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Tuesday 31 January 2012

In conversation with 4 Past Midnight

Mainy - So that's you guys back in the saddle again? How long has that been since you and Fred have shared a stage as 4PM?

Peter – Yeah, back in the saddle for more mayhem, torture and mental abuse. You would think by now we would know better. I suppose we're gluttons for punishment as they say.
It's been a while since Fred and me shared a stage. Probably 2006.
It's good to be back together. It works.

Mainy - What was it that acted as the catalyst for this reformation?

Peter – Well I'd sworn to myself that I was never doing it again. It was always two steps forward and three back.
We were always falling out with each other, falling out with people from outside the band, dealing with the general hassles that every band has to deal with and I'd got to the stage that I was tired of it.
I left it behind me, but people kept asking when we were playing again and telling me they missed the band so in hindsight I've got to say that the well meaning pressure from them kept the band lurking about in my head.
The real catalyst, the thing that was the tipping point, was when I was sitting in the car outside the supermarket waiting for my wife to come back and I found a copy of 'guilty as charged' and slipped it on.
I honestly hadn't listened to it in over two years, but when it was on I got that buzz and started thinking 'damn, that's a good set of songs right there.'
From that moment I started thinking about the good times and tucking all the negative crap to the back of my mind.
There was only one problem though. Fred and myself hadn't spoken in about six years after a major fallout and when I think about 4pm it's always Fred and me in the band.
If the band was going to get back together then it had to have us at the core.
So as I had already been thinking of getting in touch him and trying to mend some fences and maybe this was the time to kill two birds with one stone.
In all honesty I didn't even know if he would speak to me, but then coincidently a few days later my wife was on msn and spoke to Fred and told him that I was looking to get back in touch.
A week later we met up in the Solid Rock in Glasgow and that was that. We simply put the past behind us and 4pm as a band were back for about the 1000th time.
Fred and me have a sort of musical soul mate thing going on. We love and hate each other, sometimes at the same time. It can be frosty, but most times we get on great as we know each other inside and out.

Mainy - You want to introduce the new guys to us?

Peter - Yeah ...we have two new recruits who have really opened the sound of the band up. We have Brian Cartwrite on lead guitar and the duel guitar sound between Fred and Brian now sounds really powerful. Stevie Goldsack is playing bass for us. He's rock solid.

Mainy - Instead of sneaking in the back door you have a comeback gig sorted in Glasgow and are returning with a bit of a bang. I mean it couldn't be described as dipping your toe in to see how the water feels. It's more a cannonball into the deep end.
So do you want to fill us in on when, where and who is playing at it?

Peter - Yea , We have never been a band that just sits back. It's never really been our style. If we go for it then it has to be full throttle. Anything less than 100% doesn't cut it with us and I suppose we wouldn't have it any other way. Full throttle or not at all. That could be our motto.
The reunion gig is at the Classic Grand Saturday April 7th.
It's Sandie Noone who is promoting it so we are in safe hands. She's managed to get it as an over fourteens show to. It's a top venue a capacity of 400, but what the hell, if you're going to put on a reunion gig then you have to go for it.
The supports are top drawer Glasgow acts. We've got Hateful who really don't need an introduction. I've always thought that they were one of the best live acts that we have who were only matched by The Red Eyes.......and we are really pleased to say that we have them to.
So there you have it. A night of premier Punk rock and roll. If I wasn't in the band I would be in the audience....enough said

Mainy - From a previous discussion we had I know that the band is keen to draw the attention of a younger crowd and aren't just looking to ride the nostalgia train, but how are you going to do that?

The thing with the younger folks is that they want to see live music but most of the gigs are 18+ and they cant get in.
They have the hunger, the passion and want to get right in there and participate, but they are locked out.
It's something that does my head in. The music should be for everyone. So we are trying. Along with Sandie, to address that.
We are going to be passing out flyers and free CDs to them.
We know money is tight for them, and everyone else. So it's mutually beneficial to get them onside with us. They get a CD and we get an expanded audience.
Hopefully they can appreciate what we are about and go home, listen to the CD, check us out online and then make the effort to come to the gig.
They will be made welcome.
They're the next generation who will carry the torch. Full respect to them.
To disregard them is ageist in itself. I remember being their age and I don't think things have changes as much as the media want us to believe.
Feral kids? Give me a break. They're us thirty years ago.

Mainy - As a band you always had a problem with the exclusive attitude that often rears it's ugly head in the punk scene. Have you seen much evidence of that sort of crap this time?

Peter – So far I've not witnessed much of anything because we have not been gigging yet , but I'm sure it will raise its ugly head at some point, Unfortunately it always does.
Hopefully I'm wrong. In fact I sincerely hope I am and it might be different this time around.
Hell, we're all middle aged men now. Surely we can all act like it.

Mainy - Obviously at the moment you will be concentrating on the comeback show, but what do you have planned for after that.
More gigs? New material?

Peter – Yeah, we're going to record a new album right now. It's set for release around November this year on STP Records. Stu has always been good to us and he has a solid roster of acts. It's cool that we are doing it with him.
We've a few other gigs lined up and hopefully more to add shortly. A two week tour around November time is also being talked about, and hopefully The Angst from Florida will be doing it with us.

Mainy - The last tour of the USA sort of broke the back of that line up.
Would you try it again or are you more of the attitude that if they want you then they can do the running?

Peter - No no. I want to break it on some level there. We have fans dotted all over the states and I hope to get 4PM back stateside in 2013 and play to them.
It's a hard place to tour and takes a hell of a lot of organizing, a lot of money to fall back on and a lot of miles to be eaten up on the road, but I believe we can get it done.
We also want to get ourselves over to Germany, France and more mainland European countries. Ireland is a place we want to play to.

Mainy - I see that a few people have been asking if you are playing the Rebellion festival this year. At the moment it seems to be in the hands of the bookers so is it looking promising.

Peter - Rebellion is one of those hit and miss affairs.
You either get on the bill or you don't. Darren Russel gets bombarded with bands like us wanting to play it and I think it comes down to support from fans. He's a business man with a passion for punk. If there's enough people ask for a band then that raises his awareness of them and increases the chances of being booked.,
Basically if he is inundated with requests asking for you to play then your chances of appearing improve.
At the moment there's still a lot of people who are unaware that we are back and that maybe isn't helping us.
I've sent shit loads of emails to Darren with no success as of yet, but I'm a needle in a hatstack.
How many emails do you think he gets a day?
So just need to wait it out and fingers crossed that we can get get squeezed on at some point.

Mainy - I was looking at the line up. Rancid will obviously be a big draw, but what do you think about Johnny 'panto dame' Lydon appearing with PiL? He's the punk who hates punk so in his usual contrary manner this could be right up his street.

Peter - I seen PiL had been added to the bill. I've never been a fan and only liked a few songs, but he will put on a good show and I doubt anyone will be moaning about a real live Pistol on the bill.
I can't imagine him watching any of the other acts though ...can you?

Mainy - You've been involved with the US label Working Class Records and they've got your albums up for download globally. How did that come about? Has it gave the material a new lease of life?

Peter - I'd been sending out emails to record labels, trying to get someone to reissue the 'trials and tribulations' and 'guilty as charged' albums as limited vinyl releases as I've always wanted to see our releases in a vinyl format,
But anyway, WCR was one of the labels I Had sent this email too and they responded with 'we dont do vinyl, but we can help getting your releases going on the digital market and give your previously released last two albums the reissue treatment.'
I thought what the hell. Nothing ventured nothing gained as it were.
So that's how it came about. I'm not a lover of downloads as you know as I prefer a physical product, but it's 2012 and you just have to accept that there are a lot of people who do like downloads.
The time is probably right to venture down that road with 4PMs material.
Who knows. If sales go well maybe someone will want to licence a vinylrelease.
Also in the pipeline on WCR is a proper CD and digital download release of Punkology : The Collection 1989-2002 album that we did that that features all our demos & rarities.
Originally that was a purely DIY release.
I'm personally rather excited about those two albums as they have never been properly pressed on CD. We only ever burned cdr copies to sell at gigs. Not really the same as a properly pressed cd with proper cover and so on. It's been a long time coming.

Mainy - and lastly. I was looking at your latest promo photographs and mate....The Rock......c'mon. If you want a loan of a t-shirt with a good punk band on it just say.

Peter – Ha. Fuck you. Brian the lead guitarist had said band shirts to be wore in the pics ...So all I had was one with my favourite wrestler on it THE ROCK least its different if not Electrifying. You're a fud. LOL.

Sunday 29 January 2012

Templeton Pek - Slow Down For Nothing

As a band Templeton Pek are starting to cement a well deserved reputation for never resting on their laurels.
It's laudable that with each release they've managed to move that little bit forward into uncharted sonic territories while maintaining a connection with their punk roots.
This ability to expand on what they do while keeping their fan base happy is going to be the thing that ensures them a place in this game for the long haul.
If any evidence of their ongoing musical maturity is required then look no further than their latest release on People like you records 'Slow down for nothing'.
It's five tracks of solid intent.
It would seem that the tour supports with Rise Against and The Blackout - and being featured on festival bills across the globe - has seen them pay their dues and now they are giving all indications that they are ready to step up
This is the sound of a band flexing their muscles and making a grab for the headlining position.
If they can follow this with an album that's imbued with the same controlled aggression then give it a year and they will have the melodic hardcore loving kids baying their name at the moon.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

For Jacob. A Fundraising gig in aid of Sands. A message from Laura.

I'd like to invite you all to join me in raising money and awareness for Sands in memory of my son, Jacob, who died shortly after birth on 25th November 2011.

Tickets for this fundraising gig cost £5 and all money from ticket sales will be going to the charity, Sands, with tickets available from Su Casa in the Lorne Arcade, Ayr and Harleys in Ayr. Tickets will also be available on the door on the day so don't worry if you can't get in to buy one beforehand. There shall be plenty of great acts playing with something to suit every taste!

If your not able to make it along, you can still donate online at:

Today seventeen babies will die in the UK as the result of stillbirth or neonatal death. At Sands, they aim to raise awareness of this shocking statistic and help the research that is required to drive down this number. To have a look at the work they do check out:

Bring as many friends and family as you can and lets have a great day in memory of a very special little boy!

Hope to see you all there!

Laura x

Line up : Brown Bear and the Bandits, Tragic O'Hara, Duffys Gypsy Band, Sixmilewide, Alan Frew, Scott Nicol, Starsigns and Calendars, Russian Ninjas, Melisa Kelly and the Harmless Thieves, The Risk, The Helms, Grant Collfield, Calum Muir, James Fole, Martin McLaughlan and more tbc.

Epic Problem – Epic Problem EP

This three track debut from these Mancunian no frills punk rockers certainly shakes the cobwebs away.
Gruff and to the point they may be, but unlike the many bands of their ilk who rise and fall with alarming regularity they know how to temper the aggression with enough melody to avoid the many pitfalls that bog down their peers.
There's a solid grounding in the sound of the second wave of the UK punk scene, but a more worldly spin that incorporates some ska influences and the attitudes of say the Californian bands like Operation Ivy who melded hardcore, ska and punk together to devastating effect.
They could have had the running order as Short, Sharp and Shock on this.
As debuts go its to the point and will certainly send a few shock waves out across the underground punk scene, and maybe even further afield.
It's going to be interesting to see if the guys can carry off a full length album and maintain the quality.
Everything across the three tracks here indicates that they can, so remember 'Epic Problem' and keep an eye out for them returning to the fray with more than an EP.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

The Secret Sisters - Oran Mor - 23/01/12 (Glasgow)

Muscle Shoals, Alabama carries its legendary status in the world of music with relative ease.
Whether it's within country music, rock and roll, the blues or more contemporary sounds you will find the fingerprints of that Southern city all over popular music.
Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more have all made the pilgrimage to either Muscle Shoals itself, or the the studio that was relocated to the neighbouring city of Sheffield, and successfully managed to imbue their material with some of the magic that the area possesses.
Due to this patronage people with an interest in the history of the development of popular music have turned their attention on Muscle Shoals and tried to explain why one place could have such a profound influence globally.
It has been the subject of essays and books, but for me the attention to detail seems to often miss the point.
Sam Philips claimed that the WLAY radio station that aired out of Muscle Shoals with a mix of black and white artists was an influence on Sun Records, and there in that one comment it says it all.
This melting pot of cultural influences and musical alchemy was the catalyst that sent a shock wave across the world as Sam Philips, amongst others, aided the cultural birth of rock and roll.
So is it any wonder that as the years past that artists from across the world, who had gained a certain degree of success, would then use their money to make a trip to the crucible where much of what they were influenced by had originated from.
It seems over simplistic when I put it like that, but does it have to be any more than just what it is?
Now here we are in 2012 and the latest act to push Muscle Shoals back into the collective consciousness of the world is not one making a trip to the area, but instead one who actually originates from the city.
The name of the band is The Secret Sisters.
Real life siblings who sound like the Yin to the Everly Brothers Yang, and last night I had the great pleasure of seeing them perform a set as part of the annual Celtic Connections festival that Glasgow hosts.
Now this is where it gets difficult.
How can you describe an experience that was so gut wrenchingly beautiful?
Can you imagine cold crystal clear water tumbling untainted down a mountainside that's bathed in sunlight?
That's what Laura and Lydia Rogers sound like.
There's something organically perfect about how they harmonize with each other.
Not perfect in a sterile way as we hear so often from the mainstream pop divas, but instead perfect in an ongoing living, breathing and evolving manner.
It's a tactile performance and they carry the audience with them from beginning to end.
I don't think I'd be upsetting too many people if I said that country music is so often seen as a guilty pleasure, but that seems to be because over the years it has become a self perpetuating parody of itself.
Yet when you go back to the roots then there's nothing to be found that should elicit feelings of shame for liking it, and it's that sort of country music that The Secret Sisters deal in.
Real roots music.
A style that has heart and soul and speaks to you regardless of whether you were born in the shadow of an Appalachian mountain or a tenement flat in Glasgow.
As the majority of their début album is made up of covers it's no surprise that the live set mirrors that, but to claim that they are a covers band seems to be wilfully missing the point.
What the sisters do is similar to what Jack and Meg of the White Stripes did with the blues.
They create a bridge from the present into the past that allows them to take us back to the roots of something that is rarely heard now unless it's accompanied by the crack and pop of the needle in the groove.
It's hauntingly beautiful at times, and as an introduction to them the very strong set of covers and originals could be considered as a strong statement of intent that leaves no one unaware of where they are coming from, or where they are going.
This is a country act and they're not going to apologise for expressing themselves as such.
During the show the ghosts of Bill Monroe, Hank Williams are conjured up and George Jones is honoured with a rendition of Why Baby Why, and then there's more, so much more.
The whole performance is faultlessly evocative and the mix of material indicates that when The Secret Sisters get around to releasing their second album – an album that will comprise completely of original tracks - they will be able to cement their reputation as musicians that can stand proudly next to their heroes of yesteryear.
When they next visit Glasgow I would have to whole heartedly say that everyone should grab a ticket and experience them singing to you, but only after I've bought mine.
They have the voices of honky tonk angels, and while that may sound clichéd I'm sure anyone being newly introduced to them will forgive me for dishing out such a hackneyed plaudit.

Sunday 22 January 2012

The gig that wasn't to be.

Unfortunately I've had to cancel this gig.
The situation is that there are still ongoing issues with red tape and the venue (Jollys) may or may not be open for the 29th.
On that basis, and that alone, and with only one week to go it would be unfair to continue promoting a gig that may not actually happen.
Especially as none of the acts are from Kilmarnock and one is travelling from as far away as Manchester.
Sadly I will not be rescheduling and in all honesty I'll not be looking to promote any further gigs in Kilmarnock.
It feels like the end of something.
Kelly and myself have only ever dabbled in promoting and never ever made one penny from it.
We either broke even or made a loss.
The latter being the norm.
I really wish this gig could have happened as it's a solid line up.
Dave Sharp is a legend in my opinion.
From his days in the Alarm to playing with Dylan and ultimately doing his own thing he has never failed to entertain me.
On a personal note he is also a real gent and a man who lives and breaths what he does.
It's with pride that I call him friend.
Similar could be said about Tragic O'Hara.
The first time I seen him play a set I thought he was good, but failed to understand why friends were raving about him.
My lack of appreciation was firmly knocked into touch the second time I caught him perform though.
Everything clicked into place and I had my road to Damascus moment.
In recent months he has been securing increasingly high profile support slots and with his next album we may very well see him reap the rewards that he is most certainly due.
This gig was also going to be the Kilmarnock début for both Melisa Kelly and the band Fole.
Melisa is a young woman from Ayr who has rock and roll diva stamped all over her.
When she opens her mouth to sing the hair rises on the back of the audiences neck.
She doesn't just sing the notes, but emotes them.
You feel that it is a real performance.
There's no auto tuning, no fake persona. Just a raw talent that, similar to the greats like Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday, refuses to be diluted.
I was really pleased that I was in the position to bring her to Kilmarnock and the icing on the cake was that I would be doing the same for Fole.
Since initially seeing their singer do a solo set I've been impressed with every subsequent performance.
Well crafted songs passionately delivered will always find an appreciative audience and this is why they are going from strength to strength.
I honestly couldn't have had a better line up to kick the year off with.
As I'll no longer be promoting any gigs in Kilmarnock I'd like to say thank you to all the bands and artists who have played for Kelly and myself.
Each and every single one of you has brought something unique to the town and it is greatly appreciated.
Not just by me, but by all who support live original music.
The Hangmen from Newcastle, Promises from Holland, The Hyperjax from Manchester, Devilish Presley from London, Jinx Lennon from Ireland, Mike Peters from Wales, Dave Sharp from Manchester, Glen Matlock and the Philistines from London.
All the Glaswegians, Tragic City Thieves, Filthy Little Secret, The Girobabies, The Zips, The Snipes, Chris Devotion, Variety Suite, Jon Zip and Alan Bishop.
The east coasters Billy Liar, Emma Forman and Homesick Aldo.
And all the Ayrshire acts.
Cal Murray, Roscoe Vacant solo and with his Gantin Screichs, The Hold Up, Zoe Lewis, Little Fire, Tragic OHara, Matt Scott, Colin Hunter, Junkmans Choir, Ross Gilchrist, Anna Sweeney, The Japanese Mafia, The Parrafins and Ari of Rose Parade.
I doff my cap to you all, and if there is anyone I have managed to miss then it's not intentional and I will be more than happy to add you to the roll call of honour..
In closing I would also like to take this opportunity to add a big thank you to Chris Mooney, Stuart Dudgeon and Scott Lyle for all the help and support that they have provided over the last few years.
None of the gigs would have been possible without them.

Friday 13 January 2012

Jimmy Cliff - Sacred Fire

Tim Armstrong could be to reggae music what Rick Rubin is to country.
The man who could give it a real shot in the arm by reviving the careers of yesterdays heroes.
That's not to say that Jimmy Cliff needed that shot in the arm, or that he is even one of yesterdays heroes, but the collaboration between Tim as producer and Cliff as artists does serve to bring him to a new audience in a rather grand style and could open the doors for others to follow.
Across the breadth of the ep it's got a solid punk vibe that Jimmy Cliff manages to comfortably wrap his trademarked tones around .
Guns of Brixton is reverentially treated and will warm the cockles of any Clash fans heart and the cheeky inclusion of Tim's very own Ruby Soho sits very nicely next to it.
The only original song, 'Ship is Sailing' occupies the central ground and offers a hint that the forthcoming full length album could well be the must have grab of 2012.
The inclusion of Dylan's 'Hard rain's a-gonna fall' might seem to be the odd one out when considered without hearing it, but once the beat gets going the flow continues with nary a ripple.
Closing with a reprise of Guns of Brixton done in a dub stylee could attract accusations of it being used a as bit of filler. But it's nothing of the sort and as a stand alone track is as strong as anything else already heard.
In fact it might not be a bad idea to add a full length dub version of the album to the album proper when it comes out and call it a special edition.
I doubt anyone is going to be disappointed with this.

Thursday 12 January 2012

Brown Bear and the Bandits

2011 was the year that seen Ayrshire band Brown Bear and the Bandits cement a reputation for being the act that local music fans had to see.
From pubs to clubs they raised the roof and as the year ended they found themselves in the enviable position of being the name on everyone's lips as the act that was going to break through.
So it was no surprise to see them mentioned by BBC Radio Scotland as one of thirty five bands to watch out for in 2012.
All this without even having a debut album out to.
So it is with great pleasure that they are here answering a few questions for the blog.

Mainy - So tell us a little about the band?
How did you guys meet, what's the origins of the name?

Matt - Me and Stuart have known each other since childhood.
It wasn't until we met Kay at the same time that we become closer. That was in our old band One Man Town.
After that we stuck together and then became Brown Bear & The Bandits.
As for the name, well I had been kicking it around for years and thinking of doing a blues project under that name and then when we were thinking of something suitable I suggested it,.
We felt it suited us, fun, upbeat and we all felt we could see it on a headline poster!
Kay - I’ve known the guys for a few years now.
We all used to play in a band called One Man Town. Then when that was over we didn’t want to stop playing together so thought, why not start something new?
The reception we’ve had since deciding to do this has been so overwhelming.
I’s hard to believe it has only been seven months!
Stuart - Myself and Matt met when we were about six when I won an award at a club and he pushed me off a stage.
We've been close ever since.
I met Kay about 5 years ago in One Man Town that the others mentioned.

Truth or Dare by brownbearandthebandits

Mainy - With most bands there's a point when it moves from mates messing about to that moment when everything clicks and they realize that they are making music of your own rather than emulating a sound.
Do you guys all share a moment like that, or did you all reach it at different times?

Matt - For me it was back at the beginning when we started to notice the same people come back to gigs and posting on facebook and realised we were actually gaining fans and it wasn't just friends coming to see us play.
That's when we realised that it was going well and people were liking what we were doing. Our first few times at Su Casa also made us aware that our music was coming into its own
Kay - King Tuts for me. That gig was just amazing. I thought I got it before then, but once it was all over and we had a chance to take it all in, wow. We’re just so lucky to have all the support we do. We couldn’t do it without you all!
Stuart - I think we got the mates messing about out of our systems in previous bands. We've all been playing in Glasgow and locally for years at this point starting in our early teens and after a gig I think it was at Bloc during the summer we all sort of agreed that we had something we were all really happy with and decided this is what we wanted to do with our lives.

Mainy - There's also that first time when you can see that what you are doing is resonating with an audience.
When was the first time you felt that connection?

Matt - Definitely King Tuts.
To have fans from all over in one place for the same reason and knowing the words to our songs was an amazing feeling.
Getting a wee chant after the set didn't go a miss either!
Kay - For me, it would have to be when we went back and played Su Casa in Ayr last November. The night was in full swing by the time we came on, and it felt like the roof could cave in at any moment it was so busy. Some people knew every single word to the songs. It was fantastic!
Stuart - I would say the first time we played Su Casa was it for me. I was used to crap reactions in my old bands and it becomes the status quo after a few years of hearing no cheers, but at Su Casa the reaction was mind blowing and they really took to us which was really touching.
The Tall Ships in Greenock is another milestone that comes to mind.

Mainy - Everyone has different perceptions of what you sound like, but how would you describe it yourselves?

Matt - So far people have struggled to pigeon hole us and agree what our genre is…. I'd like for it to stay that way
Kay - We can’t really be pigeonholed. Our music reflects so many different genres.
Pop/celtic/rock/country… We are not folk!
Stuart - I find it hard to describe us. Lots of people say folk, celtic etc. Our influences are so wide that many genres shine through. There are definitely aspects of those genres but the three of us are so diverse in our listening tastes that I feel rock, country and many others come through, especially as we write together more and more each of our influences shine through. A song written solely by Matt can sound very different from a collaborative effort.

Mainy - So who was it that influenced you all, and that doesn't have to be specifically other musicians?

Matt - My biggest influences are Ray Charles & Stevie Wonder, but mostly Ray Charles!
I think he was a true genius and truly innovative for his time! "I've got a woman" for me is one of the greatest songs that has ever been released!
Kay - My biggest influence has probably been my big sister. She is also a drummer and has been all over the world with her band, The Hedrons. Hopefully one day that will be us!
Stuart - Personally the people who influence me the most are Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan, Danny Elfman, Queen, Slash and Mike Patton.
Nobody who sounds remotely like what we do.
Film music and grand sounding songs are what inspire me.

War of Loves by brownbearandthebandits

Mainy - There's been much talk about an 'Ayrshire scene'. Do you think there are pros and cons to being attached to a scene, and what would they be?

Kay - why limit yourself to a scene? The world is your oyster, so get your bib on and tuck in!
Matt - I think there are pro's and cons to scenes. Ayrshire has made us very welcome and we have made some great friends, notably Jamie McGeechan, but I wouldn't count us as part of a scene were just making music because that's what we love to do and we will play wherever people will have us.
We live in the furthest away part of Ayrshire and Kay in Inverclyde and as she said the worlds your oyster. Don't limit yourself!
Stuart - There definitely is a scene and as we played more in Ayrshire we began to ingratiate into it to a certain point but long term I think being part of a scene can pigeon hole you and restrict your creative output.
A scene will only like a certain type of music by definition and that can limit what you can play but scenes also offer an artist support system where people help each other out which is really important.

Mainy - You're currently recording. How is that going and what are your expectations of the new material?

Matt - Its great fun and I am really enjoying being back in a studio. As for the new material it is greatly refreshing for us and more and more we feel we are defining our own sound! Can't wait for you all to hear it!
Kay -: It’s going great so far. Feels good to be back recording and we can’t wait to get it out there!
Stuart -: Were doing some familiar favourites like Truth or Dare for example, which is getting re-recorded.
We are recording one new song which is tentatively titled 'The Chase' which I personally believe is the best thing we've ever done. On a musical level it's a bit of a step up I'd say as is much of the new material, not to say that the older stuff is simple but I'd say the new stuff has more of a band identity to it.
I can hear where everybody has contributed and it's an exciting development.

New Years Revolution - Matt Scott, Lynnie Carson, Johnny Barr, Dani Camacho - King Tuts (11/01/12)

This month the infamous King Tuts Wah Wah Hut are hosting their annual New Years Revolution festival where they promote the 'who to watch' talent for the forthcoming year.
On the bill for the Wednesday night was our local hero Matt Scott joined by Lynnie Carson, Johnny Rab, and late addition to the line up Dani Camacho who also comes from deepest darkest Ayrshire.
Dani was the opening act and this time instead of a strict solo outing he was joined by the Banner brothers who were providing a rhythm section to accompany him.
It's difficult to ascertain if this was beneficial to the set though.
From the start the impression that I was getting was of watching a band finding its feet.
As one song drifted into the next it felt like we were watching a practice session being played out in public, a tentative jam session to see where the common ground was and designed to highlight the direction they could go as a unit.
Unfortunately that's not what people want to spend their hard earned cash on when they shell out for a night of entertainment.
In hindsight I'm sure Dani himself will be picking apart his performance and in the cold light of day considering that the gig was about ten solid practice sessions short of being revealed to the public.
There's a great deal of work needing to be done to flesh out the material.
For instance Mik Banner was under used and apart from playing bass he could have been providing backing, or even duel vocals, but that's the sort of thing that would have possibly been incorporated organically if Dani had the opportunity of time to construct a solid well rehearsed set.
That he didn't have the time and went ahead with the set is something that he may sadly live to regret as many members of an audience give a band one chance and one chance only.
I can understand the dilemma that he had though.
No one gets anywhere unless they are out there playing, and when the offer came in his head must have been full of 'should I or shouldn't I' and then he has considered that winging it and hoping for the best was a better opportunity for him and his band mates than not playing at all.
It makes sense, but only when everything clicks into place and the band play a blinder, and unfortunately that didn't happen.
It's a truism that everyone has less than impressive outings on stage though.
The real measure of a performer is how they come back from them.
It's now time for Dani to sit down and plan his return to the fray.
Next was Johnny Barr, who I was coming to blind. Not one note had I heard, nor any whispers of what to expect.
Initially he was alone on stage and playing impressively like a young John Butler.
It's very obvious from the outset that he's a talented musician and then when he sings it is just as obvious that he has the full package going on.
The songs are well constructed, the musicianship faultless and he carries his stage presence with casual effortlessness.
You would think that things couldn't get any better, but they do when his band join him.
This was one of those rare moments when everything simply works.
Often enough I have seen technically gifted musicians playing together and been left completely cold as their no heart or soul in what they are doing.
This wasn't the case here though.
Johnny Barr and his band provided King Tuts with a genre hopping performance that reminded me of why I love live music so much.
It's because every once in a while if you are lucky you manage to be in the right place at the right time and find yourself blown away by the talent on display.
I still know virtually nothing about them, but I will be changing that sooner rather than later.
An exceptional band and one to definitely look out for in 2012.
Next was our very own Matt Scott and this is where I run into a bit of a problem.
What can I say that I haven't already?
I have a similar problem with the bands Tragic City Thieves and Filthy Little Secret.
After a period of time you simply run out of superlative praise to throw at them, and I'm now at that stage with Matt.
From opening the set with a raunchy take on Roadhouse Blues, that probably wrong footed much of the audience who were wondering why on earth anyone would start a set with a cover, he then moved on into his own material, and then within the context of the set the opening and closing of it with another cover - Drunken Nights In The City - made complete sense.
By having two classic songs bookending the performance Matt actually highlights how strong his own material is as it occupies the middle ground without their being any noticeable dip in quality at all.
Next stop for Matt is a set in Inverness this coming Sunday (15/1/12) in a venue called Hootenanny.
So if you are in the area then do yourself a favour and give your ears a treat.
Headliner of the evening was Lynnie Carson who I unfortunately had to duck out on midway through her performance, but what I did see what suitably impressive.
The first song had her vocals very low in the mix, but that was quickly sorted and once the balance was found, the band, and Lynnie, showed themselves to be deserving of the reputation they have.
It's really just a modern take on soft rock with a bit of a country influence layered into the melting pot.
Lynnie's vocals aren't far off sounding like a young Stevie Nicks, but while some may consider that to sound a tad too middle of the road the reality of the live performance would dispel any thoughts that the band peddle a style that is rooted completely in the past.
If the opportunity arises I'll definitely be taking it to see them again, and a second bite at them will allow me to comment further.
Thank to Kelly, John, Ann, Pauline, Taf, Claire and Hoogs for the excellent company that was on par with the artists performing.
(Photograph of Matt Scott by Euan Main. All rights reserved by Euan Main/Matt Scott)

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Scottish Alternative Music Awards

In association with Vintage Guru the Scottish Alternative Music Awards will be coming to the Glasgow Garage on the 1st of March 2012.
Comedian Billy Kirkwood will be hosting the event and the categories are as follows:

BEST ROCK/ALTERNATIVE sponsored by Ignite Records
BEST METAL sponsored by Departed Apparel
BEST ACOUSTIC sponsored by JamHut Studios
BEST ELECTRONIC sponsored by Bar Bloc
BEST LIVE ACT sponsored by Messer Schmitt
BEST NEWCOMER sponsored by Cathouse Rock Club
BEST HIP HOP sponsored by Young Scot.

After the success of last years event this is going to be the hot ticket for fans of all genres of what is loosely classed as alternative music.
Tickets are £10 and can be bought here
All other information and the chance to vote on the acts participating are here.

Jasiri X - The World Is Watching

As rap was redefined as a vehicle to deliver a message about guns, bling, bitches and ho's to the mainstream masses I virtually left it behind.
There's little within what it was doing that I personally felt had any real value.
This sexist celebration of accruing wealth wasn't the message that rap and hip hop had its roots in.
Well not for me anyway.
Give me the Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron, Grandmaster Flash or Public Enemy and keep your Eminems, Tupacs, Biggie Smalls, Lil' Wayne and Big Sean as I have no real use for them
I still think this, but as with anything there are always many exceptions to the rule if you care to look for them and 'The World Is Watching' by Jasiri X is strong proof of this.
Nuanced, intelligent and relevant are just three words that readily spring to mind when I listen to him.
If you want an insight into what is going on in the US then it's Jasiri X that is dragging a light forth to shine on the ugly underbelly of a country that can often enough appear to be morally bankrupt due to the perception that the minority in power portray to the rest of the world.
The lyrics spat out here quite possibly aren't going to change any deeply held opinions of the US, but they do highlight rather effectively that as is the norm the political word doesn't express the wishes or opinions of the people.
By speaking out Jasiri X is connecting with what rap music is to me, and that's protest songs from the street.
The voice of the people expressing themselves.
We need this.
I guess that in short I could say that while the rap stars who are relaxing beside their pools in the hills of Hollywood may have the cash and the fame, it is Jasiri X that has integrity, and you can't buy that.
Thanks go out to Roscoe Vacant for turning me onto this.
You can get this album for free here.

The Girobabies - Bus Stop Apocalypse

No budget, no label, no management, no rules.
This is The Girobabies.
This generations last gang in town.
They're holding up a mirror to society and what is reflected back is a dystopian nightmare bolstered by a soundtrack that's hypnotically seductive.
The lyrics are the solid fist and the music the velvet glove that envelopes it.
With Bus Stop Apocalypse they have created an unflinching, unblinking challenge to the UK to wake up, to tear the blindfold off and react.
React to the drab fuckin' boring violence.
React to the drugs,
React to the apathy,
React to the coalition.
React to the lack of imagination.
React to the sleep walkers.
React to preconceived ideas and attitudes.
It screams at you to feel something and to think independently from what the media is feeding you.
Trip hop to hip hop, funk to punk, beats and acoustic guitars versus ambient noise.
It's all here.
All crowding each other out, pushing for space with sharp elbows and attitude.
At times it makes for uncomfortable listening, but the truth is always more difficult to accept than a lie that encourages passive acceptance of the status quo.
This is a manifesto for the disenfranchised to dance to and right at this moment it is exactly what we need to hear.
Vive le revolution. Vive le Girobabies.

Homesick Aldo - Talkin Innocent Outlaw Blues

It's 1902.
A new century is teetering onto unsteady feet and looking to take some unhindered steps still further into the future.
Meanwhile WC Handy stands still in Tutwiler. Mississippi waiting for a train.
The heat and dust compete as a distraction while sweat trickles from his hairline into his starched shirt collar.
It's certainly a a long way from the Scotland of 2012.
A time and place where the sky is slate grey and the rain unforgiving.
Yet there is a connection.
A link between what was then and what is now, and that link is the blues.
When WC Handy heard the sound of the slide guitar for the first time on that day, a sound that he would then take forth to the world, it would act as a catalyst and over a century later set a young man on a musical journey that would see him record an album that would in a spiritual sense bring the blues back home.
This is that album.
With a stomping, howling clarion call of authenticity that hasn't been heard in a very long time this is the sound of the blues coming full circle and reconnecting with its own past.
It's not the sound of the studio, or even a technical facsimile of the Delta that Clapton would wring out of a guitar, but instead it is the beating heart of the juke joint, the plantation and the Devil doing a deal at the crossroads put to music.
A living breathing testament to the power that music possesses when it is revealed in its rawest form.
In short it's the real deal.

The Coffins - Devil Spew

As a descriptive term garage punk is a rather loose one.
Everything from jangly paisley patterned mid western psych to the crash of The Clash have been attributed to coming from the garage.
Due to this increasingly wide understanding of what the term means it has become ludicrous to simply tag a band with the garage moniker and expect anyone to actually know what they sound like.
To call a group a garage band doesn't really convey anything specific any more.
So when I say that The Coffins are a band that have come from the garage what I really mean is that they crept out from under a tarpaulin wrapped corpse that was stuffed under a pile of mildewed girlie mags at the back of a garage that is now cordoned off as a crime scene.
There's dirt under these guys nails, some blood stains on the Cramps t-shirts they're wearing and a defiant fuck you attitude that could only come from being raised on the schizophrenic west coast of Scotland.
When they say 'bring me the head of a boy band member it's not so much a tongue in cheek reference to the state of the current landscape of the charts, but quite possibly just a flippant request for something to eat, because without a shadow of a doubt these guys do eat boy band members for breakfast and use them as fuel to power their darkly psychotic aural adventures.
Buy this from Newtown Products if you dare.

Sunday 8 January 2012

The Vox Dolomites

The sound of ska influenced punk never dies.
Instead it does the hokey cokey as a musical sub genre.
One minute it's in, then the next it's out, but it always shakes it all about.
The reason that it will not die is because bands like The Vox Dolomites resolutely keep breathing some hot and exciting life into it.
On the three tracks that they are giving away free to promote their forthcoming album on STP Records you can literally hear the sound of punk and ska clashing.
This isn't the sounds of Jamaica or the dance halls.
It's the sound of the streets.
Streets full of every hue of skin, full of people who are all flashing large grins and stamping their feet to the beat.
It's a party. A working class party with more attitude than you could shake a stick at.
Class stuff and you can grab it here.

There aint no Sanity Clause. Part 4 (The Young Ones)

The Young Ones (DVD)
I started off with some mixed feelings about this one.
At first it felt very dated, but then when I was midway through the second episode I was starting to become more acclimatized to the humour again.
As the third episode finished that was me hooked.
Who needs a DeLorean when time travel is possible by simply buying a Young Ones box set.
Some of the material still hasn't transferred into the present as maybe it could have.
Ben Elton comes across as a bit of a twat whenever he appears.
Very much someone who was part of the establishment poking fun at it.
That he wrote a Queen musical makes sense now.
(His books are still good though)
However Alexia Sayle who I was less keen on first time around has managed to maintain far more relevance.
His surreal political outlook probably makes more sense now that then.
The key players who the show revolved around are all still great.
The stereotype gauge is on max throughout and the larger than life characterizations are still very recognizable.
It has to be said though that while there is much said about the birthing of alternative comedy you just can't get away from this being a mainly a slapstick show that is rooted in skits that are historically tried and tested.
Proof of that is in how my daughter at twelve loves that aspect of it.
I think I'll have to get myself the Comic Strip box set at some time and see how that goes down with the kids.

There aint no Sanity Clause - Part 3 (The Hours)

The Hours - See the light (CD)
Loved the début from this band, but when I went to see them live I was so underwhelmed that I sort of allowed them to momentarily slip from my memory.
Then they released a single that preceded their return to the fray that was 'See the Light', and as that was also rather lacklustre it acted as another nail being hammered into the 'where are they now' coffin that I was fashioning for them to reside in.
So why did I buy the album then?
Well it was a quid and at that price I'm easy going about offering them the chance to redeem themselves, and in a small way they have managed to claw back some lost ground.
Not a lot, but some.
Although only time will tell how often this album will get dusted off and given a spin.
Being in the Mescaleros with Strummer, having celeb friends, getting Damien Hirst to fashion some shit for you and even touring in support to U2 is obviously not always the key to success.
See the light isn't a bad album, but I suspect it's going to be a dust magnet in my flat.

There aint no Sanity Clause - Part 2 (Primal Scream/MC5)

Primal Scream/MC5 - Black to Comm (CD x2/DVD)
Woooah. When did this come out?
I egotistically pride myself on being the guy with his finger on the pulse and his ear to the ground, but this one past me by completely.
Only this morning while perusing the racks in FOPP I noticed the cheeky little bit of an M and a C peaking out from beneath a price tag, and along with the title of 'Black to Comm' it was enough to have me barrelling forward in eager anticipation to check out what I knew was an MC5 goody whose existence I had been previously ignorant off.
Turns out that it was the concert that they did with Primal Scream for the Meltdown Festival and here it was in all its cinematic glory.
Now that's a motherfuckin' double bonus right there. Primal Scream and MC5 doing their counter culture ramalama live on DVD .
The only problem was that at fifteen notes it was a bit pricey for my economically besieged pocket.
So with a bit of a heavy heart I left FOPP and resolved that as soon as I returned home I would be searching the net to see if I could manage to secure it for less bucks, and if I was unsuccessful I would steel myself for maybe having to wait until it started to pop up in sales.
The gods of serendipity were however shining on me because less than an hour later while perusing the shelves of the normally extortionate HMV my son found a box set version that featured the DVD, two CDs and a little booklet all neatly packaged like tiny vinyl albums for £15.99.
So all I'm going to say is that I've been a relatively good boy throughout 2011 and I think I deserved to buy it for myself.
The additional CD's and booklet were the tipping point and before you could say kick out the jams my wallet was in my hand and the young lady at the checkout was cashing it up.
Then with butterflies having what felt like seizures in my stomach at the thought of an outlay I really couldn't afford I started thinking that this might have been a rather unwise purchase.
Doubts started to crowd in.
Who was going to be singing with MC5/TDK.
I'd seen them perform a gig once and left with every expectation not just met, but instead surpassed, but then again different singers at different gigs is an unknown quantity and this really could be the worst of the worst.
Then there's Primal Scream. A band known for their excesses that I've seen a few times over the years to.
I've witnessed them tear roofs off and on one occasion I've seen then doing the shell shock shuffle and deliver a rock and roll show that your drunk uncle at a wedding would empathise with due to the equal amount of shit dancing on display.
Oh dear. What if this was the recording of both bands at their worst?
Thankfully as soon as I got home all my fears vanished.
Initially it's Primal Scream all the way.
They've got it going on.
Their mojo has just had a large syringe full of adrenaline stabbed right into its heart and the boys are up for it.
There's a cocky confidence that the band possess and unlike other acts who drag that 'stage persona' out as they play the rock start for the audience Primal Scream are indeed the coolest fuckers on the block and they can back it up.
It's pretty much a fearless performance where they unveil a clutch of then new songs mixed in with what Scream fans would call classics.
Even the most hardened and fanatical MC5 fan would appreciate the set and I doubt many would skip forward to their heroes, and instead would hang in there and soak up the whole gig as it was performed.
Once Primal Scream finish it's a smooth transition and there they are. Three of the Motor City Five are there.
The torch has been passed over and Wayne Kramer immediately takes the lead with 'Ramblin Rose' before then handing over the vocal duties to William DuVall (who is probably better known as the replacement for Layne Staley in Alice in Chains.) who as a guest replacement for the sadly missed Rob Tyner is perfection in a 'fro.
That man has the ability to put the sound of soul and fuck into rock.
This is the mighty MC5 reanimated.
It's not a run through of songs from yesteryear.
This is the fire relit and they're burning down the house.
By the time that the groove of 'Motor City is Burning' is being pushed out I'm blown away.
This is the sound of revolution rock and I love it.
In my tender years when I first heard the MC5 I struggled to accept that this was a band who were from the past.
I really couldn't wrap my head around it.
Now, in the present, I still think that they are a band out of time.
No era of music can hold them and the proof is on this.
After a full set there's what some people would consider obvious omissions on their part.
Where's 'I can only give you everything'? 'Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa'? Etc.
Never fear though as this is where Primal Scream reappear and take to the stage with the MC5 and it all becomes a double pronged attack of excellence where they play each others songs together and end the night with John Sinclair joining them on a cosmic jam of 'Black to Comm'
Jeeeez man. I'm worn out.
The only thing better that watching this would be to actually be there centre stage and sweating buckets to history being made in front of you.
As live DVDs go this is obscenely good.

There aint no Sanity Clause. Part 1 (Springsteen)

(Or what I got for Chrimbo)

Not so much reviews, but instead rambling comments

Bruce Springsteen - The Promise (CD)
There's an era of Springsteen material that I completely get.
When I listen to it I feel emotionally connected.
I don't have to come from the United States, or even specifically New Jersey, to feel what he is conveying.
Those who bemoan his penchant for chronicling a time and place that is immersed in an America that apparently only exists in his mind, an America of Mom and Pop stores, ice cream sundaes and large cars with fins, don't seem to hear what I do.
For me the geographical location is of secondary importance and the reflective prose is everything.
His words are often those of the white lines disappearing in the rear view mirror.
The places we have been, the people we have met, the experiences that we shared that made us who we are and who we wish to be.
It's all there.
Springsteen appears to effortlessly understand that as we move forward in our lives there is equally as much we want to hang onto as we wish to freely relinquish and he has the ability to put all of this into words and music that touches people.
Deeply touches them.
We want to hang onto our youth, our first loves, our endless summers and the friendships we thought would never fade, and there's very few people who can manage to get that across while at the same time maintaining a sense of hope for the coming dawn, but 'The Boss' can.
I can't really think of anything better right now than sitting in the dark with headphones on and allowing Bruce to fill my head with his words and music.
(The Promise is a double CD of material culled from the sessions that were being laid down prior to 'Darkness at the Edge if Town' being released)

Little Fire, Alan Frew, Bob - Su Casa (05/01/12)

First gig of 2012 for me, and also for Su Casa in Ayr.
It's a quiet affair to.
Not so much hitting the new year with a bang, but more easing into it slowly.
Maybe Little Fire and Alan Frew were taking into consideration that some may still be nursing extended Hogmanay hangovers.
While I'm not one holding onto a cranium full of jumbled flashes of 'God did I really do/say that' I am thankful for the relaxed atmosphere.
I think as last year ended I was becoming a little jaded, maybe even burnt out with going to see bands and acts here there and everywhere.
So this reintroduction to live music was just what was needed to reignite my passion for seeing original artists perform.
This is the first time that I've seen Little Fire do an expanded set, and the first half is very nicely done.
Instead of a random selection of his original songs he instead introduced them in the order they had been written and added little insights as to how each was tied into a specific part of a relationship.
It's a well constructed and casually intimate way to reveal the material and with a bit of work it's a direction I think he should pursue.
The little revelations link the material together and allow the audience to feel more of a connection with the performance, and Jamie as a performer, than the simple run through of singing the songs.
Each time I see Jamie he confirms that he is a talented young man who is deserving of being on the cusp of some good things happening in 2012.
His second set was a mix of older material that he had dusted off with much of it being new to my ears.
It's rock solid, and over the course of the night it becomes obvious that he has a full albums worth of material that needs to be laid down in a studio and released to the public.
Alan Frew's sets were very different to Jamie's, but equally as entertaining.
There's a wealth of original material for him to play, and a few nuanced covers are slipped in that that fit in well with the flow of his performance.
As an introduction to him as a performer these two sets admirably do the job.
Previously I've only ever caught the tail end of a show and within the couple of songs I heard there was no originals.
So while I did enjoy what I had seen it didn't really convey how good he is as an original artists.
This time the full scope of his talents as a guitarist, singer and songwriter were on show and he effortlessly showed that the praise I've previously heard showered on him was well justified.
In fact I was so impressed that I jumped at the chance to pick up his album 'Go Easy' and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who appreciates well crafted songs delivered with a real sense of commitment to the material.
It's been said often recently, and with a negative tone, that Ayrshire is awash with singer/songwriters, and while this is true I could argue that the dearth of venues that can accommodate full electric bands has led to a local music scene that is top heavy with solo artists I honestly don't think people should grumble when it has led to artists as talented as Alan to flourish.
Apart from Little Fire and Alan playing we also got to see a member of the audience called Bob play.
There was something very basic about the songs he played, but I found myself quite taken by them.
The simplistic honesty that they were imbued with had a power and attraction that is difficult to convey, and they evocatively reminded me of the cadence of old folk songs that would be sung to children.
It's maybe not the sort of thing that many people would appreciate, but I think it carried it's own worth and in all honesty consider that there would be a niche market for this.
He finished with a gospel tune that was played in the same manner as his previous two songs and all in I'd say it was a pleasurable experience.
(Now someone is going to tell me that the first two songs aren't originals, but actual old folks songs I suppose)
So there we go.
First gig tucked under my belt and some solid foundations have been laid for the year ahead.

(Su Casa hosts a night of original artists every Thursday from 8pm till late. It's £5 entry, all ages are welcome and patrons can bring their own alcohol. Coffee, hot chocolate and cheesecake is for sale, and if you're lucky you might get some free natchos)

Saturday 7 January 2012

2011 Gig list

I think I've missed a couple, but have at ye with this load of great nights out.
2012 here we come.

03/1/11 - Long Way Home/Eddy and the T-Bolts/Cajun (Kilmarnock)
21/1/11 - Dave Sharp/Tragic OHara/Jon Zip (Kilmarnock)
02/2/11 - Spear of Destiny/The Media Whores/The Red Eyes (Glasgow)
11/2/11 - Alan Bishop (Red Eyes Acoustic)/Barry & Munro/ Ross Gilchrist (Kilmarnock)
15/2/11 - My Chemical Romance /Blackout/Lost Alone (Glasgow)
25/2/11 - Let’s Tear This Damn Place Up!!! Lux Lives in Glasgow featuring : The Charles Randolph Rivers Slim Rhythm Revue / Acid Fascists / The Bastard Suits / The Kosher Pickles / The Bucky Rage / Filthy Little Secret / Louise McVey & The Cracks In the Concrete
26/2/11 - Farewell to Valhalla -Keiran Robinson, Taylor Buntain, Cal Murray, Deadlock, Mechanical Smile, Tragic O'Hara, Ross Gilchrist (Kilmarnock)
10/3/11 - Jinx Lennon/The Tango Rhum/Coco Bryce/Sophie Coyle (Ayr)
11/3/11 - The Levellers/The Wonderstuff (Glasgow)
18/3/11 - Glen Matlock and the Philistines/Tragic City Thieves/Filthy Little Secret/Zoe Lewis (Kilmarnock)
19/3/11 - Devilish Presley/Filthy Little Secret/Billy Liar/The Paraffins (Kilmarnock)
25/3/11 - Warrior Soul/Blood Drum/ForeverVoid/+1 (Glasgow)
29/3/11 - Kylie Minogue (Glasgow)
30/3/11 - Big Audio Dynamite/Rotten Hill Gang (Glasgow)
07/4/11 - Dave Sharp + 3 (Glasgow)
15/4/11 - Michael Monroe - Secret acoustic session (Glasgow)
15/4/11 - Michael Monroe (Glasgow)
15/4/11 - CD/EX, Johnny Reb, Steven Milne, Helsinki Seven (Glasgow)
24/4/11 - Eddy & the T-Bolts/Buzzbomb/Southpaw (Glasgow)
01/5/11 - Dan Sartain/The Two Tears/Charles Randolph Rivers' Slim Rhythm Revue (Glasgow)
04/5/11 - Ginger/Jackdaw4 (Glasgow)
11/5/11 - The Urban Voodoo Machine/Tragic City Thieves/Filthy Little Secret/Tragic OHara (Glasgow)
23/5/11 - Adam Ant/Jesse Rae/Dressing for Pleasure (Glasgow)
25/5/11 - The Alarm/The Last Republic (Glasgow)
27/5/11 - Junkmans Choir/Roscoe Vacant/KevBorracho/Cal Murray/The Paraffins/Ross Gilchrist (Kilmarnock)
12/6/11 - Phoenix Mayhem Punkfest - The Duel/The Red Eyes/Media Whores/Ana Trash and the Sociopaths/Skudpuppetz/The Liberty Club.
21/6/11 - LA Guns/Venrez/Tragic City Thieves (Glasgow)
26/6/11 - Homesick Aldo/Fatherson/La Fontaines (Kilmarnock)
30/6/11 - 13 Tombs (Glasgow)
8/7/11 - James Grant (Kilmarnock)
12/7/11 - Bad Religion/The Static Cult (Glasgow)
20-21/7/11 - The Wickerman Festival (Dumfries)
30/7/11 - A night of dirty laughs featuring Chris Forbes/Barry McDonald/Stuart Mitchell/Billy Kirkwood (Kilmarnock)
31/7/11 - Jam at the Dam (Ayr)
05/8/11 - Eddie Spaghetti/Charles Radolph Rivers Slim (Glasgow)
12/8/11 - Jackie Leven/Tragic OHara/Colin Hunter/Roscoe Vacant (Kilmarnock)
19/8/11 - Chris Helme/Homesick Aldo/The Girobabies/The Fear/Colour Cells/Matthew Scott (Kilmarnock)
20/8/11 - Dave Sharp/Homesick Aldo/Cal Murray/Ross Gilchrist (Kilmarnock)
25/8/11 - Face to Face/Shatterhand (Glasgow)
08/9/11 - Folks/The Sundancer/Rhiannon Garity/Matt Scott (Glasgow)
11/9/11 - Sound of Silence/Blackberry Jack/The Girobabies/Selective services/Vukovi (Troon)
15/9/11 - Shambles Miller/This Silent Forest/Celine Brooks/Pammi Quinn/James Fole/Little Fire (Ayr)
22/9/11 -Emma Forman/Little Fire/Taylor Buntain/Trusty and the Foe (Ayr)
23/9/11 - Fatherson/ThisFamilarSmile/Athos (Kilmarnock)
01/10/11 - Rose Parade (Glasgow)
06/10/11 - Brown Bear and the Bandits/Mechanical Smile/Athos/Trusty and the Foe/Sam Christison (Ayr)
08/10/11 - The Plimptons/Filthy Little Secret/Bandito Fleeto (Glasgow)
10/10/11 - Rhianna/Calvin Harris (Glasgow)
13/10/11 - Craig Martin Ward, Anna Sweeney, Sean and Robyn Gray, Folé , Tragic O'Hara and Little Fire (Ayr)
14/10/11 - Tragic OHara/Matt Scott/Masters of the Sea/Tailor Buntain/Nicky Smith (Kilmarnock)
16/10/11 - Matt Scott/Little Fire/Colin Hunter (Kilmarnock)
22/10/11 - Church of Confidence/Crashed Out/Fire Exit (Glasgow)
31/10/11 - Alice Cooper/New York Dolls (Glasgow)
03/11/11 - Ari (Rose Parade)/Mik Banner/macanta/Andy K/Terry King (Ayr)
06/11/11 - The Dark Shadows (Glasgow)
08/11/11 - Patrik Fitzgerald/Girobabies.San Fran and the Siscos/JIm Monaghan
10/11/11 - The Imagineers/Brown Bear and the Bandits/Jinx Lenon/Melisa Kelly/Ross Gilchrist/Sophie Coyle/Roscoe Vacant (Ayr)
11/11/11 - Jinx Lennon/The Girobabies/Roscoe Vacant and the Gantin Screichs (Kilmarnock)
13/11/11 - Ross Gilchrist/Ari (Rose Parade/Emma Forman/Anna Sweeney (Kilmarnock)
17/11/11 - Melisa Kelly/Fole/Matt Scott/Martin McLaughlan/Jamie Uchima/+1
25/11/11 - Jon Windle/MattScott/Andy K/Robbie McInnes/Logan and the La La Liars (Kilmarnock)
27/11/11 - Wednesday 13/Michael Monroe/CrashDiet (Glasgow)
06/12/11 - Steve Conte/Homesick Aldo/Christie Connor Vennel/Mademoiselle/Rank Berry (Glasgow)
08/12/11- Ginger Wildheart & Friends + 2 (Glasgow)
15/12/11 - Dykeenies/Jamie Keenan/Mechanical Smile/The Fear/Graeme's Minxy Tigers. (Kilmarnock)

Ethical gigs (Glasgow)

In my ongoing efforts to get a bit of a better deal for performers here is another enterprise that has started up in Glasgow by promoter Dochan MacMillan.

Paid gigs at the Free Candy Sessions for performers?
Yes, that's what we're going to be doing in 2012. As we move into our 9th year of staging gigs in a newly re-furbished venue, we've decided to open our nights to acts that can pull a crowd to make their own money.

As some of you know, the Liquid Ship sailed away in Oct 2011, since then at The Roxy171, we've been trying different formats of gigs. Free gigs, fee paid gigs and 'pay on the door/ticketed' gigs.

We've now decided on a mixture of free entry and ticketed gigs.
The format of the free gigs will remain the same as before
With the newly designed downstairs area at The Roxy, we have a new stage area, lighting system and the option to charge on the door.
The basic format of the paid gigs will be that the acts will take every penny collected at the door, nothing for the venue. Their will be no set price for a door charge, that will be up to the acts to decide for themselves
The venue will supply the room, PA, sound engineer and incorporate the gigs on the monthly listings/advertising and mail shots.
The acts will supply any backline needed and a person to collect the door money.

Regarding the capacity downstairs, we have 40 all seating or 50-60 standing/limited seating.
Its a simple concept, the acts get paid by taking all the door money, the venue takes the bar money and the punters enjoy a gig at a cracking wee venue for a reasonable door fee.
There's no hidden costs, no promoters cut, just a straight forward deal for acts to generate their own gig income.
If you're a performer and are a bit unsure if you can put on your own gig, we'll be there to help you through every step, all you need to do is be confident of bringing folk along to the gig.
We wont be taking block bookings from promoters, anyone doing ticket split deals or anything resembling 'pay to play', this is about a bit of much needed fairness on our local music scene.

So, please make sure you read the above carefully, the paid gigs are all about putting on a great night for everyone involved and that quite simply means everyone involved doing their bit to having a memorable night.

That means, if you are a performer interested in taking part, you need to bring folk along to watch you. This wont work otherwise, there's plenty of places in Glasgow you can roll in, play to an empty room or a full dis-interested room and then go home, that's not what we want to do.

We're open to all genres of music, all are welcome.
If this is of interest, we're taking bookings now for dates from 11th January 2012 onwards.

Please email for more info

The story so far

In my opinion - and it's an opinion shared by many - the best pub/bar in Kilmarnock is by far Jollys Sports bar.
While I'm not the sort that pops in for a pint every second day, or even every week, it is still my local.
It's a much loved oasis where I can kick back and relax with friends old and new, but more importantly for me it is the hub of the local music scene.
Others bars and small venues have put on bands and acts over the years, but Jollys (previously Dirty Martinis) has been the venue that constantly sets the benchmark.
It would be fair to say that music is a passion for the team that runs it, and not one promoter would be able to say that they have been less than welcomed with open arms by them.
From well known acts to young guns cutting their teeth live for the first time Jollys has been there to provide a stage for them all to show off their talents and entertain the locals.
Sadly the last year has been littered with bad luck for the bar.
Each issue they have faced could be filed away as 'sods law'.
There was a break in that left the pub damaged and the people who did it left the taps running and decimated the stock they had.
There's been necessary work needing done from sound proofing to wiring.
Then there's been issues with the utility providers, and now this week a second break in has seen them lose all their flat screens.
A painful blow for a sports bar.
Now, and I mean right now at this very minute, the people who own run it have some very difficult decisions to make.
All of the knock-backs that they have had have to be considered in the light of a failing economy, and realisticly the bastards who broke in and robbed them this week may well have delivered a knock out blow.
The bottom line is that Jollys could be no more.
If this is the case, and I hope it isn't, then Kilmarnock will have lost far more than a pub.
The local music scene will have lost its champion to.
Proof of how cherished the venue is came to me today from Tragic O'Hara, one of the artists who has played there many times, and who I have booked to play there at the end of this month as part of a 'Sunday Session' line up.
To quote him.
'I just wanted to say that from the Sunday Session that's coming up I want to donate my bit of the donations back to Jollys to try and help out a wee bit.'
I think that an artist freely saying that they want to donate anything they make from performing to the bar speaks volumes about the integrity of the venue.
Now in closing I'll add a little personal bit.
Chris, Dudge, Faither and the rest of the Jollys team are far more important than bricks and mortar.
So my thoughts are with them at this time and I sincerely hope that they do what is best for them and their families.
The Sunday Sessions will either go ahead in Jollys if it reopens, and if not then I will endevour to sort out an alternative venue, but if that is the case then people should note that there will be a very good chance that this will be the last session, or even gig, that I promote in Kilmarnock.
So with this in mind I'd like to say in local parlance to those who broke in, and may have hastened the bars demise, that I hope your next shite is a hedgehog.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the bands and artists that I have booked to play in Jollys/Dirtys, and I apologize in advance for anyone missed, but I would like to thank you all.
Along with the bar you have provided us with some magical nights of entertainment.
Your efforts are appreciated.

The Hangmen (Newcastle)
Promises (Holland)
Cal Murray
Hyperjax (Manchester)
Roscoe Vacant
Tragic City Thieves (Glasgow)
Filthy Little Secret (Glasgow)
Devilish Presley (London)
The Hold Up.
Jinx Lennon (Ireland)
Mike Peters (The Alarm/Big Country)
Dave Sharp (The Alarm)
Glen Matlock and the Philistines (Including members of Stereophonics)
Girobabies (Glasgow)
Junkmans Choir
Zoe Lewis
Little Fire
Tragic OHara
Matt Scott
Colin Hunter
Emma Forman
Anna Sweeney
Ross Gilchrist
The Zips (Glasgow)
The Snipes (Glasgow)
Chris Devotion (Glasgow)
Japanese Mafia
Variety Suite
Jon Zip (Glasgow)
Billy Liar
The Parrafins
Ari (of Rose Parade) (Glasgow/Ayr)
Homesick Aldo (Fife)
Alan Bishop (of the Red Eyes) (Glasgow)