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  • Billy's set list

    18 jul 2011, 09:41

  • Set list

    18 nov 2010, 14:17

    Sun 14 Nov – The Divine Comedy
    Assume the perpendicular
    Pop star's fear of the pollen count
    Complete banker
    I like
    Absent friends
    Sweden
    Becoming more like Alfie
    Certainty of chance
    Robinson Crusoe [don't know this one, from his musical]
    Lost art of conversation
    At the Indie disco
    The Summerhouse
    A lady of a certain age
    Songs of love
    Jiggery-pokery
    Our mutual friend
    Can you stand on one leg
    Tonight we fly


    And I thought he sang Have you ever been in love at some point. Or did I imagine it?
  • Set list

    23 mar 2010, 09:53

    Mon 22 Mar – The Magnetic Fields
    I had to leave before the encores, but I thought they played the following:
    First set
    Kiss me like you mean it
    You must be out of your mind
    Luckiest guy on the lower east side
    Interlude
    Better things
    I don't want to get over you
    Acoustic guitar
    Nun’s litany
    I don’t really love you anymore
    I don’t know what to say
    Castaway
    Walk a lonely road
    I’m sorry I love you
    Looking for love in the hall of mirrors (with Amelia Fletcher)

    Second set
    Xylophone
    We are having a hootenanny
    At the doll's tea party
    Wi’ nae wee bairn ye’ll me beget
    Always already gone
    All the umbrellas in London
    The one you really love
    Night falls like a grand piano
    Fear of trains
    I’m tongue-tied
    Long Vermont roads
    From a sinking boat

    They were superb, and the Barbican a fine, if rather large venue, lacking the intimacy of Cadogan Hall. I wish the Guardian reviewer who had such a bad time in Manchester had been at this concert.
    I hope next time they play here they include a Brighton date. Then I might be able to stay to the endThe Magnetic Fields

    PS I understand that the encores were:
    100,000 Fireflies
    Papa was a rodeo
  • My night of metal hell

    11 okt 2009, 12:14

    Sat 10 Oct – Papa Roach, Madina Lake, Heaven's Basement
    The ancients believed that the mother pelican fed her young by piercing her breast with her bill, and feeding them on her blood. This archetype of parental self-sacrifice is often cited chez Roper, but never with greater justification than last night when I took daughter, daughter's friend, and daughter's friend's boyfriend to Brixton to see Papa Roach, helpfully described by Time Out as 'triple-platinum nu-metal titans[...playing a] bellowing brand of emotionally bruised post-grunge".

    We missed the first support act, and arrive in time for the second, whose name escapes me. Apart from some curious haircuts, the chief point of interest here was their desperation to ingratiate themselves with the audience. Sycophantically, Chicagoans to a man, they professed to love all things English, including football, which stretched belief. The greatest sycophancy was that, in every intro, they prostrated themselves before the headline act, promising us how good Papa Roach would be, how much they looked up to them, and so on and so forth. Is this a contractual requirement, imposed by Papa Roach on their support acts? Or a transparent attempt to improve their own reception by attaching themselves in the mind of the audience to the headline act they had come to see? An act of homage or abasement? Musically, they were loud.

    After some fumbling by roadies, Papa Roach themselves took the stage. They are led by a diminutive young man, not handsome by any means, and one wonders at the psychological motives of a short man who decides to make a living yelling at crowds from a stage. They play in a genre that was empty and dated decades ago.

    He flattered the audience relentlessly: "you're [expletive deleted] awesome', 'you [expletive deleted] rock' and so on ad nauseam. The music itself, is crude and derivative, and could have been made at more or less any point in the past forty years. Am I over-optimistic in expecting an art form to develop, to hope for intelligence and wit in music? For most of these fans, it is its very lack of development, its stagnation, that is its great virtue. As for the misogynistic and stereotypical lyrics, listen, if you must, to Hollywood Whore for an example.

    Throughout fans and the band would raise their fingers, in all seriousness, in the Italian sign for a cuckold, adopted by metal fans without any knowledge of its iconographical roots, yet, with the passage of time, one might hope that it would now be used with playful, ironic intent. Not a bit of it.

    I knew the end must be near when the traditional drum solo allowed the rest of the band to leave the stage for a fag. To maintain my sanity, I tweeted as best I could. In a venue which nears O2's name, the very people who collect a king's ransom for my iPhone every month, you would think, bestir themselves to put in a wifi network, or at least a decent G3 signal.


    Then again, I must not be curmudgeonly. Daughter, daughter's friend, and daughter's friend's boyfriend enjoyed themselves and so, too, did the rest of the audience.
  • The Curst Sons at Concorde II

    30 jan 2009, 11:11

    Thu 29 Jan – Curst Sons, The Hat, Lisa Lindley Jones
    Lisa Lindley Jones sang very powerful dark songs, the guitar, keyboard and drums accompaniment enhanced here and there with instruments as diverse as a musical saw and a Turkish saz (I am indebted to Tim Dunkerley of the Curst Sons for this; I could only identify it as an oriental lute of some sort). The Hat were very funny and inventive, lyrics delivered by a behatted singer, often rapped, while others sang, the drummer having a pleasingly quirky delivery, and a percussionist and double-bass played I should like to hear more of both. Finally, the Curst Sons played a good set, including some numbers new to me, and, though some of the crazier fans seemed to have stayed away, there was some fine lunatic dancing on stage and off, by, among others, a man wearing a bear suit.
    Concorde II was cold, dreadfully cold. Not only the bouncers outside but the bar staff inside shivered, and a small discerning crowd turned up; it was noticeable that the audience was, as the marketing-wallahs would have it, very segmented. Those of use who stayed for the whole evening were in a minority; most came to see their band and vanished again out into the East wind blowing along Marine Drive.
  • Set list

    29 nov 2008, 00:09

  • Set list?

    11 jul 2008, 17:04

    Thu 10 Jul – The Magnetic Fields, Darren Hanlon
    My memory and notes are faulty and I had to leave early, but this is what I thought they played up to about 10.15:
    Magnetic Fields Cadogan Hall 10 July 2008
    Set 1 (I know this order is wrong):
    I wish I had an evil twin
    California Girls
    Walking my gargoyle
    Nun's litany
    Zombie boy
    Papa was a rodeo

    Set 2:
    Take ecstasy with me
    Courtesans
    Crows
    Too drunk to dream
    Book of love

    What then?
  • Billy Bragg

    17 jul 2007, 15:22

    Fri 13 Jul – Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival
    I noted the set list as follows:
    Power in a union
    Buddy can you spare a dime?
    Hard times of old England [by the Copper family, whose archive is now at the University of Sussex Library]
    The beach is free [new song, I may have the title wrong]
    Goodnight Irene
    Underneath the arches [Bud Flanagan's song, as a tribute to those who built the South Bank]
    New England
    The Red Flag
    One Love [with the children of Puddletown School]
    The Internationale [in Billy's own 1990 adaptation; I have to say I prefer the more traditional translation]