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Glee Club, Cardiff, Thur 16 Nov

According to Steve Lamacq, there exist three ‘i’s in the world of the music fandom: infatuation, in which you love a band; infuriation, when you wonder why the rest of the world hasn’t heard of them; and incomprehension, as to how anyone could love any other band in preference to this. Perhaps, then, I would add another ‘i’ – impetuosity – in which, like Lamacq, you start a music fanzine as a teenager in order to tell the world about the bands you love before swapping it, at a precocious age, for a job at NME and, following that, life as a BBC Radio 1 DJ.

I used to listen to Lamacq as a teenager myself and have to say it is a pleasure to hear this record-based raconteur today. The crowd at the Glee Club are, like myself, mostly of a certain age, and therefore familiar with the shoe-gazing, grunge, and Brit-Pop bands Lamacg references during the course of the evening. In fact, it is these we want to hear about, and Lamacq does not disappoint, telling tales both known, unfamiliar and, as with the case of the infamous ‘4 REAL’ incident involving Richey Edwards from Manic Street Preachers, morphed and maladapted over time by second-hand re-telling and addition. This is a man who, by his own count, must have been to over 3500 gigs, having toured with several bands as well, and so there are many lively anecdotes for him to draw upon, which he does admirably.

Particular highlights include the story of NME’s first interview with Nirvana in London, and what Lamacq witnessed their now super-famous drummer doing (which would be a shame to spoil!), and the stories of certain musicians’ mothers, met every now and then, adding their no-nonsense advice to the detriment of what would otherwise be extremely cool proceedings.

I wasn’t sure the themes with which Lamacq pulled the show together entirely worked for me – that we go to gigs with the intention of trying to fit in, for example. His language towards the end of the show (‘congregate’, ‘fervour’), suggestive of a religious experience, looking to the late John Peel as if towards a saint, also seemed a little too pat and predictable for my liking.

However, in all, this is a highly enjoyable show. Lamacq is a self-depreciating and amiable host, and his knowledge and experience of music is impressive. For anyone with an appreciation of music, and indie music in particular, Going Deaf for a Living makes for an interesting and well-spent evening in the company of one of the country’s most famous music experts, and is definitely recommended.

words Mab Jones

photo Javier Garcia


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