Sunday, 29 November 2015

Introducing - Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5

Mixing with the fans Colonel Mustard style, crowdsurfing in an inflatable boat!

I first became aware of Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 at the Wickerman Festival a couple of years ago. You just couldn't miss them, half the campsite seemed to be wearing yellow or Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 t-shirts. 

For whatever reason, I didn't see the band - although everyone I met over the course of the weekend that had seen them was raving about them.

I've still not caught them live, although the bands growing reputation led to them winning the Best Live Act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards this year.

The video for their latest single These Are Not The Drugs That You Are Looking For (that I have unfortunately only just discovered) highlights why they were deserved winners of that award. Filmed at the Kelburn Garden Party, they have an absolute blast on stage and get the audience jumping, dancing, singing and generally having the time of their life. Watch the video HERE.

The single is like a melting pot of the Beta Band, the Polyphonic Spree, ska, funk, soul, a dash of Screamadelica and more than a dab of euphoria. Stretching out to over 8-minutes, this is ambitious, fun, eclectic and uplifting.

The band have fun on stage and off but, despite their apparent lighthearted take on life, they are not afraid to comment on political issues.

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 refer to their fans as the yellow movement. It is a movement that is growing and the band are set to cap a memorable year with a huge all-dayer at St Lukes in the East End on Saturday 19th December. I imagine a few more people will be joining the yellow movement in 2016 and I intend to be one of them.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Girl Effect 2 at Mono

Thursday night at Mono was delightful; loads of Scottish bands/artists coming together to support Scottish Women's Aid. There was glitter, fun, fantastic music and a friendly and uplifting atmosphere.

The Girl Effect #2 was curated by my sister Carla from TeenCanteen. The first Girl Effect had taken place in Edinburgh back in May for her 30th birthday. It was so successful, raising just under £3,500 plus a heap of awareness, that Scottish Women's Aid asked her if she would do a second one. Now back in Glasgow with the rest of the band, Carla decided to go for it and was amazed by the response.

I would like to say a personal thank you to all the artists involved, the incredible tech team led by Ronan from La Chunky studios, the sound engineer, the team from Scottish Women's Aid, the MSP's that came down, the girls from TYCI who dj'd, looked after artists and helped on the door, to everyone who donated a prize for the raffle, to all at Mono and to everyone who supported the event by attending or by writing about it in advance.

And also well done to my sister for organising another incredible night. Here is what happened....

Carla and representatives from Scottish Women's Aid took to the stage at 7pm sharp. Doors had opened at 6.30pm and it was fantastic to have the venue busy for the first bands coming on.

The Just Joans - Will He Kiss Me Tonight by Dolly Mixtures, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? by The Shirelles

It can't be easy to be the first band on, but The Just Joans made it look easy, the 6-piece sounded superb and their take on The Shirelles was particularly well received.

Adam from Randolph's Leap - Bud by Honeyblood, Us Little Kids by The Roches
A quick changeover and Adam was into Bud by Honeyblood and sounding fantastic. I discovered some great new songs through the night and Us Little Kids was one of them.

Bodyheat - The Loving Kind by Girls Aloud, Love In The First Degree by Bananarama
With 12 bands in 4-hours, it was going to be tight. A delayed train meant that the drummer from Bodyheat literally walked into the venue and on to the stage with the rest of his band! Just in time for some pop magic with the Bananarama cover an early highlight of the night.

Sharptooth - Remember Walking In The Sand by The Shrangri La's, Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill

I hadn't heard of Sharptooth (above) before the night but I'l definitely be checking them out. Their guitars sounded glorious and they delivered their covers with attitude and style.

Broken Records - Modern Girl by Sleater Kinney, Stop In The Name Of Love by The Supremes

Top marks to Broken Records (pictured with Sita and Carla from TeenCanteen who joined them for the Supremes cover) for travelling through from Edinburgh to play.  They were a highlight from the Girl Effect #1, playing with total confidence, tight as you like, strong vocals and superb song choices.

Jo Mango - November by Auzure Ray, Before The World Was Big by Girlpool

I watched Jo Mango and her from the side of the stage, getting a close up view of the way they beautifully construct melodies from some out of the ordinary instruments. Their ability to do this with songs that are not their own was stunning.

Cairn String Quartet - Just A Girl by No Doubt, Waltz by Rachel Sermanni, Honey by TeenCanteen

Jaws dropped around Mono when the Cairn String Quartet started their covers. They sounded beautiful and at times you couldn't believe there was only 4 of them. They soon became 8 when the girls from TeenCanteen joined them to perform their debut single Honey that they rerecorded with the Cairn String Quartet for their album - gorgeous. Watch a video of the performance HERE

Skies Fell - Work by Kelly Rowland, Stay by Shakespears Sister

A standout performance. Running slightly late, I was beginning to get a little stressed as my sister had put me in charge of artist liaison and timings! It was worth the hold up as Skies Fell absolutely smashed it out the park with both performances. Singer David Pollock shaker and shimmied to Kelly Rowland's Work and hit the falsetto with ease. Stay was a real highlight from the night. Exceptionally tight performance.

Honey and the Herbs - Soft Sands by The Chordettes and Dance by ESG

Wow! My sister described Honey and the Herbs as 'Glasgow's best kept secret'. They were sensational, brilliant musicians who delivered 2 stunning performances. Dance by ESG really got the crowd going. I look forward to seeing them live in the future.

Kathryn Joseph - I'll Set You Free by The Bangles, Call The Shots by Girls Aloud

Simply beautiful. SAY Award winner Kathryn Joseph was absolutely lovely - in performance and person. Coming for the start and staying until the last record was spun. A hush fell over Mono when Kathryn began to sing, backed only by 2 different antique keyboard/organ style instruments, one for each song. Her voice is exquisite, delivery unique and she melted hearts.

BMX Bandits - That's How Heartaches Are Made by The Marvelettes, It's Gonna Take A Miracle by The Royalettes

Duglas T Stewart has been an incredible help to my sister since she formed TeenCanteen and he was as supportive as always in the build up to The Girl Effect #2, helping with promotion and writing a brilliant piece for Louder Than War featuring his 10 favourite girl group songs. Check it HERE.

Duglas and his BMX Bandits were in fine form and I probably wasn't the only one who wished they could have chosen and played a few more songs. That's How Heartaches Are Made was soulful, stretching on heart strings and Duglas was in fine voice. It's Gonna Take A Miracle was sung beautifully and powerfully by Chloe, a stunning performance with the Bandits backing her in style.

TeenCanteen - Trouble by Shampoo, Waterfalls by TLC and I Know Where It's At by All Saints (mash-up), Sister by TeenCanteen

On to the curators, TeenCanteen started with the relatively obscure Trouble by Shampoo, a mid-90's outfit who wrote fanzines about the Manic St Preachers and came through the Riot Grrl scene before delivering this slice of punky pop perfection. Deborah took lead vocals, while all the girls were on harmonies.

TeenCanteen's take on TLC's Waterfalls into I Know Where It's At by All Saints was stunning and captured on film by Duglas from BMX Bandits. Watch it HERE

The girls ended with their own song Sister and the message was clear;

I know I've got something good
When I feel the sisterhood
With me

The raffle was drawn and then there was time for 90-minutes of dancing with the TYCI dj's playing some cracking pop tunes, ending the night in fine style with Madonna's Like A Prayer. The girls had been dj-ing between songs all night and their taste and style was perfect for the night.

The final total has still to be confirmed but it is well over £2,000! Well done again to all involved.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Cover version of the month #6

St Etienne (with Moira Lambert on vocals pre Sarah Cracknell) transform Neil Young's beautiful Only Love Can Break Your Heart - modernising it, taking it into the future, making it timeless.

Of course Young's version remains timeless, its rustic, simplistic acoustic chords and Young's aching, breaking voice singing;

I was always thinking of games that I was playing
Trying to make the best of my time

But only love can break your heart
Try to be sure right from the start
Yes only love can break your heart
What if your world should fall apart

Yet, for me, St Etienne arguably improve upon Young's genius, taking the song to new places that just so happened to fit in with the Acid House and ecstasy scene that was gripping the nation at the time.

Released in 1990, Only Love Can Break Your Heart remains a pre and post club favourite, also sounding superb in clubs. This was recently played at Everything Shakes at The Admiral in Glasgow and it was probably the song of the night.

The song was recorded in 2-hours in a makeshift bedroom studio - it has that raw, unpolished quality and it remains a true gem that will continue to captivate audiences for years to come.

There are a raft of remixes to explore;


Andrew Weatherall a mix in two halves

Masters at Work dub remix

Richard X remix

Kenlou B Boy New mix

Fox Base Beta mix

Flowered Up remix

Vigo Thieves at the Art School

November is a crazy month for gigs in Glasgow and also for nights out.  Sadly I couldn't make Vigo Thieves at the Art School on Saturday night. Thankfully my friend Gordon (a previous guest blogger) was there and more than happy to write another guest review for me.


photo by drummer Alan Jukes - brother Stevie in top form

November has always been my favourite month for gigs mainly because plenty of bands tour at this time as they are looking to promote new albums for the Christmas market. It often brings problems because there aren`t enough days in the month and there will be inevitable clashes between bands that I want to see and this year proved no different. 

We had already bought tickets for a Samm Henshaw show on Nov 8th and Prides / Fatherson on Saturday night just gone. These plans were booted into the air as soon as Vigo Thieves announced they would be touring in November. Both of our previous gigs clashed with Vigo gigs, one at Sneaky Pete`s in Edinburgh and the other at The Art School in Glasgow so we gave the Samm Henshaw tickets to a relative and booked an overnight stay in the capital to see the lads play through there. 

At that gig I managed to wangle access all areas passes for the Glasgow gig as I wanted to put a new camera to the test and we then had to change other plans about. We had intended going to the ABC first to catch Fatherson and then heading up the hill to The Art School but in the end we just decided to sell our tickets at the door in Sauchiehall St. We ended up making two young ladies very happy as the Prides gig was sold out and we sold them the tickets at face value instead of them being ripped off by the usual touts that hang outside most venues in Glasgow.

We met up with my cousin and his wife for a beer in the bar downstairs before heading up into the venue to catch the support acts. It took a while for the crowd to come in and many of them will have missed the debut gig of BAD MANNEQUINS. Ross Hamilton , Craig Douglas ( Sonny Marvello ) and Jamie McGrory certainly made those who caught them sit up and pay attention, for a first gig together they absolutely creamed it and sounded superb. 

I missed NIEVES as I was backstage talking to a few people but my cousin spoke highly of them . They have a headline gig at King Tuts coming up on Friday 18th December that we`ll be getting tickets for .

The floor was starting to fill up by now and I made a snap decision to go and put my camera away backstage. I`ve never been one for standing still at gigs and I had a feeling it was going to get rowdy as the boys hadn`t played live in Glasgow for a while. The lights dimmed and The Killers All These Things That I`ve Done was cranked up with the crowd stamping their feet and roaring out the I`ve got soul refrain as the Vigos` took to the stage . With everyone pushing to the front, Stevie Jukes took the mic and thanked the crowd for coming out .

It`s been a while , Glasgow , let`s get fucking loud.

They blasted straight in with BELIEVE and the crowd joined in with such force that Stevie was forced to signal that he wanted his mic turned up. Coupled with Gino Phipps bouncing around like Zebedee on speed, it was obviously going to be one of those nights. Mixing old favourites like STEAL YOUR HEART and GHOSTS with new material THE ONE, new single FREE and the absolutely spectacular KING the band were on fire with Stevie encouraging everyone to sing along as Chris Gorman played the piano solo intro to HEARTBEATS.

You know the words, let`s hear it  he shouted and the whole venue sang them back to him .

As they clambered towards a noisy finish with THIS LOVE, Stevie decided to dive head first into the crowd and got bumped around on top of people for 30 seconds before they manage to direct him back towards the stage.

They finished with the soaring sound of the full version of HEARTBEATS and the mosh pit that had developed in front of the stage was soon joined by the lead singer diving in again. He had warned that he`d enjoyed the first one so he was going to do it again and he was true to his word. As the gig drew to an end it had been an hour of unadulterated joy and noise that saw everyone smiling and covered in sweat , just the way these things are supposed to be.

Vigo Thieves have been quieter this year in comparison to the last few but there is an album on the way and the new stuff they are producing seems to be much more polished. The live shows continue to grow and they continue to catch the eye and ears of music goers up and down the length of the country. As they say themselves


Sooner rather than later would be just fine .

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Mercury Rev at Glasgow School of Art

Holes, dug by little moles, 
Angry jealous spies, got telescopes for eyes
Come to you as friends, 
All those endless ends,
That can't be tied

Mercury Rev came to town last night and led a sold out Art School audience on a glorious, magical, mystery trip through their back catalogue. It was a mesmerising performance, the ninety minute set flew by as everyone was captivated by Joanathan Donahue and his exceptional band.

So yeah, that was the setlist. Some bands take a few songs to get into their stride, to warm up, to find their groove - not Mercury Rev!

Donahue conducted his band, vibing off the soaring riffs and beats, pretending to fly at times and probably believing he could and he was.

Carwash Hair was funny, uplifting and life affirming. Frittering was psychedelic bliss, Tonite It Shows was delivered with tender care, a beautiful lysergic lullaby.

Mercury Rev were on fire. Donahue was up on the drum riser, lifting one of the lights off the stage to use as a spotlight to shine on the band, on him, on the audience, grabbing his guitar and joining in some of the glorious psychedelic jams that ended some of the songs, delivering an exceptional front man performance. The gleam in his eyes, the smile and his genuine heartfelt thanks were great to see and hear, this was a guy singing from the bottom of his heart. His band were sensational, Grasshopper shredded his guitar at times and delivered tender riffs at others.

Holes caused a few guys in their 50's beside me to grab each other and sing with gusto. The rest of the crowd felt the same way. A beautiful Tides led into the life affirming Opus 40 - but this whole experience was life affirming. The whole set made me think that every band in the universe should try LSD at some point!

The band went off for literally 30-seconds before coming back on and playing Goddess On The Highway. Arms were raised, the air was being punched and everyone sang along, especially on the melancholic yet soaring refrain.

And I know, it ain't gonnna last 
And I know, it ain't gonna last

Dark Is Rising finished the set as a young couple embraced in front of me, lost in the music and each other and Donahue thanked the audience; 'thank you from the bottom of our hearts Glasgow, it's been too long'.

Hope they come back soon.

Friday, 20 November 2015

New Order at the O2 Academy Glasgow

I didn't go and see New Order the last time they played in Scotland. I was upset that the band had carried on under the legendary name following the departure of Peter Hook. All reports from that Edinburgh show were that the band were in sensationally euphoric form - better than ever.

So, when they announced they were playing in Glasgow I snapped up tickets quick sharp. At £40 a pop they were not cheap, but the incredible 10-minute version of Temptation was worth the admission price alone....although there was much more besides!

I did miss Hooky though and although New Order played well, I think they also miss his stage presence and passion. I do wish they would kiss and make up but sadly that seems a million miles away.

Bernard Sumner, Steven Morris and Gillian Gilbert remain from the original line-up, assisted by Phil Cunningham and Tom Chapman and they all gelled well, although Bernard took a while to warm up and muttered something about being under the weather.

The crowd didn't care, they were bang up for it and that seemed to translate to New Order. Ceremony was predictably charged and punky, Your Silent Face was as welcome as always and 5-8-6 a pleasant surprise from the early days.

Lonesome Tonight was beautiful but perhaps the most pleasing thing of the whole night was the incredible response from the crowd to the new songs from this years Music Complete album.

Tutti Frutti, People On The High Line and Plastic were greeted with sheer elation. Sumner managed a few twirls on stage and his vocals at the end of Plastic were euphoric. A full on disco was taking place in Glasgow with a superb light shows, regular blasts of dry ice and people dancing without a care in the world - lost in sublime electronic pop music.

Bernard Sumner bathed in lights

The only bizarre song of the night was a remixed version of Waiting For The Sirens To Call which just didn't work at all - in terms of the remix or the song selection or placing it directly after Bizarre Love Triangle which was utterly incredible. The crowd went nuts, punching the air and dancing like it was the 80's.

The end of the set was sublime, Plastic, The Perfect Kiss, a euphoric True Faith and then a 10-minute romp through Temptation with a brilliant moment when Bernard brought things down to the beat to listen to the crowd singing, chanting and hollering the ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh refrain. The crowd started this up again during the down time before the encore. It was also brilliant to bounce around with my friend Tel and his son Benji - a Dad taking his teenage son to his first New Order show.

Atmosphere was shimmering glory in all its splendour, an incredible song played with the video in the background and pictures of Curtis. Love Will Tear Us Apart was delivered at pace and Blue Monday ended the show with everyone going crazy.

A great night with some truly joyous moments getting lost in timeless music.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

King Tut's New Year Revolution 2016

January is an incredible month for music in Glasgow. The cold winds blow, the rain falls from the sky, so we like nothing better than to head to one of the city's many warm and welcoming venues, meet with friends, grab some beers and watch some bands.

Celtic Connections grows from strength to strength, but elsewhere in Glasgow, the legendary venue King Tut's Wah Wah Hut has been showcasing some of the brightest young talent in Scotland for the last few years under the banner New Year's Revolution.

New Year's Revolution was set up by Craig Johnston and as Craig deservedly progresses up the DF Concert ranks, the role of booker and curator for NYR has been taken on by young Chris Beltran.

Chris has booked an eclectic array of bands, artists and guest DJ's (including me on January 23rd when one of my own favourite promising acts November Lights take to the Tut's stage) and wants to create a festival style vibe every night.

The 2016 KTSN16 line-up has over 80 acts plating over 16-nights! With 5 bands on offer downstairs and upstairs over the course of each night plus DJ's and all for only £7, Tut's is set to be rammed and jammed in the best possible way to kickstart 2016.

Golden tickets that allow you to go to every show (high stamina required) are available for the bargain price of only £35 for the next two weeks and they then rise to £50. A nice Christmas present and something to look forward to in January!

Here is the line-up (and see poster above), could you find your new favourite band or artist?

Thurs 7thLittle Waves + Graeme Quinn + Ports of Essen + Couriers Club
Venue DJs: Sofar Sounds Glasgow / Bar Band: Michael Cassidy

Fri 8thEcho Valley + The Pacific Blues + The Chelseas + Orthodox
Venue DJs: EmuBands / Bar Band: Return To The Sun

Sat 9thThe Phantoms + Proud Honey + The Ranzas + Sonic Templars
Venue DJs: Medicine Men / Bar Band: Holy Pistol Club

Sun 10thJill Brown + Junebug + Saint Huck + Blackleaf 40
Venue DJs: Ravechild / Bar Band: Steve Grozier

Mon 11thThe Fast Camels + All The Franklins + Homeward James + Black Cat Revue
Venue DJs: DJ5 / Bar Band: Miracle Glass Company

Tues 12th: Chloe Marie + Chris Ashton + Amy Groden + Liam Doyle
Venue DJs: FCK Yes / Bar Band: Northern Central

Wed 13thFCK Yes (Live): Tongues + Forever + Life Model
Venue DJs: Fantastic Man / Bar Band: Friends In America

Thurs 14thCow Cow Boogie + The Big Nowhere + The Strange Blue Dreams + The Rulers Of The Root
Venue DJs: Bella Rebel / Bar Band: Alexander Hynes

Fri 15thHalo Tora + Toy Mountains + Nothing Universe + Verse Metrics
Venue DJs: VASA / Bar Band: Special Guests

Sat 16thThe Calm Fiasco + Foggy City Orphan + Indigo Velvet + Bad Mannequins
Venue DJs: The Candid Mixtape  / Bar Band: Ded Rabbit

Sun 17thBloodlines + Tetra + The 21st State + GoodCopGreatCop
Venue DJs: Scottish Fiction / Bar Band: We Were Hunted

Mon 18thThe Winter Tradition + Life On Standby + Cavaliers + Artie Ziff
Venue DJs: Abandon Ship / Bar Band: Copper Lungs

Tues 19thPatersani + The Blood and Gold + The Dead Settlers + The Northern
Venue DJs: WeCameFromWolves / Bar Band: Velvetbomb

Wed 20thApache Darling + The Claramassa + Acrylic + Wuh Oh
Venue DJs: Vinyl Noise / Bar Band: Coeur

Thurs 21stArmstrong + Start Static + Talk + Don’t Look Down
Venue DJs: Pop Cop / Bar Band: Twin Heart

Sat 23rdEnemies Of The State + November Lights + Lemonhaze + Freelance Liars
Venue DJs: Everything Flows / Bar Band: The Van T’s

Monday, 16 November 2015

Ultimate Painting at Mono

Ultimate Painting were brought to my attention earlier on this year when Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream posted about their Green Lanes album and how he thought they were cool. I always love Bobby's posts on Facebook, his knowledge and passion really comes across, as does his fantastic taste.

Then a lovely girl Holly Calder who DJ's in Glasgow, puts on shows and generally has fantastic style and taste posted that she was putting Ultimate Painting on at the Old Hairdressers in town - a superb little venue.

I checked them out, bought the album and also bought tickets. Due to exceptional demand, the show was upgraded to Mono and what a show it was. I have had a rather manic week or so since then - hence the very late blog!

I caught most of Vital Idles set, a raw 4-piece enjoying making a noise, their guitarist spent most of his time facing his amp and buzzing off what his band were creating on stage. The young female singer occasionally bounded about the stage to help generate a response from the crowd.

The Bellybuttons were excellent, I thoroughly enjoyed their set, the guitars sounded glorious, they looked like they were having fun and their sound was reminiscent of the Fanclub at times, Pavement at others. I definitely hope to catch this band again in the future.

Ultimate Painting expand to a 4-piece when they play live and the resulting sound and performance was a joy to watch and listen to. The two guitars gelled superbly at times and played off against each other at others.

Jack Cooper and James Hoare shared vocals and their Velvet-y sound gained a warm response from the crowd - the coolest looking crowd at a gig I have seen in ages!

Songs like Break the Chain highlight the sense of melody and tenderness the band are capable of, while Out In The Cold is one of the most gorgeous songs I have heard in 2015.

Kodiak was dreamy guitar brilliance over a simple beat. Check it out below. I hope to see them back in Glasgow soon and I'll get a blog up a lot quicker next time!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Crash Club at King Tuts

New music in November

Crash Club - live review and interview

Guest review by Gordon Reid

Over the last year or so there has been a lot of talk about Crash Club . A spot at T in the park in the summer , closely followed by winning the best electronic act at the SAMA`s in early October put them in the spotlight and they continue to pick up fans every time they gig . I first came across them at an Everything Shakes event in the Admiral bar at the start of October although I`d heard Murray and a few others talking about them previously. Last Friday they played This Feeling at Tuts along with Our Future Glory , The Trend and The Insomniac Project and at a £5 for 4 bands it is superb value for money. 

Our Future Glory ( Dundee based trio ) were first on and set the tone for the night with a high energy performance. The Trend were decent but looked out of place as a guitar band amongst many synthesisers, not their fault and they still gave it their all . I`d like to see them again in their own show to judge them better. 

The Insomnia Project are relatively new on the scene in terms of playing live as far as I know, last time I spoke to Murray about them he reckoned they hadn`t played more than a handful of gigs but thats twice I`ve seen them in a month and both times they have blown me away. If you were a fan of Johny and the Giro`s ( I was ) then you`ll know a few faces in the band and the addition of Deborah on vocals was a masterstroke. Having watched them in the Admiral last month I had said that I`d like to see them in a bigger venue as her voice would be suited to it. I`m glad to say I was right on this and they had the crowd going wild for the whole of their set. The strobe light added to the atmosphere, sadly they overran and couldn`t get their last song in but it didn`t dampen the spirit in the crowd.

Crowd video from Tut's - Sphinx by The Insomniac Project

To the main event and the trio from Kilwinning didn`t disappoint. The job of lighting the stage was pretty easy as they once again turned the strobe on and let it go from there . Pulsing beats taken to highs and allowed to come back down, just as you thought the tunes were over a roll of the drums and they were off again taking the crowd with them. They hardly stopped bouncing the whole time. Joined by Ian McKinnon of Medicine Men for the epic and euphoric Recondition and by Charotte Brimner (Be Charlotte) for another tune I didn't catch the name of. They ended with Last Dance and smashed it out the park. If you haven't seen them yet then grab the chance with both hands. They are well worth it.

Crowd video from Tut's - Last Dance by Crash Club

Crash Club have smashed everything put in their path through 2015, so I caught up with Neal Mcharg, the energetic bassist and all round good guy - the Glasgow Mani - to see what he was saying to it.

1) It's been quite a year - what have been the highlights for you?

Yeah it's been a proper good year to be fair, loads of different highlights. Festival season with T, Belladrum and Electric Fields is up there and supporting The View was good exposure to a crowd that would never have heard of us. Playing and winning an award at the SAMA's was also great exposure.

Personal highlight for me though is the fact that people have responded positively to what we have been trying to do at the live shows with lights, visuals and guest vocalists.

2) Ian MacKinnon has added a new dimension to your live performances, how did he become involved?

We all love Medicine Men and big Ian's a really good mate so we asked him to to do Recondition and from then on Ian has basically been at every show working the crowd up. Look at theTenement Trail video, I don't think I've ever seen a crowd go as wild at being called mother***kers in my life before!

At one point the bar staff were on the bar raving and big Gino from Vigo Thieves and others were up on shoulders. It was pretty much carnage, trying to get on and off the stage was interesting, never mind the gig itself.

'it was pretty much carnage' - Recondition at Flat 0/1 for the Tenement Trail

3) How much confidence do you and the rest of the band gain from that kind of reaction?

Loads - the stage show definitely gets better when you see a crowd like that, it's hard not to get into it a lot more. Aran even moved a wee bit more than usual!

4) I believe you have some more guest vocalists lined up for future releases?

Yeah, Be Charlotte has been smashing it live as well. We can;t wait to get her into the studio.

5) How far off is an album?

We're recording the EP in Rocket Science studios just now. It is sounding massive, Ross and Michael (producers) have worked wonders on it. The drum and bass sounds are pretty much inspired by the New York scene - LCD, The Rapture, Gossip!, Holy Ghost, but with synth tones of Justice, Chemical Brothers and New Order.

6) Sammy has an incredible ear for a tune. Does he bring the songs fully formed to the band, or do you each add something?

No, basically what happens is Sammy will come up with an idea, recording different sounds based round the same theme. Aran and me will go down, hear all the new noises and start writing parts with Sammy on the synths and then the fun and games of structuring the track begins for us in the hut. So all that has to happen before we even think about what we're going to out down guitar, bass or drum wise. Once we've got all that done then we pick the right singer to collaborate with.

7) Anything left before the end of the year? And what do you hope to achieve in 2016?

We might be doing something else before the end of the year, but can;t say too much for now.

It's probably a bigger year next year for us because I think more will be expected. We'll step it up a level with the live shows, get the EP out. If the demand is there we'll go in and do an album by the end of the year. But as we have seen with 2015, we can plan things, but things you don't expect to happen, happen and your year is completely different.

Monday, 9 November 2015

La Fontaines at Glasgow Barrowland

New music in November

La Fontaines are a young Scottish band hailing from the Lanarkshire towns of Motherwell and Wishaw on the outskirts of Glasgow.

The band have been building a fantastic following through self-releases, hard work, word-of-mouth and a growing reputation for their energetic and euphoric live shows.

Class, their debut album, was released earlier on this year, making the top 100 on the UK album chart - a phenomenal achievement for a band self releasing through their own 889 record label.

This momentum led to the band, led by the charismatic frontman Kerr Okan, headlining the world famous Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow last night, 7th November.

In Kerr's own words - No label, no big corporate machine behind us, no industry politics, just right good tunes written from the heart.

As it was one of my best friend's 40th birthday, I couldn't make it along to witness this historic moment of a young DIY band packing out the world famous Barrowland. I did consider getting someone to write a guest blog and then I came up with a better idea.

La Fontaines are incredible at engaging with fans via social media and they get a lot of love back in return. So I thought I would let their fans review the show with their tweets and comments.

It sounds like a good one! Well done to the band and to their lovely manager Aarti Joshi. What next for the Fonts? The last band that I am aware of to be doing this kind of thing was Arctic Monkeys.

La Fontaines tearing up the Barrowland

Can you spot singer Kerr Okan in the crowd?

Friday, 6 November 2015

Stone Roses are blooming

'The roses are blooming' said Noel Gallagher on Soccer AM a couple of weeks ago.

Indeed they are. The band have sold out 3-nights at Manchester City's Etihad stadium and a 4th will surely sell-out between now and June.

There was panic online from 9.30am onwards this morning as ticket websites crashed or left you waiting anxiously in a queue for up to 20-minutes to see if you got through to the sale section.

A 3rd night was added after around 45-minutes and then, quite incredibly - a 4th!

The shows and the tickets created heated questions and debate;

1. Why were tickets on exchange websites like Seatwave for £1,000+ within minutes of the tickets going on sale, promoting one Roses fan to ask How Do They Sleep? 

2. When will regulations into these kind of businesses and sites be put in place?

Quite frankly they take the absolute piss. Something should be done. Thankfully most real music fans will exchange at cost price, but the touts live on - and now they have websites!

3. How do they get their hands on so many tickets?

They seem to have them from the moment they go on sale - again, something needs to be done.

4. Have the Roses defeated the touts?

Adding a 3rd and then a 4th night will surely mean that many touts will be left selling their tickets at face value or potentially even less on the day - this happened on the Sunday at Heaton Park.

Since the Seatwave picture in section 1 of this blog was taken, prices for standing tickets have dropped on their website to between £250 and £350 and they have over a hundred available - so they are likely to come down again.

Everyone who wanted a ticket should really have got one. I'm certainly sure there will be plenty of tickets kicking around between fans at face value between now and June.

5. Who will support?

Tim Burgess has been enthusiastic with his tweets from the moment lemons started appearing around Manchester, I would bet on The Charlatans playing a few dates and also The Courteeners. Beyond that it would be guesswork - although John Squire was up in Glasgow at the start of October to watch Blossoms at King Tut's - so also a good bet.

6. Will there be more shows? Will there be warm-ups?

I don't know, but The Roses haven't played live since 2013 so I would suspect that they will fall back to their tried and tested technique of playing some small European shows in late May to get warmed up for Manchester.

And surely The Roses will add at least one Irish date.

Whether or not they have the desire to tour remains to be seen, but I am pretty confident that there will be more dates.

7. Will there be new music?

The million dollar question. I hope so, but only if it is fitting of the name, not just for the sake of it. The Roses playing live again gives people something to look forward to, a bit of hope and joy. Amazing new music would be the cherry on the icing on the cake.