Little Fire album launch – Oran Mor Glasgow 05 Dec 14

Everyone loves a celebration!
And whilst Christmas celebrations may have started for some, the Oran Mor played host to a very special birthday celebration on Friday night.
But it was really only very briefly a birthday celebration when the crowd that had gathered, burst into song to wish the evenings main event many happy returns.
Little Fire was two songs into the evenings set which celebrated the launch of his debut album High Hopes.
So, it was no surprise then, that the audience and Little Fire were all in the mood for a party.
Support acts  Katie Hitchen and Rebecca Herd set the mood perfectly with their sweet, melodic vocals leaving the stage set for Little Fire and his soulful, love filled, awesomely cool run through of album tracks, crowd requests and a few other gems.
He loves to sing, which shows in spates, both in the emotion expressed in his lyrics and his regular positive interactions with his fans.
‘How’s everyone doing?’ he smiled as telling everyone that ‘Singing is the just the best feeling ever.’
Title track of the album High Hopes sums this young man up. He’s full of positive energy, full of gratitude for those who have helped him along the way, he holds his head as high as his hopes and a nicer guy you could not meet. Oh, and he can sing a fair bit too. I overheard him being compared as the Lionel Richie of Ayrshire by a member of the audience and like everyone in attendance, I wish him as much success as the old commodore.
Whilst Little Fire took his bow, I picked up my own copy of his album and left  the Oran Mor, getting a little emotional myself as I listened on the journey home.
Thoughtful, warming, soulful and positively uplifting throughout, whilst an all rounded relaxing feel leaves us in no doubt.
Little Fire.. Surely a big flame of the future!
Check him out here… http://littlefiremusic.com

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.
Travel Wild Travel Free is available now from http://www.stevecradock.com

The Velveteen Saints – Nice n Sleazy

Chalk and cheese? Right and wrong? Black and White? Och no!
Perhaps more like my Ying and yang kind of a day. The mother in law is visiting this week and we had promised her a trip to the Royal Yacht Britannia as a birthday treat earlier in the year. As with many best laid plans, it never quite came to fruition. We decided that we would take her along today and the heavens blessed us with calm seas and bright skies. Ok, many of you know that the yacht was retired a number of years ago and it is now in dock at Leith Ocean Terminal. But it certainly made for a great day. The tour is worth making time for. The contrasts experienced above and below deck are quite something… A real look at how the other half live. Oh, and the Royal tea room does cracking scones. Mother in law highly recommends the Victoria sponge too.
Ah yes, contrasts! So, that was my day. The evening, somewhat in contrast and definitely more my thing. Off to Glasgow’s Nice n Sleazy I ventured to see local band The Velveteen Saints.
Changed days from rocking up at gigs five minutes before the main act is on stage.
We were in Nice n Sleazy promptly, at 2015. The first pleasant surprise was bumping into Mr Nick Fraser. I seem to be making a habit of that lately. What a gent! During our catch up, I find, as I am, he’s excited about the lineup.

First up was singer songwriter Daniel Meade.
Immediately it strikes me that his style of music is quite different to that of the band at the top of the bill. That’s encouraging though, it shows The Velveteen Saints are intent on giving tonight’s crowd as much variety as possible.
There’s a definite country vibe going on with Daniel, his guitar alternating between upbeat and soothing songs. The melodies are catchy and the mix makes for enjoyable listening.
Dressed in suit jacket, tie, red shirt and jeans, Daniel is a storyteller.
Initial thoughts are of.. I’m not quite sure…Dylan? A Glaswegian Cash? Gram Parsons?
All in there, but it’s probably Hank Williams who if,he’d popped in would have been tapping his cowboy boots in the same fashion as me, thinking…this guy is real good.
Lyrically, there’s a lot of thought gone into these tunes.
From “It’s hard hard hard, help me carry on, for the song” and
“Thank you for the good times and
“Headstone where her heart used to be”
Finishing with a bit of a country stomp, perfect for getting you in the mood for what was to come, and just right with Sleazy’s ceilings too. Just high enough that you won’t bang your head, low enough that you’ll catch your hands if aloft whilst jumping.
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Next up was The Minx. they’re from Manchester and have a sound that has been influenced by bands through the ages. They kick off with a heavily laden Buzzcocks sound. My eye caught bassist Stephen’s Specialsesque strap holding the guitar and I wondered what else we might expect.
What we got, was big keyboard, punky poppy boppy numbers that were effervescent and engaging.
As the sound of “I don’t like you, you don’t like me” began to catch in my brain I thought how perfectly it suited the Dr Martens and turned up jeans donned by a couple of members of the band.
Fusing genre upon genre there was something in here for everyone.
Just like one of the title’s…”I found my head”. It was rocking amidst more long keys and outros, which brought the set to a close….with a bang!
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Which brought us to The Velveteen Saints.
“I hope you’re feeling generous” the first words didn’t take long to receive a response.
As the lyrics “You need me” shot out across the crowd, I felt myself thinking that right now, the music business really does!
These guys give us Rock n Roll like it used to be… And yet not!
Mama didn’t raise no fools here, they began to sing.
Although many of their influences are clearly from the past, they combine that so sweetly with an attitude that could only be born of modern day Glasgow!
Wake me up..kicks it with style. We feel the drums, then Juliet.
Follow these guys and you certainly wont die alone!
They have character, charisma, on stage presence, tunes that rock and attitude.
Top marks Nice n Sleazy, a sterling nights music.
In short, If you are looking for something to put the oomph back in your record collection, check out The Velveteen Saints. They will not disappoint.
After a performance like tonight’s and with tunes like those, Rock n Roll is (most certainly not) dead!

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http://soundcloud.com/the-velveteen-saints/rock-n-roll-is-dead-facebook

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One For the Ladies…

And quite possibly some of the guys.
Whilst looking through some of this years photos I realised that for me, it’s been as good a year for gigs as I’ve had in some time.
Long gone are those days of at least one gig per month and a festival sprinkled in for good measure though.
Oh no, that kind of regularity dramatically reduced around 9 years ago.
And, if I’m honest, it’s probably a good thing. The old bones may still like the odd venture to the front of the crowd, but in reality the old bones are..well just that. Fighting my way to the front to stand crushed against the pit barrier for the duration was always an attractive proposition in my younger years, but now, not tso much. I’m now quite content to stand back a little and enjoy the show, just out of  ‘nutter’ or ‘moshpit’ range. One thing I have learnt though, is that there is no such thing as out of beer range. That stuff (and all other discharged plastic pint glass contents) will hit you no matter where you stand.
Anyway, I digress. (funny that eh)
2011 has been particularly memorable for gigs, for a number of reasons, but that 9 years plays a large part.

June saw a welcome return (ahem) for Take That to Glasgow, and more specifically to Hampden Park. My previous outing to the home of our countries national team was to witness a courageous performance against the World chamions Spain, which I’ll not harp on about because tonights post is about music..
I was lucky enough (lucky, ahem again, really!!) to get a hold of a number of tickets for Take That.
And so it was, that we decided to let this be young Heather’s first ever gig (if you discount Attic Lights at Skyfest a few years back) and she was really excited about going. Not wanting to miss Heather experience the gig, I went along, but in fairness, not particularly over-enamoured with the band, tried to play it cool. As gigs go, the music was, well Take That. Possibly the nicest way to put it.
However, as shows go, I have to say it was a pretty fine display.
As stage entrances go, the band themselves made a pretty drab walk on to start with, but re-united with Robbie Williams to come cascading down a waterfall to The Flood was not too shabby. More so Mr WIlliams solo entrance was nothing short of showmanship epitomised. Heather was mesmerized.
I have to say, I quite enjoyed myself. Yes, so moving on.

July saw me en route to another sporting event that I’ll not talk about just now. But, the night before flying out to Germany I went along to Haigh Hall Contry Park in Wigan to see one of Manchester’s current finest, The Courteeners. I’d wanted to see them for a while and never made it along to the smaller venues on their previous visits to Scotland. So it was, in relatively native surroundings for them, I watched a thoroughly enjoyable summers evening set. What’s so memorable about this gig is that never more was it apparent, that age is catching up with me. Not only did Mr Osborne and I not touch a drop of alcohol…but we actually found ourselves leaving as the final number of the encore started. Nine or ten years ago there is absolutely no way you would have found me leaving to get out the car park early, whilst a song like “Not Nineteen Forever” bounced through the evening air. How apt  too.

Later in July, The Charlatans headlined the Split festival in Sunderland.
Another first for Heather as well as her Auntie Tina. A great gig, for which, yes, we made our way to the front to stand against the pit barrier. In Heather’s case, sit on it. Big thanks to the brilliant security team and also to Mr Burgess who waved and sang to Heather. Another first, and for me, there’s always something particularly special about Charlatans gigs.

On to November.
Voodoo Rooms in Edinbugh played host to the one and only (Andrew) Roachford, who ironically was the first band I ever saw live, way back in 1989 at Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom. Every time I see him perform he seems to get better. Believe me when I say, (especially those of you who think Cuddly Toy was his only hit) this is someone you should go and see live. Truly a wonderful voice.

So, perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea but if I dare, perhaps not actually over just yet.
I’ve secured a ticket to see The Stone Roses in Manchester next year, which means breaking my own self imposed rule about “Never going to see a re-formed band.” I’ll make an expcetion though, just this once.

So, in closing, the title of the post was “One for the ladies” and so I’ll stick to that.

Here, for you, in it’s unedited 11 minutes of glory is Robbie Williams making his way out onto Hampden Park.Fantastic camera work Heather!
Probably also worth saying…(through gritted teeth) The noise was louder than that I have heard at any Scotland match.

Enjoy. Yes…I did!

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