Sunday, 2 December 2007


Empress Ballroom
28th Dec 2007

I recently raved about being able to go to BSP gig at the end of my street well this being the strange modern world I went last Wednesday all the way to Blackpool to see another (4 in a month get me !).

“the subway is a porno pavements they are a mess”

After an atmospheric drive over the tops, in a winter gale, me and S rolled up in a wet and empty Blackpool. As we walk to the Wintergardens (sadly we will miss Chubby Brown) we are joined by a growing knot of similarly grizzled looking big coated fellow fans.
I’ll talk about ‘pool’s bleakness later but the place tonight seems shut, even the Christmas lights aren’t fully working.
We search for a pub but are thwarted so after meeting R and A, we go inside. Inside the Ballrooms, we find a marvellous timber clad “galleon themed bar” (no time sadly to check out the “baronial renaissance room”) have a drink and catch up!

Heading inside the hall we sadly only catch the last bars of “Blond Redhead”. While the stage is reset we admire the ballroom’s ornate plaster roof and chandlers, its striking big old barn.

"Put on the big light “
Soon Interpol amble on, if you’ve never heard them, the easiest comparison is to Joy Division. They play stark bass driven portentous tunes, if
anything more abstract lyrically than JD. Tonight they play a mix of mainly their first and third album. Having warmed up (it is late November) it’s clear that in 2-3 yeas since I last saw them they have learned to be a bit more animated live, they will never give Bruce a run for his money, but Carlos D ( the strangely bearded and cardiganed) bass player does at least face the crowd now a days! Lead guitarist Daniel Kessler is particularly animated and evens cheerily thanks the crowd at end, although being booted and suited he does have the air of a victorious snooker player.

Thankfully the music bridges the gap with the audience and between songs, footie style chants break out. Apart from a bit of a dodgy “prog” moment in the middle, tonight is a great gig. (Even if the didn’t play NYC)!

Highlight: Song title of the year “No I in Threesome”
Lowlight: No where to get a pre-gig drink.

Its official I am a poetry groupie:
On the way out, who should be 5 ft in front of us but Simon Armitage. Sadly I didn’t get close enough to congratulate him on his new book. Although I probably wouldn’t have known what to say (not being a poet!)

Blackpool, Blackpool …
Now I love a run down seaside town out of season, but Blackpool has gone past the stage of some flaky paint and a bit of cracked Formica, it just seems defeated.
Look at the town’s logo. not building a “greener”, “brighter” or just “better” future just “a future” as any it seems will do. Now I’m not particularly in favour of casinos, they just seem to be a way of parting poor peoples from their money, but the decision to award the NW franchise to Manchester seems perverse.

That being the case here’s an alternative way forward, why doesn’t Blackpool play to it’s strengths, look at tonight hundreds of rock fans travel from all over the north (and further a field) but when we got there no one wanted to take any money off us. Why weren’t more food places open, why not open some normal pubs/bars (not grim garish drinking sheds awash with Alco pops, thongs and happy hours). Why doesn’t it go for an “all tomorrow parties” style festivals (I was going to initially suggest a Moz themed “everyday is like Sunday fest” but it seems that might attract too many Daily Mail readers and the BNP hang on maybe Stephen Patrick could do a set with Chubby Brown?) There’s plenty of venues (the staff at the Wintergardens were really efficient and friendly) and loads of empty hotels rooms. Oh and they could make a start and replace the odd light bulb.

Interpol are
Paul Banks - vocals, guitar
Carlos Dengler - bass, keyboards
Samuel Fogarino - drums
Daniel Kessler - guitar

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