Carling Academy Islington is a little venue in a shopping centre just across the road from Angel tube. Very bizarre. But despite the Carling branding which does bug me a little in its ubiquity it's a fab place. And it has air con! Not that you could tell from the front. We spotted a lass with a Flogging Molly tshirt on in the tube, and obviously her and her mates were heading the same way as us, and between us we found where we were going. Bumped into her again in the loos, and then standing under the air con while Mike was buying drinks, and she introduced herself as Anna and some of her mates too but I've forgotten their names. We had a bit of a chat about having seen Flogging Molly at Reading last year, and about places they'd seen RBF before.
The support band were fun, though I missed their name. They weren't very polished, and the sound was definitely not right, even after whatever it was they did that suddenly meant you could hear the vocals, but they made up for it in sheer enthusiasm. 4 guys on brass, a drummer, guitar, bass and singer (who also played guitar on and off), and they were a bit of an odd bunch in terms of style: a mohawk and dreads and black clothes on one side of the stage, and the other side in bright colours and including a beanie hat, what looked like a football shirt, and a nice checked shirt too. But yeah, they sang and played like they were having a whale of a time, they encouraged the audience into a circle pit, got people up on the stage to dance while they played on track and generally had fun. It probably helped that the audience were clearly in a party mood but any unknown support band that can get that involved is definitely onto a winner. After their set they threw a few tshirts into the crowd, and there were a bunch of half a dozen people near me who actually had an n-way tug of war that went on so long and so roughly that one of the security guys actually came over to break it up!
Anyway, we watched them from the sidelines, and then headed for the middle at the front for RBF. And well, they were absolutely brilliant. It was a long set, lots and lots of tracks I knew well enough to sing along to (and it's so fun being in an audience when all the people around you are enthusiastically singing the brass parts). I bounced around between being right near the front and squished and a bit further back and jumping up and down and getting stood on, and generally had a great time. Whereas Mike gradually insinuated himself right onto the barrier and had fun there too with less jumping :-) The crowd were all *loving* it. And it was really sweet to bump into two or three of Anna's mates in the crowd mid-set and grin and say hello. But yeah, I really enjoyed the music - there was one track which they played and then did the ending of in several different styles: ska and sort of dancey and metal and indie and so on, it was really funny. And they made it feel like they really appreciated the crowd, almost as much as the crowd loved them. *Great* atmosphere. And the security guys were obviously really top blokes too - Mike apparently chatted to one of them during the gap before the encore and stopped to shake his hand on the way out.
And as we were leaving Anna spotted me outside and gave me a hug, and I gave her my number and said I might catch her at Reading. I can't believe how nice complete strangers are sometimes. A really good antidote to how down I'd been feeling that last 24 hours (work's getting me down a bit, especially the damned PD33, and I'd managed to get upset in the pub on Thursday, partly at being told off for being (unintentionally) rude in a way which was rather too blunt and partly at the fact that I'm really sensitive about behaving in ways which are unacceptable to other people (particularly Mike) at the moment, and it upsets me when I get it wrong). Anyway, apart from the bruises and the sweltering heat I'm feeling good today. Must get some washing done. And then tomorrow I get to see Mike's performance in the Caius May Week Musical, which should be fun.