Northern Superstars

1331577380147I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for ages, ever since I got Dear Superstar‘s recent CD ‘Damned Religion‘, but seeing as I saw them this past weekend, I figure a mixed up blog post of the gig, review of the CD and a big, fat bitch at Ticketmaster is in order!!

Ticketmaster take an extortionate amount in charges, and my charges added up to £5 to pick up my own ticket at the box office. No postage, just for someone to be in the box office and print me off a receipt. It wasn’t even a proper printed ticket like others had, it was a receipt with no details of the event, or how much it was, and then the security tore it in half anyway. I’d still be pissed if it were a printed ticket with a ticket stub, but this just made the whole thing all the more distasteful. HATE Ticketmaster. Also you couldn’t go somewhere else for the tickets (I prefer to use We Got Tickets, as they donate to charity, and still don’t charge nearly as much in charges) as Ticketmaster have the O2 Islington in some kind of faustian pact to be their ticket promoter. Oh, and to add even more injury, I just got an email from ticketmaster asking me to review the gig….Fuck off! No way am I doing it so Ticketmaster can get more hits on their website and shaft more people for money, I’ll do it for either myself and promoting my own blog, for the bands, or just to put it up on last.fm. Ticketshafter will get nothing more from me!

Now, this isn’t going to be an all out bitchfest, because beside the financial implications, I had a great night on Saturday. Admittedly I was there for one band, that being Dear Superstar, but the others will get a passing mention. In Elegance were first up, and they weren’t awful, bit too emo for my tastes and it annoys me when female singers sing torch songs to their exes. They have a stage that they can use to sing songs that actually empower their young female fans, not let them believe that their lives revolve around men. Lots of female fronted bands go for this one though, and I just wish they wouldn’t. In my teens I had Tairrie B screaming about the power of women and just what we could be capable of, and it would be good to see another role model of her calibre for teens of today.

Dear Superstar were pretty fucking epic. If you had asked me a couple of years ago if I would be saying that, I’d probably say no. My sister got me in to them, but I was never keen on their previous album as it seemed a bit cliche (rock star posture and swagger) but the new album, to me, actually feels like they have finally found THEIR voice; not trying to be anyone but themselves and because of this, I prefer them so much more. I love the vibe the band have amongst themselves – they really looked like they were enjoying themselves up there and whilst it took a couple of songs to grab the audience, once they had them, they really did. People were singing and clapping along, fists in the air, everything. I fully admit to singing along to every song (Well, according to my last.fm stats, I had listened to them 114 times in a week!) and being very vocally supportive, but I am quite sure that was appreciated. Favourite tracks were ‘Last Rites’ and ‘Damned Religion’, but the whole set just passed by in a very satisfying but all to brief blur. I still think the set at Borderline was better as the venue was much more intimate, but in terms of sheer energy, this was awesome. Rock music fans really should be checking them out – they’re certainly the most interesting and entertaining rock band out there at the minute and I can’t wait for the next gig – hopefully a headliner so I can get them on stage for longer!

Kill Hannah were not my bag and to be honest, I was too busy talking to some of the guys from Dear Superstar (who were kind enough to sign my CD and come out drinking with me afterwards!) to properly check them out, but they are better live than they are on CD. Their music reminds me of the kind of bands I was listening to in the late 90s, so it feels strange to me that this sort of music is coming back. Their were a couple of songs I quite liked, but I can’t remember what the titles were. I remember being entirely amused by their merchandise though. They have a song about a dreamer, and they were selling printed pillowcases!! I wasn’t quite sure how to take that, but it’s easily the most ridiculous bit of merch I’ve ever seen. Oh and the lead singer looks like the love child of Adam Ant and Robert Smith….he did say on stage that a lot of his heroes were from the UK/London, so he may have played up the image a bit, I’m not sure.

Back to Dear Superstar though, and their new album – what’s so different? They actually sound like a new band, and last couple of times I have seen them they’ve played no old material, so maybe they think as I do. Their last album was very much the big rock star, like Manchester goes on holiday to the Sunset Strip in the 80s, and whilst there were some catchy tracks, it wasn’t them. The new album feels more personal; fired by actual experience, not what is assumed a rock band should be, and this fuels their energy onstage. The Borderline gig was a big aural slap in the face for me as I wasn’t expecting them to be that damn good. They wiped the floor with Heaven’s Basement and have gone up in my estimation hugely since then. A little rock and roll is all well and good, but to be decent blokes who will sign your cd and have a drink with you after means more to me than facing an egotistical rock star. I’ve been going to gigs since I was 14, so I have met many people, and the ones I still listen to were the decent sort, with big songs that you wouldn’t expect. Dear Superstar are that sort of band. They are the real deal, and they
deserve to be huge. Hopefully this tour and their upcoming gigs in mainland Europe will get them this attention, just so long as they’re still up for jagermeister shots after their gigs when they’re huge, and build on the fantastic ‘Damned Religion’, I will be happy 🙂

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