Back in April we took another trip down south to stay with Jen in London. We had tickets for a gig/event so it was not entirely through choice we ended up being there over the Easter Bank Holiday (one of the peak times of the year to visit, bar Christmas). As usual we travelled first to my mum’s in Nottinghamshire who would be dog sitting for the weekend, and travelled via Chesterfield – high speed train meant we were in London in a little over 2 hours! Upon arriving in London it was time to buy our travel cards for the weekend and to find out that TfL being as clever as usual have chosen this weekend to close several tube lines, which wouldn’t normally be a problem except that in most cases they couldn’t be bothered to put on rail replacement buses – which when trying to get from areas of central London, the buses became dangerously overcrowded, more so than I’ve ever seen before.. very surprised there were no accidents!
On the Saturday, Jen being a member of Liverpool FC’s London Supporters Club she was going to a pub to meet other members and watch the game, on the spur of the moment we decided to stay on the train to Kew Gardens. only a couple of minutes walk from the train station through very ‘leafy suburbs’ (think how London is portrayed in Hollywood movies), we found it very easily: entry is £13 adults, £12 concessions and under 17’s free when accompanying an adult (entry to the palace is extra). I think we both had no clue how big Kew was and you could easily spend a full day there (we didn’t arrive until lunchtime). Although it was overcast most of the day, there was plenty to see indoors as well as in the grounds
One of my favourite parts was the Japanese area with the pagodas and cherry blossoms, although the tropical/rainforest areas was a close second
There is also a Sky Walk which is basically a rather large platform that you climb around 180 stairs to reach the top, then walk around in a circle ish shape near the tree tops, this is where you might notice that Kew is under a flight path, with incoming planes being so low down you can see the wheels lowering!
We ended up spending a good 4-5 hours at Kew including lunch time – if you’re on a budget avoid the ‘restaurant’ and head for the Café – we paid about £4 for a jacket potato the size of a small melon – very tasty and great value!
Later on that evening we went to the Ether Festival at the Royal Festival Hall to see Royksopp supported by Fever Ray. Absolutely amazing, mind blowing gig – once again Royksopp did not disappoint live, the amazing energy they throw into their live performances always impresses me. They played a selection of tracks from each album, including all the favourites such as Eple, So Easy, Sparks, 49 Percent, Remind Me, Only This Moment – but the gig really got going once the newly released single Happy Up Here was played, it’s worth noting that this was a seated venue, but all it took was one man on the front row to start dancing and gradually the whole crowd was up, the security towards the middle and right of the stage were really chilled and people were allowed to get up and walk to the front to dance and take photos, but on our side there was some jobsworth usher who’s sole intent that night was to try and ruin the gig for a handful of people. Long story short she kept trying to stop my friend and I from taking photos when Royksopp had specifically asked the fans to take photos and upload them to their website! I’m a reasonable person but when she then happily let the men in front of me take photos and the guy sat behind me film it I was non impressed to say the least! So towards the end we decided to ignore her as it seemed very much like victimisation when at one point I could count 20+ people within 10 feet of me openly photographing the show and still she only singled out us! This was the biggest let down of what was one of my top 5 gigs of all time.
Anneli Drecker joined Royksopp on stage for most of their set and was crazy, really working the crowd up
They were also joined by Swedish singer Robyn who is very popular from what I could tell by the crowd reaction.
One of the support acts Fever Ray were also amazing with some very weird costumes and a great light show
Definitely worth checking out if they come to a city near you!