Blur play intimate set at London's legendary 100 Club

It isn’t often anyone wants a bottle of water poured on their head but those times may well include being at the front of a packed out Blur show at the 100 Club, with Damon Albarn doing the pouring. Since the opening strains of ‘Girls and Boys’ rung out round the room the energy had not let up and the club was very warm indeed. In between songs Damon, in fine playful form, took the chance to empty a few bottles of water on the crowd, and no one was complaining in the slightest. Being up close and within touching distance of a band set to play one of the biggest shows of their career next weekend was a dream come true for everyone, you could see it written on every single face from front to back.

Partly responsible for warming up the club were of course the earlier bands, starting with Manchester electro pop outfit Swiss Lips. They launched headlong in to their anthemic ‘Danz’ as the first track and the pace didn’t let up from there, a fine opening act for a stellar line up. Next up Savages opened things up sonically with a wide, expansive post-rock sound that was dark, dramatic and utterly compelling. The all female four piece well and truly affirmed their ‘one-to-watch’ status sounding completely contemporary but with all the right references to the past.

Also putting their own take on a classic sound were The Bots, the fresh faced teenage punks from LA. Like Japandroids the night before these guys proved that guitar, bass and attitude are all you need to rock a club, it’s easy to see why they’ve already been on several prestigious tours in the USA all before graduating high school. Their set was also streamed out live with fans tuning in from LA, Germany, Mexico and beyond.

Blur’s setlist was a real treat for long time fans with several tracks from the pre-‘Parklife’ classic LP ‘Modern Life is Rubbish’. The megaphone came out for ‘Oily Water’ and they powered through a rocking take on ‘Colin Zeal’. In fact all the tracks sounded absolutely in their element in this intimate setting, a timely reminder that twenty years ago Blur were playing exactly these kind of spaces. They even dug out some B Sides, like the excellent ‘Young and Lovely’ with accompanying wise cracks about how the years have gone by since they wrote it but the meaning still holds firm. The band closed proceedings with a beautiful rendition of ‘For Tomorrow’ followed by new ballad, ‘Under The Westway’, already earning it’s place in the canon of their classic works.

In true rock and roll style there was no encore, but there was a high intensity jam round the old piano teasing the crowd in to one final frenzy before the band disappeared in to the night.

Posted on: 16 Jan 2013

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