Category Archives: Glasgow Bands

Tempus Fugit

Crikey, time flees away when you’re not paying attention to it.

A month since I posted last, a month! lots of things probably happened but who cares about that, here’s some videos.

FIRST – I made this. A short moving picture introducing Glasgow rockers Zetas Empire

Filmed, edited and produced by me, additional footage from the ‘Apocalypse Afterparty‘ music video by Gerard Keenan and Zetas Empire. Thanks, guy! (That was a Scott Pilgrim reference, I didn’t just forget to put ‘s’ at the end of guy.)

Yes that’s right I do documentaries now. Musical ones. So BANDS OF GLASGOW EMAIL US IF YOU’D LIKE ONE ( I loaned the camera equipment to make this one but I’m saving my pennies and dreams to buy my own gear and then I plan on making many a wee music movie for the web. If you’re in any way interested gies a bell. Will work for cups of tea.

Next up making today feel GREAT – Stevie Wonder performs Superstition on Sesame Street.

It’s always mambo time with La Orquesta Riverside – Mambo En Espana

Our final non-vinyl joy is The Paraffins – Something Good. I’m a new convert to The Paraffins, since I never heard of them before today. This afternoon at the river Clyde Amphitheatre  was the album launch for their new CD ‘Snout to the Grindstone’. The show was eclectic and eccentric in perfect measure.


Lets go camping!


Summer is almost upon us and what better way to celebrate the unavoidable turning of the planet on its axis and swirling of the solar system and the way the slow insignificant years of your life slip away like confetti in the wind…

sorry, what better way to celebrate then to go camping! Band – camping that is.

Bandcamp is an ingenious website that allows artists to completely cut out the middle man (i.e continue the destruction of the already dying record company tradition of countless middle men who make then steal your money while you party with the Sugababes oblivious) by releasing your own tracks online for people to buy or download for free depending on what you want to do.

The site offers speedy downloads for hungry music fans and freedom for the bands to have their own webpage with artwork and music. It’s free to use and disturbingly simple to work, though they will ‘in the future’ be charging a nominal fee for bands making money from the site which they say will be competitive with i-tunes and amazon.

The site does not take any rights to the music bar those needed to host and upload the tunes.

Also having a bandcamp account gets your band those vital extra hits on google for your awesome new band.

So if you’re a band with a passion of DIY check out

The Darien Venture Interview

You may have noticed something rumbling on the west coast in 2009, like the whispering of hurricanes two towns away, but it’s possible you ignored it and focused on the Christmas number 1 battle between the commercial and squeaky and the old and less poignant with facebook coverage, instead. But that was the sound of something coming, springing up from the undergrowth in Ayr, it was The Darien Venture, and they’re coming for your veggie burgers. 

The Darien Venture, picture by Chris Baldie

With a successful Scottish tour behind them, support gigs with hot Scotrockers of the moment Sucioperro  and  5 track EP ‘Indications’ on the way this March, The Darien Venture are set to be Scotland’s newest experimental power poprock sweethearts.

The band features Jonny Beveridge (drums), Liam Rutherford (guitar/vox) Kyle Shields (bass) and David Martin (guitar/vox), they describe themselves as a mixed grill.

The four piece was salvaged from the remains of rock band Fragile and metal outfit Kreeper to create something altogether brighter. I spoke to David and Kyle on a frosty January evening about their journey so far.

Named after an ill fated Scottish endeavour to colonise America in the late 1690’s the band themselves have no such wish to conquer the US, at least until they can figure out how to invent a tour bus that runs on bad jokes “That the way, we could tour the world” says Kyle. 

David says he would rather have invented Jessica Alba’s new baby Honor Marie Warren and with the tradition of actresses and rock stars romantic entanglements, we’ll keep an eye on the enterprising young lad.

With influences ranging from Tool to the Beach Boys, David says “I also love heavy music that has great groove like Reuben, or the Mars Volta, their odd time meters are definitely littered throughout our music too. Aereogramme, Explosions In The Sky and American Football have amazing delicate sections and build ups.

The bands I grew up with like queen and the Jackson 5 gave way to Nirvana, Ben Folds 5 and Radiohead but I think there’s a mixture of them all hidden in the sound of the Venture. The biggest inspiration is jamming in a room with the other 3 guys in the band and seeing how far we can push a piece of music, changing the shape and flow of it and hopefully create something we’re all happy with.”

Their manager is fellow former Ayr resident and University of the West of Scotland graduate Vicki Cole and they are signed to her brainchild, Capture Cadet, the fledgling but ballsy Glasgow music management company also responsible for Midas Fall, Randolph’s Leap and Suspire.

The Ayrshire music scene has had a minor explosion in recent year with many bands forming from friendships made on the UWS commercial music course such as the well loved Atlas Skye and the super alternative Zetas Empire. The biggest noise in recent years from the area came from Sucioperro and of course, reigning kings of scotrock, Biffy Clyro.

David thinks the great music comes in spite of its surroundings, criticising the town’s lack of a live venue and the claustrophobic nature of small town syndrome, “I think there are great bands from everywhere, I wouldn’t say Ayr has an abundance of good bands by any means. Ayr has little brother syndrome, it applied to be a city at the turn of the millennium but it’s just a small town with a small town mentality.  Maiden played here in the 80s but now there’s nowhere. I think the good bands from Ayr must feed off the frustration and put it in the songs, to create something beautiful to escape the grey.”

Kyle has a more positive view, “There’s certainly a bunch of cool bands coming out of Ayr, but it’s the same as Glasgow, just on a smaller scale. Hopefully the scene there will continue to grow and produce some cool music.”

David, “Glasgow on the other hand is where the musicians from towns like Ayr flock to, to find like minded souls. There are so many bands – everyone has a solo act and at least one side project – that it’s just a law of averages that a handful of them are really good. I admire the team at Glasgow Podcart (innovative podcast group) because they must hear a lot of shit to consistently find great local bands for every show.”

The boys both site Ayr’s Sucioperro album Pain Agency as their favourite from 2009.

Kyle, “I thought it was a real milestone for the band, every song was excellent and when we had the privilege of playing with them at King Tuts. Their live set was just incredibly tight.”

The Darien Venture takes pride in their music and rightly so as they manage to be quirky, sturdy and heartfelt in the same breath, with notes that canter from the frets, honest harmonies, cawing shouts and tough tight twirling drums.

Kyle,” My favourite song of ours is probably Broadcast Signal Invasion just now. It’s our most instantly catchy tune and people seem to enjoy chanting along, but we’ve got some other songs I’m more pleased with in the pipeline.”

David, “All the songs mean something different to me so it’s hard to pick a favourite but we have a song called E_R_A in which we build the middle section up and drop the music out to all 4 of us singing and when we play that live it’s a definite highlight of our set for me. A friend said it must be strange to walk in mid set and see 4 guys singing without playing their instruments and it’s nice to think we might be able to surprise people.”

Their live performance is not one to be missed, the band enjoys the kind of frenetic energy and on stage dynamic many musicians can only dream about, their track One Point Twentyone Gigawatts a particular highlight.

They say their best ever gig experience was at the Aberdeen Tunnels where a massive fight during the sound check led to an empowered release of a show resulting in a huge response from the audience. They won’t disclose who won but both relentlessly claim to be the best arguers, however they agree drummer Johnny would win in a fisticuff as David says, “You’ll know if you’ve seen him drum he’s clearly got the most stamina – his hands and feet are superluminal.”

 Kyle, “By the time we got onstage we just played our balls off and had a really good time.”

Hearing people sing the words to the songs back at gigs, especially tracks which haven’t been recorded yet is the highlight of gigging for the band.

Happy to give up the day jobs as soon as they get a chance they band are all still working stiffs to pay for their art. Retail is soul destroying says David. Committed to their lifestyle as rockers they say if they weren’t in a band they say they would be in another band, there is no alternative for the men of the Darien Venture but to play.

Catch the Darien Venture EP ‘Indications’ this March.

A note on self promotion

Evenin’ all.

I will be running a night at Glasgow’s Twisted Wheel, 73 Queen Street, on June 18th from 11 – 3am. Free with a flyer (which once I find the money to print I’ll start handing them out… just scribbling dates in the side of weetabix packets in tesco doesn’t count apparently) otherwise a mere £3 will garner you entry to the hottest new night this side of the equator. I don’t know whats happening in the clubs down there but I’ve always heard its hot.

The night is called ‘The Soul Skattitude’ and features a fusion of early 60’s studio one ska blended with detroit and chicago motown soul. As well as featuring tasty cakes.

The Soul Skattitude, happening Thursday 18th June @ the Twisted Wheel

The Soul Skattitude, happening Thursday 18th June @ the Twisted Wheel

Recently at the Twisted Wheel I visited with Ayrshire formed Zetas Empire, who are beginning to rack up the gigs once more, playing their own original material, a mix of melodic My Bloody Valentine emotion meeting with the grandiose stage-rock of Oceansize via a jazz indie park ranger station run by the Chemical Brothers (quite the camping trip one would imagine). They are undoubtedly always the most interesting thing on the bill when they play. Support came from Sempre Fi, who rocked out solidly but haven’t really ventured into any new territory with their sound. Kudos on the synchronized head banging though. Both bands will be playing soon, near you, probably.

Zetas Empire @ the Twisted Wheel

Zetas Empire @ the Twisted Wheel

Also Paolo Nutini played the ABC. Why don’t people just buy actual Johnny Cash cds and listen to some local folk bands instead of this radio friendly watered down nonsense? (incidentally, how creepy is it when Johnny Cash’s voice welcomes you to his website, eerie!) Its the accent and the voice I think, of wee Paolo, anybody doing that well with a broad Paisley accent is a sign of the Scottish tendency to grip on with clenched fists at anything remotely successful which in some way positively represents the nation. Highlight of the gig – an encore of a country rock version of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, low point – support bands, who’s names were too bland to remember so I am calling them, ‘The Riot of Ineptitude’ and ‘Death by Corby Trouser Press’, absolutely terri-bile-inducing. Everyone loves wordplay. Everyone who’s ever won more than 67 times in a row at Scrabble loves word play.

So me, and my dad then.

A Sneaky Duke

Last week I went to see Marmaduke Duke at the Glasgow Art School and it was a riot! Well not an actual riot with police and such but it was the most exciting gig I’ve been to in ages so I thought I’d set you up with hyperbole. The last night of their short tour was sold out and the feeling in the Art School audience was laid back but crackling like a loose wire.

The Dragon

The Dragon

Everyone seemed to be aware this would be a one off show.

The Atmosphere

The Atmosphere

Marmaduke Duke are also know as The Dragon (Succioperro’s JP Reid) and the Atmosphere (Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil) who have gone by many names, though not Cillit Bang, and feature a number of various artists at different shows. Marmaduke Duke are something of an artistic movement as opposed to a regular scot-rock working band with plans to create 3 concept albums. They are currently in their second stage and are known for limited tours and abstract announcements.

Support that dark night came from Mancunian four-piece Airship, who are my hot ticket for this year. They built up from a sweet but not saccharine acoustic opening before breaking into a credibly catchy rock sound. The style is not new, shades of Idea Track years Idlewild, Mogwai, Mercury Rev and for my money, a real spirit of under appreciated Llama. So whilst the ground is well trodden, the songs are new and the real joy is in the execution and hopefulness. They do what they do so very well and like all the best bands, when they’re recorded they’re good – when they’re live they’re incendiary.

And then came time for the Duke.

The Duke

The Duke



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The Duke appears with the band on their live performances, an unknowable lascivious figure in plastic mask and glitter spandex, dueling his whimsical side with lab coat and trilby, shall we assume his analytical idiosyncrasy and sunday best? The Dukes purpose is to oversee things and stalk the stage while the rest of Marmaduke Duke seemingly enter a type of exhibitive study of melancholic, choleric, sanguine and phlegmatic in 16 beats or less. The Dragon wears a snood (which makes you think of Vince Noir wailing PIE!) and the Atmosphere a wine feather boa with black sequined wrestling mask. Both have made the effort to wear black shorts and brightly coloured tights with ankle boots. Drums and Bass are no less dapper.


Follow the cable to the Atmosphere!

They got the new single Kid Gloves under way very early in the set (though anything as rigid as ‘set’ seems oddly out of sync when describing the big duke), which had the effect of killing a main character at the start of a film, it got everyone’s attention. The whole set was relentless but fantastically theatrical, the highlight when The Atmosphere decided to just plow through the barriers and the crowd and skulk the floors still attached to the stage mic.

There are very few venues or security groups who normally allow this but Marmaduke Duke’s security seemed to be plain clothes rockers, a bit of a colloquial and quotidian tribute to the Hell’s Angels at Altamont.

At the end, no encore, no faking, just out on a scathing high. Marmaduke Duke scowl and growl at the crowd disappear into the future.

We can look forward to Duke Pandemonium on May 14th and the final album Death of the Duke, someday…

Airship will be playing Nice ‘n’ Sleazys next Thursday the 19th of March with Acrylic Iqon and The Darien Venture, treat yourself, you’re worth it.

Stereo Oblivion

Stereo Oblivion, gruesomely gorgeous and devilishly, darkly divine. Unfortunately for this reviewer there is only one track on their myspace at this moment in time and no gigs listed. The soul of ‘Freaks to the Floor’ is simple and uncluttered. Steady grinding guitar with sexy stalker drums, the feeling of walking down the wrong path in the woods of a horror movie entwined with a very poorly lit vampire disco. Fiendish lyrics of a David Lynchian world are coolly delivered in a shadowy macabre voice. Limited as this review is by lack of live experience, I would like to hear a more confident recording, demonstrating the kind of powerful texture Stereo Oblivion seem capable of.

The Silent Project

What I enjoy most about The Silent Project is their warped minds – check out their myspace and take pleasure to note the unsettling and possibly cabalistic self descriptions and updates. The live tracks are fervently played and bring to mind a little of Joy Division, but with more of that rock rationale. The drums and guitar build up together, gaining momentum like a stolen bike ride down a steep hill on a curfew breaking moonlit night. ‘My Favourite Movie’ maintains that live essence with drive and energy. The covers of ‘Teenage Kicks’ and ‘All along the Watchtower’ avoid being straight tedious copies, and are handled with appreciation and a dash of panache. The Silent Project’s cover of ‘Teenage Kicks’ is the winner for me, capturing the spirit contained within those faithful lyrics.