Back in May, not long after Frida was born, I wrote a blog wondering whether Throwing Muses and Tanya Donelly at Leeds Irish Centre would be my wife and I’s first gig together after parebthood. We didn’t end up buying tickets, as we weren’t sure whether we would be ready to leave Frida with babysitters (or grandmothers as they are also known) by the time of the gig. Then, a couple of weeks ago, a friend announced she had one spare ticket, leaving us with the dilemma of which of us would get to go. I originally suggested my wife should go, as I’d already been on a stag do in Sheffield recently, so it seemed only fair that she got a night out as well.
As the night of the gig drew nearer though, the practicalities began to dawn on us. Frida is currently exclusively breastfeeding, having taken to it so well that she refuses to take a bottle. Which means that my wife can only be away from Frida for the length of the gap between feeds. Frida tends to have her last feed of the evening at around 7, and doesn’t usually feed again until 11, or sometimes later, but the pattern is not really predictable enough to rely on. We have been out of an evening on occasion recently, both together and individually, but we have tended to stay close to where we live so we can get home quickly in case of emergency. The Irish Centre in Leeds is in the middle of nowhere, so doesn’t really fit the bill.
So feeling excited, but also a little sad and guilty at leaving my wife at home, I went off to the gig last night with my friend J. My first gig for over 6 months, almost certainly the longest I’ve been without one since I was a teenager. The venue was mainly full of middle aged men with bald patches, beer bellies and Pixies t-shirts. I had the Pixies t-shirt but not yet the beer belly or bald patch, but one out of three isn’t too bad. Tanya Donnelly was excellent, her voice still sounding amazing live after all these years, and she chucked in a few Belly songs into her set to my delight. Throwing Muses I didn’t enjoy quite as much, their set was surprisingly short (much to the annoyance of one very drunken man outside the venue afterwards) and they didn’t play many of my faves, although it was great to see Kristen Hersh and Tanya Donelly on stage together again.
Whilst it was great to be back watching live music again, it was a slightly odd gig for many reasons. I’d not been to the Irish Centre since 1996, but the venue was just as I remembered it. However the noisy, sweaty, teenage crowd at the Skunk Anansie gig I went to back then was in stark contrast to the strangely quiet, passive crowd last night (including one man eating a packet of Doritos next to us during the Throwing Muses set, which seems wrong somehow). It also felt odd that my wife wasn’t there. We met watching music, as I’ve mentioned in the past, and almost every band I’ve watched over the last five years has been with her, so its’ always a little odd when she is not by my side. Still, I’m sure it won’t be long before Frida is either slepping more reliably, or at least taking milk from a sippy cup so we can start venturing out together a bit further afield. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry at the end of November at the Brudenell Social Club is one that we both don’t want to miss.