I don’t usually do these sort of things. I already had their new album ‘Glean’ and (thanks to the shop rather than the band themselves) didn’t really want to buy another in order to gain access to the in-store. Yet TMBG are such a vital building block to who I am and people I am friends with that I had to go on a rare day off work.
‘Tonight will be divided into two clear sections’ deadpanned John F (the guitar one) the performance part and then the signing part’ The live performance part was 30 minutes of new songs from the first six months of the Dial-A-Song project drip-feeding their fanbase plus , well not hits, well THAT one but fan favourites. ‘Number Three’ from their debut was a nod to the fact that their debut album was released on Rough Trade “Records & Tapes” way back when in the U.K. A cheeky rocking cover of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Bills Bills Bills’ “which will form the basis of the show we’re taking to Branson, Missouri” slipped nicely next to another cover, the exuberant ‘New York City’. A personal fave, Dr Worm, had the place moving and John L. (the accordion one) squidgy keyboard sounds amused during the stop/start ‘Older’.
Yes of course they ended with ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’ and it was greeted like its was 1990 all over again.
The John’s insisted, despite a day spent doing radio sessions, press and smacked up to the eyeballs with jetlag that they would stay until everyone had whatever they wanted signed, every picture they wanted with the band and so on. None of this ‘will only be signing new product’ bullshine. They encouraged people with their entire TMBG collection with them to go out for a beer and come back later when the queue would be shorter. This led to a more dignified and British approach to scrambling for a place in the queue and no anxiety that the door would slam shut just as you reached the front.
I took along my vinyl of ‘Flood’ and ‘Nanobots’ which were well vandalised and exchanged a few words about how they had bonded great friends to me with shared love of their music. I walked down Brick Lane to the tube with a stupid dumb grin on my face (what’s new? -Ed).
It’s great when you actually get to meet your heroes and they really don’t let you down.