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Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Coffins/Rabid Punk Guitars/Sixth Avenue Traffic - 19/05/12 - The Bay (Glasgow)

Sixth Avenue Traffic are a strange band.
Everything seems to be there, but they just fall short of taking the performance to a level where an audience would feel stunned.
It's actually verging of frustrating watching them at times.
You want them to soar and then they hit cruise control.
On paper the band will work. There's no doubt about that.
The original material is of a high quality, the band have a more than acceptable level of musicianship, and the singer has a hint of Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes about his vocals.
It's all good, but live they don't quite manage to provide that moment that acts as a catalyst and imprints their name forever on the lips of an audience as a band to watch out for.
Two things seemed to be stopping them from creating the magic.
One was that they seemed uncomfortable squeezed into The Bay.
A larger stage would have possibly given them some room to make more of a performance rather than just play the songs.
The second was the stiffness of the singer in the delivery of the vocals.
I was mentally urging him to let go as I reckon he's got it.
The problem isn't that the talent is missing, it just seems that he is holding it all tightly contained, and he needs to let it all out.
The cover of The Florence and the Machine hit Dog Days was interesting, but it was on this song that the holding back was most apparent on.
Even on the reworked version there are points, such as the 'Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father' break, that lend themselves to a more gonzo approach.
Sixth Avenue Traffic need to let loose.
A tip would be to glance over their shoulders at their own drummer who was the only one who seemed to have keyed into what playing rock and roll should be about.
There has to be some wild abandon and a sense of danger.
Some bands have more attitude than talent, and can very often disappoint, but the opposite was on show here.
The very obvious talent on display needs a fix of attitude, and when that's added then I suspect that they will turn some heads.

R.P.G, from Perth, had no problems in the attitude department, or could be considered lightweights when it comes to musicianship either.
I've got a broad understanding of what punk is that many would disagree with, but no one would raise an eyebrow if I was to say that R.P.G were a real punk band.
The passion, the raw anger, and the' fuck you, I wont do what you tell me', foundations of what punk is all about are all present and correct.
Then the addition of the real essence of punk rock as I understand it - a refusal to kow tow to a uniformed template - is right to the fore to.
The dual bass sound of the band is mind blowing.
The throbbing post punk runs add a whole new dimension to the sound.
Not that the band are solely defined by the bass sound, as the guitar and drums are equally as important, as are the duel vocals.
The whole aural tapestry of what they are doing is heady stuff.
Plenty of bands could do with checking out what RPG are doing, and taking some notes.
If there's a rock and roll rule book then the guys in the band read it from cover to cover and then tore it up and wrote their own.
That's what punk is about.
It's not a ghetto to get bogged down in. It's a wide open vista of opportunity, and here's a band that fundamentally get that.
Once again it would seem that it is down to those who have been around the block a couple of times to lead the way.
Punks dead, long live punk.

The Coffins are one of those bands that you have to see live to get it.
Part garage punk, part performance art, and all rock and roll.
The influence of Alex Harvey looms large in the material, but it is far darker, and far more visceral, than anything that Vambo would do.
The world of the Coffins is one where less than savoury characters exist, blood runs in the gutter, and anyone with any common sense prays for the dawn.
Even when they introduce their summer anthem 'waves' it quickly melds sun and surf with being swept under the waves of the title.
If Screaming Lord Sutch was to record an album that was written by The Birthday Party then it might come close to sounding like The Coffins.
Front man Joe Bone stalks the stage like a demented serial killer.
All twitches, psychotic stares and props.
Michael Wernick on bass is a thrashing dervish who never stops.
His excitable style of of playing the bass would probably make him the main focal point in most bands, but the Coffins aren't most bands, and at any given time your attention can also be caught by Bil Gilchrist on guitar and swinging shrunken head, or the pounding Graham Platt who never ever misses the beat.
The is a real band and not three guys backing up the one individual as we so often see.
All are cogs in a machine that effortlessly mesh together and allows it to run fast and smooth.
In a very short time they have built up a solid fan base, and it's very obvious why as attending a gig by them is akin to being swept up by a hurricane.
I would reckon that after seeing them once then most people would be up for a return visit.
It's all the more laudable that they have accrued this success as they have bloody mindedly refused to pander to pay to play promoters and instead sought out ethical venues and bookers and worked hand in hand with them to promote themselves.
It's a positive example to other bands that there are other options available, and there's really no need to offer themselves up to be exploited.
In fact here's some advice.
Get in touch with bands like The Coffins, promoters like Punk Rock Rammy, bookers like Mark McG of the Girobabies, speak to venues like The Bay, Bar Bloc and the 13th Note.
Use what is out there and work with the good guys.
They're not the only ones kicking about Glasgow.
There are more, but crack in and get recommendations from them and take some control of your own destiny.


  1. I didn't make it to the gig last night at the Bay, but as someone who has seen SAT many times previously I completely disagree with this review

    The lead singer exercises amazing control with his voice, which I think you've mistaken for 'holding back'. Their original songs are catchy, have a distinctive sound but still very seperate tracks. I think any band you speak you would rather have a larger stage to get a chance to move about and you can see , but as I said, seeing them previously in smaller venues, it makes no difference. I have no doubt their EP launch will be extremely successful

    From the sounds of your review you were there for one thing only (The coffins) and when you go to review a whole gig with different bands without an open mind then you might miss out on the diamond in the rough......

  2. Ha.
    You weren't at the gig, but you feel able to comment.
    Okay. Here we go.
    A review is an opinion.
    Nowhere do I claim that anything stated is carved in stone.
    All I have promoted is my take on the evenings performances.
    Maybe the gig at The Bay was exactly as I described it, and every other show they have done far out stripped it, but then again you wouldn't know as you weren't there.
    I can accept that I possibly didn't see the band at their best, but as I've only seen them the once I'll try to avoid making comment about the times I haven't.
    Did you miss all the praise that I gave them to?
    Or doesn't that matter as there are some criticisms.
    I suspect the only sort of review that you would like to read would be one that lavishes praise on your friends band, or maybe you are a member.
    Either way, your contribution, while welcome, misses the mark completely with the last comment.
    On the night I had a completely open minded.
    Loved the Coffins show, was blown away by Rabid Punk Guitars - who I didn't know existed until that night - and enjoyed Sixth Avenue Traffic.
    The impression I am getting is that everyone is allowed to express whatever opinion they long as it mirrors your own.
    Maybe in the cold light of day you will re read your anonymous comment and consider how little balance there is to your point.

  3. I find the comments of Anonymous at top quite baffling when the fact is when someone comes to review a gig and you eagerly wait to see the review why ? Because you want to know if it will be good or bad review otherwise it's a pointless exercise just give everything and everyone a gold star and don't bother turning up to the gig ! As for only being there to see The Coffins (then why bother give any length of review to other bands other than they where good ?) I am actually the frontman of The Coffins I'm not Anonymous never have been and I personally enjoyed Sixth Avenue Traffic had listened to some of their music (Demons is a well good number) before asking them on the bill to play. now if your comment at the end is referring to my band (The Coffins) being the rough then I am convinced you've never f*ckin seen us ! Your comment is based on you not being there which in itself doesn't belong on a gig review page, as for naming my band as a centre point of your gripe (only there to see The Coffins) the review for Rabid Punk Guitars was just as good. There are kinda 3 sets of folk you will get at gigs, the family and friends who will not hear anything bar the band they have come to see will think they are great but who are not into music really, you will get the music folk who love new music and will seek out good bands to follow for a good night out. and you will get the randoms who will catch you by accident and hopefully like you enough for a return visit. Our fan base is made up of the latter two. Any review we get I could make a disagreeable reply if I don't like it but it would be pointless because I'd be arguing against someones opinion who had actually witnessed the event. I wouldn't have commented on this but your kinda childish schoolyard comment of "Only there for one thing The Coffins" annoyed me cause it implies that the review was based not on the performance we delivered on the night. (but then again you were not there so you wouldn't know. All 3 bands who played with us on the night were excellent Mccann who have played with us on a few occasions and are an excellent outfit ( who unfortunately the reviewer missed as he traveled from Kilmarnock to review a couple of gigs in Glasgow in the one night). Rabid Punk Guitars who we had played with in Dunfermline and we invited them down from Perth for their 1st Glasgow gig on merit as they are a fantastic live band. And last but not least Sixth Avenue Traffic who I had listened to on the net and thought they would make an excellent addition to the night (which I wasn't wrong). It seems everyone who was at the night enjoyed it ! Those who weren't didn't ! :-) amen

  4. Whilst i think SAT may not be to your particular taste in music i do believe you make some very relavent points . The have undoubted ability and their material is of a very high standard . Stage presence maybe a bit lacking but consideration has to be given too the short lenght of time the band have been together . They have come a long way in less than a year .

    What you critic will come with experience and with experience will come confidence . They are certainly one to watch and must be given every encouragement . As do every young up and coming band . Comoaring them to band who have been around as long as The Coffins is a tad unfair . The two bands have very little in common .

    I actually think your review was pretty fair to be honest although it would have been nice if you focused on the positives instead of dwelling on points that may encourage folk to support what is a young local band with bags of potential .

  5. Nowhere do I say that SAT are not to my taste in music.
    I am now aware that they have only been together for 8 months and I'm not surprised at that.
    They are a band feeling their way forward, and that's not a negative point.
    As soon as a band consider that they have nothing to learn, then very often they no longer have anything to say.
    I also don't consider that something special is outwith their grasp, and as you say that will come with time.
    The issue here seems to be a breakdown in communication.
    It does however seem a common issue.
    Very often people consider criticism as a dig. It's not. In this review I don't slag the band off at all.
    I pointed out their strength as I perceived them and one weakness than can be worked on.
    Not a bad review in any way at all.
    The ignorance of the original comment is glaringly obvious. It has no balance to it and reeks of an individual feeling personally insulted for reasons that are beyond me.
    For the record I'm more than happy to say that Sixth Avenue Traffic are at the moment a good bad with the ability to be a better one.

  6. For the record, The first comment wasn't posted by the same person as the second Anonymous poster.

  7. Hello. Just thought I would post a comment on behalf of Sixth Avenue Traffic. We don't feel the review is a bad review and have taken all feedback on board. As a young band we need as much constructive criticism as we can get to help us on our way to success. Although we don't agree with everything that was said, we have looked into the points that were relevant. We appreciate the support from the two Anonymous posters. Thank you so much for the positive comments.

    I think in a way the review seems to compare us to punk rock bands, maybe not intentionally but perhaps it is the way it reads and that is why people are feeling that perhaps the review is biased. Clearly we're not punk rock, or hard rock.. more pop rock/alternative rock. So that attitude you are looking for may not fit so neatly with our set up. We would look very silly if we were thrashing about to Be There Waiting as if it was a metal number or dressed as zombies for our latest cover. We will eventually get our own style and become more relax on stage over time. We eagerly await this day.

    I do agree with the second Anonymous poster about maybe focusing on more positives instead of dwelling on the negative to help support such a young band as ourselves. It is a very hard industry to break into and to have such a review which seems to have many interpretations may be somewhat dangerous to our young career but we are sure anyone with any creditability would come to see the band and make their own decision than basing it on an online review.

    We would also like to add, we didn't write either comment, and to suggest that we had was quite upsetting to us considering we accepted your comments with good grace. This we are not happy about but sure it won't affect us in anyway either.

    Thank you.



  8. A wee added note regarding the "Comparing them to band who have been around as long as The Coffins is a tad unfair" statement .. The Coffins aren't a year old yet :-) cheers

  9. The reactions to the review have been rather strange.
    1) The initial anonymous post is utter bullshit. The person writing it displays an astounding depth of ignorance in some of their claims, and similar to how they are commenting on a gig that they didn't attend, I think it would be fair to say that they commented on a review that they didn't read in its entirety.
    If they had then there would have been no mention of The Coffins being the only reason I was there and a claim of not being open minded.
    My comments on RPG who I had never seen before disprove both points rather convincingly.
    2) The second anonymous comment is refreshingly balanced, and it is the sort that are welcomed by myself, but it still makes some assumptions regarding my taste in music and how it could shade my view of Sixth Avenue Traffic.
    An afternoon reading multiple updates would show that my tastes are very eclectic and challenge that perception.
    While it was fairly put across I would disagree that young bands should be given every encouragement.
    This leads to the x-factor problem where a lack of honesty leads to mediocre talents considering that they are Gods gift to the world of entertainment.
    Blind praise is as bad as blindly given negative criticisms.
    A vast wealth of opinions, good and bad, expressed and then distilled down would provide a young band with a clearer overview of how good they are.
    3) The portion of the review that focuses on Sixth Avenue Traffic isn't one that is measuring them/you against punk bands.
    The blog features many, many styles of music and my opinions are based on the music played.
    Attitude is not something that punk bands have cornered the market on.
    I've been going to gigs for over thirty years. From corners of pubs to stadiums.
    I've seen legends, bands who deserved to be legends, and I have seen my share of bands who have failed to impress to.
    The ones who have stood out to me are those who can balance technical ability with showmanship/attitude.
    Too much of one or the other creates an imbalance and even if the band have some success it rarely lasts long.
    Examples. Towers of London. Huge pr push, national television appearances and billed as a cross between Guns and Roses and the Sex Pistols.
    All attitude and bare musical talent and now resting in the where are they now bargain bins.
    Another example from the other end of the scale. Mr Big. I had the misfortune of seeing them when they were riding the crest of a wave of popularity. There was no doubt that each member of the band was a virtuoso in their field, but I've had more fun watching paint dry, and I'd presume that opinion was shared by many as plenty were heading for the exit mid set.
    The attitude I speak of is not one of sneering and spitting, but instead rooted in a more confident and free expression of the music.
    Take Florence who you covered.
    Bags of attitude there. Christ Robbie Williams has enough of it to.

  10. Cont....
    4) I'm sorry, but any claim of bias because I preferred the more punkier bands of the evening misses the mark. I did prefer them, but not because they were punk bands, instead it was simply because I thought they were better.
    That's not a criticism. It's just a personal viewpoint being expressed.
    On another night I may have thought entirely differently and said so.
    5)I wouldn't have considered the initial anonymous post as one from a band member if I didn't get so many.
    The anonymous option is a bit crap and it has been used to threaten me, make gross misjudged assumptions and members of bands HAVE availed themselves of it to air perceived grievances.
    Even now I have no way of knowing if it was a band member and you have no way of being able to disprove it.
    It's not very fair either way.
    If others didn't do it with such ease then I wouldn't even entertain the notion that it may have been the band.
    Unfortunately this is the real world.

    All I can do is reiterate that I considered the performance a good one.
    It's a shame that the initial comment was so poorly constructed and acted as a catalyst to some less than positive discourse.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Here is how I would have made a comment, and I'm sure that most would agree that it could have led to a more in-depth discussion about the band, and one that would have reflected better on Sixth Avenue Traffic.

    Thanks for the review as I was unable to attend the gig.
    I'm rather partial to SAT and your experience of them isn't one that I could honestly say that I have shared.
    Each time I have seen them I have been very impressed.
    What you call stiffness in the vocals I would call control, but that's a minor grumble, and as I wasn't there then maybe the performance did fall short of others I have witnessed. and as it was a singular one might have given you a false impression of them.
    It happens. It's not every night that a band fires on all cylinders.
    Then again we may just want something different from a band.
    It's a subjective matter.
    For myself, I feel that their original songs are catchy with a distinct sound.
    I like them very much.
    I hope you can make the EP launch as a second opportunity to see them could provide you with a comparison point to the Bay gig.
    Once again thanks for taking the time to give the band a mention.
    There's very little coverage of young bands playing the bars and clubs so it's good to see a mention online.

  13. Despite not having attended the gig, I would suggest this seems like a very fair review - not a negative review of the band at all; to take it as such would be to miss the point. The review notes the excellent musicianship on display, but simply makes a number of suggestions as to how the band might break the shackles of mediocrity. Take the tips and run with them. Punk rock does not have a monopoly on invention and experimentation - pop-rock and alternative (by its very definition) needn't be stale.

  14. Thank you Are Vee.
    It actually saddens me to an extent that anyone reading the review would rather focus on the constructive points laid out and take them as a negative while ignoring the positives mentioned.
    There's not one word written in that review that could be construed as a dig.
    I would have been happy to see SAT again to see how they will progress as I didn't think they were a bad band at all, but this has left a sour taste in my mouth and while there are multiple bands playing on any given night I think I will now give them SAT a miss and take in something fresh.
    It is very obvious from some of the statements made that no effort has been made to check out the blog.
    The assumptions about what I like, and how that would sort of cloud my judgement, is so far off the mark that it's frankly laughable.
    I'm just a music fame and appreciate most genres.
    Five minutes of looking at post headings would have shown that to be blatantly obvious.

  15. Hi there Anon 2 again .

    R.E. Joe Bone .

    Sorry Joe my mistake . That point should have read . The Coffins a band whos members have been around so long . Now that isnt at all a bad thing but you know as well as i do that there is no substitute for experience .

    R.E. the blogger

    Whats this the critic cant take some critcism ? All this has left a bad taste in your mouth . All what ? . Apart from the first reply to your review every other has been fair i would say . Yet you get all bent out of shape because somebody dares to question parts of your critic . Good grief what age are you ? .

    Are we supposed to blindy accept what you say as correct and not express our opinions ? If so why is there a reply facility on this blog . Has you been questioned really left a bad taste in your mouth or are you just going for dramatic affect . Thats some ATTITUDE lol

    As i was at the gig in question and seen the bands mentioned i felt qualified to talk about your critic . I agreed with much of it as i said . I did not agree with your unhealthy and frankly worrying obsession with attitude . Is it any wonder assumptions are made about your taste in music when you bang on about attitude so much . And no punk bands havent cornered the market in attitude but they would rather pointless if they didnt have it Infact attitude is a prerequisite for that genre wouldnt you say .A punk without attitude would be like a Ford Cortina without fluffy dice . It just cant be .

    Now onto you bemoaning the fact that some have focused on the negatives of your review and ignored the positives . This was my.main gripe about your review . You skated over the positives of that band and concentrated on the negatives . Some of which was fair point but you laboured tge point . I dont pretend to be a critic but i would say your job would be to exsensuate what you see is the postive and encourage . Yes by all means criticise but dont make that the crux of your review .

    I also dont believe you said that not all young bands should be encouraged . What kind of music lover are you . Anybody who makes their own music should be encourages whether they be good bad or bloody aweful . If not how are tgey suppose to improve ? . Long live live music . Peace auld fella . And please ....try and improve your attitude for your next review .

  16. Of course I can take criticism.
    No point dishing it out if you can't take it.
    I think I very clearly pointed out why it left a bad taste in my mouth.
    It's nothing to do with anyone disagreeing with me at all.
    The band in question were being supportive of a comment made by an individual who wasn't at the gig.
    I can't be bothered with that sort of illogical mutual back patting from either party.
    The inability to accept criticism, even mild, isn't really on my part, and my responding to criticism shouldn't be misconstrued as an inability to accept it either.
    That's just dialogue.
    For my own part I'm not sure how anyone can defend an individual expressing an opinion about an event that they didn't attend.
    The responsibility for the comment lies with the poster.
    On to your next point.
    I can quite easily answer your comment about supposedly accepting what I say as correct.
    Simply, you don't. Nowhere does it say that you should.
    That's an assumption on your part.
    In fact I upped a post about the difference between opinions and facts being expressed to clarify that.

    You perceive that I have an unhealthy and frankly worrying obsession with attitude.
    I would respectfully disagree. That seems a bit of a hyperbolic statement.
    I don't like blandness in music, and I doubt many do.
    Yet I am happy to concede that it's all a subjective matter.
    Some people may find watching paint dry relaxing.
    It's just not my thing and I reserve the right to state that if I so wish.
    Not that I did say that in this instance.
    Personally I do feel that too much attention has been paid to the mildly negative comments made at the expense of the positives that I certainly didn't skate over.

    I also, like yourself, don't pretend to be a critic. I'm just a guy who writes a blog that covers music in all it's hues.
    So as it isn't a job I don't have a job description as such.
    I certainly don't feel the need to fit into any sort of remit.
    It's certainly not my sole job to dispense encouragement, and if I wish to laud the efforts of a band or bemoan then then I would consider that is really up to me.
    That's that ugly freedom of speech thing right there.

    There's nothing to say that anyone, band or fan, needs to give a monkeys about anything written here anyway.

    As for your last point about encouragement.
    It's not that hard to believe that I said that.
    It's just a few posts up from this.
    That could be construed as a bit cheeky on my part saying that, but that's not the intention.
    It's just a clarification.
    That's really your opinion though, and you are entitled to have it.
    It's not my place to say you are right or wrong, but similarly as neither of us are setting any rules, or claiming that we have any right to, then I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on it.
    So thank you for the advice regarding my attitude on future reviews, but currently I'm fine with how it is.
    If I do feel the need to address it then I will, but that wont be on the basis of this review, or the comments that it has generated.
    In any future comments please feel free to use a name rather than remain anonymous, as there's genuinely no problem on my part with you posting here, or expressing your opinions.
    By having a title it avoids any confusion as to what one anonymous poster is saying with another.


  18. God knows how these guys are react when they actually get a BAD review...

  19. Suspire
    Tom Jones
    Chris Devotion and the Expectations
    Dick Valentine.
    Promoting a roots band
    A movie review
    Girobabies with scottish rap
    Indie Folk.
    I can see how someone would think that this is only written by a person who is only interested in punk bands.

    I came here from the Suspire link on facebook.
    I think Ill hang around.
    Its all a bit mental and I like that.

  20. Thanks Simon.
    I have had people ask what is the blog about.
    It's about music, films, books, art, politics and anything else that springs to mind.
    It's not Kerrang and it's not the NME.
    Just a blog.
    I'm very pleased that you like the eclectic nature of it.
    Very often those who complain about the breadth of what is covered are really just exposing their own narrow minded views t the world.
    Maybe they need to get out more.