Wednesday, 5 March 2008
I've been lucky enough in my time in London to be invited to/gatecrash/turn up at some pretty fantastic events; Leicester Square film premieres, club openings, underground raves, the opera and even the odd press launch. Whilst always fun - and always with my mates - these events can sometimes be a little style over substance, where the prescience of the event and the crossing of the velvet rope is more exciting than the event itself. Last week's trip to the Astoria, however, was one of the best ones. As a regular gig-goer, I am used to the Asto's fair-to-middling sound quality, jostling for a good view only to have the tallest man in the venue to stand in front of you and never being able to regain this meagre place should you need the bar or toilet. While seeing Justice a few weeks ago was electric as a result of the atmosphere, when seeing Lightspeed Champion and the Young Knives I was treated, courtesy of my lovely friend Rhea, to life behind the velvet rope, on the VIP balcony. And I must say, it is the best spot in the whole place. Plenty of space to stand on the balcony which is practically directly in front of the stage. Returning from the bar was a pleasure rather than a chore, and with the music coming directly at you, sound quality becomes less of an issue. So what was already going to be an enjoyable gig was transformed into a brilliant evening, merely by a switching of place. Of course, the company of Rhea, Tom (and at the aftershow party, the Knives' lead singer, Henry Dartnell) was key to this experience, but it also proves that location is key in more than just housebuying. Scoring VIP tickets is always going to be rare, but this is one of those brilliant London experiences where there are only good memories to be had. Seeing a gig properly; a true Staple.