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Monday 25 May 2015

Hello Creepy Spider, San Fran (Minus the Sisco’s) & Damien Johansson The Vale bar, Glasgow 15th May 2015

Another night, another review to add to my list.
This time I had the privilege to meet and review four lovely gentlemen with a passion for music and a love for friendly banter on and off the stage.

The setting: The Vale Bar.
An intimate venue situated in Glasgow that can accommodate up to 60 people.

In all honesty even with the limited capacity the turn out for the gig was on the poor side, but this was no reflection on those performing and everything to do with Glasgow being over loaded with venues and acts playing every single night of the week.

I can say that while I was disappointed in the turn out for the bands I have to add that along with the rest of the small audience we were were not disappointed by the performances.

To open the show we had the musical talents of San Fran, who normally has his Siscos with him doing a solo outing.

What a set he played. He has mastered the art of bringing personal experiences to his writing style that will evoke feelings we are all familiar with (some more than others). He brings the grittiness of his hometown to the fore front of his music and his style is complimented by a smooth, soulful voice which makes his music an easy listening experience that still carries and artistic punch.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch either San Fran solo or with his band backing him at a gig I suggest you do so as you will not be disappointed.

Next on the bill was the equally good musical styling of Damien Johansson with the lovely Chrissy on Bass.
Playing some new tracks entice the crowd. The response was lacking enthusiasm, which was disappointing.

Although Damien’s music is not to my liking, he is still a talented musician and his songs are written with passion ads emotion making for some entertaining music.

As for the finale, Hello Creepy Spider. I was really looking forward to seeing the band after listening to their album.
They have a fast paced, rough and ready punk style with a simple song structure which is refreshing to watch and will have you rocking out all night.
Playing a mix of their own songs and some classics like ‘Staying Alive’ and ‘Paranoid’ you can see the passion and energy they breathe into every note/chord they play.

I definitely recommend seeing the guys in action, they will blow you away. Find out more about the bands on facebook @: 

You can also purchase the San Fran & the Siscos AND Hello Creepy Spider @: and click on shop now or visit the New Hellfire Club at 1103 Hidden Lane, Argyle street, Glasgow.

By Lisa Naylor

Photos by Alan Fergusson

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Eden Festival 2015

I’ve made no secret of how there was a time when I fell out of love with festivals.

There was a singular moment a few years ago when I was returning from one and I was tired and dirty - and facing an early shift the next day - when I had a road to Damascus insight.

That insight was that I hadn’t really enjoyed myself.
In fact I had found it shockingly stressful in many ways.
And then I had to admit that I personally didn’t have much fun the previous year either, or the one before that.

The rot hadn’t set in overnight, but instead crept up on me incrementally over a period of years.
I had to accept that my ongoing attendance was really rooted in habit and the expectation of peers to just go along with the flow rather than any personal urge to participate.

It wasn’t that I was getting too old for sleeping under the stars, or that I had changed that much, but rather that festivals across the UK had changed in so many ways, and in the main most were becoming little more than al fresco gigs with all the eccentricities that I had come to love about them relegated to being memories from the past.

Maybe it was akin to how travelling carnivals started to become increasingly sanitized and lost the freak shows and the hoochie coochie girls only to be replaced by fruit machines and arcade games.

Heaven for some I suppose, but hell for others, and I’m certainly with the latter as I’m more a freak show hoochie coochie sort of guy.
For me a big part of any festival experiences was never about the standing centre stage and watching a band, but rather all the wandering around meeting characters, the coming across talented outsiders entertaining people in quiet corners, and basically immersing myself in a world that only had a tenuous link to the stereotypical daily grind that we all live in.

Once that weekend of anarchic respite started to be usurped by main stage acts booked to attract the widest mainstream audience possible I was partially left behind and on that trip home the reality of all that came crashing in and I hung up my festival boots.

That is until on a whim, and all very last minute, I ended up attending the Eden festival a few years ago and rediscovered the magic.

As I arrived I instantly knew that in a sense I was home.

Here was exactly the thing that I didn’t know I was still looking for.

Here were my brethren that I had become lost from.
The people I would refer to as the backbone of any real festival.
The misshaped pegs that refused to be hammered into a constricting hole, the dreamers and the modern day beat poets, the counter culture warriors and more.

I was home and it was quite an emotional moment.

Once the last tent peg was hammered in I was off looking to become lost in what Eden has to offer and I discovered that it was a real smorgasbord of delights.

Everywhere I turned I was the magpie with another shiny shiny catching my attention. From the stalls to the stages, from those attending to the ales on offer I was swamped as my senses grabbed onto it all and drank it in like a man lost in the dessert who has suddenly found himself waist deep an oasis of fresh sparkling water.

I was in love again.

The best thing about it was that this was not just an initially overwhelming rush, but an experience that was maintained all weekend long.

Even better was that those feelings were recaptured the next year and now I am feeling the buzz building for Eden as I have no doubt at all that it will be more of the same again.

Basically what I am saying is that if you are old school when it comes to festivals then Eden will deliver 100%.

Way before festivals were being called bespoke and bijou Eden apparently had it nailed and it was there right under my nose and I hadn’t even known.
Even though many friends had attended it and raved about how much they enjoyed it I had been setting their praise aside and considering it in my ignorance as just another festival.

I was wrong.
So very wrong and once experienced I came to realize that it has everything I want and more.

So Vive le Eden Festival and bring it on.

If you see me there then please do say hello and watch out for the post Eden review on New Hellfire Club and ItsaXXXXthing blog


Thursday 14 May 2015

Giuda – Broadcast – 13/05/15 (Glasgow)

I'm a seventies kid.
I was born in the second half of the sixties and cut my teeth on the glam rock of Slade, T-Rex and Sweet.
And unlike the eighties when the term was usurped by our blow dried, kohl eyed, hog driving cousins from across the pond our glam rock was a whole different beast.

It has some muscle, some street smarts and it was all backed up by the stomp of the terraces.
While the bands strutted about in their glitter finery their fan base were the shaven headed denim clad and monkey booted lads whose Saturdays were made up of football in the afternoon, a pint in the early evening, and the dancing* at night where they would roam in packs and dance in as manly a fashion as they could to the sounds of the latest chart hits from their heroes.

There was certainly something in the air and while I was only of an age to participate in listening to the music rather than getting right in about it at the dancing it was still heady stuff to be part of.

Hell. I think my first moment of a sexual awakening was when watching leather clad Suzi Quatro straddle a hefty motorcycle on Top Of The Pops, but that’s another story.

As it is the whole scene is now looked back on with nostalgic wonder, and in some ways relegated to being less artistically inspiring than it really was, but at the time it was those bands that led to Bowie, Roxy Music and the like to bridge the gap, and joined at the hip with the pub rock scene, give birth to punk rock.
So with that being the case – although others are welcome to disagree – maybe we should be considering seventies glam in a more positively critical light in the present.

Especially as we now have Italian rockers Giuda flying the flag for the sound in the here and now.

Sans the glitter and stack soled boots they walked onto the stage in Glasgow’s Broadcast dressed like they had fallen out of the door from an away supporters bus in 1973 and then they proceeded to take the roof off.
With fists pumping the air and a few dance moves last seen being thrown out there by MUD they had no intentions of talking any prisoners and Ramones like ran through a set with barely a break, or breath, between songs.

There’s no fat attached to what they do.
It’s all lean and meaty rock and roll fired from the hip.

Much of the set is reminiscent of the working class blue collar rock of AC/DC circa ’75 with an additional nod to a melting pot of the best of the best of the era to.

It’s difficult to actually convey how good they are, but if I was to invent a time machine, or discover a wormhole in the fabric of the universe, and magically return these guys intact back to the mid seventies then they would have given the giants of the time a solid run for their money.
And I doubt they would break a sweat doing it.
In fact that is exactly how good they are.
Not a mere facsimile of the bands of the past, but equally as wonderful.
It could be said that they are up there with the greats, and just separated by a few decades.

Right now they are mainly attracting a punk following and playing on punk bills, but a support to a legendary band such as AC/DC as mentioned could conceivably jettison them onto the big stages of the world.

It’s not that they don’t fit with the audience they are attracting, but rather that the cross over appeal is immense.

This is no idle comment either.

Five minutes in a sweaty club is all anyone would need to understand that they are a step away from grabbing a glittering crown, but only if people near and far get on board with a glam, or rock, revival.
That may sound a bit unrealistic, but right now I am increasingly hearing more people express some dissatisfaction with the current crop of major label pushed artists and the time seems ripe for change.
So why not?

Best to check this band out no matter what happens.
File them as your latest favourite act.

*The dancing - Events held in youth clubs, social clubs, working mens clubs.