Gold on the Ceiling [The Black Keys live at the Ally Pally]

OK so I’m so far behind that I could be making everything up, so bad is my memory but you know, I blog therefore I have to post, it’s kind of the point..

Friday the 10th was my mate’s birthday, I find this out after I have already invited him to the Black Keys gig, so I then tell him the gig is my treat.  We arrange to meet at the Ally Pally.

It’s my first gig at the Ally Pally, I check out the website, I look at the directions, I look at them again. I see the words ‘bus’.  Whats this all about? A bus? to a gig in London?  I check the route, is the Ally Pally even in London?  I’m not sure it is, since I’ve been there and come back, I’m convinced it’s in deepest Hertfordshire.

Anyhoo, I get the tube, I get out the station, catch the shuttle bus, a double-decker sardine tin on wheels and arrive at the venue, it’s dark, it is so cold I feel like I have icicles hanging from my balls.  I’m standing outside waiting for my mate.  He calls me, I can’t hear anything down the end of the line except for car horns, which, I can also hear out of my other ear…ok, he’s nearby.  Half an hour later and I feel I could now be made an honorary Inuit, he runs up the path and we scrabble into the warmth of the Ally Pally.  But what’s this? It’s a massive hall, leading to another massive hall that’s filled with people, with bars, with food stands, but with a massive lack of a stage.  At the back is a sign, to the Main Hall.  We head there walk into another massive hall, that looks like it’s been decorated using a Dulux colour chart for vomit.  One one side is a stage, on the other side was a big curtain hiding a bar.  We head there first and then back into the main area.  We wind our way down the side till we hit a solid mass of bodies.  The gig can now begin.

The Keys come out, so do two other guys…who are they?  The last time I saw the keys I think was either for Magic Potion, or Rubber Factory, it was the two of them, why are there now two more people on stage?  Ah well roll with it…they kick off with tunes from El Camino, one of the guys in front of us does his best impression of the Tasmanian devil on acid, spinning and bouncing off everyone within a 6ft radius.  But that’s ok we can move back out of the way…oh no, the hipsters behind us have all put their bags on the floor a la studio 54 during disco’s heyday and are now moaning at everyone who is stepping on them..get over it.  The band are great, Dan’s voice scraping over the raw guitar and Patrick’s frenetic drumming.  In comes a slow intro to Girl is on my Mind, a seemingly low number of the crowd pick up and react, must be a lot of new fans.  They also play Thickfreakness amongst others, Gold on the Ceiling gets a play (my favourite tune on the new album), to a raucous sing along…but clapping, that’s a no go, these people are too cool for clapping, or they are holding their cigarettes.  Apparently the indoor smoking law was lifted for all the cool kids at the Ally Pally that night, at least for a good dozen people near us.  It was about then that I realised how utterly selfish people are now, how everything is about how much they enjoy themselves and fuck everyone else, you can get on with it…but that’s a rant for another post.

The last song of the set was Lonely Boy, The Tasmanian devil went into spin overdrive, but I was jumping anyway, singing at the top of my voice.  The took their bows and left the stage, people started to leave, possibly because of the trek they faced getting back into London.  The band came back out, including the two hangers on.  First song of the encore was Everlasting Light (from Brothers).  Dan’s falsetto singing riding over the slow boogie while a glitterball spun behind him, spraying the room with a confetti of light.

At the end I was underwhelmed, not with the band, although I did prefer the earlier gigs I had been too, but with everything else, the venue, the crowd took away my enjoyment, hence the post that barely mentions the gig, but that makes me sound like my dad.  My mate gave me a lift back to the tube, which saved me piling into the shuttle bus, thankfully I don’t have to go back to the Ally Pally until, er, April, when I’m seeing Bombay Bicycle Club, I’m not even sure if they’re old enough to get in..


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