All the gigs of my life

All the gigs of my life: Gig 116 – Hurts, Saturday, October 09, 2010, Shepherd’s Bush Empire

My one and only Hurts gig, so far. Did it feel better than love?

It was the autumn of 2010. The year had been one of the best of my life so far, spent as a full time UCL student studying for my MSc in Neuroscience, Language and Communication. The ill health I’d suffered for most of 2009 had vanished once my gallbladder was removed, and I’d celebrated my 35th birthday in March 2010 feeling very positive about life and where I was going.

Perhaps this general positive attitude was what led me to experience something that I thought would have been impossible beyond they age of 22 or so: I discovered a new band to love. The duo Hurts had released a string of bright yet melancholy singles, of which my favourite was the epically tuneful “Better Than Love”. When their debut album “Happiness” was released in August I had it blaring from my MP3 player wherever I want, and I had not been quite so excited about a new group for ages.

And so, even though my interest in gigs and music in general was reaching its all time nadir, I still managed to get myself out to Shepherd’s Bush to see them live. Sadly, however, I reverted to my single-line reviewing style for this gig, and my report is thus:

‘To Shep Bush Empire for Hurts – amazing tho’ crap crowd.’

It seems that gigs at Shepherd’s Bush Empire are often plagued by awful crowds. More recently I’ve found them to be hotbeds of aggression, as at the Suede gig in November 2019, where a fight broke out in the heaving throng. But I have a feeling that the crap crowd mentioned here was not due to anyone throwing punches but probably due to a lack of enthusiasm from a trendy west London audience, as with Kosheen’s gig in 2003.

Still, it’s good to know that I enjoyed the one gig I went to in 2010, at least. As for Hurts, the period in which I thought they might become my new favourite band was a fairly brief one. I found myself fairly unimpressed with their second album, and over the next few years my interest in music waned so much that it barely mattered anyway.

But then came 2020, and in the midst of Lockdown 1 they released their spectacular, stridently optimistic new single “Voices”. Suddenly I was interested again, and was fully planning to see them play Brixton Academy once restrictions are lifted, but sadly, their upcoming tour has been cancelled completely. So for the time being, this remains my one and only Hurts gig. But when the time comes, I hope to be able to see them live again. And hopefully it will be in a much better crowd that the one in 2010.

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