Monthly Archives: April 2014

Common Ground: Raw and Ready to Take Over the World!

by Harsharan Hoonjan

One of the most enthusiastic bands to have played for us at the Voice of Scotland Showcase Weekend in PJ Molloys, is Common Ground. They organised a full bus and travelled all the way from their hometown of Kilwinning Ayrshire. This is the third showcase gig Voice of Scotland has put on and the second time the band has agreed to perform a live set for us.

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Catching up with Wullie (Lead Vocals), Sean Mckay (Lead Guitar), Chris Price A.K.A. Posh Boy (Bass, posh because he comes from Troon!), Craig Bryden (Drums), Lee Robertson (Rhythm Guitar),   Conversation revolves around music, touring, cover bands, world domination, and performing drunk on stage…

 

For anyone who doesn’t know the band, what’s your background?

Wullie and Craig: We got together in August last year.

Wullie: What happened was Craig, Sean and Lee always jammed together, Sean heard about me through music circles and that’s how I heard about him.  A spied him in the boozer tapped his shoulder, asked if he wanted to start a band, he said aye and that was it.

Excellent and the band are described as: ‘The great new hope of the British music scene’?

Wullies Shoes

Wullie: Well that’s the rumour, we’re gonna take over the world man, especially with these shoes on!

Looking at his Yellow Submarine shoes, all the boys burst out laughing.

I want some for myself!

 

Who are all your influences then?

Wullie: John Lennon in The Beatles for me

The Beatles record Revolver, I listen to it all the time.

Lee: Britpop

Wullie: John Lennon, just the way that guy was man, just everything about him

Lee: Aye we all have different influences

Everyone: Rolling Stones, The Libertines, all the same sort of raw guitar stuff, in your face

What is your sound?

Wullie: Oh we’re no like indie bands or anything like that. We’ve got our own sound.  It’s punky, raw, it’s not got a specific genre, but, it’s in your face, we’ve got a softer side too but…

You’re not big on showing it off?

Wullie: Na

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Okay…so who writes the songs?

Wullie: Sean and I get together and Sean is a bit of genius at writing them.

I say that’s for the bassist etc and Sean goes and gives the songs a structure

Do you spend a lot of time writing them?

Sean: Every day in the Garage

Lee: He came in one day with a new track and then the next day we were recording it.

Every time we try something new and see what it sounds like.

Then if it’s good we keep working on it.

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Do you have any repeat song requests?

Chris: Mr V.I.P. is quite popular.

Wullie: We just play a set through man, every song is different.

Lee: There are one or two songs we thought were good but we did nae think they were gonna be as good.

What songs are you particularly proud of?

Lee: I don’t think we would ever sing a song we were no proud of.

Wullie: I love them all man! I really love that song ‘That Thing Called Love’, it does something to me at the end. It’s got a big finish, it’s fast, it’s pacey – I like it and I like the beats in it.

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Do you perform any covers?

Lee: Na, we’d never touch a cover!

No?

Wullie: Na, we just want to do our thing.

Don’t get me wrong; once you get to a certain level just flung out a cover out of respect but the now no just want to do one of our own.

Lee: If we put a song out as a cover and that becomes successful you think, it should have been one of our own songs that was successful.

Wullie: Gotta be careful with that.

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Chris: If you write songs that are good enough, it doesn’t matter; your own songs should blow people away just as much.

Lee: People who do too many covers are a bit desperate.

Wullie: They will be just known as a covers band and I’m no having that man.  Don’t get me wrong I like a good cover band if that’s who we’re there to see.

Lee: Someone might do a cover and it might sound good but we’d no do that.

Wullie: Just trying to be myself man/we’re just trying to be us.

I don’t think there are many bands doing what we are doing right now or trying to

We’re just doing it and seeing what happens

If one person is no happy then we throw it in the bin, scrapped.

So…would you ever work with a pop band/ever consider it?

Wullie: Na, I’d tell em to f*ck off!

Best of luck to them and all that  *Laughing*

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You’re trying to be yourselves…so who are you guys really??!

I’m Wullie, I’m the front man! – *Laughing*

(I stepped right into that one!)

How do you prepare for a show then?

Craig: Just a practise once or twice through the week

Chris: We live about five minutes down the road from each other. It’s really handy especially good to get together and go to places like this.

Brilliant

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There are loads of other good bands on tonight, anyone in particular you’re looking forward to seeing?

Wullie:  Tijuana Bibles, I’ve heard about The Holy Ghosts but I’ve no seen them live.  Tijuana Bibles are more the sort of thing we’re into, they’re a different class.

What about other gigs, you played in King Tuts earlier this year, how was that?

Chris: It was dream come true!

We’ve been asked back to headline on June 14th. 

Fantastic!

Wullie: We asked The Mona Lisa’s to come and support us but they’re away that weekend

Gutted.

Wullie: They are in here tonight to see us as well, they’re no playing but they’re quite big fans of ours. They were on last night though.  We like what they do as well, we like their sound.

Buzzing for all that though

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Where else are you planning to tour, all over Scotland?

Wullie: Aye if someone pays for it!

Lee: Think we’re just going to work with the gigs we’ve got just now and then be a bit more picky and choosey later!

Wullie: My First Music production are helping us, before we were just doing one gig after the other but now these guys are organising the gigs more.  It gives us time to work on material and that, so it’s good.

Aah good stuff, so how many tracks are you playing in total tonight?

Wullie:  Eight tracks.  We’re gonna drop two songs tonight that no one has ever heard of…

Ooh a Voice of Scotland exclusive, looking forward to it!

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And how you all feeling for tonight then, hope you guys are not drunk!  What do you think of bands playing sets when they’ve had too much to drink?

Sean: You go in drunk, you’re ruining if for everybody else.  You think you’re amazing and you’re no, you’re sh*te

Lee: If someone records that, you’ll play it back, you’ll switch aff the first track, cos it’s embarrassing

Wullie: Couple of beers, if you cannae do it sober, there’s no point man!  But we don’t need anything we’re buzzing for this man!

Wullie: We’re buzzing for this, we’re buzzing the noo.  We’re buzzing that you’re here!

Aww, happy to hear that, thank you very much for performing for us!

Finally, what message would you like to share with your fans?

Wullie:  Live the dream – that it, that’s our motto!

Great, thanks lads can’t wait for your set tonight!

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The lads performed a stage worthy show, the vocals were a rough smooth mix akin to an old Manchester band that defined a generation…  The guitars and drums were kicking out some sparky edgy riffs, and the electronics were shocking. Filling the dance floor were loads of people just going wild.  Drinks and shapes were being thrown; it felt like the crowd had Common Ground’s rhythm pulsing through their veins.  They have a raw, rough, fearless energy about them, PJ Molloys was all pumped up.  What a result!  Bands that create a vibe like that may just conquer the world. Their chat isn’t half bad either.

 

 

After our event, Common Ground went on to perform at The Classic Grand in Glasgow on April 24th, which was another smash hit.

Common Ground’s E.P.  can be streamed by following the link below.  Tracks include the superb: Snap On, Mr V.I.P.and That Thing Called Love.

https://soundcloud.com/commonground

We look forward to watching the lads’ progress, and would like to thank them once again for performing as part of the Voice of Scotland Showcase Weekend in PJ Molloys.

Upcoming Gigs:

10th May – PJ Molloys, with a DJ set from The View. 

24th May –  Grand Hall for the Kilmarnock Dirty Weekender.

16th June – King Tut’s – Headline Act. 

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/commongroundmusic

www.facebook.com/commongroundmusic

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Splintered Halo / 28 mph / Amok @ River: Glasgow : 26th April 2014 : Pat McGuire

Work today was rubbish. I sat at my desk and talked to morons on the phone as usual. I annoyed my workmates by drumming on my desk and doing double bass drum flams with my feet and triplets with my fingers. Being middle aged, my belly worked as a floor tom for added drummage. The most exciting part of that shift, was when someone called the support line and just screamed expletives for almost 2 minutes then hung up. I love that random stuff when it happens. I hope that crazy caller gets some therapy soon and no one dies.

But even though I had to endure a shift on a Saturday afternoon, when I could have been playing poker or even buying books from the pound shop, I knew I had something cool to do that night. It sustained me through the day of BS and idiocracy. I was going to be taking pictures of some metal bands!

What I know about “Metal” you could probably write on the edge of a postage stamp if you used a huge magic marker. I don’t claim to be an expert, so if I make a faux pas ( that’s a mistake or “false step”, for anyone who is too stupid to Google “faux pas” ) in this review, please accept my apologies beforehand.
Also I would like give special thanks to Gerry Corr and STG promotions for the media pass. And the venue itself : River (which used to be Barfly) for selling pints at three quid (yes only three quid for a pint, I almost fainted!) and putting on some great gigs in a good venue.

So, to the gig. As I said earlier, I’m not a Metal expert. But there are as many sub genres of Metal now as there are wrinkles on Iggy Pop’s testicles. I’ve heard some groove Metal, dark Metal, death Metal, thrash Metal, very Metal, mental Metal and of course sheet Metal..okay that last one I made up, fabricated even (a wee joke there). My point is there are loads of types to this general type of music. Tonight the three bands are all different from each other but are still METAL.

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AMOK by Pat McGuire

Out front the sound is good as AMOK take to the stage. Speeding into their stuff and despite the place not being as full as it should be, they get tore into their own brand of METAL. Lots of riffage and tempo changes and with a bassist who looks like a cross between Billy Bragg and Prince Harry. AMOK run amok. This is what I remember classic metal being like. Their singer has a vocal range that reminds me of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) when he had all his own hair and didn’t buy it from Ebay. (Don’t quote me on that, but he did…nah he didnae.) Great band, loved their set. Their drummer is a “Banger” too. Broke the kit a few times (well he knocked the first tom off it’s mount.) And any decent drummer is always a “Banger” so no harm done there. AMOK are Loud and proficient and Metal as feck. Go and see them live or buy their music if you like loud rock played by dudes who are into it.

 

28 mph

28 mph by Pat McGuire

Next on stage we have 28 mph. Who to my ears are a bit more punk/metalish. A good band, and not knocking them at all, but not as tight as they could be. Still they do their set with aplomb, despite the request for “James Blunt” covers from a member of the audience. (I’m sure this was an in joke and not an actual request.) They deliver some more vibey METAL than the usual. Some drones and Eastern influenced Rock too. Maybe their set wasn’t as tight as usual, I dunno as this is the first time I’ve seen them. Not a bad performance, I just think they can be better. And please don’t think I’m trying to be superior or that I assume I know anything about this genre. I’m just speaking as a guy who loves live music. I will go and see this band again because they do have some good stuff going on, perhaps tonight wasn’t a good gig for them?

Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire

Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire

Right, now. Splintered Halo, what can we say about a band that has only one “named” member – Evelyn? While the rest of the band wear white / black masks thus making them anonymous. Well apart from the obvious, they are an excellent band. By that I mean their version of METAL is loud, full of musicality and they know how to do a show. Before the gig and whilst having a smoke outside the venue I met and had a chat with some of them sans stage gear. Under the official secrets act I can’t reveal who they were, but can say they were nice blokes and have a pedigree in music that wouldn’t surprise you. One thing about METAL in general, regardless of what sub genre, is that you need to be able to play your instruments really well. It’s one of the genres that won’t allow you to fluff notes or drop beats. You can’t cover up mistakes and call it Punk or Indie.

Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire

Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire

Splintered Halo have the riffs and the arrangements down to a T. Also visually they are astounding. The masks the the band members wear adds an eeriness to their stage persona. And Evelyn layers that with a sexuality and presence as well as fantastic stagecraft that makes seeing this band a total event. From the get go you feel you are going to be entertained whether you want to or not. 6 string bass, technical drums, ethereal keyboards and guitars that work together in an almost orchestral way. And over that you have a front person that puts her soul into the gig. The stage is warm the crowd are too. Songs rip and weave in a torrential crescendo from the P.A.

Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire

Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire

“Evelyn, you are so hot!” is the shout from the female voices in the crowd. I think the blokes are scared but appreciative. I don’t want to over focus on the fact that Splintered Halo has an attractive female front person, but they do. It is part of the band’s dynamic. She almost evokes both Shirley Manson and Marilyn Manson as if both of them were morphed into one body. But at the same time her vocals are not just a pastiche of one or the other, they are just Evelyn’s.

Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire

Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire

All in all it was a great gig, in a great venue. Kudos to all of the bands and the crowd and the venue staff who made my Saturday night a good yin. METAL is not my usual genre. But good music and live bands is what counts. People are playing live, people are putting on gigs. Venues are creating spaces for Joe Public to go and hear music. What I am saying is. Git yer bodies to gigs, embrace live music, take a risk. Support live bands and the venues and promoters that put shows on. Otherwise we will be stuck with crappy talent shows on the telly. And really have no excuse at all for it all being crap.

 

Pat McGuire.

Links :

Splintered Halo :

https://www.facebook.com/splinteredhalo?fref=ts

28 mph :

https://www.facebook.com/28 mph?fref=ts

AMOK :

https://www.facebook.com/amokscotland?fref=ts

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Jamie Coleman @ Pivo Pivo Glasgow : 18th April 2014

Back in March I saw Jamie Coleman playing live at King Tuts. At that time I was covering John Lennon McCullagh so while I mentioned Jamie’s set and took a couple of pictures of him live, I didn’t feel qualified to write a review on him. Since then we got in touch via social media and he asked me to come along to the gig tonight at Pivo Pivo. I also got to meet him in person and do an interview where he speaks about his influences and upcoming gigs as well as what makes him tick. (See links at the bottom to listen in.)

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Jamie Coleman @ Pivo Pivo by Pat McGuire

One of the reasons I wanted to cover Jamie Coleman live is that at the King Tuts gig his set was rousing and carried the crowd. I didn’t know his background or his song titles but detected something different and yet familiar there. Since then I have had the chance to listen to his stuff closely and my first impressions have proven to be correct. You know when you hear talented people. Their tunes/lyrics stick. You keep hearing part of the song or a part of a chorus and it won’t leave that record player in your head…

Jamie is first up in a mobbed Pivo Pivo. A small venue on Waterloo Street that seems to host a lot of great music. The gig itself has a lot more acts on the bill who I’d like to cover and maybe photograph soon.

I couldn’t stay to do pics or cover them though as I’m dead old and had an early shift the next day, however mucho kudos to Jay Hale (A Northern Contribution) who organised the gig. And the bands that turned up: who were – The Beat Movement, Joe Symes & The Loving Kind, The Jamie Reilly Band and Vida. I’d heard most of the sound checks and really wish I could have stayed for the whole gig. Although gig is not the right term for it, it was more like a review or a show where you’d expect John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers to appear. As if it was 1963 and in a basement in London instead of Glasgow. Back when Eric Clapton was learning his chops and clothes were that bit cooler.

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Jamie Coleman @ Pivo Pivo by Pat McGuire

And not labouring the point or being too retro, but I almost wished I was back in my early teens and a wee Mod who would have loved the whole vibe of the gig, whilst also getting into the indie/rock/blues thing too. It wasn’t a flashback gig, but a modern take on a classic multi faceted genre that keeps on keeping on.

Jamie Coleman opens his set with “Morning after” one of his songs I alluded to earlier that just sticks in your head. A Jazzy/swingy blues number full of Maj 7th’s and vocals that seem to drawl at you only the way a son of Clydebank can. A few songs in “Wanna fade away” which is a dreamy, melancholic tune that could be the love child of Mazzy Star and Pink Floyd if they ever met one dark night. Glazed over with Jamie’s vocals Take me away from this moment, I don’t wanna feel no pain. I just wanna feel free now, be myself again.” Really, re read that line. If you have never felt like that, you are not human.

What Jamie Coleman does live (and on his recordings) is capture feelings and emotions succinctly. It’s an art that can be learned, but only really works when it comes from the heart and soul. And while his onstage persona tonight might seem laid back, you know that the inspiration for them might not have been as casual. Jamie works at his songs and his performances. It’s not an act, it’s a distillation of experiences and observations wrapped up in a creativity borne from pain and joy and a lot of other emotions in between.

“Little Moody and Harry” is an inspirational song. Louder than most of his set, you can imagine this one with some drums and bass guitar kicking some ass. But even as an acoustic song it carries a lot of power. It almost reminds me of Mike Peters (The Alarm) back in the day (I mentioned that I’m old, back in the day means the 80′s and 90′s).

I’m not going to just do a song by song review though. Jamie did give me his set list for reference. That would be like me reading a dictionary aloud and beginning with Aardvark and ending with Zyxt (which is the last word in the Oxford English…) I’d rather focus on the feeling of the gig. And that is one of introspection, joy, and bloody good music!

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Jamie Coleman by Pat McGuire

You have a guy on stage, not dressed up but not dressed down. Pouring his heart into the music. He doesn’t do banter or tell jokes or stories but does say hello to folk he knows. People are talking through the songs but he keeps on playing all the same. When Jamie Coleman puts on his guitar and starts playing, the room could be empty and it wouldn’t make a difference. He seems to get lost in the story of the song and it carries him away to a place that we are all invited to, but only if we chose to listen.

One song that he does tonight that I have been waiting for though is “The Fear”. As songs go this is the one that could define him in my eyes. It might sound at first as a reserved, yet jolly tune about drinking too much. But is it really? Maybe I’m reading my own issues into it but “Just gonna lie here, with the fear deep inside, and I don’t feel right” resonates with me on so many levels. Vocal delivery, lyrics and tune all just hit the spot. By accident or design it is just a great song from a great songwriter. I’m haunted by it.

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Jamie Coleman and Lynette from The Claurettes

And at the end of his set he is joined by Lynette from The Claurettes withHey Soul Sista” It’s a fantastic way to round off a brilliant set. (See the video from John McKinlay in the links below)

Jamie Coleman’s songs also have that essence of hope in them. Real hope that can only be defined from having been through it and then come out the other end stronger, that is what defines us essentially in life. We are the sum of what happens to us and around us. And how we in turn take that and move on to our next stage in life. Tonight I moved to a place where six strings, a voice, some harmonica and some great people made me feel alive and vibrant and not quite as old as when I walked in.

 

Pat McGuire.

Jamie Coleman has some gigs coming up soon :

1st of May @ Beresford lounge for Session on a Rug
2nd may @ The Duchess of Kirkcaldy supporting John Power of Cast and The La’s
9th may @ Brixton Jamm London supporting MOL ( Mountains of Love : a new band featuring members of Alabama 3)
13th @ Roxy Glasgow

And some surprise shows in July ( which we can’t reveal right now, but they promise to be pretty amazing.)

Links :

My interview with Jamie Coleman on Mixcloud ( errors are mine and special guests are a guy asking for money, and a woman putting her drink on the table)

https://www.mixcloud.com/pmgphotog/pat-mcguire-pmgphotog-interviews-jamie-coleman-prior-to-his-gig-at-pivo-pivo-18th-april-

 

2014/https://www.facebook.com/JKD69?fref=ts

 

Also thanks to John McKinlay for his kind permission to link these live videos from the gig : 

Hey Soul Sista (Video by John Mckinlay)

Morning After (Video by John Mckinlay)

 

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The Fire and I: Unconventional Scorchers

By Harsharan Hoonjan

When I first witnessed The Fire and I live, I was expecting some hard hitting vocals, smashing drums and bass thick enough to wallop someone over the head, I was wrong, I got more than that.

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After playing their digital archive at home, interest soared, as I realised that I was in fact listening to major rock quality, from a two man outfit. Gordon Love (from Bathgate) on Bass and Lead Vocals and Hooligan Sadikson (from Mexico) on Drums and Backing Vocals make up the scorching, The Fire and I. The pair have power housed their talents since forming in 2008, and have also crossed international waters, touring both Mexico and Italy. With regular rave reviews, a second album release, and another European tour lined up, I had to see what this band was like live.

Their second album launch for Double Kamikaze on 8th March was the perfect opportunity. On the night a feeling of comfortable apprehension took over; the kind you get when you go to see a band that you expect will knock your socks off. Drawing closer to the venue, anticipation was mounting.

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Shutting out the damp dreary night, I entered one of Edinburgh’s famous rock establishments that’s been around for decades. Opium is the original venue for rock hard music fans, on surveying the crowd they were already dancing away as Coholic’s brilliant set came to a close. They were more than ready for The Fire and I to headline their launch of Double Kamikaze.

When the band were on, Gordon and Hooligan worked their instruments and fans into frenzy all while sharing words of wisdom and being completely unconventional in performance.

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The band performed tracks from their first and second album including Left and Right, which is one of my favourites. Pressurised drum and bass lift this number, hitting hard with minimalistic vocals to create a rock rhythm balance. The track closes low tempo to the words, ‘feeling hollow, broken from the inside’, before stopping on a static drum beat. The words echo through the band’s unique sound.

One of my favourites from their new album, Double Kamikaze is Ruined Graffitied, which is a banging track.  It punches in right from the get go and keeps going till fade out.  It ticks all the right boxes for me, vocal, drum and bass synchronicity at its best.   I also loved their performance of songs such as Mr K, which is also from their debut album, Stampede Finale. It raised the bar by shaking their sound from the ground up.

A slight variation to Mr K is the title track to the album Double Kamikaze, a head banger of a number, that has Hooligan screaming in the background as the bass and drums thicken and intensify, the drum beat pulses and then picks up speed and solidifies before stopping – no fade out, just a sharp stop. This created total immersion as the crowds melted in the groove; actually they had been at it since the band came on. The duo performed an outstanding 15 tracks – 15!!

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I would love to go through all their incredible tracks, and I do wish they had performed F*ck The Cliché, because it would have been apt, but I have to move onto the reason why I think seeing them live is important.  Their recorded material should inspire you to see them live anyway, their dynamic, sound sticks out from the very beginning, completely unlike any other musical style I’ve listened to. It’s refreshingly eclectic, and I’m not used to listening to alternative music this thought provoking! You should check out and buy their albums, although, if you need further convincing, read on…

I noticed that apart from the musical quality, there were many unsuspecting elements to The Fire and I’s live set that intrigued me.  Gordon’s comment as Hooligan jumped off stage in an impromptu fashion: ‘Where’s he gone? I’m lost without him.’ was endearing and significant. It wasn’t egotistical, It wasn’t a bit of I can do this without him, it was a mini revelation into twin spirit that the band has, no airs, graces or funny banterous remarks, just some raw brotherliness that we could appreciate, they immediately transpired as authentic in lyrics, tone and message.

The Fire

Second they actually set the stage alight with some pyrotechnics, the crowd’s eyes were also blazing! The band really was on fire!  As a newbie to the Fire and I experience I was just taken aback. It was a simple act, but it was visually striking, especially against the backdrop of the black and white Opium banner.  A few photos later and the crowd were getting even more amped up.

I was expecting the pair to don their signature masks but alas that was not meant to be, instead a topless man from the crowd jumped on stage and then onto the platform donning a devil head.  Testing the band’s charm, fan loyalty, and strength the man attempted a crowd surf, not once, not twice but approximately three times. From what I saw, this was something out of a movie, I’ve never experienced anything like it but that was not all….

The fans started frolicking in their movements, bouncing into each other; I think it’s a new type of mosh pit move.  After that, I caught some Balkanize style dancing, with everyone moving from one side of the dance floor to another (in appreciation of Left and Right?). Word of warning, if you don’t move with this lot; prepare to be thrown off guard, literally!

HS DRUMSA

The main surprise of the evening for me though had to be, Hooligan’s words of wisdom in the middle of the set. It was unexpected and out of the entire unconventional goings during that set, that felt like the biggest for me.  I recall the drummer saying something along the lines of: “Don’t give a sh*t about what people say or think, just do what you want to do for you”, articulated with a straight yet moist face, looking us the crowd in the eye. No one said a word, perhaps, like I they were speechless and a bit dumbfounded, that a member of this already awesome rock band could come out with something profound without the backing of musical chord or beat.

It’s easy to see why they are adored, their existing fan base came out with similar feelings towards the band at the end of the night, ‘amazing, awesome, truly talented, love them, seen them loads of times’, everyone left wholeheartedly satisfied, some even like me were a bit stunned. A fan even went on to tell me about the band and finished by saying: ‘they are genuinely nice guys’. No wonder the band are as successful here as they are internationally, they tick all the right boxes.

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THE FIRE A

And okay, I may have left with some bruises and the smell of dried beer (part of the course, next time I’m staying away from the pit!) The Fire and I deserve all the acclaim they get because after one live viewing, I can say confidently, their style of alternative music never felt so good.   And no, they didn’t knock my socks off, they rocked my socks off.  I would wish The Fire and I all the very best.  Although, with their scorching sound and unconventional ways, they’ve got it nailed.

Links:

http://www.thefireandi.com

www.facebook.com/thefireandi

http://www.myspace.com/thefireandi

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jamie Coleman : Pivo Pivo : 18th April : A Preview : Pat McGuire

I was sadly unaware of Jamie Coleman until fairly recently. I was at King Tuts to cover John Lennon McCullagh and Jamie was one of the support acts. Due to family and work commitments I didn’t have the time to cover his gig then but I got in touch with him via Facebook shortly after the show and he has kindly invited me along to see him on Friday 18th at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow.

Jamie Coleman 3

Jamie is from Clydebank and plays a nice mix of indie/folk/blues infused acoustic songs. He toured with John Lennon McCullagh (hence the King Tuts show) and also has some great support slots and headline shows coming up soon. I’ll cover them when I do my review of his gig on Friday, but one in particular that makes me wish I could play some songs as well as he does is his upcoming support for John Power ( Cast / The La’s ) in Kirkcaldy in May.

What music is essentially about is the songs, and Jamie’s music is all about that. Voice, acoustic guitar and some harmonica to spice up the mix. And while that dynamic is nothing new, Jamie puts his own flavour on top. Written from the heart and delivered with passion, what else could you ask for?

Friday night at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow, Jamie Coleman is on the bill along with The Beat Movement, Joe Symes & the Loving Kind, The Clocktower, Jamie Reilly and Vida.

Pat McGuire.

 

Links :

https://www.facebook.com/JKD69

http://pivopivo.com/ai1ec_event/wtnp-presents-4/?instance_id=686

 

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One Last Secret : King Tuts : Glasgow : 3rd April 2014 : Pat McGuire

It’s a wet and pretty miserable Thursday in Glasgow, doubly so for me as even my usual tipples are just not moving a bug I’ve had most of the week. But I carry on gamely and switch from lager to rum and coke. It helps a bit but maybe what I need is a secret ingredient to chase away the tiredness and general downer I’m on. As it happens there might be a cure involving more rum and coke and some good live music.

I’m in a packed out King Tuts bar waiting for the doors to the venue to open. There is a sense of energy in the air, something good is going to happen. So I have another rum and coke and try to let the ambience soak in. I also think to myself, Kilmarnock must be desolate tonight because most of that town are here. The headline band is The Parlotones ( from Johannesburg, but now based in L.A. ) who have played to huge audiences worldwide and are an amazing band, but sadly, they are not from Kilmarnock.

A band that is though is One Last Secret. And they are who I’m here to see tonight. As yet unsigned ( but maybe that will change soon ) they do a great line in melodic power pop/rock which is the ideal thing to beat a rainy night in Glasgow into submission. It worked for me in any case, I felt much better for being there. And before I get to the gig review proper, I need to mention the opening act : Huevo and the Giant. A young band who had no song titles as such but despite some technical issues opened the night and should be a band to look out for over the coming months.

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One Last Secret describe themselves as “Rock Pop Sexy” which is not a genre I’m familiar with. They are Rocky and Poppy and I guess sexy to the ladies (or even the guy who was feeling the drummer Darran’s arms outside the venue). I hasten to add that Darran was waiting for his girlfriend and not expecting to have his muscles massaged, but if you are in a band you need to expect some kind of tactile interaction at gigs.

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Taking to the stage with singer/bassist Wesley wearing a dapper white jacket and they tear into their set and get the audience going nicely. However they too are beset by technical issues soon. Fraser’s guitar needs replaced so their manager Laura has to run up the back stairs to get one from The Parlotones and almost breaks her leg, that’s what you call dedication. Meanwhile the band do an impromptu cover of Queen’sWe Will Rock You” to keep the show going. Soon as the guitar issue is sorted, they get back to the set which is punchy and solid, Liam with his blonde modish hairdo on the left of stage seems to almost invoke Thom Yorke/Brian Jones in his demeanour. The band look “cool” which is one thing, but they also sound “cool” too without appearing as if it’s an affectation or a put up job. And to be honest, if you come from Kilmarnock you won’t get away with just looking good. You need to back it up with talent.

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As I’m not on camera duties tonight, Derek Fowler is, I have to watch the rest of the show from the bar ( poor me…) as the place is jammed tight with fans. There is a live video feed and I can still hear the band via the P.A. system. It’s not where I prefer to see a band from, but the place is so mobbed I simply couldn’t find a spot to watch and take notes. They had sold out their ticket allocation and left Kilmarnock empty and filled King Tuts for a support slot. No easy feat for an unsigned band. There is banter “This song is for Stuck up bitches”. And people dancing at the front of the stage. One Last Secret deliver some great tunes live and look like they were made to play in larger venues too. Their finale is the brilliant “Coral” which is my favourite song so far from this band.

My overall impression on seeing them live is that they could be great if they keep up the obvious musicianship and writing skills they have. This year could be theirs if they take it. When you are this good you don’t need to keep it secret, even if it is your one last secret…

 Words – Pat McGuire / Photographs Derek Fowler.

One Last Secret have some gigs coming up soon :

The Garage, Glasgow, 18th April

Aberdeen Student Union, Aberdeen, 30th April

Dirty Weekender, Kilmarnock, 25th May

Secret Venue, Glasgow, 14th June – Official Re-launch

The Cavern, Liverpool, 21st June

The Crofter Bar, Fort William, 25th July

Help For Heroes Event, Derby, 26th July

Links :

https://www.facebook.com/onelastsecret

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Universal Thee : Back to Earth : Album review by Pat McGuire.

  By Pat McGuire

 Universal Thee are a band from Edinburgh, consisting of James Russell on Guitar and vocals, Lisa Russell on vocals, Robin Spivey on guitar, Andrew Perrie on Bass and Kevin Haddow on drums.  I got their album to review as I was too ill to go and see them play live in Glasgow on Monday night ( 31st March ). I’m still bummed that I didn’t make the gig, but they were kind enough to send me the Album to review anyway.

Hearing this band initially you might think you were listening to something from that great epoch of indie rock that came out of the USA in the early to mid nineties. Do you remember Surfa Rosa? Doolittle? Have you ever listened to Slanted and Enchanted?

Back to Earth is Universal Thee’s debut album released on Eventual Heirs Records. And it rocks and sways and almost topples over around hooky guitar riffs, wobbly bass lines, almost vulnerable vocals and drums that keep it all tied down but also flip over themselves sometimes for added fun. Following on from the excellent Single “Aranis Natas” which was released in January, “Back to Earth” is an album full of quirks and treats. As a debut album it showcases a band that seem to know where they want to go musically. And that is wherever the hell they want to! The record segues easily between quiet and loud and quiet again. No apologies from me for using that term inversely. They like The Pixies which is a good thing. And I’m talking about The Pixies pre the several recent nostalgia tours. Before Black Francis was Frank Black and Kim Deal formed The Breeders. When that band were still a band in the true sense. I love The Pixies, they changed my life in a great way. I hope that Universal Thee change someone’s life too.

So the album, it’s all over the place in a good way. From the opening track to the ending, you really don’t know what exact dynamic will hit on the break or verse. It leaves you feeling a bit insecure but at the same time resolved when it either crashes into some mellow choruses or heavier guitar noise. “Bone Collector” the opening track could be a tribute to “Debaser” by The Pixies. Sonically it shares some of the same themes. But at the same time also could be an early Buzzcocks song with the widdley guitar lines too. It also has some nice vocal touches that make it nicely different to the aural influences I detected on first listen. It ends suddenly with some feedback fading away, gently…

Tiger Tiger” paraphrases in part William Blake, I assume it’s about poetry but it could easily be about something else. I really don’t know, and I like the fact that what seems as an obvious lyrical theme suddenly flies into something else. “Wolves” is a quirky trip of a song, possibly the only one so far that is Pavement-esque to my ears. If it was a bit slower and had more cowbell it could almost be Malkmus as his crew. It is hook filled and short and sweet, like a good well behaved indie/pop tune should be. “Feeling Fragile” will be my hangover song and one I wish I had to aid me through all my previous hangovers in the past, but will come in handy the next time I wake up in a house with a strange address in a place I don’t know, with that feeling. “Everything’s broken you know” – Yes I have been there many times before. Now I have a theme tune to wrap my moral failings around.

Eric” hits my Pixies trip right on the nose. Short song, starts, does what it does, ends. Perfect.

And then they come to “Down” which is a grower of a track. There is more to this song than you get a first, they almost sound angry…breaking the twisty quirky spell that we have encountered so far. Listen to it at least three times and see if you get it too.

The other tracks on the album are all just as good. Hooks and lines and turnarounds, faux floppy/sloppy playing but really tight at the same time. Whispering backing vocals and melodic leads. “Aranis Natas”, I mentioned earlier. So for me the album track that really does it for me is “Bear in Hospital“. A wonderful yet minimalistic song that covers all the bases for good indie rock.

As a debut album, sure it wears it’s influences proudly and there is nothing wrong with that. At the same time Universal Thee do sound different to other bands with the same record collections. I can’t quite put my finger on what that is, maybe because they have a contemporary twist and have filtered it all via 21st Century mores and recording techniques?  Or maybe it’s because they were too young to see the New Wave, No Wave and the original Indie Rock phenomena first hand? This only adds a freshness and newness to the genre. Essentially it doesn’t matter though. The end result it what counts. A very good debut album indeed with some cracking songs too. I really regret not seeing them live last Monday.

Universal Thee are still a fairly new band so if they are lucky they won’t be gobbled up by the music industry and perhaps get to make some more good records on their own terms.

 

Pat McGuire.

 

Links :

https://www.facebook.com/universalthee

http://www.abadgeoffriendship.com/artists/universal-thee

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Sophie Rogers – Vocal Heaven

By Neil Kerr

I have heard some of Sophie Rogers’ music before and liked it, so much so we had it entered into our single of the week feature in February this year with her track “Free To Fly” which duly won the public poll and became our single of the week with a very respectable 44% of the online vote, a brilliant result for Sophie.

Intrigued and hoping to hear more of Sophie’s Smooth tunes, particularly hoping to catch the songstress live, I was delighted when she contacted me and invited me along to see her perform live. What’s more it wasn’t to be just any standard gig for Sophie, as she was to give her all in the legendary King Tuts Wah Wah Hut. So the date was set, I was going to catch Single of the week winner Sophie Rogers as she performed her debut appearance on the iconic Tuts stage, I may have been even more chuffed about this than Sophie was, but don’t tell her that.

After 2 trains to glasgow from Voice HQ I arrived eagerly early at King Tuts allowing myself time for the customary pre gig beverage and a chat to some of the assembled music lovers. Most of the folks I spoke to were looking forward to seeing Sophie perform, some were there for nothing else and were “just loving Sophie’s music” and “wouldn’t miss this gig for the world”. Having never seen this young musician perform live before these comments only added to my intrigue.

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Into the gig we went and before the lady in the spotlight for the night performed I was treated to the fantastic sound of Jemma Kate, a brilliant performance, however that is for another time. Next up was Sophie, looking confident and relaxed she introduced herself to the crowd and began her performance, one girl, one guitar, one legendary stage, and she did it well, Sophies vocal is smooth, clear and mesmerising. Her guitar although she plays it very well, in my opinion is merely a prop, she doesn’t need it to carry her voice rather her voice carries the guitar in fact I struggled to move my concentration from the vocal. When I did though I realised that her work with the guitar was excellent and well rehearsed as the 23 year old songsmith effortlessly worked her way through her set of mainly original music written by herself and performed to perfection.

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Now, normally at this stage of a review you would get a breakdown of the songs performed on the day. But the truth of the matter here is I cannot discriminate, I don’t want to single out any of Sophie’s excellent songs for favouritism. You can decide that for yourself by having a listen using the link at the end of this review, or even better, go and see her perform live for yourself! You can find her upcoming gigs using the link to her very well informed facebook page at the end of the review.

One song however was a real treat,  not in the sense that it was better than any of the others. It was in fact a cover and she almost sung it acapella to the wonderful sound of her audience singing it back to her which must have felt great. First time in Tuts and she had the crowd eating out her hand, brilliant. What was the song you say? It was “Caledonia” written by Dougie McLean in 1977 and performed perfectly by Sophie Rogers in 2014. Once again her voice was the winner here and again she could easily have pulled the song off minus the guitar.

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I loved sophie’s set, it was better than I had expected and I never for one moment thought it would be bad, my high expectations were exceeded with ease by this talented Glaswegian singer songwriter which is always nice when it happens. Great voice, great guitar, great songs all coming together in a great venue before an equally great audience, what’s not to like in that equation.

I want more so if you see Sophie then please tell her that any other invitations will be gleefully accepted. If you do want to go and experience this talented young lady live then why not get to her upcoming EP launch gig in The Buff Club on the 25th of April starting at 7.15 PM. I may well see you there.

Links;

https://www.facebook.com/SophiesSound?fref=ts

https://soundcloud.com/sophierogers

http://sophierogersmusic.wix.com/main

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