Starsailor. Bierkeller Bristol.
My band, 43rd time seeing them live in Bristol’s strangest venue that I’ve only been to once, also to see Starsailor.
Band who I have loved for a very long time and have seen live an awful lot. They are always excellent and their music means too much, to see them again is always a treat. The Bierkeller is a very strange venue indeed. Quirky doesn’t really cut it. The only other time I’ve been there was to see Starsailor in 2015 when I was pretty poorly.
Gig 38 contained a lot of firsts. Starting with the first time I’ve been to Starsailor’s sound check. That in itself was pretty special, but I took my son (who was born to Keep Us Together by Starsailor) and that made it even more so. I was with Nick, who I have known through the band since forever and has become family. He drums and for the first time he got to sound check a track with the band. To be sat, with my boy, watching my other boy playing with the band we love so much was just everything. I could have burst with pride. Then Ben gave my son a quick drum lesson! Those boys are good to me.
After a quick trip home to eat and deposit the boy with the babysitter (his Dad, my ex husband) me and Nick were back in the venue nice and early to catch the support bands. Up Down Go Machine were on first, and they were pretty decent. Apparently they had also supported back in 2015 but I cannot remember this at all! They were lovely to photograph and I’m hopeful of some good shots. I’m looking to seeing them again later on this tour.
Next were Paradisia who wouldn’t have been out of place at some of the folk gigs I’ve been to. A harpist, keyboard player and singer. I liked them but felt they should have been on first. The rest of the crowd chatted through a fair bit of their set, which was a real shame. Their cover of Dancing in the Dark was ace.
Then. My boys. They had let me have a photo pass again tonight and as it’s the smallest photo pit in the world (I was practically sitting on the stage) it made for challenging conditions to work in. They opened with Listen To Your Heart, which was brilliant yet disappointing as I’ve not heard it live and when I’m photographing I’m only half listening as I’m concentrating on getting a decent shot. But it did set the tone for the night, and works so well as an opening track they should definitely keep it.
The other 2 songs I got to photograph were Alcoholic and Poor Misguided Fool. I am hopeful of some decent images, keep your fingers crossed. After this I took myself to the side of the stage and watched the gig from there, with the road crew. This is a such a privileged position to be in and I am so grateful the band, who tolerate this super fan dancing like a weirdo on the side of the stage. Being able to watch the interplay between them and the crowd is such joy. It took a few tracks for the crowd to warm up, but when they did, they really did. Literally. It was a proper sweat box of a gig. Having the space to just really cut loose and dance and sing my heart out was such so wonderful. It was a heavy, rocky set to get people up and moving and it worked. The old body was moving in ways I am sure to regret as soon as I wake up. Starsailor are about the only band that can get me going like that, the music just cuts deep “if you get it, you get it” as Amy put it at the end of the gig. About halfway through it almost became too much, too overwhelming, with joy and happiness and life affirming emotions running all over the place inside me. 2 years ago I’d been in this same venue, with this same band, swigging on liquid morphine to numb the appalling pain I was in. Weeks later I had major surgery, developed sepsis and could have died. So every time I see Starsailor play it is a reminder that I am still here. I made it. And I am alive. So alive. Their music makes me feel that. Alive and vital and human and connected and well its just everything.
By the time we got to the encore I was ready for the inevitable tears. They came during FIA, which I found really emotional. It isn’t a good gig unless I’ve had a little cry though, right?! It is cathartic. Music hits parts of my brain that nothing else does. Live music even more so. Starsailor live hits places few others do. I cannot explain, nor do I want to. They are just my band and they just hit me somewhere I can’t really describe. Good Souls has always meant so very much, the reasons now enhanced by surviving, and when James went into Praise You at the end of it tonight. Oh Boy. Those overwhelming and overpowering emotions came out again.
I wish I could explain better what this band means to me, I wish you could all feel what I feel to the depths I do. It is so magical and amazing and such a gift to be able to experience it the way I do.
Thank you Ben, Barry, Stel and James. You have soundtracked so much of my life and changed my life in ways I can never begin to thank you for. You truly are good souls.
38 down. 2 to go.