The period of 2012-2014 was a hugely important time for me in terms of musical self discovery. I shaped myself as a person, I found an identity, I found a culture I belonged to. I met people that went on to be hugely important with my life. I had a calling, a distinctiveness, and as I sorted through my room today, getting ready to move back up north for my second year of University, I felt a huge rush of nostalgia as I rediscovered old ticket stubs of gigs from the past. Although I feel pretty certain that I’m no longer in that stage of my life, having matured quite significantly from the hysteria of ‘indie twitter’ and fangirling stage, I have hugely fond memories of myself as a sixteen year old, around three years ago, seeing bands like Peace and Slaves every other week and nodding off the next day during History lessons. I feel old now, when I go and see Wolf Alice and there are fifteen year olds swigging from hip flasks, talking excitedly about this and that; but that was me, and it’s heartwarming that I see their appreciation for music flourishing in the same way it did for me. Anyway, enough babbling, and here are some gigs from the past that have stuck with me:
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Wembley Arena, 7/09/12
This, bar seeing JLS in a questionable childhood faze, was my first proper gig, and I remember being so unbelievably excited. I’d just turned fifteen, and one of the conditions of me being allowed to go (protective parents) was that it was with my brother and his friend. At that point I’d firmly established in my mind what music I liked, and I remember how exciting it all was – getting the tube there; my brother swigging from a can of beer; the hour or two of anticipation before the music began, crammed into the arena like sardines; and finally, my first experience of hearing the roar of the crowd, being crushed by veteran Oasis fans, and screaming along to “Don’t Look Back In Anger.”
Two Door Cinema Club, Alexandra Palace, 27/04/13
This was my first gig that I went to unsupervised by a family member: it was me, Gabby, Lily, Christina and Michaela, going to our first gig together. We took photos before, the whole shabang, and the supports were great too – Chvrches and Everything Everthing – and we all danced and jumped and felt euphorically happy.
Peace, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 6/12/13
This gig is a real defining moment for me. Peace play a huge part in my musical identity and I remember going to this gig, wearing a stupid Hawaiian shirt in an attempt to look cool with Rosa, not knowing that the support acts would end up being two more hugely important bands for me – Superfood and Drenge. I’d become obsessed with Peace in the months before the gig and I remember the way I felt afterwards, drenched in sweat, grinning and bruised, as everyone gave me evils for wearing a rucksack (why did I even wear that stupid denim rucksack?).
Foals, Alexandra Palace, 15/02/14
Buzz was still circulating from the release of album ‘Holy Fire,’ rumours of the mental crowds had reached my ears, Cage The Elephant were supporting. It was always going to be a frenzied evening. Although I basically lost Anthony for the entire set, I felt drunk with exhilaration, having never experience live music in quite the way I was in that moment, and although I had a beautiful black eye in the days following, the gig remains as one of my favourites and most memorable.
Wolf Alice, Scala, 26/05/14
Wolf Alice hold a very special place in my heart and are one of my favourite bands of all time. This gig, quite literally, transfixed me. It’s a small venue, with a capacity of around 1000, and I dragged Ella along with me, and we both were put under Ellie Rowsell’s spell. It’s were I first met Milly, crouched on the pavement after the gig in post-euphoria aftershock; and little did I know that I’d go on to see this band probably about ten more times and witness one of the best debuts ever from them.