>> MICHALE GRAVES <<

Date: 31st Jan 2019
Lineup: Michale Graves, Noise Pollution, The Atoms
Venue: The Square Centre, Nottingham

Still reeling from the Michale Graves gig the night before, I'm at work looking up Graves on setlist.fm to see, out of curiosity, whether he'd played Lost in Space or Them at any of the other shows. I would've loved to hear those ones live.

I have a look at the list of tour dates, and see a city I didn't know he was playing. Nottingham. Nottingham, on January 31st. Which is tonight. The ticket website I bought a Sheffield ticket from didn't have this one listed. I frantically start searching up tickets and find a different site selling them, so of course I bought one and printed it off at work. I was completely split over this. If I'd known he was playing my city, I probably wouldn't have gone to Sheffield, but looking back I'm extremely happy that I went both times.

First off, I didn't have to get the train after work. I could go home and get all dressed up and not look like horse shit. I have a wander down to the venue, again a venue I haven't been to before. This is another 200-person capacity one. Drinks are the cheapest I've ever seen them, so I get myself sorted out in the beverage department and have a look round the place. I go straight to the merch booth and buy a Noise Pollution shirt, as I didn't get to buy one yesterday. The guy selling it to me was chuffed, bless him. I made sure to tell him how fucking great he and the band were last night.

In yesterday's write-up, I made note of how the stage was merely a step. Here, there was no stage. The only thing separating you from the band playing were a line of small amps, with a pillar of large amps on either side. That means whomever is playing on my side of the stage (it was Loki) will be subjected to me going hog wild right in front of their face. May the Lord have mercy on them.

There's time to kill before the show starts. A guy approaches me, he's wearing a leather jacket with red strips down the arms, and he has a Misfits shirt on. He looks around 40-odd, and a very handsome 40 at that. He points out my shirt immediately and tells me what a great shirt it was. I'm wearing a Cancerslug shirt tonight, with the neck cut out because this shirt fits me horribly but I can make it work. I recognise this guy from somewhere, like somewhere online. I don't know where, though. We have a chat about Cancerslug, and it turns out this guy has fucking toured with them. Toured with Doyle, too. A photographer is also hanging around just by me, and he joins in the conversation too. He's a Slug fan and all. Arturo Santaella (Michale's photographer) is also hanging around, and he fist bumps me and the other photographer. Arturo's a real gem. His photography is also incredible.

Leather Jacket Man lets me know that Cancerslug are planning on coming to the UK very soon. They've never toured here before. Cancerslug have some big news dropping soon, and he tells me it's the upcoming UK tour dates. I'm beside myself. I tell him I'm holding him to that and he laughs, and I know that he's not fucking around. Just know that when Cancerslug come over I'll be following them round the country, and I'll hit every damn UK tour date they do. Without fail. I've been a Cancerslug fan since I was 13 and would kill to see them live. I also met Alex Story at a Doyle show a couple years back, but I'm not going to go into that here. I'm already getting sidetracked.

First band, The Atoms. I don't have a lot to say. They were kind of forgettable, which I really don't like writing. The energy was good but their songs were really generic, the standard "be my babe" and "I hate my job" punk stuff. I'm tired. Also, outfits. They gave me nothing. That's all I've got to say.

My boys Noise Pollution are back on. The crowd is fucking dead compared to yesterday and I was really mad about it. I'm tryna get into it and have a good time and occasionally I'd get a glance behind me to see 60 or 70 odd people just standing, staring at the stage, clutching a can of some shit beer. Piss off! I'm mad.

Even during their last song, which was a cover of Helter Skelter, the crowd was dead apart from like, 6 people. The lead singer split the crowd into two and got each side to sing that "hey-hey-hey-hey-hey" part (you know the part, don't piss around) and that was a struggle. Everyone was so into it last night, but this crowd was not having it. I felt bad.

Michale Graves comes on. There is still a few feet between the amps and the rest of the crowd, which was insane. People were on top of each other yesterday, but today it really took a while for the crowd to warm up. They did, however, love recording the whole damn things on their phones. Which is kind of annoying, really. How are you gonna stick your arm and hold it in front of Michale's face while people are trying to actually enjoy themselves around you? I think it's a bit rude. Maybe I'm out of touch. Sure, I got a few snaps myself, but I'm not about to stand motionless and watch the show through a phone screen. Sod that.

I'm experienced. Well-seasoned. This ain't my first rodeo. I know what songs are coming and I'm losing it to every single one, once again. One thing that did warm my heart considerably was a larger man who was stood next to me, dead centre in front of Michale. He was built like your average bald, overweight dad who you absolutely would not pick a fight with. He was swaying slightly to the music at the start, but by the middle and end he was really going for it. Obviously, I wasn't standing there watching him, but I'd get glimpses of him from the corner of my eye. I always love the effect that music has on people. Even the most stoic, hardened people can lose themselves in a good tune every now and then. It's one of the best feelings on the planet.

Post-show, I have the luxurious opportunity of hanging around as long as I damn please seeing as I can get home easily. I'm standing by the stage, and Loki hands me a guitar pick. I know for a fact nobody else got one on this day, or last night either. I feel like I've been bestowed a great gift.

The crowd died down considerably to the point where there were about 20 people left in the venue, and I got to the merch table. I had my Famous Monsters CD booklet and the night's schedule that I'd taken off the wall. Leather Jacket Man is there too, and as Michale's signing the CD booklet he chimes in, saying how it's one of the best albums on the planet. And he's fucking right about that! Doyle had signed this same booklet in a silver pen when I met him a couple years back, and I noticed Michale swap his black pen for a silver one so it would match. I didn't even ask him to do that. That's such a minor thing but it was a sweet thing to do.

I was less braindead this time around. I'm stood having a good chinwag with Michale and Leather Jacket Man. Michale recognised me from last night, which I don't know if that's good or not, thinking about what state I was in yesterday. Another fistbump from Arturo and he asks for my phone so he can get a photo of me and Graves. It's a cute photo actually, although I look like a goofball.

Loki was by the table again and he complimented my boots. I was wearing my knee-high New Rocks which cost too much fucking money, but I wear them all the time, and they look sick as fuck. They were definitely a worthwhile investment. Then, as I'm chatting on and whatnot, Arturo hands me a gold VIP card. "This is for being the best fan of the night", he says, passing the card to me.

I'm holding this thing in disbelief. Michale took it off my hands nearly instantly and signed it, dating it too. I'm speechless at this point, thanking everybody and shaking hands because nobody had to do all that for me.

There's a couple of people behind me, so I thank everyone again and start picking up my things. Michale pulled me in for a hug before I left to make my way back home.

Oh yeah, and pants. Remember how I mentioned Michale's iconic pants yesterday? Here's a good pic of them. I need a pair.

When walking past the cemetery, a car being piloted by one old woman and her two equally old lady friends had pulled over on the other side of the road, and were having a barney with another old lady who was walking down the street. I was trying desperately hard not to crack up in case I started something. Why a bunch of old ladies are beefing outside a cemetery at 23:30 is beyond me.

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