The last significant gig I attended before the pandemic was Dry Cleaning, in Shoreditch March 2020. So it was good to see them as one of my early significant gigs at the NAC (although I have been to many smaller pub gigs in the interim, as well as Bo Ningen here too, either side of a frustrating gig-free bout of Delta Covid. Things were already changing weirdly back then in March 2020, with rather over the top handwashing advice and instructions. I think most of us new things were going to change quite dramatically though I doubt many knew for quite how long it would continue, on that occasion it was most noticeable by the long queues for the gents, or more accurately the washbasins and hand-dryers as everyone was so diligently washing and cleaning their hands for the minimum 20 seconds! I wanted one final blowout of an away day gig in London and Dry Cleaning were the obvious choice, I felt they stole the show when they supported Bodega at NAC (not that there was anything wrong with Bodega but Dry Cleaning interested me far more) so I was lucky enough to secure a ticket at the 500 capacity Village Underground for the Dry Cleaning headliner before the gig sold out.
Dry Cleaning are a band who actually managed to enhance their reputation even further during the lockdown years. They seemed on the cusp of big things just before the pandemic hit but some storming sets for KEXP and a magnificent album – New Long Leg – on 4AD produced by John Parrish only enhanced their reputation so they hit the ground running when live gigs resumed.
It was great to see them headline in Norwich at the Arts Centre, fresh from a run of shows in the States, they also sold out the NAC. I detected that things did not yet feel quite entirely normal for everyone in the audience with some understandable nervousness at being out at gigs again after so long but we are getting there and on the whole people had picked up where they left off, the music certainly helps.