Category Archives: Reviews

Aimee Mann o2abc (Damn you Phil Collins!)

Velvet voiced possibly coolest person in the world Aimee Mann and her awesome band took to Glasgow 02abc’s stage on Wednesday 31st January 2013 as part of the city’s Celtic Connections festivities.

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Sadly I missed Amelia Curran so I’ll leave it to other reviewers to discuss though Aimee did say while her band ‘rocked you in a soft rock kinda way, Amelia folked you’.

The gig was borderline hypnotic and while some may have described it as ‘a little slow in places’ I’d consider it more just as being in no big rush to stomp its way through. This was a gig with no fireworks and puppetry only real top class musicianship and a genuine affectionate mutual connection streaming from audience to stage and stage to audience, with an abundance of toe-tapping soft rocking going on.

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It was the kind of dusky high mooned John Carpenter scene-setting night in which the faces of the crowd faded away until it was just you, the band and the abc’s notoriously freaking huge disco ball (and possibly your friends too).

Some old favourites were taken a turn about the dance floor such as the delightful Lost in Space.

Of course the highlight was always going to be the coulda-been-a-contenda wonderful soul twisting Save Me (cruelly robbed of its Oscar by Phil Collins – that very same spurious deceptacon who obsequiously tore Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld apart in favour of those piss poor imitators Reach for the Skylar).

The other stone cold classic performed was the cathartic and tear inducing Wise Up – it’ll get you every time.

New tracks made an appearance and even though we’ve been assured that no-one wants to hear any new material, songs from Aimee’s latest album Charmer  went down well.

Aimee is powerful but contained performer who leaps across the stage like a wild deer when excited. The band seemed to really enjoy themselves during the gig producing a lustrous sound matching the mood of the songs themselves.

This show marked the end of Aimee’s current tour, we can now assume she is taking time to work on musicals while working a day job cleaning houses in Portland.

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I hate reviewing gigs in Vampire towns.

Bloc Party o2 academy Glasgow October 2012

Or Block Party with a K as my pass said. I like that. It indicates a level of unpretentiousness, like ‘who? block huh? ok, cool, well I guess they can play. So long as they clean up after.’ Which seems acceptable. Even Roger Daltrey did a bit of  hoovering.

The relatively young kids from Bloc opened with new tracks from their latest album Four but we all (people I call friends or other lost but worthy souls) were wishing they had launched the night with Kettling as its becoming a fast favourite. They did play and nail it later, or kettled it if you will. Bloc before part B have also encouraged me to utter the phrase ‘I fucking love kettling’ in day to day life which is another unexpected bonus from the album.

The academy is a beautiful venue and the sound bloomed up to its vast ornate ceiling while lasers danced across the cornicing. It was a little sweaty and the crowd were definitely more enamoured of the more established tracks like Banquet, Helicopter and Two More Years but in the ‘pit’ there was a good and gorgeous wave of limbs dancing excited by pumping limbic systems.

Octopus was another highlight and is a tune as addictive as it is likely to encourage mimacry while ignoring a loved ones pleas for help lifting a fallen bookcase off their body as you air drum into space.

The thing about Bloc Party what with their appearence on the OC soundtrack is that sometimes you think of them as being kind of mellow or pretty indie but seeing them live reminds you they just fucking rock. They should call them Rock Party and in France they would call them Party Rock and they would be hunted with only their cunning to protect them.

In conclusion buy the album and if you see them live there’s a good chance your dreams will be more colourful as result.

Craig Charles, 26th November 2010, Buff Club 6th Birthday

Craig Charles Funk and Soul show at The Buff Club’s 6th birthday party, 26th November 2010

The Buff Club looks and often feels like a mish mash of speak easy and 60’s strip parlor, where whiskey flowed freely, the walls are carpeted and the music is of the grooviest most toe tapping fervor anywhere in town. This year marks it’s six birthday and it continues to be an excellent club for both big weekend and weeknights.

Buff Club 6th Birthday photo Rachael Simpson

Poet, actor and DJ Craig Charles brought his BBC 6 Funk and Soul show stylings to the Buff for the big birthday bash and the tunes did not disappoint. A word of praise for the warm up DJ, whose brilliantly selected soul songs got everyone moving from the moment the doors opened.

Craig Charles photo by Rachael Simpson

When Mr Charles stepped up the wheels of steel he brought the soul and the funk and this was no laid back love affair, beats poured out and it would have taken a will of stone not to dance, so dance we did and so did he, CC threw shapes up on the balcony like it was the last party on the night of revelations.

Craig Charles photo by Rachael Simpson

Playing songs from across the board of funk and soul from the last roughly 50 – 60s years, the top hat selections helped make them sound as fresh as the day they were first pressed.

Craig Charles at Buff Club photo Rachael Simpson

Craig Charles Funk and Soul show is on BBC 6, Saturdays from 7pm – 1opm. Happy Birthday Buff – may you have many more.

Pulled Apart By Horses Oran Mor 23rd November 2010

Pulled Apart By Horses (and Gay For Johnny Depp) Oran Mor 23rd November 2010

In the bowels of an old kirk gathered a group of darkly dressed rock fans one cold November night. Also a couple of bands…. which was nice.

I apologise in advance to the first band of the night, I missed them so no reviewing here.

First up hardcore New York band, Gay For Johnny Depp, their noise is dirty, bloody, and not so much tongue in cheek as tongue in any orifice you’ll let them stick it. Consensually of course! Not for a long time have I seen a band with quite so much style in amongst a wall of noise and screaming. Their lyrics reject not traditionalism but lack of freedom, they will not be constrained, they encourage enjoyment of life and the questioning of constrictive behaviour. To be fair though I had to listen to the albums after the gig because I could only make out half of what they were singing but the performance beyond electric. Reminiscint of early Black Sabbath, they rock out on stage but still manage to engage with the audience in a sweet way – sometimes by climbing on them.

The headliner for the Glasgow gig was Pulled Apart By Horses who I’m relieved to say were not actually strewn across a bloodied floor by equine misadventure. They are from Leeeeeeds. Not Sheffield, guy

Pulled Apart By Horses photo Rachael Simpson

Loud and brash they clamber across the stage, hang from the ceiling, dive into the audience, pretty much throw the best shapes possible on a Tuesday night. Songs they played that you about to grow to love – then develop an unhealthy obsession with and stalk in a filthy mac – include the singles, ‘Back To The Fuck Yeah’, ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ and ‘Yeah Buddy’.

PABH photo Rachael Simpson

PABH photo Rachael Simpson

What I like most about them (apart from the the reckless disregard for stage equipment) is that their songs always take unexpected turns and twists, these aren’t the same songs you hear on phone adverts or in topshop or the hairdressers or wherever you crazy kids hang out, footlocker, I don’t know – anyway these songs are new songs and damn if that isn’t rare.

PABH photo Rachael Simpson

At the time of going to press, their tour has stalled due to the illness of Tom from PABH – poor lad, get better soon! They will be honouring tickets for canceled dates in January when they are at full strength, their eponymous debut album is out now, as is  – Manthology: A Tireless Exercise in Narcissism Featuring Gay for Johnny Depp’s Excellent Cadavers by Gay For Johnny Depp. 

Jimmy Eat World, Barrowlands 19th November 2010

Jimmy Eat World, Glasgow 2010

Barrowlands

17 years into their career Jimmy Eat World still pack a punch in Glasgow’s most beloved venue. With its dusty glamour, the Glasgow Barrowlands has always been a place to say ‘I saw them when’ but equally some of it’s finest shows come from well established acts like Jimmy Eat World, who are seven albums deep into their musical history.

The post punk pop rock group (cram those genre titles in!) open the show with the effervescing, hopeful Futures from their 2004 album of the same name.

Jimmy Eat World photo Rachael Simpson

Jim Adkins photo Rachael Simpson

Undeniably optimistic rock filters through the crowd like sunshine bursting through a cloud. The set list is as varied as the audience, a mixture of old and new tunes for younger and older fans.  Jimmy seem genuinely to enjoy the gig as much as the house does and give each track their level best. Highlights came in the form of Praise Chorus, Blister, Coffee and Cigarettes and of course, the inevitable and wonderful Middle.

Jimmy Eat World photo Rachael Simpson

The boys returned for an encore, though the fans were clearly keen for it, the usual ‘come-back -oot’ clapathon lacked muster. They returned for a few more songs, including the Sweetness, which was hungrily lapped up by Glasgow listeners like Halloween candy at a haunted sleepover. The band still play like their musical age, an energetic teenager, only betrayed by their grown up rock show stamina and polish.

Jimmy Eat World’s new album ‘Invented’ is out now and they’ll be touring the states ’til February. They will be headlining this year’s Fiesta Bowl Block Party in their home state of Arizona on New Year’s Eve.

We do Beyonce, we do

Let’s have a chat about Beyoncé‘s new single and video, the ninth single from her third solo album, I am… Sasha Fierce.

The song is ‘Why don’t you love me?’ and upon repeated viewings, damnit Beyoncé I can’t figure why he doesn’t love you!

Beyonce photo by Jingjing Cheng

‘Why don’t you love me?’ is a scorned wife and mothers howl of the unappreciated. Our heroine B.B. Homemaker isn’t taking it lying down nor is she whining why don’t her man love her, she’s instead constructed a reasoned list of personal qualities (intelligence, grace, attractiveness, independent wealth) and issues an ultimatum. Either hubby explains why he thinks he can over look this mutli-talented woman or her and the kids and the dog will be gone when he gets home. She’s giving him a chance, but just one.

She screams and growls in the way only Beyoncé can: beautifully. With the gusto of Tina and the soul of Aretha, B’s powerful and emotional lament juxtaposition’s wonderfully with her perfect housewife and sexy domestic kitten.

With a funky groove and upbeat tempo reminiscent of Armand Van Helden you can feel its going to become a dance floor as well as an ipod favourite. The tune is as solid as the rest of the Sasha album offerings and Beyoncé can wail.

The theme of the video is an homage to Bettie Page and the pin up girl. It also evokes the classic glamour of the women of AMC’s Mad Men, B’s struts around in sultry lingerie and immaculate make -up (bar her tear soaked phone call – even with mascara dripping down her face and cigarette in hand she looks better than most women after a Bobbi Brown makeover, the woman’s an unearthly vision).

Lovelier still is B’s clear tongue in cheek attitude, her body movements are an exact match for Bettie and her facial expressions during each section move effortlessly from deeply hurt and angry to knowing and coquettish to sweet and adorable. One of the most surprising things about this video is how much of B’s acting talent is displayed in just a few short minutes, she’s utterly convincing even in these over the top roles.

As B.B says – There’s nothing not to love about her.

Reggae Got Soul

Toots and the Maytals, o2abc Glasgow, 13th July 2010

Reggae Got Soul

Arriving at the o2abc is always a special experience, one of the best venues in Glasgow this picture house turned gig spot and nightclub is purpose built for voyeurism and entertainment. The grand arch of the main hall gives an excellent view of the stage (and the world’s largest rotating disco ball) no matter where you are.

Toots and the Maytals

Live at the o2abc, Glasgow photo by Rachael Simpson

Gracing the boards of Glasgow’s best loved ex-cinema turned live venue, the legendary Toots and the Maytals are here for one night only to shower their Scottish audience with love, reggae, bass and a showstopping performance.

Support came from Edinburgh ska juggernauts Bombskare, the pirate rouge brigade of Captain Slackships Mezzanine Allstars and the experienced bright and loveable shenanigans of The Amphetameanies while Bass Warrior Soundsystem kept the crowd warm during the show breaks.

The Maytals start off and suddenly Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert bursts on the stage in clad in a white sleeveless jacket and trousers and the party has started. With more energy than a 1969 James Brown and more electrifying shimmy shake dance moves than a kettle of cobras high on caffeine, Toots is as spry as he was 40 years ago.

The atmosphere the band creates is one of absolute joy. Built on a heavy foundation of reggae, Toots and the Maytals blend together the best parts of soul, gospel and ska together in their performance of older hits and newer songs.

As always the band is tight and lively while Toot’s vocal capabilities are knock your socks off impressive.

Demonstrating the kind of energy normally associated with neon coloured sports drinks, the show goes on long after bedtime for a school night but the energy remains high and The Maytals clear and declared love for their audience never wanes.

Toots and the Maytals, Glasgow

Toots and the Maytals, Glasgow photo by Rachael Simpson

It would be hard to pick a highlight from the show as the reggae all stars never missed a beat or gave anything less than everything to each song, but performances of Funky Kingston, Pressure Drop, True Love is Hard to Find, Take Me Home Country Road, 54 – 56 That’s My Number, Louie Louie and Reggae Got Soul enraptured the crowd and caused a dancing frenzy

An encore and extended version of Monkey Man tied up the evening , the air thick and the heat Caribbean in the vast dome of the o2abc and over 1000 reggae revellers went home with happy.