As we reported yesterday Noel Fielding was confirmed as a last-minute headline act at the 99 Club Leicester Square last night – hopefully some of you managed to make it. Luckily for us, three of our intrepid Velveteers were there to report back. Here’s what they had to say…
Just when we thought the regular Fielding warm-ups were a thing of the past, he pops up, fresh and jet-lagged from Los Angeles for this extended set in a basement, at the heart of Leicester Square.
Following two other smashing comics (Hal Cruttenden and Tommy Campbell), he donned the stage in his trademark skinnies and a velvet jumper (Velvet? We approve, Fielding), and after him getting through a selection of jokes about the ridiculous radius of my nest (I’m not defending myself, it was just his observation) and throwing water bottle caps in our direction, he came up trumps!
He leaned back on the oldies, but knocked them out like they were fresh from his mind-tank. Even the Blue-Bottle came back, but feeling revitalised, re-worked and something new, just stunning to observe! The new stories – including his introduction where he was continuously interrupted by a cat with a man’s face – are still in need of a few more goes to get spot-on, but showed that the shiny man’s still got it. There was even the re-occurrence of a personal favourite of mine, which was his ingenious Bollywood version of ‘Buddum-tsh’, that was used throughout the night and kept me happy anyway.
Overall we saw him at his best, improvising, keeping the audience happy and trying out anything that he’s recently concocted. Fielding is still a gem behind the mic and we cannot wait to see him take to the stage again sometime soon, polished and raring to go again!
Sorry, but first I have to get something off my chest which has nothing to do with the acts who performed last night (who were all excellent in three very distinct ways): The venue sucks! A hairbrained seating plan that means half the audience might as well have been in another country, 2 toilet cubicles for the entire female audience (all of whom, inevitably, needed to go during the 10 minute interval), £7.50 for a sub-Ginsters pasty in a polystyrene burger carton, and staff who refused to let us take any photos (hence the blurry stealth pic here, which is all we could manage). Hmphhhh! However, in spite of this we had a brilliant night, and that was wholly down to the quality of comedians performing.
Tonight’s Fielding set sits within the top 15% of the Fielding gigs I’ve been to (and I’ve seen an unhealthily large quantity of them over the years). He was sharp, bouncy, spontaneous, and brimming with sparkly new material – even Pizza Express and Masterchef got a mention! More familar numbers, which were starting to look a tad tired a year ago, have had new life breathed into them with the welcome scattergun addition of new verbal loops and detours. Even Fielding seems to have fallen back in love with them, reminded of how funny they can be. “Knife Crime. Turns your eyes into cupboards” is definitely one to watch out for. And I’ll continue to be cheered for the rest of the week by the gloriously charming image of “2 small children wearing only pants and hats, smeared in jam, who are too young to even know why they’re there”. An energetic, confident and tremendously likeable performance, further enhanced by the wearing of a velvet sweater. In our honour, I like to imagine!
Last night, despite the last minute rush to the 99 Club, we were once again whisked away into the magical world of Noel’s comedy, where anything is possible and you lose yourself in his words for a while, forgetting all about the stresses and strains of ‘real life’. Despite the less than impressive venue, we took to our seats and looked forward to the show. After a cracking couple of sets from the other two comedians on the bill, Noel came on to do his extended set.
Having been lucky enough to see quite a few of his gigs this year, it’s clear to see that Noel’s stand up is going from strength to strength, and last night was, in my opinion, the best I have seen him yet! The crowd was respectful – there were no hecklers – and he shone, weaving in and out of his tales and linking them together with ease and confidence. The audience was lapping it up and he was loving it. There was some old material in there, although this had been extended and worked on to create what seemed like an entirely new set. Monkey Edwards made a popular appearance, as did his story of getting stung by a jellyfish and there was a heart-warming tale of sledging with some young kids on Hampstead Heath, “The sledge went so fast, I went into the future!” And having to grow his skin back afterwards!
All in all, it was a fantastic set and I’m looking forward to the next gig. Don’t leave it too long please Noel!