Last Thursday morning I took a coach to Victoria in London brimming with excitement for the day ahead. I didn’t know quite what to expect when I arrived in upmarket Chelsea but it definitely exceeded all expectations.
Most of the day was spent queuing at Chelsea Gate of Royal Hospital Chelsea watching pedestrians and vehicles go in and out; the poor fella working on the gate having to deal with our questions. We met plenty of the pensioners, many of who told us that they will be watching the gig from their bedroom windows and one lady gave us some snacks. It wasn’t a bad place to queue and the decent weather and great company certainly helped.
I found it quite interesting watching the people go in because of the range of residents, visitors and crew with vans of equipment. We even had the artists go past at different points. Both The Cribs and HIMALAYAS arrived in vans; definitely got a few weird looks being sat on the pavement.
It was surprising that the usual tardy Nick “Peanut” Baines from Kaiser Chiefs was the first to arrive from the band. When his car pulled up to the gate he rolled down his window in the back to say hi which was very polite of him. Vijay Mistry, Ricky Wilson and Andrew “Whitey” White were next to arrive in a Range Rover all also waving. Simon Rix came on foot.
At 5:30pm, one gate was opened and we were running to the next which was closer to the stage. After getting my breath back I started to appreciate the beauty of the setting and the bustling atmosphere of all the food stalls on offer. It really was a great setting. One to behold and that I will never forget. It was certainly more beautiful than your average arena or small venue.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cardiff based band HIMALAYAS but they certainly surpassed all expectations. With over two hundred thousand monthly listeners on Spotify they are certainly putting their stamp on the world of Indie Rock. Track “Thank God I’m Not You” has over five million streams on the site according to the band and there is a reason. It. Is. A. Banger.
This is a band I can certainly get into. Made up of two singing guitarists, a bassist and a drummer with some ace backing vocals this seems to be my jam. Vocals were incredible and the all round sound was simply amazing. They had the image, the attitude and the songs to make it. Looking forward to hopefully seeing them again sooner rather than later!
Other tracks I recommend are “Ecstasy” and “Sigh on a Hurricane”.
Next owning the stage were Indie brothers The Cribs. Gary, Ryan and Ross Jarman have released seven studio albums into the Indie Rock scene and mixes a British and American sound. I thoroughly enjoyed flailing about to these guys. They have been on the scene since 2002 and for a time were joined on stage by guitarist Johnny Marr.
Despite being around for such a time they have not lost the energy and passion they have for performing. What made this gig slightly special was that they joined old pals Kaiser Chiefs on the bill. A part of me was disappointed that they didn’t perform “Modern Way” together like they have done in the past. They begun their set with familiar “Mirror Kisses” off their 2005 album “The New Fellas” and I was buzzing.
Their set finished on an absolute high with “the best six minutes of our lives” by playing “Pink Snow” off their 2015 album “For All My Sisters”. 10/10 would see again.
When David Bowie’s “Heroes” started to play I knew it wasn’t long before the Kaiser Chiefs were hitting the stage. They walked on to Edwin Starr’s “War” and started their set with indie anthem “Everyday I Love You Less And Less” which had me jumping.
A part of me was going to this gig wondering if they were going to play a new track which they promised back in May but sadly none was played. But, I did hear “Good Days Bad Days” for the first time live ever which was a treat and their version of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” really is a belter. I think it’s the most fun I’ve had when seeing them live.
The crowd was participating, the pensioners watching from their windows and the atmosphere was electric. It was loud at front.
And on the year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster, frontman Ricky Wilson was appropriately wearing a t-shirt out of respect to the victims. He is a dude. They put on a show.
All in all it was a very successful day out! Class music, top company and I didn’t miss my bus going home!
Make sure you check out all three of these bands. Click on their names below to get taken to their Twitter accounts or click on the Spotify Playlist for a twelve track journey into the day’s events.