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.

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 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…


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!