Tag Archives: Gigs

Soundbone, The Arts Club June 2015

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We arrived early!
Perhaps I should have read the blurb a little closer. On seeing that this trio were to feature Led Zeppelin tunes, I somewhat lazily imagined they might pepper up a conventional set of ‘some of our own compositions’ with perhaps three, mibbe four, Zep tunes. Wrong!
On the night in question ten, count ‘em, Page/Plant all time classics were offered up, one right after the other, for our aural delight.

Soundbone’ as they’re known, deconstructed, dissected and embellished these ten tunes, pulling and pushing about those juicy riffs, that we all know and love, and also constantly reminded this particular listener of Zeppelin’s subtler moments and melodies. All of this, I should add, was amidst their own improvised soundscapes at the beginning, ending and during the songs in question.

So enamoured with this musical melange, were we, that, a tad distracted, we even began applauding before the completion of Black Dog for which we were ever so (s)lightly rebuked :).

Chris Greive, with his electronically enhanced trombone, led the band through two sets of soundscape/rifferama that was  an absolute joy to behold. He enhances the ‘bone with wah-wah and octave divider FX pedals, controlled from a hand switch, while he plays.
Over the decades, I’ve heard Bruce Fowler and the likes do such things on record, and film, before. This is the first I’ve encountered it in the flesh. The bass effect in particular is very impressive. Punchy and fast.

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Graeme Stephen meanwhile is, without doubt, the best guitarist I’ve seen perform in this lovely wee venue. Certainly the only one to eschew the wearing of shoes while sporting two odd socks. At one point , during Kashmir, which also featured Greive’s ‘vocoder like’ vocals, Stephen was channelling the spirit of Robert Fripp with a wonderful elongated ‘Sailors Tale’ style shred-fest which sounded to me like some wounded banjo that was quite clearly in distress.

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Elsewhere, Whole Lotta Love required a whole lotta lungs, when a didgeridoo was deployed to bring the first set to a close. Drummer David Carnegie was a powerhouse throughout, easily mimicking Bonham’s famous backbeats and navigating his cohorts from section to section. His solo meanwhile, in the otherwise lengthy Moby Dick, was briefer than some drummers’ fills!

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Thursday night at The Arts Club is, sadly, one of Glasgow’s best kept secrets. I manage to get along there, most weeks, but it’s never really that busy. More’s the pity, as that’s three particularly good, young, bands that I’ve encountered there in the last six months (namely Preston-Glasgow-Lowe, Chris Whitehouse’s Connected Band & Soundbone)

Tonight’s audience, unfortunately, was of a size that could have departed homewards in the one minibus. It’s a credit to Bill Kyle and Bridge Music  that these things are kept ticking over, despite the recent denial of funding from Creative Scotland

I for one have written to my newly elected MP and MSP (is Jazz devolved or does it just smell that way? ) asking them to kick CS up the arse and get their finger out. Please pardon my mixed metaphors.

To finish, on soundbone, ……just go see ‘em!

Spoiler Alert; Setlist

Black Dog
Communication Breakdown
Going to California
Kashmir
Whole Lotta Love

 

Misty Mountain Hop
Moby Dick
Heartbreaker
The Immigrant Song
Living Loving Maid

Crab Soup with Sweetcorn and a bottle of Bull’s Blood, please!

I’ve never been to The Bowery but, that’s where I keep thinking of, as the street towards the venue darkens and narrows. An impressive selection of Buckfast bottles, both broken and intact, lines the corridor of chain link fencing that leads us towards our goal. Shields is unsettled and vocalises this several times which, I hate to admit, is slightly infectious

It would be easy to pretend we had walked onto a John Carpenter film set

In fact I had a strong sense throughout that Snake Plissken was watching me through Nite Goggles.
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No signage to give us a clue that the matt black, single size door, nestling below a partially open/closed roller shutter is the entrance to The Poetry Club. We walked in and the contrast was incredible. Loud music, flashing lights and serious conspiratorial gossiping in every corner of the place.

It’s like The Maryland was forty years ago except that the majority of tonight’s audience’s parents probably hadn’t even been born then. Smoke drifts around the tiny room in order to catch the patterns from the oil projectors. It’s a happening ma’an!

A reasonably priced bar can only provide your writer with cans of Red Stripe. I momentarily consider changing the name of this blog to ‘No Brown Beer?’ and suddenly realise, doh!, that I’m a red squirrel in a rock ‘n’ roll world populated by lager guzzling greys.

We are no sooner served when we meet up with Lensman Ian and Irish John,two gents who used to sell me vinyl in a previous existence.

At only a tenner, tonight’s ticket is an absolute steal, to see what I consider to be my favourite two Glasgow bands of the moment. The Hidden Masters and Trembling Bells (more of which later)

First up are The Hidden Masters. They don’t seem to gig very often and I imagine that may well down to guitarist Dave’s increasingly busy schedule with his ‘other band’ The Shivering Sheiks. I haven’t seen them nearly as often as I would have liked but what strikes me tonight, almost a year after I last saw them at Broadcast, is how memorable and catchy all their songs are. Earworms, every one of them! A short punchy set from a band that looks as if it has been designed by committee

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Various Trembling Bells wander slowly onto the stage however they’re not The Trembling Bells because tonight, Matthew, they’re going to be ‘Kaleidoscope’. Vocalist Peter Daltrey has joined forces with them to revive the Kaleidscope catalogue for a brace of live shows.This gig is a warm up for the big London Show when three of the Scope will be onstage for the first time since 1974!image

Some may rightly sniff and arch an eyebrow at lyrics such as Dive Into Yesterday

Battalions in navy blue are bursting beige balloons
The water pistols are all filled with lemonade
The jester and the goldfish have joined minds above the moon
Oh, please kiss the flowers and you too will be safe

The Dukes of Stratosfear couldn’t begin to parody this. However the melodies that accompany all these songs are wonderfully infectious and very reminiscent of Syd era Floyd. I’m singing them aloud as I type! Every song is prefaced with Daltrey explaining why/how it was written and the provenance of its inspiration. The title of today’s post is the chemistry/tradition that the songwriting pair, himself and Eddy Pumer, used at every songwriting session.

Mike Hastings guitar work never fails to impress, plus tonight we get a sitar, flute bongos and the wonderful backing vocals of Lavinia Blackwall’s thrown in as well. Had a mellotron been deployed, I fear I may well have swooned.

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Photos courtesy of Iain Aitchison.

Jim McKenna, Soundlab

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It’s always a sign of a good gig when you wish your pals were there too and so it was with tonight’s soundlab featuring Jim McKenna.

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Within two minutes of him beginning  his latest composition entitled Fata Morgana (a modest 45 minutes long)  I was really regretting not insisting that Spanner, and to a lesser extent Shields, had accompanied me to The Recital Rooms tonight.

Commanding a conglomeration of analogue synths, sequencers, and (I think) an echo facility all arranged in a somewhat abstract eccentric  fashion, that to me resembled a recently ram raided Cash Converters, the music that emanated was absolutely sublime. Imagine a Popul Vuh/Tangerine Dream soundclash and you might begin to get a flavour of the feast that was laid out before us. I was absolutely mesmerised and will be watching out for further performances.

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A cliché, I know, but the tunes tonight  are soundtracks to movies that have yet to be filmed. As I slowly drift off on a flight of fancy I can almost see Gordon Brown, ragged trousered and completely alone, riding a horse along an unknown beach. He stops and we zoom in close to his widening eyes and sweated brow
“Oh my God… I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it. [falls to his knees screaming] YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! AH, DAMN YOU! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL! (camera pans to reveal the half-destroyed Kelpies sticking out of the sand)

The Necks, 12th April 2015

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How to begin to describe The Necks ? Hmm, Piano, Bass and Drums/Percussion. They came out and improvised for an hour. The drummer playing a tattoo on the rim of the snare for something approaching ten minutes while his colleagues meditated at their instruments in silence. One of these things, similar to Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ where you, very quickly, have absolutely no idea how long you’ve been listening to something. Playing in almost darkness, it allowed the listener to focus upon the subtle interplays between the three of them.

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The stage set up was somewhat peculiar with drummer and pianist both facing stage left. This means that, rather than eye to eye contact, the drummer actually looks at the back of the pianist’s head while he in turn, the pianist, looks into the wings.

It was a full  ¾ hour before the drummer hit a drum that wasn’t the snare.

This was wonderful uplifting stuff indeed.

They stopped, had an interval and then more of the same, but as you might imagine it wasn’t.

Absolutely lovely wee venue with cafe/bar tealights on the table. Somewhere up there Frankie Vaughan is smiling 🙂