I gave freezepop The Gift Of Montezuma's (as many other people will also be receiving from me this Christmas) - including a packet of dark T3s, which is convenient with Sean being a turtle an' all. And they gave me The Gift Of A Half-Price T-shirt. Richard was dead chuffed, I can tell you.
The first support band were "interesting". 3 blokes on stage with a guitar, an iBook and a synthesiser. The singer seemed to think he was Rod Stewart, while the synth player seemed to think he was in a synthpop band. Imagine The Quireboys crossed with Depeche Mode, and you might get there. After the first song and a half, by which time I realised they weren't being ironic, I went outside in an attempt not to throw up. Actually, the bar wasn't much less smoky than the gig room, so after lurking in the toilet entrance for a while I eventually gave up and went and walked up and down the road for half an hour.
I forgot to mention earlier the thing that was sitting on top of the iBook, which might have been a microphone wrapped in tissue paper to soften the sound, or might have been a giant (if skinny) dildo. I'm not sure which, and didn't care to investigate further.
Came back in time to hear Schmoof, who were a synthpop band. A boi and a girl backed with a screen showing apparently ZX Spectrum-generated animations. Meep! They were pretty good, except the girl was possibly one of the least experienced performers I've ever seen on stage. She a) couldn't get her microphone stand to the right height, b) kept knocking over her water onstage, and c) got completely thrown by the fact someone who was supposed to be collaborating with them on the next track wasn't in the room, and spent something like 3 minutes pleading "Where is Dominic? Can someone please go and get Dominic?", and I was just so embarrassed for her. I don't know whether all their backing tapes were literally on tape (so they had to play the songs in the right order), or if she just hasn't played many gigs yet, but... poor thing. Also, the band were dressed like people in Flash Gordon, only I didn't see what Lloyd was wearing until they were packing up (I'm short, ok?), which means I was utterly boggled by Richard's comment that he was expecting Brian Blessed to walk onstage at any moment. One to watch... when they've played a few more gigs.
Oh yeah, they also had a song in which the singer sang about how she has a dilemma because she loves her boyfriend but also loves chocolate, and has to choose?!! I mean, perhaps this is my Greedy Bisexual streak playing up again, but EMBRACE THE POWER OF AND, people! Her conclusion, that she needed a boyfriend made of chocolate, just didn't work. I mean, what use is a boyfriend that you break parts off when you're hungry, unless he can spontaneously regenerate them? Or a boyfriend that'd melt if you hugged him all night? HAVE A BOYFRIEND WHO BRINGS YOU CHOCOLATE, says the polyamorist. Ahem.
Then the Main Attraction, aka Freezepop. From Boston. They hadn't had time to soundcheck & the sound quality was a bit crappy, but it's Freezepop, and they are consummate professionals. Sean was acting like a man possessed - pretending not to know what the buttons on his keyboard were doing, acting all surprised at some of the sounds the keyboard was making, randomly putting the synth on autopilot so he could run round and hug the other band members, and occasionally grabbing the non-Vocoder-ed microphone so he could tell everyone that he was Sean and this is Freezepop. Dunno what he was on, but I want some. Liz was, well, Liz - the smallest cutest package of synthpop girly there is, and a damn fine singer to boot. She also wore a pair of underpants on her head for some of the gig (again, this was Sean's fault). Kasson was cuuuute, and doing his best despite technical difficulties: after playing with the full-size keyboard in the first song, he switched on the QY-70 for Super Sprode and found the batteries had died, and had to hastily run offstage and try to find another set of batteries! He also confessed later he was having real trouble singing with all the smoke in the air, but he sounded ok to us.
Set list? Don't ask me for no set list, I have the wrong kind of memory for that. I think it was:
Super Sprode (3 pairs of underpants were thrown!)
Chess King (apparently a request from someone in the audience)
Boys On Film
encore: (the order of this is really wrong because by this time I was dying from smoke allergy)
Science Genius Girl (remix)
Get Ready To Rokk
Other things? They were really pleased with the underpants (Super Sprode is a song "to you, our crazy fans" and features the line "so throw your undies on the stage", and it is always a delight for them when people actually do). One of the pairs of underpants had written on it "AM I A SUPER SPRODE YET?"! 3 pairs of pants meant one for each band member. Yay!? Before Chess King, where Kasson does lead vocals, he told us he needed to "de-dainty" the mike stand - but Sean assured us he still had his, and waved them seductively. (God, WHAT WAS HE ON?!). Plastic Stars was dedicated to their Old School fans, which I was told later meant me. (This is an old joke stemming from the first London gig they did). Kasson forgot what he was The Duke of in Freezepop Forever, and started to sing "The Duke of Ca- Pannekoeken!", which I doubt many people even noticed, but I thought was amusing (and endearing). Boys On Film was even more homoerotic than on the album, with Sean hugging Kasson and the two of them dancing pressed close together. They're so pwetty. I still want the URL of that site with the sailor suit pictures, though. I've even offered them my credit card number, but to no avail...
OK, I'm not sure any of this makes sense to anyone apart from me, but fuck it :D
Update: I forgot to mention also that immediately prior to Freezepop going on stage, one of the songs from Vib Ribbon (!) played over the PA!! And after they finished, Debaser by The Pixies. How ROKK is that?! (says the person who has been being KEPT SANE by wrapping Christmas presents to Death To The Pixies).
Also forgot to mention all the people I saw: inquis and barty and cryx and someone who now looks more like barty than he does himself since Cutting Off All His Beautiful Hair, and BiCon Janet and lots of other people I recognised but don't actually know. Yup.
So today I am mostly dead. Fortunately, despite the fact my lungs had filled with snot within 10 minutes of me entering the venue, leading to me spending large amounts of the various support bands either in the toilet or outside on the street, trying desperately not to throw up, Freezepop were amazing enough I managed to forget about my smoke allergy and sing along for almost all the songs, until near the end when someone near me lit up the foulest and most evil cigarette ever. (I'm pretty sure it was a 100% legal fag, but it generated smoke almost as thick and evil-smelling as pot smoke, or one of those horrible big cigars that people have at the end of meals. Ugh). So the last three songs were a bit of a blur with me hyperventilating and trying to blow my nose and swallow snot and desperately trying to overcome my gag reflex. By the time they finished I had pins and needles all the way down my legs from hyperventilating and I thought I was going to have to leave without saying bye to the band, but THANK GOD somebody opened all the venue doors so sweet, sweet, unpolluted London air(!) rushed in to clean out the fucking fog. So I got to hug them, an' stuff.
I am just so fucking sick of being allergic to smoke, though. Christ, I haven't been to the pub in 10 months, because I can't even tolerate the amount of smoke that drifts into a non-smoking section. The only reasons we manage to go out for meals as often as we do are a) places like Wagamama, that are 100% non-smoking, b) visiting the same restaurants often enough for them to know that I have to be seated as far away from smoke as possible, and preferably on another FLOOR of the restaurant from the smoking section. (The same restaurants also know all my food allergies and intolerances, to the extent that when I ordered curry the other night and forgot to specify "no coriander (leaf)", it came blessedly cilantro-free despite that being a usual part of the dish. I was impressed.). As my allergy is getting worse and yesterday's reaction was about the worst it's ever been despite me having completely avoided smoke since I saw 3 Colours Red in July, I honestly believe that my only hope in ever seeing bands again will be 1) getting on the fucking plane to a part of the globe where they have more respect for BREATHING, or 2) taking my own personal oxygen supply along with me. I'm not joking.
Do you think a venue could stop me taking in oxygen with me? Could I stick the DDA on them? Hrm... I'm reminded of a "How disablified are you?" ironic quiz that the BBC's disabled programming unit had on its web site, which asked among other things "Have you ever been asked to leave a venue because you are a fire hazard?". (You probably have to be a disabled rights activist to get this).
So I got through last night with the aid of three inhalers, vitamin C, copious quantities of tissues and Olbas Oil. Today my head is swimming from lack of oxygen and lack of sleep, my throat hurts sufficiently that I don't want to talk, my eyes are stinging and watering, my ears are completely stuffed up, and my entire respiratory system is screaming at me. My lungs feel as though they are working at only 2/3 capacity, because the bottom 1/3 is entirely full of snot. Cough, splutter, etc.
By rights I should be on a TRAIN to BRISTOL right now to SEE FREEZEPOP AGAIN, but if I do that exciting journey will be followed by an exciting journey to HOSPITAL. How fucking rock'n'roll.
Update: The reason for the "angry" userpic is because of the smoke. Freezepop deserve a mega-happy userpic, and a mega-happy h-l fan today :(