• 200,000th played track

    Apr 5 2009, 15:46

    After two years and four months of hitting the 100,000th milestone I've now hit the 200,000 plays milestone. Like before, it's a pop song that gets the honour.

    To heighten the tension and anticipation - scroll past Alexis to find out what song gets it.

    Revenge Is Sweeter (Than You Ever Were) by The Veronicas. It was the first time I had heard the song, had to give it second listen because I couldn't even remember a thing about it. Upon second listen I like it - not the best on the album but good enough.

    I was expecting either Idol champ Kelly Clarkson, B-movie fanatics Bloodsucking Zombies from Outer Space or Sam Phillips the lady behind the Gilmore Girls score to get the honour.

    Predictions on the 300,000th song? Probably another pop song.

    To make up for the anticlimax, here's Alexis again.

  • Review of 2008: Gigs

    Gen 8 2009, 20:55

    Based on my last.fm event list 2008 was rather mellow for gigs. I’m sure there are a few gigs that I attended but didn’t note down as attended on last.fm but as they say “quality over quantity”. Quality is definitely the correct word to describe some of these gigs though; two of which can be considered “all-time favorites”.


    Best gig of 2008
    Sat 23 Feb – Mike Park, Sundowner, Matthew Reynolds
    Fri 9 May – TOUR 2008 L'7~Trans ASIA via PARIS~
    Yeah, can't pick just one. Scroll down for reviews and pics.

    Worst gig of 2008
    Mon 14 Apr – Against Me!, The Steal, Kill Casino
    The Academy II is a dire venue, far too thin and long with average sound quality at best. Against Me!'s setlist was mostly made up of songs from New Wave and no one else I went with (expect one maybe) really enjoyed it. Shame really.

    Best Festival of 2008
    NASS 2008
    Cheating here as I only went to one festival this year, however I've been to NASS like 6 or 7 times now and it's always a blast. Pendulum and Less Than Jake were quite a highlight.

    Worst Festival of 2008

    Best Live Performance of 2008
    The World/Inferno Friendship Society. I expected nothing less than a high energy, entertaining and outstanding show. Jack & co delivered so much more, if you’re a fan they should be on your “must see live” list.

    Worst Live Performance of 2008
    The Dagger Brothers. Supported Kunt and the Gang and were extremely unfunny guys.

    Best Venue of 2008
    The Croft, Bristol

    Worst Venue of 2008
    The Carling Academy II, Bristol

    The "gig I really wanted to see but couldn't/didn't" of 2008
    Girls Aloud at Bowood. A three minute drive away from my house, got cancelled because the 'company' promoting it consisted of useless morons.


    Wed 13 Feb – Dropkick Murphys, Mad Caddies, The Briggs at the Carling Academy, Bristol

    The year started of with Dropkick Murphys, Mad Caddies, The Briggs. Normally I’m hyped about the headliner, however, it was the opening act I cared for the most. As you can see I’m quite The Briggs fan and although I’ve seen them two times before, I was really looking forward to seeing them again.

    Oh I really do hate the “get there early” tip (read: rule) because after collecting my friends, driving to Bristol and parking; the doors had already been open for thirty-five minutes. After a lite jog to the door I could hear the distinctive voice of Joey LaRocca from The Briggs. I believe they were halfway through Media Control, once that was over they announced that “the next is our last song”. Oh fuck I was going to rage quit there and then. You would at least expect the opening act to start 15-20 minutes after the door. Ignoring my inner-annoyance at myself, the venue and silly times I danced away to their last song and tried to look forward to Mad Caddies and Dropkick Murphys.

    Next up were Mad Caddies. I’ve now seen Mad Caddies three times; they always manage to put on a good show, full of fun and energy. Caddies were one of those bands I was heavily into before AS/Last.fm and I now only seem to listen to them to revise their songs for gigs. Perhaps I’ll give them a few more plays this year…maybe

    Finally it was Dropkick Murphys. Like all the bands at this gig, this wasn’t my first experience with DKM. I’m always wary of Little Rich Working Class Oi Boys and their unnecessary aggression at gigs like these, thankfully none were in my perimeter and it was a really enjoyable gig. I did take a little break when any song from The Warrior’s Code was played though – was never a fan of the album.

    Sat 23 Feb – Mike Park, Sundowner, Matthew Reynolds at the Homestead, Southampton

    Ten days later I was taking a two hour trip to Southampton to attend one of the greatest gigs of my life and my first ever house gig. Equipped with my SatNav and drink for my friends we set-off for this acoustic-awesome-fest. We arrived fairly quickly, and then we started to look for the house, during our walk Mark (sk8rmarky) was recognised by another last.fm user. We joined their crew and finally found the house.

    Upon entry it was clear it was a student house; fully of bikes, dodgy paintwork and the smell of fags. I felt a little awkward at first, but the relaxed atmosphere soon eased me. We were told the show would be in the over-sized conservatory and were lucky to find a rather good spot to watch the show. The conservatory was made up of sofas, wooden chairs and plane seats (yes, plane seats) placed at the sides but were all taken by eager fans. In the corner was a wooden bench with a one-seat sofa with oversized arms on the top of it, I’m guessing no one else thought it was safe enough - who dares wins, right? It gave us a good view of the (sit down) show whilst being surprisingly comfortable.

    Shamefully I can’t remember the first guy on or the band he was from but he set the mood for the entire show. When he started most people were standing up, which made it almost impossible for the people at the back to see anything. I believe it was his bright idea to get most people to sit down thus allowing everyone to see. All I remember of his performance was that he reminded me of Tim Barry.

    Matthew Reynolds was up next. He guy is actually a really good singer, in terms of vocal performance he was the best. Unlike everyone else his performance focused on his vocal than the sound coming from his guitar. During one song it was like he never struck a chord. Nice set, wish I listened to both his solo and band material more.

    The Larry Arms flannel-wearing fanboys were in full force, you could tell that most were there for Sundowner (aka Chris McCaughan). Chris knew this and mixed his set with Sundowner and The Lawrence Arms songs, almost every song request was for a Larry Arms song. Someone made a request for a song he knew how to play but didn’t remember the lyrics. You might think this was a reasonable excuse but one PDA-equipped kid didn’t; he whipped out his PDA and google’d the lyrics, gave it to Chris and after a short glance began to play. Highly amusing, especially when he had to take a second, third and fourth glace at the PDA during the song. Loved every second of it.

    Mike Park was next; I hate to use the word “idol” or “hero” to describe anyone but if I was going to give the title to someone he’d be the first person. In short, I’m a Mr Park and Asian Man Records fanboy. Mike Park at Wasted 2006 was one of my highlights,

    Mike opened up with From Korea, however, the only vocals I could hear was Mark’s – he loves the song. I was like “Oh shit, Mike’s voice is to quiet” and “shut the fuck up people, I wanna hear Mike”, in my head obviously. Thankfully people did sit down and shut up; Mike also increased the volume of his voice.

    Mike strayed away from his ballad and slow songs, I think he knew that his lighter, fun and ska-ish songs would be appreciated more. At one point he request people to stand up and join in a mini-skank-pit – he started playing a cover of either Skankin’ Pickle or The Bruce Lee Band. It was all a tad chaotic but highly hysterical. After a couple more songs he ended his set.

    We left our comfy height sofa to head towards the garden were the merch was being sold. I bought a Mike Park tee, whilst Mark bought the Beans & Toast promotional tour CD. After a quick chat with Mike about how good the atmosphere was we went to find Chris from Sundowner. Chris enjoys music, booze and weed, the very same combination a couple of my friends enjoy. After a quickie with Chris we said our goodbyes, left the house and headed towards the town centre for last minute food before the drive home.

    Overall it was an amazing night; we met some amazing people (Mike’s photographer Hiro amused us all with his antics) that made it an unforgettable night.

    Fri 9 May – TOUR 2008 L'7~Trans ASIA via PARIS~ at the Le Zénith, Paris

    May was the month of my friend’s birthday, the start of my final university exams and L’Arc~en~Ciel at the Le Zénith in Paris. I actually first heard about the L’Arc~en~Ciel concert on the last.fm shoutbox, someone mentioned that there was a rumour that Laruku were going to play in Paris. From that moment I was checking the shoutbox, official website and fansites on a daily basis.

    The concert was officially confirmed a month or so later, I then asked Mark (sk8rmarky) if he’d want to go on MSN/IM. During one cheap game of Friday night poker at my house I mentioned that I was going, to my surprise others were interested in going. It wasn’t for L’Arc~en~Ciel though, it was to use it as an excuse to party and celebrate a friend’s birthday whilst we were there. Three with Laruku tickets, two without and one German Spaz that was going to met us for the partying.

    The planning began; I ordered my Laruku tickets with help from listentheworld.wordpress.com/ and google translate, booked the eurostar seats and was recommended the Citea Paris La Villette hotel by Kei-o. Organising everything on your own for a small party of people can be rather worrisome – if shit fucks up you’re the one to blame.

    For those interested the cost of the trip per person:
    £74 for 2 nights with 2 rooms at Citea Paris La Villette
    £50 for Chippenham/London return ticket
    £84 for London/Paris return Eurostar ticket
    £35 for L’Arc~en~Ciel tickets
    Total (without Laruku): £208
    Total (with Laruku): £243

    We boarded the Eurostar around 10am, passed the time with manual poker, card games and the ever-so-jolly ‘disguise the penis’. We booked into our hotel after a short metro trip. The first night was spent being typical British tourist; sightseeing, getting use to foreign customs and drinking alcohol. France should really import more cider – my drinking options were rather limited. Roll on the next day, my first ever non-English concert in a foreign country.

    We all made our way to the Le Zenith at 6pm or so, I wanted to leave at 4 but no one was having it. The queues coming from the Zenith almost looked like an octopus; we had no idea which one to join and ended up standing in a free space. This decision paid off, the various gates jotted around the venue opened to let the stampede of fan in. One gate was in the corner where hardly anyone was queuing and we made a mad dash to obtain a good spot – success!

    The venue was massive, easily the biggest venue I’ve been to, not that impressive though as most gigs I attend are at pubs and small clubs with a capacity of 200. I believe the Zenith has a capacity of 7000. Whilst the two other ticket holders queued for drinks, I queued at the merch stall for about 15 minutes to buy two expensive tour t-shirts. We walked to the standing zone/area and waited for it to start.

    The setlist:
    01) get out from the shell (asian version)
    02) Driver's High
    03) Killing Me
    06) winter fall
    07) 花葬
    08) My Dear
    09) forbidden lover
    11) Caress of Venus
    14) Pretty girl
    15) STAY AWAY (formation A)
    18) HONEY
    19) Link
    20) あなた

    I knew the setlist a couple of weeks before the concert and created a playlist for ‘revision’.

    The opening was rather stunning; it really got the crowd into frenzy. The countdown on the curtain begins ‘5-4-3-2-1’, the silhouettes of the band are finally exposed when the last bit of curtain crashes to the floor. From that moment I had a massive grin on my face. Words aren’t enough, go watch this video instead.

    Every song was done to perfection if I had to choose my top 5 I’d go with the following:
    Caress of Venus
    STAY AWAY (formation A)

    The main reasons I choose these songs were because the crowd interactions was at its greatest. During MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM people were belting out the English chorus, it almost reminded me of the --video--. Caress of Venus had everyone jumping around releasing all the energy they had. STAY AWAY was the closest thing to a P’UNK~EN~CIEL song, it was a blast and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. READY STEADY GO pleased all the FMA fans. The choir fans bought along by L’Arc~en~Ciel really made あなた magical; a fitting end to a truly world class concert.

    300+ photo collection thanks to listentheworld.wordpress.com
  • Releases of 2007

    Gen 29 2008, 1:54

    Better late than never...

    Top 10 Overall releases of 2007

    10) Ben Weasel and His Iron String Quartet - These Ones Are Bitter

    Better than Mr. Weasel’s previous release, this pop-punk gem rivals some of Screeching Weasel’s top albums.

    Favourite Track:
    Let Freedom Ring

    9) Everybody Out! - Everybody Out!

    Sweeny Todd from The Dead Pets is one of those frontman that will always get my attention no-matter what he does, include the founding Dropkick Murphys' guitarist Rick Barton and you’ve got an excellent chantey-sing-along-punk EP. Worth a listen if you’re a fan of DKM or Street Dogs.

    Favourite track:

    8) Girls Aloud - Tangled Up (Seriously, now STFU)

    The Girls and Xenomania have re-wrote the book of pop with this album, it’s pop at its best done by the best. Very danceable and fun.

    Favourite track:
    Girl Overboard

    7) Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere In The Between

    I’m sure I wasn’t the only one disappointed with the re-working of Catch 22’s classic Keasbey Nights - I wanted new songs. I wanted this album. Good things come to those that wait and this album that proves that theory right. Excellent energetic ska-punk.

    Favourite Track:
    Down, Down, Down To Mehphisto's Cafe

    6) The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's Twentieth Century

    Red-Eyed Soul was my favourite release of 2006; therefore I had high expectations for this album. Thankfully WI/FS delivered another wine fuelled cabaret-gypsy-punk masterpiece about the legend Peter Lorrie.

    Favourite Track:
    Ich erinnere mich an die weimarer republik

    5) The JB Conspiracy - This Machine

    Perhaps one of the worse band names in existence, however, all is forgiven the second the first song hits your ears. Excellent ska-punk from Surrey, UK. Although the re-workings of Duff Muffin's classic songs are not as good, their original songs are just as solid.

    Favourite Track:
    This Machine

    4) Bomb the Music Industry! - Get Warmer

    It took me a while to get into BtMI!, I heard ASOB before them and just thought they were a bit ‘meh’. After finally realising that were are far from meh I feel in love with them. The songs follow a more consecutive style compared to the previous releases, which is nice. Another excellent release by Jeff & co.

    Favourite Track:
    I Don't Love You Anymore

    3) The Flatliners - The Great Awake

    Better than their previous album? Maybe. Just as good? Fo’ sure. The Flatliners leave their aggressive skacore roots for a more ‘melodic’ approach; the end product is a fabulous album of awesomely crafted songs.

    Faveourite Track:

    2) L'Arc~en~Ciel - KISS

    After hearing MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM for the first time this became my most accipated release of 2007. When it was finally released I was not disappointed; everything about the album is outstanding, from hyde’s vocals to tetsu’s basslines.

    Favourite Track:

    1) The Peacocks - Touch and Go

    Playing live or on CD The Peacocks are a charm to listen to. Throughout their albums they shift between styles, no one album is really the same. This is also the case for Touch and Go; it has a different feel yet retains the same The Peacocks signature sound. Top notch.

    Favourite Track:
    Gimme More
  • 100,000th played track

    Dic 26 2006, 19:12

    Around 3am on Boxing Day my tracks played counter hit the big 100,000. I've never noted any of the other 'milestone' figures, but I was lucky enough to catch this one.

    Anyway, My 100,000th track milestone was Singapore - best song on the bonus greatest hits CD.

    I was expecting L'Arc~en~Ciel to grab it (they were close) or some random band on my top 10. Oh well.

    I've always had a soft spot for Girls Aloud, and in my view they're one of the few . I only really started to listen to them a few days ago and I'm addicted. I also bought my mother the I Think We're Alone Now single, in a vein attempt to stop Leona Lewis from getting Xmas number one. Pretty much after I bought it, I read this - pwned.
  • Reminder: Watch L'Anniversary Live on December 23rd

    Nov 25 2006, 14:33

    I will not be impressed if I miss L'Arc~en~Ciel's 15th L'Anniversary. For those that don't know - L'Anniversary will be aired in 25 counties:

    <Televising schedule country>
    North America: America and Canada
    Central and South America : Mexico, Brazil and Chile
    Europe : Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain, Poland, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Finland and Monaco
    Asia: Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines


    Must find out when and watch channel. I expect it'll get aired on a Sky channel. Please point me in the right direction if you know what channel it's being aired on in the UK. Thanks!
  • I love Jelly Beans!

    Ott 24 2006, 13:12

    I'm talking about the new Yum!Yum!Orange album not the horrid-tasting little sweets from various shopping outlets.

    The album is already in 'my top 5 albums of this year' (so far). There has been plenty of good releases this year - expect a 'Top albums of 2006' journal at the end of this year.

    I like all the songs on the album but my top three tracks are:
    Brand New Day
    ブギウギ★Dance Night!!

    Because I have such nice friends, they made me a Yum!Yum!ORANGE t-shirt. They used this random but cute image, some spray paint and a white t-shirt. The outcome was this:

    Does anyone know if Yum!Yum!ORANGE or even L'Arc~en~Ciel t-shirts actually exist? I need one.

    Random Yum!Yum!ORANGE videos:

    Brand New Day


    Precious Days


    Sunny Sunday

    (Sorry - I've always wanted to use the youtube/google tags since the update)
  • Lightyear reunion gigs: pics, videos and stuff.

    Lug 27 2006, 0:16

    I went to the Bristol and Yeovil Lightyear reunion gigs. Both gigs were top nippy!

    No pics of the Bristol gig, since the plan was to party and dance the night away, plus I rarely take my crappy camera to any gig.

    The Scrub opened and played about 7 songs; 5 new ones and 2 old. They didn't get to play Rhonda which was a shame, since it's my favorite Scrub song.

    Sonic Boom Six were on afterwards. I sat down and had a few drinks during their set. I've never been a big fan of them live but they were pretty good this time. Strange thing is, I've only ever seem them play once as a 6.

    Lightyear were on next and they were truly excellent. Lots of nakedness and fun. Jon from Captain Everthing! was very drunk and very naked - fun times.

    The day after the Bristol gig, six of us drove from Chippenham to Yeovil to watch Lightyear again. Got lost and missed the first two bands. I was boring and stayed up the balcony throughout the whole set.

    I enjoyed Kenisia's set, I love how high the lead singer's voice goes on the 'soulcore' song 'Second Skin'.

    Sonic Boom Six played again. Watched them this time around and liked 'em.

    Lightyear were on, although there was neither nakedness nor alchol in my system, I loved every second of it. The only negative thing was when some goon thought it would be funny to jump off the balcony without warning anyone. Almost breaking the necks of the people he landed on.

    Picture and Video time – excuse the poor quality.


    Dress Like a Pimp

    Sonic Boom Six:


    Chas looking scary.

    Surfs up!

    Vince! You'll probably recognise him if you’ve ever been to a (good) gig in Bristol or Swindon.


    Positive Outlook school assembly version – with Tom from Adequate Seven on piano and Chas on violin...kinda

    The dude in grey next to the pink dude is ex-Captain Everything! drummer Rich Phoenix!

    This might be difficult to tell, but near the end of the gig, Lightyear let some crowd/other band members come on stage and cover Operation Ivy's Knowledge. If you look closely you can see Rich Phoenix drumming.

    More Rich Phoenix madness.

    Some more:

    The videos – filmed by sk8rmarky with his crap Nokia mobile camera, don’t be expecting anything good in picture or sound quality

    Nuff Cuts

    Life Jacket Water Wings

    Positive Outlook school assembly version.

    If you’ve got any pics, videos or just want to share your Lightyear reunion experience; please feel free to post them here.

    I use to 'run' the Lightyear myspace fan page, it got deleted and along with it the link to Lightyear's (not so) last ever gig I uploaded to google video. Here's the link to it again. Enjoy!
  • Lightyear Tour - Who's going?

    Mag 9 2006, 21:22

    If you haven't heard, Lightyear are doing a one-off UK reunion tour.

    The Dates:


    - From HHN mailout

    Who's going then? I've ordered my tickets for the Yeovil gig and I'm going to go to the Bristol gig too. This is seriously the best news I've had all year.

    See you there.

    Locked - Go read my other other journal for pics, vids and more from the Bristol & Yeovil gig
  • Is it wrong?

    Gen 26 2006, 22:22

    Is it wrong for someone who enjoys listening to bands like; Descendents, The Peacocks,Big D And The Kids Table, Against All Authority, The Dead Pets, Leftöver Crack, Captain Everything!, The World/Inferno Friendship Society, Snuff and Link 80 to enjoy ?

    I guess I got first introduced to Japanese music and the Japanese culture through videogames. I've grown up with videogames and it's always been a huge interest of mine. I was even going to do a Games Design/Programming course at Uni, even got accepted into two Uni Games courses. I backed out at the last minute to do a more 'practical' course at UWE (Bristol).

    As most gamers know; sound is just as important as the graphics. Whether you're playing on an Xbox 360 or a gameboy - sound is always going to be a major aspect during development and to the end product.

    Composers like Koji Kondo, Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu bring videogames to life. Riding on Epona with the Hyrule Field theme blasting out really bought you into the Zelda world. What about American and other composers I hear you say? I'm not going to talk about theme since this journal is about jpop and my introduction to it.

    Apart from the films, games, manga and ladies. I also enjoy anime. From animes like FMA to Rurouni Kenshin; I love the music featured in them. Start & End themes especially. My favourites include: Kesenai Tsumi, Sakura Saku, Tank! and Sobakasu.

    Like many young boys I got curious and wondered if I'd like other songs from the artists that did my favourite anime themes. Turns out I did. Then I got curious some more and explored 'non-anime' artists. Yep! I enjoy them too.

    Now I'm listening to the likes of;

    ayumi hamasaki, ai otsuka, 北出菜奈, 安室奈美恵, 上戸彩, 松浦亜弥, L'Arc~en~Ciel andSowelu

    Most of the bands at the beginning are or were 'poor DIY' bands and are "to good to sell-out"1. I've seen most of them live too. I don't expect a band to have video, nor to I expect a live show to cost more than £20 (unless it's a festival).

    To Good

    Now jpop is at the other end of the spectrum. The artist are huge, make lots of money, shows sell out in minutes and they have big budget videos. Very much like the UK and US pop scene (which I hate). The only difference is I like the music (and even some of the videos). I'd also love to attend a Ayumi concert too..

    I can't put my finger on my I like jpop so much. Maybe it's because I find the whole Japanese/Asian culture so interesting and intriguing. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's better than other cultures. Meh, who knows. Guess some might find it odd I like the two. Luckily there are no set rules for music.

    Thanks for reading my poorly written first journal, at least it wasn’t a list ‘ay!