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Monday, 10 March 2014

Eureka Machines - Scottish tour.

As mentioned so many times before I am never too keen on reviewing events that I have promoted.
Anything said that is favourable can very easily be misconstrued as a trumpet blowing exercise.
So instead of considering this as a review it is probably best if the Eureka Machines Scottish dates were to be thought of as akin to a tour diary rather than a review.

Friday 07/03/14 – Audio – Glasgow.

Arrived in Glasgow in a timely fashion and hit some shops as a time killer before load in at 4pm.
Felt pretty proud of myself as we, Kelly and I, spent half an hour in Missing records, and I managed to leave empty handed.
That is rocking horse shit rare, and maybe, just maybe, I’m finally getting a handle on my vinyl addiction.
With about an hour still to fill we popped into the Crystal Palace that is next door to Audio.
It’s one of those Wetherspoon behemoths.
Kelly had a hot chocolate that allegedly had chocolate in it but tasted of dishwater, and I had a cola that was possibly just water from a muddy puddle.
It had the colour, but that was all.
Never let it be said that a crap hot chocolate and cola can ruin our day though, as instead of complaining we just got on with it.
First world problems neatly banished we popped around to Audio to find the Eureka Machines and their mate Matt, had just arrived as well as Butler (Sound engineer for the evening).
So after a quick hello and a nice to see you all again, we loaded all the gear in (yep, a promoter that helps load the gear in. The rocking horse shit is building up) and Kelly went to Ticket Scotland to pick up the presales.
Sound check slipped by with no issues at all, and then the really important stuff was dealt with as I went out and picked up the rider that consisted of lager, some lager and some more lager.
I’d like to say there were no prima-donna requests from the band, but Pete let them down by asking for a “fruity cider, but not pear, maybe summer fruits”.
You can just tell that if the band hit the giddy heights of playing stadiums he will have an entourage and a list of demands that features midgets in thongs whose sole job is to separate the red Skittles from the rest of the colours.
Back stage will look like a scene from Caligula filmed in Willy Wonka’s factory.
Anyway Lidl didn’t have any so he had to do with a white wine spritzer in a can that seemed equally girly and probably isn’t much different from a summer fruit cider.
Jason of debrasco had arrived by then, closely followed by two thirds of Party Asylum and a singular Rank Berry. (Calling Brian a singular Rank Berry sounds worse than it really is.)
With the rest of the members of the support bands arriving in dribs and drabs we left them in the capable hands of Butler as we returned to the Crystal Palace to grab something to eat.
We all avoided the hot chocolate and cola this time.
Once bitten, twice shy as Ian Hunter would say.
Instead we had what turned out to be a lovely meal, and a conversation that if anyone listened into it must have sounded like a self help meeting of music nuts.

Me - Hi. My name is Mainy and I am a music addict.
Eureka Machines and Matt – Hello Mainy.

With the time creeping ever onwards everything fell neatly into place with us all finishing up our meals and drinks and arriving back at the venue ten minutes before doors.

Everyone there was ready, and with a last minute whirl of activity so were we.

Biggest surprise of the evening was opening up, and people coming in.
Not that people coming to a gig is a surprise, but arriving in time for the supports often is.
This time the crowd was already swelling nicely (behave) as Party Asylum took to the stage.
This is the third time that I’ve had them on a bill and with each outing they are incrementally getting better and better.
A grungier garage rock sound is coming to the fore and it’s great to see them growing up in public like this.
Even better was that random people kept coming over to tell me how much they had enjoyed the set from them as the comments were all framed in seeing a positive progression.
As a band they are certainly refusing to let any grass grow under their feet and it shows.

Debrasco don’t mess about.
Hard rocking seems to come easy to them as they powered through a set of modern rock songs that sound as if they are influenced by punk, grunge and even little hints of the dreaded nu-metal of the late nineties – although that’s not to be taken as a negative as it’s lightly layered on and adds more than it takes to the material.
It was heartening to see the guys do some brisk business in merch to what would have been an audience who were seeing them for the first time.
They should take some pride from that as not many support acts can pull that off.

This was to be the last show for Rank Berry guitarist Sean, as he is relocating to London, and it would be fair to say that he left the band in style.
Being self confessed Eureka Machines fans the band were excited about sharing a stage with them, and intent on enjoying themselves as much as possible.
It was this enthusiasm that made their set such and infectiously fun proposition.
Blistering guitar solos, manic rhythm work, pounding drums and bass all sugared with the soulful rock vocals of Jamie.
Throwing in a Wildhearts cover to finish the set could have been a bit hit and miss, but ended up all hit.
Nicely done, and as with Debrasco and Party Asylum they finished their set to the second as arranged.

This is one of those little things that people maybe don’t consider that much, but set times, running orders and such, are all done prior to the gig, and everyone should know exactly what they are doing, and yet very often when managing an event of any size you have to push to the side of the stage and motion to an act that they have one more song as if you don’t then they will just play on and on and on.
So it’s a pleasure to work with people who have an eye on making the night run as smoothly as possible, and in this case all the supports did just that.
So thank you.
It’s this self policing that allows me top relax a bit and crack open another can instead of running about putting out fires.
Much appreciated.

I could say similar about the professionalism of Chris, Pete, Davros, Wayne and Matt.
This is the second Eureka Machines gig that I have booked and they are old hands at this.
There is no drama, and they simply turn up and do everything that they promise they will, and that’s mainly attempting to take the roof off the venue they are in.
As a unit it is rare to see a band so tight and attuned to each other.
There are the known choreographed moves in specific songs, but nothing comes across as stale, or even contrived.
It’s all just one big ball of fun, and the audience who know what they are going to get are quick to pick up on the energy, while those who are new to the band were barely a step behind.
It seemed to be one of those gigs were the band and audience fed of each other, and with each song it just got better and better.
Plenty of people have been asking that age old question of “why aren’t they massive” often enough over the years, but with gigs like this, and news coming in on the night that they had won three “Pure Rawk” awards, it is maybe getting closer to them grabbing some quality time in the spotlight, and if they do manage to get into that position I can’t think of anyone else who deserves it more as they work hard at this.

A quick encore and it was that part of the night when the lightweights were spent and looking to head home.
(I'm looking at you Mark Hickey)
Meanwhile Eureka Machines scored some drink from Audio who kindly bent over backwards to accommodate us all, and Kelly and me slipped around to the Classic Grand who had offered free entry to their rock night for anyone with a Eureka’s ticket.

Accompanied by Jen and Androo of Party Asylum, their mate Ryan, and Christie Connor-Vernal, we arrived to find the DJ playing some grunty industrial death metal to a horde of long haired, denim clad extras from some post apocalyptic b-movie.
With our usual disregard for convention it only took us twenty minutes to persuade the DJ to play some Pat Benatar and Bonnie Tyler, and yes the combination of both did manage to clear the floor.
It was a bit surreal doing an impression of Bonnie in the middle of a circle of growling rock fans, but sometimes you just have to reach down deep and grab that inner Bonnie and go with it.

Top night, top bands, top people, and I am seriously thinking about buying a top hat.
Okay that last bit doesn't fit, but I thought I’d slip it in and pre-warn people.

Saturday – 08/02/14 – Bannermans (Edinburgh)

Well last night ended with a promise to do it all again today, but Kelly’s car didn’t want to play and failed its MOT in grand style in the morning.
Never say never though.
With Kelly making a few calls she managed to secure a car, and with a flurry of messages online we arranged to pick up Brian of Rank Berry, his partner Gillian, and Euan, who is Jamie of Rank Berry’s brother, and then head on through to the east coast.

The journey was uneventful, although we did talk about how if I won the lottery I wanted to buy a couple of dwarves with tourettes, dress them in tiny gimp suits, and strut about my home town with the snapping at people on the end of leads.
Apparently this is beyond the pale as dwarves are according to the others real humans.
That can’t be true.
Of course they look human, but they must be closer to an animal species.
Am I right, or am I right?
It doesn’t matter anyway because if I won a silly amount of money I am sure I could pick up a couple online.
You can’t get anything online.
Euan and I also decided that bananas are not a fruit.
Think about it.
Fruit is pretty much always round or oval. 
We have oranges, apples, pears to an extent, melons, berries, grapes etc.
Then you have this banana thing.
It doesn’t look like any other fruit, has a different texture and less in common with other fruits than I have with a dwarf.
So, our conclusion is that a banana is just a banana.
It sits alone as a food group.
There’s meat, vegetables, nuts, dairy, fruit and bananas.
They are like the duck billed platypus of the food world.

No one told us the rugby was on.
Scotland was playing France and the traffic was suitable chaotic.
It wasn’t helped by some limo with flags on it getting escorted out of the city.
Apparently putting a couple of flags on the bonnet of your car gives you the right of way in any situation and cops on motorbikes flanking you to make sure no one rips the piss.
While that was slightly annoying (‘mon the proletariat) it was less entertaining than seeing a guy dressed as Obelisk.
There was no sign of Asterix though.
Shame that.
The two of them strutting down a road with a wild boar on Obelisks shoulder would have made my day.

I’d never been in Bannermans before, but it’s a pretty cool little rock and roll boozer with an impressive line up of bands coming in the next few months so I expect I’ll be back sooner than later.
It was very nice to coincidently meet up with Wildhearts/NY Dolls fans Mo and her husband again.
It’s always good to bump into people as part of the gig going experience.

First act of the night was Shatterhand who deal in the harder side of pop punk, although the pop element shouldn’t be focussed too heavily on as it’s really just being used to highlight that they have a good grip of melody that they graft onto the brutality and use to shade what they do to good effect.
I’ve seen the band loads of times over the years and I never get tired of them.
They are stalwarts in the Edinburgh punk scene and it’s a well deserved position they hold.
Some people felt the set was a bit short, but it’s a clean blast that never overstayed its welcome and I was once again entertained so I’m not complaining.

Buzzbomb are another act that has been earning their stripes for a very long time, and it’s great to see that an elusive break in the music business has never dampened their enthusiasm for what they do.
It’s all a blur of a nuanced take on the harder, more metallic, side of the punk rock road.
Motorhead, Misfits, The Ramones for a bit of shading, and more all jostle with each other to rise to the top as a main influence, but the guys keep them all corralled in together and keep it interesting.
By the time they raced through their setlist the sweat was running off them and it’s admirable to see them put so much energy into it all.

Eureka Machines don’t mess about though, and with the crowd growing to a nice level they weren’t slow in rising to the challenge and entertaining everyone present.

This time without having to worry about anything and just assuming the more comfortable role of punter I managed to dance about a bit, sing a lot and enjoy a drink or two. 
At my age two nights out should be considered rather reckless, but fatigue and hangovers have not been an issue over the weekend.

After the show we talked some more nonsense with the guys from Eureka Machine, Chris showed us the tattoo of Jon Poole he has on his right buttock twice and then we said our goodbyes and looked for a chip shop that provided vinegar with the salt.
It’s a strange place is Edinburgh.
When did “do you want salt and vinegar with that become salt and sauce”.

Going home was even less eventful than heading there.
It all ended with Gillian having a pee behind a skip and Brian leaving his phone in the car prior to them heading to a party that allegedly had moved to accident and emergency as someone managed to get their penis bit.
I’m only mentioning that last bit in case at any point in the future Brian asks anyone to go to a party with him.
It’s on you if you say yes.

And with that all I can do is raise a glass and say “here’s to the next time”.
Also, and this is just a thought, but if everyone who attended both shows could bring a friend next time we could really push the Eureka Machine lads forward a bit.

They deserve it, and let’s be honest, so do we.

1 comment:

  1. Turns out it was Princess Anne in the limo.
    She missed a crackin' gig.
    Bet she's mega pissed off.