With the promise of a guest list slot for this one and with Rachel in London on business anyway, I decided to make a day of it! So I got the train early and spent the day hitting comic shops around the capital, filling some holes in my collection! Met Rachel after her business meeting and subsequent trip to an amusement arcade with her boss (!), and got drinks in the World's End before queueing up to get in, interminably, or so it seemed. Worse was to come when we had to contend with self-important security staff (again!), and then found out we weren't on the guest list after all! D'oh! Grabbed a couple of tickets at the ticket office and got in, unexpectedly £16 lighter. D'oh! Again!
Ran into Seafood bassist Kevin early on in this awfully shaped venue, and he confirmed he'd asked his manager to put us on the list, but we'd fallen off somewhere. D'oh! Yet again! Nevertheless, we were in, and Kev was unexpectedly proud of the fact that tonight da 'Food were to become my most-seen "live" band. Bless!
However, we had a couple of supports to deal with first. Fat Truckers were terrible - monotonous and repetitive keyboard-led Krautrock - but Ikara Colt more than made up for it. Itchy, tense and agitated, they once again came across like a mutant blend of The Fall and Sonic Youth, all squally guitars, speedy and sinister songs, all delivered with the ferocious vocal ranting of a singer (?) who'd evidently spent a lot of time listening to Mark E Smith during his formative years. Add to that a drummer who was quite the most octopus-like and energetic we'd seen since Pete Caldes of The Gravel Pit (although Rachel correctly pointed out that he actually resembled the Pit's Lucky Jackson!) and one great song in "Sink Venice", and you've got the perfect starter for the Seafood main course!
A course for which, of course (!), we were down the front! Seafood came on at 10.15, announced by XFM's rather annoying MC, and honked straight into "Cloaking" and "Western Battle", the dynamic opening double salvo from their excellent current CD. Then a punked-up "Guntrip" and "This Is Not An Exit" from their first CD followed. As ever, they were spiky, dynamic, well-rocking and excellent "live", and worthy recipients of my "most seen band" status. Another great Seafood set, confirming my long-held status that they're the best British band currently making music, which we experienced from the front, being buffeted left and right between Kev and vocalist David's monitors. Unfortunately this was also a set which we had to truncate due to our train, so after a superb "Porchlight" and new single "Splinter", we bid adieu and Merry Christmas to the onstage rabble, pausing in our exit to briefly chat with the Ikara Colt vocalist who confirmed my Mark E Smith suspicions. Onto the last train with 5 minutes to spare. A fine way to end 2001's gig year!