If you are here, reading these pages at Aimless Skylarking, I'd like to think you get music. Who knows, you could be here because Google thought aimless skylarking described your aimless goof-off teenager. But, if you are here for music, it's because music is vital to you. The only time you're not thinking about music is when you are asleep, and then you're dreaming about it. And if you are like me, you have a collection of favorite songs. Songs that bring you joy whenever you hear them, and still give you goose bumps years later. And in that collection, tucked away in a dark corner is an inviolable bundle of songs that make you feel uncomfortable because they pick at lingering aches. Songs of the heart, detailing times when it all went wrong and we fell away a shattered mess.
"My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever."
When I first read the poem years ago, I was taken by the sentiment. Quite suddenly, I understood the connection I felt with not only music, but other deeply moving works of art - movies, books, poems, and paintings. It was those works I cherished the most, and I carried them with me every day.
Naturally, I'm always looking for ways to witness a performance of one of those indelible songs, but this time proved a bit different, a couple hundred miles of dirt and thousands of miles of ocean stood in the way of seeing Lazy Day perform 'TV'. But, it turns out the distance was the least of my problems.
Weeks before my visit, I spoke to Tilly of Lazy Day about catching a show while I was in the country. I crossed my fingers when I asked, but ultimately the timing wasn't great. She had final exams during my stay, after that, I had plans for The Great Escape plus a few days on the coast before returning to London for three nights. However, somehow the stars aligned. A few weeks before I was to depart, Tilly sent an email asking if I would be in London May 20th because she'd booked a gig at the iconic 100 Club with Irish indie-pop band, Delorentos. Even with a full schedule of Great Escape shows planned, Lazy Day was the performance I prized most of all.
After a day full of unnecessary handwringing about potentially missing the show, for many unfounded reasons, I made the 3 tube stop journey to the Oxford Circus station without a problem. I was on time too, in fact super early to ease the anxious mind. Once inside the club, I bumped into Tilly and exchanged hugs and brief hellos before she had to take the stage at 8:15. When the band finally took the stage, I looked on at a joyous band, earnest in their art, full of playful gazes and sly smiles. A young band, still figuring out each other, but making great music together. By pulling off impossibly fun and casual cool like a decades old band, you'd never know that they have just a handful of gigs as a band under their belts.
To recap the show, once I came down, the opening strains of 'Portrait' gave me chills, as did a few favorite phrases from 'With My Mind'. And then, 'TV' didn't disappoint, it was still simple, yet powerful and broken all at once. Even with the sold out crowd almost overpowering Tilly's vulnerable tale, the performance was grand. The setlist also introduced me to what will become two new favorites, 'Disappear' and 'All the Time'. According to Tilly, they'll be recorded this summer and one would hope a vinyl release won't be far behind. The band ended the night with a raucous extended version of 'Oldest Friend' which ultimately felt like an old friend, it was loose and full of smiling fun. And then it was over.
Later, I said my goodbyes to Tilly, Beni, and Harry, thanking them for the night and the chat. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. With so many friends and family in attendance, including Tilly's grandmother seated in front of center stage, it felt more like a celebration instead of a gig. I was impressed, not only in the performance, but also with the band itself. And when it was all over, I stepped into the cool London night, and slipped 'TV' back where it belongs, in my necklace of songs.
Normally, I like to bring my pro camera and arsenal of lenses to shows and photograph, but this time I was torn. If had brought the camera, it would have felt like work and I might not have been able to enjoy the performance. So, I left it at the flat and showed up with just my phone to snap a few photos. Please excuse the photo quality.