Yep. More fools gold from the vaults, and proof that when it comes to the kids i'll go to anything.
McFly - Reemer - Avenue (Glasgow SECC) 25/11/08
So I'm wondering what I'm doing here. It seemed like a good idea when I bought the tickets, but now I'm the rudderless ship set adrift in uncharted waters. So far out of my comfort zone that I have a sneaky feeling that I may never find my way back.
I thought I knew what I was getting into. On hindsight I realize that I was seriously deluding myself and this is now becoming frighteningly apparent. It's not as if I hadn't had niggling doubts, but if there's one thing I'm good at, it's ignoring that little voice that whispers things I don't want to hear.
I've been here often over the years, and this should be recognizable territory for me, but it's not. There's a name for it. It's jamais vu. The familiar is now unfamiliar. I can't put my finger on what is different, but it is.
The show tonight is advertised as a rock and roll one, and I would be fine and dandy if it was, but it's a replicants version that's really on the menu. Wild abandon certainly is not going to be on the cards tonight.
I'm at a McFly gig.
I am that proverbial fish out of water, and I'm gasping for air. When I look around and I don't feel any kinship with the people surrounding me. I rarely do, but my feelings of alienation are magnified tenfold this evening.
So really. Why the fuck am I here?
Okay. I know why I'm here. That was a rhetorical question. It's a treat for my daughter, but who would have thought that that it would dredge up such mixed emotions.
My equilibrium is off. If two magnets that were repelling each other could have feelings then this is what it would be like. They want to get together, but it's not going to happen. I want to enjoy myself. Share my daughters excitement, but it's not going to happen.
Impulse buys are now something that I used to do.
After a quick glance about I'm starting to think that I could stand in for Wally from the 'Where's Wally' books. I can imagine that someone will release a full scale panoramic image of this crowd, and all over the world kids with autistic tendencies will pore over it to try and find me, the one sole male over forty, within a sea of young girls and their mothers. I knew I should have worn my red and white-hooped hat. At the very least they could use it to identify my body if I'm crushed under a tsunami sized wave of nine year old girls as the surge towards their heroes.
Apart from the kids there's a huge contingent of cougars here. There's an army of middle aged women sporting glazed pre-coital looks. They're all anxiously staring at the stage while half heartedly clutching the hand of a kid that doesn't really want to be there. I wonder if it's a psychological medical condition that these woman have. At least the cougars that trawl bars may realize their dream of getting some young hard muscle between the sheets. The ones here who are on a lustful odyssey to bag a McFly are frankly just delusional.
The sight of so many mature women clutching for unreachable straws saddens me. I thought the internet was created to give us all a fix of cheap thrills. This would seem to be just an expensive alternative.
The first band of the evening are called Avenue. It's five interchangeable guys who have been cloned in a boy band lab somewhere. They're the new kids on the block occupying a boyzone with a take that attitude. There not even a real a band per se. No one plays an instrument and they have refined dancing and singing to a backing track to it's lowest common denominator. I expect they will be huge by x-mas.
They mentioned that they had a number one single in Scotland. I wouldn't presume that would be too difficult though. If you sell about twenty then that should be enough to ensure a top spot position. In the download charts they were probably in with a bullet at chart position 1108. One of the band is Scottish. I know that he's Scottish as he unashamedly used this information to elicit a Pavlov's dog response from the crowd in the style of 'Hey. I'm from Scotland and I've told the guys in the band that you guys will go crazy. Are you going to go crazy?' Everyone under fourteen goes crazy on cue.
I'm not sure what purpose Avenue serve. Foreplay for the cougars possibly. Maybe it's just to give a home to the people who failed the auditions for reality television shows. Or it could just be a vehicle for them to extends their dreams of stardom for a little longer before they decide that they will have to get a real job. If this is the case then it actually does have a purpose.
It's only a couple of minutes after they finish their set that they're forgotten about. Goldfish would like them. They allegedly have the attention span that would suit watching Avenue. They're the equivalent of a happy meal for the voracious appetites of the young crowd. It hits the spot in the short term, but now they're gone it's out of sight, out of mind and the kids want something more substantial.
It's not going to happen anytime soon though as Reemer, who are up next, peddle a more mature indie pop-punk, and they all look like they are on the wrong side of eighteen for this crowd. A heinous sin if there ever was one in this cutthroat world of edgy boy bands. I could guess that they don't really know how they got this support slot, and are still unsure if it was a good idea to take it. The question at the forefront of their minds might be whether playing to a hundred people who want to see you is a better option than playing to thousands that don't give a fuck. They'd be right to ponder this as the McFly crowd are going to be an uphill struggle for any band to win over. The set is tailored to the audience, albeit the choreographed moves are clunky and haphazard. This is something that may indicate that Reemer are a 'real' band, and this sort of dancing bear act is really rather alien to them. The singer throws out the obligatory comments about the crowd being crazy, beautiful, sexy, or even sexy, crazy and beautiful, or possibly beautifully crazy and sexy. I'm guessing that good looking horny chicks with mental health problems might be what gets these guys motors running. There is a short interlude that is filled by the front man explaining how he wants to take pictures of the crowd as it's 'only fair because all you sexy, beautiful and crazy people keep taking pictures of us.' The sexy, beautiful and crazy people all pose, scream, shout and throw their arms in the air like the just don't care for their photo-shoot. Even the non-sexy, ugly and sane join in. They will now be immortalised forever on Reemers myspace page. Although immortalised forever could mean anything from a week to three months.
The biggest fish on a bicycle moment for me happened near the end of the set. Danny of McFly joins the band on stage to sing something about clouds. At this the crowd roar and it looks like someone had just passed an electrical current through the seating, but that isn't why is has me stroking my chin in bemusement. It's the young emo looking guy two rows in front of me waving his black nail varnished hands in the air in some sort of ecstasy that does it. He's wearing of a Crass tee-shirt. It's like Crass and McFly are the musical equivalents of oil and water. Never the twain should meet. So what the fuck? At the very least I hope his nail varnish wasn't tested on animals. It crosses my mind that it may be an ironic statement, but no. This guy is probably lengthening and thickening at the presence of Danny on stage. It would be ironic if a Crass fan was wearing a McFly tee-shirt I suppose. Stupid, but ironic.
However, this guy is into Danny's appearance big time. It must be that a Crass tee-shirt is the latest fashionable accoutrement that the cool kids need to have to display their bought from the store rebelliousness. He sits back down as soon as Danny leaves the stage. Nothing from him all through Avenue, and then nothing through the majority of Reemer either. It's possible that he's just some new 4-D CGI effect that McFly has commissioned, and the Crass tee-shirt is the CGI effects experts clandestine middle finger salute to his paymasters.
This emo looking kid might only be programmed to react when McFly appear, and its remit is to emulate the behaviour of someone who is being swept away with euphoria at the sight of their heroes. The reasoning being that it kicks off a domino effect, and within minutes the crowd would be writhing in idolatrous ecstasy. There could be one positioned in every row. It would explain the mass hysteria that bands like McFly can draw from a crowd. I'm tempted to walk down and see if there is any substance to him, but it would freak me out too much if my hand went through him and my suspicions were confirmed.
After Reemer leave the atmosphere changes dramatically. An internal barometer swings crazily from side to side and I can sense the imminent arrival of the headliners. The anticipation of the crowd is physically tangible. The second coming of a messiah could draw out an indifferent shrug from a teenager, but McFly are far more important than that it would seem. There is excited chattering going on, squeals and yelp, faces swollen with a turmoil of emotions all around me. Some of the kids appear to be holding their breath and if the band don't appear soon then some people are going to pass out.
McFly stream a video onto a screen with a countdown and this just encourages the audience to hold onto till the 00.00.00 point when they can ejaculate all their pent up emotions that have been bubbling to the surface. They hit the stage at a run and the place erupts. It's deafening. Screaming becomes squealing and tears start to fall as some kids are emotionally ill equipped to deal with the feeling that are overloading their systems. I can't hear what they are playing for the first quarter of the song. There is nothing that will penetrate the noise that's threatening to burst my eardrums. Motorhead were loud, but this is altogether different. I never thought it would ever cross my mind that earplugs would be necessary for a gig, but they sound like a good idea right now.
My daughter is bouncing along with everyone else and the seating we are in must be at it's maximum strain. Hundreds of people are pounding on it. If they all jump at the same time we're fucked.
The stage set is surreally heavily lifted from Duran Duran's Wild boys video with a smidgeon of the 'Waterworld' movie thrown in for good measure. I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin Costner swung in from stage left with gills a gaping. As the noise is abating I can tell that it's 'One for the radio' they are playing. Then it's just full pelt song after song mainly lifted from their latest album. It's all slick until Danny breaks a string and has to borrow an acoustic from Tom, but this might all be kidology. A bit of 'look at us all in this together' camaraderie. If it's not genuine then it's close enough to the real thing that it would be hard to tell fact from fiction. There isn't a lull. No real down time at all. It goes on and on and on. McFly are relentless it has to be said. Between songs there's some banter, but I'm only catching some of it.
Danny and Tom have a bit of clarity at times, but it's coming in and out like a radio station. The guy on bass sounds like a chipmunk yelping in tongues. I haven't a clue what he is saying. He could be quoting Shakespeare in Swahili for all I know. He's grinning like a lunatic though so as long as he's happy that's fine.
I'm realizing that I'm a pretty jaded fella when they are lifted on a moving platform to perform above the crowd. It is doing nothing for me. I've seen it all before. The platform settles closer to us for a special part of the night. The only reason I know it's special is because McFly tell me it is. It's got something to do with the Children in need charity and downloading tracks. Apart from that they are really just playing in a different part of the hall.
The Michael Jackson song 'Black or White' surprisingly enough gets a rock overhaul and sounds a fair bit better for it. It must be good, as I reckon this will be the part of the night that will remain in my memory longer than a week. After they leave the stage the noise is building up to a horrific level and if they don't come back on then a lynching is in the offing. Thankfully McFly can probably sense this and do the Five colours in her hair crowd pleaser as their last song.
I'm mystified at why this band can enjoy this amount of support. There good at what they do, but it's all so choreographed that it lacks the fire that makes live music something that can knock the breath from you. This is the safe alternative and the kids can barely handle it
For many of the people there this must be akin to a religious experience. They are worshiping at the feet of their living, breathing gods. It's crazy. Dawkins should write 'The McFly Delusion' and make it a pop up version. It would slay the x-mas market, or should that be sleigh?
The Jonas Brothers seem to be the next show that my girl wants to see. So with reservations I suppose I'll have to keep an eye out for tickets for that. I better get some quality gigs under my belt for me to be able to handle that one.
The journey home is uneventful and when I slip into bed I can still hear the buzz that I usually associate with a good time. It's still confusing.