I've been rather neglectful of the blog of late.
The reasons are legion.
Family matters that needed my attention, some work related things that needed addressed, and a few other distractions that could best be filed away in a folder marked 'same shit, different day' continued to pile on the pressure and relegated the blog to the position of 'something I need to get around to'.
On top of the usual daily grind that many of us - if not all - slog through I've also been shedding some light on what I perceive was a negative force within Ayrshire's nascent music scene.
My public condemnation of certain behaviour has acted as a catalyst and ushered in a bit of a shit storm that has embroiled many in its clutches.
Probably this will be no surprise to those who know me, but I don't regret a single word that I have said and I stand by every utterance.
As for the threats I have received and comments saying that I am a cowardly cunt sniping from the shadows.
Well everything I have said has had my name on it and I've not threatened anyone.
Comments from people who only know one side of a story are usually rather misguided and I have seen many of them.
In this instance I am comfortable in occupying the moral high ground as I haven't told one lie, nor exaggerated anything at all.
I've been asked if I'm bothered by the hate mail, but the answer is no.
I've bought some really soft printer paper and I will be printing all the threats and such off on it and using it to wipe my arse.
That's how concerned I am.
On behalf of my arse. Thank you.
Anyway. I've been to a few gigs and as time has past a bit I'm just going to give an overview of the performances rather than a full reviews.
So first up is a night in Glasgow when I popped into Box with Kelly as a time killer before picking my daughter up from a gig she was attending.
There was a guy playing who was rather run of the mill.
Acoustic guitar and songs about relationships.
Initially I thought he was verging on being okay, but as his set continued there was no real shading. Just variations of the same thing again and again.
He lost me, and from the lacklustre smatterings of minimal applause it would lead me to believe I wasn't the only one whose attention had wandered.
Full credit to him for getting up there to perform, but he's maybe a few months away from airing his songs in public.
Sadly, but rather telling is that I have dredged my memory for his name and I am coming up blank.
It's never a good thing if a performance doesn't manage to lodge your name into an audience members head.
The band who followed him had no problems in that respect.
Going under the name of the singer Steve Heron they slowly but surely turned the heads of what I would presume was a crowd of pub regulars.
The three piece are exceptionally tight musicians and their material covered a fair bit of ground. Some funky post punk courtesy of the rhythm section, and some angular guitar work mixed with some pop overtones conjured up a balanced melting pot of influences.
Steve himself is an engaging front man with a comfortable presence on stage and the over all package screams that they are just killing time in venues like Box until something better comes along.
Next was last weeks Su Casa line up.
Yet again it was a very strong bill that started with Little Fire rattling off a couple of his most well known songs with a bit of a difference.
I'm not sure what his trip to Australia, and his experience of being questioned and nearly jailed in Indonesia has done to him, but this was a more powerful, faster and focussed Little Fire.
The songs got a bit of a going over and were pushed harder than I've heard before.
Jamie seems aware that as he is co-host of Su Casa, and plays on a weekly basis, that simply revisiting the same songs would be detrimental and familiarity could breed a bit of contempt.
So his regular efforts to come at the material from different angles is refreshing.
It provides ample proof that he is more than capable of taking what he does with him in whatever direction takes his fancies.
It's something that other artists should be thinking about.
After Little Fire was John Cooper who is a Su Casa regular.
John is a professional songwriter and over the years has plied his trade consistently, but he hasn't actually performed in over twenty years.
So it was a bit of an honour to see this.
Accompanying himself on the keyboard he sang some songs from different points from his past that covered some accomplished boogie woogie to songs that had featured in stage shows.
Between them he regaled us with stories of submitting songs for the Carpenters to sing and such, and there was a real warmth and love apparent in how he expresses himself.
I'm not sure if the casual music fan would have been as appreciative of what we were seeing, but personally I loved getting an insight into how a professional songwriter can write to order.
If that is one side of the coin the other is that I would love to hear the songs he writes for himself.
It would be interesting to see John return to Su Casa and play a set of material that has not had the restrictions of working within a template applied to it.
As taster this did the job, but I want John to reveal more of himself to us, and if he chooses to do that then I will be making the effort to see what comes up.
Following John was Matt Scott who I have mentioned often on the blog.
Now I could say a great deal here, but then I would be repeating myself further down as I actually seen him perform again on the Sunday in Glasgow.
So I will just say it was the usual impressive performance and it featured a new song that went down rather well.
So here we go. Straight into Mark Copeland.
Do you know what the worst thing about Mark was?
He didn't have any CDs with him and now I just have the memories to live on.
Not a bad criticism though.
The song writing is very accomplished with some fantastic turns of phrase, the delivery is beyond criticism, the musicianship was excellent and there is nothing at all negative that I could say about his performance at all.
Not one single solitary thing. Nothing even anything constructive that Mark could work on.
His songs, his voice, his attitude to performing. All top notch entertainment.
Dave Mac was next to take to the mic and similarly to Mark he equally astounded.
I'm not going to say one was better than the other, but instead that they were just different.
Dave has a slight intonation in his tome that is reminiscent of Paulo Nutini in his delivery, but it's not overpowering, just that vocally there's an overlap.
The material itself is once again shockingly accomplished and the stage presence that Dave exudes is something that very obviously comes natural to him.
Two acts in a very short space of time and both with the ability to blow your mind with their talent.
Seriously remember their names and don't miss them if you get the opportunity.
There was a wee surprise single song from a guy called Eugene who was a friend of the final artist of the night, Jono, who from a cold start out of the blocks managed to grab everyone's attention and secure himself an invite back to SuCasa.
So hopefully I'll be there to see him and cover what he does on the basis of a full set.
Jono who finished the night was a bit confusing for me.
First song in and I was unimpressed. Nothing grabbed me at all about it.
Second song wasn't much better either and I was beginning to resign myself to an excellent evening ending on an anticlimax, but then with a song called Grey Skies was revealed and it was as if the sun had come out.
Although the title conjures up images of dark days of depression the actual music and lyrics are uplifting and full of the promise of summer days and a brighter future.
As songs go it's rooted in pop music, but pop music as Jeff Buckley would have imagined it.
From that point onwards everything fell into place and the first two songs of the set were forgotten.
The high praise that others had showered Jono with didn't just slowly become apparent, but crashed in.
In the space of one single song he turned it all around and had the audience in the palm of his hand and held them there for the remainder of the night.
Once again Su Casa had delivered an eclectic night of talent that shows that if people would care to make the effort that they will find magic on their own doorstep.
Lastly for a week of music I was at Slouch in Glasgow for the first time, and seem Matt Scott perform for the second time in a matter of days.
Matt has been hassling me to check Slouch out as a venue for a while as he has nothing but praise for it.
So by heading along I was killing two birds with one stone.
I can see why it is one of his favourite watering holes as soon as I sit down.
It's a nice set up with friendly bar staff and a relaxed atmosphere.
Split into two there's the bar in one and an area for the acts to play in the other.
This lack of a bar where the bands play isn't actually a negative point as it allows the audience to engage with the music without distraction and a pint can be waiting for you a mere few steps away through one of two doors.
Like I said. A nice set up.
Enough about Slouch and back to Matt though.
He's got an ep coming out soon and has been drip feeding the new material out live and we got some more in this set.
It doesn't sound tentative as may be expected.
Instead, like the rest of his set, the new songs are part of a continuous flow.
The quality of the material really stands out in its totality.
I've always supported what Matt has been doing for one simple reason.
It's damn good.
In fact he may be about the most lyrically poetic musician I know.
A fan of Dylan, Waites and Morrison he may be, and there are aspects of those legendary performers in his work, but this is 2012 and so much of the interplay in the words are well rooted in the present.
What Matt does isn't a homage to the past.
Far from it.
Instead he has taken influences and used them as a springboard to jump forth from.
While previously I've waxed lyrical about how good I think he is I would have to say that he is now better again.
It's not as if he has changed the material, but instead it simply fits him more comfortably now.
Think of the songs as if they were a new pair of denims.
They fit and the look good and there's nothing really to complain about when you slip into them for the first time.
Then fast forward a few months and they've been washed a few times, they've been out on the piss with you and you've even slept in them one or twice.
They're the same pair of denims, but now they envelope you like a second skin and they're an extension of of you.
That's where Matts music is just now.
The words and the music envelope him and nothing is at odds.
A seamless expression of art that beguiles the listener.
This new ep that will surface soon is going to attract a great deal of attention I think.
(All the photos are from Su Casa and were provided by Sophie Conway who is eleven years old and a bit of a regular at the venue.)