The closest I got to the Marquee was the pub that took it over — four times been to London, and while I’ve seen a couple of shows courtesy of Meltdown (it was Scott Walker’s year and why yes I *was* desperately trying to get into the Radiohead show but couldn’t), I’ve not seen any other rock concerts. Did go to the Royal Albert Hall for one night of the Proms, though, and that was good fun because they were playing “Fratres” by Arvo Part, one of my particular favorites among modern composers. But you can’t exactly headbang there, even though I was tripping out on imagining past shows there by Siouxsie, the Sisters of Mercy, Marc Almond, Echo and the Bunnymen — ah, if only.

Getting into Melody Maker in the early nineties meant — as I’m sure getting into it any other year for any other Anglophile did — getting a vision of London where there were shows going on all the time (and there WERE! the gig guide proved it!) and where you could see everybody you wanted to all in one place at one time, practically. I remember one time reading about a Chapterhouse/Slowdive/Moose show back in 1991 or so and DAMN RIGHT I WAS JEALOUS. Same with hearing about the Cranes/Young Gods shows. Etc. etc. etc.

So the concert London that I never experienced held a certain fascination, though I’m sure it’s just the equivalent of my experiences going to shows in LA. “Oh it’s at the Whisky? That’s nice I guess…is the beer even more expensive now?” So I don’t think of places like there or the Palladium or the Palace (or whatever it’s called now) as storied venues, they’re just spots where I’ve seen bands, good and bad. London clubs can’t be any different, though if anyone wants to compare and contrast based on direct experience, feel free. I assume the chief difference at present is the lack of smoking out here.

Of course these days if I was given a chance to see a London club show, I admit I’d be leery. If Coldplay is (as I’ve heard alleged) the role model for so many upcoming bands and the Disco Inferno EPs are still out of print, there is no god. (So post some recommendations of bands I should see when I next get over there, darnit! And where I should see them!)