Classics of Love, 2 May 2009

I’ve just realised that earlier I published the landmark post #10. To mark the occasion, I wanted to resurrect an old post from May 2009 currently dormant on a blog briefly tended to during my uni days. It is my immediate thoughts on a gig at Camden Underworld on 2 May 2009, at which I saw Jesse Michaels, my musical idol whose lyrics were my first inspiration to write, performing with his band Classics of Love. The post was published at 00:55 on the 3rd; so it was pretty damn fresh and I was pretty damn hyper. I haven’t re-read it, merely copied and pasted it here, complete with photo. Hopefully it still makes for an alright read.


Classics of Love

“Sound system gonna bring me back up,
one thing that I can depend on.”
Anyone who knows those words, more than likely has them carved into their eardrums, and can recite every word of each and every song off Energy, by heart. Operation Ivy were and still come to be, a special band to a countless number of people. I was first turned on to them about 5 or 6 years ago at 14/15 and they shaped me into the “punk kid” I am often known as today.

I fell madly in love also, with Common Rider, vocalist andlyricist Jesse Michaels’ musical project of the noughties. From the OpIvy days, through the Expansive Heart EP to Common Rider, Michaels’ lyrics always came across as ‘spot on, the truth’, with whatever they were saying, and they rhymed too, which seemed the icing on the delicious cake that was his sublime lyrical genius.Tonight, or last night rather, I saw him perform live with his new band Classics Of Love (also the name of the first Common Rider song I heard, which has been known to convert many people, lifted from their debut album Last Wave Rockers).

JM was always and still is, the primary influence to my own writing, and I never thought I would get to see him perform live, at least not in sunny London, England. May 2009 is seeing Michael’s first tour of the UK and I was lucky enough to see him. Although only supporting, and supporting the more than popular Manchester band Sonic Boom Six, whokeep a dedicated following, the show appeared to be sold mainly on Michael’s presence, billed as “Classics Of Love Feat. Jesse Michaels (of OpIvy)”, or something in a similarly worded order.

Jesse himself, let alone the whole band (who were brilliantly tight), was a treat to watch. As soon as they set foot on the stage he was bombarded with requests of OpIvy and Common Rider songs, notably ‘Where The Waves Are Highest,’ to which Jesse jokily replied that they didn’t know it: “Thanks for knowing our songs, even though we don’t know them.” Nonetheless they gave the crowd exactly what they wanted. Whilst their sound felt rooted in punk, Jesse stated that he knew that many of the audience wereprobably ska fans, and so they would play a ska song. An old song, ‘Carry On’, from the first Common Rider album. To round off the set, fellow supporting act and friend of the band Mike Park, took over Michaels’ guitar duty to let Jesse do what Jesse does best: grab the mic and fly about the stage with passion and energy. Continuing with another CR track ‘Midnight Passenger’ (a nice touch I thought, that they did one song off of each album), Michaels explained that they weren’t going to do “a shit load of OpIvy covers”, but that they do “aim to please”, to which a drumbeat started that was familiar to every fan: ‘The Crowd’, fifth track from Operation Ivy’s influential Lookout! release. Being at the very front I, along with others, had the mic held out to my screaming mouth, whilst the galloping grin across Michaels’ face was somewhat noticeable, and I personally felt proud to have been partly responsible for it.

Oh – and I met him before the show, had a picture with him and got my ticket signed by the man…

I used to think I would never get to see Jesse Michaels live, let alone singing an Operation Ivy song. All that’s left to say is that I sang ‘The Crowd’ down a microphone held by Jesse (fucking) Michaels!


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