Birthday and Christmas came at once last week with gigs from two of my favourite artists on consecutive nights. First up was Beck at the Hammersmith Apollo on Wednesday, which was as wonderfully eclectic as you might imagine (too eclectic for some, who sang along to Loser and then made a beeline for the bar - fools!)
The highlight of the set was a clutch of solo acoustic tracks, during which the rest of the band sat down to dinner and performed instrumental duties with the cutlery and glassware (captured at the Glasgow gig by James Grinter on Flickr).
Unfortunately I only got one rubbish, blurry photo thanks to a strictly enforced no photography policy. Not quite sure of the rationale behind trying to prevent punters from attempting to capture the moment - I can't imagine the resultant low quality snaps are likely to dent anyone's profit or reputation. Maybe its a measure of the improving quality of camera phones and the mobile operators' optimistic belief that people will soon be stumping up in their thousands for video streams of live events?
On Thursday, I trained it down to Brighton to catch the mighty Ben Folds at the Dome. Virtuoso pianist, consummate showman and, in my opinion, one of the best songwriters around, the man is quite simply a genius. From the heart-rending poignancy of 'Fred Jones Part 2' to an inspired cover of Dr. Dre's 'Bitches Ain't Shit', the audience was enraptured throughout the generous 2 hour set. Simply sublime.