was fantastic. After years of applying, I finally "won" a ticket for this week's show.
I managed to get out of work early, caught the 4:45 to KingsX, the tube to Wood Lane and when I came out of the station I already saw where I was supposed to be going: where the queue was on the opposite side of the road.
Turned out there were two queues, one for Later... and one for Buzzcocks. Having found the right one, the first bit of waiting started. At about 7:10, things started moving, we got given wristbands and had to put our stuff through an X-ray machine like at the airport before we were allowed into the "audience foyer", basically a big cafeteria type space with cloakroom and a food/drinks counter. Oh, and a gold Dalek. ;o) After more waiting, we filed through the back door towards the studio complex, and after more waiting outside the studio we were finally let into Studio 1 being sent between set dressing and wall to our corner.
The studio's quite big, a rectangular space, with a stage on each side, with the audience in the corners, smallish speakers (like monitors) hang from the ceiling pointing into the corners. I was in the corner between Steve Miller and Janelle Monáe.
There was a funny grey-haired and -bearded bloke explaining what was going to happen (they do the recorded show first and then do the live bit that goes out on Tuesday evenings) and what to watch out for ("mind those cables, they can trip you up and kill you"), when to applaud (and when not to), that sort of thing.
They started a bit earlier than advertised as they recorded the alternative (NSFW) version of Cee-Lo Green's F U
for the website
first. He's a funny man, a really cool guy in an awesome pink suit and has an all female band.
Then the recording for the Friday show started(, with a recording of the audience applauding, just in case we all died before the show ended). They repeated the jam in the beginning (Duane Eddy's Peter Gunn) because it didn't quite work but the second take did and there was a bit of a pause in between when it turned out that Janelle Monáe had lost her voice and couldn't do her second planned track and schedules had to be moved around a bit. CW Stoneking filled the spot and did a second track instead. Otherwise, everything worked and it's really all recorded live and in one go. The sound quality was good and what really surprised me was the lights. They are a lot less strong than I expected, modern TV cameras must have a good sensitivity/noise ratio. Speaking of cameras, there are a lot for a reasonably small space: two large ones, one boom camera and two handhelds roving around.
- Janelle Monáe: A lot of fun, didn't sound like the stuff on her myspace at all. Rather classic, with elements of Soul, Rythm'n'Blues, Jazz and Swing. Her band is a lot of fun, too, and always danced and clapped along when the other bands were playing.
- Cee-Lo Green, the big man in the even bigger pink suit: Again, classic Soul, great voice, huge smile, cheeky bugger, fun! Was mostly goofing around when other bands were on.
Miller Band: Don't really need an introduction. He first played two tracks from his new album, Bingo, classic Blues Rock, really well done and Abakadabra
to finish as well as The Joker
at the end of the live bit.
- CW Stoneking: Fantastic, old-time music, somewhere between old Jazz, Cabaret/Vaudeville and mountain music, with a bit of Tom Waits thrown in. Dobro/Banjo, upright bass, trumpet, trombone and bass drum. Quite melancholic but fun.
- Jim Jones Revue: were a bit crap, to be honest. Screechy Rockabilly made by twats. Sounded OK but I wasn't too fond of the band's personality (is spitting on stage cool again?).
- Cheikh Lo: low key, guitar, bass and sax, with lots of African influences (duh). Very enjoyable, shame he only got one track.
So yeah, good fun and an excellent glimpse behind the scenes of one of my favourite TV programmes, all for the price of a travelcard.
The live bit from last night is on iplayer
and if you know where and when to look and the shape of my head, you can see me in the background in two shots but you'll have to pause or it's gone too quickly. ;o)