Tag Archives: review

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.

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.

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.



Putting the powerpop into popular music, they do call themselves pop-punk, which I always have trouble assigning the word punk to, punk to me just means something else entirely, so this arises as a small bone of contention between Hellagood and DbSixtyeight – but this is more to with the fact I’m a craggly music hack than anything else. DbSixtyeight are making highly likable music, its lively, tight and youthfully kinetic. This is a good solid Glasgow group who will find (and have already found in both the UK and Japan) a big audience for well honed vibrating but emotionally charged powerpop excitement. In addition, this is a band who look good in suits, a talent more rarely found these days. DbSixtyeight are working on new things according to their myspace page, so keep a eye on their page for new releases and gig dates.