gig: Barenaked Ladies – Academy 24 Sep 2010

September 28, 2010

This was only the second time I’ve see the BNL live and they were great. It is hard to describe a BNL concert because so much of it is about the characters of the band members, the patter between songs and the atmosphere in the crowd – and on top of that there is the music.

There are of course a few iconic songs that lots of people know and many others that you sort of recognize or know the hook but not all the words. Probably the best example of this is the theme tune to The Big Bang Theory: (did you know there was more to the song than the first bit?)

The Barenaked Ladies were of course fantastic, playing the usual mix of upbeat, slow, poignant and funny songs. Between times telling of the connections they have with Glasgow and Scotland, playing Proclamers tracks and generally having fun. A BNL gig is an experience and one that should be repeated as often as you get the chance. There has been some change in line-up recently but they haven’t lost any of the fun, energy or quality. Long live the naked-ladies!

Montage of Paul McCartney gig

June 23, 2010

gig: Paul McCartney Hampden Park 20 June 2010

June 23, 2010

What can you say about a legend like Paul McCartney.  Well for a start you could continue to spread the rumour that he died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike (here, here, here),  but lookalike or original you can’t argue that he is an extremely talented man!

First, however, I feel the need of a short rant about why I do not like stadium gigs!  They are just too big – you can’t see the band – there are too many drunk people around (well in a standing gigs at least), the sound isn’t great, they charge laughable prices for poor quality food and drink… etc.  I promised to myself after a disappointing Red Hot Chillies gig in Hampden Park last year to avoid these at all costs.  Since then I saw U2 last yearSnow Patrol last week, and when you score free tickets for a Beetle you just can’t say no!

Mentioning that we got these tickets for free does let me continue to moan a little bit more about stadium gigs – firstly the view from this distance and angle is ‘limited’ and we weren’t in the worst seats and the sound was fairly disappointing from where we were with audio dropping occasionally, lack of any distinction and a tinny quality… hard to describe exactly but overall disappointing.  So I can honestly say that the tickets were worth every penny we paid :-/ but I wonder what the face price was.

I also don’t understand how places like Hampden can get away with enforcing a policy of not allowing and food or drink to be brought in and then charge £4 for a very low quality burger and £4 for a small glass of wine or pint of beer.

Right, now that is out of the way – Paul McCartney.  He is incredibly good at his job!  Switching between many different guitars, mandolin, ukulele, pianos and playing songs from the Beetles, Wings, some songs from John and George – it would be very easy for someone with a career like Paul McCartney to have turned into a parody of himself playing all the same old songs but he has managed to avoid that.  When playing early Beetles songs with the gathered voices of the Hampden choir somehow it didn’t feel like a nostalgic moment but more of a party.  You have to pinch yourself occasionally to think that this isn’t just anyone singing these standards but one of the guys who actually lived through it all.

Of course there were also many non-Beetles songs and I have to say the way the set was put together was a great mix (see the setlist from Glasgow below).  The only Wings songs I really know are Jet and Band on the Run and they were good of course, but Live and Let Die was incredible with a full on rock-show firework finale – speaking of ‘finale’ there were at least two Encores according to the setlist below but an Encore to me means one more song… Paul just kept playing!

One of the many highlights of the evening (IMHO) was Mull of Kintyre when the band were joined by a school pipe band – and the massed voices of Hampden Park, really a great and moving moment which I have struggled to upload to youtube (is it just me or is youtube getting harder to upload to):

All in this was a fantastic way to spend a lovely summer evening in Glasgow, and it was the sun gradually setting over the stadium which made this photo look like everyone was standing to salute Sir Paul McCartney, after all he did deserve it!

Glasgow Setlist – Sunday 20th June 2010.
1. Venus and Mars / Rockshow
2. Jet
3. All My Loving
4. Letting Go
5. Drive My Car
6. Highway
7. Let Me Roll It
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
10. Let ‘Em In
11. My Love
12. I’ve Just Seen A Face
13. And I Love Her
14. Blackbird
15. Here Today
16. Dance Tonight
17. Mrs Vandebilt
18. Eleanor Rigby
19. Something
20. Sing The Changes
21. Band On The Run
22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
23. Back In The USSR
24. I’ve Got A Feeling
25. Paperback Writer
26. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance
27. Let It Be
28. Live And Let Die
29. Hey Jude

30. Day Tripper
31. Lady Madonna
32. Get Back

Second Encore
33. Yesterday
34. Mull Of Kintyre
35. Helter Skelter
36. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

gig: Snow Patrol Bellahouston Park

June 13, 2010

Some months ago some good friends suggested getting tickets to the Snow Patrol.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, I had heard of Snow Patrol but couldn’t actually have told you any of their songs.  Since agreeing to go I had spent some time on Spotify trying to get to know some Snow Patrol songs only to discover that I really can’t get into any of their stuff.  Honestly, I did try but I just seemed to zone out or even leave the room and find myself trying to figure out what I had been listening to and why.

I’m also not a big fan of outdoor or ‘stadium’ gigs because you rarely get a good view and people tend to be even drunker, more out of control and obnoxious.  So, off to Bellahouston Park on a sunny evening, we found a nice little spot near front-of-house and settled down to wait…  the first band after we arrived was Band of Horses, who were interesting enough at first but then all their songs started to meld into a very similar sound, they struck me as sort of 70s hippies out of time.  After some time, the Editors (or perhaps it is just Editors with no ‘the’) came on, and they were really fairly boring, I have nothing else to say about them – they came, they sang, they went…

Eventually Slow Patrol came on.  Many more lights were now used, more big screens with very good camera work(!) on a few songs I could also say that there were some extremely well thought out visuals to complement the music.  However (In my opinion) this might have been be because the tech’s get so bored with the long slow tedious songs they have to find something to do during a gig.

Basically Slow Patrol aren’t for me.  Their songs are repetitive, melodic, but with few real hooks.  Performance wise they seemed to have a good time with what I think they said was their largest crowd of around 25000 people, but even still there wasn’t much of a vibe coming from the stage (again – in my opinion).  Still had a good time, circling the crowd, watching from different angles, etc.  an OK night – but I really did notice how much better and stronger the first song I heard in the car was.

KISS in Glasgow 1983-2010

May 11, 2010

I was around 13 when I discovered KISS, and started collecting their back catalog.  I can still remember in 1983 hearing that they would take their make up off for the latest LP and ‘Lick It Up‘ and traveling up to Glasgow on the day it was released to see what they looked like (not a hansom bunch it has to be said).  Shortly after that saw them in concert for the first time in the fantastic Glasgow Apollo, (27/10/1983 supported by Heavy Pettin).  That was great and a year later they appeared again in the Apollo – 05/11/2984, this time supported by the unknown Bon Jovi who had just released their first LP and having seen them several times since, I still think that support set was the best I have ever seen them.

Back to KISS.  I did see them once more in 1992 at the SECC but these weren’t really KISS’s best days, and I did have my doubts about seeing them again as the recent years of KISStory have had mixed fortunes.  I would say that they went through a period where they did become their own ‘tirbute band’ putting on the make up again, reforming with the original line up (Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have been constant since 1973 when they started).  But their latest album (19th Studio album, and first new recording for 11 years!) Sonic Boom rocks and sound very much like their early 70s hey-day.

I can say without a doubt this was the best KISS concert of the four times I’ve seen them across three decades.  Within seconds of the opening I was completely lost to the experience, I was back in the loft with vinyl, headphones and air-guitar.  This was my first proper KISS concert, with KISS in full costume, makeup, pillars of flame, rocket firing guitars, wire stunts bringing Paul (now 57) flying over the audience to the FOH position or Gene (still going strong at 60 and apparently still scared of heights) flying up into the lighting rig after his demon-bass-solo-blood-spitting thing.  Add to this the latest video and lighting technology, new songs and enthusiasm of a sellout Scottish crowd which surprisingly included a lot of people who couldn’t have been born in 1983 when KISS played the Apollo!

Basically this was full on KISS THEATER with all the old-school tricks mixed with the latest tech.  But don’t take my word for it … here’s the video I made :-)

Backbeat at the Citizens Theatre

February 26, 2010

Went to see Backbeat tonight at The Citizens and had a great time!  Backbeat is the story of John Lennon and his best friend, artist, Stuart Sutcliffe.  John invites Stuart to join his newly formed band even though he can’t play bass but looks right.  So they come up with the name The Beatles and the five of them head off to Hamburg.  While in Germany Stuart falls in love with Astrid Kirchherr and has to choose between staying with the band or being with Astrid and being an artist. I wont give away the ending.

This is the world premiere of the stage version of Backbeat, which was previously a movie, and the staging of the play uses large sliding panels, creative lighting and fantastic projections to represent everything from the Liverpool docks, railway stations, Hamburg clubs and of course the Cavern Club back in Liverpool.  While this isn’t a musical or ‘jukebox-play’ it does obviously include lots of incidental music and the guys are playing live which really adds to the whole event.

So, a fantastic production only on for another week or so at The Citizens before moving to London so catch it now and don’t just take my word for it:

Audience reaction

gig: Peatbog Faeries

February 1, 2010

Last day of this year’s Celtic Connections, finally managed to get organised to go to a full gig, and probably in one of the best venues in Glasgow, The FruitmarketI hadn’t heard much from the Peatbog Faeries, but on Alan’s recommendation a small group of us got together for this gig.  Also, it was on a Sunday night, so a good excuse to skip church ;-)

They have been classified as ‘Celtic Fusion’ which generally means upbeat non-traditional music with traditional Celtic instruments and music.  From my limited experience of Celtic bands I would say they are similar to Shooglenifty with a great mix of sounds with bagpipes, whistles, fiddles, electric guitar, keys and a brass trio (sax, trombone and trumpet) which gives them what I thought was a jazz/funk feel and at other times a blues vibe with obviously a strong Celtic core through out.

The Fruitmarket or ‘The Old Fruitmarket‘ as it now seems to be called – rocks!  It has an excellent atmosphere for this type of music with that old-world feel of a market place and cobbled street – good acoustics and you never feel that far from the band, even when like me you prefer to stand at the back by the tech-desks.

The only thing that detracted from this concert at all was the lighting which looked like a good rig but seemed to be operated in a very random way.  The movers were over used, nothing was in time with the music very often and there seemed to be programs left on randomly for long periods which added nothing and just made it harder to watch the band.

Apart from that minor irritation it was a good night, with good company and some great sounds.  I’d certainly recommend catching the Peatbog Faeries if you get the chance.

Gig: Celtic Connections Festival Club

January 23, 2010

Celtic Connections is on at the moment and for the first time I went along to the Celtic Connections Festival Club.  The idea of the festival club is that it starts at 10:30 and bands who have been playing at other venues might drop by and join in.  “With inspired line-ups that are never divulged before the night – the Festival Club draws musicians and fans alike for a late-night jam session to end all jam sessions.”

This is fair enough since I don’t know many of the bands, so I thought that this might be a good place to get to know some bands that you can then look out for at other times.  The festival club takes place at the Art School, which was cold, and the whole thing doesn’t flow very well because of the set changes, but there is a good atmosphere with lots of folk out for a good time and willing to listen to whoever simply turns up.

The evening started of with some traditional Scots Singing from the “well known Scots singer Doris Rougviie” OK, so I hadn’t heard of her and Scots isn’t my really my thing but it was OK.  Then there was a couple of Irish blokes who sung and played some really slow (and boring) sad, depressing, songs – they were musically talented and all but not really a mood enhancer for knocking on midnight.

However, after that things really stepped up a notch firstly with the Brian Finnegan Quartet who were fantastic, playing a lively set.  The quartet is made up of Brian himself playing many different types of flute and whistles, a drummer, fiddler, guitarist and sometimes double bass.

Really tight, well constructed fun celtic music.

They are playing this Saturday at the Classic Grand, if you are free this looks like a good gig.

After the inevitable stage re-setting and odd sound check noises which seems to take forever the next group on stage was Guidewires, who had played earlier in the evening at the Strathclyde Suite of the Concert Hall.  Guidewires are a traditional Irish band with some influences from Balkan and Middle Eastern music.

It was a great night and I left as Guidewires came off stage and there was going to be at least one more band coming on.  The Festival Club cost £8 and starts at 10:30 on most nights of the festival.  It is a bit pot-luck, but a very good night.



January 5, 2010

I thought of doing some resolutions but really what is the point?  By the 3rd I had already broken ‘no chocolate’, ‘no fried food’, ‘exercise every day’, and a few other default type resolutions so I’ve been thinking more about things I would like to aim for and work towards this year to be a thought now and something I can look back on at the end of the year and either laugh at myself or tick as achieved!

I would like to go to more movies! I always aim to go to see more films on the big screen but either I don’t organize to go with anyone or want to go but can’t be bothered with the idiots who you have to put up with, etc.  So now, if possible, I will only go to the Grosvenor or GFT to avoid the prats.  I was surprised to total up last year and see that I’ve only seen 6 movies at the cinema, so it should be easy to improve on. Also, I’ve been given a GFT membership which knocks £1 off admission and is just enough incentive to get me back into the habit.

Similarly, I would like to see more live music.  Live gigs are fantastic (but again you have to suffer the idiots who think that they will somehow get more out of the music if plastered)!  I already have tickets for a concert in May and plan to go to at least two gigs in Celtic Connections… but if anyone has suggestions for concerts they are looking for someone to go to then let me know.

Be able to play Bass with some confidence.  I started to learn electric bass guitar earlier this year and really haven’t put enough effort into it.  I have never been able to play any musical instrument or to read music or know anything about music theory and I don’t intend or aim to be a breath-taking musician.  However, even the little that I have learned has helped my VJing stuff simply by adding more attention to what is happening musically and not just following the words/tune.  So I would like to know more, practice more and be able to at least be a back up player for a church band by the end of the year.

VJing – I do enjoy VJing and Visualist work (which I define more widely as having an overall visual design for an event than VJing which is more about mixing videos during an event).  The main regular event for this is the Deeper services at St Silas, but I have done a couple of under-18 club nights this year, and worship events out with St Silas.  My aim for this year is to get better at the practicalities involved in this – we struggle a lot with the current software so may well change it, and also need to spend a lot more money on equipment so I need to find more paid-for gigs to build up a budget.  Lastly on this topic to post more on the Christian Visualist blog and try to make more contacts with the others I know doing the same sort of thing worldwide.

Use Time better – I need to make more effort to meet up with and keep touch with friends and family, by the end of the year I should really have gone to my sisters and even better if I manage to visit all the MacLeod clan in Lewis.  A proper holiday is always in the back of my mind but I really don’t think I will change enough about myself to make that happen.

Church & Faith – I have nothing to say about that for now, so perhaps the aim should be to have something more to say about it.

Review of 2009

December 31, 2009

Among other things blogged about this year, like being breathalyzed for the first time, decorating my bathroom, getting an app-phone (here, here & here), using dropbox, a guest-blog, etc.   I have…

Gone to see this lot in concert…

Gone to these Movies…

Watched these boxed sets…

and, read these books….

Happy New Year!