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Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Banana Sessions Revisited - Kilmarnock (25/02/12)

As promised here's yet another review of the Banana Sessions gig from Kilmarnock.
Similarities and differences abound. Enjoy.
Many thanks to Alana Anthoney for supplying it. Mucho gracios.

Dirty Martini's review - 25-02-12 (spelling and grammer might be ridiculous, I am a hopeless dyslexic)

What a weekend to be in Ayrshire, or anywhere near the Ayrshire music scene for that matter.
Matt Scott playing Tuts, a frankly majestic line-up at Su Casa in Ayr featuring Mark & The Mystics, Little Fire, Julie Doogan & my personal favourites of the Shire, Melisa Kelly & The Harmless Thieves.
But even those were not enough to keep me away from Dirty Martini’s for The Banana Sessions, the band I have been slightly obsessed with over the past 3 months. But we’ll get to them shortly.

It was a very different night in Dirty’s from any other I’ve seen in Killie in a very long time; probably from the days of The Sanctuary, if anyone remembers those good old days? Tonight is very varied in style from what Killie and indeed Dirty’s is used to.

Fife’s Homesick Aldo oozes cool from the second he walks into the building. Looking like a cross between 80’s Bon Jovi and 90’s Alexis Arquette (What about a young John Cooper Clarke Alana?) he turns Kilmarnock into New Orleans for an all too short yet gripping set, harmonica in hand and, presuming by his gruffly blues vocals, cigarettes in pocket. Nothing around sounds quite like this.
If we’re going to call it blues, then it’s vibrant blues, bursting with energy and colour.

It got very Hip Hop for a while and the downstairs bar was a-flutter with talk about Hector Bizerk. Popular amongst their peers in Glasgow where the duo hail from, many people are excited about this male rapper and female drummer combo. It’s an interesting concept for a local band and an idea that could go one of 2 ways; luckily for this pair, Killie are digging their style and it’s not long before the majority of the crowd are getting really into the set. “Man Up” is a big crowd pleaser which spits lyrics about local and worldwide political let downs, which is almost unexpectedly observed by this seemingly “non-educated delinquent” looking word-gun.

Loki, another Glaswegian rapper, unfortunately doesn’t kick and punch quite as effectively as Hector. I notice that a few of the crowd seem to have lost interest in the Hip Hop and have either floated off for a fag or are enjoying casual conversation amongst themselves whilst Loki spits derogatory lyrics about prostitutes with fag burns on their skin… lovely. It’s not that Loki is bad; I’ve seen him wow crowds in Pivo Pivo many times, however tonight I get the feeling that Kilmarnock are just not used to this. There is a fantastic and frankly fascinating underground Hip Hop scene in Glasgow with plenty of dedicated followers, a few of which can be heard in the crowd tonight, but mainly the crowd seem a little under appreciative of the bad boy political poet before them.

Next up are the glorious Girobabies who bounce on with as much enthusiasm as always. Mingling styles of indie,
Brit pop & sometimes hip hop, Giros are at their best in front of a crowd like this, glowing with energy that we have come to expect. They are tight tonight, maybe it’s because, as lead singer Mark points out before they start, all of the people in tonight’s line up have actually met and played together before!
Mark is the quintessential local front man, giving a good bit of banter and some audience interaction. He is joined on stage for a short time by Nicolette who I’ve seen perform on the same bill as the Giro’s, doing cute parodies of modern pop song, but singing them about jobbies. But tonight, the shit is off the table & her sweet vocals are a great juxtaposition with Mark’s gruff Glaswegian slur. It’s defiantly stuff to get the feet tapping, but not even this could have possibly prepared Kilmarnock for was about to hit them; The Banana Sessions!

I became aware of The Banana Sessions only around 4/5 months ago when a friend Facebooked me a YouTube link to The Drunken Dormouse. Since then I’ve been strangely addicted to the Edinburgh 5 piece, who have been popular on the UK festival scene (including Wickerman & Glastonbury) for the past 3 years or so.
When I told my 8 year old brother I was going to see The Banana’s tonight he was actually crying to come to the pub with me. Literally EVERYONE loves these guys.

When lead singer, Roberta Pia kindly, before the band have played a note, asks the crowd to move over a tad to create a dance space anyone not familiar with the band’s sound might find it a bit arrogant, but whenever the band start with the sweet yet infectious “Pot Noodle” it’s clear that we’re all in for an unpredictable treat and that Roberta’s request was probably for the best… The Banana’s don’t waste any time at all getting into the mood & effortlessly take the crowd with them.

It’s not often you see a happy band any more. From my recent experiences in the local music scene there are a lot of boys and girls on acoustic guitars, churning out lyrics they wrote whilst crying into their pint in the Union. But not these guys! They are much more mature than that, but at the same time, listening to a song like “My Favorite Song”, if you close your eyes you might imagine it’s the cast of Sesame Street on stage when you open up again.
It’s THAT much fun!

There are so many styles of music within the one distinctive sound that the Banana Sessions emit. There’s a clear jazz feel, some skiffle, a bit of a reggae beat every now and again and maybe the sound of a nursery rhymes album about them as well. All of this is bound together with charm and charisma and a delightful non-attempt at hiding that Edinburgh twang, everyone is the room is falling a little bit in love with them it would seem.

I’ve been to plenty of gigs in Dirty’s over the years and I’ve felt the floor and the foundations shake, and I’ve seen things fall off of the walls and the ceiling caused by excessive dancing/moshing, but I’m told that tonight is worse (or maybe better) than ever before.
I was almost surprised when Roberta comments on the bouncy floor as I hadn’t noticed at all. Then I realized it was because my feet had barely been on the floor long enough to feel it!

A couple of covers never go a miss & The Banana’s have some classics. Their Prodigy Medley has become a favorite on their YouTube channel with almost 225,000 views, mixing together a number of 90’s Prodigy classics including Breathe, Smack My Bitch Up & Out Of Space with their signature, fruity sound. It goes down a storm, but no-one was expecting 2Unlimited’s No Limits to slip into the set list. But who knows what to expect any more from these guys? It’s awe inducing.

Finishing off (or so they think) is Jukebox, a song which has recently been complimented with a Jazzy & stylish music video & it’s clear to see why The Banana Sessions are causing such a buzz everywhere they go. The band look to be having as good a time as the crowd as Miss Pia smiles cheekily, armed with just her tambourine & makes everyone in the room fall in love with her.
Although there is a flute, a melodic and even a tuba player on stage, it’s hard to take your eyes off of her.

I look to the heavens & pray that the lights done come back on just yet. And my prayers are answered as the crowd chant for one more tune. And we receive it in the form of the aforementioned The Drunken Dormouse. G-ing the crowd up firstly by teaching them the “rum-bum-bum-bum” part of the song in some sort of call & response style, Roberta gets everyone bouncing and singing along, in a shameless frenzy. It’s the perfect way to end a marvellous gig.

Trust me; if you get a chance to see these guys perform do anything in your power to be there!

A wee rundown of the set list too in case you’re interested:
Pot Noodle
Picture Yourself
My Favourite Song
Mexican Standoff
Pesky Rabbit
The Prodigy Medley
No Limit
Bally Dancer
2 Seasons
The Drunken Dormouse

The official website:
The YouTube channel: 

Alana Anthoney

Apologies extended to 'A Band Called Cadence' as in one review they get a partial mention and in this none as the reviewer missed their set.
On the upside if anyone wants to submit a review and photographs of their set then there's no problem in putting it up.
It doesn't even have to be a review from the Killie show.

1 comment:

  1. Remember The Sanctuary all too well as I used to DJ there on a Sunday night with Wullie Dorrans doing a rock/rap crossover. Shame thwy tried to turn it into a 'mainstream' venue. All it needed was some better publicity and I'm sure it would have taken off. Had some great nights in there though none quite matched up to my former life as DJ Jedi as one half of The Funk Soul Brothers with Robin Wallace in the KPT.