22nd May | Exchange
Photos: Lee Ramsey
Striding around the corner to the entrance of Exchange, my gaze almost instantly met Steve Lamacq’s, looking eternally cool in his mod attire. I gave a sheepish smile thinking, “Shit, think of something awesome to say…” But, as ever, my brain failed me and my feet carried me inside for the commencement of the second night of his Going Deaf For A Living Tour.
Reluctant at first to adhere to the classroom-style questionnaire awaiting me at my seat, I perused the short stack of questions to find a little self-reflection somewhat satisfying. Little did I know, Steve would shortly pull the crumpled-up questionnaires from his pocket and share with the crowd our answers to, “What was the first single you bought, how old were you and why?” He couldn’t help but laugh at my scribblings, “Craig David – What’s Your Flava? Eight or nine, it made me think of ice cream.”
Alas Steve, I did not deliberately omit my name due to embarrassment as you assumed, and so I proudly declare it to my readers now. If the tape hadn’t pulled out of that pesky cassette back in the 90s, I’d still have it one replay today… maybe. Of course, Steve shared his first buy with us too, ‘Tiger Feet’ by Mud, I’d say we’re equal on levels of cool here.
Taking us on his journey as a music fan, he commented on the similarities we all share growing up and falling in love with music and the madness that it can entail. Let’s face it, this man has faced more star-struck moments than the rest of us, so no wonder he’s the one getting published. Steve referred to “The Three I’s of Music; infatuation – I love this band! Infuriation – why does no one else like this band? And incomprehension – Why do they not like this band but they do like Maroon 5?!” His ability to unashamedly jeer at trashy music was demonstrated throughout his talk, from readings of his early work as a journalist to his stories of being given crap demos, time and time again, for ever-hopeful radio plays.
It was when he told us of his panicked, paid day of leave to study Bruce Springsteen in time for a radio interview the next day that I truly fangirled over him. Anyone who doesn’t care about Springsteen goes straight into my good books. I wouldn’t be me though without adding my disappointment in only hearing the mention of one female musician throughout the night. At least it was Florence Welch, a fellow quirky redhead and a great inspiration for my younger self.
Steve’s cold British humour delivered a plethora of stories, paired with snippets of tunes and radio shows, like his renowned, complaint-ridden interview with the Gallagher brothers. And there’s no forgetting the moment he pulled out his bright red-and-white, 80s japanese rising sun printed jeans. If you’ve got some spare pocket money, I’d say it’s worth copping a copy, to absorb his many anecdotes journeying through the much-changed world of music, including the time he nearly packed it all in for good. Lucky for us, his addiction to finding new music ruled.
Lammo quite likes IDLES. See their performance of ‘Samaritans’ on Later… with Jools Holland here: