This was a gig that I only attended because I happened to be visiting a friend in Milton Keynes this weekend, and we were so surprised to find some half decent live music on in the city that it felt rude not to attend. Despite KRS One’s legendary status, I’m not actually that familiar with his work, and my experience of attending hip-hop shows has been mixed at best, so my hopes were not especially high. Arriving at the venue, a barn in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, which had been converted into a sports bar/live music venue, even less so. It seemed a particularly incongruous place to find a legend of hip-hop.
Bjork is one of my all time favourite artists. I’ve been listening to her since ‘Debut’ was released over twenty years ago, and there hasn’t been a single album I’ve not enjoyed. I can’t think of another artist who I’ve appreciated so much for so long. So getting the chance to see her first European show since the release of her latest album ‘Vulnicura’ was very exciting.
The show took place at the Castlefield Bowl as part of the Manchester International Festival. I’d lived in Manchester for over a decade, but hadn’t been back for a couple of years, so even before the start of the gig I was full of memories, walking past old haunts, noting how my former home city had changed. Feeling slightly melancholy at being away from my wife and daughter and back in my past.
The venue is a kind of outdoor ampitheatre, and it was a perfect sunny summers evening (the usual Manchester storms having passed earlier in the day), and we settled ourselves on the slope overlooking the stage, trying not to slide down the steep, damp grass banks. I had to give up and go stand in the end, which meant a worse view, but better sound quality, a trade-off worth making I think.