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 :-)

Time Flies… (+ve or -ve)

March 20, 2010

So many things happening that I only have time for a quick +ve  or -ve update…

  • +ve visited my sister and family in Dunoon.
  • -ve had to pass through Gourock :-(
  • +ve went for a nice drive in the country
  • -ve my car is falling apart
  • +ve I get to go car-shopping soon
  • -ve I had a large ‘fry-up’ last night
  • +ve it included (in fact was caused by having) Charles Macleod’s Stornoway Black Pudding
  • +ve helped friend with video project that has worked out really well
  • +ve not stressed at all about Deeper this weekend
  • -ve probably forgotten something for Deeper this weekend
  • +ve attended an excellent reading and book signing by Simon Varwell of his book “Up the Creek Without a Mullet”
  • -ve I’ve already read it
  • +ve finally got hold of a CD of Seasick Steve (listening to it now – excellent!!!)
  • -ve sister’s been not well  :-(
  • +ve been in touch with a couple of other folk who do Worship VJing
  • -ve going to the dentist this week for the first time in many many years :-<
  • +ve was sunny today and I spent some time in a park sketching, then doing some guerrilla filming on Byres Rd.
  • +ve stuff I can’t blog about ;-)

OK, so to tally up…   11 +ve  /  7 -ve   …so all is well and good with the world.  So here is a photo of Jake and I relaxing during the morning service last week (sorry about the messy background, what can you do)!

Yet another fantastic OKGO video

March 3, 2010

I may have mentioned before how much I like the videos made by OKGO – here is their latest creation

you may also want to watch the making of video #1 , making of video #2, making of video #3, making of video #4 but to be honest, none of them are very interesting – just watch the video again.

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!

A song for Peter Mandelson

November 26, 2009

I am sure you are aware of the digital economy bill – parts of which at least is simply bonkers (an interesting Guardian article on this).  Dan Bull (who previously wrote a musical open letter to Lily Allen about copyright) has recorded another open letter to Peter Mandelson (UK Business Secretary and Pirate-Finder General with nearly unlimited powers to enforce copyright).  It is a very clever song and for sheer entertainment worth a play:

If you haven’t heard about the digital economy bill or why people like Dan are concerned by it here is the best and briefest description I’ve found:

“the Government’s proposal to cut off internet access to those who are caught illegally downloading copyrighted files. We think this has one fundamental flaw, as illegal filesharers will simply hack into other peoples WiFi networks to do their dirty work. This will result in innocent people being disconnected from the internet. What’s more, such a punishment should be dealt with in the proper way, in a court of law. This guilty until proven innocent approach violates basic human rights.”

I plagiarized this description from the number10 petitions site – if you would like to register your opinion against the digital economy bill, the petition is here.

gig: Massive Attack Glasgow Academy 29 Sep 2009

September 30, 2009

2009-09-29 22.30.54Massive Attack don’t really fit any genre very well – perhaps experimental, but have also been classed as club or chill.  I don’t really know or care very much, I do like everything I’ve heard from them so when Pete suggested it I went for it.

I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by live music.  The show, musicianship, atmosphere – always comes together when bands perform live.

Massive Attack put on a fantastic live performance which is all about the music.  The lighting is effective but minimal using banks of LED for light and video effects.  We managed to arrive fairly early and after a quick look around went to the front to have a look at the stack and since there was space ended up staying at the crush barrier – long time since I’ve done that.  But with this type of music it was a good choice, the crowd was very good, there wasn’t much aggro (just one guy who had too much to drink and was dealt with by security). 2009-09-29 22.08.37

Back to the music.  I wasn’t sure if they would perform the tracks live or DJ mixing or some sort of mix.  It turned out almost everything was live with the odd sample mixed and synth sounds. Also, for what I thought was a two-piece group they had a large line up and with five mics lined across the stage it was intriguing to know how they were going to use them.  As it turned out the two main members of Massive Attack (Robert Del Naja (3d) and Grantley  Marshall (Daddy G) were joined by a drummer, guitarist, keyboard player, bass and percussion (first band with two drummers I’ve seen since Adam and the Ants back in the early 80s)… and with three other vocalists.

The best of these vocalists for me turned out to be Horace Andy – I only discovered this after the gig because he was brought on with the line “a man who needs no introduction” well I had no idea who he was.  Turns out he is a somewhat legendary reggae style artist born in 1951 and recording since 1967. In more recent years he has worked with Massive Attack and 1 Giant Leap (which is where I’ve seen him) to bring him to a new audience and he does have a fantastic vocal style and stage presence – a joy to watch.2009-09-29 20.32.59

Also worth mentioning the support act – Martina Topley-Bird.  This was strange, and really didn’t start well.  One girl (Martina) coming on to stage looking like she didn’t want to be there and some big bloke in a massive drum kit.  It took a few songs for her to warm up and relax but when she did there was a really good performance in there. She played various instruments from electronic experimental stuff to an old Wurlitzer organ and did some fantastic self sampling multi layered vocal work.  Certainly an amazingly talented person with an awesome voice – she also joining Massive Attack several times during the night.  I’m still not sure if I like the music as it is the sort of thing that needs to grow on you but that’s where spotify comes into its own!

Massive Attack – worth catching live!

360° Stage

August 20, 2009

Last night I went to see this…


This photo was taken during part 2 of the event – the tear down. We only got to watch about 10 minutes of this before getting moved on, but it was fascinating.

Prior to this there were four blokes playing some music under, in and around the stage, and they were good, but the real winner of the night is the stage and the screen in the middle that does things that screens just don’t do!

Last year I went to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in this same venue (Hampden Stadium) and swore to myself that I wouldn’t go to another stadium gig.  The visuals for that were average, but there was no way of seeing the band, the sound was OK but there were simply too many people trying to fit into the space between the stage and FOH mix – there was no stewarding to stop people moving anywhere in the stadium.

The U2 360° Stage meant that there was a good view for every available seat, the sound was good (I thought the vocals could have been clearer in the mix but apparently that was just me).  Generally speaking the screen was worth watching the entire time so it didn’t really matter where the band were or what they were doing.