Feeling Gloomy

Posted by Ruth

Where: The Phoenix, Oxford Circus, W1G
When: 2nd Friday of the month
Cost: £5 entry
Website: http://feelinggloomy.com
Twitter: @FeelingGloomy
Rating:

Going to the basement of a London pub to spend the night listening to sad songs about lost love and misery might not immediately appeal, especially in this time of Christmas cheer. However, Feeling Gloomy – a monthly club night held at the Phoenix – defies its name to be one of the most enjoyable nights out in London.

doomedlargeportrait

The ‘club that brings a tear to your eye’ has recently relocated from its original home in Islington, and has lost none of the magic. Created by the infamous Leonard and Cliff, the night celebrates angst ridden indies tunes, and has established a cult following of regulars.

Far from being morose, Feeling Gloomy, is a fantastic place to dance stupidly to great music, from Belle and Sebastian and Pulp, to Wuthering Heights and Bright Eyes.

Not only is the music great, there’s also a really friendly atmosphere and complete lack of pretension.

By the end of the night you’re guaranteed to be dancing with a big group of strangers to ‘There is a light that never goes out’, singing at the top of your voice. If it’s your birthday you’ll even be treated to a chorus of ‘unhappy birthday’ and a slice of Tesco Value cake.

Verdict:
Feeling gloomy is completely unique and has a wonderfully nostalgic feel. Whether happy or sad, if you like indie music, you’re guaranteed to leave with a big smile on your smile (and slightly sore feet!).

Advertisements

Scott Matthews @ East Wintergarden

Where: The East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, E14
When: 29/10/12
Website: www.scottmatthewsmusic.co.uk
Price: £17.50
Rating:

The evening didn’t get off to the best of starts. Ruth had been caught up in the vagaries of the London transport system, rendering her nearly half an hour late; the almost full Moon was straining to creep through the clouds that were unleashing their unique brand of constant drizzle.

When Ruth finally managed to emerge from Canary Wharf tube station, we wound our way through the workers running through the rain for their bus home. We were heading for a gig at the East Wintergarden, a venue I’d never heard of before let alone been to. Initially I was underwhelmed as the entrance had the same cold, slick and soulless quality that doesn’t see me visit Canary Wharf very often.

However, the venue itself was a pleasant surprise. Tables had been arranged in a “cabaret style” with round tables, topped with candles and encircled with chairs. Behind the stage was a black screen littered with pin-pricks of light mocking up stars. But the real sight was to be seen overhead, a glass ceiling revealing a canopy of lights from the surrounding office buildings, mapping out their own makeshift constellations in the cloudy, starless sky.

This was a cool place to see one of our all time favourite artists: Scott Matthews. A lanky, Ivor Novello award winning singer/songwriter from Wolverhampton, he is a troubadour in every sense of the word. He also has a special place in our affections as one of our first dates was at one of his gigs back in 2006 when we were both students at the University of Manchester.

Before Scott took to the stage, his support act – ESKA – entertained us for half an hour or so. Born in Zimbabwe, but raised in London, she is certainly a force of nature – I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a voice like hers before. Soulful yet folky, with beautiful lyrics, I couldn’t actually decide whether I liked it or not. At times she hit such high notes – think the love child of Kate Bush and Minnie Ripperton on steroids – that I gurned and physically had to shrink away from the stage. I’d be interested to listen to her studio stuff though.

After a brief hiatus, Scott Matthews tip-toed on stage. Not a natural showman, his on-stage banter is often awkward but we’ve come to love it over the 5 times we’ve seen him in London. All is forgotten when he opens his mouth to sing, though. In the school of Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley, his songs are like a warm comforting blanket to me. Dark, frank and often tackling themes of loneliness, his lyrics are beautifully poetic and his melodies haunting.

He played a mixture of old and new songs, opening with Dream Song, from his debut album Passing Stranger, before wrapping up ninety minutes later with the stunning Ballerina Lake from his latest album, What the Night Delivers. My personal highlight of the evening was his beautiful rendition of the aptly titled So Long My Moonlight (Spotify album track below). He left without playing Elusive, his biggest mainstream hit, perhaps a sign he is tiring of it being the only song to have registered in many people’s consciousness. It shouldn’t be – his entire canon is as mighty.

Verdict:

A class act on the top of his game. Happy to tinker with a few songs to keep them sounding fresh, this was the ultimate antidote to the encroaching darker nights and the inauspicious start to the evening. The East Wintergarden is a great venue for an intimate gig and we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on their programme of events. With a new album due out in 2013, we might even get some new songs to play at our wedding!


Muse @ O2 Arena

Where: O2 Arena, North Greenwich, SE10
When: 27/10/12 (The 2nd Law tour)
Website: www.muse.mu
Price: £55
Rating:

Frequently voted the world’s greatest live band, Muse are usually guaranteed to deliver a great performance. Their second night at the O2 definitely didn’t disappoint. The anticipation from the crowd was palpable; tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale, a testament to how popular the band have become.

The tour was timed to coincide with the release of the band’s 6th album: The Second Law. This provided an opportunity for the audience to hear some of the new material live for the first time. The crowd were incredibly enthusiastic throughout the gig, however, as expected, it was the old material that got the best reaction. Particular highlights were ‘Falling Down’ from the first album, and classic favourites New Born and Plug in Baby. Some of the new songs got a mixed reaction, having much more of a stadium rock, Queen-like slant.

Muse utilised the size of the arena to full advantage, with a large multi-platform, semi-circular stage complete with florescent piano and a descending inverted pyramid of lights. Matt Bellamy seemed in his element, strutting across the stage like a rock star peacock, determined to thrill and entertain the audience. It was clear no-one wanted the gig to end, and with such a wide back catalogue of great songs there were a few disappointed fans who missed out on hearing their favourites (including myself – no Hysteria!)

Verdict:

Muse have never been more popular than now, and certainly delivered a fantastic show. However, whilst the quality of their performance can’t be doubted, arguably musically they are slightly past their best. Despite this, they continue to be one of the most exciting live bands around; I’d urge everyone to try and get tickets for the current tour, or see them at one of the festivals next summer.