Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Father John Misty at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut

I was slow in getting tickets for Father John Misty at King Tut's earlier this week and despite the early sell-out, the gig wasn't upgraded.

My friend Rose was there and she kindly agreed to write a guest blog for me and here it is - beautifully written...


I have been a fan of Father John Misty (real name Josh Tillman) since I heard his first album, Fear Fun, in early 2013. Planning a summer trip to the US, I had been looking at what gigs we could take in while there and his name popped up. At this stage I hadn’t heard any of his solo music (as well as Fear Fun under the Father John Misty persona he has also released a series of albums as J. Tillman) but I was aware he had previously been the drummer in Fleet Foxes and I had heard good things about the album and his excellent live performances. So I quickly snapped up tickets to see him at Terminal 5 in New York and bought the album. The album would become our soundtrack as we drove round California before heading to NYC and the gig itself turned out to be full of surprises.

Firstly, I wasn’t aware how popular he was; Terminal 5 is a large venue (on a par with the O2 Academy in Glasgow) and, while it wasn’t sold out, it was pretty packed with fans keen to hear Tillman’s amusing take on drug misadventures and LA excess. Secondly, was Tillman himself. He swaggered onto the stage dressed in a white suit, shades on, drink in hand and proceeded to shimmy and shake his way through his set (including getting tangled up in his microphone cable as he enthusiastically swung it round his head)…a far cry from my preconceived image of him as a laid back, folk rock singer-songwriter in the Fleet Foxes mould (I’m thinking now he would scoff at such a thought). Lastly, was how fantastic his songs, and his voice, sounded live; heavier guitars and drums gave them a richer, rockier feel and his voice was note perfect (despite appearing to be heroically drunk…which I expect was part of the FJM persona rather than reality). I couldn’t remember when I’d last had so much fun at a gig and told anyone that would listen that this was my 2013 gig of the year.

So, it was with this backdrop that I headed to a sold out King Tuts Wah Wah Hut on Monday to see Father John Misty, hoping that he would bring a little bit of California sunshine and fun to a miserable, wet evening in Glasgow…

…and wow, he didn’t disappoint.

As the opening bars of his new album title track I Love You Honeybear were played by the band, Tillman swaggered on stage to a rapturous reception by the audience and launched straight into his vocal. In such an intimate venue the first thing that struck me was how imposing Tillman is; he is a tall man, but it was more than just his height. He loomed out over the audience as he sang ‘Honeybear’, holding on to the roof to get a better reach, and with a piercing gaze that I’m sure every person in the audience felt was delivered directly at them. He made best use of the small Tuts stage, gliding around with snake hips that would put Jarvis Cocker and Jim Morrison to shame, dropping to his knees and grabbing the hands of the lucky audience members at the front whilst singing directly to them…and all this before the first song was over.

Next up was Strange Encounter from his new album, which sounded incredible live and brought to life the song’s many layers, followed by Only Son of the Ladies Man from his first album, which gave the crowd a chance to warm its collective vocal chords. By now Tillman was well into his groove and his voice was once again note perfect; any audience members unfamiliar with his work would have clearly heard every word of every song perfectly…which is important, as these are lyrics that demand to be heard.

Picture by Michael Prior

The gig consisted of a fairly even split of songs across both albums, with old favourites from Fear Fun (Nancy From Now On, Fun Times in Babylon, Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings among others) and most of his new album. While the crowd were predictably in fine voice on the older songs (the opening line of I’m Writing A Novel ’I ran down the road/pants down to my knees/screaming please come help me that Canadian shaman gave a little too much to me!’  was sung joyously by one and all, accompanied by some excellent jigging), the songs from the new album (released only two weeks ago) were belted out by the crowd with just as much gusto, which is a credit to Tillman’s incredible song-writing and story-telling. While the songs from I Love You Honeybear are more intimate and personal, it in no way lessens their impact live…in fact I was impressed with how rich and powerful they sounded. It’s clear that Tillman has surrounded himself with incredibly talented musicians in order to do his songs justice.

But it’s Tillman himself that makes the Father John Misty live experience such a success.  A real highlight was the jagged, heavy guitar outro from This is Sally Hatchett (with Tillman atop the base drum, thumping the roof) straight into an intense, emotional, slightly angry, performance of The Ideal Husband…this was goosebump inducing stuff. He exudes confidence and charisma when he performs and seeks to break down any barriers with his audience (imaginary or otherwise). He invited us to ‘get intimate with Josh Tillman’ before launching into his exquisite love song When You’re Smiling and Astride Me (more goosebumps), held hands and serenaded people in the crowd, posed for photographs and writhed around on the floor when the song intensity required it. He was quick witted and sharp in putting down excitable crowd members who dared to shout out random, odd, questions (‘What’s your favourite colour Josh?’ was met with absolute derision), but was appreciative of others input (after commenting on how damp the walls in Tuts were, a shout of ‘they’re moist with our love for you Josh’ was met with a wry smile and ‘I’ll take that’ from Tillman).

Picture by Michael Prior

He closed the main set with Holy Shit, coming down off the stage and wandering through the Tuts crowd, giving out hugs and high fives, while continuing to sing. I think if his microphone cable length had allowed he would have been right out into the bar area for more of the same. The crowd loved it!! After a brief break, he reappeared for a 2 song encore. First up was Bored In The USA (a work of sheer genius in my view) which he delivered absolutely beautifully, with the audience singing every word and attempting to provide the canned laughter that accompanies the track on the album; credit goes to the few brave souls around me trying to match Tillman’s soaring falsetto. Tillman was spellbinding as he stood in the spotlight, surrounded by smoke, raising hands to the air as we all sang ‘Save me President Jesus’…it was simply breath-taking. The rest of the band then joined him on stage for final song Everyman Needs a Companion…and by this point I think every person in the crowd wanted to remain in Tillman’s company for just a little bit longer.

Sadly, it was not to be, and he headed offstage with a farewell wave to the crowd and handshakes with the lucky punters at the front. As we left the venue the crowd was buzzing (a feeling that lasted for me well into the next day) and praising what had been a truly special performance. I feel very lucky to have been there and hope it’s not too long before Father John Misty comes back to see us. He has gigs in London later in the year, so fingers crossed he’ll pay us another visit. If he does, there are two things of which you can be sure; it will be in a much bigger venue and I’ll be at the front of the queue for tickets.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Vigo Thieves at King Tut's

On tonight's performance and the evidence gathered from the last 2-3 years of playing live, their reviews and releases it is not only a wonder that Vigo Thieves have not been signed to a major label record company but an absolute travesty,

The record industry has changed, but there is still the need and the market for songs, for anthems, for choruses that will lift the roof off a venue and lift the heart and soul of a music fan. Vigo Thieves did that and then some tonight.

Forever was spine tingling, new song The One was exceptional, Heartbeats was glorious and This Love was a love-in. The crowd sang along with keyboard and guitar riffs as well as the sky scraping choruses.

With songs like Believe, Steal Your Heart, Forvere, new song The One, Ghosts, This Love, Gold, Razor Blade and Heartbeats, Vigo Thieves have anthems coming out of their ears. Stevie Jukes has an ear for a melody that the milkman could whistle and a chorus that could be sung in stadiums.

Make no mistake, Vigo Thieves smashed King Tut's tonight with a performance full of passion and confidence. The crowd were up for it, the intro song was The Killers All These Things That I Have Done and it generated a response that I have not seen since a DJ played the Oasis version of I Am The Walrus at the Barrowland before The Charlatans played circa 1994. Tut's was bouncing and the band had yet to take the stage. Anticipation was at 110%!

Taking to the stage in dry ice, Vigo Thieves opened with the anthem Believe and King Tut's went crazy. Stevie Jukes delivered an exceptional performance as a front man and had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the off - urging them on throughout the night.

I've been following Vigo Thieves for a good few years and this was the best I have seen them. The band were visibly vibing off the audience and the terrace style chants of 'Viiiiiiiigo' were just giving them more and more confidence.

Quite why record companies have not picked up on anthems like Believe and Forever is a mystery that makes a huge statement about the music industry today, one that is disheartening to music fans.

Vigo Thieves put in an incredible performance that justified my belief that they are by far the best band in Scotland and the one most capable of making the next step up. They have the songs, the anthems and the ability.

Let's live forever, together we will stay young

This is a band that the people believe in, talk in the bar downstairs was akin to the faith that people put into the Stone Roses. Times are tough and people need a band to believe in, a front man that can lift their spirits. In Vigo Thieves and Stevie Jukes that band is there with an arsenal of songs just waiting to get that lift to the next level.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Everything Ever Written by Idlewild

Idlewild have just released Everything Ever Written, their 7th studio album and first in 5-years. It is a welcome return by one of Scotland's best loved and most respected bands.

Idlewild earned that love and respect through sheer hard work, displaying a fierce independence, poetic lyrics and edgy guitars, often with a punk spirit but maturing superbly with age.

The album was funded through Pledge Music - an idea that must appeal to Idlewild's DIY punk roots, cutting out labels and allowing band and fans to interact and strengthen relationships. Much of the album was written in a cabin on the Isle of Mull and the songs retain a loose rustic feel when captured on tape.

Radio distortion gradually builds into Collect Yourself, but Idlewild don't just ease themselves back into the swim of things - they come crashing in with an in your face guitar riff and sounds like they are enjoying themselves.

Woombles delivery is Stipe like at times, particularly on Come On Ghost, which leaps straight into the 'one of the best things they've ever done' category - the closing instrumental is a welcome surprise, taking the song that one step further.

So Many Things To Decide leaps ahead and may well be the best thing they have recorded - it is absolutely stunning in terms of writing and performance, captured exquisitely and produced with care.

Do you ever get the feeling I made important decisions far too late in life?

The band are clearly flying and Nothing I Can Do About It is another gem. Woomble is letting lyrics flow, Jones guitar is piercing and uplifting, the Motown-esque pounding drums and female backing singer towards the end lift the song to a glorious climax.

You can make sure the book shelves are alphabetical, poetical, non-political....

There's nothing I can do about it
Even if I could, I would only walk away

Every Little Means Trust is steeped in R.E.M influences. (Use It) if You Can Use It is soulful and playful - the band are tight, allowing Woomble to do what he does best and Jones to play delicate chiming riffs over the top before soaring around 2-minutes in and Roddy picks up the pace too as the song flows gloriously before a brilliant wig out jam.

Idlewld let rip with On Another Planet which has a real urgency to the lyrical delivery and raw electric guitar. Fast, furious and fun.

The guitar is stripped back for All Things Different which has a real loose jazzy feel to it, complete with trumpet. This is a band completely at ease and full of confidence. No wonder - this is a stunning collection of songs, a real work of art, a statement.

A bit beyond wear and tear but content like a shipwreck, sleeping in rust, lying on the ocean floor
and the waves are turning away, turning away from the shore

Radium Girl is perhaps the poppiest song on the album, not that any of the others are inaccessible! Left Like Roses is melodic and all kinds of gorgeous that the band recognise and run with. The production throughout is beautiful.

How do you end an album like this? The answer is with a song entitled Utopia. The sense of space, time, ease and confidence that is felt throughout the album is captured perfectly - Everything Ever Written is an exceptional album, ending with a real beauty, jazzy psychedelic instrumentation and Woomble singing his thoughts, almost stream of conscious style at times. Gorgeous.

Everyone in the world is up to something at every single moment

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Natalie Prass

I don't feel much
I'm afraid I don't feel anything at all

The opening lines of Natlie Prass' eponymous debut album set you up for a journey through a break up that tugs on the heart strings yet also feels strangely euphoric.

Released on Matthew E White's Spacebomb Records, this is a stunning album with White and his house band ensuring Prass' album has a similar beautiful feel to it like White's incredible Big Inner.

Our love is like a long goodbye
We keep waiting for the train to cry
Because my baby don't understand me
He don't understand me anymore

Prass has an effortlessly beautiful voice that just sounds exquisite on opener My Baby Don't Understand Me and throughout the album; rich in soul and with a hint of jazzy blues at times.

Bird of Prey is sublime, the Spacebomb Records band (numbering up to a dozen at times) drop gorgeous horns and soulful strings and allow Prass to let her beautiful voice find all kinds of lovely melodies and harmonies.

Prass has the ability to almost whisper and then let her voice rise, playful with her skills. It is a joy to listen to.

Why Don't You Believe In Me delivers the kind of retro soul that Matthew E White has made his trademark. Prass is on fire, the lyrics and the way she sings them just make your hair stand on end.

I wake up alone
The nights keep getting harder
Wanna call you but I don't
I want to be smarter
Afraid to make the next move
And it's bringing me down

As titles go Violently is intriguing and worrying for a break up album. Prass' voice is fragile, broken in this song, the lyrics at the end of each verse are extremely clever.

Now break my arms cause they want to hold you

Prass lays her broken heart bare on Never Over You before earlier song Your Fool (where we learn the twist that is was Prass who ended the relationship after being lied to and cheated on) is revisited on Reprise.

The album closes in glorious poetic Disney-esque style with the majestic It Is You - the most gorgeous song I have hear in a while. This is truly stunning, imaginative, soulful and cinematic.

Natalie Prass has delivered an album full of heartbreak and soul.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Matador by Gaz Coombes

I bought some cracking new albums in January - but one in particular really stood out. Matador by Gaz Coombes. I never expected to be buying an album from Gaz Coombes in 2015 but I was blown away when I heard lead single 20/20 on 6 Music. The album features inventive Radiohead/Massive Attack style riffs, songs that swoop and soar, huge choruses, stunning production, arrangements and vocals. The cover and the song The Girl Who Fell To Earth tip more than a nod to Bowie.

I wasn't the only one to fall for Matador. My good friend Craig from the band Flash Talk was also on to it and he asked if he could write a guest blog on it. So here it is...

Guest blog by Craig Douglas

The fucking 90's!!
  • A time of endless possibility.
  • A time before smart phones.
  • A time when you had to wear shirts ten times too big for you because they didn't make cool clothes for teenagers.
  • A time when the NME seemed to bring news of a new music revolution weekly.
  • A time for hero's: Blur, Oasis, Nirvana, Radiohead
  • A time for pure shite: Northen Uproar, Kula Shaker and fucking Menswear!
And a time for Supergrass. Supergrass where right up my street. They where young, free they kept their teeth nice and clean and they produced some truly great pop singles over a period of 17 years:
Alright , Moving, Pumping on your Stereo, Richard III.. all classics and there is a lot more where that came from...Just like Queen or the Who though, their greatest hits collection is far superior to any of the albums they have produced.
When they split in 2010  I thought we'd sadly seen the last of one of Britain's most naturally talented frontmen and after hearing his first solo album Here comes the Bombs in 2012  which was decent at best (White Noise was a highlight), I was of the opinion that we wouldn't ever hear a great album from Gaz Coombes.

With Matador, his second solo album, Gaz Coombes has (I'm a big enough boy to admit this) proved me wrong. Opening track Buffalo switches from sparse piano led verse to a menacing chorus filled with yearning lyrics, ethereal backing vocals and thunderous drums. A compelling start which leads into one of the albums (and the artist's) highlights, 20/20 is an epic piece of songwriting with a truly soulful vocal and a melody that Brian Wilson's dad would give him a slap for.. a total journey of a record with the perfect mix of light and shade.

The English Ruse repetitive riff and rhythm is irresistible with sci-fi lyrics, a middle section out of nowhere filled with angelic voices and a guitar solo that sounds as if it's being played by a Martian in a K-HOLE! It's the audio equivalent of inter dimensional travel.
Next up is The Girl Who Fell To Earth... What a title! How has no one come up with that before?!  My first reaction was "You bastard" but it's hard to stay mad at him once you hear this song. 
First you cry and then you laugh, you're like a circle cut in half
 A truly beautiful three and a half minute pop song that Ray Davies or McCartney would have been proud of. 
Track 5 in my opinion should always be a belter, it's a hallowed position on any album and Mr Coombes clearly agrees. Detroit has a scuzzy swagger to it, a sort of lackadaisical menace that is intoxicating. There is a moment at the end of this track after a brief respite of the beat where Gary says "OK" and the beat kicks back in....For some reason this really floats my fucking boat and I find myself pressing repeat to listen to this wee magic moment over and over again.
As you may have gleaned.. I love this album with a passion which has been reserved for 'Arcade Fire' of late. You could put the first 5 songs on this album up against the first 5 songs of all the LP's in Q fucking magazines(monthly) 100 GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME, they would stand proudly next to the best of them and tower above the majority.

The rest of the album is just as strong but I'm not going to sit here and describe the whole fucking thing to you.. I will say that the penultimate track To the Wire is seismic and the closing lyric of the title track shows a man who has faced adversity and has maintained a pleasant fuck you attitude.
      I'll take all the pain and the scars of war, 
       cause I've faced the beast and fight like a matador
With Matador it becomes apparent that Gaz Coombes is not only a great songwriter that should be cherished far beyond that Troll like,garbage pail kid Ed Sheeran but also a tremendous singer whose voice is the main instrument throughout this wonderful Album.
In my books Gaz can take his seat along side Damon Albarn and Thom Yorke as the only artistically relevant survivors of the last great musically creative period in rock and roll history. A time when men wore Wallabees. A time before internet porn. A time....
Come to think of it.... the 90's where shite. x 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Oasis at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut

February 2015 sees King Tut's Wah Wah Hut celebrate its 25th anniversary. The legendary Glasgow venue has witnessed some incredible bands, artists and shows gracing the hallowed stage over those years. You only need to climb the steps to the gig area to look at some of the names.

However, there is one gig that is associated with the venue more than any other - the night Oasis crashed a bill and were signed to Creation by Alan McGee.

As luck would have it, thanks to a mutual love of Teenage Fanclub, I have got to know the drummer of a band that were on the bill that night - so here is Derek McKee's story of what happened on that famous night.

Derek - I used to play drums in a band called Boyfriend, we were signed to Creation Records offshoot August Records towards the end of 1992. One of the first things that Creation did was buy us all new music equipment then they put us out on the road on a UK tour with Sub Pop rockers The Afghan Whigs at the end of September 1992.

We met up with Debbie Turner and her band Sister Lovers at the Boardwalk, Manchester and promised them a support slot on the next Glasgow gig. We also met up with Mark Coyle who used to be Teenage Fanclub/Inspiral Carpets sound guy. TFC’s guitar tech was our bassist Mark McAvoy, Inspiral Carpets guitar tech was Noel Gallagher. Mark was an old friend and early supporter of our band, he very kindly put us up for the night at his flat after the gig.

Fast forward to May 1993, we were booked to play the last night of Mayfest at King Tuts with fellow label-mates 18 Wheeler. Sister Lovers were booked as the third band on the bill. When Mark Coyle got wind of this, he contacted us to ask if the new group he was working with, his friend Noel’s band could be added to the bill. They were called Oasis. “The more the merrier!” we said but unfortunately we forgot to tell the promoter about the late addition to the night, we didn’t think it would be a big deal!

My memories of the night are that initially the Tuts staff were being a bit arsey about a fourth band on the bill and refused to let them play. Discussions/veiled threats of potential violence and compromise saved the day.

Both Boyfriend and Sister Lovers threatened to cancel the gig but after agreeing to cut short their respective sets, this freed up just enough time for Oasis who went on to play their 4 song set (Rock n Roll Star, Bring It On Down, Up In The Sky, I Am The Walrus). Apart from the Manchester posse, the only others who watched Oasis that night numbered no more than about 12 people. I remember they were very loud and was impressed with their guitarist. The tune that stuck in my mind was their cover of I Am The Walrus, it was fantastic!

Oasis in 1993

Liam looked like a football casual with Adidas gear on, younger than most of us. Like all the young dudes, we thought he was a loveable rogue, cheeky and cocky. His singing was good, he used to have a sweet melodic voice and could certainly hit the notes.

Noel was the big brother, he was the one pulling the strings and he'd been around the block with the Inspiral Carpets, so he knew the score. 

The rest as they say is history! I was given a cassette of their demos, the same one that was given to Alan McGee. I’ve still got it! The Oasis boys were very friendly and appreciative, plans were hatched for Boyfriend to go down to Manchester to play together again. 

After that night, things happened to Oasis very fast but whenever they were in town, we were contacted to go and meet up for drinks/laughs and watch the gig. 

Noel was definitely the chief; very chatty and easy going. I spent a lot of time in his company when they played the Cathouse in 94. Me, Noel and Stephen Jollie from Boyfriend drank a case of Becks and a bottle of Gin between us. I remember saying 'What the f**k you drinking Gin for Noel, it's an old lady's drink?' He took quite a bit of ribbing for it!

This went on throughout their career, right up until they played 2 nights at Loch Lomond. The day before the Loch Lomond gigs, I met up with Liam and his minder in town for some drinks and he sorted me out for tickets for the Sunday gig! One time I remember telling him I thought Patsy had a cracking pair of tits as I'd seen them in Lethal Weapon!

My impression of them was that they were a fine bunch of lads, being in their company was like one long party. We were all in our early twenties, unlimited supply of drink/drugs/women, who wouldn’t “have it””?

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut - 25th anniversary

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month with a series of shows from established acts like The Cribs, legendary maverick Julian Cope and up and coming acts like Vigo Thieves.

I've spent an incredible amount of time in this venue over the years since I first visited as an 18-year old back in 1994, especially through my 20's and into my early 30's before I 'settled down'. I worked across the road for Abbey National at 301 St Vincent Street for 7-years so I would be a regular at the bar downstairs as well as attending a number of gigs a month up the stairs.

I have fond memories of running across the road at 5pm to get a table with my mates for happy hour. They had £1 a bottle of Stella for several years - dangerous stuff! If it was sunny and you were especially sharp from work, you could get a table outside in the sunshine - glorious.

 The jukebox was (and is) brilliant and I have met some incredible people through going to King Tut's for beers and gigs.

Confession - I once devised a scheme (that I honestly only used twice) for getting into sold out shows. Back in the 90's you had to keep your ticket stub for getting out to the toilets downstairs. So I would go upstairs with mates, get the ticket stubs off them, then go back downstairs to sort out mates that didn't have tickets. I'm probably not the only person to ever have done that as health and safety wasn't quite as strict as it is now!

There are many reasons I love King Tut's; the size, vibe, sound, crowd and the opportunity to see live music in a great setting just make it perfect, for me and many, many others. Tut's regularly wins awards for being the best small venue in the UK. No wonder.

I've been looking through old ticket stubs and I've attempted to reminisce about 25 gigs at Tut's to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

1. Beck
Beck dropped Loser in 1994 and everything and everyone went crazy for him. He played Top of the Pops with a bunch of old guys backing him and then I caught him at King Tut's. I still have very fond memories of this gig. This was pre health and safety. My memory is of Tut's being absolutely rammed and sweat dripping off the roof. I was right down the front, squeezing in and dancing and pogo-ing with the crowd to ensure I didn't lose my place. Beck was electric, a clear star; playing material from his debut major album Mellow Gold but also lofi acoustic gems from One Foot In The Grave (also released in 1994)  One of my all-time favourite gigs, if a little hazy 20+years down the line.

2. Arthur Lee and Love
I caught Arthur Lee and the modern day Love (Baby Lemonade) at Tut's 3-times. The first time was not long after he had been released from prison. People wondered if his voice would be shot from years of drug didn't take long for Arthur to prove he still had it in abundance. Playing with equipment borrowed from Belle and Sebastian, Arthur and his band charged through a set that had people in genuine awe, you could have heard a pin drop during You Set The Scene.

You look so lovely
You with that same old smile
Stay for a while

They returned to play a secret set one time under the guise of Baby Lemonade and then played another secret show during the Forever Changes tour and Arthur responded to my shout for You Set The Scene. Well they were playing the album in order!

Arthur was a one-off, he looked cool, he sounded like a God and his backing band were sensational.

3. The White Stripes
This was an electric performance. Meg's kit was to one side and Jack leapt between a couple of mics playing a guitar that looked like it had seen better days. Pretty Good Looking For A Girl was a punk pop romp and the spine tingling version of Jolene lives with me to this day. As does the call from the crowd between songs; 'I love you Meg' to which Meg and Jack smiled, before the heckler added 'I want to f**k you'. Causing Meg to flip the bird and Jack to scowl and launch into another song.

4. Ben Folds Five
This may well have been my drunkest moment in King Tut's and there have been a fair few! I met my mate Reddy after I finished work and he finished uni and we proceeded to drink non-stop. During the show we were jumping around, dancing and playing air piano along with Ben, causing the audience to form a bit of a circle around us!

A few years later we were in New York and Ben Folds was playing Central Park so we got tickets. We got exceedingly drunk again and I persuaded Reddy that we could get back stage by saying we were from King Tut's in Glasgow - we were hastily ejected from back stage after we climbed a fence - and promptly slept through most of the gig in a drunken stupor! Oh to be young again!

5. John Squire
I went to King Tut's a lot in my younger days! One Friday I was in after work for the £1 bottle of Stella happy hours (5-7pm) when the new Tut's flyers were being handed around. John Squire was playing!!! This was how it was being announced. I immediately went up to the bar and asked if tickets were available - they were so I got 4.

Squire was incredible, coming on to the stage to an almighty cheer looking effortlessly cool with a great jacket and mop top hair. He opened with the closing instrumental of I Am The Resurrection! The place went banana's and i ran down the front from my usual place by the sound desk to jump around like crazy. Squire followed that up with She Bangs The Drums and Waterfall! It was sensational to see one of my all-time hero's up close.

6. Teenage Fanclub
Teenage Fanclub decided to do a tour to promote their Mellow Doubt single - a tour of Glasgow venues! One of them was Tut's and I have fond memories of going with my brother who was maybe 16 at the time. The bouncer took one look at his fake ID and laughed and said 'on you go up son'. (bit stricter these days I am sure!)

The band were in great form, totally at ease with the intimate crowd and in typically brilliant Fanclub humour as they played songs from the exquisite Grand Prix album and earlier faves. The cheer for Norman's whistling solo during Mellow Doubt was fantastic and happens to this day when the song is played live.

7. Ash
I drove me, my brother and at least 3-mates to this gig in my Mum's tiny Fiat Panda. I think it was 900cc or something! I think someone may have tried to crowd surf from the back of the care into the front on the way home while I was driving!

Catching Ash as they were breaking was quite something as they were the same age as us, if not younger. They charged through a pop punk set and just looked like they were having the time of their lives. Jack Names The Planets was a big tune in Carluke back in the day.

Photographed from behind a my framed ticket collage -hence the blur

8. Arab Strap
There was one month where I was at King Tut's at least once a week to see some incredible bands just as they were breaking. Arab Strap were riding high on the success of First Big Weekend and watching them live in Tut's was quite the experience. There was an air of mystery about the band and also one of tension in the venue. A girl was invited on stage to duet with Aiden and she gave a shout out to the Uddingston Young Team! The chemistry between Aidan and Malcolm was incredible - they were unique and earned a place in the hearts of many Scottish music fans and all around the world for their honesty, humour and take on life.

9. Embrace
Embrace played All You Good Good People second song in and I remember turning to my friend and saying 'that is as good as The Beatles!' This was before their album had been released and I had discovered them through their Fireworks EP. They had a bit of northern swagger and some beautiful ballads. They have played Tut's a number of times through the years and some very memorable shows at the Barrowland.

10. Menswear
The hype around Menswear was ridiculous; signed when they had one song on the strength of them looking good, drinking in the right pubs and clubs and their guitarist dealing to journalists - those were the days.

This was an outrageous show that I went to with my brother. They absolutely smashed it. The crowd went nuts. They more than lived up to the hype with brilliant songs like Daydreamer. My brother and I stood on the seats at the back and took it all in - a crazy show.

11. Money Mark
One of the coolest shows I have been to at Tut's. Money Mark entered through the crowd whilst beatboxing and proceeded to take the crowd on an eclectic journey, showcasing his outrageous musical and songwriting talent in style. His Push The Button was a favourite of mine for a number of years.

12. Tanya Donnelly with support by The Walkmen
My mate Reddy was working through in Edinburgh and it was chucking it. Something was up with transport and I couldn't get anyone else to go so I went on my own. The Walkmen were supporting and to this day I regret not offering my flat up to the band when the singer said 'Hi we're The Walkmen from New York City, we don't have anywhere to stay tonight, does anyone have a floor we could crash on?'

I did speak to the guitarist at the bar afterwards and told him that The Rat was better than anything The Strokes have. He seemed pretty pleased. I hope they found a place to crash!

Being on my own, I ended up quite pissed drinking pints and watching the gorgeous Tanya Donnelly and being delighted when she played a couple of Belly songs.

13. Bluetones and Supergrass
Not a bad double bill! The melodic gorgeous tunes of Bluetones and the pop punk charm of Supergrass. Both bands made splashes with their debut singles and had a real buzz about them. Mark Morriss and Gaz Coombes looked and sounded fantastic.

14. Cast
Cast released some brilliant singles back in the day which caused me to go and see them at Tut's. It must have been well before their album came out as I remember the venue being pretty empty but John Power was in charming form, eyes twinkling as he exchanged banter with the crowd in one of the most scouse accents I have ever heard. Fine Time was, and is still, a brilliant guitar pop song.

I vividly remember this show as my sister had fallen and cracked her skull that afternoon and I wasn't sure if I would go to the gig or not. There used to be a phone box across the road from Tut's and i remember phoning my Mum to see how she was. Thankfully she was OK.

15. Har Mar Superstar
I can't remember who he was supporting, he was first on a bill of 3, but Har Mar Superstar played like ....well a superstar to a pretty small audience, most people were still in the bar downstairs. He stripped to his underwear and had a ridiculously long mic lead to walk into the audience to generate a reaction. He wandered right up the stairs and past the sound desk to the spot I tend to stand if possible, and then I almost tripped him down the stairs - accidentally of course! His set was incredible -Prince style pop funk. Despite enjoying him live, I don't recall buying any of his albums.

16. Futuristic Retro Champions
My sisters first band played Tut's in the summer of 2007 - just ten days before my girlfriend (now wife) and I were due to head off travelling around the world for a year. Good timing! This was a great drunken night of pop with loads of friends and family in one of my favourite places in the world. I was very proud of my wee sister.

 Me and my sister in 2007

17. Mylo
Mylo's Destroy Rock n Roll went mental in Glasgow and then all over the world. He spray painted the title all over Glasgow and released some ltd edition singles on local Breastfed Records. The album went massive. I remember running out the door after this gig to get down to the Subclub for the aftershow. The show (and aftershow) were a real celebration. Songs from that album would be played in pubs, clubs, pre-club parties and house parties after the clubs shut. An incredible album.

I will be blogging about the album later in the year as it celebrates it's 10th anniversary. Mylo hasn't released any new material since.

18. Vigo Thieves
I was managing Vigo Thieves when they became the first unsigned band to play 2-nights back-to-back at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. It was a very exciting time for the band as they went from playing to their mates to playing shows in their hometown (well pretty close to Wishaw) where they didn't know who was in the audience. They upped their game and slated Tut's both nights. Hearing songs like Heartbeats being sung back by the audience was a spine tingling

19. Tim Burgess
I am a huge fan of The Charlatans and when lead singer announced he was playing Tuts to tour his debut solo album I had to be there. It was a brilliant gig, Tim had a stunning backing band and he was in great form, playing to the audience as he romped through the pop soul of I Believe.

20. The Magic Numbers
Their eponymous debut album was utterly gorgeous. Melodic, stunning harmonies, catchy choruses, brilliant breakdowns and a beautiful mix of male and female vocals. I first caught them in the old Barfly down by the Clyde, by the time they played Tuts the word was out. That debut album was a beauty and the live shows surrounding it were full of love, the band developed a special relationship with Glasgow and I always remember this show and one they played at the Barrowland when they were just blown away by the crowd singing the album back to them.

21. Gomez
Looking back through ticket stubs, I caught Gomez, Money Mark and Arab Strap within 2-weeks of each other at King Tuts back in 1998. Three very different bands, three utterly incredible gigs. That is the beauty of the venue, they embrace every kind of music, try things out and many times the acts they put on will go on to play bigger venues and have long careers making music.

Gomez sounded sensational. They didn't look that good though! We saw them huddled together over beers in the downstairs bar and they seemed impressed by the DJ playing McLemore Avenue by Booker T and the MGs - a should instrumental version of Abbey Road by The Beatles. (strange I remember that so well!).

They were brilliant on stage, a real wild mix of styles and influences; soul, country, a bit of a dance vibe at times - just like nothing else and that is what made them so good. Ben Ottewell's voice was deep and soulful and it really caught me by surprise.

22. Astral
Astral were a local band that my mate Mark Falconer was in - playing bass. There was a real buzz about them, they sold out Sleazys and played a totally triumphant set - coming on late when everyone was drunk and whipped up by a great pre gig playlist/DJ. They got played on the Evening Session and seemed set to get signed; Steve Lamaq was a huge fan of debut single Come and Go and the instrumental b-side Caribou remains a favourite of mine.

They got a support slot at Tuts and word was that scouts were coming to see them. It all went wrong though, they didn't get a proper soundcheck, the lead guitar wasn't being heard through the speakers at all.

I remember being really worried for them and between songs I went up to the stage to tell Mark that we couldn't hear the lead guitar. He said they couldn't hear much on stage.

I don't remember much else, but it is a King Tuts memory that always stands out - things don't always go to plan. Astral gave it a good shot but broke up before an album was released. I can't remember if they recorded one or not.

23. Hot Chip
I went mad for Hot Chip. Lynn and I stumbled across them in a tent at Benicassim when we went over in 2005. Their album The Warning was coming out and they had loads of hit singles on it. Tuts was sold out but I went along to try and buy a ticket. This was one show I didn't want to miss out on.

As luck would have it, my friend Mark (mentioned above) was there with a writer from Clash Magazine. Their photographer hadn't shown up so they had a spare guest pass so I got in.

Hot Chip played a blinder and remain one of my favourite bands to this day. And I Was A Boy From School was absolutely class, Joe and Alexis' voices blended superbly, Colours was sublime and Over and Over a riot.

24. The Pastels
April 1994, pre-internet, pre-mobiles (unless you were a stockbroker). Rumours always happened at gigs and festivals but this one seemed to be sadly true by the way people were talking. Kurt Cobain had taken his own life. I had queued for ages one day at the old Virgin in Union Street to buy tickets for Nirvana at the SECC, I couldn't believe it.

It was true, The Pastels came on stage and dedicated the show to Kurt before playing a brilliant guitar pop punk set including one of my favourite songs of all time Thank You For Being You.

I had driven in with my friend Grant and we ran outside afterwards to turn on to the John Peel show. Only Peel wasn't on, it was just Nirvana Peel Session tracks and the odd announcement to say that the show was cancelled in memory of Kurt and they were playing his music.

18-years old - we were a little heartbroken. One of the strangest car journeys i have ever taken.

25. Rae and Christian
Rae and Christian were Mark Rae and Steve Christian, 2 producers from Manchester with impeccable taste, style and talent. Their Sleepwalking album from 2001 was a big favourite of mine - guests included the late great Bobby Womack and hip hop act The Pharcyde. The closing track Salvation is absolutely stunning

Their live show superb, a big bank of electric equipment and a sh*t hot band and vocalists. I also remember the support act Fingathing, also from Manchester and based around the talents of a guy called Peter Parker. It was one of those great nights at Tut's where the music sounded incredible and the talent on stage was unique and just totally on it.

Monday, 2 February 2015

TeenCanteen at Broadcast

Playing a gig on a Sunday isn't always a good idea, playing a gig on an Old Firm Sunday really isn't a good idea; however TeenCanteen were invited to play Broadcast as part of Independent Venue Week and decided to go for it.

The bands lovely friendly and informative e-newsletter was sent through the week and fans were told that TeenCanteen will be focusing on recording an album through 2015, breaking cover for the odd sporadic gig and this was the only one currently in the diary.

 TeenCanteen had a productive 2014 that saw them play festivals, earn some great support slots, play 6music and BBC Scotland sessions and gather excellent reviews and a word of mouth fanbase through the release of their second single and aforementioned gigs.

The basement of Broadcast was certainly quieter than the last time TeenCanteen played and packed it out, but the band immediately out everyone at ease and made everyone step forward when they introduced themselves and went into Friends - a song that has been a set closer in the past.

A pulsating synth bass builds into a beautiful noise and Carla stood on her toes to deliver everything she could vocally, backed up on 3-part harmonies at times by Amanda and Sita with Debbie playing a blinder on the drums.

It is a genuinely brilliant song, packed with emotion and beautifully arranged. I look forward to hearing this one recorded for the album.

The 2 singles to date; Honey and You're Still Mine were played in the first half of the set, Honey had a delicious new rawness to it and the closing instrumental of You're Still Mine was gloriously New Order-esque with a Belle and Sebastian tinge.

Roses (Coming Up) had a real Motown punk feel to it and the band blitzed through it with style and pace. This was swiftly followed by new song Sirens (these are the first 2 songs that TeenCanteen have recorded for the album).

Sirens is incredible - it really blew me away; building, swooping and just sounding like the band have found their direction.

The girls closed with the gorgeous Vagabond. For proof of how gorgeous a song this is then check the video below.

I look forward to TeenCanteen completing an album but I also look forward to them breaking cover for a few shows through the course of the year.