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Does This Count?

Chatting to his mates
pre-Hard-Fi, Brixton, Nandos
Billy Bragg (support).

Er, yeah, so Sal and I saw Hard-Fi at the Brixton Academy last night, in what was the first of their 5 night, ahem “sold out“, residency. [Well, I suppose that “5 nights sort of sold out apart from the “production” hold tickets that we’ve been sporadically releasing ever since the original batch of tickets went on sale (tickets available on the door)…” wouldn’t have fitted quite as snappily onto the top of the venue.]

Hard-Fi, Brixton Academy

After spotting Mr Bragg at the table next to us in the People’s Republic of Nandos over the road, we finished our spicy chicken and made our way inside just in time to catch him on-stage, alone except for a couple of guitars and their accompanying feedback.

I suspect, judging from my entirely uninterrupted view of the stage throughout the evening, and from observing the fellow gig goers who wedged themselves onto the Victoria line with us afterwards, that Hard-Fi’s target demographic might be slightly on the younger side, so it’s unsurprising that the reception for a greying socialist like Bragg was somewhat on the muted side. It’s highly likely that a large majority of those in attendance weren’t even born when he was farting around with Paul Weller trying to convince people to vote Labour back in the 80s (back in the days when we actually had a Labour party–oh it all seems so long ago now). Still, he told us that racism and the BNP are bad things, and we all clapped in agreement. Oh and he played “A New England”, complete with Kirsty MacColl-esque extra verse, which pleased me immensely.

Hard-Fi started up rather flatly, actually, as they’d taken the unusual decision to hold back all their “hits” till the end, and stuff the first half of the set full with their less catchy album tracks and a handful of new songs. Of course that meant that the last 30 minutes were fantastically full of the kind of generic anthemic indie pop that I like so much, it’s just a shame that we all had to wade through the slight let-down that was first half to get there.

Personal highlights:

– Introducing “Feltham is Singing Out”, Richard Archer asked us if we’d ever been in trouble with “the law”. Looking around, all I could see was middle class indie kids. I suspect that the closest anyone in the room had come to “trouble with the law” would be forgetting to set the video for The Bill.

– Richard also had a full on “you’re a better crowd than that Shelbyville lot” moment, when he asked us if we could prove to be louder and more enthusiastic than the “arrogant” Manchester crowd who think they’re the best. He decided we were better, in the end, but I bet he says that to all the audiences…