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Saw Tribes last night in London. I always enjoy going to Camden and the Electric Ballroom is a great little venue. They were pretty good, easy indie rock. The crowd was wild and generally very young. Got plenty of beer in my eye which made a nice change from all the folk gigs lately!

On the train to Liverpool Street atm and on my way to Arctic Monkeys at The 02, woohoo! Had to start at 7:30 this morning to get the night off but it’ll be worth it providing I don’t fall asleep. So tired after my week of gigging and work was a bitch today.

Should make it to Greenwich for 7:15 and can hopefully (but doubtfully) get in there quick to catch The Vaccines who start at 7:40.

If there’s one thing I did this year, I gigged. These are the notes for my (soon to be written) extensive 2011 gig review.

Looking back on the last twelve months as we oh so love to do at this time of year, I couldn’t think of any real stand-out events. There have been no emotional traumas, no one has left my life suddenly and I haven’t made any life-altering decisions. 2011 is therefore destined to be the year nothing particularly spectacular happened. After the three years previous packed full of drama with barely a break you’d figure I’d be glad of a rest but it feels more of a lull and borderline dissapointment.

Until I consulted my gig book that is and remembered the eighty-two evenings of live musical brilliance I’ve encountered this year (it would’ve been eighty-three, but I attended a Ben Francis Leftwich gig in October, sadly); perusing my list I’ve recalled the unique memory of each gig and realised I haven’t wasted my year at all. The cities I’ve travelled, the singing, the dancing, time spent with friends old and new. Will I ever do eighty-three gigs in one year again?

Here’s to 2011, the year Emily Rowan gigged. And to the next eighty-three, next year let’s make it a hundred.

Thursday
Latitude 2011

First and foremost I must continue on the account of my hilarious Thursday night! So I’d watched this fantastic Japanese film Old Boy with a live soundtrack from Guillemots and I’d been drinking the whole time. I’d mixed some very strong bottles of Archers and lemonade and I admit they probably added to the intense excitement the film gave me.

It was one of those situations when you’re drinking sitting down and don’t realise how much you’ve been affected until you stand up. Up I stood, Rob, Lianne and Co had a while long ago, and I had my first bout of “no signal at Latitude ever”. Out the tent I stumbled, must of been about 2am by this point and most of the stalls had shut, plus the Poetry, Literary and Cabaret arenas had all closed off for the night. It was pretty dark, I had no map with me and very little idea of where I was going. 

Back across the bridge I went, I knew this was some way near home. But what is this I hear? Is it…Kings of Leon? Through the trees?? I followed the sound into the forest, up a hill and all of a sudden the music’s really loud and there’s a huge crowd and a freaking RAVE IN THE WOODS. The alcohol had truly set in and I had a whale of a time. There were about 100 people, some DJ in a booth playing the usual suspects at an indie disco. It was quite good and I really enjoyed it, but they played Tinie Tempah and another song equally to my distaste so I drunkenly stormed back down the hill.

I’m not really sure how but I found my way back to the tent. I was about to go to sleep when my friend Oj called! He was drunk also, and called to ask my opinion on Bombay Bicycle Club!? Before insisting we go to some gigs together and festivals next year.

What with the intense film and rave in the woods, all at this brand new and wonderful festival, I had quite an evening!

Dry the River @ Scala, 20.09.11

It’s a wonderful feeling when a band is playing and you can tell while it’s happening what an important gig it is for them. Tonight was special and I’m so happy to say I was there, as sure I am that come this time next year they’ll have just ended their festival stint after playing important NME/Radio 1 Stage gigs, I can look back on tonight and think “I’m glad I was there when they headlined Scala last September”.

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I couldn’t stop smiling as I left Scala tonight. The band who’ve released barely a proper single let alone album played a brilliant set filled with both slow and fast numbers, miced and un-miced to a crowd already full of devoted fans knowing every word.

They hate it when you compare them to Mumford and Sons but really, they are their closest similarity. If Band of Horses went rock with harmonies rivalling the beauty of Fleet Foxes. I even heard one YouTube commenter comparing them to Biffy Clyro once they get going. I would like to coin the term “pirate-folk”. Not that they’re anything like Gogol Bordello, everyone’s favourite gypsy-punks, but I imagine if pirates were feeling emotional and were into folk, this is the sort of music they’d be listening to. 

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Confused by what I mean? Try them out for yourself. This was the final night of their tour (and what a way to go) but there’s plenty a YouTube video knocking around. I’m looking forward to watching this band grow and flourish, they’re Mumford and Sons with a hella more guts, a deeply beautiful vocal and one rocking violinist. They’ve got the tunes and hooking choruses, now watch as they provide us with further evolution of folk into the popular and mainstream.

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What a brilliant first post-festival gig, tonight was the kind of night that made me want to go home and spend hundreds of pounds on tickets while screaming “I LOVE MUSIC”. Beautiful night. I love what I do.

The Vaccines
Glasto 2011 - John Peel Stage

I’M GOING TO T IN THE PARK TOMORROW.

Well, to Glasgow anyway, and T in the Park on Thursday. There are many things I should be doing right now. Charging phones, charging cameras, packing, sleeping. But I am on Tumblr, of course, not really doing much of anything.

I never finished my Glastonbury review. All I’ve done the past five days is work but midway through Friday really is a pathetic attempt. I have a few more photos of Guillemots I’d like to put up. And a stack of James Vincent McMorrows (who was DIVINE btw) and The Vaccines to get through. I took a shit load of photos of The Vaccines. I might work on a few later on but I’m not sure I’ll have time. Packing really should take priority. Here is a taste anyway. Good old Arni Hjorvar, against that marvellous, marvelous backdrop.

Tonight we celebrate as I end my long and painful five week gig-drought, hurrah! 2011 festival faves of mine Dry the River are sure to set my year off with a bang at London’s greatest venue XOYO.

But first - Brick Lane to see Pulled Apart by Horses tear apart Rough Trade. Very exciting indeed and it feels great to be getting out of Stortford again. Oh London, how I’ve missed you!

Guillemots
Latitude 2011, Times Style Tent

This photo was taken at the secret Guillemots gig on the Thursday night of Latitude. The band played Vermillion, I Don’t Feel Amazing Now, I Must Be A Lover and Trains to Brazil. The set was short but sweet and I managed to squeeze my way to the front.

They are playing in a camera shop of all places in Shoreditch tonight and I am going! Very excited and I’m dragging my friend Josh with me so at least I’m not on my own for this one. Sharing the Guillemots love!

It was chucking it down on the way to the station. Of course it was, being my first gig in ages. When that gig is to see Glasvegas though, it feels like the weather’s all part of the package.

Tonight will be my 16th time seeing the band i’m so hopelessly in love with beyond the understanding or reason of the majority of my friends. I could write a book on what that first album meant to me and as I chose Bon Iver over Glasvegas in October last year I felt a fierce pang of guilt like I was doing the band a great injustice or betrayal.

It’s been a while as I decided the 15th time was a good enough milestone to take a break but tonight i’m very happy to be back.

I rarely listen to Glasvegas anymore, not that first album anyway, as the sad times of 2008 have long gone and the sombre serious record often feels out of place in my now content and happy state of mind.

It is true what they say about you never forgetting your first love. James Allan might be pretentious at times and look a wally on stage when he’s wearing his shades and some of their songs might not even be that great but there’s something about that first album that will always bring me back to Glasvegas, forgive them their wrongs and hope and know for a bright future ahead.

Thinking about it now on the train of all the possible inclusions on the setlist the ones i’m really hoping for are Geraldine, SAD Light, Lonesome Swan and Whatever Hurts you Through the Night.

Viva Glasvegas

Faves of mine this year Cloud Control came second before The Drums and I was probably anticipating both bands easily as much. The Drums were better on the night but this was one of the best times i’ve seen Cloud Control.

The singer’s name escapes me just now but he belted out the songs like i’d never seen him before, cramming all their best and biggest songs into their short twenty-five minute set.

I’ve been saying it all year but things must surely surely be on the horizon for these exciting folk-poppers. They’re just so good!

On the train now to see the beautiful Guillemots tonight! Should get there for about half seven, i’m on my own but eager for a good spot. Fyfe’s the main man so I need a good view! ;)

Keeping my fingers crossed for Tigers, it’s quickly becoming my favourite song of theirs - live it really is something else. The band are so dear and enchanting and magical when they perform, something that sadly doesn’t translate to record and they end up sounding rather mediocre.

I think I’m getting some sorta tour poster free when I pick uo my ticket to.

Very excited, they are my favourite band and all :) I’m sure i’ll leave hitting myself “I KNEW I should’ve bought tickets for the whole tour!”