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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Devilish Presley/Filthy Little Secret/Billy Liar/The Paraffins - Dirty Martinis - 19/3/11 (Kilmarnock)

Draft copy that still needs a bit of a going over. Hopefully some pics to follow to.

Billy Samson is The Paraffins.
Not so much a one man band, but more a full band featuring one man. Confused? You will be.
Ask ten people to provide the name of an artist that others can draw comparisons to and you will get ten different artists.
Two songs into a Paraffins set and ask the same ten people and they will change their minds and mention another ten artists.
If The Paraffins was an exercise in trying to pin the tail on a picture of a donkey then you might manage to pin it on the lower cusp of Ecuador on the global map on the other side of the room, and then say that's about right.
It doesn't make much sense on paper, but it does when you hear it.
Avant garde is a term most used, but often enough anything that gravitates towards that increasingly loses a broader sense of accessibility. Not in this case though. The strange and the wonderful hangs on with a firm grip to a pop sensibility that is all rather enticing.
When I look about I see people smiling in confusion. They don't know why they like it, and like myself would find it hard to put it into words, but who cares if you can't express it when you are primordially feeling entertained.
Billy Liar is next and he's the chalk to The Paraffins cheese, or vice versa.
What Billy does is tread the path that Guthrie and then Dylan did before Strummer.
If you stripped punk back to its political roots then this is what it sounds like. It's social commentary from a personal perspective. The world according to Billy Liar.
The most admirable attribute is that he steadfastly refuses to stick to the regimented punk attitude that came in as we spun into the eighties.
All the little boxes on the form that need to be ticked if you want to claim to be a fully paid up member of the punk elite are left abandoned, and in failing to tick them he has found the real beating heart of a punk attitude.
Raw and impassioned will be the terms that will spring to the lips of anyone who is commenting on Billy Liar.
In his set he roars into the mic with veins stridently stretched across his throat, and by focussing into the middle distance with a paint stripping stare he gives the impression that he isn't performing to you, but is instead issuing street poetry into the night where it can be seen writ large on the air itself. The energy in his performance is so tightly sprung that the kinetic energy is palpable in the room.
This is what people are missing when the slip a disc on, when they download an mp3.
This is why live music is so important because no one has ever been able to bottle this lighting.
It's not possible. You have to be there. Have to feel it, and not just hear it, to understand where it is all coming from.
Filthy Little Secret were supposed to follow Billy, but instead swapped their slot with Devilish Presley so that their fans who had travelled through from Glasgow could catch last trains home without missing their set.
It's a nice touch and one that shows a distinct lack of ego from both parties.
Devilish Presley themselves are another band that defy being easily tagged.
You can call them goths, punks, glam rockers or a fist-full of other descriptive names designed to neatly package bands, but they wont sit comfortably in any of those boxes.
They are what they are.
A four legged rock and roll machine who have an affinity for the darkside.
B-movie horror, ouija boards and the Twilight Zone filtered through Chuck Berry, Marc Bolan and The Ramones.
Jacqui Vixen has laid down her bass and picked up a guitar and alongside her growling vocals it has added a new dimension to how the band sounds. Johnny Navarro leads for the front with his guitar licks, but the sound is bolstered with exactly what you would expect from a bassist playing guitar.
For a while there the band had been a three piece, but the two of them playing together has a natural quality to it and I've never ever seen them play when an extra member has been required.
Devilish Presley have always sounded like a five piece band anyway. How they do it is beyond me, but close your eyes and you would never know it is just two people and a drum machine that is playing.
The set itself is a great mix of the best of all their albums and a smattering of tunes from the forthcoming fifth album “The Dark Triad”. I've got the previous material to draw comparison to and I can say hand on heart that things are sounding very good, but for anyone there who hadn't seen them before then I doubt that they could have picked out the new from the old as it's all seamlessly great material.
This band are so good that people gravitate towards them, but only after seeing them live it seems. In the audience I can see umpteen people who have been before and will come back again.
It's a word of mouth phenomenon that is based in hard work, hard touring work. If Devilish Presley had the money that is required to promote a band on a global scale then they would be a huge act.
I honestly believe that. The reason being is that they have the songs, the attitude and the talent that are the main ingredients that are required. It's all there.
The reason that they aren't is down to them having to convert people to the cause one gig at a time.
This takes a mammoth effort on their part and it's to be lauded.
What I want to see is everyone who has ever raved about them even once going out and buying their “The Dark Triad”, but not only doing that, but to then become proactive and start hassling the radio stations to play it, the magazines to feature them and promoters to book them.
It's time not to ask what the band can do for you, but what you can do for the band.
Finishing the night of us was Filthy Little Secret who once again played what in football parlance is called “a belter”. There's the souther blues influence filtered through a hurricane blasting out from the stage. It's all heads down ramalama that could take the roof off any venue you could care to mention.
This band are just one of a few who are spearheading a real underground scene that jumps from venue to venue in Glasgow on any giving week. It's a loose grouping of bands who all sound different from each other, but share a degree of “in yer face” passion for what they do.
There's Tragic City Thieves, The Retrofrets, The Bucky Rage, Eddy and the T-Bolts and more.
All of them are on fire just now and although a wider circle of people haven't as yet picked up on it they are doing something rather special that should have an impact on the music loving consciousness of Glasgow and further just yet, it is just a matter of time.
So do yourself a favour and get in there early and avoid having to lie in the future about being there when it all kicked off.

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