Tag Archives: GRCH

Turn on the bubble machine!

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A last minute dash from the Concert Hall Car Park to the hall meant I didn’t have time to visit the bar and establish if the on-going brown beer conspiracy against me continues, I suspect so!
First time I saw this band was four years ago in Edinburgh. It was a far younger audience than what’s here tonight. I can only surmise that this is due to a combination of tonight being a seated venue and a fairly serious hike in ticket price(s).
The lights went down at half seven sharp. Then the six of them, all wearing a uniform of plain black tee-shirts and blue jeans  walked on to the stage, plugged in and, apart from a short intermission, that’s exactly where they remained until ten minutes to eleven. Phew!

A quick ‘Good Evening, Glasgow!’ , then straight off they opened up the loping riff to The Gumbo Variations from Hot Rats, trivia alert – a tune that Frank himself never actually played live, and Sheila Gonzalez hits the ground running. I can’t recall any musician opening a show with such an intense passionate solo, Lisa Simpson would be proud. She then passes the musical baton to Dweezil who plays the solo that Don Sugarcane Harris takes on the record. I’ve heard many guitarists use effects to emulate other instruments (Fripp& Belew making their guitars be fairly convincing pianos etc.) however the electric fiddle sound deployed here is really quite incredible.

Sheila, meanwhile, is a force of nature, singing, playing saxes & keyboards, dancing and if that’s not enough, during all this, donning amongst other things kneepads, wraparound shades and a Viking helmet – depending upon what best serves the particular song to hand.image

The  Roxy and Elsewhere album was then played in its entirety and running order. I must confess and admit to be in a minority of Zappaphiles but I think this album is actually quite overrated. I just don’t ‘get’ why it’s lauded above so many other more ‘deserving’ titles.

During Bebop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen’s Church) , Dweezil asks for volunteers to do some ‘interpretative dancing’.  An overweight and, if I’m honest, overpowering character got up to accompany the two females already selected

I found this performance all quite amusing until I realised it was actually Paul Riley who plays Winston from ‘Still Game’. The fact that he was a thespian somehow made it seem disingenuous, despite the fact that he’s obviously a serious ‘word perfect’ fan and that the band were also blissfully unaware of his local celebrity status.

Reservations about ‘Roxy’ aside, Cheepnis along with Trouble Every Day were standouts. This band is tight.

A couple sitting in front of us BOTH film the show on their phones, her on the long shots, him on close ups. Get a life!

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Apart from a very small bass amplifier there’s absolutely no onstage backline tonight. Everything’s FOH. They all wore in-ear monitors and set up their own personal foldback mix from iPads on music stands. Meanwhile at his feet DZ had an FX collection about the size of an ironing board. I’ve been in guitar gear shops with fewer pedals than what DZ was deploying here tonight. He even looked as if he had a couple of Eventides to hand as well.

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Being in Glasgow allowed them to make reference to Whisky & Haggis throughout the evening and local lads AC/DC’s Highway to Hell was quoted more than a few times too.

They closed the first set with Yakkety Sax, also known as The Benny Hill Theme. I was tempted to chase wifey around the auditorium in a cartoon fashion, discarding clothes as I did so, however thought better of it.

Florentine Pogen was absolutely flawless and the bass end of the mini moog sound was perfection. I could have listened to that all night.

In amongst a myriad of Frank tunes they played ‘Flakes’ from the Sheik Yerbouti album, complete with the Bob Dylan parody. The irony in this was that, Bob himself was onstage in Glasgow at that very moment, only a mile away at The Armadillo.

Eschewing traditional closer Peaches En Regalia, for Muffin Man, was inspired and, quite surprisingly, after three hours plus, onstage, I still wanted more!

The amazing thing is with such a deep catalogue to draw from, they could quite easily have played another similar lengthy show with completely different material.

Echo and The Bunnymen, GRCH, 28th September, Act #45

It started off so well, too. Pre-theatre in Guys, Merchant City and up to the Concert Hall with The Designated Driver. Quick Guinness and ordered the Interval Refreshments before moving into the hall.

A String Sextet, all young females, play a selection of ‘pop’ tunes Craig Armstrong, Beatles, Joy Division & Paulo Nutini things. The sound is a little brittle and I struggle to hear the cellos. There’s an o/h microphone but I’m unclear if that’s the extent of the amplification or not.

Interval drinks and return to a fog filled room.

The girls are back, joined by a six strong Bunnymen crew.

First song sounds pretty ropey

Will Sergeant’s solos always sound to me as if he’s playing along with Marquee Moon. The band are all suited and booted and look the part. All apart from McCulloch who’s decided to dress as Liam Gallagher meets Ian Brown. He’s pissed, breaks down repeatedly, stumbles. It’s horrible.

It wasn’t just me either

http://extremelisteningmode.com/2011/09/29/spare-us-the-clutter-%E2%80%93-disastrous-glasgow-show-for-echo-and-the-bunnymen/

http://www.nme.com/news/echo-and-the-bunnymen/59529

http://www.glasgowmusic.co.uk/viewReview.php?blogId=186

http://thequietus.com/articles/07092-echo-and-the-bunnymen-drunk-live

Loudon Wainwright III, GRCH, 6th May Acts 29 & 30

Shields and me are joined for pre-gig cocktails in The Station Bar with Ronaldo & Lillibet and The Professor and The Womanly Armed One.Great wee boozer but stowed doesn’t begin to describe it!

Lucy Wainwright Roche would never have got this gig, or the polite reception, had she not been a sibling and one of the (in)famous Wainwright posse. Basically, she was shite and waffled on interminably both during and between songs.Worst still, mid set she wheeled on ‘ladeez ‘n’ gents a very, very good friend of mine, Eddie Reader’ who I assume must live Phantom-of The Opera-like in the bowels of this hall. (Everytime BBC Scotland transmit a show from here she seems to materialise giving us all her ‘Rabbie’). Tonight, I’m assuming by the way she’s dressed that she’s actually  ‘chanelling’ The Judder Man.

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The set improves, marginally, when Eddie exits stage right.Then greatly, when Lucy follows suit.

I’ve been trundling along to see LW3 for decades and can remember when he was popular enough to fill the mighty Glasgow Apollo. While there was nothing wrong with tonight’s show, I don’t think ‘Mr W’ will be seeing any of my future earnings.Nothing new really, a few songs about erectile disfunction and medication but nothing that ‘grabbed me’!

Oddly with age, Loudon’s legs seem to have shrunk. Thought it was just me but mentioned it to someone in the office and they agreed.

Richard Thompson, GRCH, 27th Jan, Act #07

 It’s Celtic Connections at The Concert Hall, so once again I meet Big Chris, this time sans wee bro’, in The Station Bar. We are joined by his friends from Ferryhill who despite living there and drinking in The Blue Lamp, quite amazingly, do not know Professor Poinky. Off to the gig where we meet my good friend Billy Bones. An ageing crowd reminds us all how long Richard has been plying his trade. One poor wanker/wannabee even sports a black beret, in the Thomson stylee!

Entering the hall we are confronted by a number of video cameras intent on capturing all the action for the BBC.It occurs to me that in all my years of this stuff, I’ve never actually been at one being filmed.

A cone of white light stabs the stage and into that cone walks a corpse. If not a corpse, then someone that at least has been on the business end of a morgul-blade! A familiar voice emanates from the PA and I realise that Mister Death Warmed-Up is actually Bob Harris, Rolf’s younger brother who used to host TOGWT.

Time was when bands used to tour material, in order to lick it into shape, before going into the studio for recording. Bootlegging has put paid to all that, these days. However with this tour, Richard Thompson has somewhat bucked the trend. Touring the USA and nightly playing a whole set of unrecorded tunes before finally recording them live certainly takes what some of us call ’cohones’.The resulting album Dream Attic takes up the first half of the set and it’s all rather fine indeed. I always think Thompson solos more like a horn player than a guitarist, more Coltrane than Clapton.The two lengthy solos before the interval are so good I’m not sure what he can pull out the hat (or beret) after the break.

Mr Bones, meanwhile, has had to nip out to pee and takes advantage of encountering an empty bar to buy the interval drinks, unaware that Shields is once again designated Driver. We arrive at the bar to discover he’s doubled up the round, so it’s Two pints of Guinness for yours truly and Two G&Ts for the non-drinking driver. Aware that there are sober children in Third World countries, I do the decent thing and neck them all.

Set #2 is a run through of better known, as well as some quite obscure, older material.Billy B claims, to my amazement, to never having heard Al Bowlly’s in Heaven. It never quite reaches the heights of the stuff we experienced before the break, however this could well be down to having what appears to be Dick Van Dyke on sax and what is quite clearly Fabio Capello on bass.
Dick Van Dyke dressed as Acker Bilk while Fabio considers the wisdom of playing in 4-4-2 time.

Dick Van Dyke dressed as Acker Bilk while Fabio considers the wisdom of playing in 4-4-2 time.