Tag Archives: ABC2

Thomas Dolby, ABC2, 16th November, Act # 51

By the time an unusually tardy Spanner arrives at The State I am making serious inroads into my second pint of Border Ales’ Game Bird (4%). Barman Jason and I agree that it’s a stonker (that’s the technical term) and he’s already concerned that there may be none left at closing time when he allows himself a relaxing pint. Indeed this stuff is flying (no pun intended) across the counter like nobody’s business. Our previous game plan of just having one, in order to go and see the support band, is dashed and by the time we arrive at the gig they are indeed long gone.
Poor ticket sales have resulted in the gig being moved downstairs to the far more intimate ABC2. Tonight’s gig sees the small dancefloor covered in rows of seats, occupied by the tightest demographic I’ve encountered;virtually everyone is between forty and fifty years old (and bald to boot). We manage to find a standing spot in front of the desk, just as the band walk on. I think to myself, and am glad I didn’t vocalise, that I wouldn’t have recognised, the other TeeDee, playing the keyboards. however, I quickly realise that this is, in fact, because it wasn’t actually him. A roar from the small crowd informed me that the man approaching a second keyboard was actually ‘yer man’!

Lumme! Thomas and Masterchef’s Gregg Wallace were surely twins separated at birth. I keep waiting for John Torode to appear and challenge me to make a Pea, Mint and Ricotta Ravioli with Pancetta Butter and Pea Shoots.That doesn’t happen!


A sensible mixture of old and new tunes then followed (it’s twenty years between his previous album and the current release) and the devoted Dolboids devoured it, whooped and hollered. I was there because I’d bought the early albums, when they were released, and had never got round to seeing him, at the time.

Support act, Aaron Jonah Lewis and Ed Hicks came back on to flesh out the TD set with some fiddle, stomping and the most full-on beard this side of Billy Gibbons. Taking Razzer to the Tinkers? Take a Razor, surely?


He, Dolby, tells us that the last time he played Glasgow he would have been using a ‘Fairlight’ which back in those days would have cost around eighty grand. Tonight the duty of that particular sampler is performed by a pad that he bought, new in the States, for two hundred bucks.

Finally, they finished up with an uplifting ‘She Blinded Me With Science’, Pyke’s disembodied voice from the grave (Dr Magnus that is, not the bumbling subordinate of Capt.Mainwairing) ,taken from studio outtakes, advising us the listeners, and I paraphrase slightly ’She would have to be very clever to blind me with science…and be a woman!’ The Prof would have enjoyed this, probably more than me!


Wilko Johnson, ABC2, 16th September Act #43

Bill and I met up in The State to liaise with Ronaldo and The Sad Boys (no Lilibet) who are ostensibly there to see Ian Segal. The beer is going down a treat ,so the Vale Tag Team decide to stay for one more while Ayrshire’s finest run off to the gig. One pint later, we turn up and Segal has been and gone (they can run a tight schedule in the ABC when they have a mind to!). In no time at all Wilko leads his rhythm section onstage and the trio play everything you would want them to. The sound takes about three songs to sort itself but even then I was wishing it could be turned up a notch or two.The contrast in attendance between tonight and ‘Skip’ the night before is astonishing, the ABC2 is as full as I’ve seen it.

Ex-Blockhead Norman on bass played a blinder even though after twenty minutes he looked like Chitty Chitty’s The Childcatcher after an allnighter in a sauna. Biggest disappointment was the encore, Chuck Berry’s ‘Bye Bye Johnny’, went on for about three times as long as it should have. While I assume he really must regret the first time he used his telecaster as a machine gun, the crowd hoots howls of delight every time he does.

A fun night of rhythm ‘n’ booze. I’d go back!

 Can’t the author tell the difference between a tele and a strat?

Can’t the author tell the difference between a tele and a strat?

Skip McDonald, ABC2, 15th September Acts 40-42

Had you told me when I started writing this stuff that, before the year was up, I’d be cuddling my missus on a red leather couch with Skip McDonald singing and playing his heart out only ten feet away I’d have called the purple pill people!

ABC2, again, and tonight they seem to have captured Hurricane Katia and are successfully squeezing her out of the air conditioning. Freezing!

£1.75 for a half pint of Diet Coke from a  gun!!!

When we arrive, and I was worried we were late, we doubled the size of the crowd. I knew then this was going to be another strange one and so it was.

The venue slowly, very slowly began to fill but still nowhere near quarter full and it’s a compact gig to begin with.

‘Skip McDonald and Dave Arcari’ it said on the briefs and external marquee, so it was with a little dismay that I realised the backline onstage suggested there may be more going on than suggested. The Raw Kings shambled onstage just after eight, announced who they were and said they’d play 4 or 5 tunes before the other acts came on

Imagine a planet where the inhabitants were raised having only heard David Lowry b-sides and then were tasked to write and perform songs in the style of Creedence. This was them in a nutshell (bass player wearing a short sleeve shirt, fugawdsake!) One of their songs sounded uncannily like Dead Flowers and then the second cover version they did was indeed that tune. Overlong in a nutshell

The fact that the majority of the pitifully small crowd appeared to be there to see these young pretenders rather than the majesty of Mr Bernard Alexander Esquire nee Oor Skip was disheartening for yours truly.

Dave Arcari was next on, he physically reminded ne of a young Ian Anderson long, long ago in that month when Tull were considered cool. Steel guitar turned up to eleven, he’s a parallel universe Seasick Steve and his stage moves reminded me of a youthful Rockette Morton.

The crowd by this point was pitifully small and drifting away all the time

The table next to us was populated by some folk who obviously failed the auditions for Trainspotting and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest. They talked loudly throughout the set.

Despite this, Skip was sublime, solo and acoustic, eschewing the dub trimmings that he normally deploys. I was surprised that the only tune I recognised was Son House’s ‘Grinning In Your face’

The show was overrunning due to The Raw Kings overstaying their welcome and the plug was pulled on our Mr McDonald just as he was getting into his stride. He invited us all to join him in the bar not knowing that the ABC policy is to horse you out the door.

A quick nightcap with the missus in The State then home.

Posted 3 years ago

Van der Graaf Generator, ABC1, 24th March Act #28

Jeez, it’s quite hard to recall a time when I didn’t love and listen to t’Generator. I can recall sitting in the ‘groovy’ basement of Pettigrew & Stephen, early 1970, with m’wife to be, eating huge cream cakes (still at an age where your birthdate was queried by sanctimonious barmen) and listening to Aerosol Grey Machine on vinyl.

Tonight they and we are stripped down to a trio. In their corner it’s Hammill obviously, Banton and Evans and ‘we’ are me with Billy Bones and Spanner.With this minimalist line up PH has to provide a lot more guitar now that the sax has gone. He’s far from great, but does sufficiently well to satisy the die-hards.When they launch into Lemmings early in the set, the surprise and perfect sound has me considering whether the three of us should be entered for the Eurovision Grinning Contest. Last time I saw The Spanner so ecstatic was when Acid Mothers Temple hit that Gong groove in Sleazy’s! VDGG really surprised me tonight. I didn’t think the trio could do it, but they did in spades!

For nerds who like setlists:

Interference Patterns
Your Time Starts Now
Over The Hill
Mr Sands
Meurglys III
Childlike Faith in Childhood’s End

Nutter Alert