As part of our ‘Fantastic and Surreal’ issue, six of our Edgelings wrote about the most surreal moments they’ve had at gigs, from holding hands with their idols to someone flogging crisps.
Disclaimer: those four Chicago-born boys that make up acclaimed rock-band Fall Out Boy mean the world to me. Following them on tour this summer was happiness beyond belief, but I’m half-sure that the fatigue I endured from the endless train journeys and snoring hostel room-mates triggered some kind of hallucinatory experience, because during their Glasgow show, supporting Biffy Clyro, I somehow managed to hold hands with Pete Wentz.
For the regular Fall Out Boy gig-goer, you’ll be familiar with the procedure of their usual final song ‘Saturday.’ During the last chorus, Pete sheds his bass guitar and dives into the most enthusiastic front-part of the crowd. Having seen them five times and never been in the right place at the right time, any interaction with the boys seemed like a lost hope – which I was okay with. I’d already made frontman Patrick Stump giggle mid-song on my third go, caught a plectrum on my fourth, and somehow managed to get to the front of a gig where Biffy were headlining in their home town on my fifth. My luck with FOB was already peaking. But being the only crazy FOB fan surrounded by hundreds of steadfast Biffy fans meant when the time came, I lucked-out. He grasped my hand for nearly the entire chorus and came close to my face, screaming the lyrics to ‘Saturday’ as I screamed them breathlessly back. Sweating and shaking afterwards, with the most surreal moment of my life already cemented behind me, it’s safe to say that that night snoring roommates were markedly less of a concern.
words by Sophie Trenear
Noel Fielding is known for his abstract conceptions of fantastical worlds, as seen in TV shows The Mighty Boosh and Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy. This fantasy was brought to life in An Evening with Noel Fielding in 2015; when stepping into the Bournemouth BIC, you may well have been stepping into the colourful, chaotic mind of the man himself.
Somehow, the evening became more and more unpredictable as it progressed. Firstly, the audience were welcomed to a seemingly endless playlist of songs by Fielding and his mates which created the kaleidoscopic/alien vibes expected of one of his shows. The night then hopped along in a disjointed fashion, flitting from side-splitting stand-up to Fielding sitting down, opening a book, and telling a story of the plasticine Joey Ramone. It was just after the interval, when Fielding came onstage as New York Cop announcing that Noel had been kidnapped, that I wondered whether I was in fact dreaming or at least hallucinating.
All Boosh fans’ dreams became realities with the (real-life!) appearances from Mike Fielding and Tom Meeten who boggled the audience’s minds whilst dressed in drag and as a triangle with a ‘toblerboner’ respectively. This night was an overstimulation of the senses, and thus one which is impossible to forget.
words by Naomi Graves
There are three types of people who turn up to gigs in time for the moment the doors open: the manic superfan who has camped for hours to sprint towards a spot where their idols’ sweaty performance attire is within arm’s reach, the naïve newcomer who is still convinced that these things will begin imminently, and the distant traveller whose train along the south coast happened to run relatively on time for the first time in about nine months. As Jack Garratt closed his 2016 with a Brighton Dome show, my residence in the latter camp ensured that I had the entire upper circle to myself as Seramic opened the evening with shockingly harsh guitar-wielding. Eventually the set eased into a more comfortable funk with what followed of ‘People Say,’ however the lingering moment (and not just in a carb-loading fashion) came with one simple interruption of his incessant nervous enquiries as to how we were doing IN BRIGHTON: “Prawn cocktail, smoky bacon, or beef and onion?”
I should probably go to weirder gigs.
Words by Xavier Voigt-Hill
During December 2013 I went to one of the most amazing performance of The Darkness in their home town Lowestoft, for the 10th anniversary of their first album. In addition of meeting the bass guitarist (Frankie Poullain) at the hotel’s breakfast, I was lucky to see Justin Hawkins having from the roof as if he was a bat at the end Black Shuck. I remember perfectly the worried look on the face of his fellow musicians on stage, people all around me taking their phones out to take pictures of this bat-like imitation. Hawkins is well-known for his weird ideas on stage, and that one was the most bizarre of all their lives I went to. Plus, while playing my favourite song Friday Night, Justin literally pointed at me while singing « Dancing on a Friday with you ». I didn’t faint, I promise.
Words by Lisa Veiber
When it comes to live performances, it doesn’t get much more surreal than a Coldplay concert. Blasting Mylo Xyloto or A Head Full of Dreams through headphones is surreal in itself as the techno, pop, rock fusion creates music that just overwhelms you and fills your body with their euphoric sound. However, all too often, even our most favourite bands will not live up to our expectations when we see them live, but Coldplay are different. Songs such as ‘A Sky Full of Stars’, ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’ and ‘Charlie Brown’ played live in a massive stadium concert truly is everything you expect it to be. At the 2012 Mylo Xyloto tour, the Emirates Stadium in London was doused with colour, from multi-coloured confetti, beaming lazers, vibrant graffiti, and of course, the light up Xylo bands. Hearing Coldplay’s hits in this flamboyant and bright setting was pretty surreal but perfectly reflected the music on the hit album Mylo Xyloto. And just to make things a little more surreal, I somehow managed to hold a front row spot against the barrier for the duration of the gig, which earned me a “You alright?” and a head nod from Chris Martin himself. I was not alright.
words by Hollie Geraghty
Noel Gallagher, the one from that band you may have heard of, playing at Brixton Academy to a crowd that appreciated great music like nothing I’ve seen before and is almost impossible to top stands out for me. Nowadays with his High Flying Birds band, ‘The Chief’ has lost none of his incredible live talent and continues to give shows of the highest quality even though the Oasis days are long behind.
Such as his standing as one of the greatest british songwriters, he nonchalantly introduced a couple of special guests that would’ve effortlessly headlined their own Brixton show for a number of years now. Playing ‘Champagne Supernova’ with Johnny Marr (The Smiths) and a couple of The Jam classics with the legendary Paul Weller (Noel’s neighbour none-the-less) emphasised the level that Gallagher has sustained over the last 25 years. Hearing ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, along with a few rare Oasis b-sides, accompanied by his new material resulted in a surreal live show for any music fan. Moments like this make me think someone as talented as Noel Gallagher can say whatever the hell he likes in the press, such is his standing in global music.
words by Marcus Bridgland