Young Fathers were on thunderous form when we walked in on the second song of their first Great Escape set. Since I last heard them a couple of years ago these four guys from Edinburgh have taken on a darker sound but this makes their performance all the more compelling and the energy that they attacked this gig with was so gobsmacking that no other artist we saw at the Great Escape festival over the three days came close to this sort of intensity. Tribal beats, super tight rapping, sparkling almost boy band-like harmonies and powerful lead vocals made this set genuinely exciting and even unexpectedly moving.
If you look at the picture that come with press pack the untrained eye can spot a few tell tall signs that the band like to party. Beer in hand, an emptied glass on the floor, a discreet hip flask. All the band are smoking and I think one of them might be wearing a fur coat with not much else on. I am not sure if this is a pre-party shot are this is how the guys look after a 24 hour bender, cause I know Pirate Sons can play hard. I think they can party hard as well.
They have built up a solid reputation since they formed in 2012 and although they have had a few changes in line up they are settled with the current team of Guitarist and Vocalist Ceallaigh Corbishley, who moved over from New Zealand in October 2011, Drummer Angus Ross joined in january 2012, and new addition Bass player Tom Diaz who joined Pirate Sons after living with the other guys for 6 months in a flat they shared..
This flat is the inspiration for their E.P and with songs like Dirty Dirty Rascals I can only shudder to think of the kind of crazy s**t they got up in their time. The E.P. is jammed packed with rock n’ roll tracks inspired by the likes of the Blacks Keys, Iggy Pop and the White Strips and with the songs being recorded on 2″ tape and Chambers Studio, and the restriction of 24 tracks (compared to the unlimited tracks available in the digital age), has helped the band print a tight sounding record. They are already making a name for themselves north of the border and moving in the same circles as the likes of Glasvegas and Wet Nuns, Pirate Sons are serious rock n’ roll players with an attitude to match.
Acoustic/Folk singer songwriter End of Neil stopped in at Edinburgh College’s SSL studio’s lately to record his track ‘Crossing the river in my sleep’ and shoot a session video with Edinburgh Undersound.
The highly talented Stirling based artist is a prolific gigger, usually a date every week or so in his home town or Edinburgh. Check his diary out; he has dates up until the end of December so I’m sure you can catch him at some point! When playing live he has a stripped back set usually, but for this session Neil played all the instruments, drums and vocal parts.
After initially hearing Neil’s music I was hooked, he has a natural ability to write clever, catchy songs with solid tight instrumentation behind him. Be sure to check out his latest work ‘My Games’, it’s an awesome piece of work.
For the release there will be three tracks and a Session video (shot by UndersoundTV). There will be the original song, an arrangement with added Piano/Cello overdubs and a track with the addition of Scottish emcee ‘TF’ currently working with Undersound Records. Neil has created some unique, beautiful artwork specifically for the single release also.
Neil is very creative, naturally talented musician who was great to work with. Be sure to check out his page for the upcoming release.
Check out his work @
Undersound Sessions at www.youtube.com/undersoundtelevision
Check TF’s debut EP out at www.undersound-records.bandcamp.com
Tracks recorded, Mixed and Mastered by James Bowie + Darren Knox (Edinburgh College)
TF feature Track mixed and mastered by Undersound Records.
Glad to have caught Fatherson at TGE. Saw them at the Dome Theatre in the afternoon and then the more intimate Prince Albert at night. Different size venues can affect the power and effect of a song meaning that some bands are often only suited to one type/size of venue. However, no such problems for Fatherson. The smaller venue adds more intensity to their songs whilst the larger venue allows more space to appreciate the dynamics and the emotional impact of their set. Their power and intensity remind me of the wonderful Swervedriver and lyrically I’m reminded of the writing of Iain Banks.
Love this proper old ballroom, more suited to Bach recitals but used today by Hype Machine to promote Blue Hawaii amongst others. Best show so far after Young Fathers. Blue Hawaii combine emotional lyrical content,looping vocals and deep Detroit style techno with a European dance aesthetic. Like combining Deepchord with Grimes. Really groovy.
Sometimes its best to just walk in on a band with no preconceived ideas about what they look or sound like. And so we happened upon Thumpers. Funny how a band can lift your spirits whilst another band can leave you despondent. We approached Komedia with dampened spirits but Thumpers picked us right back up with their tight vibrant groove mixed with catchy five-part harmonies. A brilliant drummer almost navigated each songs path, invigorating and infectious. Great. Komedia Downstairs is a great venue and the best at TGE.
First band to see @ The Great Escape are the vibrant and uplifting Elwins. Thursday afternoon and the band and audience are up for this Toronto band’s angular take on pop. A bit like Vampire Weekend meets Orange Juice. Great start to the festival. Will look out for them when they come back in October.
I arrived during the opening set with a confused look of wonder on my face. The dark stage was lit up by a few spotlights, setting an ominous atmosphere. My ears were alerted to the ambient instrumentation of the opening act delivered by the shaking bass vibes that shot up my spine. I had previously heard of the Dark Jokes but until now was unfamiliar with their sound, maybe even guilty of judging a book by its cover and pegging a band because of the connotations the name had. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they weren’t what I had bargained for but exceeded all expectations I had previously.
The instrumentation they used really separates this band’s sound from most bands in the local scene. Their sound is truly captivating; it is wide and ambient with a real energy and depth but at time’s can be darker and heavier whilst maintaining the elements that are synonymous with their ability to engage with their audience. The string section rolls off the back of the soft and beautifully delivered vocal melodies. This opens up the sound of the band’s diversity gripping the attention of the listener and forcing them to take notice, something I felt as soon as I arrived at the gig.
The band played to a fairly empty room however they were able to fill out the fallow space with their powerful sound, so much so that I was unaware of the crowd gathering throughout the set. I still had no idea who this band were and felt hypnotised by their energy. They had a dark stage presence which fits with the sound and really sparked my interest. So much so that I had to ask a random person next to me; “who is this band?”, I was met with a sense of agreeable surprise. The penny just dropped. In a way, I was regretting not listening to this band before now but also felt a stronger connection with them as I first experienced them without any pre-existing judgements or expectations, which may have influenced my decision on them.
Next came the cheers of; “BIG FAT PANDA, BIG FAT PANDA!!” as the Ska outfit took to the stage. I have always been sceptical when it comes to traditional Ska bands as a whole really, it’s something I feel has been done for a long time, there’s lots of similar bands out there and in my opinion they all stick to a similar structure. Big Fat Panda however are at the top of their game and delivered a wild, upbeat set to a growing crowd in The Liquid Rooms, they put on a fantastic show. Although, sticking to the traditional sound of Ska I think the tightness and stage presence of the band make them stand out as THE Ska band to take notice of in the city. Comprising of a brass, keys, guitars and a larger than life lead vocal… in all manners! This band will, without a doubt, get you moving.
Having watched the second act’s full set I felt VTC would have to really up the game to follow such an energetic, tight support act. The emotions on stage were visually strong; one thing that stood out to me was the bands enjoyment whilst playing to the crowd. They looked like they were having just as much fun as the fans, charming the mob with their set.
The venue filled out for headliners The Victorian Trout Conspiracy, there was ten band members in total! It was clear who the fans had come to see this evening. I had never before experienced The Trout’s; the reputation the band has in the city was enough to excite me for their performance.
You cannot put this band into a category, what if a friend asks; “What kind of music is it?” You have two choices; find a new friend or get into a ten minute discussion on how a band with so many members and varying influences can be pinned down by one genre. There is a clear heavy Ska influence; however, this is not a straight up Ska band. The complex song structures are reminiscent of some Punk, Rock and even Surf music. They use various melodies within one track, different sections that other bands may use to write various compositions, giving me the strong impression of musical dexterity within the collective. There are elements of Reggae and Blues in places you just would not expect. One attribute to the band I can highlight is the unbelievable crowd participation they have whilst on stage. The Trout’s had the crowd energetically thriving from start to finish mouthing lyrics to favourites ‘Cider bam’ and ‘Super Duper Electric Scooter’.
After a storming set the band returned to the stage for a well-deserved encore playing a medley of ‘Tarantula’, ‘Slam’ and ‘Propane Nightmare’s by Pendulum. The place literally went off. The energy in the room was elevated back up to a higher level than before as the crowd went wild for one last dance.
As the lights came on and the crowd dispersed it was clear that all these different people from various walks of life were mutually united under one roof to experience the captivating sound of The Victorian Trout Conspiracy.
Do not go and see this band… Don’t do it! Unless you want to find yourself totally obsessed, scouring the net for the next month for material and upcoming gig dates! Once you have experienced a live show from the VTC you may find yourself at a loss next time you find yourself at a local venue. Unless they’re on the bill of course!
Mon the Trouts’
Edinburgh Undersound. X
Yes as the great Neil Young said, tonights the night as we host an extravaganza of musical delights as 7 new labels launch their debut singles from their first artists. Chaos may ensue but hopefully everything will go to plan or thereabouts (fingers crossed). Should be a great night.
The Cosmonauts with their energetic guitar riffs, atmospheric cello and lyrics that resonate, bringing the passion and excitement of a bygone era bang up to date with a heart pounding crash.
The Well Rested - music made by Oliver Ninnis, James Albon and Tim Davey with a mic tied to a cymbal stand by a sock.
Hotel India and their pop/rock/psychedelia/indie groove
Onetzu – after his childhood, raised by wolves and fundamentalist protestants in the wilderness, Onetzu arrived in Edinburgh, made himself a microphone out of tin cans, old shoes and bits of discarded furniture. He’s never been the same since – rapper’s delight!
The Maybes - a guitar based band from the South Side of Glasgow
Silvertongue – 22 year old emcee, born in the Highlands. Now lives in Edinburgh.
Panda Trap - Alternative rock band from Perth
See you at the bar for a few shandys!!
35 years ago Pere Ubu released a truly great album, The Modern Dance and were hailed as one of the leading art rock bands. 2013 sees the release of their 17th studio album, The Lady from Shanghai and the UK tour to promote the album brings the band and FEAST to Mono in Glasgow. Bandleader David Thomas is in playful mood tonight entertaining the audience with a monologue of the bands extensive touring plans which includes ’17 nights at Wembley Arena’!
Half the set tonight is taken from the latest album which Thomas has described as “dance music, fixed.” Indeed there is a four-to-the-floor feel to some of the tracks such as “Thanks” which takes off from Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” and “Free White”. The set kicks off in a similar manner with “Love Love Love” from arguably one of their best albums, Cloudland. The band have always subverted and played around with the concepts of rock’n’roll and this is evident tonight in the half dozen songs they play from their back catalogue including great renditions of “The Modern Dance” and “Misery Goats”.
Thomas’ unique charisma and satiric wit are intact and he is in rare form throughout, just sounding like he’s having a great old time and it’s good to witness the band again, still magical, cogent and coherent .
I think I’m busy. I mean I got three kids, a full time job, and I write this stuff in between. Don’t worry, I not soul searching its that I just got off the phone with Phil from the Victorian Trout Conspiracy and he’s a busy man. If you haven’t heard of them, you will no doubt be wondering about their name. WTF the VTC?
I prefer to think it has hidden meaning but Phil said the name sort of came to him after walking up Leith Walk. The power of Leith! Born from several Edinburgh bands, the main members Phil Ramsey, Fraser Fulton, Rhuaridh Turner and Calum Mason expanded to the whopping 10 piece they are today. Sometimes they play as a duo, sometimes a five piece, and sometimes the mighty deca-bonus-band-ten-piece. Since March 2012, when they got together, they have so far have played over 150 shows (and still racking em up) all over Scotland including Edinburgh’s HMV Picture House and Glasgow’s QMU, also not forgetting having already had multiple SELL OUT gigs here in their home town of Edinburgh.
After seeing them on a number of occasions, I can definitely say that this has made them a very, very, tight live band. Their gigs are real events and the last one at the Annexe had a free after-show party where all the audience where invited. That’s a band who knows how to look after the fans, give them value for money, and give them a night to remember.
Next week on the 2nd they play Edinburgh’s excellent Liquid Rooms. Promoting their new EP (recorded with Feast’s help, fact fans) which was engineered and produced by Jim White, it’s a 4 track that showcases Trouts’ sound; big, bold, catchy, energetic, and full of life. These guys are serious about what they do as the gig also launches their merchandising range. It’s time to buy your VTC t-shirts.
Here is a slice of what’s coming up for the Trouts in May alone:
2nd May Liquid Room, Edinburgh
10th May at Box, Glasgow
17th May, Brixton Hootananny, London
18th May, Mau Mau, London
In the summer they are playing a mammoth 11 festivals from the north of England and throughout Scotland. They have a long term ambition to touring America and with this much drive you feel like anything is possible for the Victorian Trout Conspiracy. Told you they were busy.
They practice in a caravan in a field apparently. Despite the rural sounding name (and practice room), Shropshire based band Furrows are a long way from the folky, pastoral vibes you might expect from such surroundings. To describe their music I’m going to refer to the talent spotting checklist I had made up especially for the evening:
Number 1- Drummer should thwack the floor tom like he is trying to dispatch a wild hare to the great carrot field in the sky with a single swipe of his drumstick.
Number 2- Drummer should sing as well as playing kit. Actually, ideally should sound like Mark E Smith doing an impression of Karen Carpenter singing ‘Blue Monday’.
Number 3- Must be a duo featuring only bass drums & vocals. Absolutely no six stringed instruments, trumpets or keyboards.
Furrow spookily ticked all of the above boxes. I also liked the way they often opted not to finish songs together at the same time- very post-modern. All in all a very enjoyable night organised by Song, by Toad, with Glasgow’s North American War also on great form. In Henry’s Cellar Bar North American War’s live sound perhaps inevitably lost a bit of the subtlety of their recordings but instead came across more like a lost treasure from CBGBs.
Sometimes it’s a real honour seeing a live band in a small venue that delivers a great sound and more often that not Henry’s Cellar Bar on Morrison Street is one of those venues. Most of the engineers that work there get a fantastic sound from a wide selection of bands in a venue that is not really designed for live sound. It’s no mean feat.
Arriving late, I caught about four tracks from Euan Weddell, and boy, did I love them. One vocal and electric guitar all delivered in a choppy punk feel. At times I though I was listening to Ivor Cuttler’s long lost son. Euan has a wonderful mix of funny, raw lyrics and music shown mostly clearly on his track “Awkward”. I didn’t know if I should be laughing so much at his lyrics about his inabilty to talk to girls, or if I should just give him a wee pat on the back and tell him it’s all going to be alright when he gets older. His between track banter was just as good as well. Golden.
By the time Ded Rabbit took stage, Henry’s seemed stacked to the rafters and after they struck their first chord you could see why. Most bands would bite there own hands off to have a couple of catchy tunes like these guys. If you add their great stage presence, then you know you are watching a band that could go very far. It’s no wonder that they are playing Sound City @ Liverpool. There were just so many stand-out tunes that got the crowd jumping. ”Down and Out” sounds great live – I am looking forward to it being released as their single. Sometimes, everything works together and you could see why the band invited the audience on stage for their last track; everyone was involved in making this a great gig. At the risk of repeating myself – check them out!
POST are a band we’ve been following for a while and having heard their contribution to the Mao Disney compilation from label We Can Still Picnic and a great session on 6music’s Marc Riley show, it’s good to be able to mention the launch of their debut album at Nice n Sleazy’s on Friday April 26th. Looking forward to this.
The ABC Glasgow is packed tonight and the crowd are in fine form chanting “JOHNNY, JOHNNY, JOHNNY F***ING MARR!” Rising to a crescendo, the man himself takes the stage with his band for his first solo tour as a frontman proper, following the recent release of his solo debut album, The Messenger . “My mum won’t like that, but I do” retorts Marr and it’s clear he’s in the mood to enjoy this show as he launches into the lead track from the new album, “The Right Thing Right” quickly followed by one of many Smiths classics played tonight, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”. This receives rapturous applause from the audience.
All songs from the new album, bar one, are aired tonight which is good as for the most part it is a strong collection of songs, and in the case of New Town Velocity, up there with any of his earlier classic work with The Smiths. Halfway in and another great Smiths track, the raucous and evocative “London” (the B-Side of Shoplifters Of The World Unite) is brought back to life. This emphasizes one of the main points about The Smiths, a classic singles band, that to them, every detail from artwork, to how the band were mentioned on the sleeves, B-Sides mattered enormously. The fact that one of their greatest songs, “How Soon Is Now?” began life as a flip-side is testament to the effort that they put into each and every detail of their career.
The band encore with a cover of a cover, The Clash’s definitive version of “I Fought The Law” followed by “Getting Away With It” from Electronic, the band Marr formed with New Order’s Bernard Sumner in the late 1980s. The best however is saved to last as Marr and his band deliver a beautiful rendition of “How Soon Is Now?” and end on the brilliant “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” conveying wonderfully the feelings of longing and escape that encapsulated so many songs by The Smiths.
As I make the brisk walk across Edinburgh’s city centre towards The Caves I am cold, my legs tired and I am regretting not getting the bus. However my self-loathing is put massively into perspective when I consider whom I am about to see. Stu Larsen gave up his humble nine to five bank job in Queensland, Australia three years ago to pursue a life on road. He has travelled across the globe venturing to such places as far afield as Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and thankfully Britain. This must seem like your average jet set tour plan but consider that he has done this as an unsigned artist and most of his travels are done in his self-driven van.
The gig kicks off with the warm, country fuelled music of Andrew Mill and The Stolen Pirates. The mix of banjo, guitar, fiddle and his rich voice really set the scene for the evening, creating a welcome atmosphere that the crowd loved. He did however take a break mid-set to allow highland poet Donald Ker to give the audience some of his favorite rhyming tales. This would be one of their last gigs before Andrew and Donald set off on a tour of the southern states of America.Up next is Esther Swift a singer songwriter with a difference; you might expect she would have an acoustic guitar, piano maybe even a ukulele. Nope, a full sized harp is her instrument of choice. A classically trained musician with a beautiful voice pulls the gig goers in with her subtle melodies.
Stu Larsen takes to the stage and as he kicks into his first song it becomes apparent that his nomad lifestyle is clearly his greatest muse. A personal favourite of mine being San Francisco a tale of travelling north listening to music and being on an adventure. He mixes his music with tales of the road that are just as intriguing as the music and the man himself. He takes note of his surroundings in the historical caves, a perfect backdrop to his music.
Larsen also throws in a few treats for the audience by inviting Esther back up on stage for a few numbers and the rest of the support up to sing along with the gigs last song. All in all a great performance from Stu Larsen complimented by the hand picked support acts.
Being Redolent’s debut gig this was the first time I, or anyone else for that matter, had seen them perform in a live venue. However, you would be mistaken for thinking that they have been performing together on stage for months as they turned in a solid and thoroughly entertaining performance.
Taking place in one of Edinburgh’s best known and loved venues, Cabaret Voltaire provided an intimate and not too intimidating arena for the band to debut their tracks to the audience.
Great vocals from the singer mixed well with their blend of intricate guitar picking and interesting and changing rhythms. A mix of solid bass playing and driving drums provided a great platform for the guitars to shine through and take centre stage on the tracks. The bands use of dynamics created interesting changes in the songs and kept the audience on their toes.
Full of nervous energy at the beginning, the band seemed to relax into the gig very quickly and throughout the show they had a great command of the stage. They did not just play through their set but gave a performance that was entertaining, well executed and most importantly full of good songs. Due to a couple of small technical difficulties the sound was a little muddy at times, although this was nothing major and did not take away from the performance of the band.
All in all Redolent’s debut gig was a triumph, with the band showing great potential and promise for the future, whilst looking like a band that has already worked out how to perform well with each other.
Have a listen to the demo of their track “Useless”. Its another great tune which has, for some reason, a picture of a redhead lying on the grass to go with it. Go figure!.
Okay…so the big question about Of Monsters and Men ‘s gig at the O2 is not ‘how did this band having only formed in 2010 and having released only one album have to get this gig moved up from Oran Mor to the sold out O2?’ Nor is it ‘how does the tiny Icelandic community (only 320,000 of them) keep producing these amazing bands with such individual sounds?’. Nor is it ‘how can this new band have fans from every age group, social class, colour from young hipsters to old folkies; from 12 year olds to guys in tracksuits and bad bad haircuts?’
No. The real question is – just who is having the most fun, us or the band on stage?
Because they were having the time of their lives.
As the first chords were struck and harmonies sung, the band had us totally in their hands and we were in very, very, safe hands. Live, they managed to really rock out and then rein it in for the soft lullabies and handle each as if they had been doing this for decades. They managed to keep the harmonies and warmth of the songs whilst still bringing them alive on the stage. This was far from simply hearing an album played live, this was a band giving a new expansion to each and every song.
And what songs! From the hit single Little Talks to the sweet ballad Sloom, every song was welcomed and luxuriated in by the fans. Seen live, you realise just how sing-a- long most of their tunes are. These are the songs that your neighbours will learn to love as you drunkenly sing them, loud and proud at 3.00am of a Friday night.
They have been winning plaudits all over Europe and the US with their festival tours, and by end of the gig, every one left the O2 with a warm glow. It was just like those old ads for Ready Brek (kids- go ask your dad)
If you weren’t there? You probably should’ve been.
Feast went along to Chambers Street to see Ded Rabbit, who are an indie rock type of band. They have the usual set-up of guitars, bass and drums but introduce sax into various songs which adds a bit of spontaneity to their approach. The tunes are infectious and really catchy without being too polished or in the least bit predictable, pushing and pulling in various directions but never seem to overstay their welcome.
They put a smile on my face and are they are at ease about how they deliver their songs.Tonight amongst other songs they play tracks from last year’s ‘Ice Cream’ EP which is great and well worth searching out. They have an ability to combine several influences whether it be funk, jazz, indie, prog and somehow bring them together to produce something original that feels totally natural but has an intensity and excitement which is infectious. Given this, the packed audience really warms to the band and many, including me, have become fans of Ded Rabbit.
See them for yourself when they play Henry’s Cellar Bar on Friday 15th March.
Garage rock outfit Pirate Sons dropped by the Edinburgh College studios recently to record a few tracks, and they shot a session video with EdinburghUndersound.
Originally formed in New Zealand by front man Ceallaigh Corbishley. Pirate Sons began as a two piece ‘lets bang on stuff and see how it sounds band’ not really taking their musical venture that seriously. After the addition of a bass player who couldn’t (at the time) play bass, the band were now ready to take there musical careers to the next level and progress as a band.
A move across the pond to Scotland’s capital city has lead to a line-up change and with it has come the development of their unique in-your-face-energetic-fuzzed-out rock sound that is synonymous with the charismatic three piece.
Now comprising of a Kiwi, a Scot and an Englishman the band are serious as ever and continuing to secure themselves in the local scene as a hardworking, creative act and a band to certainly watch out for after a string of track releases, a video release and a bunch of reputable gig slots supporting The Fire and I, The Minutes and a recent headline slot at the Official Glasvegas gig aftershow party.
Think The Cribs meets The Black Keys before they both got a bit too big for their boots. Described as ‘buzzing’ by The List.
Check Tom, Ceallaigh and Angus out live at Broadcast in Glasgow on 08/03/2013 as main support for SOS.
Currently recording new material due for release May 2013, keep updated with their goings on at www.facebook.com/piratesons
Having not been through to Oran Mor but knowing it was a renovated church, I had a rather misguided idea about the place. I didn’t know it had a downstairs venue, so I thought I might be going to a gig plagued by uncontrollable reverb. How wrong I was. Underneath the church is a really cool space which is very rock n’ roll looking and has an equally great sound. It’s perfect for going to see an intimate gig and I L.O.V.E going to see a band in a small venue. It’s a real celebration of music; close, loud, and a great way to see bands deliver what they do, right in your face.
Arriving a little late after some excellent noodles from Wudon (535 Great Western Road, brilliant food, 5 mins from Oran Mar but I digress…), we only caught three tunes from the support band Post War Years. Looking like a mix between fourth year uni students and staff from Waterstones, this hirsute bunch’s live show hit much harder than their tracks online suggested. Great vocals from three of the band; mixed with drums, keys and launch pads (and at points two basses), this band where a fantastic support to the main act. Apart from the drummer the other three members where locked behind a mountain of equipment and visually this sometimes put a barrier between them and the audience but the tunes soared very high indeed. They had elements of Arcade Fire in the vocals and a great bunch of synth lines, beats, and guitars. What’s not to like?
You might wonder if the studio-based sound of the headline act could be delivered live(we did) but it was obvious by the excellent second track in the set, Torso of the Week (got to love the Heat referencing!) that Everything Everything can deliver their tight and varying sounds on stage with real balls. There are no weak members in the band. Both Jeremy Pritchard and Alex Robertshaw supply their bass and guitars respectively. They also switch to keys when required, back and forth mid-track. Michael Spearman is a fantastic understated drummer swapping between his analogue kit and pads to lift the band’s live sound with ease. On top of this all three supply backing vocals to help create the punchy vocals so prominent on their records.
Everything Everything are helped greatly by the additional keys player and this frees Jonathan Higgs to concentrate on his vocal and guitar duties. This worked so well. Before he was locked to one place but now he is free to roam the stage and you could see, feel and hear how much pleasure this gave him and the crowd. On stage he was obviously having the time of his life and why not? He is a fantastic vocalist and guitarist and lyricist. How often do you here lyrics like “I’m genuflecting in a penitent way”? At times he was finding it hard to wipe the smile off his face and with truly epic versions of tunes of their 2009 Mercury-nominated CD ‘Man Alive’ and the excellent new ‘Arc’. You can understand why. Moving from between up-tempo tunes like ‘Qwerty Keyboards’ to slower tracks like ‘Choice Mountain’, you are aware you are watching a band who can deliver an incredibly wide range of feeling from their music. The crowd lapped it up and it was hard to know who enjoyed it more.
Listen to their two excellent CDs and catch them live if you can.
Jonathan Higgs; even if your nephew doesn’t like your band. Feast does.
THE FALL – DRAGNET
This is the second in a series about how my local libraries (Baillieston and Shettleston) afforded me a wonderful musical adventure and the huge impact they made on me. I joined them as a 16 year old because I couldn’t afford albums and borrowing from them appeared to me to be the perfect solution…which it most certainly was.
In my 5th year at high school one of the novels my English teacher selected was The Fall by Albert Camus. This was the only reason I picked up a copy of Dragnet, which had been released a few months earlier. Everything about the album was challenging but also exhilarating and liberating and, like me I’m sure it lead others to form their own groups free from restrictive ideas about song structure and musicianship.
The line-up included Mark E Smith (vocals), Marc Riley (guitar), Craig Scanlon (guitar), Steve Hanley (bass), Mike Leigh (drums). Leigh was replaced by Paul Hanley shortly after and this became as I’ve come to think, the second classic line-up of the band. It is a band discovering their sound, lo-fi and angular which I found hard to listen to at first, especially the second side but it was the wild and weird garage-like pop of tracks such as Printhead with the wiity opening line “Hey badges tinkle T-shirts mingle
Hey you horror-face!” and Dice Man that won me over to the bands radical approach.
Of all The Fall albums I’ve listened to, over time this is my favourite. It’s rough and I found out later that it was recorded in 3 or 4 days, but for me it demonstrates the essence of The Fall, raucous and uncompromising determined to mine their own musical path. My excitement about the album lead me to see the band at the Tech when they came to Glasgow in tow with another great band The Cramps which is one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.
The next time I saw the band was at The Plaza in Glasgow, this time supported by brilliant Edinburgh band The Scars. By this time I was well and truly one of The Fallen!
Thisisfeast is delighted to announce the signing of Callum Easter as Fridgemaster. We are working with him on three new tunes and are super excited to be working with such a talented artist. We will keep you posted and up to date with Fridgemaster and his developing career right here.
“The Pop Group were a British post-punk band from Bristol, England, formed in 1978, whose dissonant sound spanned punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae. Their lyrics were often political in nature.
Formed by Mark Stewart (lyrics, vocals), Jon Waddington (guitar), Gareth Sager (guitar), Simon Underwood (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums, percussion), they issued their debut single, “She is Beyond Good and Evil” on Radar Records in March 1979.
Their debut album Y, was produced by Dennis Bovell to critical acclaim but low sales figures. Although it did not chart, the album’s success was sufficient to convince Rough Trade to sign the band, but not before more line-up changes, with Dan Catsis replacing Underwood on bass.
The band’s career with Rough Trade commenced with what is possibly their best-known single “We Are All Prostitutes”, which featuring a guest appearance by free improviser Tristan Honsinger on cello. This was followed by the release of their second album, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? in March 1980, which included a contribution from US proto-rappers The Last Poets.
The photo on the cover is the famous photograph, “Two Gypsies” by André Kertész.”
This is the first in a series about how my local libraries (Baillieston and Shettleston) afforded me a wonderful musical adventure and the huge impact they made on me. I joined them as a 16 year old because I couldn’t afford albums and borrowing from them appeared to me to be the perfect solution…which it most certainly was.
I first came across The Pop Group’s second album in the racks of Shettleston library. I was subscribing to both NME and Sounds at the time but it was only in retrospect as I flicked through past copies that I came across photographs and interviews of the band which made me more aware of their interests and approach to music. It was more to do with the strange mixture of the band’s name combined with the album’s title and sleeve artwork…alarming, mysterious and confrontational. Then there was the track titles such as Forces Of Oppression and Feed the Hungry….I just had to hand over my library card (it didn’t cost anything to borrow music then) take it home and listen.
WOW…for someone who only a year earlier had been a huge fan of The Jam this was intense! It was an aural assault but exhilarating, challenging and just like nothing I’d ever heard before. To my youthful ears, the heady brew concocted by Bruce Smith, Gareth Sager, Mark Stewart and Dan Catsis was a revelation on all fronts musical, lyrical and artistic. To my mind there has never been a better opening track to an album than Forces Of Oppression. With its opening chants and unrelenting groove the band creates their own ‘cold sweat’.
Hey – this is our blog. We cover live reviews, album reviews, interviews and anything related to the music industry. We also want to promote and support the DIY scene in Edinburgh and so we invite bands into our recording studios. Often we photograph them. Sometimes we video them.
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We also run a record label (thisisfeast records) and we are currently working with an exciting new Edinburgh artist FRIDGEMASTER and plan to release and promote his debut single in 2013.
If this sounds exciting and you want to get involved in writing for the blog and helping the label develop we’d be delighted to hear from you.
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GET UP, GET INTO IT, GET INVOLVED!!!
Thisisfeast: Tell us a bit about yourselves…
Aymen: We are called Battle of the Zoo and we are releasing a free EP. We have been finishing off our artwork, and just sort of trying to find roots to release it, like our website, Facebook, and other social media things that people tune into.
Thisisfeast: What’s your music like?
Mark: I suppose we play stuff that we kind of like, and what we would like to buy ourselves; which makes it kind of easier to do and make it far more enjoyable and pretty good fun. For our style it’s hard to explain. We can sit down and do a track that is completely different from one we have done before. But we will really dig it, enjoy it, get into it and see where it goes, and it might end up on the album or on a download. That’s the way we are going to attack things, instead of hitting the same genre or style all the time. A lot of the tracks are really different and I suppose that’s because we like a lot of different styles of music.
Thisisfeast: How long have you been working on your tunes?
Mark: We have got up to 30 tracks we have been working on over a while which we have been whittling down to this 4 track EP that we are going to give freely away. We want to follow it up pretty quickly with a main single with a couple of tracks, and then an album. Over the last while we have been sussing out tracks we really like. We have been trying them live and seeing good responses from crowds which has really helped us choose what’s coming out first, and what’s going to make the album. We have played a couple of live gigs with all the kit, running sequencers, hitting off trigger pads, keyboards, running Reason and Aymen doing all the vocals live. We have been working hard on that to help fine tune, but we knew which ones worked and it’s kind of been confirmed by the crowd.
Aymen: We wanted to test drive some tracks and we played a gig in a place called the 3rd door in Edinburgh, and did one at Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh with Simian Mobile Disco
Thisisfeast: That all sounds good. On another tip, I heard you got a remix with Paul Weller, how did that come around?
Aymen: We sent our demos away to some labels. We ended up meeting someone who works for one of the record label. We gave him the demos, basically he was asking what we were up to, and he liked the stuff we were doing. We sent him some original tracks; we had a few chats and strong meetings with him; just some good general conversation from these guys in London, sort of bigger label guys. Off the back of that they asked us if we would be interested in doing some remixing. So from there they sent us the stems for Paul Weller next single. Bearing in mind they told us, it was more than likely that they were not going to accept it. But we finished it, they liked it and Mr Weller had it played to him and he liked it too. From that we have been asked to do some other remixes, but at the moment we are just trying to concentrate on our own stuff.
We have been given access to the new tracks from Battle of the Zoo. Have a listen to them and next time your see their name, go check them out. Enjoy and look out for the ’FK the DET’ E.P out on Monday the 5th of November
Now in its second year EH1 Live has gone from strength to strength, showcasing some of the country’s finest unsigned talent.
Feast started the day the Electric Circus with the fantastic Gold Lions, their set didn’t start the festival gently but kicked it right in the teeth, ripping away the early Sunday cobwebs with their searing, relentless blues rock/garage sound.
They have been described as a Scottish White Stripes but that’s just lazy journalism, sure the homage to Jack White is apparent, but these boys rip apart the rulebook and batter it with blistering fever.
’1000 Ships’ and ‘ Elsie’s House’ were particular highlights, all energetic energetic fretwork and pounding vigour.
The Gold Lions simply deserve to be, the gem of the day!
Next up was troubadour Jack Rowberry
who belted out the tunes, with his backing band adding extra depth to his acoustic craftmanship.
The hotly-tipped The Machine Room’s set was unfortunately marred with technical difficulties, but the band soldiered on delivering an interesting indie pop set in which they flit between swapping guitars and keys, there’s a good buzz building up for the band and hopefully bigger stages beckon soon for the band.
The Modern Faces are a true festival band, full of bravado and rock and roll swagger, smashing the hype with a ‘Mon Then’ snarl.
The Dunfermline five piece delivered each stomping track with energy and passion. Their anthemic brand of britrock should easily equate to masses at the festivals. Definitely a band going places.
The Stagger Rats were excellent, and in true Stagger Rat style they were a member down but delivered a superb set which the heaving Liquid Rooms lapped up, especially stand out harmonious pop single ‘Fuzzy Fuzzy’ which had the local crowd in rapture.
Each track is consistently interesting, jumping from sweet melodies to gypsy guitar riffs. The Stagger Rats are an asset to the unsigned Scottish scene.
The Ok Social Club bounded on the stage and blasted their way through their hook driven, glossy spiky guitar pop set with vigour delivering tracks such as ‘The Late 90′s’ to the bouncing packed out crowd.
All in all EH1 was an incredibly well organised affair, but more importantly, it showcased some of Scotland’s more diverse and exciting talent.
Furthermore, to all the doubters that disagree that there is no Edinburgh scene or Scottish bands who are not good enough to break, you couldn’t be further from the truth, which the EH1 boys highlighted with a right good festival!
See you next year!
EH1 Live is back with an almighty bang, showcasing some of the very best unsigned Scottish bands, this year’s festival takes over Edinburgh on Sunday 16th September with over 40 unsigned acts playing at the the Liquid Rooms, Cabaret Voltaire, Electric Circus, Sneaky Pete’s and Whistle Binkie’s.
The eclectic line up includes tipped for the top The Imagineers, Davey Horne, Modern Faces and headliners The Phantom Band.
The one day events also celebrates the capital’s fantastic live scene with local heavyweights The OK Social Club, The Stagger Rats and troubadours Jack Rowberry, Greg Pearson and Callum Beattie.
Feast will also be looking forward to catching Leicester’s The Lysergic Suite who are by all accounts fantastic live, a heady mix of driving synths and psychedelica, and Edinburgh’s The Gold Lions who will definitely get you in the festival mood with their blend of dirty garage-blues.
The lineup highlights some of the very best in unsigned talent, and all for a mere £18, and we’ve all got a Monday holiday as well!
The Nature Boys are launching their new single next Saturday and where better to launch than on a boat? The gig is at Cruz (that boat in Leith that’s actually a bar) and the single, ‘Going Nowhere’, is great; a taut rabid monkey of a record.
The recording goes a good way to capturing the anarchic energy of their gigs while adding just enough in the way of fuzzed bass overdubs, chanted vocals (and even subtle psychedelic guitars) to lift their punk drum bass ‘n’ guitar onto a more singletastic plane.
On top, like the finest Bonne Maman jam on this fresh punk croissant, is Cammy’s vocals, with a vocal performance that shows his vocal talents go way beyond the ‘Fall’ talk/sing type splendour of previous Nature Boys recordings. While I hope he doesn’t abandon his more customary drawl altogether it is great to hear him sing like this and suggests the boys have the crossover potential to go on to great things.
The launch of the Going Nowhere is on Saturday 25th, at Cruz Bar in Leith, doors at 8pm. Support is from the Begbies and Jack Rowberry. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the band here they are in our CRE-8 studios at Jewel & Esk College earlier this year.
We had the Asps in the studio at Jewel and Esk a wee while ago and thisisfeast managed to catch up with Paul to check what they have been up to since we last hooked up.
thisisfeast: For those who don’t know, who are you guys?
Paul: Well we are the Asps, and I am the singer – my name’s Paul Dourley. I also play rhythm guitar, the lead guitarist is Chris Simpson, and we have a synth player Michael Barry, the drummer is Lewis Hutchison, the saxophone player is Graeme Renwick and the bass player is Craig Renwick, both brothers.
thisisfeast: Why did you call yourselves the Asps?
Paul: We got the name from the song “Man on the moon” by REM. One of the lyrics is – Egypt is troubled but the horrible asps. It’s always a lyric I enjoyed singing and the word itself is phonologically pleasing.
thisisfeast: I like the use of phonologically, I might have to look that up later. What have you been up to since we last saw you a few months ago?
Paul: We have been working away on stage set-ups and working on our new tracks, this month we are quite busy. We are playing BT London Live in Hyde Park, we are expecting a quite a busy crowd and quite a lot of exposure. We are also playing at Victoria Park for an hour on the same day, so we are very excited about that.
thisisfeast: How did you get the gigs in London?
Paul: We got it through Live Nation which is part of a thing called Live Connection, who we got in touch with last year. They are kind of reaching out to unsigned bands. You submit your music and they troll through the music and they pick you to become part of different events. Live Nations have been dealing with high end bands for a long time and I think that they want to reach out and offer unsigned bands a bit of an opportunity as well.
thisisfeast: I want to talk about your songs a little bit. Who writes your tunes and what does it involve?
Paul: Usually the main substance of the songs, well certainly with Microchip and Learn to Fly, is written by me and Michael Barry on keyboards. He usually comes up with some music and I come up with the lyrics and melody, and then the rest of the band add their magical icing to it.
thisisfeast: I been listening to the mix of Microchip over the last couple of days and its sounding great. I was just wondering what the song about?
Paul: It’s a love song to the microchip. Lots of things would not be possible without the invention of the microchip. One of the main lyrics is ‘Computer subordinate we need Microchips invented’. It’s harking back to a time when computers where pretty rubbish, you know all they did was calculate things and how frustrating they used to be, although they obviously still are. It’s really a love song to technology. (Paul texted me a later “its really a love song for robots”)
thisisfeast: What are you up to in the future?
Paul: Well, we recently signed a publishing deal with Sony and we are in the middle of re-negotiating, because they’re quite interested as we are making an album with Ron Nevison next year in San Fransisco and they kind of picked up on that. (Ron Nevison has worked with The Who, Led Zepplin, Bad Company, Kiss amongst others)
thisisfeast: How did the recording with Ron Nevison come about?
Paul: It was through reverbnation – we submitted our music to a competition. They got in touch with us about a month later and out of 9500 entries they chose ours, which was crazy.
Microchip – The Asps
Engineered by Gavin Whyte & Hubert Aniolek
Mixed by Stuart MacLaughlan
This is the second time Feast has seen The Machine Room and they just get better. Tonight they introduce their new drummer who does a brilliant job given this is his first show with the band. Their song structures demands a lot from the rhythm section upon which are layered synths, guitar and keyboards.
Amongst the songs they play tonight are the tracks which make up their great ‘Love from a Distance’ EP which you can get via their Facebook page. Their electronic dream-pop is so catchy and songs such as ‘Your Head on the Floor Next Door’ and ‘Camino De Soda’ deserve to be playlisted on our airwaves all summer long. They are amongst the freshest electro new wave bands to come around which also includes Kitsune signings Juveniles and Citizens. Their sound is big and expansive but remains highly emotive and subtle and they are extremely groovy…
They are due to play T in the Park and Wickerman this Summer…so you know who to see if you find yourself at these festivals.
This is bizarre gig number 2 following on from our first bizarre venue outing to Mrs. Fitzherberts in Brighton at The Great Escape Festival. We went through a black door and up a spiral staircase to find the ‘lounge’. The next room was the bar and down the corridor was the room where Honeyblood would play. The low ceiling meant that being 5ft 11inches in height I found myself for the first time ever at a live show, sitting on the floor – rather hippyish I thought.
Given how precarious the live music venue situation is in Edinburgh at the moment, this is a great little hideout so look out for more shows coming from 39 Niddry Street.
Honeyblood however are not ‘hippyish’ but describe themselves as ‘two girls who play some songs about stuff’. Although the sound is muddied their songs still hold a huge appeal. The songs swagger like the best garage rock/pop. The good thing about them is that they’re something new. Too many new bands are so retro, harking back to the 1980’s Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester bands and in reverence to C86. Honeyblood lyrically can be wise, ferocious, bitter and hopeful and can musically evoke high emotion all within one song and I think this is the exciting thing about them that they can convey this with only a voice, a guitar and a drum kit, they just have a way musically of being able to get under your skin.
At least three songs in their set sent shivers down my spine, which few groups seem capable of doing these days. Slightly raucous but gutsy as hell with songs as good as No Spare Key, Bud and Super Rat. They also do imaginative re-interpretations as on the cover they do tonight by Boston band Doctors and Lawyers. Honeyblood proved that they have the songs, the style and the guts to be the best. You can get their first release from http://honeyblood.bandcamp.com/
They played their first shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh only recently so hope and expect to see them round your way soon starting with this Sunday (3rd June) at Henry’s Cellar Bar where they share the bill with Plastic Animals. Enough said, they’re great and they’re on your doorstep, so see them.
Django Django formed in Edinburgh in 2009 after meeting at Art College. We caught them at Brighton’s Pavilion Theatre, the huge queue outside a fair indication of how the band’s following has built up over the last couple of years although undoubtedly the crowd is swelled further by the fact that they have been on Jools Holland’s TV show the night before.
On their eponymous album, released earlier this year, there are definite whiffs of the shambolic charm of the Beta Band but live I am surprised to find they have a pristine sound and incisiveness which adds an epic quality that I wasn’t expecting. There is actually a Beta Band connection though as it turns out as drummer David Maclean’s big brother was a member of the much missed outfit.
Like the Beta Band Django Django understand how to mix their musical influences together in intoxicating ways: The keys cut through the mix aggressively, threatening to turn the gig into a nineties style rave, the vocals float above the rest of the music with spacious psychedelic harmonies and the cowbell clanks as if your head is in a metal waste paper bin and Mr T is on the outside hitting the bin with a gold drumstick. At one point the keyboards cut out, just as Grimes’ sequencers will do the following night but nothing can stop the Django feel good funnel for long and the ivories kick back in after a couple of minutes, albeit in mono.
From where we were standing, which was admittedly fairly near the back, the pleasingly surreal impression I got of the band visually was that the group was made up of New Order’s Bernard Sumner on vocals, Jimmy Carr, the unnaturally huge headed joke jockey, on guitar and playwright Dennis Potter on keys. On later reflection having seen their video appearance on BBC iplayer I realise this impression was possibly, arguably, slightly wide of the mark. Either way Django Django are one of the best bands to emerge in the UK in a long time and live manage to be charming, exciting and original all in one accessible, love-able package and there just aren’t too many new bands around just now that you can say that about.
The French electronic/indie label Kitsune has been releasing good new music recently, especially the Citizens! debut album produced by Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand and a couple of EP’s by three musicians from Rennes who call themselves Juveniles.
Juveniles are the first band Feast see today – a busy lunchtime show downstairs at Komedia and they turn out to be a brilliant start to the day. This French trio were a real find and I suppose this is what makes The Great Escape so alluring as a festival. I knew nothing about them except that they had recently signed to Kitsune. They announce that their next EP “One O Six” is due to be released in June.
Their sound combines guitars, drums, synths and programming which is inventive and energetic mixing electronica, punk rock and pop into an eclectic genre of music.
They stand apart in terms of electronic music the way that Daft Punk and Air did on their initial releases and are just as enthralling. The festival only schedules thirty minute live sets but Juveniles could have happily flexed and spread their sounds for a lot longer given the reception and encouragement they received from the crowd.
With the music business changing at an incredible speed, Feast invited Biffy Clyro manager Dee Bahl and Idlewild manager Bruce Craigie to discuss the ever-expanding role of the artist manager in the 21st Century. In the last of our four instalments Dee and Bruce talk about the investment, marketing and the Music Managers Forum.
Q: Are independent investors including management companies a realistic alternative to labels?
B.C. Yes, I think so. As I said, because it’s easier to get your music out there, there’s no reason why, if you build that team around that investment, there’s no reason why you can’t build up the artists profile to a certain stage where it becomes inevitable that a bigger record label might come along and pick you up. Ed Sheeran is the perfect example of that. He’s got to such a size where he had to be picked up. These stories are few and far between unfortunately, but it shows it’s possible. If you can work with a management company or a set of investors that understands the needs of the music business, I guess that’s one of the issues because the music business is one of those industries that’s very difficult to invest in because the goalposts change or the length of time it might take an artist to get onto that ladder or get successful might take longer than an investor anticipates and in the time of economic crisis it might be hard to find those investors that will give that amount of time and the repayment terms may not be satisfactory to the artist where the investor wants their money back a bit quicker. All of those things have to be taken into account but it’s a question of finding money wherever you can but you have to make sure everybody’s comfortable with the deal.
Q: How important is marketing and innovation important in creating and building an artists’ fan-base?
B.C. I’m still of the opinion that talent and ability is the basis of any career. It is important to get that out there but I’ve always felt slightly nervous of things being hyped or marketed because I think that people do see through that quite quickly. Whatever you do it needs to appear natural. I mean we all know how a piece of music on a bit of Youtube footage can suddenly exalt you into the stars so it can happen very naturally that way as well. It’s the trick of finding a nice natural way to do it but it does come back to talent and ability.
D.B. It’s almost everything. It’s vital in breaking a new artist or a new release. That’s why bands end up signing with major labels. The marketing budget that the majors can afford on campaigns is huge. It’s very difficult to do it online yourself. To have everything working in a coordinated fashion to gain a reaction from an audience is an expensive and time-consuming process.
Q: In the recent past there was a good deal of publicity around the appointment of Brian Message to head the Music Managers Forum. How do you feel about his appointment and the relevance of this trade organisation to the way managers do business?
B.C. I’ve never been a member of the forum, not for any real reason. I’ve been lucky in my early career as I had lots of experience at record company level so I kind of knew what was going on at record companies. I think it’s probably not a bad thing these days to have the forum there. If a young manager can learn from any individual or organisation that would seem to be a good thing from my point of view. Brian has been very successful in what they’ve done. Part and parcel of the way they do business has worked very well for them and they’re investing money into the business themselves so you can only applaud that kind of investment from their point of view.
D.C. Brian Message was originally an accountant, if I’m correct. In this day-in-age you need new business partners to emerge simply because of the lack of investment. So having someone like that who understands the business and how money can be generated can be a positive thing which other aspiring managers can learn from and Brian becoming the head of the MMF can only be a positive given his background with Radiohead. He must have learnt a lot given his experience as an accountant but he must also have learnt a lot from managing one of the biggest bands in the world. The organisation is relevant because people like him can pass that experience on and that can only be a positive. I’ve never actually joined the MMF but I recognise it’s a great way of networking. I’ve sort of gone out on a limb myself and I’ve learnt along the way and it’s worked out okay for me so far.
Live Review – This Is Music 6th Birthday feat. The Machine Room, Honeyblood and Magic Eye at Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Happy birthday This Is Music, you certainly know how to celebrate in style. We went along to join in the celebrations. Appearing tonight was an Edinburgh band and two Glasgow bands supporting Sub Pop favourites Still Corners. Being based in Edinburgh we’d heard good things about The Machine Room but didn’t know much about either of the Glasgow bands, Honeyblood and Magic Eye.
Magic Eye have just released an EP on cassette tape which you can get via their tumblr site at magiceyemusic.com and tonight’s show coincides with their tour to promote it. They create tender melodic songs which are like sonic dreamscapes which wouldn’t be out of place in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Heavily reverbed guitars swirl around dreamy vocals grounded by a solid electro drum beat. They’re back in Edinburgh with Honeyblood on Tuesday 29th May.
Honeyblood announce they only have six tapes left and wonder if anyone is going to go through to Glasgow the following day to see them at The Stag and Dagger Festival. I love it when you see a band you don’t know anything about and you get it and they’re great. This quite simply sums up Honeyblood. They term themselves a ‘garage rock-crunch pop’ band. Lyrically eloquent, they don’t pull their punches, as on Super Rat about a former relationship, “I will hate you forever, scum bag sleaze slimeball grease”. Single ‘No Spare Key’ is a standout as is their electrifying cover of The Innocence Mission’s ‘The Girl On My Left’. Probably no tapes left but visit their site anyway yumhoneyblood.tumblr.com. Got to be THE show of the week when they play with Magic Eye next Tuesday (29th May ) at Door 39, Niddrie Street.
The Machine Room come on stage all very unassuming; plug in, smile, and in an instant hit the audience with a brilliant electro-esque wall of sound which is made up of tracks from their recent ‘Love From A Distance’ EP. Each of their songs creates a lasting impression, highly emotive, full of synth stabs and echoing vocals and the crowd are obviously well aware of the qualities of this band when they cheer from the vocals which opens standout track “Camino de Soda”. All of their songs intrigues, building layer upon layer of sound into a catchy and very individual approach to creating haunting and beautiful music. See them at the end of term Edinburgh Art School revel on Friday June 1st.
Star studded audiences, tickets going for ten times their value and riding on a whirlwind of frenzied hype the Alabama Shakes rode into Glasgow. The atmosphere in ‘Tuts was electric, a packed crowd grinning in fevered anticipation, and there hung a hopeful sense of magic in the sweaty air. All too often bands arrive amidst the frenzied ‘the next big thing’, ‘band du jour’ and even every once in a while ‘the voice of a generation’. The album delivered but will the live performance equate the hype?
Bounding onto the tiny stage like a Southern preacher, Brittany Howard had the crowd in the palm of her hand from her first breaths ‘Goin to the Party’. Her soul-drenched holler has been compared to everyone from Janis Joplin, Howlin’ Wolf and Aretha Franklin her voice is something to really behold a Southern bellow that defies belief and stereotype in equal measure, whilst she contorts her face and attacks her geetar with bullying vigour.
Throwing their biggest song, the gospel-tinged ‘Hold On’ so early into their set could prove catastrophic for many bands but the ‘Shakes pull it off with ease, with the audience joining in the sermon all hands in the air and singing along.
Most of their debut album ‘Boys & Girls’ gets a preview with the soulful refrain ‘Hang Loose’ and the hearfelt, spine tingling ‘I found You’, follow in quick precesion. ‘Boys & Girls’ starts with Howard telling the crowd ‘I’m gonna tell y’all a lil storee….’ in her honeyed Southern drawl as the crowd whoops and claps, hanging onto every word and hollered syllable. Whilst the rest of band Heath Fogg and Zac Cockrell (can you get much cooler) and Steve Johnson also deliver a confident, assured and energetic performance. ‘Heavy Chevey’ is a rollicking, raccous shot of Southern rock n soul, a perfect set closer.
Remarkably, Alabama Shakes are doing nothing new, or fashionable but a band who with so much soul and conviction that everything else seems irrelevant. This time, believe the hype.
The Great Escape is a new music festival and convention held over three days every May in Brighton. Being a fledgling blog who have also started a record label and soon to release our debut single by Maydays , we were really interested in attending the DIY panel discussions on how to develop and promote a record label in a rapidly changing music industry environment.
The other reason to attend was to see some great new bands that we could champion in an unlikely ploy to help attract these bands to come and play in Edinburgh. I do hope The Great Escape sticks to focussing on new bands and stays well clear of putting on a headline act to generate publicity which sadly Edinburgh’s own Haddow Fest did last year by booking Razorlight – paying a band who have no interest in the longevity of the festival a massive fee, which is perhaps one of the reasons the Festival has yet to appear this year, and in the process potentially depriving local bands of the experience of performing in a festival setting.
We arrive on the Wednesday evening which is when the Alternative Escape begins. This is a platform for bands who are not on the official festival playlist. We decide to go to the ‘Made In Cornwall’ night upstairs at Mrs Fitzherberts pub, but as we are pretty late in arriving only manage to see the last band of the evening called Holland.
Decked out in Cornish flags, upstairs at Mrs Fitzherberts is so small that getting thirty people in is pretty much a sell-out show. On first appearances it looks as if the band members are four feet tall, however the ‘stage’ is actually a two-foot drop from where the audience stands and a wide pillar which blocks the view of the band pretty much means that the singer is facing a wall for most of the set – a bizarrely intimate venue.
Holland are not influenced by The Beach Boys despite their name being the title of one of the bands’ great early ‘70’s records. Their music is fast and frenetic combined with dream-like vocals, but clearly they know how to create a dynamic within a song which keeps their slightly shoegaze approach appealing. They are incredibly tight and have a good sense of how to pace their set with current single “Lovely Bones” being a standout track which keeps this small but highly enthusiastic crowd jumping in admiration.
There is a real sense of anticipation amongst the packed audience as Montreal electro-pop artist Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) sound-checks her own equipment. However, as the show starts, Boucher signals to the mixing engineer that there’s no sound emanating from her keyboard before realizing she hasn’t turned the volume up on it. An apologetic cry of “oops” only serves to endear her to the audience even more.
In between playing keyboards, sometimes two at the same time, Boucher howls and yelps into her microphone whilst doing some live looping, dancing and bouncing to the beat. She plays “Vanessa” which brings a huge cheer followed shortly afterwards by “Oblivion” and “Genesis” from her recent 4AD album “Visions”.
Boucher sports an ‘Anarchy’ t-shirt which is apt given the cacophony of sound she has mutated into what can only be termed wondrous and beguiling songs. She is joined on stage by two dancers decked out in all black clothing, sporting chalked faces weaving shapes to exemplify the twists and turns of Grimes’ musical vision. A great album…a brilliant performance.
Two of the most authentic examples of the garage rock oeuvre appeared at this year’s Great Escape. Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs fresh from recording their debut album with Edwyn Collins, and their Californian counterparts, White Fence whose recent collaboration with Ty Seagall (Hair) is a favourite of FEAST’S.
Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs are playing in The Courtyard, literally. It’s the space that belongs to music distribution company Republic of Music and is the perfect ‘garage’ setting for them. They look and sound like 60′s greats, The Young Rascals. Their set is fast, loose and raucous and pleasantly a bit more random than the album. There is an edge to them which makes their impact powerful and immediate. I like the fact they just batter the songs out one after another keeping the momentum going, never stopping for langurous and tedious tuning of guitars between every song. Great album, even better live band.