The Lilac Pilgrim – Yet Another Blog

Posts Tagged ‘gig reviews

Wednesday 15th October 2008
Wednesday 15th October 2008

It’s a typically wet, cold and noisy day for Glasgow, yet outside the beautifully structured Carling Academy, you’ve got scantily clad Wonder Woman chatting away to a girl with cat ears. You have a devil girl with large black wings, Supergirl and several bunnies, not to mention a cascade of robbers and pirates, a Batgirl or two and you even have me in a revealing Gothic dress under a large white lab coat in the role of the evil mad scientist. But why are we doing this? Why am I and a whole crowd of teens and pre-teens standing in the cold and damp in fancy dress sixteen days before Halloween? I’ll tell you why – we’re all here to see The Hoosiers, the beautiful odd-pop sensation who are Worried About Ray and love to play Cops and Robbers. (I know, I know, I’m sorry; I couldn’t resist.) Ahead of me in the queue I can hear a cats’ choir (a bunch of girls dressed like neko-girls) singing Worried About Ray at the top of their voices. Under my breath I’m singing Run, Rabbit, Run. We are hyped. We want the Hoosiers and we want them now! When we finally get in, unsurprisingly, a whole host of “normally dressed” people head straight for the bar. I, meanwhile, go directly for Stage Left. I know where the band’ll be standing and from here I will get many a wonderful photo of Martin Skarendahl. Which I did. They’re quite delicious.

 Swedish native Martin Skarendahl is the bassist for The Hoosiers

Swedish native Martin Skarendahl is the bassist for The Hoosiers

Our first support band whose name sadly escapes me tries rather unsuccessfully to win the crowd over (though I liked them. Electric violin? made of utter win). I cringe for tham as the crowd whoops with delight that their last song will soon be over and we get that little bit closer to seeing The Hoosiers.

As the interval music comes back on (all Queen, very good choice following the Queen featuring Paul Rodgers concert earlier this month) I have to empathise with Mr Mercury – I too am going slightly mad; with all the waiting.

Our next support band (Alto Elite) take their sweet time to get onstage, but any frustration caused is quickly forgiven because they’re actually pretty good. And their singer is pretty easy on the eyes, if you get me. However, once again, “this is our last song” receives a response of “oh-thank-god” style cheering from the Hoosierites as they realise that OMG the next band on is their favourite people in the whole wide world.

Anticipation soon rises, you could cut through the atmosphere with a knife, but it might take you quite some time. I myself feared I might vomit all over the kid in front of me. To be perfectly honest my train of thought was running on the “OMGOMGMARTINMARTINMARTINOMG!!” rails. Finally, everything looks to be ready beyond the big black curtain, which yes Irwin, we did notice. It was a very beautiful thing for us, the curtain. Oh, how we talked about it long after.

We can hear the music, the soft, gentle, The Mighty Boosh reminiscent music that signifies that The Hoosiers are back there, and just faintly beyond the big old curtain we love so much we can see the letters which spell out HOOSIERS.

Then the curtain drops. The fans go into a rabid frenzy; the band crash into the debut album’s title song, the amazing The Trick To Life. I can’t help screaming myself hoarse, and with the way I’m looking at him, probably scaring the living daylights out of Martin Skarendahl, whose eyeline I am standing within.

I also take note how dead the fans seem to go when Martin starts singing the harmonies and refrains. I can barely contain my excitement. I don’t know, is it his accent? Because it leaves me breathless too. I think that wonderfully stereotypical but soft Swedish accent is just charming. Even my stoic, Vulcan-esque sister agrees.

Irwin Sparkes’ showmanship is incredible. Flattery will probably get him a lot of places – calling us fans beautiful is quite the self-esteem boost. He’s got a cheeky smile and acts like he should be the centre of attention – this is his show and we all know it. That’s one hell of a Napoleon Complex little Irwin has. But it’s ultimately forgivable; he’s such a sweet looking little imp, and his voice is haunting. He knows how to work a crowd and he’s not shy about it. During Cops And Robbers, lickle Irwin calls upon we unworthy audience members to play the role of the robbers. All it really involves is shouting “Robbers!” after he yells out “Cops!”, but we’re all pretty excited about it. And we scream ourselves stupid because irwin tells us to. Now that’s pretty powerful stuff there. Forget Billie Joe Armstrong, hailed as one of the best showmen in rock, Irwin Sparkes is bouncy, friendly but also in-your-face and childlike. Having seen both on stage, I seriously prefer Irwin. Simply because Irwin speaks as though the audience are his best ever friends, whereas Billie Joe Armstrong lacks that “I love you guys <3” attitude. I like being loved ❤

Irwin Sparkes is the lead singer and guitarist for The Hoosiers

Irwin Sparkes is the lead singer and guitarist for The Hoosiers

Martin is an excellent secondary showman. The kind of “straight man” to Sparkes’ “I’m cute, funny and crazy!!”… guy. I’m not sure what his appeal really is but I do love that accent. I will run away with his accent and marry it. (I say I don’t know what his appeal is but, erm, I’m not quite sure I can write down what I really think without the post turning… questionable) He interacts well with the others in the group and especially Sparkes. Upon announcing “we’re going to do a new song now…”, Irwin is drinking water. It was probably the set up to a little skit from Martin’s subsequent reaction (“I told you we were doing the new song today!”) but whether or not it was and failed miserably, we don’t care, we’re entertained!

The new song (Sister, Sister) is a fun song that sounds like when cleaned up could be an indie-level hit. I cannot honestly decipher any lyrics other than “Sister Sister” but I already love it. The subject matter could be punching puppies and I’d still love it. There’s no better way to describe it than “delicious.”

Martin coming in too early on his refrain in Worried About Ray was priceless. Wish I’d managed to get a picture of his reaction.

Keyboardist Sam Swallow obviously gets into his role. I worried his head might fall off. Seriously.

Sadly, I couldn’t really see Al properly, but he was going at those drums like a crazy, crazy man in love with his own instrument. (Minds out of the gutter, darlings…)

The covers they chose to do were fabulous. They covered We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel and boy did they make it their own! I never did like WDSTF but The Hoosiers could sing Never Gonna Give You Up and make it awesome. I wouldn’t mind getting Rickroll’d by the boys. The other cover they performed was With Every Heartbeat, originally by Robyn. Another song made into a Hoosierific singalong, something I used to hate but cannot get enough of by The Hoosiers. I think these guys are made of magic.

The encore consisted of the gentle ballad-like Money To Be Made, sung beautifully by Sparkes in the most amazing voice. His range seems to go from a medium to high but it’s still incredible, his singing sending shivers down my spine. After that, they riled us up again with an incredible performance of Goodbye Mr A. Martin’s one man band area was a blur as he abused the equipment to bring us all the gorgeous Hoosier sound… of abused equipment. But it’s all good, the equipment still makes a wonderful, wonderful sound. I believe the word Irwin would use is “mmmm”. 

Finally, Martin throws his plectrum into the crowd and the less said about that painful moment the better, really.

Having to return home was heartbreaking. I was all set to latch onto the tourbus in my most evil scientist fashion and follow them to Aberdeen. And all over the world. Oh yes.

All in all, 11/10, a concert that cannot be paralleled. And I’ve seen quite a few “epic” concerts in my short life.

What? I'm not allowed to love the guy while you all go nuts over the little one?

What? I'm not allowed to love him while you all go gooey over the little one?

    • HoistTheColours: Dear author, I full-heartedly and absolutely agree with your above statements. I just thought I would let you know, since I don't quite understand w
    • richclark: I covered this in my blog too. Found your post on one of Wordpress' random (associated posts). Has Ask really made the impact it needed to from
    • The Lilac Pilgrim: I couldn't go anywhere without someone mentioning it. It was incredibly obvious and yet people were still arguing about it. Absolutely ridiculous.