Ray's Gigs

Daily news and reviews of gigs bars clubs restaurants product launches films theatre fashion shows books art galleries hotels competitions interesting places to visit ...and much more!

Friday 24 March 2023.

Friday 24 March 2023....6.15pm to 11.30pm... PLATFORM - launch party - Unit 40, 1 Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London E14. Platform, the gaming and esports bar in London, opens its second site in Canary Wharf. The new Canary Wharf site, will offer a unique competitive socialising experience, complemented by a food and drink offering including cocktails inspired by retro games. Set over two floors in a 4,700 sq. ft site, the Platform Canary Wharf esports bar will accommodate up to 250 guests in 24 console gaming booths – each kitted out with ninth-generation consoles. Each semi-private booth is for both experienced gamers and novices alike, with the choice between current-generation consoles and a curated library of multiplayer games on the agenda. Upon entering the esports bar venue, guests can expect to be transported to Venice Beach, greeted by sunset hues and neon signs, contrasting the industrial bar, stocked with wine, beer and spirits, where visitors will be encouraged to enjoy Platform’s curated cocktail list. In addition to the traditional drinks offering, the team will serve up alcoholic and non-alcoholic slushies, canned drinks, popcorn and bar snacks. Downstairs there are 20 booths, seating between two to 30 guests, each decorated with cinema-style interiors. The addition of ‘service buttons’ in each booth will allow guests to order food and drink at their table with the press of a button. The menu includes Platform’s usual pizzas plus other treats. Opening hours for the Canary Wharf esports bar are as follows: Monday – Thursday 11.30am – 12am Friday & Saturday 11am – 1am Sunday 11.30 am – 11.30 pm --------- Canary Wharf has got so many restaurant and bars to choose from these days. Over 100 guests here at this venue near to Canary Wharf tube / DLR station. We got there early to get one of the seated booths with the big screen. Don't do gaming at all these days, but it was good fun picking up the controls and play the retro games i used to play with my kids , around 25 years ago. Nice sounds over the pa gave it a nice clubby vibe. The staff were a bit slow making the cocktails, but they were doing their best to learn. Complimentary food and drinks included....we had a few of the eleven cocktails on offer, along with prosecco, wines, beers, various pizza slices and cheesy nachos. An enjoyable time here. ----------------------------------- ----------------------------------- Thursday 23 March 2023. DANNY BAKER live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Comedy writer, journo , radio and tv presenter who has got plenty of banter. In the late 1970s he wrote for punk magazine Sniffin' Glue and NME. ------------------ Some quirky tunes from the 1960s and 1970 over the pa before the show. Levels 2 and 3 closed, and it is stalls seating, so maybe only 400 folks here. A mainly older crowd, like me , who have seen him/heard him on various things the past 45 years. Iron Maiden guitarist JANICK GERS is sitting near the front of the stalls. DANNY BAKER (now aged 65) arrived on stage at 7.30pm and finished late at 11.10pm. Minus the interval , that means he was on stage for a staggering 3 hours 15 mins. Danny and his chirpy cockney banter really can talk for England. He said it was the 31st show on his tour. Basically it was a full run through of his life from start to finish...with plenty of amusing bits. Photos on the big screen were prompts for many of the stories. Loving family life growing up in a council flat in London SE16. School days and family holidays. Sniffin' Glue founder Mark Perry was in the same school football team as Danny. Mark asked Danny's sister to borrow her typewriter to do the first issue. It went from selling 200 a time to 20,000 by the final 12th issue. Only 12 issues as Mark thought it was time to end it, as he thought punk had sold out. Danny worked in a Soho record store and met Elton John and Rod Stewart there. His mate punching Sid Vicious at The Ramones at The Rainbow gig. Going to London clubs like Global Villlage (now Heaven). I went there a couple of times. He then got a job with NME for three years in its heyday , where he was flying off to USA and mainland Europe often for interviews and reviews with all the big names of the time. He met his wife at NME, and they are still married after 43 years. Janet Street-Porter gave him his first job on tv called 'Twentieth Century Box', which included the first tv appearances of Spandau Ballet, Iron Maiden and Depeche Mode. In 1982 he got a prime tv job for six years with The Six O'Clock Show. Every show he gives out a signed vinyl album from his record collection. Remember Danny in the tv advert 'The Daz Doorstep Challenge'. Remember Danny had a Spitting Image puppet. In 1988 he met up with Chris Evans to work on various radio and tv shows, including five years writing for that great tv programme 'TGI Friday'. Danny was very frank about talking about how much money he got paid for everything , which included £175,000 for his 2017 appearence on 'I'm a Celebrity , Get Me Out Of Here'. He said it was fantastic, as it was the only time he felt like he was on a real film set, as so many people working on it, along with the first class flights and five star hotel. He most recent project was 'Cradle To The Grave' , with Peter Kay. Danny has had a great career , and tonight was very enjoyable. --------------------------------- --------------------------------- Wednesday 22 March 2023. MAISIE ADAM live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Up and coming female comedian is starting to play bigger venues on her current Buzzed UK tour. You will recognise Maisie from her distinctive skinhead girl feather cut hairstyle. ---------- Levels 2 and 3 are closed , and it is stalls seated , so maybe just 400 folks here. During the show Maisie said it was the last date on her massive 70 date UK tour. Her first ever headline tour, after being a support act for many years. She clearly loves doing what she does. The first set was on from 8pm to 8.30pm...30 mins. The first set was ' getting to know my audience' , so she interacted with folks in the crowd, about where they come from, what jobs they do , their relationships etc. Lots of enjoyable jokey ad-libs during this section. The second set was her main show from 8.50pm to 9.55pm...65 mins. Maisie is fast talking , and she never stops for a breather. Buzzed – the title comes from the fact that she has plenty to be buzzed about right now – does not break any artistic boundaries, it is simply a succession of brilliantly observed dispatches from her life. She recently got engaged and there’s a wonderfully witty routine about her boyfriend’s proposal involving a madcap dash to the right spot on a bridge in Prague so that he could get down on one knee just as the sun was setting. Even when the stories seem superficially mundane a sharp turn of phrase or image makes them sparkle. Adam is not the first comedian to talk about Zoom gigs or Twitter trolls but she has a way of bringing something fresh to every topic. I particularly liked her description of a face that resembled “the wrinkly bit of your elbow”, which was worthy of Victoria Wood. This is not cruel comedy. Nor is it particularly zeitgeisty, although there is plenty of subtext about inclusivity and diversity. Adam adds a modern spin to the stand-up template without ever sermonising. A story about appearing on a panel show where her male team captain kept getting her name wrong is never nasty. There is a dusting of feminism in her riff on the weirdness of wedding ceremonies and the strangeness of taking your husband’s surname though only a light dusting. The only time the big screen is used is at the end , to show a video of her on Soccer AM tv when she scored a perfect penalty in the top right corner. Her vocal clarity was perfect throughout , and there were many funny bits....Really good. -------------------------------- -------------------------------- Tuesday 21 March 2023. MARCUS KING live at The Forum. 27 year old American singer-songwriter who mixes blues rock with southern rock and Americana. His 2020 debut album 'El Dorado' recorded under his own name received a nomination for Best Americana Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards...and made 142 on the USA Billboard 200 chart. His second album 'Young Blood' was released in 2022. --------- The show is totally sold out tonight. The great actor BILL NIGHY ( he was in Hollywood earlier in the month as was shortlisted for Best Actor) is here...but he is sitting in the front circle in the unreserved seats , and not at the VIP tables. Support act IDA MAE arrived on stage at 7.30pm for their 30 mins set. They hail from Norfolk, but spent five years in Nashville. Female vocals, nifty steel/electric guitar and double bass for a good set. MARCUS KING arrived on stage at 8.35pm and played for 1 hour 55 mins. Marcus King arrives on stage looking like he is member of Lynryd Skynryd. Cowboy hat, rhinestones in his stage wear and a southern drawl. There are eight musicians on stage including a three man brass section. Marcus and the other guitarist and bass player, all playing in front of Orange amps. Lots of great blues guitar solos , many songs are several minutes long each. A few cover versions played including a very nice 'Many Rivers to Cross'. There was a full drum solo after 75 mins. A really good show. Full MARCUS KING setlist played tonight... It's Too Late Virginia Had to Cry Today (Blind Faith cover) Trouble Man (Marvin Gaye cover) Pain Many Rivers to Cross (Jimmy Cliff cover) Beautiful Stranger Horny Jail Aim High Guess Who (Jesse Belvin cover) Dark Cloud Danny Boy / Fraudulent Waffle Can't You Hear Me Knocking (The Rolling Stones cover) Good and Gone Drum solo Wildflowers & Wine Lie Lie Lie / Rice Pudding Madman Across The Water (Elton John cover) Comin' Home (Delaney & Bonnie cover) Play Video Goodbye Carolina Turn On Your Love Light (Bobby Bland cover) --------------------------------------- --------------------------------------- Monday 20 March 2023. PIXIES play The Roundhouse. PIXIES play the first of two sold out pronto shows at this North London venue. Their last UK tour in 2018 included five sold out nights at this venue. I have seen The Pixies a couple of times before, with the first time at Hammersmith Odeon in 1990. PIXIES (Black Francis, Joey Santiago, David Lovering and Paz Lenchantin) are back, their latest album Doggerel is a mature yet visceral record of gruesome folk, ballroom pop and brutal rock, haunted by the ghosts of affairs and indulgences, driven wild by cosmic forces and envisioning digital afterlives where no God has provided one. And all the while, right there on the news, another distant storm approaches. --------- Support act SLOW READERS CLUB were down to play 30 mins but i missed their set. A surprise to see a dozen or so folks looking for tickets outside and a couple of street ticket touts. A very rare sight these days as electronic tickets on smartphones has messed the touts up badly. I kinda miss the days when a dozen touts would be outside some of the big sold out shows. PIXIES arrived on stage at 9pm for their 1 hour 55 mins set. They have a nice stage production, with lots of lights behind them. Pixies always change their setlist around a bit , and there is not much chat or movement on stage. The sound is superb , and the band play a staggering 37 songs tonight. A few songs from their recent album were performed. Highlights included 'Here Comes Your Man', 'Caribou', 'Monkey Gone To Heaven', 'Debaser' and 'Where Is My Mind' near the end. A great show.