Sunday, April 05, 2009

One Amrazing night

A couple of months back I noticed that Jason Mraz was going to be playing at the Hammersmith Apollo, and as I hadn't been to a gig since … ooo … last October, I thought I'd get some tickets and go along. I asked regular gig-based partner in crime Yazzle Dazzle if she fancied joining me, and although she wasn't too familiar with the Mrazzle she was soon won over by the swoony delights of 'I'm Yours.'

I mean, how could you not be?

After two months of looking forward to the gig, however, I woke up yesterday morning with a massive hardcore pounding headache. It was so bad, in fact, that I stayed in bed for an extra two and a half hours in an attempt to shake it off, but to no avail. It was like little head dwarves were stabbing me in the back of the eyes.

Anyway, determined to shake it off I got up and had a hot shower (didn't work), then settled down to watch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles with a cup of tea (also didn't work). I even rubbed some 4Head all over my face. Knowing that I wouldn't have time for dinner pre-Mraz, I cooked up a meal for lunch, but it ended up making me feel a little bit nauseous; I had to dump a chicken kiev that I'd been looking forward to, but on the otherhand the pile of greasy chips I'd cooked went down a treat. Go figure. After that I returned to bed.

When I awoke, again, I was actually feeling a whole lot better, and a couple of hours later I headed off to meet Yazzle Dazzle. Upon meeting, however, just one look told me that the Yazzle-meister was not exactly top of the shop herself. I asked her what was the matter.

"It's like I've got something pounding away behind my eyes - like-"

"Little stabby head-dwarves!" I exclaimed.

"Yes!" she shouted in agreement before wincing a little. Like me, however, Yazzle was prepared to power through any pain to enjoy the gig. Our first stop was one of Hammersmith's alternative Starbucks (Secret Starbucks being closed at that time on a Saturday evening). Good times ahoy, though, as the Starbucks we chose just happened to be staffed by one of our favourite former baristas from Secret Starbucks! I'd not seen him since last December and had wondered what had happened to him. Turns out he'd been transferred against his will, and was so pleased to see us that he gave us our mistos for free as "his special guests." Bless him; we've now decided to split our lunchtimes evenly between Secret Starbucks and this branch. I may even start a Facebook petition to get him reinstated.

After that we headed off to the Hammersmith Apollo. On our way we passed a big poster for the Michael Jackson concerts taking place in London this summer (and through to next spring) and still a little bit bitter at not getting tickets, I joked that it would be cool if Jason Mraz covered a Jackson song. This caused Yazzle to fall about laughing as she pictured Mraz Earth-songing it up on stage.

The Hammersmith Apollo has recently been taken over by HMV, and it looks like they're doing a bit of restoration work to it (I love the venue, but lord knows it kinda needs it). I decided to get a photo of the building, the huge Jason Mraz posters adorning it, and the massive crowd waiting to be let in.

Sadly my first attempt ended in me getting a picture of the pavement and Yazzle's shoe.

Let's try that again.

That's more like it!

After that we joined the queue, and marveled at all the people wearing little trilby hats in honour of Jason Mraz, which made us feel a little left out; we decided that we wanted little trilby hats, and thought that the merchandise people were definitely missing a trick in not selling official Mraz hats. We subsequently pointed out anyone wearing any other kind of hat as wearing "the wrong hat," something that led to no end of inexplicable amusement.

Once inside the Apollo we were confronted by a woman selling a CD that was recorded the previous night at Jason's gig in Manchester. For a tenner you got the CD and some sort of download thingy; to be honest I actually still don't quite understand what I'm getting for my money, but I wanted the CD and the whole thing seemed like a bargain for 10 quid so I paid up.

After that we headed to our seats, where we discovered they'd been appropriated by two teenaged girls. "You're in our seats" I said, at which point they jumped up, telling me that they'd "stopped for a rest." Yes, because the circle seating at the Hammersmith Apollo is at such high altitude. Cheeky bitches.

Just a few minutes after taking our seats by force Jason Mraz took to the stage to introduce the first support act, which I thought was a nice gesture as not many headliners do that. The first act was a young lady with a guitar, harmonica, and what sounded like a kazoo (which led to no end of excitement from Yazzle Dazzle), and her name was Priscilla Ahn.

Unfortunately the limitations of the iPhone camera mean that you can barely see Priscilla Ahn, and what you can see does kind of make it look like her head is on fire.

Anyway, I quickly decided that I rather liked Priscilla Ahn; she had a beautiful summery voice, was a bit quirky, and her set included a song about a dog getting shot in the head by a policeman in her hometown, and another that was called 'The Boob Song' which was about … um, well, I think you get the idea with that one (it's on her myspace if you fancy a listen). She's playing a gig in Shepherds Bush at the end of the month and I might just toddle along.

After that Jason introduced another support act, Jonny Taylor, which was completely different to Priscilla Ahn, but equally enjoyable. It was a bit Ska-y, and a bit "alright geezer"-ish, which isn't usually my cup of tea, but I actually really enjoyed it.

For some reason you can actually see a bit more of what's going on here.

After Jonny Taylor finished Yazzle Dazzle and I were amazed to find that the music playing out over the PA was some sort of 80s power-ballad megamix, and we soon found ourselves discussing the merits of such songs. Our discussion was briefly interrupted when I full-on lip-synced to 'Eye of the Tiger,' Jenson Ackles-stylee. It was a glorious moment, let me tell you. After that I was trying to remember who sung 'Total Eclipse of the Heart,' and could only describe the performer as "blonde, looks a bit rough." "Bonnie Tyler!" said Yazzle without missing a beat - and just moments after that Bonnie Tyler's 'Holding out for a Hero' came on. I'm not afraid to say that if Jason had had to cancel for any reason, I would've quite happily listened to power ballads for the rest of the evening.

Fortunately, Jason did not cancel, and he came on soon after 'Africa' by Toto had played over the PA to perform a stunning set. It really was a joyous experience that totally removed all memory of stabby head dwarves. I think my favourite moment was when he sung 'Dynamo of Volition' and he had the entire audience air-high-fiving; it was a sight to behold.

This wasn't the air-high-fiving moment, but it is Jason Mraz on stage - and you can even see him (just about).

And to top it all off, he even sung the bit from Michael Jackson's 'Wanna be Startin' Somethin'' where it just goes "ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa." Pure. Genius.

Fully Mrazed up, Yazzle Dazzle and I stumbled back through Hammersmith, stopping off briefly along the way so she could blag a free apple pie in McDonalds (the manager claimed there weren't any left, and she just pointed at the counter until one magically appeared - he was so embarrassed he gave it to her for free), and to stare at a magnetic poetry kit that was stuck on a fridge-freezer that had been dumped on a street, where I was amused by the fact that someone had combined the words 'tiny' and 'sausage' to make the phrase 'tiny sausage.' Sadly my photo of tiny sausage did not come out too well in the dark, but if it's still there on Monday when I head to Hammersmith for coffee I'll definitely get a better picture.

All in all then, it was an amrazing evening. I'm off to download some live Jason Mraz albums off iTunes, and just for you, here's a bit of the man in action (duetting with Priscilla Ahn) that some enterprising person popped up on youtube after the gig. Good times!


CyberPete said...

I thought Total eclipse of the heart was by Belinda Carlisle.

Oh well.

Tim said...

Tut! Wash your mouth out with soap!

Ponita in Real Life said...

Belinda Carlisle!!! Oh CP....

Glad the stabbing head dwarves vacated in time for the concert, Tim. Sounds like you and your friend had a great time.

I luv that song - 'I'm Yours'.... it is such an upbeat and happy tune!

Tara said...

I watched a video once of him and his band, and I guess he asked for requests. Almost everyone was shouting out "I'm Yours" and he announced that, if he didn't know any better, it sounded like they were shouting, "Up Yours!" Hehe.

Anyway, I hope that your psychotic dwarf stabbing headache went away completely during that evening. Maybe greasy chips is secretly the best thing for us.

CyberPete said...


I happen to adore Belinda. Is it Heaven on earth she's singing?

Tim said...

Ponita - We did, and it completely banished the stabby head dwarves! Although they did return briefly on Sunday, the little buggers…

Tara - Ha ha ha, that's brilliant! If I'd known that I would've shouted it on Saturday!! Although it might've got me thrown out…

Cyberpete - You adore Belinda Carlisle so much you don't know what song she sings?!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

No word of a lie, I scrolled down as soon as I clicked onto your blog and everything below this: "After two months of looking forward to the gig, however, I woke up yesterday morning with a massive hardcore pounding" looked like a bar code.

You can imagine where my thoughts immediately went!

You can imagine my disappointment when my work PC finally caught up and displayed the rest of this post.
Not that it was bad, of course. On the contrary. Just not quite what I'd been led to believe was coming next.

Next time, eh?

CyberPete said...


At least I didn't make any remarks like the witch.

Tim said...

Inexplicable Device - No I do not know where your thoughts went but at a push I'd say get your mind out of the gutter, perve!

I might start writing my blog in barcode language just to annoy you know. And when you invest in a barcode reader I'll change it back. Ha!

Cyberpete - True, very true.

CyberPete said...

I scare myself a little sometimes.

Tim said...

Really? Explain.

CyberPete said...

Moving on...or well

The lads in the video are lovely

missyandchrissy said...

it is sad how excited i got about 'africa' by toto playing before the mraz came out!

and i'm ordinarily not his biggest fan, but by your usage of awesome words like "Mrazzle" and "Amrazing", you have totally turned me into a Mrazaniac!

Tim said...

Cyberpete - There you go; something for everyone!

MissyandChrissy - Feel the Mraz love!! What's really funny is that on his myspace blog he refers to his first car being a Mrazda!