It's difficult to get your head around sometimes isn't it? Teenagers who should be enjoying their last few years before adulthood lying down in a small hospital room for their weekly or more dose of Chemotherapy.
We wouldn't mind betting that every reader has or knows somebody whose suffered with Cancer, but kids as young as 13 and thousands more who have yet to hit their teens? It's just isn't right.
We live in hope that one day all Cancers will be treatable, but until that happens it is vital that our Teenagers fighting the disease have the very best chance of winning.
This is the aim of the Teenage Cancer Trust Charity and this week a series of concerts at The Royal Albert Hall aims to give these youngsters hope.
Lets start from our seat, it's Monday night and The View are supporting Noel Gallagher on his first of two nights here at the Albert Hall. Just under an hour ago we bumped into James Endeacott at the checking in desk. James is the MD at 1965 Records, becoming a little celeb in his own right by spasmodically appearing in the NME he's here to watch and spur on his latest signing. Starting up in 2005 The View can be traced back to their Scottish roots and are no strangers to supporting rock giants. Tonight may see them warming up for an Oasis member, but that's just another feather in the cap fluttering alongside those plucked by Babyshambles, Primal Scream and The Undertones. Shortening their name from the local pub, The Bayview back home a year later they were riding on the success from their first chart busting release, Wasted Little DJ's and now their latest hit, Same Jeans has become an anthem in itself. Despite the older crowd tonight sitting down their fan chant 'The View is on Fire' can still be heard. Maybe some of tonight's elders weren't so familiar with the guys, but a cover of 'Up The Junction' by Squeeze kept them happy enough. Backstage the lads are extremely down to earth and rarely spend time in their dressing room. With the majority of tonight's crowd tapping a foot to their 30 minute set it won't be long until Endeacott has another legendary band to add to his overwhelming talented label.
What did Liam say to Noel when he asked him to attend tonight? No, this isn't the start of a joke. Apparently the answer was a sentence including the words 'fuck' and 'charity' was the bitter response. Noel shares the animosity between him and his Bro tonight on stage. The two have been fighting again leaving Noel on his own for these two London dates and a commencing TCT concert in Manchester. Most of the other band-mates have a box tonight pointed to by Noel after an audience member asks their whereabouts. It doesn't matter, tonight is an Oasis gig and Noel rips through a back catalogue with a string quartet, band mates from The View and an appearance from Paul Weller! The two play Gibson Guitars (tonight's sponsors) and Weller has a walk down memory lane playing 'The Butterfly Collector' before firing out the first Battle cover of the night, 'All You Need Is Love'.
Noel even steers away from his own favorites and covers The Smiths!, 'There's A Light Which Never Goes Out' He's so bloody talented it takes a few seconds to realize that Morrissey is nowhere to be seen! He then dedicates 'Wonderwall' to the kids backstage representing the TCT. Climaxing with another magpie snatch from his all time favorite band The Beatles, 'Strawberry Fields Forever' Noel's fifth appearance at the TCT show is a triumphant success and Tomorrow's second night kicking off with Noel's most recent fav band, Shack promises to be a repeat great performance.
Backstage Virgin Radio grabs Noel for an interview, but apart from loitering lucky fans all is pretty quiet. The bar is open for a few drinks but for people like us knowing we have a week ahead of late nights it's time to say farewell and drive home with our Oasis CD playing in our car stereo, we will be singing along with these tracks again in less than 24 hours!
Opening for the second night in a row early guests on Tuesday were unfortunate to catch 'Shack'. With absolutely no stand out tracks and a Liverpoodlian annoying accent the first 30 minutes dragged on to nearly unbearable extent. Only one loser in the building seemed to enjoy it thanks to either a. Being very drunk or b. Enjoying his night out from 'The Home For Special People'. Amazingly Pete Townsend is a huge fan of this band and they have even received credit from Noel Gallagher - So what are we missing? Is it the unique ability that every track sounds like bleak background music to the Landscape Channel? As they leave the stage and we wake up feelings in the ABLE2 camp are puzzled to why we left the backstage bar in the first place and hopes that within a year Shack don't become ruddy famous. If that happens this paragraph will be terminally deleted and no trace of our bitter disappointment to this distinctive average band will ever exist.
The trouble is, a few years ago we would have written the very same jargon about the next act, The Coral. We have nothing about Scousers so hey, calm down, calm down! When back in 2001 the Wirral guys first slid into the music industry nobody waved an eyelid of recognition. Being a band which never made an impact they never appealed to us. Memories of them supporting Oasis on a past tour they did nothing to pluck our musical buds. Tonight though, they were fairly good. Either giving us their most fine numbers right from the start with tracks such as 'In The Morning' and 'Pass It On' did the trick or maybe it was playing after Shack, where any thing containing a tune would had been welcoming! Despite not releasing a damn thing since 2005's 'Something Inside Of Me' flop James Skelly and his group of lads pulled their set off reasonably well. Although we can't help feeling this wasn't the comeback their fans would have hoped for the band previewed new tracks, 'Who's Going To Find Me?' and 'Put The Sun Back'. The lads closed their set taking a giant leap back in time and gave us a rendition of The Everly Brothers, 'Bye Bye Love'.
After two rickety performances we left the public watching films of kids battling Cancer and sneaked off to the Evening Standard hospitality lounge. Absolutely nothing to report from here except some nibbles in triangle parcels and free booze. We aren't complaining though!
So, what the blazes do we do now? Back at our seats we need to review Noel's second night. Difficulty is - it's exactly the same as the last one. Apart from there was no banter about Liam and we weren't surprised tonight when Weller walked out on stage! Tonight though compared to the previous rendition it was the crowd who let the proceedings down. Glued to their seats except for the drunken retard sitting behind us who must have had a liver transplant from George Best there was little audience participation until the end. The watered down 'Wonderwall' however proves that Noel is only half of the supergroup and the missing Liam injects the magical ingredient which propelled the Manchester Group to the worshipped heights they are at now. The only boos heard from the crowd was when Noel asked if any Leeds fans were in attendance on the back of a heckle from a Man U supporter. Even this was a concert and not a football match Noel played better in the first half (last night) and tonight sadly didn't run to extra time with a cover of 'All You Need Is Love'. Afterwards, this time chatting to NME Noel put in a plea to Michael Eavis asking if he can play Glastonbury this year - only time will tell.
The second concert had come to a close and the doors of the Embassy club had flung open. Once again we nipped down to 'Our Local' and bumped into The Towers Of London posing for photo shoots in the VIP room whist guests and workers from the TCT concerts partied the evening away downstairs.
Didn't see Shack in the VIP Room though!
When Russell Brand was backstage at the Brits he needed a pee, the gents was too far away and Joss Stone was spazzing out in the ladies loo. Nested behind a curtain Brand had but one other option - he weed into a bottle. Another time when he arrived at an Ibiza Airport he faced the humanization of a rectal examination by custom officials trying to smuggled drugs. These are just two things we learnt tonight when the TCT week took a break from live music to make way for the comedians.
Hosted by Russell and Noel Fielding the pair first properly met before Christmas being teammates on the Channel 4's Quiz Of The Year. Three months later and a friendship bonded the two princes of comedy have given themselves the title of 'The Goth Detectives'. Not being freaks or inspectors themselves they open the show in the vain attempt hunting down real Goths in the audience. With little joy they yank a bloke out of chair, stick a wig on him used by Steve Coogan, smother his face in white cream, eyelash him up to the nines and round off their makeover with a huge dangling earring. Nice!
'Steve' then goes back to his seat next to his girlfriend and watches the whole show dolled up as an escaped clown from Billy Smarts Circus.
The pair of trendy comics aren't alone tonight as three special guests are lined up throughout the evening. Wanna know more about 'em? Thought you would...
Chris Addison may not give the most comical one liners and jokes but his turbo charging erratic delivery sure does hell make up for it. Telling us his fury driving down motorways reading matrix signs led to a rib-tickiling seizure when he suggested the message 'Tiredness on the Motorway can lead to Deja - Vu' be repeated every 500 yards. Over staying his welcome just a bit too long and being told to wrap up behind the scenes this bloke wasn't too bad on the chuckle-o-meter.
Folk music. Never in the history of ABLE2 journalism have these two words sequenced each other. Each to their own, but we aren't a fan. Tonight though we widened our exceptions as we listened to Matt Holness. Like most established comedians he has a Perrier Award behind him, a part in The Office and was the guy responsible for Garth Marenghi which was converted into a Channel 4 series a few years ago. Tonight he sits lonesome on a stool with a guitar for company playing rubbish folk songs in a very amusing manner.
The trio of support is a welcome return for Stewart Lee, apologies that we spelt his name wrong in last years review! Telling us subtle tales of a Johvinus Witness knocking at his door and asking 'If Jesus is the answer then what is the question?' a list of witty sarcastic responses entertain the crowd. For example 'Is it, fill in this sentence of a famous early 90's student loved band, The ___ And Mary Chain?' - Funny!
If you are a Mighty Boosh fan than you will be familiar with Noel Fielding's warp sense of humor. It's impossible to attempt to recreate this erratic nonsense in print but lets just say the explanation mark, comma and semi colon had a picnic and the full stop arrived on a bike trying to seek attention! We have probably lost you already at this point haven't we? Oh, and throughout the night Noel's face was screened on a moon making jokes! Now you must be bloody confused!
You see the photo above with the Goth Detectives on space hoppers? That was in aid of race around the Albert hall audience. After a tongue in cheek appeal on screen asking for help concerning cruelty to space hoppers the two round toys were passed around the hall. If you're interested (you probably aren't) Noel's hopper won and a rich lad in a box bid a grand towards TCT to take them home with him. Hopefully he had a car, unlike poor Steve, who had to give back the wig and use public transport home still dolled up as a Goth!
Hailing from Wakefield twins Gary and Ryan Jarman and brother Ross are better known as The Rakes. There's nothing which pulls this band away from the ordinary batch of the never ending list of bands which are trying to make a name for themselves. Although they have had a supporting hand from their good buddies, Kaiser Chiefs. Being asked to support the Leeds group on various tours and even invited on their panel when Kaiser's Ricky Wilson appeared on Never Mind The Buzzcocks tonight The Rakes have ended up playing their biggest venue to date. Enough of the name dropping though, are they any good? We hear you cry. Well, the answer is - kind of. The songs just don't make an impact, but are enjoyable never the less and the Brian May guitar twanging between the brothers is fairly amusing. The Rakes may be the most famous band from Wakefield, but at the moment our compliments end there...
Until you compare The Rakes to Gruff Rhys!
We are Super Furry Animals Fans, but confronted yet again with the solo project from their lead singer we want to leave! In a matter of fact - we did! Deciding to take a stroll backstage so we could avoid this abysmal, tuneless garbage for the first time in ABLE2 history an act has been too painful for us chore-through. If you really are intrigued and interested to hear what this soulless tramp sounds like read our review we gave him last year.
Safe backstage and out of hearing distance of Rhys we thought we'd give you a sneaky tour of what happens behind the scenes. Along the half moon shaped corridor various branching off rooms provide nerve centers which provide crucial components ensuring the week goes without a hitch. The first is the most important, the room which, if it didn't exist all working employees would fall apart. An area which is vital that it's used every night with people queuing to enter - the bar! Next to this the catering boys and girls knock up delicious meals before each concert kicks off. Opposite is a room reserved for that nights headline act's management. Further down steam flows out from under the production room, the epicenter where it all happens. Next door is the press room, although the woman in charge is the rudest and obnoxious thing on two leg her company have knocked up a photo shoot area and a free fridgefull of alcohol - so we can't complain too much! Further on down are the dressing rooms where you are likely to bump into a wandering celebrity or, better still, Daniel. Dan Jones is 21 and has battled Cancer, an ambassador for TCT we meet him every year and the crowd are introduced to him by the film Daniel made from a TCT hospital. Despite losing a leg because of his illness this bloke is a true inspiration. Cheeky, witty and full of surprises only he knew that within 24 hours the secret he had up his sleeve would lift the Saturday's Albert Hall audience to their feet with a deafening round of applause.
Hang on, follow us up the corridor a bit and lets poke an ear towards the stage. Has Gruff finished yet?
Yes, there's no more Welsh crooning so it's safe to go back to our seats ready for the Kaisers!
After releasing their second album the Kaiser Chiefs make a very welcome return. New hits could be mistaken for old favorite and Ricky is as energetic as always. Catching them in Brixton a couple of years ago when he crowd surfed from the sound-desk back to the stage we were intrigued how the Leeds fella would top it. With a seated arena the prospect gliding over a few hundred chairs was an open invitation for a hospital bed waiting for the lead singer and with a leg injury a couple of years ago , he took the other option - Walk around the raised small balcony instead! It's stuff like this which gave the Kaiser's our appreciation and condemning them as this weeks best live act at TCT week. One idiot however decided to follow him and managed to wangle himself in the VIP sector where we were sat. The loony later climbed a wall and manage to invade the stage with the band making him being moved even author up the building - The Car Park in fact by security! With the crowd bellowing the lyrics to 'Oh My God' the night which left us shipwrecked with two pretty poor support acts rescued us by the good ship Kaiser and the Leed's Pirates on board making Griff Rhys walk the plank and drown into oblivion - We can but wish!
Somewhere in the depths of our journalistic minds is buried a clever opening paragraph for the TCT final night. With two bands you have probably never heard of yet and The Who bringing the dynamic week to an explosive climax we scratch our brains. Who?, who? Who!. That's the best we can come up with. If you have an enlightened and cleverer title - then keep it to yourselves as we hate being upstaged!
Whenever a new band appears on the circuit questions are raised and eyebrows are frowned, the chances are they won't make it and their childhood dreams of the Rock Star they so wished to be are dashed. A few weeks ago The Electric City played a Nordiff Robbins benefit gig at the Hard Rock Cafe. The walls were plastered with memorabilia belonging to music legends from Hendrix to Madonna. Although tonight's instruments being played may not reach such great heights we are adamant that this MySpace band will soon be having their own official website run off a record label as soon as they are signed. Meeting EC a few nights ago at the Embassy party even off the stage these lads are dedicated to their music. Being able to write one their first ever reviews we almost guarantee it wont be the last! Fresh, Energetic and bloody brilliant!
The second band we wish to draw your attention to are called Vincent Vincent and The Villains, yes, we know they have one of the worst names but at least when the next encyclopedia of popular music comes out there will be something listed between Underworld and The Waterboys besides the Verve! (and The Vines - Editor) Enough of this word tomfoolery, the VVV are more of a Rock'N' Roll type band your parents were portably into. Ideal to give the audience an appetite for The Who! Last year band member, Alex had a Hernia Operation, the good news is that on his road to recovery the band were snapped up by EMI and released their first single, Johnny Two Bands. The obstacle they face is trying to find an audience, with Indie and Emo littering the press and old people dying off only time will tell if this rescued music gene will successfully resurface again. Hopefully the answer will be yes.
Before The Who took to the stage promoter Harvey Goldsmith came on stage, a nightly occurrence over the past week it was expected Harv would bring on some kids who have battled Cancer and the spotlight to be shone on the other teenagers from the trust in the audience. Beth was standing in the wings waiting for her boyfriend, Daniel to finish his daily speech about how TCT has helped him through his Cancer treatment. However, tonight Dan had a much more important thought on his mind. He proposed to Beth! Luckily she said yes and the 5,500 crowd clapped and cheered frantically. Not many folks can upstage The Who - but tonight this fella pulled it off momentarily!
Its bloody difficult to find faults with The Who as after all, they are legends with immense anthems behind them. Trouble is half way through an over-stretched chunk of relative unknown songs started to bore us. In fairness that is the only criticism our miserable souls could find because as soon as the hits came flying back all was forgiven. Pete Townsend lashing his guitar as if it was a bad child, Starky beating the living daylights out of his drums and Keith Moon peering down from the clouds wishing he was still alive! Of course the full credit needs to go to Daltrey, not only for a splendid performance, but also being behind another year of TCT shows which also included Kasabain which sadly we couldn't make.
During the week at least 30 teenagers would have been diagnosed with Cancer. As we said right from the start, it's difficult to get your head round sometimes, isn't it?
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