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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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.

The Gramotones Visit Scotland and Wish Lennon Happy Birthday

Regular readers of the site will perhaps already recognise the name of The Gramotones. I first heard and met the band in the summer of this year…remember? No! Shame on you.
Here’s a little reminder of what I’ve already said about them….

“Remember The La’s? Imagine invigorating that spirit with a fresh sounding 2012 go get em approach and you’re not a million miles off”

“There are definitely shades of a certain Liverpudlian sound emanating. Imagine the jangle of days gone by, shaken down and freshened up to make a vibrant 21st century feel good sound.”

Well, a couple of weeks ago The Gramotones released their first single, Soldiers Kiss. The story of unnecessary loss of life during war, or a tongue in daydream of drummer James that portrays the complete annihilation of an entire box full of free range eggs? Watch the video and decide yourself. The song starts lively and continues in the same manner. There’s plenty of musical variation in the song too, with the drumming nodding a knowing wink to a military march. The combination of guitar sounds brings that battlefield effect and vocals are accentuated perfectly, all combining to give a good old indie stomper feel to the sound whilst ensuring the message is delivered appropriately.
Listen here

At the same time they released the single, the band embarked on a tour. After the launch party in Manchester it was on to Preston, before heading North for their first Scottish gig at Fiddlers Elbow in Edinburgh.
And it was here, I caught up with the band once again.
Worth saying, quite fitting that the evening was a John Lennon birthday celebration, (organised by Edinburgh singer songwriter Aaron Wright) given my previous comments about the bands sound.

Fiddlers Elbow is a quirky little spot for live music, the upper floor holding perhaps 150 people. The exterior’s Georgian architecture is still reflected inside, which gives it a real warm, pleasant, cosy feel.
Aaron put on a number of bands, who all gave their own different variety of warmth to the nights proceedings, before The Gramotones took to the stage at 2350.
By this time, the crowd were in good voice and certainly not lacking the party mood. Getting straight down to business, they immediately had heads nodding. It was pretty clear that these guys were well rehearsed and knew exactly what they were about. Testament to the nature of their perfectionism could be seen as Jake tweaked the EQ to have the sound crisper than it had been all night.
A couple of songs in and it probably wasn’t just me thinking that it’s really hard to pigeon-hole these guys into a particular genre. With that said, why should we.
James’s quite methodical drumming style is interspersed with a wildness usually reserved for references to Animal…but he’s no muppet, for sure. Ryan moves about a fair bit for a bassist, but it’s when he points it skyward that you sense the sheer concentration on his face..key to that perfect delivery.
And Sid..well he’s everything a front man should be…engaging, endearing to the crowd and quite obviously not too upset at the advances of some of the Edinburgh collective. It’s safe to say he invites the few hecklers, but certainly not slow in delivering an effective response each time.
Soldiers Kiss is given an airing as was favourite M62, both well received by the Scottish fans. During Nowhere Man, Aaron joined the band on stage for what appeared for many, the highlight of the night. It certainly summed up the feelings that are still very very alive for the Beatle.
All in all, a great first outing for The Gramotones on Scottish soil.
Unfortunately not one they had too long to revel in though. Another gig in Blackburn the following night meant they could only watch part of Aaron’s set before getting back on the road…dont worry, I’m pretty sure they’ll be back!

Finally, in a fortunate turn of events, I found myself sharing a short part of their journey home. In fact, just long enough to fit in a little interview with the band.
Here it is…

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Tim Peaks Diner @KendalCalling – Day 3

What better way to start off day 3, than with a nice bowl of Totes Amazeballs. Heather thought it was a great idea and also commented how nice it was that there are also seats outside the diner.
Inside was absolutely packed this morning, so we watched diner guests come and go as we ate our breakfast. Once I make my way inside I see one of the reasons why it is so busy. The pace is definitely slower in the diner today. Not the staff, I’m quick to add. They are still darting around like crazy’ ensuring the place remains clean, tidy and that the food is so cleverly displayed, you just cannot help but want to eat lots. All in all ensuring everyones experience is just perfect. The diner guests are consuming Totes Amazeballs by the truck load it seems today, the jukebox choices have a much lower BPM and the faces of contentment are also just starting to show the slightest evidence of some late nights. And so Tim Peaks is soothing the souls for now it seems.
Tony Walsh starts the days entertainment off again today, performing and introducing some fine poets including Dave Viney, Thick Richard and Scott Tyrell.
With it being Day 3, a few faces have become quite familiar to me, you could say the diner regulars.
Poet Mike Garry has been here supporting the diner all weekend as have Manchester band The Gramotones. I have a quick chat with the band before they play their second set of the weekend, who tell me they have had an absolute blast over the weekend. They also let me know their first single will be out soon, which is great news, because these guys sound fresh. Worth keeping an eye out for them and rest assured further reviews will appear in due course.
Before The Gramotones are Dutch electro outfit Minny Pops, who recently recorded a single for O-Genesis. (Tim’s record label) The band mesmerised the diner guests with their unique interactive performance. When asked to describe it, the winner of a t-shirt during one number said it was unbelievable but difficult to describe.
The Gramotones then entertained the crowd again, going down a storm. Remember The La’s? Imagine invigorating that spirit with a fresh sounding 2012 go get em approach and your not a million miles off.
Young author and poet Joe Stretch read an excerpt from his upcoming novel “The Adult”, worth buying for the Katy Price tape description, which he delicately edited (ok removed completely) with their being kids present.
There was a slightly sad moment today though. When the men came to take the jukebox away, it was startling realisation that Tim Peaks Diner residence at Kendal Calling was coming to an end.
The remaining acts of the day kept the crowd entertained but watching people leave the diner for the last time, you could already sense the onset of deflation.
Staff, special guests and customers all made this one of the best weekends of my life. But don’t just take my word for it. I’m pretty sure plenty of people will agree? Dave Haslam, Finn from Hatcham Social said pretty much the same.
Heather said to me, “Dad, it’s kind of been like a dream. I can’t believe all this great stuff happened and I met so many lovely new friends.”
And that kind of sums it up for me. What better endorsement for the gaffer Tim Burgess than the words of a 10 year old girl.
What Tim has accomplished is to take a virtual / metaphysical diner, transform it into the physical and yet still make it feel like it’s all been so good that it was too good to be true.
Anyone who visited over the weekend and stayed a while will all have the same question on their lips, so I’ll ask it on behalf of them all.
Tim, will you do it all again? Please?