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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

London Sun, Music (including the fabulous The Early Year) then Rain

On Tuesday the Early Year rocked our socks at the Barfly in North London

We arrived in London Monday after an uneventful EasyJet flight from Copenhagen. Sean was impressed by the amount of space in the seats, almost like first class. EasyJet is normally pretty good on the service, and cheap on the fares if you book far enough ahead.

Our hotel is cosy and we have our own balcony to sit on and drink Stella Artois and watch the people go by below in Bayswater. This is my 7th trip to London, so nothing too exciting for me to see. The weather was brilliant Monday and Tuesday, sunny and 75 or so, and we took advantage of that by taking a bus tour.

Monday night we went to the Carling Academy to meet up with Anna Lee and Andrew Zincke. Andrew's site, the Smoking Beagle is currently out of commission whilst one of his paws heals from a bizarre accident involving a broken wine bottle, but his tips on the music are still top notch. We caught S. Rock Levinson, whom I'd seen on his recommendation last year, and I found them in even better form than a year ago. They have a new single out. S. Rock was the band I enjoyed most out of the 4-5 band bill, though they all had merit.

Tuesday night, we took in a bit of the Tate Modern and then Sean made a few friends at the Anchor Inn who had been to the Glastonbury Festival (same weekend we were at Roskilde.) They gave us a tip on good music at the Barfly so that's where we went Tuesday, despite the fact that my ears felt like they needed a rest. I was glad I went though since I saw the best band I'd seen since Graham Coxon at Roskilde. The top billed band at the Barfly, a cool club with great acoustics in Chalk Farm, North London, was called The Early Year. Their sound was less derivative than many of the other bands we've seen in bars here, many sounding like a mix of the Clash, The Buzzcocks and Joy Division, not that there's anything wrong with that. The Early Year have their own sound, their vocalist distinct in the way that Guy Garvey of Elbow also is. They combined samples, guitar, keyboards and a top notch rhythm section that really got me going. One song with a repeated refrain of "I wanna hold you" made me drift off for a while and miss my sweetie. The lead singer Jim Scully kind of reminded me of Dan Lichty of Shadow Box and I envisioned a dream bill at the Barfly which had Shadow Box open, Friends Like These in the Middle, and the Early Year headlining. We'll have to see what we can do about setting up a "band swap" so we can put together bills like that. Sean and I both bought copies of the Early Year's new 7 inch vinyl and had them signed by the band.

Today has been a shopping and business day. I mailed home some shoes and a bunch of crap and it cost me nearly $100 for a 9 lb box. Christ. But freed up of some stuff I was free to buy more.

Sean is out running around in the rain somewhere and we will rendevous at the hotel shortly to figure out the plan for the evening. In the morning, we're off to Wales to visit a friend of mine before heading to the final festival, the Oxegen festival in Dublin on Friday.