Monday, June 20, 2005

Ballochs to REM

This weekend I visited the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond to see the acclaimed rock threesome that is REM. They were playing in the grounds of Balloch castle and as venues go it's quite a nice setting for a concert. The gig was a whole afternoon/evening event with 5 bands on the bill, and luckily the weather held out throughout despite the ever looming presence of some nasty looking clouds. The first band up were some group from Edinburgh called Aber-something or other. They were a bit shit really, but passed the time for a bit. Next up were an American group called Ambulance Ltd, who again I'd never heard of. They were ok and there set picked up over the 45 mins or so that they were on, but there was nothing outstanding that made me want to buy (or even just download) any of their music. Things got better when the very Scouse the Zutons came on. It was a band I'd heard of and I knew a few of their songs (not that that's neccesarily needed to make a gig good). They were very good and got the crowd going and generally livened things up a bit, plus their female saxophonist was rather attractive and kept appearing on the big screens (the cameramen had the right idea).

Before I go on to the final two bands I should mention the state of the male toilets at this venue. For the men there was a fenced off area claiming to hold urinal, but upon entering it you found yourself wading through a muddy quagmire mainly composed of piss. This was not a nice thing. There were a few actual urinals, but the general idea was to just piss against the walls, with no real drainage. As the ground was fairly saturated from rain during the week the piss just sat on top mixing with the mud to make a nasty concoction. That said I have seen worse at festivals.

Another strange thing about this concert was the mix of people there. Well not really the mix, but just the large number of neds (read chavs if from the south). There were loads of them getting totally wasted over the course of the afternoon and being twats in general.

Back to the bands. After the Zutons we had Feeder, who were average really. Nothing special there. Then came REM. They were very good, with Stipes prancing round the stage with a blue striped face (why?). I was singing along for the majority, although have yet to get into the songs from Around the Sun yet. They probably played a bit too much from Around the Sun, and I would have prefered to hear more from Reveal. Very annoyingly I didn't get to see the end of the set, because of the bloody trains. The last train back to Glasgow left Balloch far too early, so if you wanted to catch it you had to leave the concert just after the encore started. This meant we probably missed a good 20-25 minutes of music. Boo.