Being a bloke by definition makes you a nerd when it comes to music, and because men can’t express our emotions in the mature and civilised way that women can, music becomes the conduit for how we feel about whom we are, and why I have nearly 6,000 songs on my iPod.
And as a result, like Nick Hornby does in his book “Hi Fidelity”, us men use music as a narrative background to our lives.
Thus going to see Sterophonics at Hull Arena last night isn’t just about going to a gig, having a great time and going home.
Oh no. As a bloke I feel it is incumbent upon me to raise the thing up to faux spiritual levels, and regard the event as a staging post in my life.
This was the first concert I have been to since I left my wheelchair behind, and it felt good for it to be a reasonably “normal” experience, although when we saw the queue to get in, it seemed expedient that we made sure the stewards saw the white stick and the dark glasses. We walked straight in. Well there was a naughty, nithering easterly wind blowing of the Humber after all.
My first wheelchair gig was U2 in Cardiff, and it seemed entirely appropriate that I spotted Sarah, one of my most favourite ex pupils and magnificent arranger of the Millennium Stadium event which the kids gave to me on my retirement, as she made her way out of what had been a brilliant concert.
A nice symmetry, and it felt like the U2 and this ‘Phonics gig were kind of bookends to the whole CA thing.
U2 felt great, but I was kind of thinking this will be the last time, and reflecting back over my life, whereas last night seemed to be all about new beginnings and optimistic probabilities, especially as I spied a bloke with his kid and imagined Conor and me at a gig in the future…. Although I expect it would be cringingly embarrassing for him, and I would have to be very certain and leave it to him to suggest as there is nothing worse than parents or adults trying (and always singularly failing) to be down with the kidz.
The boys new long player, Pull the Pin was released last week and for me, it was going to be almost impossible for it to live up to it predecessor the magnificent Sex, Language, Violence. Other…, which I consider to be their finest record and the best British out and out rock album of this decade and which I have played to death since it’s release in 2005.
But I was not to be disappointed. Kelly Jones is back into a rich vein of song writing form after a two-album dip in the wake of 1999’s Performance and Cocktails, and this record displays a heavy, punky sound allied with Dylanesque lyrical subtlety which Jones has made his trademark.
Bank Holiday Monday displays the get down and dirty rock side of things, and Daisy Lane showcases Kelly’s observational side as he reflects on the mindless stabbing of a boy for his mobile phone.
I am hoarse today. Mainly the result of Superman, which is my absolute favourite Stereophonics track. I let it all go and it was a visceral experience, as if I was exorcising the hurt and bitter distress of the last three years.
There we go. Typical man, anally retentive and uptight using an outside entity to express his feelings.
It was a great show. Loud, well paced with a good acoustic section from Kelly on his own, and enormous fun with a man who refuses to lose touch with his audience.