Simple Minds at Musilac Festival, Aix-Les-Bains – 2022

Announced last night, Simple Minds are to play at the Musilac Festival at Aix-Les-Bains in 2022. They play on Friday, July 8th.

I have already been contemplating it and already been looking tentatively at flights to the nearest European destinations. Grenoble would be ssoooo handy – but Easyjet only fly there from Edinburgh in the winter months. Next handy is Lyon, with flights from Edinburgh to Lyon (no flights to/from Lyon from Glasgow) twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. So it would be fly in on Wednesday, leave on Saturday. Okay, fair enough. Means I’m there two days early. Not bad. And perhaps getting to Aix from Lyon would be easier than travelling from Geneva?

Geneva is the best option for flights. Flights are daily between Edinburgh and Geneva – but then there are two coaches to take to get to Aix from there. One to Chambery, then from there to Aix. It was a long day’s travel! I didn’t get into Aix the last time until about 7pm I think it was. Or maybe 7.30? But it’s summer and there’s plenty of daylight.

It seems to be a quicker, more straightforward journey from Lyon to Aix.

From what I can see so far of the line-up, it’s not exactly the killer lineup it was the last time I went. Not only were SM on the bill but so was Depeche Mode and The Stranglers! This time I see Sum 41 and Dropkick Murphys on the bill with. Neither band is one I am into and I am only vaguely familiar with Sum 41. I know one song of theirs but I can’t even remember what it’s called….

Are Simple Minds the headline act? Probably not. Why have they been put on the bill with these two bands? Where the hell is the connection? The day before Skunk Anansie are on the bill. I wish SM and SA were on the bill the same day!

And I have no idea if my friend Françoise would be going again.

As much as I am sitting here mulling all this over, contemplating it, the less inclined I am to seriously consider it. Too much to weigh up. The logistics. The cost. Accommodation. The festival bill.

It is a fantastically organised festival. I had a great time – all things considered. Aix-Les-Bain is a lovely place. And if I got to spend time with Françoise again, that would be lovely. And…it’s the day before Jim’s birthday. I could kid myself I get to spend his birthday (almost) with him. Sad fucker that I am!

I’ll keep an eye out on the Musilac site, social media, etc, to see who else ends up on Friday’s bill. I’m interested….but…we’ll see.

A “Then And Now” To Lament On

A post on SMOG from G Man about 5×5 Live and setlists and favourites and what not has me maudlin today. Forever lamenting I missed that tour.

The photo he used for it – a montage of screenshots from an interview of the period looked like a piece of Kristen Whitehead’s montage work. Aye, it was.

The third photo – top right. His expression reminded me so much of a photo from Virginia of him from many years before. Same expression. Much how I feel about missing out on 5×5 Live.

Such is life…

Minds Music Monday – Ritchie’s Club – New Orleans – 27/04/1983

Ghost Dancer (aka Stuart Greaves) has shared another gem of a bootleg, this time of SM some seven months into the New Gold Dream tour of ‘82/‘83 – midway through the North American leg of the tour in April/May of 1983.

Playing the Ritchie’s Club in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recorded by a member of the crowd – hearing audible bits like the guy telling the girl next to him to stop talking to him as he’s recording the show. Lol (You tell her, pal!) The recording is a good one coming from the crowd as it does. Some people obviously managed to sneak in some great recording equipment to these gigs. Mates who were working as road crew on the night or some such? No idea how they did it, but kudos for doing so.

As for the band themselves and the gig? Well, as you’d expect by now, we hear all of the New Gold Dream album (Somebody Up There Likes You as their walk-on intro music), plus stonking versions of I travel, Celebrate, The American and Love Song. There’s a little of the set lost (changing the tape over in the recorder, I’m guessing?) where the ending of Hunter And The Hunted cuts off and we return about a third of the way through Promised You A Miracle.

It feels as though Jim is going through the motions a little bit at times. He wavers a little, especially towards to tail end of the set. There’s a bit of banter that happens. I’m guessing fans are asking for certain songs to be played. At one point Jim says “Naw. It’s too old.” But usually it is just “Thank you.” And an intro of the next song. I guess I am odd to miss that Jim, right? The one who never seemed overly engaging with the crowd? I guess I miss …. the intensity. Can one miss what they never truly experienced? I do love the ease of engaging “older statesman” Jim now though. He knows how to get the fans in a frenzy still, just with less “whirling dervish” manoeuvres and brooding frontman intensity and more “banter” and acknowledgement of the crowd.

Having said all that…if that was young Jim on an “off night”…imagine him when he was fully up for it?! ERMAGERRRRRD! I’d say he was 70/30 that night. 70 on, 30 off. Or there abouts.

Anyway, it is definitely a gig I’d listen to again.

Enjoy!

Looking Forward To Gay Paris!

There’s a break for me now in the gigs I have coming up. I’ll be in Edinburgh at the end of the month for my birthday treat of seeing a touring production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – making it my sixth time seeing the show and the first time seeing it since the last show I saw in Milton Keynes in 2012.

I have a couple of Warm Digits gigs in November – once again heading to Edinburgh to see them and then a few nights later back here in Glasgow.

After that, I have two shows book for December. Warm Digits once again, this time in Newcastle…but that has a question mark over for now. Then two nights later on Dec 18th, I’ve booked to see Memes at McChuills.

Then in January, a Celtic Connections gig and then The Stranglers at the O2 Academy. Nothing for February – as far as I am aware… but in all honesty, your guess is as good as mine. I didn’t even remember I booked The Stranglers gig until a couple of weeks back when I was sorting out my email account.

And then…March! Which I had been discussing last night and today with my gig buddy and partner-in-crime, Birdy.

Over the past 24 hours I have sorted flights to Paris (goddamn gotta fly to and back from Edinburgh as flights from/to Glasgow don’t run as frequently as they do from Auld Reekie) and sorted out a place to stay right near the venue. And by ‘eck – WHAT A VENUE! I am allowing myself some mild excitement once again. This will probably be my only venture to see SM outside of the UK next year. I have thoroughly kissed goodbye to Taormina and I am only tentatively contemplating a return to Dublin now (I have a ticket for the Dublin gig though). I’m not relishing the idea of a flight with Ryanair …. but I may consider other options to get there. We’ll see. If not then we have… Paris, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle…(Dublin?)…Blenheim Palace….Edinburgh.

Paris will be the first Simple Minds gig, almost two years to the day since I saw them in Copenhagen. I am lamenting there is now only one day between Paris and Bordeaux as it now means Bordeaux cannot happen for us. With it being during the week and only a day in between it just isn’t working out now. Bordeaux was a pricey mistake anyway, goddamnit!

In the meantime….check out the Paris venue! La Seine Musicale…beautiful!

Review: Field Music – St Luke’s – Glasgow – 8/10/2021

Last night’s gig for me was as highly anticipated as the Scritti Politti gig was just a couple of weeks back. It has been somewhat of a slow burn in relative terms, my love for Field Music. Meandering through other channels. Initially coming via getting into Warm Digits – whom I first got to be aware of by listening to Paul Smith from Maximo Park presenting a show on BBC 6 Music about bands and music from the North East of England (Newcastle, Sunderland, and the general vicinity). He played a track from Warm Digits on the show and I immediately sought them out and have been a solid fan ever since. I don’t remember him playing any Field Music on that same show, but I’m sure he must have done. Anyway, as a consequence of my love for Warm Digits, my love has also grown for Field Music, solidified further by seeing them perform the whole of the Making A New World album at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in January 2020. (Ah, pre-Covid days! Remember those?)

I have been suffering from a gammy knee for about the past week or so. I honestly don’t know what’s brought it on but my right knee feels in a constant state of dislocation. Like it just wants to crack back into place all the time. And if I try and walk at any kind of pace when it feels like this, my leg feels like it is going to buckle from under me from the knee down. It righted itself a couple of days ago, only for me to stretch my leg out in bed on Wednesday night for it to go out of alignment again. Friday’s forecast had been looking iffy for most of the week, but by midday yesterday it seemed as though from around 5pm onwards the skies would be relatively clear and dry so I decided to get the train in and walk to St Luke’s from Queen Street. BAD IDEA! Just as we (the OH accompanied me into the city) got into Gallowgate, my knee gave an almighty crack and went from under me. Determined not to miss the gig, I hobbled past the Morrisons, precariously crossed the road and made it around the corner to Bain Street where I sat my butt down on one of the stone blocks outside St Luke’s.

Despite my pain and worry that I’d round the corner and already see a queue as long as your arm outside, I was about the first person to be queuing up. Only one other couple were outside, seated on one of the other stone blocks. Doors were opening at 7pm and it was already 6.35pm. Something made me double check with one of the security personnel at the door what the time the gig was due to finish. I took just a cursory glance at the relevant info for the gig posted by the promoters earlier in the afternoon and something had me recalling that it said “Finish: 10pm” – I had booked a cab to collect me at 11pm – thinking the gig would end between 10.30-10.45 as most gigs do. The security guy confirmed that the gig was ending at 10pm so I called the cab firm and altered my collection time to 10.15.

I got myself positioned front and centre once the doors were open, thankful to be at the barrier so I could at least stand on my dodgy leg without too much discomfort. Sadly the support act had to pull out of the gig earlier in the day. I was really looking forward to seeing Galaxians who I have also had exposure to from them being label mates of both Warm Digits and Field Music. I recommend you check out the talent Memphis Industries have on their excellent label. Galaxians had suffered a broken down van the night before in Aberdeen and then yesterday their drummer was experiencing Covid symptoms so they had to pull out of the Glasgow gig. 

UPDATE: Drummer Matt has tested positive for Covid, so the rest of their tour is postponed. Sad news. I hope Matt has only a mild case and will be fully recovered soon. 

At short notice local act, Raveloe, stepped in. Kim Grant played a solo set last night. Usually accompanied by a drummer and bassist, I’m guessing that at such short notice she had to play solo. I enjoyed her set. She has a lovely voice. She finished the set with the band’s latest single New House.

Some dismantling and resetting of mics, some tuning of guitars, etc and it was all set for Field Music by 8.30pm. Then it was 8.35. Then 8.40 and I am starting to think “Should I have altered my taxi pick up to 10.30?”, but just before 8.45pm the band arrived on stage. The Glasgow crowd at St Luke’s always incredibly welcoming. 

The set started with a track from their latest album Flat White Moon called Do Me A Favour. Next up was Disappointed, which I just love the ending of. 

At this point in proceedings, I am starting to feel rather fraudulent and a horrible “fair weather” fan for although I could make out some of the tracks from Flat White Moon and I recognised Disappointed and knew Money Is A Memory from Making A New World, other tracks performed were fairly alien to me. I wasn’t alone – and Peter Brewis could feel it from the crowd too. That the crowd were largely unfamiliar with most of the material on offer. It has given me the extra impetus to continue to listen to them regularly and stop being so fair weathered! 

Continuing on with the bad fan fair weathered nature, I recorded a song to share for my review and had to search through tracks to get the name of it. The song is called I’m Glad and is from their 2016 album, Commontime, the same album Disappointed appears on.

David and Peter Brewis take turns in the drum and guitar parts, alternating in lead vocal parts also as a result. They had foam muffs on their mics as a way of adding a layer of protection for when they were swapping around. David’s muff was red, Peter’s was blue. Every time they swapped over, they had to make sure they took their muffs with them. 

All the swapping and retuning instruments meant that banter ensued – especially between the brothers. David initially goading Peter, having snide little digs at him, but Peter gave back as good as he got. Brotherly love, eh? I hope it was all tongue-in-cheek banter and things are all fine between the Brewis brothers. They are both such lovely guys, with a fantastic sense of humour and always wonderfully engaging with the crowd.

I have to give a special mention to Liz Corney who is absolutely fantastic with them. A great keyboardist and always so happy and in her element on the stage. She’s absolutely fab. She was like sunshine last night. 

The drumming – I honestly don’t know who I love more with the drumming parts – David or Peter. David whacks the shit out of the drums, but Peter has a bit more finesse. I honestly can’t decide. They’re both so good! From what I remember of talking to them both after the Kelvingrove gig, I’m sure David told me that Peter taught him the drums. So I guess on that basis, Peter should win the battle of Brewis brothers drummers.

As much as I was saying before that I am unfamiliar with a lot of Field Music’s…music, I could tell that they performed several other tracks from Flat White Moon, including No Pressure, Meant To Be and Not When You’re In Love. 

I found myself keeping an eye on the time, worried that I had booked my cab home too early. But as we got to around 9.45, Peter declares that they have just two songs in the set to go. Lots of sighs from the crowd who have been loving every tune. And rightly so! Just because the majority of us weren’t overly familiar with the material, it didn’t mean we were any less appreciative of it.

The set ended with the lead single of the Flat White Moon album – Orion From The Street, reproduced perfectly live, and where Liz truly came out to shine. Beautiful! 

All the music was top class and this band is stellar live. The reason I kept on clock watching was because I didn’t want the gig to end at 10pm! I really didn’t! I’d have happily stayed on until 11pm to watch them. 

But after a single song encore, the gig was over at 10pm sharp! A few minutes to try and get my now totally screwed legs working, put my mask back on and slowly shuffle on out the front doors. A short wait for 10.15pm to tick over and right on cue my taxi arrived and I was home at 10.30pm – which just blows my mind! I had only ever experienced that joy just the once in Luton when Ruts DC came to play the Hat Factory in March, 2018. It was bliss! Usually great gigs by big names meant trips to Cambridge, or London, or perhaps if you were lucky, Milton Keynes or Bedford, or St Albans, Watford or Hemel Hempstead. 

Glasgow is just…such a gem! It really is. And what gigs this city gets! I love it! The only thing that would have made this night better was that there had been nothing wrong with my leg. Other than that, it was a perfect evening. I thoroughly enjoyed every single moment of it. Field Music are top notch!

Jim Kerr: The Laird – Magazine Interview – 1987 (Publication and exact date unknown)

I’m guessing by the description Adam Sweeting gives of the weather “a summery day” and the talk of Live In The City Of Light having just been released (LitCoL released in May), it must be around June of 1987.

I thought seeing as I’ve been to South Queensferry a few times over the past 12 months, I might as well get the damn article and share it here.

The Velvet Underground Documentary – Coming Soon

UPDATE: Oct 5th – saw a review in the latest Rolling Stone. Thought I’d post it here.

Looking into what was coming up for viewing at the Glasgow Film Theatre, I spied this!

When I was at the Living Proof screening last week, I decided to secure a ticket for one of the screenings of it. I’ll be seeing it in a couple of weeks time and I’m looking forward to it. And if I’m honest, I am also looking forward to being able to enjoy being in a cinema or theatre without having to wear a fucking mask all the time! I know it’s for the greater good and I genuinely have no problem with that. But I need to wear distance glasses these days and so I either put up with my glasses fogging up or I decide to take them off so I can “see” a bit better. That bit of it really sucks. And…it does still feel really breath inhibiting to be indoors for a few hours and wearing a mask. It just does.

Anyway, just thought I’d mention this Velvets documentary here as we all know what a massive influence the Velvets and Lou Reed has been on a certain James Kerr, esq. and to the music of Simple Minds as a whole.

This is STILL my favourite SM cover along with Street Hassle. The emotion in Jim’s voice is just beautiful. It just proves what an influence that the Velvets and Lou have been on them for my fave SM covers to be VU and Lou Reed compositions.

Craig Hill – Pavilion Theatre – 1/10/2021

My birthday month started yesterday. And yes, I DO consider the whole of October my “birthday month”. Lol. Not that I actually go celebrating my birthday EVERY day in October. It’s just that once October begins I am then allowed to declare to anyone who cares that “it’s my birthday this month/at the end of the month”.

Well…by coincidence of the date, the birthday month started with a nice celebration! And the joy of seeing Craig Hill for the first time in….I honestly don’t know when. “Hunners” of years. Lol. He rarely would come down to England to do gigs, but when he would do, I’d make a point to go and see him. 

It should have been happening last March at Oran Mor but then Covid had other ideas! But at last, last night I was quite literally “Pumped” to be seeing Craig again.

And he didnae disappoint. From the moment he hit that stage. Arriving in a style you’d thoroughly expect him to. Dancing about, twirling round in his colour coordinated kilt. 

Audience participation is high at a Craig Hill gig, so be prepared! And nowhere is really safe. But if you’re up for the banter, you’ll get it at a Craig Hill gig – and some banter! Boom boom! His style of comedy is sssoooo up my street! Lol

Comedy gig faux pas NUMBER ONE happened right on cue last night with poor Chris (we didn’t learn his name until much later on) – arriving to the FRONT ROW right as Craig is still doing his opening sing-song intro. I clocked him walking down the CENTRE AISLE, just as Craig clocked him – his eyes lit up like Chris arrived from the lap of the gods. All the gay pick-up innuendo lines in the song just kept coming from there…aimed squarely at Chris, filled with winks and lip licks and kisses blown and kilt thrusts and all sorts. 

“Are you a gay man?” asks Craig. “Naw”, says Chris. “You will be the night!”, retorts Craig – with a wink and a lick of the lips. “I could hear his sphincter tightening then.” Lol

He makes a note of the ladies in the front row who have all settled nicely but are all sitting there with their jaikets still oan. One of them was laughing particularly enthusiastically. “I see why yer havenae taken yer jaiket aff noo. It’s ta moap up the pish.” 

He asked one of the jaiketed ladies their name and she said “Margaret”. “Ah knew you’d have a name like that! Where ya fae, Margaret?” “Cambuslang”, she says. And he’s off with the innuendo again, referring to it as “camp-u-slang”. Margaret calls out “Cam Bus Lang!” And then he’s like “Aye! Listen to the attitude on her. IT’S A JOKE, MARGARET!” Which for the rest of the night meant he kept referring to Cambuslang as “CAM BUS LANG!” and saying it really emphatically. 

He sniffed out a gay…actually there was a couple there (a gay couple, I mean…not a couple of gays. Though there was that too….). James, the barber from East Kilbride, and his partner Jimmy (just in case you had any illusion to the name James and variations there of NOT being possibly the most popular male name in all of Scotland…living proof last night!) – who was the social pariah of the room for daring to admit he came fae England! But…Durham, so far enough north to be somewhat let off the hook for DARING to cross Hadrian’s Wall. Lol

He noticed some people up in the dress circle. A couple of people sitting over to the side as if they were in a royal box. He asked the lady of the pair her name – Norma, it was. He had a field day with that. Then says “Where ya fae, Norma?” “Stornaway”, she says. “Whaaaa? Did you travel doon the day?” “Yes”, she says. “Did you travel all the way fae Stornaway to see me?” “Aye.” “Stalker!” “Did you come with someone?” “Aye. My son.” So then he gets his sights set on the son, whose name is Gary. Turns out Gary is quite shy and isnae good wit the banter but of course Craig was loving that. Comedy gold!

There was an interval for 15 minutes and in the second half Craig did a more broader sweep of the crowd, wanting to know where people travelled from. He mentioned Milngavie at one point and then asked if anyone was in fae Milngavie. One person braved a response. “What’s your name? And depending on your reply we’ll know if yer really fae Milngavie.” “Lyn” “Aye, you WORK in Milngavie, you don’t LIVE in Milngavie.” Lol

Then he spies a young kid over our side of the audience, a few rows ahead of us. “How old are you?” “Sixteen”. “Well, yer getting an education the night! Is that yer maw and da wit ya?” “Aye”, says Da. “Where ya fae?” Da answers “Possil.” Kid chimes in “Just him. Am no fae there.” Craig is like “Ooh, family break up. This’ll be interesting.” “So, Da fae Possil, what’s yer name?” “Davey”. “And what ya do, Davey?” “Sell drugs.” I’m reckoning from living doon the road fae Possil, Davey was just being full-on honest. Lol.

He keeps asking if there are other gays in or if there are any lesbians. There was Angela the dinner lady fae Castlemilk in. “Well, naw spotted dick for you, Angela.” “Are ya here wit anyone, Angela?” “A friend.” “Ooh, you could hear the quotation marks around that. ‘A friend’. She’s got the toys.” Lol

Asking if anyone else came further afield than England, a male voice calls out “She’s fae Poland!” A lady a couple of rows in front of us had been pointed out by her bloke (I’m guessing). “Poland. Wow. What’s yer name, lovey? Yer gonna have one of them names, aren’t ya? Come on, tell us yer name.” “Zuza.” “Whaaa? Say again?” She repeats it. “Naw. It just sounds like ‘Susan’ to me. Whaaa?” She repeats and spells it. “Aye. okay. So, Zzzzuza, where ya fae noo?” “Prestwick.” “Are you just moving ta places round the world starting wit ‘P’?” Lol

The final bit of banter of the night and he returns to Chris. Talking about how the song “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” has been hijacked by the fitba fans when it was owned by the gays. So he challenged Chris to a dance-off. They’d dance to the song and if Chris’s moves were good enough, then the fitba fans were allowed to continue to use the song. 

Chris had the moves, I gotta say. He gave as good as he got anyway and was mighty brave to get up there and dance in front of hunners of folk. 

Such a fab, fab night. I bloody love Craig. I really do. I was so glad it was the first comedy gig back. To be back out there enjoying stuff like this, and I really couldn’t have asked for better starts to the return of these kind of things. A fabulous music gig and a fantastic comedy gig in the space of one week! Just like old times. Long may it continue – safely and wonderfully!

No footage from last night, but here is a video from years back just to show the calibre of last night’s show.