Few things are as important as music to me, it's the driving force behind everything I do from waking up in the morning/ afternoon to listen to new songs and old favourites, to going out at night and telling rooms full of strangers jokes, often about music.

It's also the main subject of my new show, Hip-Punk which I will be performing at the Nottingham Comedy Festival as well as other festivals around the country. When I am performing, whether it's my solo show or at a gig with other comics, I like to listen to certain songs to get my mood and energy up. Here are five of my favourite and most played songs before gigs.


 The Smiths - 
'That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore' (Meat Is Murder, 1985, Sire Records)

 This song works on two levels, not only does the title of the song play to my sense of  nervous self-doubt  before a show, but the lyrics and arrangement also fills me with pure joy  due to its unrelenting beauty.

 I know it might seem weird to want to listen to a song that is essentially about loneliness and  suicide  before telling a room full of strangers some jokes, but there is something about The  Smiths, and this song  in particular, that makes me feel a warmth and a strange kind of  recognition and happiness.

The Beatles - 'Don't Let Me Down' (Get Back 7” 1969, Apple) 

The Beatles are one of my favourite bands of all time and get a couple of mentions during the show. 'Don't Let Me Down' is one of my favourite Beatles B-sides and is a great track to listen to before a gig. The song and it's lyrics act as a sort of pep-talk before I have to go on stage. There’s something about John Lennon repeatedly screaming “don't let me down” that gives me a kick up the arse.

Death Grips - 'I Want It I Need It (Death Heated)' (Ex Military, 2011) 

Death Grips are an experimental Hip-Hop trio from California who have produced some of the most challenging and intense music the world has seen in the last five years. This particular track from their debut mixtape is incredibly vulgar, bordering on parody, (so avoid it if you're not a fan of sweary words) but the frantic guitar driven instrumental gets the heart racing and is perfect if I'm feeling a little sleepy before a show.

The Fall - 'Totally Wired' (A Part Of America Therein, 1981, 1982, Cottage Records) 

I'm a huge Fall fan, and most of their staggering 40+ discography is often in heavy rotation at any given time, so depending on the day, it could be a different Fall song (See also, 'Sparta F.C' 'Blindness' and 'Wings'). However, probably the most played song I listen to before going on stage is the live version of 'Totally Wired' which is Mark E. Smith's love letter to one of his favourite drugs, Speed. It's one of The Fall's most accessible songs and one that stays in your head hours after you hear it.

Thee Oh Sees - 'The Dream' (Carrion Crawler/The Dream, 2011, In The Red Records) 

This is one of my all-time favourite songs, and if I have the option I always like to come out to it when performing my solo show. 'The Dream' by Thee Oh Sees is a monumental hybrid of Psychedelic and Garage Rock that is a relentless and thrilling sonic assault. It's perfect to listen to before performing because it puts me in a great a mood every single time, without fail.

As a music nerd only being able to name five songs is painful, the fact that I have omitted The Cramps, The Stooges and Public Enemy will probably keep me up at night.

If you haven't heard some or any of the tracks above seek them out and give them a listen, alternatively come down to Sobar on the 11th of November to hear some of the songs above as well as a host of others before I debut my show, Hip-Punk at the Nottingham Comedy Festival.

Tickets available at http://bit.ly/2dojPNx