10 x 10 years: Gigs!

It’s now over ten years since I started writing about music. To mark the occasion I’m doing a short series of posts marking the highlights over the past ten years.

In all honestly I’m a bit flighty when it comes to sticking to one thing… and I have changed websites a few times, first writing for backseatmafia.com, then out on my own with psychinsight.com (now defunct), and finally here at The Fragmented (which has all my content from the other two). However, that I’ve stuck to actually writing about music for ten years is something of a miracle, and a sign that it is something I get a massive amount of pleasure doing… not least from a positive mental health perspective.

Another activity that I find hugely fulfilling and mentally nourishing is live music. Some of the major highlights of the last ten years have come at gigs… and the feeling of well-being after being ‘in the moment‘ is absolutely unbeatable… and I think it’s fair to say that the thing I missed most about the pandemic was the lack of live music (online gigs just didn’t do it for me)… here, in date order, are the absolute best of those moments since 2013…

Rocket Recordings Stage, Liverpool PsychFest (27/09/14)

It’s often the case that the superlatives fly just after a gig… the best ever… wow nothing will ever top that. This is how I felt after this night (as my review (here) of the time confirms). But actually I STILL think it’s my best ever night of live music…here’s the line-up of the Rocket Stage:

Bonnacons of Doom: making their annual appearance, complete with massive Japanese Kodo drums.

Lay Llamas: at that time still with both Nicola Giunta and Gioele Valenti, showcasing the amazing ‘Ostro’ album. I mean, what’s not to like?!

Anthroprophh: fucking loud and as heavy as a black hole. A band who could potentially feature here multiple times… bloody brilliant live, with a side and special mention to Gareth Turner and Jesse Webb’s appearance as ‘Big Naturals’ at the 2016 PsychFest.

Hills: a band who hardly played live, so to catch them here was an immense privilege… one of my favourites from the last decade…

Teeth of the Sea: the night I fell for TotS… actually in tears at one point during this set (it was the trumpet what got me)… seen them an number of times since and they have never failed to deliver.

GNOD: I’ve seen GNOD on many occasions and the have been devastatingly good. But nothing to match the utter joy of this performance… with Dave W (White Hills) featuring as well this was a one-off night to remember.

White Hills: cracking way to finish the night (I never even made it to see Goat on the other stage)… Dave W and Ego Sensation on top form!

The Heads: The Ruby Lounge, Manchester (15/04/16)

There was a time when I thought that I would never get to see The Heads… but they got together again to do ATP in 2015, and I went down to London for their warm-up show… then they played again in 2016… and what a gig that was. With the Dead Sea Apes supporting it was a superb night with The Heads on the best form that I’ve witnessed… total face melter from start to finish…

Adam Stone and Dead Sea Apes: Kunst Gallery, Belper (17/09/16)

I didn’t go along to the Dead Sea Apes’ gig at an amazing, and sadly now defunct, community space in the small Derbyshire town of Belper, with anything more than the thought that I would be going to just another show… a Dead Sea Apes show all the same. But the support slot of Adam Stone reading his apocalyptic ‘2039’ with the improvised backing of he Dead Sea Apes will live long in the memory… thankfully it was recorded and released (see my thoughts here)… a totally one-off performance that was a privilege to witness.

The Myrrors: Star and Garter, Manchester (18/02/18)

Some of my favourite gigs of the last ten years have happening in the upstairs room at the Star and Garter in Manchester. Certainly performances by Kikagaku Moyo and Anthroprophh would be on this list, were the bands not already elsewhere here… so it falls to The Myrrors to mark this particular venue. This was my one and only time seeing the band, but what a fantastic set it was… mesmerising from start to finish… the audience totally away with the desertified sounds of one of my favourite bands.

Øresund Space Collective: Urban Spree, Berlin (02/06/18)

On my regular trips to Berlin (I have close family there) I’ve often been lucky to catch a decent gig… on this occasion I caught the fantastic two day ‘Sneaky Snake Festival’…

…every band who played were excellent… but the two plus hour set from the Øresund Space Collective was just mind blowing/ bending… but don’t take my word for it because it’s available on CD/ DL here…

Killing Joke: Academy, Manchester (07/11/18)

This was a big call… Killing Joke and Kikagaku Moyo playing about a mile apart in Manchester… I tried to work out whether I could go to both, but in the end I opted for Killing Joke on the grounds that I was more likely to see Kikagaku again… as you can see below I did, but on the strength of this gig I made the right decision because Killing Joke were absolutely devastating, leaving me totally drained mentally and physically afterwards… I’ve seen them many times, but this was the one for me!

Träden: DINA, Sheffield (07/09/19)

The most amazing thing about this gig was that I only knew it was happening a couple of hours before… I’m still not sure why Träden played Sheffield after supporting Thee Oh Sees in London on the previous night… but who cares it was just a fantastic gig from start to finish… the spontaneity of it adding to the whole thing… I wrote about it in more detail here.

Kungens Män: Hot Box, Chelmsford (22/10/21)

With the Kikagaku Moyo gig below this was probably one of my more emotional gigs… in this case located in an oasis of togetherness between COVID lockdowns… a moment in time where things felt more normal and the scales of the pandemic fell away. This was such a special night for me… one of those precious moments where I felt fully in communion with the music… My full piece about it is here.

Kikagaku Moyo: EartH, London (27/06/22)

Wow, what can I say about this that I haven’t already said (see here)… just an incredible gig… the last one they played in Europe… and I just get goosebumps even thinking about it now… as close to the perfect gig as I’ve experienced… here’s the encore…

Oneida/ Teeth of the Sea: Studio 9294, London (12/03/23) 

Maybe there’s some recency bias here but this was a gig that I came away wowed by both bands. I had expected this from TotS as I’ve seen them many times and they are always exceptional… but it was my first time for Oneida and they just blew me away with their mixture of energy, good humour and, well, just plain down-to-earthed-ness… they were clearly enjoying themselves, as were the crowd and, after a blistering set, we were treated to an encore of ‘Sheets of Easter’ which, frankly, finished me off…

This is a very short clip… but you get the idea…



Thanks very much for reading my blog, I really appreciate this. I write it as a labour of love to help me enjoy music, and to give something back to the many talented people who put out these incredible sounds.

To make it as enjoyable as possible for others I do pay extra so there are, for instance, no ads on these pages; but it would be great if the blog could pay for itself.

So, if you’ve really enjoyed your visit here and have found some music that you think is amazing, why not buy me a coffee (I write in independent cafés a lot) by clicking the “make a donation” button on the sidebar or footer depending on your device.


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