Tag Archives: gig

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.


Jimmy Eat World, Barrowlands 19th November 2010

Jimmy Eat World, Glasgow 2010


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.

January news bites

As in easily digestible news morsels not – wow that sucks!

Although some of it does. Canadian musician, mother of Rufus and Martha, sister of Anna and Jane, ex wife of Loudon Wainwright III, Kate McGarrigle has died after losing a 3 and half year battle with cancer.

Born in 1946 in Quebec, Kate had a long and succesful career releasing 10 albums and was part of an extremely talented family, a great loss to the musical world. 

Her music with sister Anna has been heavily covered by many famous musicians including Maria Muldaur, Nana Mouskouri, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Billy Bragg, Chloé Sainte-Marie and Anne Sofie von Otter.

The people of Haiti’s struggle to survive after what is now two earthquakes in the space of days has struck a chord with the pop crowd. People in Haiti are short on all food, medical and basic supplies which has lead to fighting and rioting. George Clooney is planning a benefit gig which will see support from Bono, Sting and Timberland.

Glasgow band Mogwai are auctioning off a piano to raise funds for the victims of what this January is the poorest and unluckiest island in the world. They are selling off a Kawai MP8 Mark I piano was used by Barry Burns during the band’s 2006-2007 world tour.

In other news Billy Bragg is refusing to pay tax in protest against Royal Bank of Scotland staff bonuses. G’wan Billy!

The rough and ready Bronx are releasing a DVD of a gig from London in 2009.

Gill Scott Heron is BACK! after 13 years he is releasing a new album, ‘I’m New Here’ this February, lookout for first single ‘Me and the Devil’.

Jail time isn’t enough for prisoners, now they will be deprived of tunes. Seems fair, maybe it’ll inspire more prison written acoustic music. Prisons in Britain say the license is too expensive for recorded music in a communal area so they’re ditching it. They can still watch DVD’s though – but can no longer play Dark Side of the Moon along to the Wizard of Oz.

And finally … Magne F – singer, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter from Norwegian popsynth band A-ha is having an exhibition at the Edinburgh Printworks. It’s all about language and features works depicting the alphabet. The first 500 prints sold will come with a free copy of music inspired by Magne’s reworking of vocals on A-ha’s new album.

Hella out xxxx

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



marmduke-duke-255 marmduke-duke-238marmduke-duke-269

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.

Say Goodbye Brundlefly

The Glasgow Barfly has closed. Scotland’s central Barfly situated on the bank of the Clyde had been home to many gigs over the years and was a favourite amongst the rock crowd. Barfly opened their first venue in 2000 in Camden town then went on to have homes in Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Glasgow, Cardiff, Liverpool, London, York and Aberdeen. A division of the MAMA group things had been going well for the Barfly in the first few years, with a successful reputation as an alternative venue and attachment to the popular Lovebox Festival and Fly magazine.

However the economic downturn affects everything and with music being the 3rd largest industry in the UK no-one is immune (except for AC/DC). Since June 2008 Barfly have closed their Brighton, Cambridge and now Glasgow venues. There is talk of re-opening Cambridge in the future and Glasgow have only said ‘closed until further notice’ on their doors but any actual plans remain to be seen.

The Glasgow Barfly is a curious wee venue, its dark, its a bit dank and the sound quality wasn’t always great but it was a beloved corner of Glasgow’s music scene as so many local bands have played there. Staff were given extremely short notice about the closure which has perhaps soured community feeling towards the Barfly chain. Gigs have been moved to the Sauchiehall street club giant The ABC, large theatrical and commercially viable O2 Academy and the underrated and cosy Ivory Blacks –  including the YRock top of the class 2009 gig which will be held at the ABC on Sunday 22nd from 2pm until 9pm.

However do not despair music fans, for Glasgow is not short on venues!!! There is a lot of competition in the city for music crowds and many venues have up-ed the ante in recent years by making their place a wee bit special and paying due attention to sound equipment and pr. This kind of competition could well have been a factor in the Barfly closure. Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s for example have an excellent PA which makes gig-going a real audio treat while venues like Tchai Ovna have cultivated a folksy alternative charm.  An issue I have with the Glasgow music scene is diversity, the city festivals do offer the chance to sample a wider variety of music but the enthusiasm is short lived. The Deargreen place is a very rock and dance focused place and while theres a lot of really great bands and arists out there I wish we’d be a bit more supportive of new things, but maybe 2009 and will see a wealth of fresh talent – they just won’t be playing the Barfly.