Friday 24 February 2023 – London.
The last gig I attended was in October last year; the fantastic Wrong Speed Record all-dayer in London, and I had to look up the date for it as it felt so long ago. Eleanor and I had free tickets to a gig a couple of weeks back but I couldn’t be bothered going. I also skipped a four bands for five bucks punk gig in Leytonstone last weekend and it was at a venue an eight minute walk from home. I’m definitely not feeling the need to attend the occasional gig like I used to, maybe age is catching with me? Having said that we’ve two shows to see next weekend so let’s see how that plays out then. My record purchasing has been somewhat curtailed recently as well, life is more expensive than it used to be and I’m being a little more careful with my cash, though I still listen and enjoy music as much as ever.
Aircooled are a newish band formed in or around St Leonards-on-Sea, they’re almost an indie super-group, with members from a bunch of bands from the 90s onwards. I guess the best known would be Justin Welch, the drummer for Elastica, Suede and Lush. Aircooled released their debut album ‘St Leopards’ last year. I like it a lot, it’s mostly instrumental with a very ‘krautrock’ vibe throughout, though there is a big nudge to disco on one track. I’m very big on kraurock at the moment, the long jams, repetitive beats and lack of vocals means makes for great music to work to. I’ve tried to see them a couple of times, but have failed to do so; either missing out on tickets or not being in St Leonards when they’ve played. It was good news when they conveniently announced a show not too far from us in London so I made sure I was in quickly to buy tickets to what turned out to be a sold-out performance.
Supporting Aircooled was the Miki Berenyi Trio, twin guitars, bass (from Oliver of Aircooled) and a drum machine. Miki Berenyi was the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for 90s shoegaze/indie legends Lush. Last year Miki published her memoir, ‘Fingers Crossed: How music saved me from success’, which is on the quite long list of must read books.
We arrived at The Lexington just before Miki Berenyi took to the stage, it was quite full and I was too late to get a spot close to the stage for photography. There were a lot of old Lush fans there, so we didn’t feel particularly old. The upstairs venue is one of the best small venues I’ve been to; a decent height stage, good lights, bench seat around the sounds, steps up to a raised bar, so clear viewing from a number of places. The sound was superb; not too loud and very clear. I will be going back there again.
I took a couple of photos and then just enjoyed the music. I’m not overly familiar with Lush, I know some of the bigger songs, though didn’t recognise any tonight. There were some new songs in the mix. It was a good set, enjoyable dream pop, with a very appreciative crowd.
I was kind of expecting a number of the audience to leave after Miki Berenyi’s set, she would have been the major draw for some I suspect, so I was pleasantly surprised by how many stayed for Aircooled. I gather there were quite a few up from the coast especially for the show. A few diehards stayed right up against the stage so again I was forced back a couple of rows to take photos. The light wasn’t as helpful with Aircooled, less spots and much more use of the psychedelic images projected by Inner Strings onto a screen behind the band. These were far too bright for me and my old camera to cope with.
I enjoyed their set, particularly the 16+ minute eponymous track ‘Aircooled’ which they played early on; I was kind of expecting this to be the closer so was pleased to hear it up front.
One of the best things about The Lexi on a Friday night is that it turns into a nightclub at 11:00, meaning concerts finish nice and early, something I am very keen on 🙂 It was a fairly straightforward journey to and from the venue, one tube change with a total journey time about 30 minutes so we were home pretty quickly. This made for an even better night as we were out last night and are out again tomorrow; and we both need some sleep. It’s been a busy, but enjoyable time!
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