Search This Blog


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sonic Templars - HAC - Irvine (18/07/14)

With Sonic Templars easing ever closer to releasing the “weapons of mass distrust” ep this live outing in support of Culann in Irvine was the ideal opportunity to get a taster of the material live to see how hard it was going to kick.

In the past there’s been much said about them wearing their influences on the sleeves, and while comparisons to Radiohead and MUSE have not been unfounded, there’s undoubtedly a beautiful brutality to the music that Sonic Templars creates that allows them to push in directions that their musical heroes haven’t explored.
And it is this harder edged delivery that they have in place that allows them to be considered as something more than the sum of said influences.
With the music often building up to a wall of sound with harmonies layered over the top, it is not unusual to feel that everything is moving towards a point of aural destruction, that the song will peak and then fall apart into a mess of crashing chords and screams, but instead just as they reach the cusp of that they effortlessly maintain control, and then it’s a joy to behold them reigning in the power to redirect it all back onto safer shores.
That they can do it so often highlights that it is no mere fluke, and instead is the result of deliberating plotting the pace, and with that they reveal themselves to be a band that has a nuanced approach to song writing that many other acts should rightly be envious of.

So with that in mind was the show going to deliver on more of the same of which there would be no complaints, would they slip back a bit or could they take it to another level?

For those there it is the latter that they experienced.

With the addition of guitarist Stephan Crawford on board to share vocals the band have moved forward not just one step, but leaped ahead and begun to lay out the framework that should allow them to garner the beginnings of plaudits from further afield, and to draw to them a fanbase that could allow them to venture from the small pool they currently reside in to dipping their toes into a much larger one.

With tracks from there previous two outings making the cut into the set you can hear the progress made with songs such as Sweet Deceit from Minds in Transit and Mephistos Minions from BreakingSilence ripping the guts out of their studio versions and leading me to consider that a full length album recorded by the band now could do with some earlier tracks being revisited to be partially reimagined.

It is however on the newest material that the band really takes it up a gear and there’s a hunger in the delivery that screams that there’s plenty of fuel in the tank, and in many ways this new release is really just the beginning.

With a headlining launch on the horizon in Glasgow it is a show that I am comfortable in recommending.

Photograph provided by Mark Hickey. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

One small step for the NHC

And so it begins...

The first step on a journey that will lead to who knows where.
With a property now being secured and a lease about to be signed it is with much excitement, a bit of trepidation and a whole lot of “is this really happening” being said, that we can proudly announce that the NHCs dreams are about to become a reality because very soon the doors will open on our own little store.
Yes. You heard that right and we shall announce the exact location very soon.
From the store we shall be selling a range of new and used CDs, Vinyl's, Books and DVDs.
This will be at the core of what we do, but it’s all really just there to provide a foundation that will allow us to financially fund having a place from where we can support the artistic community as a whole.
And how will you do that I hear you ask?

Well that answer is that if you are currently unsigned and going down the DIY route, or if you are running an independent label, then we want to sell what you have.
We have looked at multiple options of how to do this and we consider that the best is that you sign up quarterly to us for the princely sum of £3 a month with an introductory offer of three for two which means it’s just £6 you give us and then we sell anything you have at the price you say and you get it all.
Yes. You heard correctly.
If you want to sell a CD at £6 then that’s how much it is.
T-shirts, cassettes, vinyl single and albums?
Whatever you say it is to be then that’s exactly how much it is.
We shall stock it in the shop and online for £3 a month with no hidden costs.
Hell, if you have tickets for a gig to sell then give them to us and it’s in on the deal as well.
No booking fees either.

Of course it is at this point that anyone in a band, who is playing solo or has a label, is asking why they should give us this £3 when other shops will stock their CD for free?
Well the answer is that we all know that when you do that the shop then makes an addition to the cost so that they can get a cut.
For a small act that is trying to carve themselves a niche that additional cost can be the thing that stops a curious music fan from investing in their release though.
We are removing that part of it, and we will also promote your release with online reviews and even by personal recommendations to customers.
For example if someone purchases a Bob Dylan book from us and you are the Celtic Dylan then we will assuredly tell them that they should lend an ear to your release and play them a track off it.
So for £3 you are having two outlets for your release (Store and online), a review, possibly an online interview, and people who will pro-actively try and sell your music to people.

Not bad.

Even if we do say so ourselves.

Also we will be looking to keep the ball rolling with the friends of NHC group with which, for a one-off donation of £10 for a year will receive 20% off any purchases made from our own stock, and get a pre-heads up of one week for any live instore signings, acoustic shows, and special days and nights-meaning you get first chance to snap up limited tickets and spaces! For a mere tenner a year it's a great deal.
Currently we already have a rather large amount that will excite those who like to trawl through the record and book stores to find a bargain and if a canny shopper considers that they will be in often then that £10 donation could be a solid investment with the bonus of it also helping us fund other projects in the pipeline.

Independent record labels can get in on the act too, any record labels, from anywhere on the globe, wanting us to stock music and merchandise from ALL the bands they represent can do so, for the small fee of only £6 per month. For that price (Less than a couple of pints of lagers) we will stock a few of each cd they have, any vinyls/tapes, Tickets (minus any extra handling fees) get some release posters up, flyers on the counter, a mention on the board of  labels we support, airplay on our popular weekly podcast, your items on our online shop and a chance of a review on the blog, and we can even chat about arranging album signings and stuff for them instore. Same deal as before, paid 3 months upfront, and every penny from every sale goes right back to the label. Good deal right? No hassles, no hidden charges, just one wee payment, and you can also be sure that every single penny we make goes right back into the very scene you are part of, making it bigger, and better for everyone involved! Oh and for the record, any bands who donated to our HUB fund campaign at the end of last year, will get this deal for stocking items free for the first six months(for labels) or year (for bands), as well as whatever pledge we have to give you too!

More details for how you can get involved, help us out with what we are doing, or how to sign up to stock your stuff with us, will be live online over this weekend, so stay tuned for that! This is the first big step for us so get in on the ground floor while you can, things are just about to get interesting.

Callum Baird - Better Off Alone (A Love Song to Scottish Independence)

Monday, 14 July 2014

A Socialist Utopia

A socialist utopia.

Let the words hang there for a second.

Let them bubble up one at a time and fill your mouth.
There it is. Now push it out there.
You got it. Keep going.

They are three little words that seem to be gathering pace in the Scottish independence debate.

Yes voters all think a socialist utopia is on the horizon say the no voters.
Yes voters are deluded if they think a socialist utopia will be delivered say the no voters.
Only the deranged think that Scotland could ever be a utopian state with socialist values say the no voters.

There is one problem with this though.

No one is actually using those words apart from no campaigners, or no one I know on the yes side of the debate.

So I can appreciate that if you support independence that when I asked you to shape your mouth to deliver them that they may have felt a bit strange hanging about there on your lip.

It’s really like one of those situations where someone shoves the words so often into your mouth that after a while you think you just might have actually said them, but deep down you know you didn’t

For the record, I am a socialist and I want independence, and yet I have still to hear anyone at all on the yes side of the fence say that this socialist utopian future is on the table.

In my experience the only time the words are used by an independence supporter is when they ask someone in the no camp who it was that actually said this as their main reason for voting for independence.

There is never a solid reply either.

Of course people like me do want to see a rise in socialist values in a post independent Scotland, but no one is bandying about the idea that a utopian paradise will be created.
We live on a planet where capitalism runs rampant and our future will be framed in the context of working within that system.
Everyone I speak to who is looking to vote yes is aware of this.

We speak about improved taxation laws that will close loopholes and have major international companies pay what they are required with their contributions then being a cash injection that can be inwardly invested.
We discuss the introduction of a living wage leading to people being more prosperous and once again investing locally through how they spend.
We consider that more money spent means more opportunities for businesses and more employment and then instead of keying into what seems to be a race to the bottom we start building from a solid foundation.

If businesses consider the long view rather than the short one then they can see that this offers them a degree of longevity that they may not have if they keep looking for maximum returns on a minimum investment.

We want our country to push that message.

Basically we are all intelligent enough to know that independence is not going to be emulating that moment in the Wizard of Oz when everything goes from black and white to Technicolor.

We fundamentally understand that.

We are also not shy in discussing issues surrounding nationalism.
Will there be a future sectarian problem?
Is immigration something that we should be concerned about?
Will the minor instances of racism that we have flourish in an independent Scotland?

These are just the tip of the iceberg discussed, but we do debate them.
What is heartening for me is that whenever an issue is raised people look for solutions.
They aren’t ducked or swept under the carpet.
We talk, and we talk, and we argue and then we talk some more.

Everyone is aware that it is a very large decision that we are being asked to make and it has many angles to be considered, and in general I think that those who I converse with consider their views in the context of the magnitude of what is being asked.

And while I am on the subject of misconceptions being promoted, similar to how the Better Together campaigners use language like “a socialist utopia” to give the impression that many of us are head in the clouds dreamers they also cast out the Braveheart freeeeedom memes that may as well have see you jimmy bunnets stitched to the head of a Mel Gibson who is waiving a shortbread tin at his Sassenach enemies.

I mean really?

The anti English sentiment is a fanciful slur on the people of Scotland.
Are there idiots who hate the English?
Of course there are.
We haven’t cornered the market on idiots though and those who do spout that sort of rubbish are not representative at all.

I know what I am voting for.
I could say that I am open to be swayed, but the quality of the Better Together supporter’s level of debate doesn’t make that look very likely as many still seem at the stage of spreading misinformation and chucking their toys out the pram when anyone disagree with them.

Bring on the rational debate please and raise the game a bit as like others I am now bored with it.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Melisa Kelly - The Sweet P Sessions

Music should carry with it an emotional hit.
If you don’t feel anything then it isn't doing its job.
It’s not often that it overwhelms you though.
It’s a rare beast of a song that can snatch your breath away while raising the hair on your neck and leaving you tongue tied and struggling to articulate just what it is that moved you so much.
The ones that do are of course all considered to be timeless classics.
They are the evergreen songs that garner ever more fans with each generation that they are introduced to.
Artists such as Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Janis Joplin, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday all have songs like this that litter their back catalogues, and because of that they are rightly referred to as legendary performers.
And now with the song “Since you've been away” a young woman called Melisa Kelly could be on the cusp of kicking at the door to be allowed into the club that they are all members of.
It would be easy to consider such high praise as hyperbolic, but it literally is the sort of song that urges others to put their reputations on the line for it.
As it reaches the last bars it elicits some very strong feelings.
One being that you have just heard something that is utterly magnificent.
Imagine the moment when the tape stopped rolling on Percy Sledge singing “When a man loves a woman” and how that must have felt.
Hold onto that feeling, and that is it encapsulated in a moment.
John H Hammond who discovered Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Bruce Springsteen would rise from the dead to sign this young lady on the strength of this one track.
Anyone that doesn't feel that frisson of excitement from hearing it must be missing some sort or empathic component in their make up.
In a sense you don’t listen to the song, but instead feel it.

If this is a case of lightning striking once then so be it, but if Melisa can deliver an albums worth of material of a similar strength then a platinum selling career may well be waiting for her.
With the album available on the 14th of July we don't have long to wait to see what happens.
Links to how you can purchase the album will follow.

Link to purchase The Sweet P Sessions

Friday, 11 July 2014

Rob Duncan - Daddy's Curse

Rob Duncan (ex of Eddy and the T-Bolts) has just released an album that sounds as if it was distilled from my own record collection.
In many ways it is a fucked up and ragged homage to the US of A.
A debt paid in full to the rock and rollers, the country balladeers, the girl groups of the sixties and the ground breaking New York punks.
A glass raised in honour to all that our colonial cousins have given us.

At times the shadow of Johnny Thunders looms large as Rob tip toes through the glass carpeted and needle strewn gutters of the bowery tipping his hat to his influences, and then without missing a beat he is chasing after a blue collared Springsteen to bellow his admiration at.
And just as you begin to wrap your head around that change in direction there he goes again charging off full pelt in another to snatch at something else, a hint of Neon Boys here, some Guns and Roses there, the Dogs D’Amour of the UK making a sly appearance, a bit of Dylan, a taste of the Ronettes, and it goes on and on.
Like a kid let loose in a candy store you get the impression he wants it all, and he’s making a credible attempt and grabbing everything in sight.

Those who were fans of the releases by Eddy and the T-Bolts will not be disappointed in this next chapter for Rob.
The humour the band were known for still threads its way through the material, and as an added bonus he is also very obviously relishing being able to spread his wings a bit and deliver more than expected.

Next live show

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Sisters of Mercy - ABC - 07/07/14 (Glasgow)

The dark prince of Goth that is Andrew Eldritch is currently on the road and waiving the banner of The Sisters of Mercy above venues across the UK.
As a rallying call in 2014 you could be mistaken in thinking that the flag wouldn't draw the rabid response from the khol eyed children that it once did, but all around me drenched in petula are those who pledged allegiance for life, and meant it.
They stand proudly peackocking in monochromatic shades and resolutely believe that they can capture the halcyon days of their youth on communally tribalistic nights such as this.
And they can.
Slap on the pancake, crimp what is left of the hair and backcomb it to within an inch of Robert Smith’s life, and squeeze into those leathers and Festers yer uncle.

Fuck everyone else as that moment is yours, and why shouldn't it be?

It’s was a Monday night in Glasgow and the summer sun was out, but the city belonged to those who marched to the beat of an alternative drum.

In a sense the whole evening was a rather glorious celebration of a staunch refusal to fit in, and I can get on board with that.
Of course it was in the main people exercising some middle age rebellion, but the world can always do with a bit of that, and while those on the outside can look in and hide smug smiles behind strategically placed hands I think the Goths know exactly who they are and by remaining true to themselves are streets ahead of those sniggering.

So all hail the Goths.

They are still kicking against the pricks, (Biblical quote used by Nick Cave to reveal Goth credentials) and doing it in style.

As the dry ice engulfed the stage and spread preternaturally out to swallow the first few rows in the ABC the dark lord who will stage manage the evening was revealed for seconds at a time and the band kick off with More from Vision Thing and you could feel the tension from the crowd being released.
All previous outings where critics lamented a poor sound are forgotten as Ben Christo and Chris Catalyst lock it down tight and Eldritch shows himself to be in fine voice.

Once they have started there is no stopping them either.
There’s a point early on where a sonic grind is found, a tempo that machine like keeps rolling forward gathering momentum as it does.
While the trio slip in and out of the banks of fog and indulge in painting solid silhouettes as they take a stance to deliver the music the crowd in attendance feel that spark of magic, the connection, being made.
Mid set and Dominion Mother Russia is revealed in all its glory and the hardcore fans take their adulation to a whole new level as the fair-weather hit single fans swoon in delight with them.
The sound in the ABC is crystal clear and lends itself to the epic nature of the material.
The volume is however kept relatively low, but the loss of ear ringing bombast is balanced with a degree of clarity that is welcomed.

Apart from the Chris Catalyst penned Arms that remains unreleased the set is largely rooted in well road tested material that’s familiarity is worn comfortably by the audience who sing along in unrestrained abandon that those who would shy away from the genres shows would find hard to believe.

With the mammoth hit that was This Corrosion finishing the set* no one would have felt short changed, but with an encore of Kiss the Carpet, Lucretia My Reflection and Vision Thing to follow it nearly finished off the cult like following that the band has.

It would have been partially churlish to insist on Temple of Love, even though it was conspicuous by its absence at that point, as it’s inclusion could have been described as too much of a good thing, but just as some caught their second wind the band were back with a second encore that would push things to the edge with First Last and Always, Misirlou and then finally the fan favourite that is of course Temple of Love.
A song that in itself delivered the coup de grace for those who were begging for the release of a delightful petite mort.

*Number seven in the UK charts in 1987 would sell enough to maintain a number one slot for about a year in the present.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Here Kitty Kitty.

Alleged Machiavellian plots, alleged blackmail, alleged child abuse involving politicians and celebrities, alleged murders, alleged BBC and NHS involvement, alleged cover ups, and the government security services allegedly leaving their fingerprints in every pie available.

The term alleged is about to get a work out that it has never faced before.

It could all be the plot of a fanciful Hollywood blockbuster, or an unreleased Stieg Larsson novel that was held back from publication as it seemed to be just too ridiculous a tale to tell.
Yet here we are and it looks like the bubble is about to burst on a story that many have been whispering about for a very long time.

To put it into context the Profumo affair that rocked a government in 1961 is quite literally nothing in comparison.
Here was a man who had a sexual relationship with a woman who had also been intimate with a Russian and there could have been the possibility of pillow talk resulting in security concerns.
Once it hit the headlines the sky fell down.
Measure that alongside historical evidence that supports the claim that vulnerable children were being secured to be drugged and abused at parties attended by the politico and entertainment establishment, and that the security services were aware and used the information to blackmail these people, and then consider this is all just the tip of a dirty and horrible iceberg and the mind boggles.

Lurking under the surface are also the allegations surrounding the Dunblane shootings, the murder of Jill Dando, and another that is often overlooked being a case in Scotland surrounding a Hollie Greig.
It's pretty ugly stuff.
All of these, and again more, have been grist to the mill for many years in what is often dismissively described as the tinfoil hat community and now it looks increasingly like the so called conspiracy nuts are about to be vindicated to a degree that most couldn't have imagined.

There must be a collective “we told you so” building up and the truth is that they did.
They told the world often and loudly.
They told the world in the face of condemnation, ridicule and opposition from the establishment.

So I am happy to tip my tinfoil hat in their direction as they deserve it.

For myself, I first became aware of The Elm Guest House stories over a decade ago through an article in a counter culture magazine.
At the time it did seem a work of paranoid fantasy, but with a few hours of searching on the internet I was swamped with information that was often sourced from respected investigative journalists.
It was all too much to comprehend really.
Once you start opening doors then you quickly realize that they all then lead to corridors of infinite length with their own doors stretching out in front of you.
And behind every single one is a dirty secret and a sign pointing to yet another.

Has it always been thus?
The answer is probably yes, and that doesn't make me feel too good.

I was however mainly left wondering at the time how on earth a story this big could remain out of sight of the headlines.
Over the years some major scalps had been taken internationally, with that of Nixon being the most prominent being displayed on the press saddle, so it was hard to imagine that such far reaching news could be suppressed so effectively and yet it was.

Every once in a while something would float to the surface and I would think that this was it.
The thumb holding the dyke in place had slipped and it would just be a matter of days before the weight of the headlines would leave us all up to our knees in filth.

It didn't happen though.

Each time the small news story of a prominent figure being questioned would slip away relatively unnoticed and I would lose a little more faith in humanity.
Often I would discuss these allegations with friends and colleagues and it would be an exercise in shouting into a vacuum.
It’s not in the headlines so it must be a lot of paranoid rubbish is what I suspect most thought.
Last year I posted a comment daily on social media in the lead up to x-mas highlighting the Elm Guest House case.
A few people picked up on it, but in the main it didn't really register.

Even further back when Jimmy Savile was finally outed for the monster he was people still seemed reluctant to fully take on board how far reaching his case was.
The man partied with Thatcher, lunched with royalty, and to do both the security services would have had to have vetted him.
So that begs the question that as we are now aware that there were allegations made, concerns expressed, and reports submitted over the years, then why were these relationships with the powerful allowed to happen?

Questions really do need to be asked.

I do accept that the reason no one wants to look too hard at any of this is probably because they don’t really want to have their understanding of the world about them shaken so hard.
This is a rabbit hole that the world is on the edge of, and we are all about to fall into the abyss.
Upside down will be downside up.
Everything we thought to be true will be challenged.
That’s a rather large and bitter pill for most to swallow and it is no surprise that lips are being held tightly shut as there’s apparently no spoonful of sugar accompanying it.
Yet we do have to swallow it.

Finally it does look as if the news stories that were previously hidden away and quickly forgotten are out on the loose and looking to lay claim to the big headline though, and I am glad.

We cannot ignore it anymore, nor let it be pushed away for any other reason than to protect the guilty.

Some people will finally be allowed to reach for some closure, the brave people who have shouted loudly about all of this will be vindicated, the guilty will have to answer for their crimes, and maybe, just maybe, people will wake up to what is going on around them and actively react to the powerful who are abusing us in more ways than could be listed.

So let’s hope that very soon the government may have to explain why they never acted on the many concerns raised by their own, how they lost evidence and why they have been actively removing articles on the internet.

And this is where you can come into it and participate in shining a light on the endemic evil that exists hand in hand with the powerful by taking seconds to sign a petition calling for a national inquiry.
It’s here, a click away.
It’s time to tip the balance and you can do that.

Additional content added in comments on 09/07/14
Additional content added in comments on 15/07/14

Friday, 4 July 2014

Cutting about in the Shire.

I'm a master procrastinator.
Right now I have a number of things to do.
Just a small number, but it has loads of 0’s following it around, and instead of doing them I am sitting here tapping at the keys and wasting time by telling you about my day.
This is like a real blog post rather than one pretending to be an article on a big boys music website.
Sort of a male perspective on the Bridget Jones thing without the weight issues, boyfriend issues, the how much wine did I drink issues, and okay it’s nothing like Bridget Jones as my day exists in Kilmarnock and there’s a severe lack of lawyers and accountants hanging about wine bars around here.

You would have to go as far as, well I don’t know, maybe Prestwick if you want some of that action.

Initially my plan was to embark on a trip to Glasgow, but a serious bout of throwing up that felt like I had turned myself inside out and led to much tightness of my chest and problems breathing put a stop to that.
I suspect it may have something to do with the chest infection that I have.

(See how clever I am there.
I have a chest infection and as soon as I had some difficulty breathing I knew the two must be linked.
Now where’s my doctorate as with that degree of insightfulness I reckon I am ready to doctor up a storm?)

Anyway I decided that instead of wallowing in self pity I would brave the elements and get some exercise and fresh air with a trip into town.

It’s was a bit quiet today and I just wandered about a bit and dropped in on some of the charity shops.
The British Heart Foundation has apparently dropped the delusional opinion that it’s a high street outlet akin to HMV and clicked onto the fact that selling old for new doesn’t mean the cost reflects the original price when it was still in its wrapper.
Instead of three quid for East 17s Greatest Hit the price has tumbled to a mere 99p.
I suspect they are in a price war with Poundland who will re-brand themselves as 98pland in response to their opening salvo.
I left there with a DVD of Thin Lizzy’s Greatest Hits that carried the princely sum of £1.99 on its cover.
I’m quite happy with that.

A few minutes later I found myself reading, but not paying for, some magazines in WH Smiths.
If you haven’t heard of it then it’s like a library for magazines, but without anywhere to sit and you can’t take the magazines away with you unless you give them money.
Remember how Wetherspoons started as a no frills pub chain.
Well it’s like the library version of that.
It’s pretty basic, but alright if you don’t mind standing and reading.

While there a couple of young guys were standing next to me looking at some Top Gear shit.
Both were in their mid to late twenties, well dressed and had semi-cultured tones.
Probably trainee bank tellers or something like that on their lunch break.
One had a very loud conversational and while standing there he said to his mate at a decibel level that would carry to the back of building “I was pretty drunk and she shoved a cucumber up me”.
For a second I felt like saying “inside voice mate, use your inside voice”, but then he finished the sentence with “and I’ll not be going to any more of her parties.”
I am one hundred percent serious that this is what he said and at what volume.
I didn't mishear him.
So what sort of party was this?
The first part of it could have been a segment on a tv show like “Dates That Went Horribly Wrong”, but this was a party.
When he walked away he wasn't limping so I would hazard a guess that the party was held a few weeks ago.

Then when I left I seen a kid wearing stereotypical emo/skateboarding gear and a t-shirt with the legend “FUCK YOUR OPINIONS” emblazoned across his chest.
It must be pretty cool hanging about with him.
Your cup would be runneth over with scintillating conversations.
Can you imagine being his mum and responding to his question of what’s for lunch with “well it’s a sunny day so I was thinking about a salad” as he screamed back “I DIDN'T ASK WHAT YOU WERE THINKING. WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?”

On the way home I popped into Morrisons and this time I didn't have my “I want to be served by a person” stand off, but I did notice the Suns headline.
No, it’s not about Andy Coulson receiving an eighteen month sentence, nothing to do with Palestine or Israel, and I didn't notice anything about Iraq either.
Instead it’s about the English girl giving blow jobs for a drink in Magaluf.
Only as far as I was aware yesterday it was twenty chaps for a two quid drink and now filtered through the Suns truth capacitor it’s twenty four guys for a four quid cocktail.
Squeezing in the word cocktail is their obvious subliminal attempt to lay claim to a Cock Tale on the cover.
Look, we nearly said a dirty word, wink wink, nudge nudge.
Maybe deep down they want to be the Sunday Sport.

For a minute in Morrisons I also thought about going on a diet and losing a stone or even two, but then I seen fruit salad doughnuts and I have eaten two while writing this.
And that’s about as Bridget Jones as it’s getting.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Scottish Tour Collective - Pivo - 01/07/14 (Glasgow)

There are many less than savoury characters who are drawn to the music business.
The sort that would rush to the side of a stroke victim in the street screaming “give them some air” and then position themselves at an angle so you couldn't see them rifle the poor persons pockets and bag are equally at home putting on a gig or such.

I have no truck with them.

If they were on fire I would claim my bladder was empty even if I was on the last leg of a legendary pub crawl and carrying enough fluid within that I could have saved the day by liberally hosing down the Glasgow art school in its hour of need.

That being the case, very often people just assume that everyone involved is a shifty eyed loon with one eye on your wallet, and the other randomly rolling about the room looking for other nefarious shenanigans to get up to that could be described as antisocial, or in colloquial terms simply cuntish.
And therein lies a problem, as of course not everyone is like that, and the majority seem to forget, or ignore, all the trials and tribulations that the more ethically minded battle with when they step into the same pool that the sharks infest.

Take my friend Laura Scott for instance.

A few nights ago she arranged as part of a gig swap collective a night for four acts to showcase their talents in the Glasgow city centre venue that is Pivo.
In the days leading up to it one act dropped out and then on the day in question another did the same.
No one ever really talks about this sort of thing.
Often bands offer legitimate reasons, but behind the scenes the good promoters all flock together, and we are all aware of the acts who couldn't play due to a bereavement in the bassists family that apparently was the catalyst for them then to post photographs on social media from a funeral that was obviously held in some nightclub as they expound on their grief by tagging their mates in an image of them downing shots and claiming they are ‘avin it large.

And yes, it does happen.

So with the situation edging closer to the only option being to cancel - and the stress being something that lesser mortals would have a breakdown at the thought of - Laura did what any self respecting promoter would and screamed that the show must go on, and it did.

Drafted in at the very last minute Wes Scott, front man of indie rockers One Last Secret, and partner of Laura, stepped up and played an acoustic set that in many ways saved the night.
Starting off with a song that could slip unnoticed on a Steel Panther acoustic release he put the rock audience at ease and once he had them he led them through some of his own current material, some of his bands older material and then regaled those who attended with a self indulgent cover of Eminem that probably shouldn’t have worked, but did.
As an unannounced addition to the night it was a performance that could have easily sat at the top of the table.
White knights charging in to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat are always welcome, and it would have done One Last Secret no harm as the name will now be lodged in the heads of a few people who may not have normally considered listening to them.

Glam rockers Deadbeat Ragdoll who are taking baby steps forwards into the live rock scene followed Wes.
A band who are mere months in from forming, and in all honesty may probably still be a month or so away from actually taking to the stage to deliver a solid set.
Kudos do have to be extended to them for being ballsy enough to get out there and make mistakes in public though as sometimes that’s how you push things on.
The plus side is that none of the mistakes on display were game killers
There are parts of their set that they could do with loosening up a bit and others they could do with tightening.
Neither are things that are insurmountable.
Image is of course very obviously something that they consider to be of great import at the moment, but stripping things back a bit and focussing on being able to deliver musically first is always a good move.
It doesn't matter how good anyone looks if they fail to at least cover the basics.
There’s some fantastically shambolic rock acts that have impressed over the years, but the ones who can stay in for the long haul have the music to fall back on, and that’s why it has to be of primary consideration.
The original material will all I assume be works in progress, and within the genre they want to make an impression on they are approaching a light at the end of the tunnel as over all they impressed more than the cover of the Mr Big track that they threw in.

Mr Big are of course a band who I can lay claim to delivering the most passionless, arse numbing and boring gig I have ever attended, and thank fuck the Throbs opened for them and showed how a couple of chords played well and with a bit of attitude can trump virtuosos wanking and fingering the necks of guitars.

The harsh truth of the matter, which is really just my opinion but I am adding some weight to it my claiming it is the truth, is that no one should ever cover Mr Big.
Consider a gent of a certain age dropping his y-fronts to his ankles and looking to indulge in a nostalgia wank to Pans People on Top Of The Pops 2 and up pops Jimmy Saville.
I've been told it’s a passion killer.
Similarly the addition of Mr Big to a set can equally be considered a turn off on that scale.

So thankfully some LA Guns was slipped in to wash the bad taste out of our mouths.
A better inclusion would have been a stab at some Phil Lewis fronted Torme, but Deadbeat Ragdoll my not be familiar with that pre LA Guns and post Girl material (damn I know my fuckin’ stuff man) and it’s forgivable.

It will be interesting to catch up with them a few months down the line and see what they can do.
I fully expect that they will have made a solid step forward by then.

Headline act of the evening was Rank Berry.
A band, that along with Laura Scott, I now co-manage.
So in the interests of avoiding claims of favouritism I’ll just say that the praise they received from those who had seen them before bolstered by those who hadn’t was heart warming and gladly received.

I will leave it to others to heap superlative praise on them.