Travelling went well… caught the 5:13 train – with surprisingly many people being out and about at that time of the day – made the airport bus and got my plane in Lübeck. I think it was the first time I’ve been at that airport at daytime. I knew it’s quite tiny: They don’t even have those trucks they need to reverse the planes, to the planes just stop in parallel to the building and drive away again shortly after. In the end the whole airport just looks like one big storage hall. And if there weren’t for the flights to the non-Schengen UK and the non-EU Norway, I’m sure they would’ve saved on that wall across the room separating the Schengen / non-Schengen zones.
Getting to Stansted and to Cambridge was smooth and I had lunch with Dan and then had a little nap to catch up with the sleep I didn’t get at night. In the evening, the main excuse for this little trip happened: Belle and Sebastian played at the Corn Exchange and Dan had wisely bought tickets for the gig right away – before it sold out. I’ve never been at the Corn Exchange before and thought it’s quite a nice venue. Unlike many other venues in old commercial buildings this one isn’t a cold-ish steel construction but has more warmth because it’s brick building. I thought that having a gallery with a seating section was quite amusing, though. From what people said, the day had been quite stressful for the people around there, because Arctic Monkeys tickets went on sale and the kids were queueing for hours around the block in the cold.
Before Belle and Sebastian came on, Brakes played as the support band. (According to the PR material, you might know some members from British Sea Power or Electric Soft Parade). The venue wasn’t even half-way filled at that stage and I’d say the people who weren’t there really missed out. Simple music with a bit of aggression and nicely short songs (A CS with 16 songs in 29 minutes ranging in length from seven seconds to 3:39). Not revolutionary but refreshingly different from what most other bands do these days. And a band that isn’t a decade younger than myself… With songs like Hi How Are You they definitely hit a high note and with All Night Disco Party they show that they can be reasonably poppy as well.
Then Belle and Sebastian came on and as so many people didn’t see the support band, we could stand just a few metres from the stage. In total there were a dozen people involved in playing the various instruments they use, some of whom got on and off as their instruments were or weren’t needed for songs. As Belle and Sebastian go, the music was nice but not overly exciting. And, as it happens frequently with that kind of music, the mixing didn’t seem to be perfect on stage and I once more didn’t like the electric pianos too much (probably because they sound quite close to a proper piano but then end up sounding like a cheap copy anyway once effects and other things come into play).
At the end of the day, I have to admit, though, that I really like Belle and Sebastian’s older songs better than the newer ones. While having a Cello on stage can be both cool and well-sounding, those older songs which can be played by just half a dozen people are just as good or even better. So we’re curious how good their upcoming album will be – the new songs they played weren’t overwhelming but they may still be nice listening for those quiet Sunday afternoons.