Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Blondie at the Roundhouse - 7/7/2013

Sunday was 7/7. This is a date etched in the heart of many Londoners following the tube and bus bombings of 2005. I suppose there is no better way of marking the date than by carrying on completely as normal. In response to an attempt by fundamentalists, who would ban alcohol and make all women cover themselves from head to toe, to destroy our society, than going to see one of the most iconic female singers on the planet strut her stuff, whilst having a few beers in my favourite venue.

Blondie at the Roundhouse
I have been a fan of Blondie since the very first time I set eyes on their first album "Blondie". I was intrigued and fascinated. It is probably the only album I have ever bought purely because of the cover. Debbie Harry was georgeous! When I got home and played it, the album was brilliant. It wasn't commercially successful. The single, perhaps the worlds first rap record, "Rip Her to Shred" was catty and funny.

The band could also play. Clem Burk, the long standing drummer brought an energy and vitality to the music, so lacking in many similar "girl singer" bands. At the time I was just getting into the London Punk Rock scene. At the time, the place to be was at the Roundhouse on a Sunday night. The first gig I saw there were the iconic New York bands, the Ramones and The Talking Heads.

So fast forward from 1977, to 2013, a Sunday night at the Roundhouse for an iconic New York Band. Debbie arrives on stage in six inch high heels and the shortest mini skirt ever. Now there was a big disconnect in our party between the boys and the girls. The boys thought this was great, whilst the girls thought maybe she could have been a bit more demure! What no one could argue about was that the band were awesome. They can all play and Debbie can belt out a great pop song. The band have a whole stack of hits. "Hanging on the Telephone", "The Tide is High", "Heart of glass" were all belted out at full throttle. I was struck by the fact that unlike the next generations of glamourpuss singers, Debbie Harry didn't hog the limelight. It wasn't "Debbie Harry". It was a band. She didn't use the explicitly sexual moves that some of her successors have. She didn't need to. In the 1970's Debbie Harry was probably the sexiest woman alive, so I guess she didn't need to strut her stuff so brazenly, she just knew! For me the night was pure bliss. Rock and Roll music is the ultimate high. seeing one of your icons in the flesh, in tip top shape is as good as it gets.

All too soon they had finished the main set. For the encore, I was thrilled that they did a rather obscure choice. A cover of "You can't put your arms around a memory" by The Heartbreakers, in memory of lost friends. This is one of my favourite songs. They wrapped up with a cover of Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and a finale of "Call Me".

It was for me a perfect rock and roll night. As I left the venue, I looked at the our itinery and then noticed the date. My first thought was I'd just seen the reason why the people who let those bombs off will never succed. Because their is no joy in their life, and who wants a life like that?

No comments: