Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Belle & Sebastian
Brixton Academy

Adrian met Michela on the tube at Oxford Circus underground station. He was quite surprised. He was late and had been expecting to find her already waiting for him in Brixton. But no, she got on the same carriage as him and came and sat down next to him. She was very excited to be going to see Belle & Sebastian.

By the time that Adrian and Michela got to the venue the support band had already finished. Adrian didn’t even know who the support band had been. When he later found out that it had been Life Without Buildings he was very disappointed to have missed them. In fact, Belle & Sebastian were already halfway through their opening song when Adrian and Michela arrived so they tiptoed around the back of the audience so that they would not disturb the band.

Adrian thought that the songs that Belle & Sebastian played were all very nice. He wished that he could say something more complimentary about them, but to tell the truth, he was only half-concentrating on the band. Belle & Sebastian were boring him a bit, especially when they were playing songs from their last two albums. Adrian realised that he hasn’t really listened to these records very much. He couldn’t even tell you what many of the more recent songs were called. He recognised one of them, one with a lyric that said “she met another blind kid at a fancy dress, it was the best sex she ever had”. Adrian thought this was funny, because it was very unlikely that anyone in Belle and Sebastian had ever had sex. Someone nearby said that the song was called ‘The Model’. Michela turned to Adrian to say that she hadn’t known what the song was called either, but that she didn’t care, because she was very happy to be there. She was dancing along to every song. Adrian admired her energy.

After about half an hour, Stuart Murdoch told the audience a story about how he used to watch Blue Peter, and how they would often have a steel band on the programme. Stuart said that it would be nice to see a steel band again. Then a steel band come onstage and played Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’. Adrian didn’t think that was a coincidence. He thought that maybe this had been planned in advance.

After the steel band left, Belle & Sebastian came back on stage and played some of their better songs, including ‘Dog On Wheels’ and ‘The Boy With The Arab Strap’. Adrian wondered if Belle & Sebastian actually knew what an arab strap was, or if they just thought that using it in a song title made them sound more grown-up. He also wondered why they were playing so quietly all the time. How was anyone supposed to hear them? Adrian thought that maybe Belle & Sebastian fans were too fey and weak to hear loud music without getting a nose-bleed, and that Belle & Sebastian were being so quiet because didn’t want to make a mess in the hall.

But when they came encored with a cover of the Only Ones’ ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’, Belle & Sebastian were playing so loudly that everyone had to stop talking. Adrian thought that maybe they had just forgotten to turn the PA on earlier.

After the show, Michela decided that Belle & Sebastian were now one of her favourite bands. Adrian hadn’t been so impressed. He thought that they could have tried a lot harder, and that they weren’t being very nice to all of those people who had spent so much money to go and watch the show. In fact, Adrian thought that is was rude of Belle & Sebastian to have put on such a lacklustre performance. But maybe he was just disappointed that they hadn’t played ‘She’s Losing It’ or ‘Seeing Other People’. These were his favourite Belle & Sebastian songs. While Adrian walked Michela home, she said how much she had enjoyed the show. Adrian was not so enthusiastic, but nonetheless he had still had quite an enjoyable evening.