Ray's Gigs

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Sunday 14 May 2023.

Sunday 14 May 2023. HOTHOUSE FLOWERS live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Hothouse Flowers are an Irish rock band that combine traditional Irish music with influences from soul, gospel and rock. Formed in 1985 in Dublin, they started as street performers. Their first album, People (1988), was the most successful debut album in Irish history, reaching No. 1 in Ireland and No. 2 in the UK. After two more albums and extensive touring, the group separated in 1994. Since getting back together in 1998, the band members have been sporadically issuing new songs and touring, but also pursuing solo careers. I have seen them a few times before , including a 30 mins best of set at Henley Rewind Festival 2022. ------- Levels 2 and 3 are closed tonight, as only 600 or 700 tickets sold tonight. CLARE SANDS arrived on stage at 7.30pm for her 30 mins set. Channeling the music of her ancestors, Clare Sands is a unique force in Irish music. Weaving Traditional roots with Contemporary sounds and influences, Sands sings for the young and the old, brave and the bold....Clare was joined by a member of Hothouse Flowers playing the flute for 2 songs. HOTHOUSE FLOWERS arrived on stage at 8.30pm and played for a full 2 hours. Hothouse Flowers are Celtic Soul. They personify it. Liam’s passionate vocals are the surface of this as he pounds the keyboards in his bare feet. The band look like they’re really enjoying it. Several songs were extended jams, but that was good when it came to 'Don't Go' , which was great. Some nice banter between Liam and the many Irish folks in the crowd. Support act Clare Sands and her violin joined them for the second half of the show. She certainly helped to turn the second half into a full on ceildh. An enjoyable show. Highlights of HOTHOUSE FLOWERS setlist tonight... Let's Do This Thing Movies Giving It All Away Love Don't Work This Way The Older We Get I Can See Clearly Now ( Johnny Nash cover ) You Can Love Me Now Give It Up This Is It (Your Soul) Don't Go After the set, the band signed and posed for photos by the merch table at the rear stalls. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Saturday 13 May 2023. CHRIS McCAUSLAND live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Blind Liverpudlian comedian plays the final show on his massive 140 shows plus 'Speaky Blinder' UK tour. It will be filmed for DVD release and a tv special. -------- Level 3 is closed , and Level 2 is pretty empty, so maybe 500 tickets sold. There are five film cameras filming both acts. Support act JOHN LONG arrived on stage at 8pm and did a really good and funny 20 mins set. Before the support act , and during the interval , it was all grunge tracks over the house pa, so we had Pearl Jam, Soundgarden , Nirvana etc. Chris McCausland must be a fan as at the end of his show he said "thanks for coming to this show, which is the biggest of my career , at this famous venue that Soundgarden (I was there) opened in 1994". I saw two different blind folks with their white sticks, which was good to see. CHRIS McCAUSLAND was on stage for 95 mins over two sets of 40 mins and 55 mins. Engaging, blokey, old-school standup about domesticity, parenthood and the frustrations of modern life is mixed with material specific to the scouse joker’s life as a blind man. Several jokes were about the many downs, and a couple of ups relating to his blindness. He joked that as a single man, he could never walk a girl home. He joked about his wife's boobs were great, even though he couldn't see them. He joked about how messy it gets, when he changes his daughters nappies. A long routine about his wife and daughter ended on a sad note as he said he does not know what they look like....he can just imagine. He joked about how he always presumed everyone was white. He thought Louis Armstrong was an old white guy with long white hair and a long white beard. He thought footballer Mario Balotelli would be white, with a name so Italian. Being a Liverpool fan, he wishes he could watch footballer Mo Salah in action. An enjoyable show, with lots of laughs. -------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------- Friday 12 May 2023. HAIRCUT 100 live Shepherds Bush Empire. Haircut 100 reform for a special one-off show to celebrate their 1982 debut album "Pelican West". The album reached number 2 in the UK, and 31 in the USA. An instant smash with four UK Top 10 45s, they're now back, forty years on with a remastered Super Deluxe Edition, available on CD or a four-LP set and digital. 1982 was their big year, as i worked them on front stage security for five headline nights at Hammersmith Odeon over three separate tours, in that year. The band's FaceBook page says this Shepherds Bush show sold out pronto in Dec 2022. In 2004 VH1 programme Bands Re-United got Haircut 100 back together again to play a one-off gig. --------- I was really looking forward to this one-off major venue re-union show. They actually played a warm-up club show in Oxford a few days before this gig. Support band BARBARA arrived on stage at 8.15pm for a decent 30 mins of pop tunes. Djs for tonight were well known actors BEN MILES and TOBY JONES, playing 80s classic hits. HAIRCUT 100 arrived on stage at 9.15pm and played for 95 mins. Haircut 100 had initial big success with their debut album , then singer Nick Heyward left before the second album , which totally bombed. Hence they have not got a big choice of material , so we get a couple of odd cover versions and one of their hit singles 'Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) was performed THREE times. Singer Nick Heyward is still very youthful looking at the age of 61, and has friendly stage banter. The band are joined by a three man brass section. The main set featured 10 of the 12 tracks on their classic 'Pelican West' album. Great to see Haircut 100 on stage again, for a really good show. Full HAIRCUT 100 setlist played tonight... Down Down (Status Quo cover) Low Rider (War cover) Baked Bean Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) Calling Captain Autumn Milk Film Snow Girl Lemon Firebrigade Fantastic Day Love's Got Me In Triangles Love Plus One Kingsize (You're My Little Steam Whistle) Encore: As It Was (Harry Styles cover) Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) (12” Version) Encore 2: Nobody's Fool (with I’m Your Man intro) Brookfield Girl (Live debut) Fantastic Day (12” Version)