Warm Digits (Poliça) – St Luke’s and Winged Ox, Glasgow – 10/02/2020

It was a miserable old day in Glasgow yesterday. Everything and the kitchen sink, weatherwise, came our way. There was a bit of sun to be had but not much. Mostly it was strong winds, rain, sleet, and even at one stage a crack of thunder and lightning.

I was quite cosy at home, thank you very much! I wasn’t looking forward to venturing out. Conversely, I did not want to miss the opportunity of seeing one of my most favourite bands – Warm Digits – playing here in Glasgow.

It had been nearly two years since I last saw the boys perform. A wonderful day I had at The Cluny in Newcastle seeing them at the end of June in 2018. Far too long not to have seen them. And I knew they were planning on performing new material from their forthcoming album – Flight Of Ideas. I could NOT miss this gig!

I decided a taxi was the best way to go. Wait until nearer to gig time and just grab a cab to drop me right outside. The beauty of where we live in Glasgow, it is pretty cheap to get a private hire taxi into the city for around £6.50.

I had posted on Facebook how much I was looking forward to the gig in spite of the weather, and cheekily asked would there be any chance of me observing the soundcheck. A reply back to me said it was up to the venue but I was welcome to try. Soundcheck was happening at 6pm.

I booked a cab at 5.25pm. My driver arrived at 5.40pm. I was inside St Luke’s 15 minutes later.

I was unsure where to go. No sign of Andy or Steve in the Winged Ox so assumed they must already be setting up for soundcheck. I walked through a set of doors and down a short corridor. There were two sets of doors. I could see Steve and Andy on the stage. Could I just…push the door open and let myself in? Yes! A young lady was there setting up things in the bar at the rear end of the room, just by the door. “I’ve just come in to see Steve and Andy, is that okay?” “Yeah, sure”, she said, with a mild shrug. They both seemed genuinely happy to see me, which was a very lovely thing. You know…I can’t help but feel a little bit pushy and a bit of a pest…but it’s just the enthusiasm. And they are such lovely guys … and yeah. It was such a wonderful experience last time at The Cluny. I had never been to a soundcheck or had an opportunity to “hang out” with a band like that ever in my life before. I felt very privileged.

And that feeling was the same last night. Chatting to them while they were setting up. Asking them how the tour had been going so far, and just…catching up on general “life” stuff too. Experiencing again what goes on in the soundcheck. And being a bit privy to how they were going to be sounding as they actually performed “for real” is a great thing. I feel anyway. And the way they were sounding during soundcheck, I knew they were going to be fab when the real show started.

Soundcheck done and they were both heading next door back to the Winged Ox for a bite to eat. I was invited along. Before I left with Steve one of the security guys handed Steve his AAA pass. The security guy says to me “do you want one?” I look to Steve, then back to the security guy “Erm…if I’m allowed to have one, yeah!” He had run out of passes but went off and got me one. Never had one of them in my life. Not one GIVEN to me for my use at a gig.

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Food consumed. A catch up with friends that came to see the show and it was show time! They performed six songs in the set. Four new tracks from the album – the lead single, The View From Nowhere…then, Feel The Panic, Replication and False Positive (I think that’s correct). Then two previous tracks, End Times – from the Wireless World album and Weapons Destruction from debut album Keep Warm. Weapons Destruction is usually the set ender – or the encore, depending on whether they are headlining the gig or not. And IT ROCKS!

They were sounding as fab as ever last night. And the new tracks are great. Both the instrumental tracks, Replication and (I believe it to be) False Positive, were the ones I enjoyed most last night. But the whole set was great. The only problem with the set was it wasn’t long enough! They were on for just 30 minutes. But I was so happy I went in that yucky weather because it was the best 30 mins!

I stayed on to watch some of Poliça who are quite atmospheric. Kind of…ambient electronica. I was enjoying them. The only criticism I would give is they could end up sounding a bit…”samey”. To me there wasn’t too much diversity in the tracks I was hearing them perform, but I only watched the first 25 mins of their set. But I enjoyed the look of them. Their singer had small coloured laser lights projected on her, swirling around her body and on the walls around St Luke’s. They sounded really good in live performance. I had been listening to them on and off for a couple of weeks so I’d be a little familiar with the tracks they’d perform. Personally, I think the feeling of their music would be more suited to a seated venue. That sentiment definitely DOES NOT apply to Warm Digits though. You need to up and dancing, foot-stomping, head-banging with those boys!


A huge thank you to Steve and Andy for once again giving me a fantastic night out. Great music. Great atmosphere. A great catch-up and chat. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!

They just have the two gigs left supporting Poliça – tonight in London and tomorrow night in Brighton. But they will very soon be on the road again with a headline tour for the Flight Of Ideas album. And they are set to play in Edinburgh and Newcastle. No official dates just yet, but I will definitely be booking tickets to see them in these two cities. And I will give details on the blog once info comes to hand.

They will also be doing an album launch at Rough Trade East in London on April 4th. I am gutted I cannot go because I’ll be in Paris seeing Simple Minds! But if you can get to London to see them at Rough Trade, do so! Tickets are available here. But be quick! Tickets for these Rough Trade events go FAST!

Field Music – Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – 01/02/2020

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Ticket stub from last night.

My first gig of 2020 may already be the gig of the year! I arrived in the West End around 4.30pm and had a bite to eat at Mario’s Cafe on the Byers Road. After the meal I took a meander down to the Kelvingrove thinking it might be open for the concert goers to go into and have a drink in the cafe or in a bar. I was there at 6pm but the doors didn’t open until 7pm.

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The band going through soundcheck.

At about 6.30 a couple showed up and we got chatting. We discussed gigs, my move from Sydney, to Luton, then on to Glasgow. It wiled away the time until doors opened. A friendly couple they were. Weegies are always up for a bit of a chinwag and some patter.

Once the doors opened to the museum hall space and to the seating, I got myself a seat about four rows back and fairly centre of stage. It was a good vantage point, with a clear view to the drum kit (always important for us would-be drummers).

The support act, Tenement and Temple, were on shortly after everyone was seated. The singer’s voice is very sweet and beautiful. They have quite a traditional folk/country sound to their music. Not usually the genre of music I would seek out, but I enjoyed their set. The natural reverb and echo the hall has really complimented the singer’s voice. It was lovely and soothing. I felt myself calmed by the music. Their set lasted about 35 minutes.

A quick set up by Field Music followed. Then just on 9pm, David Brewis walked onto the stage. He says “just to make you all aware. We are going to do something very scary this evening. We are going to play the new album in its entirety first – without a pause…and then we’ll play some of the back catalogue – the songs you’ll know. So bear with us, please. We’re really nervous.”

What followed was one of the most wonderful audio/visual experiences I have ever had at a live event. It was wonderful!

The album is a concept, based upon an audio recording done that captured the final minute of WWI and the first minute after the war ended. The band then put their own interpretation on aurally documenting the last 100 years since the end of WWI. They were asked to be involved with this concept by the Imperial War Museum. What they’ve done in producing this album is amazing. The way in which they have documented the past 100 years of human history, post WWI is concise and thought provoking. I sat there in a kind of audio/visual awe. Taking in the music and the visuals with a gleeful relish. Absolutely wonderfully staged. I cannot commend the band enough for the way they executed it.

Once the whole album had been performed, there was rest for the most deserved and stirring round of applause I’d heard any band ever receive. And you know the reputation of Glasgow crowds. Well, last night, they absolutely gave due respect for the audio/visual splendour that was just experienced. The applause went on for several minutes. Both Peter and David Brewis were almost embarrassed by how long it went on for, but so wonderfully humbled by it. It was so richly deserved.

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They both sighed. They swapped places (both the brothers took turns at drumming duties last night – David during the performance of Making A New World and then Peter through most of the back catalogue). Peter drew in a deep breath and smiled and said “Okay…you can take a few moments now. You can get up, grab a drink, go to the loo, stretch your legs.” A guy in the front row immediately got up and darted off. Peter watches him walk off… “Oh, okay. Erm, yeah, off you go…. He’s not coming back, is he?” Lol. “So, yes, anyway. Just take a few minutes, we’ll have a quick breather and perform the good stuff now. The songs you’ll know. So you can sing along, have a dance, do whatever you like.”

They played Count it Up which I was so happy about! I think they performed maybe 8 songs from the back catalogue. I wasn’t keeping count. And I admit my ignorance and declare I am not overly familiar with their back catalogue, but I will endeavour to change that after last night. They certainly gained a firm fan in me.

Afterwards I waited patiently for my time to just…engage with them both and thank them and congratulate them on such a wonderful gig. I spoke to Peter briefly first. Telling him that I got to know of them (Field Music) through Warm Digits and that I had seen him perform with them in 2018 on the Wireless World tour, as he’d done a guest vocal on their (Warm Digits) song End Times.

David was manning the merch stall and was taking card payments, but the WiFi inside the Kelvingrove was proving a bit temperamental. David split away from the main merch area to try and get a better connection, which he found standing in a different part of the foyer and set up a makeshift second merch stand to take the card payments. I bought the new album and asked if they would both sign it. I said to David “I really don’t know why you were so nervous. The show was absolutely amazing!” He went on to explain that he had to play the drum parts to a click track to keep to the tempo, and once the adrenalin starts pumping, you naturally just want to play faster and then the click track sounds really, REALLY slow and so the level of concentration just makes you anxious and it’s just an abundance of nervous energy and you get stressed with wanting to make sure you get it right.

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I’m so glad I stayed behind and got to chat with them. They are such lovely men. So talented, yet so down-to-earth and lovely.

I knew this gig was going to be something very special and it was exactly that. It actually went BEYOND my expectations. I don’t feel in anyway being premature in saying this could already be gig of the year. They really have set the bar high for whoever else I am seeing this year – Simple Minds included!

The Brewis brothers deserve every accolade that comes their way with this album. It’s wonderful. See them if you can! You won’t be disappointed. More dates are to come later in February.

Woe-gan House Freeze Off – “40” Tour Dates, 2020

I “wakened up” (as a certain Mr Kerr would say) at 3.30am having had a mixed and slightly fitful sleep. The reason? I had decided when it was announced Jim would be on the Zoe Ball Breakfast show on Radio 2 a couple of weeks back to bite the bullet and head on in to see him. Well…that was the hope.

My thinking being…if the news is big enough that he’s on with Zoe Ball, he’ll be there in the studio, NOT on the phone!

I got myself ready and had a taxi booked by 4.30am. My target was the 5.08am train to St Pancras.

I was actually running early and made the 4.50am train in! I got to St Pancras at 5.30am and made my target of being outside Wogan House (adjacent to Broadcasting House, where the Radio 2 studios are based) by 6.15am.

The celeb spotting started almost immediately with Paul Gambaccini leaving the building just a few minutes after I arrived.

Also shortly after I arrived, a man appeared and stood near me.

Firstly, there was no Zoe Ball. Nicki Chapman was presenting for her this morning. That was the first slight worry.

I was listening in while standing outside freezing my tits off. Ian Waite appeared and walked through the doors. Then some 45 minutes later he left again.

And just before 8am, Ken Bruce appeared and walked in.

After the Strictly news with Ian Waite, Nicki said “and Jim Kerr will be coming in later…” and I thought “OMG! YES! I have made the right choice coming down here!

Subsequent mentions after that she had changed it to “and I’ll be chatting to Jim Kerr…” Oh, shit! Why have you changed the wording, Nicki?

Once the 8am news happened I was thinking “he’ll be here soon. He’ll be here soon. Any minute now.” Then there was a thing on Thunderbirds. “Okay, any minute he should turn up. He’ll be on soon. Come on, Jim! Where are you?”

Then the traffic report happens. And then it all became too clear as Nicki said “I’ll be talking to Jim Kerr next.” Well…he hadn’t appeared. There are no other doors for him to enter through. FUCK! He’s phoning in from Glasgow!

*sigh*

As much as I was thinking before today “it’s the risk I take. If he’s there, he’s there. If not then…I won’t get disheartened.” Pfffft! That’s what I DELUDED myself into believing anyway.

So, he was a no show. The man who came and stood near me had been with me the whole time. As soon as it was apparent Jim was not coming, so walked off. So he was obviously waiting for Jim too. At least I wasn’t the only saddo hoping against hope. Lol.

I walked off too…but was still listening to the show and Jim talking to Nicki. I heard the song too, which, did not register with me until today is a King Creosote cover! Of course!

So…the first gig I have lined up for 2020 has more significance than I first anticipated. But NOW…I may see a Simple Minds gig BEFORE King Creosote. For we had TOUR NEWS! Jim actually did announce a European/UK tour for Feb/Mar/April 2020. See below! Obviously all further details are available through Simple Minds’ various social media.

And so, despite trying not to be disappointed about not seeing Jim…I was a little. You know. It was an effort. Up at 3.30am. Out the door at 4.30am. At Wogan House by 6.15am. Stood there until 8.40am, freezing to death as I had not put enough layers on, needing the loo, but also thirsty and gasping for coffee.

I consoled myself by going to a Starbucks and having a spiced pumpkin latte and a lemon muffin.

I then walked for miles and ended up at Shaftsbury Ave and into China Town. I just walked about wasting time.

More compensation, this time in the form of a chai latte and (see pic) a lovely slice of passionfruit cake.

I had a gift with me for Jim. It’ll have to wait for a future time.

Finally…for your lugholes…here’s For One Night Only (unless you are a MEGA Simple Minds fan! One night is NEVER enough! Lol. And I mean all the innuendo that is laced with. Yes! Lol)

I’m off for a lie down!

Will It Be? Can It Be?

Well…it’s a theory…

I had to ask. Anyway…my passport is ready. And the money will soon follow…

My passport photo STILL sucks! Lol. Can we see supermodel passport photos? I mean, if even Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell’s passport photos look shit then I won’t feel so bad. I mean…geez I know I’m no stunner and I’ve got only slightly less blubber than a minke dolphin – but I can scrub up okay if I make an effort (or get a TV make up artist to do me up)…so why ARE passport photos so shit?!

If anyone is willing to say I look 35 (or younger!) in my passport photo than 48, you’re on my Christmas card list. Lol

Review: The Lemon Twigs – Roundhouse, London – February 27th, 2019

The Roundhouse is probably the handiest venue for me currently. A short journey on the Thameslink rail line from Luton to Kentish Town station and then a 20 minute walk from there to the venue. Easy!

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I arrived early enough, around 7.20pm. Support act Matt Maltese wasn’t due on until 8pm.

I found myself stood at almost the exact same spot I was in at the Franz Ferdinand gig last September…and I was getting a little apprehensive about it. I had fainted at the gig. The first time anything like that had happened to me. It was starting to play on my mind. But I just kept talking to myself, reassuring myself. Shortly after, I got chatting to a man next to me and it took my mind off it and distracted me enough for me not to worry and dwell on it. I also made sure that this time I had ample food and drink in me (and had water to hand should I feel the need to keep myself hydrated).

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Matt Maltese was quite good. I liked what I heard. He’s got a fairly “lo-fi” quality to him. Quite laid back. He performed several songs, of which Hello Black Dog was the standout for me. You’ll find a little snippet of it below. I’ll give his album a listen in the next few days. I really do think it’ll be something I’ll enjoy.

There wasn’t too much of a wait before The Twigs appeared. As soon as it hit 9pm, the crowd were getting restless…clapping and cheering for the guys to appear. On the Roundhouse FB page it stated they’d be on at 9.05 and there they were, almost on the dot and straight into Go To School opener Never In My Arms, Always In My Heart.

Michael had some of the girls in the crowd screaming from the off. Using all he gained from his years as a child actor, giving the most Jagger-esque of “rock star stud” performances.

Once done, Michael starts to talk about his meeting with legendary U.S. songwriter, Paul Williams, and how some mutual appreciation went on. To the point in which he says, “so I thought ‘fuck it, you know…and I sucked him off’.” Erm, okay Michael! Thanks for sharing! Lol. I got the distinct impression it was all bravado and very much tongue-in-cheek (or perhaps cock-in-cheek in this instance) and on they went into Foolin’ Around (which obviously he had been doing with his felating Paul Williams story).

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There is quite a distinction between the D’Addario boys. Michael is definitely the showman. All front, bravado, then pretend nonchalance. But, of course, the musicianship is there. Brian, conversely, brings the musicianship more to the fore with sublime vocals and maestro guitar playing (as well as some time behind the keyboard too). But he can let his hair down as well, but it’s always more controlled and more restrained to Michael’s bold theatrics.

It’s then Brian’s turn to shine, leading a wonderful version of Small Victories. Also on the amazing “influences worn unapologetically on sleeves” I Wanna Prove To You.

Other songs in the set included (sandwiched between the two songs just mentioned) This Is My Street, The Lesson, Hi & Lo, Light & Love, the beautiful These Words, Queen Of My School, Baby Baby, Tailor Made, Home Of A Heart, then a full showman display for The Fire – excerpt below – and finally As Long As We’re Together.

Instruments down. Guitars left playing feedback…the crowd were left wanting more. Only a few minutes were we left waiting for a solitary song encore of If You Give Enough.

Had this gig been on at the Roundhouse 50 years ago, it would not seem at all out of place. The D’Addario brothers really are not shy in melding all their influences together and spewing them forth. Everything is there. And that interplay between the studious Brian and the miscreant Michael is one that makes a Lemon Twigs gig really work. It’s showy, rocky, theatrical, brash yet sublimely rich musically. I left the gig wanting more. And I left so downhearted I had to miss seeing them play Saint Luke’s in Glasgow last week. But I also left knowing I’ll want to see them again and again!

Review: Ruts DC – O2 Academy Oxford – February 18th, 2019

My first time for a gig at Oxford – and at this particular venue. The venue is pretty small…would maybe hold 750 tops. I like these size venues though, esp. for GA standing gigs.

The support act was The Professionals, with drummer (and Sex Pistols legend) Paul Cook the only existing original member of the lineup. I didn’t really look up the support act before the gig, so it was somewhat of a surprise when my friend and companion for the gig said that Cookie was playing as part of the support act. I’m getting my quota of drumming legends in these days!

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And as I didn’t know the support act that well, I didn’t know much of the material performed, although of course Silly Thing sounded familiar to me when it started. I think if I have things right they also performed Just Another Dream and Join The Professionals. Pretty sure they also performed I Didn’t See It Coming, and probably did 1-2-3 as well. It was a fast pace set as you would expect from a punk outfit. Short, punchy songs. Lots of energy. I enjoyed their set. Sound level was loud. My ears were stuffed before the Ruts even came on!

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And as for The Ruts? Well, we were given the full theatrical intro for what is a 40th anniversary tour of their debut album, The Crack. With a backdrop of a huge canvas print of the album’s artwork, they played the whole album in tracklist order, starting with their biggest hit, Babylon’s Burning – which I filmed.

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And of course, they just got tighter and tighter through the set. Segs seems like he should have been the frontman all along to me. No disrespect to Malcolm Owen intended at all, just me wanting to give credit to Segs. He’s fab and just takes it in his stride. They found an absolute gem of a guitarist in Leigh and, speaking as I did earlier of drumming legends…hell! For me, Dave Ruffy is right up there as one of the best drummers around. Sublime effortlessness.

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The setlist is pictured above. Nearly 24 hours later, and my ears are STILL ringing. If you’ve never seen them live and you like this genre of music (punk/ska/rock/pub rock), get along to one of their gigs. You won’t be disappointed. Honestly, they really are one of the best live bands going round right now. They never disappoint, and last night was no exception.

Review: John Grant – Cambridge Corn Exchange – Feb 7th, 2019

Again, support was from E.B. The Younger, performing tracks from his upcoming release, To Each His Own. Songs performed included lead single from the album, Used To Be. Also performed were Out Of The Woods, On An Island, and Don’t Forget Me.

The harmonies that Pulido and Creamer have together are rather wonderful. Pulido says on his website that Harry Nilsson is a major musical influence, and it is certainly evident in Pulido’s own sound.

I will give the album a few listens on release, and will probably invest in a copy. I have enjoyed watching both of his performances. Below is a clip of him and Dan performing When The Time Comes. Also captured is Pulido’s banter and engagement with the crowd. He likes a natter, and that’s a cool thing in my eyes.

Once again, the crew went quickly into action to have John out on stage promptly at 8.45pm.

The first thing I have to say about the venue, Cambridge Corn Exchange, is it has great acoustics! And whoever is doing JGs sound gets it absolutely spot on, no matter what venue he’s at. Outdoors at festivals, indoors in mid-sized capacity theatres, or in more intimate places like Union Chapel in London – I am always impressed by the sound quality and volume.

The lighting on this tour has also been superb.

The show started with (possibly my favourite track on Love Is Magic – I grapple with either this or Metamorphosis being my fave track on the album) Tempest. Again, we were treated to all bar the complete Love Is Magic album (the only track off the album not performed was The Common Snipe), interspersed with tracks from his previous three albums. Tracks included Grey Tickles, Black Pressure – Pale Green Ghosts – Sensitive New Age Guy – Global Warming – Glacier – Sigourney Weaver – Fireflies – Outer Space – JC Hates Faggots – Queen Of Denmark – Black Belt – GMF – and the most beautiful version of TC And Honeybear…I was in a flood of tears. I find it just the most heart-wrenching beautiful song.

It’s an extensive set and was much appreciated by the crowd in Cambridge. And John was feeling the love too. I thought Glasgow was amazing last week, but everything was just somehow taken up a notch again at Cambridge.

I could watch John perform every single night for the rest of my life and be in raptures. He’s both funny and humble, can take the piss out of himself, throw shapes about the stage and look like a dancefloor mega god, and then sit at his keyboard and deliver songs with such elegance and poignancy. The man is absolutely amazing.