadn't for ages and they sounded really full and tight. The Blue Moon is a good venue, even without the stage that it used to have when it was The Man on the Moon. Fun fact - it was the first place I played in public. It was also the first place I played Watertight in public (different occasion obviously).

Rought Cut Mystery Train

25 Sep 2016

 

I played probably my best set in a couple of years last night at The Cornerhouse (if I do say so myself). I guess I've played there a lot so I should feel comfortable, but I felt really comfortable. Apart from in Romantic False Lead. I even took the piss out of someone talking on their phone, which I haven't done for ages. Maybe it's because I had a beer and I haven't been for my last few gigs. Probably to be honest. Setlist: The Ghost of Paddy's Night Past, Muscle Memory, Romantic False Lead, 60 Miles with a Slow Puncture, Heat Death, Black Coffee and Bromide, Watertight. There's a generous review of my bit here.

I also really enjoyed the two bands on after me, Mystery Train and Rough Cut Kings. Mystery Train did a kind of Bellamy Brothers/Stealer's Wheel thing very well and Rough Cut Kings were even more country and just as fun despite featuring both a ukulele and a 12 string guitar, the two worst instruments other than the cajon. It was nice to see my sometime (and current) bass player and ex-Logan colleague Jody continue to plough his own golden-kazoo shaped furrow. Check them out here.

The Northern Lights in the Neon Tube has been out for a week now, and people have been generally very nice about it. Nobody's buying it obviously, but two of the songs have a single little bar lit up on Spotify which is some kind of validation.

 

It's alright, I understand

17 Jul 2016

Holy shit, another band off The List! Dropping like flies. This time The Smith Street Band at The Underworld in Camden, which I'd somehow never been to before (despite a close call with Ugly Kid Joe last year). I nearly didn't see much of this one either - I missed the 7.15, and the 7.45 was delayed by 10 minutes because of a phantom trespasser near Hatfield, the taxi driver outside Kings Cross said it'd be 20 quid to get to Camden Town, which I don't believe for a second - it just wasn't far enough for him, then it turns out London buses don't take cash, then I tried waving my wallet in the general direction of the oystercard pay thing and it told me there were too many potential cards in there. It worked in the end though and after a brief chat trying to get rid of someone who'd noticed my weirdo magnet (i.e. shirt that someone she knew also has, except in a different colours and with a different pattern) on Camden High Street I made it in at about 9. To my mild horror the sign on the door said I'd missed both support bands (who I had wanted to see really) and 15 minutes of The Smith Street Band but I asked the barman when I got downstairs and he said it was the first song. I can't find the setlist on setlist.fm to confirm that, but I choose to believe it. The one I really didn't want to miss (Surrey Dive) was the second one I saw, so that was a relief, but everything else was brilliant. Wil Wagner was sitting on a chair because he'd hurt his leg a few weeks ago, which seems to be the Rock thing to do at the moment. Going to gigs on your own means it's pretty hard to justify moving forward in the crowd (especially if you're both taller than most people, and the last one to turn up!) and that, combined with the chair meant it was pretty hard to see him from where I was, but I enjoyed it all immensely nonetheless. Even though I'm not totally convinced about how great a lot of the songs are (they're often, as he admits himself in one of them, "songs about singing songs", though presumably that one is a song about singing songs about singing songs), there's a sincerity that's really charming. I've also had three separate spells of being completely addicted to Throw Me In The River. They played everything I'd have put on the setlist if I'd have been choosing it, with the exception of "Calgary Girls", and everything they played was something I was really pleased about. Can't ask for a lot more than that. And it was all done by 10, which meant that I could get an earlier train back than expected. Though I did have to sit on the floor of said train.

Who's The Boss?

1 Jul 2016

I crossed another one off The List! Outrageous! This time Bruce Springsteen. I toyed with the idea of getting a ticket to Wembley when I first heard about it, but standing had sold out within about 2 hours so I didn't bother. Then with about 2 weeks to go I thought "you know, I'm probably not going to get many more chances to do this" so got one off Stubhub. Third time lucky with these secondary ticket sites; it was completely smooth. Unlike my journey there. I narrowly missed the train I was aiming for so had to wait an hour for the next one, which was then delayed for about 20 minutes while they tried to couple two lots of 4 carriages together. It got to the point where they were taking a run up and smashing them into each other.

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Andy, who you may remember from the End of the Road Festival/Las Vegas many years ago and his partner Bea were going too, so I met up with them at the end of Wembley Way (an hour and a half later than I promised), only to find out that they had to go in a door on the opposite site of the stadium to me anyway, so I went off and queued for about 45 minutes on my own with the official radio station of the show blasting out Paul Weller. Dicks. Still, Wembley is very well labelled so it wasn't too hard to find them again. It's a pretty impressive place.

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We waited by the sound booth as the pitch filled up, only for two incredibly smelly herion addicts (complete with weeping sores/falling teeth etc. - they were really happy to be there though, which I guess is nice) to come and stand directly in front of us as soon as it started. I still got a big chill down my spine when they started, but only stuck it out for a few songs before moving back. The sound at pitch level was pretty wishy washy and there was only 1 song out of the first 17 that I knew, so it didn't seem worth putting up with. I guess I should've done my research a bit better - I knew it was going to largely be The River at the start. 41 Shots and The River itself were absolutely spectacular, as was Badlands when it eventually came (every song started with 1-2-3-4 and every time I thought it was that). Tougher Than The Rest was a predicatble tribute to Mohammed Ali (Andy and I had been trying to guess what it would be - my favourite was either "Rumble In The Jungleland", "Pummel of Love" or "Secret (Madison Square) Garden".

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The encore had Dancing in the Dark and a solo acoustic version of Thunder Road, which were both great, though I'd have preferred a full band Thunder Road. People seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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The band were all outrageously good at playing and were dressed like musicians used to dress (almost ot the point of looking as if they'd been dressed as musicians). It made me miss being in bands. I've been to two shows at Wembley Stadium, 20 years apart, with the stadium having been rebuilt in between them, but Little Steven appeared at both of them (guesting with Crown of Thorns, Bon Jovi's support act) in 1996. He's a lot less little this time, and reminded me of a cargo ship slowly moving around the stage. 

I had a really good day, though the gig itself wasn't really all I'd hoped, despite having its moments it's been a long time since I've stood in the sun in a big crowd having a beer and watching music. I miss it. Also there's now a 5 Guys at Kings Cross. 

Tellison, and on, and on

19 May 2016

I'm pretty sure that 4 out of the last 5 gigs I've been to have involved either Tellison or Stephen from Tellison, but I saw Tellison again the other day, at The Portland this time.

I missed the first two bands, but Muncie Girls were good, as they were when I saw them supporting Hop Along. Good enough to see live again. Not good enough to really care about when I'm not actually watching them.

Tellison on the other had are way more than good enough to care about. I don't understand why they aren't much more famous than they are. I guess they're getting there - the place was pretty busy. The highlight for me was New York, New York, New York. It was just so intense, but I know every word of every song and the whole thing was great. They're so tight. One of the better bands.

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Are you a man? Are you a bag of sand?

12 Mar 2016

I crossed another band off The List. That is a New Years Resolution completed less than 3 months into the year. Outrageous. It was Frightened Rabbit. My obsessive watching of twitter meant that I saw a vaguely cryptic tweet about a secret gig they were doing in London under a fake name. I'd never been to a secret gig before (unless you count a not secret but quite exclusive Damien Rice thing at The Scala back in the day). I'd also never been to Tufnell Park, which is where the gig was. It's 8 minutes on the tube from Kings Cross but the pub the venue was attached to was like stepping back 30 years - all grizzled Arsenal fans and men in hats. And Holsten Pils! And Carling! And a handful of confused looking indie kids. Anyway we were there a bit early because it wasn't obvious when the gig started so we had a beer and watched the start of the Liverpool game for a while. The venue itself reminded me of a school hall or rugby club bar. It was surprisingly not at all packed, which was really nice. There was no support act, which I guess was also really nice. I was a bit taken aback by how great the band sounded. I've watched a lot of live footage and the singing has sometimes been a bit ropey, but they were super tight and the harmonies sounded spot on.

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They opened with the new single and it sounded really beefy. There was some enjoyable (slightly one-sided) banter where Scott Hutchison called out one of the crowd as an "office toilet masturbator". Fair enough. As he also said in the face of millions of requests, Frightened Rabbit have a lot of (really good) songs so there were always going to be things missed out but everything they played (including new stuff) was brilliant. The Highlight was probably Holy. I'd have loved to hear "Poke" and they only played for an hour or so with no encore so I left feeling a little flat, which is silly because they were great and how often do you see a band like that in a really small venue. Also it can't have been that short because I spent at least 3 hours having a battle with a very tall guy's head as he kept leaning down to talk to his tiny mate. It was like watching tennis. Or Cambridge United when I used to stand behind the pillar.

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I made it to a Folk Club open stage last Friday too. It had been too long. I didn't play especially well (I was driving, so sober, and tried out Romantic False Lead for the first time in an amplified situation and it wasn't the best, though Heat Death was good) but it was really nice to see everyone.   

 

Stay Here and Take Care of the Chickens

18 Feb 2016

 

I managed to get to a sold out Portland Arms to see The Wave Pictures last night. I must've seen them ten or fifteen times over the years but not for quite a while. How much I've enjoyed them has generally depended on how much they play from their first album, which in turn depends on how recently they've had something out (and I guess naturally goes down over time). The gig started well, with "Stay Here and Take Care of The Chickens" and "Spaghetti" and the fact that I'd managed to get out of the house was exciting enough, but, despite some amusing anti-mandolin banter, after about 45 minutes with no more songs I knew and some dorky northerners standing behind me mentioning that they were in a band approximately every 30 seconds I got a little bored. The solos get a bit wearing after a while too, despite any given one being really impressive in isolation. I went to talk to B-Sydes (whose not massively stylistically appropriate support slot I'd unfortunately missed) for a while, waited for another song that I knew and got mistaken for the merch guy. The encore was "Now You Are Pregnant" "Pea Green Coat" and "Friday Night in Loughborough"  which made the whole thing worthwhile. 2 hours is a very long set.

In other news the CDs of my new album should be here on Wednesday! That is pretty exciting. I'm completely ballsing up any effort at PR though by procrastinating. I'm not sure whether to put the release date back or just not bother going for anything other than blogs. Not that I'm overly hopefuly of persuading anyone to listen anyway but I do think it's really good. I've not written about the process of making it nearly as much as I did with Scars. I don't think I went anywhere near as crazy, though it did get put back a month or two because I was worrying about the gaps between the songs. Plus ca change.

Don't call what you're wearing an outfit

27 Jan 2016

Who'd have thought it - 3 weeks into the year and I've crossed something off This Year's List. Jason Isbell. It was a bit of a palaver. I'd known he was playing in London for quite a while but I thought I couldn't make it so didn't get a ticket, then a few days before the gig it turned out I could make it, but standing had sold out so rather than get a seated ticket (sitting down at gigs and football matches is To Be Avoided If Possible) I went on a marketplace site (Get Me In, for the record) and bought what seemed to be a standing one from there. When it turned up the day before the gig it turned out to be a seated one. Get Me In have a ticket guarantee so I emailed them and they wrote back to say that it had been listed incorrectly and there wasn't time for them to find another so they'd cancelled it. Without asking. I was pretty angry about that and asked if they could uncancel it (thinking about it, even though the site is run by Ticketmaster, I'm not sure they can actually cancel tickets, but I wasn't going to go to London and take the chance) but got no reply and their customer service line is just an answerphone saying that they've had to evacuate the building so can't talk right now. Then I noticed that the seller's email was on the ticket. So I emailed him and explained what had happened and he said that he had 2 more tickets which he didn't have time to sell and he sent me them for free. People can be pretty nice sometimes. Screw you Get Me In.

Having 2 tickets meant that Ciaran ended up coming with me. We got in about halfway through John Moreland's support slot, and nearly managed to wangle our way into the standing bit (the guy in front of us in the queue had wangled his way into the seating bit) but didn't, and the last seats were right at the back. And almost immediately I got beer spilt on me by someone coming back from the bar to the space next to me. I nearly did the same thing to Ciaran later on though - the benches in The Forum are hard to see... We only went in when we did because I'd received word that John Moreland had started really well. That may have been true, but by halfway through it had got pretty boring (and that was to someone who'd only come in halfway through). I somehow knew the last couple of songs though, so I enjoyed those (and presumably they were stronger anyway if he finished with them). The irony wasn't lost on me that he closed a set of what seemed to be extremely bog standard material with one called "Noone gives a damn about songs any more". Or maybe he's just saying how he feels too.

I was a little surprised by quite how good Jason Isbell was. I really like about half of his songs I reckon, and the set was made pretty much entirely of those. The sound was excellent. Really big. Perfect harmonies too. I was worried he might have stopped playing "Outfit" now that his last couple of albums have been so well received, but he did. Other Highlights were "24 Frames", "Speed Trap Town" and I finally "got" "Elephant". The last chorus... Seeing music is good for me. I'll try and get back into it.

In other news I'll be pressing CDs of the new album in the next couple of weeks. Everything's almost ready to go - just waiting for me to take a deep breath about doing this again, and find somewhere to put the boxes...


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