2008 had ended not with a massive gig, but with my return to the DJ booth (successful) and an attempt at forming a band of my own (not successful). I didn’t know it at the time, but 2009 would see me attend no festivals whatsoever. Plans for WGT were abandoned in March due to having other uses for the money (the £-€ rate was really bad back then, worse that’s its been post-Brexit vote), M’era Luna was never really on for me and InFest (the most likely candidate at one point) had a year off whilst the venue was refurbished, though the recession, the lack of any big new scene ‘names’ and the cost of importing established stars (thnk ForEx again!) probably meant this enforced pause was a blessing in disguise.
And hence it was not a good year for discovering new bands on stage – though plenty were discovered on CD and online. Virtually all the gigs I went to this year were for long-established bands, and very few of the sets I saw comprised of much new material – I’d say only Diary Of Dreams, Prodigy and VNV Nation were actively pushing new albums when I saw them (all good ones, to be fair). Das Ich played at the Gotham fest, a show so low-key that even their fans had forgotten about it by the time they returned in 2016.
Other live acts, as varied as Jean Michel Jarre, Ultravox, DAF, Yes and Orbital, were all content with dishing up crowd-pleasing ‘greatest hits’ sets. Even the best support acts of the year turned out to be bands like Deviant UK, and System:FX, who’d already won me over.
So while I could spin a tale about dancing in the aisle of the Wembley Arena with a middle-aged raver, or suddenly being reminded that Midge Ure is in fact Scottish, or a two-hour long DoD set, there is really only one vignette, one gig from 2009 that remains imprinted on my memory. Just One.
October 2009 – The Rest Is Imagination
Project Pitchfork. A band I’d seen three times before but a long time ago, before I’d really become a fan of their music. And two of those sets were overburdened with tracks from their confusing ‘Nun’ trilogy. And the last set I’d seen by them was in 2004. But finally, another London gig was scheduled. And it fell on Halloween. On the day after that I found that I’d actually got the job I’d recently applied for.
With the sole new song ‘If I Could’ opening the set, we soon got the inevitable dancefloor accelerator ‘God Wrote’. And having drunk my way through the support bands, I was already pretty wasted by this point. And apparently I wasn’t so much singing along as shouting along. I REALLY had a lot to get out of my system on this occasion. And when the opening notes to ‘Human Crossing’ played (the first Pitchy song I’d ever heard), I practically exploded with excitement.
And so it went on, concluding on ‘Existence’, and then the inevitable encore of ‘Timekiller’, which is the one Pitchfork track all the people who aren’t otherwise fans of the band know. Of course, I still had enough energy to dance to it, and emerged to the most refreshing autumn night breeze I’d ever felt. The strange thing was, when the band returned to the same venue in Jan 2011, I found the whole affair rather disappointing, partially due to my frame of mind at the time but also due to an iffy setlist that hardly offered any of my favourite tunes.
But doesn’t matter – I’d had my definitive Pitchfork moment, and with the new job sorted I was well set for 2010…….
Plus these snapshots…..
None – read the text above if you want more insights.