500 concerts and counting!

Songkicker fintanstack reached the great milestone of attending 500 past events yesterday, so we had a chat with him about some of his favourite concerts over the years, how he got into live music and which concerts he’s looking forward to post the 500 mark!

You can check out his full gigography here.

1) Tell us a bit about your concert-going habits

I started going to gigs when I was very young with my parents. Some were pretty cool, some not so, but it started me off on a life obsessed by music. My gigging really took off when I moved to London and now I try and get to at least a couple a week. I’m normally the guy queuing for an hour to get a good spot at the front and trying to bag setlists and any other memorabilia going. I like to video a few songs for my youtube channel but only if I can do so without my camera annoying anyone.

I always try and get to a few festivals a year with WOMAD and Cropredy featuring regularly on my calendar.

2) If you had to pick what would you say has been your best concert so far, why?

Anais Mitchell’s ‘Hadestown’ performance in the Union Chapel last year is a strong contender for the best gig I’ve ever been too. A wonderful selection of artists performing one of my favourite ever albums in one of my favourite venues. A very memorable evening.

For a big spectacle Roger Waters performing The Wall at the O2 was hard to beat. By pure luck my friend and I had front row seats. Mind totally blown!

I can’t leave this without mentioning my best festival performance. Joanna Newsom at End of the Road 2011 was absolutely spellbinding.

3) Do you have any particular concert memories that stand-out/ any interesting anecdotes/ random events?

Alexander Balanescu’s violin disintegrating mid-performance at the Bloomsbury Theatre in 2007. After a brief intermission the quartet continued as a trio.

Chaotic conga-line in the Royal Albert Hall when Pink Martini played the final encore was great fun.

Nouvelle Vague in the Royal Albert Hall with everyone piling up to the front which was great as we ended up with a much better view than we had from our seats.

British Sea Power in Westminster Reference Library complete with foliage and front rows ending up piled on the stage.

4) What’s the furthest you’ve travelled to see your favourite artist?

Living with easy access to London and Oxford I don’t tend to travel too far for gigs. I’ve been to Manchester a couple of times to see Feist and Throwing Muses recently.

In 1994 I drove, in a beat up old Citroen 2CV, from Cornwall to Bristol and Cardiff to see Tori Amos. They were some of the first major gigs I went to so are pretty special.

I’ve promised myself that if Joanna Newsom does a European tour I’ll try and catch a few shows in a few different countries.

5) What’s your favourite venue? Why?

My very favourite, the Luminaire, is sadly no more. Loved their strictly enforced “STFU or get out when the band is playing” policy.

I love the Slaughtered Lamb as it’s comfortable, a lovely intimate atmosphere, good folk music put on by the Pull Up the Roots team and they serve decent cider. Other favourites are The Borderline and Union Chapel. The Jericho Tavern in Oxford is my favourite local venue although I only recently started going there.

6) Do you have any concert pet peeves?

Not being able to find out when a show finishes in advance. I much prefer to travel on public transport rather than drive so not knowing whether I’ll be able to make the last train is a pain. Some venues are very good at publicising times on their websites or tweeting information but with others it can be very difficult to find out anything at all.

7) Any recommendations for upcoming shows to check out for people in your area?

Slow Down, Molasses at Zigfrid von Underbelly on the 17th May should be great fun if their excellent set at End of the Road last year is anything to go by.

Ana Silvera at Vortex Jazz Club on the 30th May. Ana is my discovery of the year. Wonderful songs from an engaging performer. Highly recommended!

Anais Mitchell has quite a few shows coming up. She is always brilliant! One of my absolute favourites.

Thanks Songkick! : )

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