I spent the past week road tripping with my girlies; We went to see our friends’ band play four shows across the country. Starting in London we took the first leg by train and stopped off at Kingly Court so I could set up my new display for the jewellery I sell at Things British. Of course I completely ran out of time to make some mini bunting for it so we attempted some impromptu bunting making in the train station which was rather successful and got us a few intrigued glances; I’d quite like to do some more public crafting!
Image courtesy of JumbleJess on Instagram
The gig was in Camden so we stopped by our favourite London haunt, ‘The Milkshake Place’ or better known as Inhabition. They make the best milkshakes in the world with ice cream and twisty straws and super cool flavours such as Mexican Mocha and Chocolate Mint. We then headed for Dingwalls for Brendan Benson with Future Monarchs and Leah Mason on the bill. Getting into Dingwalls can be a little… confusing. It’s the big wooden, almost barn style, doors that face inwards towards the Courtyard. If you arrive there early it seems like there’s no way in, but after ‘doors open’ the box office and security are revealed. Don’t panic! ;)
Brendan has become a sweet friend of mine over the past couple of years, but first and foremost I was a fan of his music. If you think you’ve never heard of him, you probably have; he headed up The Raconteurs with Jack White from The White Stripes and he is for sure the better musician. That probably sounds biased, but before the first Raconteurs gig I ever went to I was a huge Jack White fan. Absolutely HUGE. But Brendan Benson caught my attention that night and I’ve just fallen more and more in love with his music ever since.
The show kicked off with Chicago based band, Future Monarchs who I think have a ‘portfolio’ of sound. Their songs range from a vocal harmony, ‘Simon & Garfunkel’ style to a ‘lighter Queens of the Stone Age’ feel. The guys are super fun too; you can listen to them, here.
Second on the bill was British artist, Leah Mason who has worked with Brendan on some of her music. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as I’ve never been a huge fan of female vocalists, but she surprised me with her heavier sound and the quality of her guitar playing.
Brendan didn’t play any songs from his newly released ‘set’, but brought out ancient favourites such as ‘Tiny Spark’ as well as tracks from his most recent album such as, ‘Bad For Me’ which is achingly beautiful played live. There was a little controversy slipped in there too in the form of a couple of Brendan-Benson-penned Raconteurs songs: ‘Hands’ and ‘Steady as She Goes’. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those songs but I’m a bit of a Brendan Benson purist and think those spots on the setlist could have been filled with a better selection. However Steady.. did allow the rest of the band to really get into the set, with touring guitarist/keyboardist Mark Watrous taking the lead of the vocal ’round’ at the end of the song. It was great to hear his talents more prominently as I know he has them in vast supply!
Mark is also a good friend of mine and our relationship has developed over many years of touring. He used to be a member of American alternative rock band, Loudermilk/Gosling and currently performs as a touring member with the likes of Karen Elson and The Shins. Every time I see him I push more for him to bring out his own music (which is excellent and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it!). He did a split EP with Hannah Georgas a couple of years ago – go and check it out as a treat for your ears!
After the show we hung out in the green room and I drank my first (half a..) beer: Stella! Not the best choice, but it was free and beggar’s can’t be choosers, eh? We then headed to The Lock Tavern just up the road from Dingwalls where I bought a very expensive couple of drinks and ended up with an acid tasting glass of red wine that I had to down when we got kicked out super early. I don’t know why everywhere in the big smoke closes so early! London, you fail at drinking.
London also fails at providing anything for a reasonable price. We stayed at the Belgrave House in a four bed room for £85, which was reasonable, but grim. I had a horrendously disturbed sleep as the thermostat flashed bright green every minute or so and lit up the room (which really freaked me out at first!) and the doorbell was pressed every 20 minutes until 5am. The taxi to there from Camden also cost over £27… eek. It’s a good job I love those boys ;))
Loves x xx