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Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

Last post 04-14-2008 9:16 PM by TomF. 12 replies.
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  • 04-11-2008 2:53 PM

    Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    It's not really a review but hey.

    Okay so I saw Portishead last night, im only 17 and was pretty honoured to attend the gig.
    I've been a fan of them due to my mum introducing them to me, as she liked them when she was younger.

    The support were awful, whiney music playing for 45 minutes which annoyed me completely, I was just greatful that there was the only one support band.

    Portishead then came on, I was so excited, we had to wait a while for them to come on but they did and it was great...
    But then their part of their equipment broke, Beth didn't even seem bothered, it seemed like it was a joke to her. By this time I was thinking, what the hell ? Payed £35 for this ?

    The venue they chose was awful, the standing area was so packed in it was unbearable. Being at the back was like being at the front of the gig. People were talking, I couldn't be myself without people standing in the way, and having a convosation while they were playing.

    I don't know if its normal behaviour, but I found Beth slightly rude that she had her back to the audience through most of what I saw, unless she was singing, which she faced the crowd.

    Me and my mum had the worry of getting the last train back which was STUPIDLY at 11 from Waterloo Station back to where I live in Fareham, so we had to leave at 10:20 while they were still playing.

    What I saw was amazing, im just really upset this had to happen when I was extremely looking forward to seeing them live.
    Im not going to stop listening to them, of course not, their one of my favourite bands. Im just really upset that it was a rushed, bad experience for me and my mum. If the tickets had been cheaper, and the venue better, it wouldve been the most amazing gig.

    Sorry to moan to all you guys, I just hope im not the only one who felt like this.

     Jake

  • 04-11-2008 6:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    There must have been some rich people last night who could afford to drop 35 quid and then talk all the way through the pissing gig. I managed to tune out the worst of the bastards and have a great time in the end. They should chuck people like that out.  

  • 04-11-2008 7:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    Sorry to hear about your experience, mine (and me girlfriend's) was rather different. This is what I posted on Massive Attack's forum this afternoon:

     Guess what? They were pure fooking magic. Despite a techical failure after three songs, it was one of the best gigs I've ever been to. And what's five minutes when you've been waiting 14 years?

    They came on with a backscreen projection of the number 3, being joined into the letter P- it's their new album cover you see and went straight into Third's opening track, Silence, which was a great opening to the show.

    Following a thunderous Mysterons came the aforementioned technical problem, Beth Gibbons manged to joke about a "free drink for everyone, on us!" Guitarist Ade Utley seemed more concerned, but the problem was resolved by the time The Rip had weaved its magic on the audience. And then, Glory Box. Which was brilliant, and I'm glad they got it out of the way early on. Beth got right inside this song, giving it a real emotional power. Numb and another new track, Magic Door slipped by before possibly, possibly the highlight of the show. Beth hunched down on the stage, accompanied only by keyboardist John Baggott, Ade Utley and the other guitarist and an astonishing visual backdrop- a black and white rendering of the stage action- and sang. Wandering Star for whom it is reserved the blackness, the darkness for ever... It seemed that you could hear a pin drop in the audience and the cheers that greeted the climax of this beautiful moment seemed the loudest of all. But maybe that was me hollering "YESSSSSS!" at the top of my voice. Though, perhaps, not as loud as what followed, the opening hammer of latest single, Machine Gun. What an awesome track this is. The menacing Over had the unenviable task of following the thunder before a bit of a jazzy dance moment, Sour Times- and flashbacks to the 18 year old me staggering out of a nightclub in Leeds wailing this after another failed night on the pull. One of my favourite Portishead songs closed the main set, a savage rendition of Cowboys.

    Perhaps the technical failure meant that the band felt guilty about being offstage too long because they returned in no time at all, with another new song, Threads, which seemed to be drifting away, before revving up for another big exit. The desolate, yet majestic Roads followed (why people had to scream and shout over it, I have no idea) and then finally, We Carry On closed the night out. This song is a masterpiece, Beth's vocal ringing out across the Apollo over a hypnotic thrum and some guitar work worthy of Massive Attack's Group Four. As the song built to it's climax, Beth could contain herself no longer and jumped off the stage to greet run along the front row shaking hands and hugging various members of the front row (were you one of the lucky ones, Fav?). We were two rows back.

    As the last note faded into the night, Beth thanked veryone for coming and being so patient and made her habitual apology for (non existent) crapness.

    If they had had moments of crapness, I don't think anyone noticed. Or cared.

    And to the two girls snogging each others faces off in front of me, what seemed like all night, get. A. Fucking. Room.

     And some photos...

     

  • 04-11-2008 9:14 PM In reply to

    • ints
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    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    I think the closer to the stage the less talk there was.

  • 04-11-2008 9:42 PM In reply to

    • futurix
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-11-2008
    • London
    • Posts 6

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    JaffaJakes:
    The support were awful, whiney music playing for 45 minutes which annoyed me completely, I was just greatful that there was the only one support band.

    They were unusual, but not awful. I think the point was in contrast of low tech music of opening band, and hi-tech Portishead. They should have played 7:40 though Geeked

    JaffaJakes:
    But then their part of their equipment broke, Beth didn't even seem bothered, it seemed like it was a joke to her. By this time I was thinking, what the hell ? Payed £35 for this ?

    She seemed to be confident that they will fix it - but that wasn't a joke for her.

    JaffaJakes:
    The venue they chose was awful, the standing area was so packed in it was unbearable. Being at the back was like being at the front of the gig.

    During all gigs of popular bands I've been to, the standing area was packed like that or even worse... and if you did not want to be in the back, well - at 17:30 the queue was only 20 people and everyone of us got to the front row.

    JaffaJakes:
    I don't know if its normal behaviour, but I found Beth slightly rude that she had her back to the audience through most of what I saw, unless she was singing, which she faced the crowd.

    From the first row she seemed to be extremely shy - I think that was the real reason. She completely stopped doing that by the encore.

    JaffaJakes:
    Me and my mum had the worry of getting the last train back which was STUPIDLY at 11 from Waterloo Station back to where I live in Fareham, so we had to leave at 10:20 while they were still playing.

    Dude, you should have stayed in London overnight - you missed the best part of the gig Sad (seriously! not to spite you up...).

    JaffaJakes:
    Im just really upset that it was a rushed, bad experience for me and my mum.

    Well, yeah, if you had to rush in and out... but this is not fault of Portishead.

    JaffaJakes:
    If the tickets had been cheaper, and the venue better, it wouldve been the most amazing gig.

    The venue was OK - at least with good organization of the queue, and the tickets were at usual London level.

  • 04-12-2008 12:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    Just wanted to add that Beth's onstage behaviour was more likely to be down to nerves than rudeness. That came through with her embracing the crowd at the end of the gig- of course you were unlucky enough to miss that.

  • 04-12-2008 11:34 AM In reply to

    • Kes
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    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    Judging from your age and disappointment, I’m wondering how many gigs you’ve been to prior Portishead? Packed standing area is standard practise for pretty much most gigs, unless you get to the front there will always be someone crowding you/in the way/tipping their beer over you. People chatting over the band were bloody annoying but again not uncommon and not the fault of the band.Beth’s reaction to the equipment breaking and general stage presence: As I understand it, I think she can be quite shy and was probably (understandably) nervous. Before the encore she said something along the lines of ‘Sorry if we were a bit crap’, so obviously parts of the performance weren’t to the bands standards. I’m always reading in interviews where the band says playing live is a bit of a chore since 9 times out of 10 something goes wrong.The venue: I’ve been in a lot worse that’s for sure.As for getting trains home etc, gigs never finish early and transport can always be an issue. It’s up to you to arrange these things. It’s such a shame you missed the end, you missed a superb performance of ‘Roads’.If you are new to the whole gigging experience, don’t let it put you off. As for me, awesome gig.

     

  • 04-12-2008 1:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    I never suggested it was the fault of the band that people talked throughout the whole gig, (it was extremely annoying though). Why do that? I'd understand it at a festival or something like that. It would have been much more sensible for them to play at the Royal Festival Hall or somewhere all seated I think. 

  • 04-12-2008 2:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    I agree, much as I prefer standing at gigs, seated theatres (e.g. SouthBank) seem to make for better sound and quieter (as in 'hear a pin drop') audiences. Also seems to stop people shuffling back and forth to the bars mid-performance.

    I think A Hawk and a Hacksaw made a great support act, passionate stuff, talking aside. Could have done with a support act like the Heads perhaps, that would have shut the talkers up Indifferent

    Anyway, great gig, only criticism here was that Machine Gun sounded a bit off to me compared to the ATP shows. Great animation/video effects again.

  • 04-12-2008 4:07 PM In reply to

    • futurix
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    • London
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    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    ethereal:
    I think A Hawk and a Hacksaw made a great support act, passionate stuff, talking aside.
     

    I liked them a lot Smile
    And thank you for telling me who they were! Big Smile

  • 04-14-2008 4:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    I have been to many gigs in my lifetime.

    I just thought seeing Portishead would be a different experience from most of the other gigs I go to, I thought it would be much more relaxed and a much greater repsectful crowd towards the band.

    I didn't mean to make it out they were terrible, they truely weren't, I am just very upset I lived so far away and my mum seemed a bit agitated.

    Im extremely glad everyone enjoyed their experience at Hammersmith, I really wish to see them again. This gig did not put me off at all.

    I have been to sold out gigs, but I can never remember it being that packed.

    I saw The White Stripes at Hammersmith Apollo in 2005, that was sold out and I cannot remember the venue being that packed in (maybe cause their my favourite band and I wasn't paying attention to the crowd..)

     Anyway, glad everyone enjoyed it.

    Take care all.

  • 04-14-2008 8:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

     You wanna know about crowds disrespecting bands, you should go and see Massive Attack and be stood amongst hundreds of people who've paid £30 just to hear Unfinished Sympathy.

     Just realised, on the off chance that the band do pick up the forum from time to time, that I never said thank you for a brilliant evening. That may just be the best live performance I've ever seen.
     

  • 04-14-2008 9:16 PM In reply to

    • TomF
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-18-2008
    • Portishead
    • Posts 24

    Re: Portishead - Hammersmith Apollo - My Review

    Yeah know the feeling. The pre xmas Poritshead gig at the Bristol Academy was full of the sort who just paid to see 'Portishead' and tell there mates they'd seen the live and not the sort who actually go because they apprecaite the music and work of Portishead.

     It's sad but envitable after so long out of the gig circuit that you pick up these wankers.
     

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