We already knew London was capital of the world, but 2007 has firmly cemented us as the best city by far musically. The Millennium Dome reopened as the O2 Arena, hosting not only 21 nights of Prince, the Rolling Stones, Take That, and the Spice Girls first UK dates for 10 years, but also the most anticipated gig for a good decade or so: Led Zeppelin’s reformation.
Unfortunately this Londonista had to settle for some rather more mundane gigs that were more within his student budget, or whose promoters were generous with guest list enquiries, but below is a top 8 of this year’s best gigs (8 due to the fact that choosing 2 from a selection of average gigs was remarkably hard!).
8. Tom McRae @ Shepherds Bush Empire - 15th June
Not many people have heard of this unassuming singer-songwriter. His tunes may be no more original than Paolo or James Blunt, but he can massage a crowd in the palms of his hand with acoustic tunes and amusing anecdotes.
7. Aerosmith @ Hyde Park Calling - 25th June
For all those who couldn't make it to Glasto, Aerosmith entertained the "Dad" crowd in Hyde Park. A day of quality tunes (and rain) from a band who may be a bit past their best but can still entertain the masses.
6. Bloc Party @ Astoria - 31st January
Their first tour of the year, Bloc Party were introducing the capital to their sensational "A Weekend in the City", a sturdy sophomore effort that saw a new approach from a more socially aware Kele Okere and co.
5. Ben Folds @ Hammersmith Apollo - 23rd January
We knew Ben Folds had a quality range of tunes up his sleeve from over 15 years in the industry. What we didn't know was that he could improvise better than any other performer, and bring new twists to old favourites. Few theatrics, just quality tunes.
4. Mika @ Koko - 22nd February
Just before his album was released, Mika bought his stage show to a sold out Koko for a gig that was quite possibly camper than all of the Village People. Better than a slice of cheese and biscuits, he entertained the crowd with his pop that was yet to gain a wider audience.
3. Barenaked Ladies @ Hammersmith Apollo - 30th March
Entertainers indeed, the Canadian "ladies" (actually five fully grown, hairy men) bought their fun pop for a rare trip to the capital. Entertainment for all of the family, they had dance routines (oh yes), sing alongs, and rapping. It just had to be seen to be believed.
2. Polyphonic Spree @ Astoria - 3rd September
A cliché to some, Texans The Polyphonic Spree managed to entertain the audience at the Astoria, with theatrics of the highest order, and an amazing amount of logistics to get the 20-something band on the Astoria's miniscule stage. They left the audience feeling exhilarated after lead Tim DeLaughter took the audience on a trip that made Alice in Wonderland look tame.
1. Muse @ Wembley Stadium - 16th June
Some questioned Muse' ability to fill Wembley, but they did. Twice. And put on one hell of a show. We're talking floating ballerinas, huge bouncy balls, satellites, and special effects that make Kylie have a wimpy set. Their music was played how it should be: in a stadium, and they had the honour of rocking Wembley to its roots. For the 75,000 people there it was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the year, and one night this Londonista won't forget in a hurry.
Picture of Tom McRae and Muse by the Author.