The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Drew McConnell Headshot

The Oxford Anti-Gig

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Evening all. Well we just played Oxford Academy. A very odd show... I came offstage not quite knowing how it went. Yep, one of those. Peter typed out an order of songs that looked great on paper, but soon as we got a few tunes in he continued to completely disregard it. Having only recently started adhering to a setlist, it felt uncomfortably natural to be morphing back into an unpredictable ramshackleshambles on stage. We played for over two hours though, the longest set of the tour so far. Well, it was Friday the 13th...

Stephen Street drove up from London to see us play. His assurances the show was good really meant a lot to me. Naturally I wanted us to play well for him. I like chaos as much as the next guy, but I do get a bit unnerved when there's protracted procrastination between songs, without interaction with the crowd. Stephen said that very aspect actually makes it interesting, and keeps people wondering what is going to happen next. Really? Okay then... thinking back to the many years I've spent touring with the band, that's kind of how it always was. It's just been a while since we've been on the road, so I guess I'm just not as used to it.

I suppose that's part of what makes the dynamic of the band work - gathering some semblance of order from what is fast tending towards entropy. I remember early doors, say 2003, realising that as a band we would sometimes play gigs, and other times play what I christened 'anti-gigs'. I found the latter strange and exciting back then. I enjoyed the challenge of using the band to harness what Peter was doing, and frame it in the context of a species of punk/skiffle band.

The 'anti-gig' approach is something that seemed to occur intermittently, and because so many variables come into play, the results varied wildly- from sublime to shoddy, and countless shades in between. I think it's a way of playing music that perhaps makes more contextual sense in an intimate club than the bigger or mid level theatres. Arguably though, it's a purer form of performance art. Pretentious, moi?

In other news, our indomitable bus driver Ratty has just informed me that today in Oxford he too purchased a folding bike. So the Brompton Bandits have a new recruit. Imagine the terror we'll be spread as we descend upon Stockwell Skatepark en mass tomorrow. "Run to the hills!" the cry shall echo round the ramps as we hove into view. Possibly.

So Brixton Academy on Saturday. Its always been a bit of a benchmark for me, since one of the first records I ever bought was Faith No More's You Fat Bastards - a live album recorded at that very venue. Though I've played it many times now, its still a big deal for me, and always will be. Tommy, our tour rep told me tonight it's sold out. Splendid. Considering the story arc this tour's narrative has followed thus far, I can honestly say I have no idea what to expect. Especially now I'm pretty sure our brief foray into the world of setlists is over. All I can say is that I want it to be amazing. God willing, this time tomorrow I'll be sat on the bus to Cardiff, happily punching away at the keyboard with an account of a triumphant hometown show. There's no way I can be sure though. But that uncertainty is exciting, right? Right?! I'm going with right.

Around the Web

BabyShambles

Babyshambles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Babyshambles - YouTube

O2 Academy Brixton | Babyshambles | Event information

Babyshambles Tickets | Babyshambles Tour Dates & Concerts ...

Gig review: Babyshambles at O2 Academy Leeds

Pete Doherty says he nearly scrapped latest Babyshambles tour three hours ...

REVIEW: Babyshambles at O2 Academy 8/10

Sam Stutter attends Babyshambles at Manchester Academy

Review: Orphan Boy support Babyshambles at Lincoln's Engine Shed