Reviewing gigs is not my forte, but they were damn good. I've never seen them live but it was just as I thought it would be, loud with great visuals. It was brilliant to hear those classics from Dummy that I used to play over and over again in my room when I was 17, worrying my mum. I didn't think that nobody loved me, but I did love that song.
Bad points? The little 'discussion' I had to have with two Australian blokes who shouted to each other all the way through support act A Hawk and A Hacksaw (very good too). I didn't want to have to confront them, they were drunk, but they were seriously pissing me off and their arm waving antics was taking up too much space. Everyone else around us was pissed off too so I just asked them to be quiet so we could listen to the music. I don't have a high tolerance level for people talking at gigs (maybe from a childhood of classical music concerts) but I do understand that it happens and all that but this was ridiculous. So did they kindly STFU? No, they had a go at us (Jon helped out) and said 'NO! WE'RE TRYING TO HAVE A CONVO!'. We suggested they might like to go and have it elsewhere but they thought this was particularly unreasonable and if we stood in front of them we wouldn't hear them. I did want to ask them if they had got their tickets free and I was also this close to chucking my pint of water over them, felt both those things would inflame the situation. We moved in front of them and got lots of sympathetic looks from other people but decided we should move away before the whole gig was spoiled. Unfortunately that meant they were someone else's problem but they could try talking to them instead of us. A couple of people thanked us for saying something, I only wish you could have all backed us up but I know not everyone wants to get involved with that kind of thing.
So we moved a few rows back and didn't have such a good view but as long as we were away from those fuckwits I really didn't care. Jon noticed other chattering more than me but I just had an overwhelming sense of relief. The other thing I noticed was the enormous amount of people who seemed to be viewing the gig through their camera lens. Now Jon likes to take photos at gigs (although he didn't last night) but it's always secondary to actually watching the gig, plus the amount of time he spends taking pics is negligible compared to the entire thing. But in the same way people wonder about tourists viewing their holidays through the video camera, I'm wondering about people viewing gigs this way, there were several people blatantly filming last night (oh look what's turned up, and god, the singing along sounds even worse!). Plus if you're not near the front (and we weren't that far back) your view of the stage is spoiled by tiny LCD screens.
Anyway, rants aside, they were fantastic and Beth Gibbons is amazing. And we got the free flash drives with a couple of minutes of images and noises from the recording of the album. Here are some other reviews from their tour
The Guardian - read the second vox pop, I think there were several of them there last night
Gigwise.com - read the comments, are all gigs now blighted by idiots?
Portishead Official Forum - Edinburgh gig