Starstruck

And so that was #hainseytweetup 09. Actually, nope, it wasn’t. It was four blokes meeting up in a Kilburn boozer, and then heading off to see the wonderful Luke Haines at the splendour of the @theluminaire. But yeah, @cabbiescapital, @funkturm, @darryl1974 and I, all arranged our midweek gig over Twitter, so we’ll stick with the hash tag of #hainseytweetup.

As for yer man Mr Haines? I’ve long been an admirer of Luke, but have struggled to keep up with his prolific output. I was there back in the day for New Wave. It still ranks as one of my all time favourite 50-ish albums. Possibly even 49-ish. A crystal clear production, songs of bile and hate, all sung with an arrogance that fitted with my outlook on life at the time. They still resonate strongly now.

I struggled somewhat with Now I’m a Cowboy; likewise for After Murder Park. I blame the mid ’90’s um, excesses. A recent reappraisal and I can now see what the fuss was all about. The Baader Meinhof and Black Box Recorder projects both confirmed that Haines is an artist that you should take seriously. So seriously, that the lure of a £10 ticket to see Luke up in Kilburn on a cold November evening was too great to resist.

I haven’t hit the mean streets of NW6 since, ooh, ’95 and the glory years of Britpop. Oh the irony of seeing the great Britpop protagonist for my Kilburn return. The last visit rather weirdly involved a boozy session with Sice from the Boos (namedropper ahoy!) whilst watching a rather, um, dodgy gig by Dodgy at the old Kilburn National.

The psych-Britpop of the stoner trio was so crap, that we buggered off for a pizza buffet around the corner from the tube. Fast forward fourteen years, and ah lookey over here – it’s only the same pizza buffet. Here’s hoping Mr Haines wasn’t about to inflict another overdose on plum tomato and olive pizza on us later in the evening.

But first some pre-gig booze. The #hainseytweetup quartet stumbled in on a muso quiz night at the King’s Head. You could tell it was an industry bash by the silly haircuts. An early question started off with the opening gambit of:

“Suede split up in 2003…”

I felt it rude not to interrupt with the question with a loud cheer. I’m sure it would have been the exact same reaction from yer man Luke upstairs at The Luminaire, as he demolished his pre-gig rider of Tunnocks tea cakes, cold cuts of ham, chicken, cheese, some wine, some beer, some water. And a bag of sand.

Blimey.

We left the muso chin strokers to contemplate:

“In what year was pop princess Kylie Minogue diagnosed with breast cancer?”

…optimistic of happier times ahead upstairs with Mr Haines and his tales of mass murders and child abductors. And then cometh the hour (no doubt with watch on a chain and pin point accuracy,) cometh the moustachioed man, all dressed up and dapper in his white threads.

A few fumbles around with feedback, and you don’t get much better of a second set song than Showgirl. It was played out in all its poptastic pomp, complete with precision pauses after the first run of chords. I celebrated with a triumphant punching of the air, only to get a look of ‘behave’ by @cabbiescapital.

Shut the f*** up!” screamed out @Darryl1974. Not to Mr Haines, but to a rather talkative lady standing next to us. Turns out it was Mrs Haines.

Whoops.

With a new album to promote, the surprise of the evening was the generosity that was given to the rich back catalogue. Tracks from all four Auteurs albums got an airing, as did a couple of tunes from the wonderfully mischievous Baader Meinhoff terrorist chic album. No Black Box Recorder, but that was always an eye candy project anyway.

Lenny Valentino entertained the audience for the encore, with Mr Haines overcoming the dilemma of how to string out a two minute power pop indie anthem by adding a couple of false finishes. It was like Neil Young at Glasto all over again, but with added irony, and a Hawke’s of Svaile Row gentleman’s dress sense.

And so sometime slightly before midnight, the #hainseytweetup came to a close. Not before the fashionably late arrival of @jamboshoeshine and his good lady wife. For a man often thought of as being the belligerent bastard of Britpop (Luke Haines, not @jamboshoeshine,) this was a rather touchy feely heart warming concert. I departed Kilburn with no desire to return again over the following fourteen years, but feeling rewarded for having made by NW6 return.

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