Monday, 5 July 2010

455 Angelica, ASTRID, Aerial, London Highbury Garage, Wednesday 9 August 2000

Another trip up the well-trodden path to the Smoke, the 4th week in succession! This time 'twas a tidy 2 hour journey up with Rachel to the Garage, meeting up with old friend Roger Herman in the pub opposite for a drink and catch-up. Popped into the surprisingly well-attended Garage at 9 pm, just missing the arse-end of openers Aerial. Surprised to find out that, despite top billing on the tickets, classifieds etc., Astrid were up next at 9.15. Good thing we came in then!

Trundled down the front for the arrival of these fresh-faced Scottish dudes at the duly appointed hour. They burst onstage with a riot of noise and spiky pop fun, opening with "Kitchen TV", from their 1999 CD "Strange Weather Lately". Like a younger, punkier, spikier and spunkier version of Teenage Fanclub, with their sun-kissed Californian beach-bum harmonies and melodies being tackled with pace and enthusiasm, Astrid were mighty fine tonight. The familiar numbers were met with a clutch of us singing along, and the slightly slower paced, more ramshackle stuff was met with a group of bouncing punters. The infectious "Bottle" stood out, but for me the highlight was their terrace-chant closer "Boy Or Girl", which more than made up for the omission of single "High In The Morning" due to lack of time. Astrid aren't reinventing anything, not pushing the boundaries of music back at all, they're just a real good pop band with great catchy choruses who make me smile. Tonight, that did just fine and to that end, either way Astrid rocked my world!

Got drinks in and spoke briefly with Astrid's Dave Jones (Monkees!) lookalike vocalist Will. Headliners Angelica were up in prompt order; an all-girl 4-piece, they were clumsy and haphazard, with their attempts at pop being thusly hampered. As Rachel put it, the world only needs so many Helen Loves! So we bade farewell to Roger and hit the road at 10.30. Good thing too, as roadworks, traffic queues and diversions around darkest Brentford conspired to delay our arrival home until 1 am. Bah! Nevertheless, we came to see Astrid, and they made us smile!

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