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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Stars of tomorrow are here today - Black and White Boy.

Very often casual music fans will claim that there's not a lot out there, and they seem very comfortable in wallowing in the past.
That's fine, but we all know that what they really mean is that there's not a lot going on in the public eye as the charts just seem to be made up of acts created in a laboratory somewhere.
Aurally identical to each other, one song seems to just bleed into another if we lend an ear to the radio, or a eye to the music channel on the television.
Yet we should never forget what is bubbling under.
Like "Silence on the Streets" by Black and White Boy.

If there was any justice then.......................well you know.



Monday, 17 February 2014

Darling BOY - Air Conditioned Gypsy EP

I didn't know what to expect from Darling BOY at all.

Darling BOY is - for those who don’t know, and there will be many - the artistic outlet for Alex Gold whom I met when I booked and promoted a show by Duncan Reid (Ex of The Boys) in Glasgow.
The reason that Alex was there is because he is currently playing guitar in the “Big Heads”, who are very finely backing Duncan up as he reintroduces himself to UK audiences with his debut solo release.
(Fact fans may also be interested to know that Alex is also a member of The UK Ukulele Orchestra. Those stars of youtube who are shared on pretty much every social media site you could care to mention.)

On the day he came across as a very nice chap, and I bought his ep in an attempt to show some fiscal solidarity with those who pull their arses from one venue to another across the globe for little or no recognition.
It’s not uncommon for me to do this, and I have a pile of very good releases by solo acts and bands that in the main no one gives much of a thought to.
I suppose I should put them all in a box, and with a sharpy scrawl “unsung heroes” on the outside of it, but I digress, and we should jump back to Darling BOY here.

I was looking forward to getting home and giving it a spin, but unfortunately I left it in my girlfriends’ car, and that wasn’t very clever on my part as I knew it would take weeks for me to finally be reunited with it.
So there I was left in that no man land of non-anticipation.
Without knowing what sonic delights may lie within the four tracks all I could do was wait, and wait, and wait.
There was nothing to base an opinion on, just the emptiness of my life without Darling BOY, and no way of knowing if it would enhance it or not.
I did remind her a few times that she had it, but Darling BOY seemed to exist in a memory blank spot for her, and it was getting to the embarrassing point as I’d went from dropping mild hints to major ones like “where the f*** is my record”.

Finally, last week, the day finally arrived when the ep and I were to get to know each other.

So was it worth the wait?

Yes indeedy.

Four tracks of Alex just striking out and doing what he damn well pleases.
The lack of uniformity is a delight to listen to in this era when everything seems to have to have an angle attached.
If there a common thread then it’s in its “Englishness”. The quintessential sound of English pop that has woven its way through everything from The Kinks and the Small Faces to Blur and The Libertines.
The opening track “Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman” is demo-esque in its approach, and sounds timelessly ever-green in how it reminds the listener of an acoustically minded The Strokes as is thumps along nodding its head to the end of the fifties and the dawning of the sixties.
Then just as you think that may be getting to grips with it he takes us into what could be a melding of minds between early Radiohead and Mumford and Sons on “Air Conditioned Gypsy”, but ony nif you focus on one small sum of all its parts.
It’s a thought that on paper would spark oil and water division of views as pretty much everyone would claim that never the twain shall meet, but when you let all the other ear worms take up some space it a makes more sense than most would care to admit.

Flip it over and with “Fortune” he’s off again in another direction as a more polished indie pop hit in waiting is revealed, and then he wraps it a up with a home recording of “Shirley” that some nineties indie movers and shakers would give their right bollock to have written in the present just so that they had a track that they could use to build a bridge from their then into their now.

Oh, I just googled Darling BOY and found a website and there’s a video for a song that’s not on the ep.

So here you go, and of course you will want a webpage link to.
There you go.
Don’t say I’m not good to you.

itsaxxxxthing gets cramped - Lux Lives - McChuills - 15/02/14 (Glasgow)

Excuse the pre-emptive disclaimer, but if I ramble on a bit, while lacing the review with wild inaccuracies, then I apologies unreservedly for taking shite.

I shouldn’t have really attended this as I was still in the grips of a virus that has wiped out a full week - and continues to have its grip on me - but sometimes you have raise your ass from the sickbed, and dose yourself up with enough over the counter meds to raise the dead, just to get a fix of dirty rock and roll.

It’s not big, it certainly isn’t clever, but it can be worth it…….if it doesn’t kill you.

So what was the show that was worth risking my health for I hear you ask?

Well with Tav Falco slipping out of sight in the rear view mirror, and garage aficionados wondering where they would find another new kind of (old) kick to get the blood pumping, it was down to the annual “Lux Lives” event turning up just in the nick of time to save the day, and I wasn’t going to miss that.

In honour of the magnificent front man, of the equally magnificent Cramps, Glasgow really does enjoy slipping into some rubber and paying homage at the altar of trash decadence, and this year in McChuills the city did it with style.

The night started off in confusion – as anything involving the music of the Cramps should – as what appeared to be a random attendee took to the stage before the billed Fnords and delivered a leftfield cover of Green Door that I would purchase a copy of right now if I knew who the unassuming baseball cap wearing fella was, and of course if he had a copy to sell.

Unexpected as the performance was it did set the quality bar high for others to follow, but The Fnords weren’t to be fazed and the two girls, one guy trio delivered a seismic blast of sonic aggression that I I’d happily sacrifice my hearing to.
It’s Dick Dale in a blender and The Cramps being happy sapped in the nicest possible way.
It certainly won’t be the last time that I see them as I’m now desperately wanting to catch them do a full set of their original material rather than a fistful of ‘fuck you’ Cramps covers.

Mondo A Go Go were going to struggle after that, but they valiantly made the effort and managed to keep the energy levels needle dancing in the red throughout with Whoo He Ha Ha a shining highlight.

Geek Maggot Bingo were never going to be looking to take any prisoners and tore into McChuills with a frenzied set of covers that seen both the singer/guitarist and bassist leave the stage to get in the faces of the crowd in an attempt to push for a reaction.
Rising from the ashes of the Acid Fascists the band are pushing hard at what they do and are certainly deserving of our attention.

And now is when it gets fuzzy.

It was either The Brutes or F for Crack next, but let’s just go for the latter first.

F for Crack are the band who snatched success from the jaws of defeat when initially the feedback that squealed defiantly whenever the mic came close to the apple laptop threated to impose its will on their set, but with some knob twiddling, and the singer taking to the side of the stage to minimise the electronic hissy fit, everything just clicked into the place and the duo were able to deliver the “gonzo” performance of the evening.
Bits of it were like Alan Vega had managed to crack a smile after knecking a load of E’s.  
Yes it was that good. Like Suicide as a party band.

The Brutes were of course the slack jawed cousins of the night as they did the ramshackle bop.
Operating in an alternate universe where the fifties clash with the sixties over drugs, draft dodging, psychedelia, thrashing guitars and a perverse attraction to a punk ethos. They are the antidote to everything that is clean and shiny in life.

And with that I threw in the towel.

A snot stained towel weighted down with an excessive amount of mucus, and probably bits of brain, that I had regularly deposited into as the bands played.

All in all, a very special night, and one that I am sorry that I couldn’t manage to hang on until the end of.

On the plus side is that I did leave with a Lux Goodie Box, a 7” single featuring four of the acts, and a commemorative CD.

Many thanks to Colin Duff for organizing the event, and for supplying a CD for my Aussie mate.
Here's to 2015. 

Letter to the Queen

Dear Sir/Madam ,
My name is Colin Hunter, hello. I was searching through the internet recently and found out how much land that the Queen owns, 6,600 million acres of land is a number that keeps popping up.
Is this true?
I was flabbergasted when I learned this as this land would equate to approximately £17,600,000,000,000.
Now I am not the most intelligent person in the room, (I say as ‘Father Ted’ plays in the background), but this money could be used to buy a few meals for people that were hungry, it could provide shelter and clothing for the homeless and clothes-less and it could provide medical treatment for all the people dying from curable diseases.
I know I sound like I am having a go at the Queen, and that is because I am, but I do not in any way shape or from think that she is alone in this though.
I think it is a horrible way we all tend to just distract our attention from the most important things in life, “I wish this Oxfam advertisement would finish so that I can watch the X factor”.
If someone has 14 rooms in a house and only uses 5, what is the need in that, when you have people that call outside their home. People have the, “right’, (I guess), to work hard and gain what they want but it just seems wrong.
Morally wrong. I mean I know rich people don’t have to get rid of their 11th car and help anyone, but it just doesn't sit too well with me.
There is more than enough resources for the everyone to live comfortably and it’s not happening, greed is continuing to ruin us humans, a little greed is ok, in fact, I would say I ate more than enough pasta and meatballs to do me for TWO nights tonight….but can you see the difference without me having to point it out?
I know giving away money and helping people is bad business but if you made love and happiness your business, let me tell you, your company would be booming, my cousin.
Also I have read animal farm and I know what you think I am think, which is wrong, but so is this world we live in, can't we all just not kill each other by allowing preventable death to occur, because that is what the Queen is doing, she is looking at a person about to be hit by a truck and instead of giving them a heads up, she's pulling out the popcorn.
In the British national anthem we hear the words, "God save our gracious Queen". Gracious? seriously?
courteous, kind, and pleasant, especially towards someone of lower social status.
"a gracious hostess"
courteous, polite, civil, chivalrous, well mannered, decorous,gentlemanly, ladylike, civilized, tactful, diplomatic; More
(in Christian belief) showing divine grace.
"I am saved by God's gracious intervention on my behalf"
merciful, forgiving, compassionate, kind, kindly, lenient, clement,pitying, forbearing, humane, mild, soft-hearted, tender-hearted,sympathetic.

I think my point on that is made, though why should she be saved before anyone else, she's no more special that Jimmy at the end of my street that is living on pennies and not knowing if he should put the heating on the night even though he might wake up dead. (ye have to have a wee joke in among this serious talk, ken?)
I have rambled on here, but the main thing I wanted to say was, "come on, this is no fair, share the wealth out a bit'.
I would really like to hear a response as to why someone in a position (such as the Queen ) should set an example.
Religion might follow suit and start being.....nice. that's weird that isn't it, the fact that all the money that The Royal family and lets just say....the catholic church have and there are still people in dire need of a fish supper. I just upsets me that people are dying needlessly, I'm a bit weird that way, call me "old-fashioned".
Please excuse my poor grammar and is. spelling.
Your truly,
Colin Hunter.
The above is the first in a series of open letters from Coin Hunter that will be shared on the blog.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Talking helps.

Nation guidance councillor – First I would like to lay some ground rules.
The first is that you are both expected to respect each other. So no interruptions when the other is talking.
The other is that threats and aggressive behaviour of any sort will not be tolerated.
Are these rules acceptable to you both?

England - I am in agreement. The terms are absolutely fine by me.
Scotland – I have no problem in accepting the terms either.

Nation guidance councillor – So as is the norm when two nations are having some issues it is always best to go back to the beginning. How did your relationship begin?

England – Being neighbours we had a sort of love hate thing going on and that evolved into more love than hate until we decided we were better together than apart.
Scotland – That’s not really how I recall it. My memory is of a sort of arranged marriage that was arranged by people who were keen on us getting together as it was personally beneficial to them. I wasn’t really consulted on it.
England – This is all blatantly untrue. It was a happy occasion and I don’t recall any of this negativity being aired at the time.

Nation guidance councillor – Can you substantiate any of that Scotland?

Scotland – Well I can clearly remember Sir George Lockhart saying “the whole nation appears to be against the union” and Daniel Defoe who was hired by a Robert Harley to spy on me prior to us getting together said that “for every Scot in favour there are 99 against”, and if we want to talk about freedom of choice maybe we should mention the £20,000 that was used to secure support by way of bribes.
It certainly wasn’t the romantic walk in the park that was being described. Some English Rose tinted revisionism seems to have already crept in.
On the day it was implemented martial law had to be imposed.
England – Disgusting! And I resent the implication of revisionism.
Scotland - I apologise. My intent was not to imply revisionism, but to clearly state it.

Nation guidance councillor – Is this not simply an issue that should have been resolved many years ago?

Scotland – I agree, and if anyone had been listening maybe it would have been.
England – And there you go with the typical snide dig.
Scotland – And the typical response that doesn’t actually address the issue.

Nation guidance councillor – Okay then, can we explore this matter a bit as it does seem to be that you both set off on a journey together without putting your best foot forward?

England – It was normal for the time, and sitting here in the present we can all see that it wasn’t a positive start, but what can we do about the past?

Nation guidance councillor – That seems to be fair. What do you think Scotland?

Scotland - It’s very nice to hear an acceptance of wrongdoing for the first time, and I appreciate the effort, but it does seem a bit dismissive. When I hear England say that then to my ears it’s “get over it. It was ages ago”.

Nation guidance councillor – Okay then can we leave that to the side just now and can I ask how you have generally got on over the years?

England – We have taken a supportive paternal role on and looked after Scotland well. I’ve never been sure what the problem has been.
Scotland – That’s it there. A paternal role is all that has ever been acceptable. We are looked after. There’s never been any equality in the relationship and England doesn’t understand why anyone would want anything more than that.
I’ve given the Union ground breaking inventions, pushed at the boundaries of science, offered up a bountiful supply of natural resources and contributed to the man power required to build an empire that was the envy of the whole world.
Our shared history is awash with Scottish blood as we marched to the beat of an imperialistic drum and what have we had in return?
England – I have always credited you.
Scotland – From afar with cut glass goblets raised in comfortably warm rooms as those who did the hard work struggled through cold winters. That credit doesn’t educate the children, provide employment or keep the wolves away from the door.

Nation guidance councillor – You sound bitter Scotland.

Scotland – I am extremely bitter. We hadn’t been together for even fifty years and you banned the kilt and reinforced the disarming act.
England – Oh so innocent eh? You had damn Jacobites spoiling for a fight.
Scotland – Yes we did, and why not? No bits of paper signed truly reflected the will of the people. You were looking to subjugate us, to remove our identity to ensure an assimilation that suited you.
This is what you have never understood. We are not, and have never been English.
England – You have always hated me. Everything you says confirms it. How could we have a healthy relationship with that resentment being so fiercely clung to?
Scotland – You understand nothing. We don’t hate you. We just don’t want to be you.
England – You had the choice to leave in ’79.
Scotland – We had nearly 52% of the vote, but you stacked the deck so that it had to be 40% of the whole electorate. All of those who had registered but failed to vote counted as a no.

Nation guidance councillor – Is this true England?

England – I don’t remember.
Scotland – Aye right! Do you remember trying out the poll tax on me a year before everyone else? What about when you suppressed the information that if I was to go it alone that I had the money to do so?
Does anyone want to talk about oil? It’s the big black slick elephant in the room after all.
This relationship has been pretty much a one way street since the beginning and you have the cheek to think that given the option of throwing the towel in, or staying to be used until you break me, that I would be stupid to pick the former.

Nation guidance councillor – There’s a great deal been said there. How would you like to respond to that?

England – Oh well I suppose that my initial response to all of that would be to say that I accept we have had some differences, but that I still love you and I don’t want you to leave.
Scotland – No. I’m leaving.
England - Okay, but you know you can’t get by without me.
Scotland – We will see I suppose.
England – No one else would want you. You are old fat and ugly and everyone knows you have a drink problem.
Scotland – There you go. Do you see what I have to put up with?
Nice to nasty in what could be a record breaking time.
England – Fuck you Scotland. You won’t get a single pound from me.

Nation guidance councillor – Enough England! You know the ground rules.

England – Fuck the rules. Ask Iraq who writes the rules you sanctimonious bitch.

Nation guidance councillor – What’s the US got to do with this?

Scotland – I’m sorry but I’ve got a future to catch. Oops. I mean a bus.

England stands and storms out slamming the door.

Scotland - Same time next week for more of the same?

Nation guidance councillor – I have free space in my diary up until September.

Scotland – That’s all that will be required I expect. You fancy a drink? I'm meeting up with a few of the Scandinavian countries for cocktails, N Ireland are coming, their craic is always good. Wales will be there. Cornwall called of as they have some personal issues, but you are welcome to join us.

Nation guidance councillor - That would be nice, but due to having to keep it all professional I'll have to take a rain-check, but count me in for the party in September. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Foreign Legion - Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Do you have that in Fat Bastard size?

Teenager with questionable fringe - Excuse me. How much is the Ramones t-shirt?

Salesman - It’s £10, but you have to fill out a punk rock questionnaire first that has an administration fee of £2. If you get over 75% of the questions correct then we will provide you with a licence that will allow you to purchase the t-shirt.
The licence can also be used to purchase merchandise by over 200 other globally famous punk acts from the Sex Pistols to Black Flag.

Teenager with questionable fringe – Is my £2 refundable if I get less than 75%?

Salesman – No, but we have a special offer on high fives to the face with a chair for those who get below 50% and those who fall between that and 75% get a free look of disdain.

Teenager with questionable fringe – Are the questions multiple choice?

Salesman - Yes they are. You have the choice of providing the correct answer or multiple wrong ones.

Teenager with questionable fringe – Can you give me an example of one of the questions? Like a hard one. If I know the answer then I’d maybe go with the £2 and apply for the license..

Salesman – I’m not supposed to do that, but okay. This one is probably one of the toughest questions. You ready?

Teenager with questionable fringe - Fire away.

Salesman – Okay then. Who are Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy? I’ll give you a clue. They’re the Ramones.

Teenager with questionable fringe – Er, hmmm, Eh is it,,,no wait. It’s something to do with that other band The Crash isn’t it?  

Salesman – I’m sorry apart from telling you they are the Ramones I can’t give you any more clues.

Teenager with questionable fringe – It’s okay. I’ve got it now. They’re the Sex Pistols.

Salesman – No. I’m sorry, but you are wrong. They are the Ramones.

Teenager with questionable fringe – You are fuckin’ kidding me?

Salesman - No I’m not and I’m going to have to ask you leave now as hordes of older punks have sensed your presence and are making their way here now to more than likely set you on fire, and then beat the flames out with baseball bats.

Disclaimer : To be honest I don't really care what people wear, but it's a cool design and does reflect the feelings of many.

Get the t-shirt and more designs from Bad Clown Clothing.

I bought a Clash shirt from this guy a few years ago. Solid quality. Worth having a look.

Five feet high and rising.

As the flooding in the south of England continues to dominate the news it has been interesting to see how our government has reacted to it.

If there was a graph then the starting point would be classed as “shit happens”, with the ever rising red line peaking on “Oh fuck it’s impacting on tory heartland”.

Initially it was a horrible situation, but considered as interesting as belly button fluff.

Cornwall could have been the modern day Atlantis, and in the deep pile carpeted corridors and offices of Westminster the water cooler jokes would have been about inbred mermen and maids.
I fully expected to see some crap memes surface stating “Don’t Panic. It’s Only Cornwall”.
Fast forward a few years and the poster of that, and one of demanding Nelson Mandela to be hung, would appear on Ebay being sold by toryboyswetdream as a job lot of Conservative memorabilia.

Once the flatlands of Devon and Somerset started to vanish under water as multiple river banks gave up the fight, there was an acceptance that “okay things aren’t looking too good”, but apart from some denials that dredging would have helped the main response was more words and no real action worth mentioning.  
Apparently dredging is just one of the many victims of cuts, and even if they had done it then it wouldn’t have made any difference.

Meanwhile the water continued to rise.

The line in the sand where it all changed from “Tough Luck” to “National Disaster” was coincidentally drawn when the waters reached Berkshire and Surrey.

All of a sudden a u-turn was made and they claimed dredging would have helped, the army were sent to save the day in a campaign that may have the code name of “Operation Too Little Too Late” and best of all “Call Me Dave” has claimed money is no object, and he will do everything in his power to sort this shit out.

In an era where on a daily basis we are told we have no money for anything, that the cost of care for the disabled needs to be reined in, that the NHS costs too much, that essential services should be handed over to private companies to save us all money, as we as a country are drowning in debt of course, it would appear that Dave has managed to find an unlimited amount of cash down the back of the couch.

A rainy day fund that the rain has literally forced him to reveal exists.

There’s something smells fishy about the whole thing, and I don’t think the odour comes from the haddock that has just swum through the letterbox of some poor soul in Cornwall.

Do we have any cash, or do we not?
Does the government only care when tragedy hits the tory heartland?

I think we all know the answers.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

NHC Music – The Hub Project

It’s the 2nd of February 2014 and the first gig night of NHC Music’s ‘year of attack’ on the unsigned and independent scene in Glasgow has begun. Jamie McDermid – head honcho and wearer of long coats is in typical gig night mode. The venue for tonight’s Monthly Music Showcase – on this occasion a rock night – has been well and truly treaded and the beer tap is already in full flow as Jamie paces from venue entrance, to stage, to bar and back again, constantly assessing how close the reality to a “bands playing to other bands” situation is.

Unfortunately, this is now one of the major worries for any promoter on the unsigned scene. Will the weeks of advertising and pestering, selling and marketing pay off or will your crowd decide to stay at home and watch Eastenders? Luckily, tonight the hard work has seemingly been worth it and the crowd, emanating from the myriad of streets surrounding the venue, are turning out to watch the five band bill.
Jamie himself is the first to admit that the music scene is saturated at the moment, not only with promoters but with the very people he rallies for.

“The music scene is dying on its arse a tiny bit and it is because one, too many bands, and two, too many promoters… if there’s less promoter’s and they’re only good promoters, they’re going to tell the young starter bands, “come back in a few months when you’re a bit better or when you’ve decided that this is actually what you want to do”’.

Not your average promotion strategy but Jamie certainly ranks NHC Music as one of the ‘good promoters’, in fact he goes all out and says that NHC Music is also actually one of very few true promotion companies.
“A lot of promotion companies online call themselves promotion companies but they’re not. They’re just bookers, that’s all they are. We’re a promotion company that actually does; our main aim is to promote bands. So we do exactly what the name says and we don’t charge.”
The ‘we’ that Jamie so often refers to is a small but dedicated bunch of people that Jamie has brought into the project as it’s grown from the one man and his laptop idea that was initially seeded back in 2011. Back then Jamie didn’t quite realise how much his simple notion of “trying to help people work out what’s actually best for the band,” would cost him in terms of man hours and sleepless nights but the hard work has been worth it.

Not only does NHC Music promote its bands and musicians via its social media pages but it also has a high traffic blog, packed to the rafters with content and never far from a controversy or two, a weekly podcast on Mesi radio with more monthly content just announced and on the way, a print fanzine still in its infancy but with lofty ideas, an online shop which sells and distributes band merchandise with 100% of the profit going back to the bands and don’t forget the monthly gig nights – the heart of the whole project. All this without it costing the musician a penny.

One area where Jamie did however ask for bands and supporters to reach into their pockets, is a project he’s been trying to get off the ground for the last year. The Hellfire Hub was an idea concocted not long into NHC Music’s infancy and it’s a name which is currently giving Jamie and his team major cause for heartache and headaches.

The idea was simple: open a place, in the heart of Glasgow, which would incorporate seating space for people to hang out, have enough room for an acoustic area for bands to come in and play, would be able to sell their merchandise and music and would only play unsigned and independent artists over its sound system.
The project hit the ground running when its Indiegogo Campaign smashed its £600 target only ten days in, ending on a final flourish of just over £1100 – the hard part was seemingly over. Little did Jamie know that the uphill struggle was just beginning and the August 2013 move in date he’d set-up in his head was all but a dream.

“It’s awful actually, isn’t it? Even at the start of August we were still thinking… we’ve got everything else in play apart from premises and property but that seems to be where we’ve just hit a wall.”
Jamie’s partners in the business are less polite about the situation. John McKellar – a partner and contributor in NHC Music, and usually the man at the centre of the blog controversies, says:

“The NHC Music Hub is unlike anything that has even been done before. It’s a social centre designed to bring musicians and fans of home-grown music together in one place to grow and nurture independent and unsinged music in our city for the long-term… Now to get the damn thing open if the City Council feel like co-operating anytime soon!”
Similar projects to one proposed by NHC Music have opened and closed in quick succession in Glasgow city-centre, but projects such as the one Indie band Frankie and the Heartstrings set up in their home town of Sunderland have had much success and been backed by their local Council so what’s been the problem?
Jamie says: “Glasgow City Council don’t really class us as retail, so we can’t get official retail help for grants and stuff and they don’t class us as Arts & Entertainment either, so we can’t get those grants. We seem to be stuck in limbo at the moment.”

But limbo, in this case, is not the indeterminate state it claims to be. Jamie knows exactly where he wants the project to go.

“Ultimately, the plan is to have [a Hellfire Hub] in every major Scottish city. There is a lot of people out there willing to help us but there is also a lot sitting on the side-lines to see if we can do it first.”

Those people may not be sitting on the side lines very much longer. 2014 has already seen Jamie bring in more writers and contributors to the business, and even bigger plans for the future are already afoot.
Foremost in Jamie’s mind, for the time being though, is the Hub. With storage space already packed with stock and equipment and bands clamouring to be part of the project, he remains positive about its future.
“I want everybody involved. We’ve had bands who are talking about bringing their families down because they can’t take their kids into bars with them, to see them play.”

Talking of which, back to the gig night. With thoughts of contributor’s, Hub’s and Council meetings going astray there’s only one thing to do for the time being: Jamie isn’t the only one who’s busy, that beer tap is also getting a workout.

By Kirsty Fraser

Tav Falco's Panther Burns - Broadcast - Glasgow (09/02/14)

Very often, too often for it to be merely coincidentally, and probably the result of an ancient curse that has been levelled at my family, I have found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In the game eeny, meeny, miny, your fucked I have bucked the laws of statistical probability and been the ‘you’re fucked’ more often than most could realistically believe.
I even have a recurring dream that ties in with being born under a bad star wherein a fiery ball drops from the sky into a large crowd and lands on me.
Everyone else is injury free, but I’m in tiny bits.
The last thought that flits across my mind just before I die is “bloody typical”.

That’s not to say every day is filled with the toast landing butter side down though.
Sometimes everything works out fine, and that’s what happened with the Tav Falco show in Glasgow.

On Sunday morning I was all geared up to see the man himself hit the stage of Broadcast on the Monday evening, when in a casual conversation it was mentioned that I had the wrong date, meaning that I missed out on being in the right place at the wrong time by a happenstance stroke of luck.
Keeping with the theme of superstition, curses and cosmic jokes by Gods, this was my moment of the stars aligning that bucked the normal trend.
I was on a roll when a matter of minutes later a friend posted online that they had a spare ticket to.
All my luck was being used up in the one day it seemed.

So in a matter of mere hours I had went from ignorance to awareness, and then to a seat in a booth in Broadcast and enjoying a candle lit meal with my girlfriend Kelly.

Not bad for a Sunday with three bands still to play.

First support band of the night was The Reverse Cowgirls.
Describing themselves as a psych tinged garage rock act they haven’t missed the head of the nail as they powered through a bunch of songs that sound like the material from the Pebbles collections after they have been forced to do the “Tough Mudder” assault course run.
Sounding battered and bruised, but screaming that they are alive, song after song reinforces that the garage sound of the west coasts underground garage scene is still as relevant as it has ever been to those who gravitate towards a less slick, but ultimately more vibrant take on rock and roll.
Even some technical gremlins making an appearance couldn’t diminish the on-going onslaught.
Huge thumbs up from me.

The Primevals have been doing their thing since the early eighties, and shared stages large and small with pretty much everyone.
After that amount of time there are only two real reasons why that longevity is possible.  
One is that they are obstinately unaware that they aren’t that good, and like the families of tone deaf reality talent show contestants their nearest and dearest haven’t found a way to break the news to them, or that they are simply damn good at what they do and know it.
Thankfully the latter is what is going on with these guys, and with all those years under their belts you are guaranteed a quality show.
The garage tag is one that has been applied often enough, and not without reason, but The Primevals are much more than just a garage act, and are able to bring the best of RnB to the table as they expel enough kinetic energy to light up a small town while doing so.
Double thumbs up.

Tav Falco and his Panther Burns are a whole different story again.
If Rod Serling took on the mantle of Dr Frankenstein and made himself a rock star to exist in the word of the Twilight Zone then his creation would be Tav Falco.
The man, the legend, lives in the worlds between fact and fiction, fantasy and reality.
It’s a world of shadows where ladies of the night, burlesque show barkers, petty thieves, shining pompadours, tightly woven zoot suits and the glint of a switchblade exist under neon lights.
An alternate universe where the romanticized lives of the denizens of the gutter are celebrated with more panache than most would be able to consider possible.
As he strode onto the stage a friend remarked on how young he looked.
It’s true.
He could be the Dorian Gray of rock and roll.
Although a continental lifestyle could be the secret rather than any supernatural portrait hanging in an attic, his healthy persona is worth mentioning as an aside.
Worth mentioning as it isn’t something that is reflected by the males of the Scottish audience who were in attendance.
In the main we appear to have the complexions of men who consider dooking* for mars bars as they are being deep fried as a normal weekend pastime.
Maybe we should take a leaf out of his book, or then again we could cling to the belief that dying young with a decrepit looking corpse is the way to go.
What about the music though?
In one word it was ‘stunning’.
A mish-mash of The Cramps, Johnny Thunders, Dean Martin and Rudolph Valentino mixed together and delivered in a manner that takes the individual parts and creates something that is stronger as a whole.
It’s his ability to take these multiple strands and weave them together to conjure up a show that is like no other that attracts people to the Tav Falco’s Panther Burns fold again and again.
On this night we had a Turkish belly dancing intro from the bands attractive drummer, a whole slew of rock and roll and Spanish stroll, and an interlude where Tav and a dancing partner used the stage to display their skills as they danced the tango in a set that time wise would have given Springsteen a run for his money if it hadn’t been cut short by the licensing curfew.   
This was not just a rock show in a club, but an artistic representation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” where the reality gives way for the surreal, albeit draped in a robe of fifties, early sixties, rebellious teenage culture.
There’s still one Scottish date to go and that is in Edinburgh tomorrow night (Wed 12/02/14), and it has to be said that if the above sounds like your thing then please don’t miss it.

*Dooking – Attempting to retrieve an apple from a tub with your teeth as part of a traditional Halloween game in Scotland. 

Similar Shows - 
15/02/14 - Lux Lives - McChuills (Glasgow)
01/03/14 - The Primevas - McChuills (Glasgow)
27/03/14 - The Bonnevilles/The Brutes/Geek Maggot Bingo - 13th Note (Glasgow)

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Shiverin' Sheiks - Love Music - 08/02/14 (Glasgow)

On the economically bomb blasted landscape of the high-street there are increasingly less and less last shops standing.
No one needs a heads up from the financial sector to be aware that independents have in the main waved the white flag and soaped their windows up.
Nor do we need to listen to the voices of doom from the stockbrokers to understand that the major players are struggling to.

However, it is in ‘Love Music’ - situated in the city centre of Glasgow - that we have a record store that Canute like sits on the beach spinning records and holding the waves back with help from their loyal customers.

Its door from the street could as well be the back of the wardrobe that opens to reveal a musical Narnia.
A magical world populated by creatures made of sound.
A cornucopia of aural delights lies within, and whenever I make a daylight trip to the city I am always assured of a warm welcome.
This time the trip is not made with the intent to secure yet another album/single or DVD for my collection though, but instead it’s to enjoy an afternoon of live music from Glasgow neo-rock and rollers “The Shiverin’ Sheiks” who are looking to draw attention to the release of their debut album “A Curious case of…”.

Squeezing into the corner of the store the four piece, resplendent in matching suits, set up their drums and vintage amps, and then with an introduction from frontman Dave Dixon that is part carnival barker, part 50’s radio DJ hosting a bop, the band are off and running.
While most may immediately jump to the era that the band are paying homage to it’s the Beatles circa 1960 to 1962 - when they played the Bierkellers of Hamburg - that springs to my mind.
The period when the nascent mop toppers were more interested in playing sets of amphetamine fuelled covers of their rock and roll idols instead of working on being the band that shook the world.
Another hint to that being a second hand influence is in the double hint of the band name and their inclusion of the old jazz standard “The Sheik of Araby”. A track that featured on the Decca demos that failed to secure the fab four a deal.

Regardless of where the bands roots are located though it’s a fine set of songs that they display.
Slow Down, The Larry Williams classic - that was also covered by the Beatles on their Long Tall Sally ep - is as vibrantly frenetic as modern audiences would expect, a tip of the fedora to Bing Crosby comes from the leftfield and impresses, and the Big O gets the Shiverin’ Sheiks work out that no one would complain about, while Cadillac, made famous by Bo Diddley, is for me the jewel in a glittering crown as the band deliver the evergreen backing-vocals that the song requires to shine.

It would be easy to claim the band have all eight feet firmly planted in the past, but I’d take issue with that as the music that they are playing is timeless after all.
The double bass being slapped, the trembling guitar as a backdrop to sharper picking, and a drum beat that has been luring teenagers onto the rocks of rebellion since the fifties, is something that needn't be carbon dates as right here in 2014 it holds exactly the same amount of power as it always has, and it would be fair to say that with The Shiverin Sheiks it’s in safe hands.

From beginning to end the band deliver on all fronts.

Forgive another Beatles reference, but in regards to this beat combo, where are we going lads?

To the toppermost of the poppermost is the correct answer of course. 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Shameless - Guilty

I was given the chance to review this band by my good friend Mainy and I am glad that he asked me to review it or otherwise I would have never heard of these guys 
I was almost put off by them saying on their Facebook page that one of their main influences is Skrewdriver but it sounds more like Blitz than anything else.

The album consists of 10 tracks (2 extra tracks are available on the CD) and are 10 raw blasts of Punk/Oi! The title track "Guilty" sounds like a cross between Sham 69 and Evil Conduct with the main riff being taken straight from "Borstal Breakout" but hey, we can forgive them as they deliver a hard punching Oi! album.

"30 Years Tomorrow" is my favourite from the album though probably because it sounds a lot like Blitz. The topics of the songs are the usual meat and potatoes Oi! lyrics about sticking together and fighting political shit but there is something about Shameless that makes them different to a lot of new Punk and Oi! bands.

"Oi! For My Nation" could easliy be mistaken for The Business with the "Harry May" style guitar and "Friday Night Losers" could easily fit on Blitz's "Voice Of A Generation". An all round stomper of an Oi! album. If you like your Oi! in the vein of Sham 69, Blitz, Evil Conduct then I would suggest you go and get their album and see them as soon as you can. "

-Matt A.