Monday, 1 December 2008

(White Man) In Hammersmith Odeon

Having just had a trip round the most prominent building in Hammersmith, I made a trip to probably the most famous building in Hammersmith later the same day - the Apollo - although I still think of it as the Odeon.

I can stare out of my window at this building too. I suppose I should actually do some work.

My first visit to the Odeon was back in 1984 after I'd first moved down to London - it was to see Jethro Tull on their Under Wraps tour and I've been a fairly frequent visitor ever since.

(left) Innes

The great, the good and the downright rubbish have played here over the years - more recently the venue went through a period of hosting stage shows such as High School Musical - but it now seems to be back on the circuit for many touring bands.

Those who know me will not be surprised to hear that the majority of my visits have been for Hawkwind who used to play there on virtually all of their tours back in the 80s and early 90s.

In those days Hammersmith was a bit of a scruffy place - a dirty old bus station on the site of where my office building now stands.

Tonight though Liz and I were going to see Primal Scream on the London leg of their NME Rock'n'Roll Riot tour.

Before the gig we went for a few beers - most of the pubs around Hammersmith were chock full of Scream fans and office workers so we went to one of our backstreet favourites, the Old Parr's Head, which is slightly off the beaten track. A decent pint of London Pride and some very tasty Thai food set us up nicely.

(right) Careful - you'll have someone's eye out with that!

For tonight's gig I was going to get a photo pass (thanks Martin!) to allow me into the photographers pit with the professionals. On arriving at the box office I was told to wait until 9pm when all the photographers would be escorted to the pit.

On our way to said pit we had to go around the outside of the building - almost bumping into a confused-looking Bez who was stood outside looking desperate to get in - and we had about a minute to spare before the band hit the stage and launched into Kill All Hippies.

And so it was a hectic 12 mins or so as I tried a variety of lenses to capture the lightshow and animated backdrop but it's bloody hard under these lighting conditions - well it is for an amateur like me - but great fun being right there at the front with no one in front of you.

Before long our time was up and we were being ushered out into the cold. One of the photographers was complaining that is was hard to get some decent shots in this particular lightshow - so it wasn't just me! The pros then all disappeared off into the night whereas I had a ticket and went back in and joined Liz in the throng downstairs.

The rest of the gig was storming - acclaimed by long time Screamers as being the very best for many years. It's awfully hard to disagree...

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