Where to begin? I have so much gig-ly goodness booked for the next few months, just flicking through the dates marked in my diary is giving me an anticipatory thrill. I had promised myself that I would start going out and seeing more stuff in London after I had such a wonderful time making the most of New York. In reality, I have been struggling to settle back in, and as a consequence I just haven't had sufficient motivation to get myself out there.
But now I'm back baby - or at least on the way back to usual capacity. I have been feeling the faintest blush of optimism recently, and oh my goodness that is certainly welcome after so many up-and-down months, lightened only by a wonderful couple of weeks with my parents.
But enough about me! Onto the fun stuff!
Murray from Flight of the Conchords (otherwise known as Rhys Darby) at the Riverside Studios. Gentle, funny, and a little bit geeky. Not actually that far off Murray then. But where poor Murray is a bit of a loser, Rhys is definitely a winner, or a wunner as he would say in his charming New Zealand accent. FOTC has given me a much greater appreciation of all things from that exotic land; and I was most impressed to see that the New Zealand consulate had booked the first two rows and a special place at the bar for pre-gig drinks. They must be fun to work for.
Rhys has some killer sound effects up his sleeves, and uses them to great effect in describing exactly how much of a geek he was as a kid. Who needs friends when you have your own jetpack? In fact, who needs a girlfriend when you can have weird, bubbly underwater sex with a mermaid in Brighton?
The Mighty Boosh at the Brixton Academy. So, so much fun; like a glam rock concert but with comedy and even more outrageous costumes. This was two hours of the most joyous, raucous, shambolic mahem I am ever likely to witness. It was worth it just to see Bob Fossil in pink spandex (over his zoo-keepers outfit, obviously), teaching the audience some new dance moves. And for the sight of Noel clad in scandalously short gold loincloth, blonde wig, silver breastplate and angel wings during a hilarious routine contrasting Vince's electro-glam vision of the future with Howard's bleak apocalyptic one.
The boisterous crowd obviously shared the boys' enthusiasm for a bit of creative costuming, and had devoted many happy hours - sewing machine and glue-gun in hand - to putting together some fabulous outfits in homage to the show's characters. There was a lady in a mirror-ball suit, a scarily realistic crack fox, many Hitchers, and a few Old Gregs (male and female, appropriately).
I was so caught up in the excitement, I bought my first ever tour T-shirt!
Luka Bloom at Bush Hall. Any boys who may be reading this, listen up (read up?), because I won't repeat this. If you ever want to seduce a lady-friend, take her to a Luka gig - preferably in a beautiful old-timey hall of intimate proportions. Trust me on this.
The most enduring impression I had was of a man utterly suffused with his music; radiant with love for his fellow man (or more likely, his fellow woman), doing what he was born to do. His guitar is so much a part of him, it is like a beating wooden heart sitting against his chest, producing the most wonderful silvery sounds. And then there's his voice - rich and warm and flowing like a river (except when he's berating the audience for sitting down at the front like it was "feckin' woodstock"). Sorry, Luka!
I must confess, I don't know much of his back catalogue, but every song was a joy to listen to. I particularly enjoyed the stunningly lovely Joy of Living, the "one people" message of Tribe, and Sunny Sailor Boy with the crowd singing along to the chorus in hushed tones.
The Acoustic Motorbike, a rythmic ode to the benefits of cycling, is my new riding anthem. Not that I listen to my ipod when I ride (do I look like a suicidal bike-courier?), but this will definitely be running through my head as I pedal on, pedal on through the streets of London, not quite "the Kerry mountains or the Wicklow hills", but possibly "the antidote to my emotional ills".
As for his rendition of Monsoon, well, let's just say any bloke who takes his lady-friend to see this performed live is guaranteed to be struggling to get his coat on and running to keep up with his woman the minute the gig ends.