Steve Cradock and The Gramotones – Oran Mor Glasgow 30 Oct

At 7.30 on gig night the Oran Mor in Glasgow is quiet. Doors opening around 7 means the bar, to the rear is always the busiest area at this time. Looking onto the gig area directly in front, it’s empty although the few dimly lit seated booths have been occupied. So too have the pillars on the edges of the dance floor, which with shelves for drinks, are amongst the premium spaces for early gig goers.
At a quarter to eight exactly, The Gramotones take to the stage.
‘Hello’, says Jake. ‘How you doin, we’ll be your support band tonight.’
And then they are straight into M62. They’re on form, their blend of indie guitar sounding pretty acoustic tonight. Drummer James clearly would rather be let loose on his full kit, but for tonight a cut down more laid back set means he has to make do with a single drum. With each song that passes a few more congregate in front of the stage, heads nodding and each song receiving increasing applause.
Both guitarists Sid and Jake take stints on harmonica and for anyone old enough to remember there’s an outing for the stylophone on Marjorie. Bassist Ryan has centre stage tonight and he, as with the rest of the band are clearly up for making their Glasgow debut a memorable one for the fans that have come out to see them.
Single Soldiers Kiss gets an airing tonight too, much to the growing crowds enjoyment.
Their only cover of the night comes at the end of the set, and as it comes in the form of The Band’s -The Weight nobody is complaining. It’s an apt song to close, summing up nicely a lot of the bands influences.
As they close their set, stage front has completely filled up and they leave the stage triumphantly, treated to a a well earned Glasgow cheer and a huge round of applause. This might have been the bands Glasgow debut, but on this performance it’s clear to see why Steve Cradock asked them to support him on tour and undoubtably won’t be the last Glasgow has heard of The Gramotones.

Shortly before 9.00 glass of wine in hand Steve Craddock whispers ‘Hello Glasgow’ and gets stuck in about opener Last days of the old world.
Next up R and R is dedicated to the late Lou Reed, a timely nod to the great man who sadly left us only days ago.
The Ocean Colour Scene man’s set comprises of old songs as well as more than just a smattering of his new material.
With each song from the new album though, comes another round of good natured banter from the Glasgow crowd.
By the time he finishes his set, they are whistling, cheering and calling him back by name (and perhaps more than a few shouts back for band member Sally too) for an encore. He reminds everyone just one more time there’s a new album out before leaving the stage, only to return to the merch stall to sign and chat the remainder of the evening away.
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Andrew Roachford – Voodoo Rooms Edinburgh 18 Oct

The short walk from Edinburgh’s Waverley station toward West Maitland Street on Friday night was dreich. Rain too light to be bouncing off the street, but still enough to soak you to the skin should you choose to stay out in it too long.
Lucky then that my destination, The Voodoo Rooms, only required me to cross Princes Street and duck around the side of The Cafe Royal.
Blink though and you might easily miss this hidden gem. It nestles quietly off the cobbles on the backstreet, only seconds from the bustle of the city centre.
A solitary door is the only evidence from the road that the place exists, but the large sign above let’s you know you are in the right place. As you enter and climb the short flight of stairs you arrive in a dark but cosy gothic reception room. The walls are black with gold trim and a glance up reveals a lavish golden monikered lampshade. Ahead leads to the long narrow bar, which, with it’s black walls, golden fixtures and subtle décor, give the feel of an exclusive club. To the rear of the reception area, and up a couple more stairs, leads to The Ballroom.
A small crowd of gig goers had gathered by just after 7PM waiting on the doors to the Ballroom opening, all eagerly anticipating tonight’s artist.
Just before 7.30PM the door to the ballroom was opened and those with tickets or luckily enough to be on the guest list to the evenings sold out event, were welcomed into the ballroom.
The rectangular room, set out as a live music venue, becomes evident, with sound booth at the rear middle, and stage front.
The walls are black, the trim gold. Ceiling fixtures of gold are in keeping with venue’s interior, whilst a large resplendent disco ball sparkles as a fitting centre piece.
The white pinhole spots on the walls combined with the mellow hip hop backing track, gave an indoor equivalent of a starry moonlit smooth groove laden ambience. A very nice effect indeed, of the magical intimate venue.
The chat was lively, drinks were being savoured and then to the stage came Little Fire.
This unmistakable gravelly voice hails from Ayrshire, yes homegrown talent.
An upbeat start was of meeting a girl. And although through his set some solemn numbers followed, the general feeling was vibrant. The young man should hold strong to his high hopes as he possesses a natural talent and flare for being on the stage.
You mean something to me and 10 ways are great tracks, with a real positive upbeat attitude towards life. All I need in life had heads swaying and seemed to sum up how Little Fire perhaps felt being on the stage. He seemed very at home, right down to the shared banter with crowd. A mutual feeling of respect between artist and audience resounded sweetly with the city’s culture being tipped a wink before Little Fire thanked the headline act for the opportunity. (Keep an eye out for more information on Little Fire, soon on the site.) Positivity oozed in his voice, not difficult to understand why he’d been chosen to support Andrew Roachford.
In true understated style, Andrew Roachford took to the stage as the opening chords of Ebony on loop, built the crowd anticipation.
Smiles all around the filled ballroom doesn’t quite give enough gravitas to the atmosphere that surrounds a Roachford gig. The feeling of warmth, of being wrapped up in a big Roachford family gathering is what it feels like. Love eminates every inch of the the room and centre stage Andrew has everyone in the palm of his hand.
The set comprised of a mix of old and new. Tracks from new album The Beautiful Moment combined wonderfully with numbers from his previous albums to ensure the evening went from funky to soulful to rock and back. Watching him on stage, felt like Andrew loved every single moment as much as the audience. Along with his band, he has honed his craft carefully over the years, to the point of delivering a masterclass in velvet harmonies, musical timing and direction, showmanship and stage presence. There is always plenty of chat to be heard after a Roachford gig, around people’s disbelief at how Roachford has never had sustained global musical superstardom. Friday was no exception.
And whilst it’s easy to agree, many are happy to let it remain one of life’s great mysteries.
I guess perhaps it’s a shared belief that when so much positive energy flows and love is welcomed in to a room, when this man plays, let’s just all be grateful.

I Get High
Real Again
The Beautiful Moment
The Way I Feel
Hello Friend
Without You
Ride The Storm
Family Man teaser
Work It Out (livin in the city)
This Generation

Lay your love
Over your shoulder
Because you
Cuddly toy
Only To Be With You
Wonder Wall

Daniel Meade – As Good As Bad Can Be

Ever wondered why it is often tricky to convince people to listen to country music? Perhaps you’re amongst those that don’t like it yourself.
Well, Bill Anderson’s words relayed to me by Glasgow singer Daniel Meade, helped me understand why it might be the case.
To those who would tell Bill that they once didn’t like country music, but now they did, he would tell them, “You didn’t not like it, you just hadn’t lived enough.”
After spending countless hours listening to the likes of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Conway Twitty, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons and Bill Anderson himself, I think it’s a pretty fair analogy.
Sure, plenty folks will disagree and I daresay just as many who have lived full lives will say they don’t like country, but how many of them have given themselves time to go beyond the stigma attached to the genre..
Strip away some of the pre-conceptions you might have about Southern accents, rhinestones, rednecks and what your actually left with is raw emotion.
Forget the cheesy lyrics you might be associating with country. We’re talking lyrics about life; heartache, fear, love, loss, devotion, freedom, doubt and self belief are just a few of the feelings that you cannot help being struck by.

For those already convinced and indeed those who still might need a little more convincing, here’s a recommendation for you.
Daniel Meade is a singer songwriter from Glasgow. I don’t think he’d argue with me saying he’s already lived an interesting life. But don’t take my word for it, listen to what he had to say when I interviewed him before a recent gig.

He’s a pretty humble chap, arguably one of the reasons you may not have heard of him. Check out albums by The Basement Boogie Men or The Meatmen and you’ll hear for yourself the standard of his songwriting and playing abilities. He’d definitely be forgiven were he a little more self promoting.
BBC’s Ricky Ross has featured him on his “Another Country” radio show and says of Daniel, “He’s very good indeed.”
Keep your ears peeled for more appearances on Ricky’s show for Daniel.
In the meantime, Daniel has a brand new album out. It’s called “As Good As Bad Can Be” and it’s a cracker. Tracks like Long Way to Fall, Homegrown Hank and title track As Good As Bad Can be simply ooze the kind of emotion I spoke about above and it’s pretty clear to see where he has drawn much of his inspiration. But, it’s on “If It’s Not Your Fault” (I Guess iIt’s Mine) that the relevance in todays society for country music is never more apparent. A little bit more of this attitude and we might all get along a little better.
Bold words? Perhaps! This may still not be a commercially heralded musical genre.. but if you choose to listen to what todays mass musical marketing machine tells you is the widely accepted view of popular music, you might just lose out on something very special.

Those lucky enough, headed along the The State Bar in Glasgow last Friday (27 Sep) for the album launch party.
Daniel was supported by another local act Les Johnson and Me, who warmed the crowd up nicely with his very own blend of country tunes. With an unmistakeable voice himself, Les showed flashes of the man in black himself as he confidently put his talents on show. Check him out here.

Daniel Meade came on as understated as he is when talking about his talents, getting straight down to business with songs, old and new, ranging from his solo work to songs from The Basement Boogie Men and The Meatmen. Former Meatmen compadre Richard Anderson was on hand too, with Lloyd Reid on guitar completing Daniel’s line-up for the evening.
There was also a guest appearance from The River 68’s guitarist Christian McCabe, who played some outstanding harmonica towards the end of Daniel’s set.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening, a fantastic debut solo album and a very bright new talent in the form of Daniel Meade.
You can find pretty much all of the country artists mentioned in the post on Spotify, iTunes and the like.

Here’s a taster of Daniel’s album, the opening track Maggie Blue.

If you want to just go buy the album, it’s here.
And in Mr Meade’s own words… Keep it Country.

Edinburgh Festival Review Fri 09 Aug 13

Friday 9th August was my first outing to this years Edinburgh Festival and what an evening it turned out to be. Never used to being able to capture much more than a show or two in one outing, being able to sample five quite different acts made for a very interesting evening. Transport times to and from the city were self enforcedly set in stone for this trip, more down to previous mishaps with missed trains and much fallout from loved ones.
With that said, it still left 5 hours for all the fun and frolics of the festival. It was a warm evening and the sun was shining, the temperature still somewhere around 15 degrees. The atmosphere on the Royal mile was exactly as any previous reveller would expect… bustling, buoyant, friendly and warm. The temperature aside, Edinburgh always has even more of a warmth about it during the festival period. Friday night was no exception. The mood was set.
And so it is, with some shame, and a little embarrassment that I’m unable to tell you the name of the first act I saw. What I can tell you is that just after 5PM on Friday evening I was entranced by a group of African singers, performing perfect acappella on the Royal mile, at the rear hind quarters of St.Giles Cathedral. They were soulful, enthusiastic, animated and stopped many bypassers in their tracks, myself included. In the 5 minutes or so of their performance they had me mesmerised by the roadside.
As they finished, I’d almost forgotten that the main reason I’d come in tonight was the promise of free entertainment courtesy of the BBC at Potterrow, via a friend of mine.
We made our way to Bristo Square and through to the BBC tent. We’d been asked to arrive early for the 6.30PM show and paying attention to this worked to our advantage.
We arrived to the banging drums, gallus guitar, unmistakeable bagpipes, dancing ladies and not forgetting mohawk sporting ‘G-man’ (previously of Red Hot Chilli Pipers) that make up Scottish New music awards current group of the year, “Bags of Rock.”
In stark contrast to the earlier musical interlude, these guys thrust their blend of music upon our ears, which is in your face and yet no less appealing than the African acappella harmonies. Take all the patriotic passion of Scottish music, blend it with the attitude and fervour of your favourite rock classics, grab yourself a beer and enjoy. As they say themselves, to be enjoyed LOUD. I caught up with lead man Gregor James after the set, who reminded me this was just the ‘Wee band’ as well. Unfortunately it was their only show at the Fringe but you can see them at the upcoming Motherwell beer festival on Sep 27th. Highly recommended!

So, then onto the reason we’d come along. This came in the form of a Q and A session with Irish comedian Jason Byrne, talking about his upcoming BBC One sitcom “Father Figure.” The session was pretty informal, hosted by Peter Curran, who spoke to Byrne about the sitcom, it’s beginnings as a radio show and it’s transformation to television. Based on events drawn down from his own life, he plays a (hopefully loveable) father, husband and son, the central character in this family sitcom. Their was plenty of humour throughout the session and the majority of the crowd seemed as much at ease as Curran and Byrne. There was time for some audience questions, which, pleasantly, gave Byrne the opportunity to slip briefly back into stand up mode, enjoying a bit of banter with the Scottish audience. The show is due to start mid September on BBC One. You can catch his stand up show at the festival until 25 Aug.

Then followed a short walk to the Gilded Balloon venue, where we quickly grabbed some tickets for two more shows.
First up was @lee_Kern whose show entitled “Bitter Twitter” was highly entertaining. For anyone possessing even the slightest understanding of how social media mammoth “Twitter” works / used by millions, the show is a laugh a minute. It explores all aspects of the phenomenon from the downright stupidity of some of the tweets seen daily to the way it has changed how we all interact. In particular it explores how this has changed the entire concept of interacting with celebrities. Lee’s huge mix of craziness and pace meant there’s something for everyone. Many celebrity users came under fire too but never with any malice attached. Kern has taken a very simple idea and created something quite unique which worked very well on the stage. If you use social media at all, go see this show. As with the idea, it was simply brilliant!

The final show of the night was Howard Read’s “Hide and Speak.” If you’ve ever seen the comedy animation “Little Howard” this is the man who brought him to life.
This show blended stand up comedy with animation, which saw Read, front (if perhaps not directly centre) stage, controlling (via a Playstaion remote) and voicing his creations, animated on a big screen.
If that sounds a bit much to take in, seeing the show live was a little like that too. I wasn’t sure whether to look at the screen or at Read and although it flowed for a few spells it just seemed like too much was going on at once. Unfortunately some of the gags were lost on the crowd too, which unfortunately saw Read lose his rhythm on a few occasions. It’s a bit of a shame though, because there were a few times he had the crowd in hysterics. This was usually dealing with hecklers and when reverting back to a more traditional stand up approach.
If you enjoy animation, it might be more your cup of tea. It just wasn’t really mine. Ultimately a bit disappointing.

One mad dash later and I was on the train home. I sat thinking back over the evening and wondering how we had managed to fit so much in. It is not without a touch of irony that my friend, often jokingly referred to as having a Tardis for transport couldn’t make it along. I did manage to find his transport nestling at the entrance to the BBC tent at Potterrow though, which I realised had obviously been the reason we got through so much. That perhaps or just meticulous attention to detail and planning. Regardless, a great evening and evidence a plenty of why people keep coming back to the Edinburgh Festival.

The Charlatans – Delamere Forest 07 Jul – Gig Review by David A Currie

This month it’s my great privilege to be able to present the very first guest writer to the site. This is The Charlatans at Delamere Forest as reviewed by David A Currie. Makes for a cracking read.
Over to you David…

From the start of the day I knew this was going to be a great gig. My wife Lorna, me and our 8 yr old son Logan travelled down from Central Scotland in the sun, driving through the borders, brushing past the Dales and the Lakes to find ourselves in a very nice part of Northern England. The atmosphere was fuelled by the fine weather and the odd aperitif. Throughout the night the camaraderie was noticeably flowing as a mix of young and old gathered to bask in the sun and sounds of summer.
John Ainsworth (new to me) got things going with some guitar accompanied songs in front of a sparse front row, but a fully attentive crowd on the hill. It was off to great start.
Then TVS (The Velveteen Saints), nominally from Glasgow, took to the stage. A bus load of friends and family populated the near barrier area and the band hit the spot with a slick set of 50’s inspired, 2013 rock’n’roll. The Coatbridge mafia bounced to every tune and I was down there with Logan on my shoulders. His day was made when they played an oldie for this young band, Rock’n’Roll Is Dead and then topped off their set with a rousing cover of The Clash’s, I Fought The Law, joined on guitar by a Jonny Brown from Twisted Wheel.
Next up was more Scottish music from Dundee’s The View. Barefooted and big haired, Kyle and friends took to the stage to a surge of fans making their way to the stony standing area. Their set of fast paced shanties and indie guitar tunes was a mix of old and new, but the classics of Superstar Tradesmen and Same Jeans had the crowd bouncing highest. By the end of their set the atmosphere was at fever pitch and the security had all but given up on trying to control the beer throwing that is a feature of most enthusiastic Scottish gigs.
In between sets, the sounds were provided by The Beat Boutique. A great mix of Reggae, Northern Soul and Piano House. Taking some of the not so young crowd back to days when the arms and legs used to move to the same beats whilst the younger ones moved with a fluidity we can only dream of achieving again. A clear indicator of the longevity of The Charlatans and their fan base.
This brings us to the main attraction. The Charlatans entered the arena to a roar of fanatic anticipation and a sea of heads and arms. Mark Collins, Tony Rogers and Martin Blunt accompanied by Pete Salisbury, standing in for Jon Brookes, were dressed in the dark attire we are accustomed to. Once they were located with their instruments, Tim Burgess entered the scene. A bright star in the spotlight dressed from head to toe in white with the blonde mop top hairdo which has divided opinion among fans as he has restlessly toured his solo sound. But tonight it was perfect for his return as The Charlatans cocky front man.
As sets go, this was a fine mix of all that makes them my favourite band of our generation. Classics like Jesus Hairdo and The Only One I Know were mixed with more recent material. This Is The End and Oh Vanity were stand outs from this era. North Country Boy, Blackened Blue Eyes and Tellin’ Stories gave a taster of the mid life of this enduring band, whilst any setlist that includes THEN gets my seal of approval. This was my first purchase back when released in 1990. 23 years ago and it set me off on what has been a musical odyssey, culminating in yesterday’s road trip.
As with all Charlatans gigs, the end saw them perform Sproston Green. This time an added edge to the fans appreciation of this timeless classic was provided as Tim dedicated it to Jon Brookes, presently recovering from surgery. Get well soon.
As we returned home at 4am and I sank into my welcoming bed, my 43 year old bones whispered that this cannot go on forever. But as long as Tim and the band are dragging themselves around the country, THEN I will follow.

08 Jul 13

When The Saints

A little over three years ago, it was my absolute pleasure to see Twisted Wheel play in Harley’s in Bathgate.
You know the intimate feeling of a small gig you just can’t beat. Well, this was like having the band in my living room. Harley’s, an upstairs of a pub venue (God rest it’s soul) really can’t have held many more than about 50 people. What makes it memorable was the noise though. Having missed the band for one more pint of Strongbow the previous summer, whilst supporting Oasis at Heaton Park, they brought that loud, unapologetic sound of theirs straight into the ears of the lucky few in attendance. Lucy The Castle, You Stole the Sun and We Are Us in particular shook the place to it’s core.
Fast forward a couple of years to October 2012, I then had the pleasure of hearing this young band called The Velveteen Saints. Supporting Tim Burgess at Oran Mor in Glasgow, I was pretty chuffed to have stumbled across them. These guys sound good I thought.. destined for big things.
Turns out that John Robb thought so too, having named them band of the day on “Louder Than War”, back in Jun of 2012. Alright, perhaps I’m playing that down a little.
What he actually said was ( -Velveteen Saints have come to save rock n roll.
So, after hearing them live and hearing a couple of tunes on Soundcloud I was delighted to be invited along to the next couple of Glasgow gigs at Nice n Sleazy and Broadcast.
I reviewed both gigs and each time the crowd got a little bit bigger. 
At the end of the year, Jim Gellatly compiled Scotland’s Greatest “Under The Radar” Album 2012
Shortly after he announced Jim’s 10 for 2013. 
Who appeared on both lists? You got it, The Velveteen Saints.
As the New Year rang in, I found myself blaring the two track CD in the car, wondering when their next gig might be. Rock n Roll is Dead and Wake Me Up both corking tunes.
In late January, the band asked if I’d like to go along to the studio to hear them record some new songs. They were recording some new material prior to another gig in March, this time in King Tuts.
Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.
The King Tuts gig was a sell out and another mightily impressive show.
Jump forward another couple of months and the band started to feature on festival line-ups such as Isle of Wight, T in The Park and Kendal Calling. Then the small matter of a support slot at Delamere Forest with The Charlatans.
With Isle of Wight under their belts, the hard working Glasgow band have still managed to fit in another Glasgow gig before the remaining summer dates.
Of course, it’s a bigger venue again, this time the O2 ABC2 in Glasgow on 05 Jul. It’s looking like it will be another sell out too. And just to make it even more of a treat, they’ve invited Twisted Wheel along as special guests.
You can check both bands out on Facebook or Soundcloud and take a listen for yourself.
Amidst the chaotic year The Velveteen Saints managed to squeeze in an interview with me too.
Backstage, we spoke about their Coatbridge roots, the Velveteen Saints sound, (perhaps a little Raveonettes meets Jesus and the Mary Chain) their creative process, the music scene in general, touring and their own personal highlights of the last year. They work tightly as a band to create the sound, honing it with each live show. 
Gigging has played a huge part of their lives, they’ve enjoyed and learnt a lot from it and are all pretty excited about what the next year holds in store for them. They’re a humble bunch of guys though, each of them acknowledging a lot more hard work is in store. I asked each of them them to sum up the band in one word. And four genuinely nice guys couldn’t have summed it up better had we rehearsed it…(which we didn’t)
Charming, drunk, temperamental and progressive they say. 
Don’t take their word for it though. Or mine. 
Head along to the O2 ABC2 in Glasgow on the 05 Jul to see for yourself.

Vigo Thieves -King Tuts 08 Feb

King Tut’s was buzzing last night. As you entered the venue it was easy to sense, the definite buzz of excitement and anticipation.
When you consider this was the first night of two sold out gigs for local unsigned band ‘Vigo Thieves’ it’s also easy to understand why.
The chat at the bar might just have been that little bit louder than normal and the mood was jovial. Many of the Vigo’s Wishaw loyal support were already in fine fettle, making sure the support acts had plenty of encouragement too.
The evenings entertainment kicked off with…
The Rah’s, 4 piece indie guitar band hailing from Prestonpans. This enthusiastic bunch played their way through a lively set which contained some catchy sounding riffs and loops.
Stand out track for me had the band singing…
“Don’t let the good times come down” had a jangling summery feel to it with added attitude in the beat which showcased a very talented drummer. Definitely worth another listen. Well done guys.
Next up we were treated to a shift in genre and a slice of Ska action, in the shape of;
The Begbies. They had clearly brought along a few of their own faithful following who didn’t take much encouragement to get right into the swing of things. Lead singer had a soft soulful singing voice, which when utilised was very effective. The best example probably epitomised on “Stay close to me” when the guitars combined well with vocals to make for a rather melodious toe tapper.
The crowd had already started the combined chorus’s of
“There’s only one Alan Jukes only one Stevie Jukes”
before the haunting intro of the set opener breathed into life.
A few things became apparent within the first couple of numbers.
The bands sound was well rehearsed, the on stage chemistry was bubbling and sheer emotion in both the lyrics and delivery held the crowd hostage in the palms of their hands. They made no secret at how pleased they were at having sold out two nights in the venue and were intent on giving a show to stick in the memories of those who had journeyed out.
Crowd pleaders “Forever” and “Ghosts” both had the place jumping, giving that King Tuts bouncing floor it’s warming homely gig feel.
It was however a new song that captured the overwhelming summing up of the evening for me. The run up to the gig has seen the wide use of the hashtag #believe to tempt the fans into the subliminal expectation of something different / new / special.
And so it was when new song, perhaps not surprising titled “Believe” sprung into life. The once known feeling of a gig that throbbed from the heart of the crowd, emanating out, was very much alive in King Tuts as Vigo Thieves put everything into this one.
As with many a good gig, my only complaint was that I wanted more. That though is something I am sure the Vigo Thieves will deliver throughout 2013 and beyond.
What we got last night? A rousing , successful first night of two.
As the band closed, lead singer Stevie Jukes was pulled onto the gig revellers in what can only be described as a triumphant crowd surfing lap of honour. He was duly delivered back to the side of the stage as he thanked everyone from left to right, for their support.
Will the Saturday crowd live up to that of the rowdy Friday night gang?
Well, one thing is for certain and the Vigo Thieves have captured it perfectly…
Live for the moment and you’ll shine like the stars. #BELIEVE

2012 Review of the year

2012 let’s wrap it up with a beautiful poetic review
Some of the highlights from what has been
A fast paced, constantly changing twelve months.
For just a minute put aside the news and a trillion
Google searches
As I present a story of always listening to your head, heart and guts.

For anyone that does want the news in brief from this truly wonderful year
Perhaps try this one, clicky linky, it can be found right here.

Embrace change, try something new was how it started
Keep an open mind throughout
Be prepared to work hard, be flexible
And question everything, leave nothing in doubt.
Grab every opportunity, make it unique to you
Have faith in your convictions, don’t put off, just do.
Tell the world to listen, to what you have to say
Be pleasant and polite each and every day
Give gratitude for everything, especially when you can’t
For that is when you need to most, feet you need to plant.
Help lots of other people but not to make you feel good
Achieve that by living healthily, and eating better food.
When the light is darkest, just before the dawn
Be dedicated to your cause, stretch, get up and yawn.

You’ve seen your worst but do not burst.

Never, ever give up, on others or on you
We’re the worlds greatest creation, there’s nothing we can’t do.
Strive for the world and everything in it
There’s nothing wrong with that
But be humble and true to yourself
You groovy crazy cat.

Not summed up your year?
Join me in 2013
Increasing knowledge and releasing fear!

FAREWELL 2012,You have been amazing.
Roll on 2013.

A Little Bit of Powder

Meet Andy. He’s the cheeky yet likeable roadie that’s brought to life by actor Craig Parkinson in A Little Bit of Powder. He’s going to tell you a story about what it was like touring with one of the worlds great rock n roll bands during the crazy days of bygone times. He’s also going to tell you what happened when he came into posession of 15 little bags of powder and how that led to him standing in the middle of the street, looking to the stars.
A Little Bit of Powder is the first single come short story audiobook by Ian Rankin to be released on O-Genesis records, the label launched by Tim Burgess, Jim Spencer, Nik Colk and Nick Fraser last year. This offering is a collaboration between Ian Rankin, who has written the story, with music from The Charlatans Tim Burgess and Nik Colk Void of Factory Floor.
Fans of The Charlatans and Tim Burgess’s recent book Telling Stories will of course, love this short story, and it is by no coincidence that the characters within and many of the references are very closely linked to Burgess’s life and the turbulence that goes hand in hand with the rock n roll lifestyle.
But wait. These characters may have much in common with The Charlatans but they are not The Charlatans. In fact, they could be any of many a band involved in spinning a yarn or two like this over the years. For that reason, I believe this will appeal to all music fans.
Now, stop right there. I mentioned this was an Ian Rankin story right? So it isn’t exactly as straightforward as all that, but then with an author such as Rankin, what less would you expect.
Finally, this is not just a tale of rock n roll with a twist. There’s a real life lesson in this, one which, I think everyone of a certain age will appreciate. If you’ve ever applied the term “Work hard play hard’ to yourself or anyone you know there is an additional value in listening to this over and over.

You see… for most people, achieving a childhood dream of being in a rock n roll band and living the lifestyle to match never comes true. For few it does. Another choice phrase, ‘Live fast, die young’ springs to mind. A good percentage of the few that achieve that dream fall sadly into this category, certainly more than is healthy. It probably makes rock n roll as dangerous as F1 racing or one on one combat sports.
This story shows us that we always, always have a choice. There is always hope, no matter what life throws at us. Even when a life you’ve striven so hard to achieve seems to be killing the very soul that got your there. Life rarely turns out the way we expected it. It just takes some folks longer to realise what is most important in life. It might well have been The Outriders who said…. (Can I ask you) Do you ever get this feeling, when its hard to carry on.
Those people of a certain age, know that feeling. For a world of different reasons perhaps, but they know it all the same. This story, albeit only 15 minutes long, captures that sentiment perfectly. Life is what you make if it.
So, I dare you, whoever you are, listen to this and I’m pretty certain you’ll have some pretty powerful emotions evoked.
Buy it! Now!

The Velveteen Saints -Broadcast 29 Dec 12

Well, this is a first. Regular readers of the site will perhaps remember that once on a time, I would turn up at gigs with just enough time to get to the bar and find a good spot, before the headline act came on.
But, in music, as with much in life, I learnt a valuable lesson in missing some of the support acts down the line. So, sometime just after doors opening became my timing of choice. This is when you find out more about those undiscovered little gems of musicians and bands. Some are just starting out. Others, at it for many a year in some instances, tirelessly play the pub /club circuit as they strive for musical world domination.
And whilst many bands will tell you that’s not what they want…why the hell shouldn’t they. After all, if you don’t strive for world domination you ain’t going to achieve it.
So it was, that one of those early evenings arrivals meant the opportunity to listen to The Velveteen Saints for the first time. That was back in October, when the band opened for Tim Burgess on his solo tour at the Oran Mor. A few people had gathered by the time the second support act, Hatcham Social took to the stage but sadly, only a few had the pleasure of hearing The Velveteen Saints that night. However, alongside Jim Gellatly, (I don’t need to tell you who he is right!) Murray Easton, (Everything Flows Glasgow, very good site, check him out) my good lady wife and perhaps another 25 gig goers, I witnessed one of their first gigs.
A chance meeting and a good chat at the merch stall after the gig with bass player Thommo, resulted in an invitation to review the next show in the nice n sleazy in November. I’ve already covered both nights separately on the site, so, it’s ok if you’ve missed out so far. We’ll keep you right.
Ok, so, now your all caught up…
The Velveteen Saints have been on the road since then, supporting amongst others, The View, Peace Peter Hook and not forgetting Tim Burgess.
During their hectic schedule they took the time to get in touch and ask me along to their next gig in Glasgow’s Broadcast on dec 29th. Very nice of them that eh.

I arrived very early, in fact, for the first time in time for the sound check.
Now, although I know what I like when it comes to music, according to my school teachers I wasn’t blessed with that skill required to be recognised in school as capable of being successfully taught music.
And this part of the evenings proceedings changed my own view of that long ago assessment. There is plenty of adjustment made by the sound engineer, lots of interaction with the band and I am in agreement with the bands nod to give the guitars a little bit more.
At sound check also had the added benefit of adding a certain anticipation for the gig..
Sound check complete, there’s no time to hit the bar for TVS though. There’s countless other little things that need checking before a show…including on this occasion, an interview for mrpinkster. ( keep an eye out for that over the next couple of weeks)

An so, on to the show.
Daniel Meade opened the nights proceedings with his Glaswegian country music.
Ok, that’s not some new kind of genre I’m trying to introduce.
Daniel is Glaswegian and he writes and performs country music. Good old fashion country music.
I’ve seen Daniel before too and admittedly I have not been country musics biggest fan in the past. He changed that though. It was after listening to Daniel Meade that I invested some time in listening to Hank Williams and realised that I should spend more time listening to this and finding more music like it.
Cowboy shirt and boots aside, Daniel is a very unassuming and modest guy who has been around the music scene for a while. (Did I mention, we also did an interview, so you can find out much more about Daniel soon too)
He’s got the knack of telling stories of a life lived, quite succinctly.
His songs ooze character and when he tells you he’s been Lonesome and blue, you believe him.
Perhaps his Glaswegian country is never mor epitomised when he sings…
Will u still love me when it rains…. In Glasgow, for goodness sake, my advice is, if you find someone that does Daniel, she’s a keeper. That’ll be a lot of love.
‘Headstone’ does it again for me, and has the crowd tapping their toes along.
From the lyrical content, Daniel’s heart has been broken and he’s certainly seen the highs and lows of life.
It looks as though he is now comfortable doing what he is doing, both on stage and through the delivery of his songs.
As his set draws to a close, the notion that the banishment of all previous demons is very near complete, resonates and as he leaves the stage, I am again left believing he deserves a much bigger audience.

Manky Savage are up next with their very own cornucopia of genre jumping music.
They are a three piece guitar, bass and drummer, who, over the course of the set, had smatterings of The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, dare I say, Metallica in places, even coming back to earth with a brief journey into Fleetwood Mac territory.
bass player and lead vocalist posseses a throaty, gravelly set of chords to match much of the 70′ style tunes.
For me, it’s when the guitarist is allowed to shine that the band come into there own though.
Resembling Bernard Butler, he is a very talented musician whose vocals are more mellow. When he takes lead on what was my favourite song, the more melodic vibe had a good feel to it, that fit well with the laid back drum beat and the funky bass.
As they closed, Broadcast is filling up nicely…

Time for The Velveteen Saints
Michael is first to the stage for a well rehearsed long Hawaii 5 O style intro into opener Always Gonna Be.
They are straight on it and clearly well up for It. Thommo is effervescent as ever on bass and Sean immediately has to display a masterclass centre stage in navigating his high hair under the low ceiling. High hair, which must be said, sits on top of the head of fast becoming perfect front man. Whether or not Sean fully realises what he possesses here, remains to be seen.
You see, even as the somewhat rockabilly intro swagger of Mama hits the crowd, I’m also taken at how humble these rock stars in the making are.
Guitarist Martin has an on stage attitude to rival the most accomplished players, which combines sweetly with the other members. Each has there own influences but the way in which it all comes together works very well.
Wake me up smashes into the first verse and as the line
“how long have u been missing” echoes from Sean, Thommo and Martin, the crowd are in the palm of their hands.

Juliet, white Wine and Die Alone all provide us with more evidence that these guys are going to be around for some time to come. They may not have been on the scene for very long, but 2013 is shaping up nicely as a big year for them.
By the time Janey and Closer Rock n Roll is Dead get their airing, the crowd is hot and sweaty Martin is bouncing, Sean frantic and yet nailing the guitar, Michael sets a tempo that every head is banging to, on drums, Thommo, cool as you like, ever concentrated on bass, with the occasional knowing wink to his fellow band members. Whether it is part spontaneous or very well rehearsed, it sounds tight and well deserving of the rapturous applause received.
But they weren’t quite finished. As an encore, we were re-introduced to Daniel Meade for a guest appearance on keys for a rendition of Red Wine, which brought the house down.
Well done guys on a great 2012. Here’s to a very successful 2013.
And to everyone who has not yet had the pleasure of listening… Check them out.
It won’t be long before everyone is talking about these Saints marching in.

Sound checking…



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