A musical journey

(prompted by Frank Turner's insanely long gig list here)

On the 15th of May 2004, I went to a gig in the University of Bath Students' Union. That in itself is pretty unremarkable - I saw a hell of a lot of bands play in the four years I was studying there.  This was, however, one of the few which featured outside/touring bands rather than student bands.

The bands in question were Million Dead (above), supported by No Comply.  I'd actually seen Million Dead once before, in Swindon when they supported Pitchshifter on their farewell tour (#47 on Frank's Million Dead list), although I wasn't really into either band at the time (I went with my then housemates, who were), and can't remember much about it.

It was this gig (#147) and their subsequent appearance at Reading Festival (#237) in 2005 which made me into a fan - sadly just in time for them to split up a couple of months after the latter.  I can't remember exactly when No Comply called it a day, but the last time I saw them play was a few hours earlier on the same stage at Reading 2005.

Although both bands are long gone, I found myself thinking recently how a disproportionate number of the bands I'm still into, the albums I own, and the gigs I've been to since, are somehow linked to that night.

In early 2005, and now involved myself in running live music events at the Uni, I tried to re-book No Comply.  They were unavailable for the date we wanted, but I ended up being sent a copy of Sonic Boom Six's 'Sounds to Consume' album.  They were duly booked, only to have a van breakdown the day before at the other end of the country.  Howards Alias stepped in at the last minute (all three bands sharing the same booking agent) and actually played the gig.

It was a year or two later before we finally actually saw SB6 play, but following them and Howards Alias over the subsequent years lead to a whole list of other bands who they played with - Random Hand, The King Blues, Moral Dilemma, Mouthwash, Fat Lady Singh, Follow You Home, those are just the ones I can spot in a quick scan of the CD collection.  Some of those have in turn lead to the discovery of further bands - Random Hand to Joe Tilston's solo work, and Follow You Home to For the Kill.  There's probably a few more I've forgotten.

Shortly after Million Dead split, we went to see Frank Turner play a solo acoustic set to a couple of dozen people in Junktion 7 in Nottingham - I'm not sure if it was #17 or #69 on Frank's solo list, but we've since been to a whole lot more - from a quick scan of the list I reckon we were at #135, #231, #556, #716, #906, #1045, #1286 and #1523.  That in turn has lead to Ben Marwood, Emily Barker (and from her to Gill Sandell and Vena Portae), Beans On Toast and Chris TT.  I've also got into Future of the Left, for whom Julia Ruzicka is now playing.

I sit here typing this wearing the Mongol Horde t-shirt I bought at their ear-melting show (#12) in Nottingham on Friday night.  In a way, a return to where I was just over a decade ago - being shouted at at close range by Frank Turner.  But far from the end of the journey.

"I'll always have a song inside my head" - Million Dead, 'Living the Dream'

A couple of footnotes to this post, added on 01 July 2014:

Firstly, it's also worth noting quite how many of the artists above are signed to or distributed by Xtra Mile Recordings.  Top label, go and buy stuff from them.

Secondly, the sad news that Follow You Home will soon, like too many of the other bands listed above, be no more.  Tickets for their last few shows via their website.