Berlin Blondes

Whilst flicking through the latest edition of Electronic Sound magazine, I was intrigued to see this short review of an anthology issue by a band called Berlin Blondes. It was the cover artwork that initially caught my eye. Then I see the word “Glasgow” and my interest gets FULLY piqued!

It was a brief life for this band. Just the one full album.

On looking them up on the web, the Wikipedia entry for them seemed to suggest they had supported Simple Minds somewhere along their brief existence. I went and looked at the tour info on the Dream Giver Redux site, but I saw little evidence to back this notion up. I would ask Jim if he had any recollection of this, but I feel I am probably not ingratiating myself too kindly right now…for some reason, so I best not. Perhaps I will give Simon Cornwell (webmaster extraordinaire at simpleminds.org) a quick email, to see if he can shed any light on whether they did indeed support SM at any time.

Anyway, I shall give the album a listen tonight and see what I think. From what I’ve read they sound like they were quite…parodying the sounds of their influences a little too much. But, well, I shall see (hear) for myself.

Bonfire Of The Memories

It was bonfire night, 1980, and Jim recalls it like it’s 2016! (Coincidentally…my first ever visit to Glasgow was that night – Bonfire night, 2016…I had a bankside view of the Clyde from my hotel window and I could see fireworks going off all over from the view I had of the city there. It was magical!)

I left a comment on his post about the significance – for a Johnny-come-lately like myself of bootlegs and other (more official) live recordings from the time. They are like gold dust and little pockets of time travel.

Well, you guys know (those of you who may have taken some interest in the blog for a while – I dare say that’s just me! Lol) the things I have done to highlight them? The Weekend WhirliGIG being one example of my way of showcasing that stuff.

These kind of recordings are so precious to me. Had we had the technology we have now available back then? Imagine how much of this stuff would be preserved?! Still, that is part of what makes it so very precious. The fact it’s so rare, for one, and the other is capturing a band in (what is STILL) their formative years…oh, but what years! And how bloody accomplished they were already! I’m sure JIm would tell me “no”. That even then, they were still amateurish. I’d tell him to “do wan” if he did! Lol

As an example…here is a fucking BLISTERING version of I Travel from the time. And just as I imagine it sounded to his ears that night at the City Hall in Glasgow…listen to that crowd at the end of the song. And that’s in London, not Glasgow!

I’ve done it so the clip starts at I Travel…but you can always go back and listen to it all.

I’ll add a link to Jim’s FB post as well for your perusal.

The Bard’s Tale – Live At Celtic Connections

The uber talented Ged Grimes had, very recently, not only been making music and playing with Simple Minds, but he had been busily composing music for a “video” game (in this day and age, do we still call them “video” games?) called The Bard’s Tale.

Sarah Brown interviewed (quizzed?) Ged on this event to do with it, as part of Celtic Connections.

It’s at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on January 31st, 2019. Now…it just so happens that John Grant is playing in Glasgow the following night as part of Celtic Connections…and I already have a ticket, so I am thinking perhaps I should go up a day earlier and experience The Bard’s Tale live?

I’ve never been a big gamer and I can’t claim to be into The Bard’s Tale…but I have liked what I’ve heard of the music and it would certainly be an interesting experience to see it performed live…esp. as it sounds like it could be quite an interactive experience. I’ve got to say, I’m intrigued, and interested.

I will let Ged explain more (with the help of Ms Brown). Click here for ticketing details…

UPDATE: Ticket booked. Going! 👍🏻

A Look To The Future – Glasgow, 1980

The projection to a Glasgow of 1980, in a film made of the city in 1971. Given the fact that we are told in the film that the task ahead was quite…monumental…did they really think it would be done by 1980? I’m sure quite a bit was in place by 1980, but it seemed some mistakes were made and needed rethinking and replanning.

It is almost unrecognisable to my visitor’s eye – having now visited the city several times in the past couple of years. So very strange to see “The Duke” without his roadworks cone adorning his “heed”. The Kelvingrove still stands tall, of course. And the last time I went, I explored the Mitchell Library for the first time…and it’s stunning. Then there is the tragedy of the fires and damage done to the School of Art. And change still goes on. The last visit, George Square was surrounded by scaffolding. Not sure what was going on there but perhaps I’ll see it soon?

I was fascinated watching this. How much it has all changed. And…the signs around the city (today’s Glasgow). It just continually rings true…PEOPLE MAKE GLASGOW – and they do. And that is the thing I get most on each visit…the pride and optimism from the Weegies themselves. It feels like a city of now. Vibrant. Vital. Cultural. It’s “on point” as they say these days.

Every time I leave Glasgow, I never find myself thinking, “Oh thank fuck for that!” (as I tend to do with London) – I’m usually feeling a little forlorn and thinking, “Aawww, I like this place. I hope it isn’t too long before I get to come back.”

Caezar – Oran Mor, Glasgow – July 27th, 2018

From the personal front…I endured the hell on earth that is the red-eye overnight coach from London to Glasgow. It had been a VERY warm day in London, and I was dreading boarding a coach with no working air con. Thankfully, THERE WAS WORKING AIR CON! Praise be! At least that aspect of the journey would be comfortable.

Arrived in Glasgow just after 7.30am desperate for coffee. Nearest coffee shop I found was a Starbucks. Needs must! After a caffeine fix, the next thing I needed was a doughnut (or two), so it was off to Tantrum! Two doughnuts and two butterbeers later, I was barely functioning.

I walked around a bit…killing time until I could book into the guesthouse I was staying at at the top of Renfrew Street. I slowly meandered up the road, taking diversions along the way as a big swathe of Renfrew Street is closed of due to the most recent horrific fire that engulfed the Glasgow School of Art and the ABC music venue. Such a tragic thing to happen to the city.

A chance for a few hours rest before the gig and BOY, did I need it! I had about an hour’s fitful sleep at best on the coach. Essentially, I had been awake over 28 hours…I needed sleep! I was able to book into the guesthouse early and get a couple of hours of solid, restful sleep.

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Once at the venue, I met up with Ronnie McGhie and his lovely wife, Mary. We were chatting away and having drinks, when after about 45 minutes or so…who should walk past? (I had my back to him, so didn’t see him at first) Just…the one and only Mr Brian McGee, ladies and gentlemen!

To say I had a “fangirl freakout” would be…a bit of an understatement, actually! Lol. He was wonderfully piss-taking of my reaction to seeing him! Lol. Honestly! Lol. I lost it, BIG TIME! I’m surprised I didn’t cry! Lol. I cringe now…but I was just so over the moon. Such a silly thing. But there is such an emotional tie attached to it!

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He was really, really lovely. And well…you can see from my brief post about it, sharing the picture with him, and my signed Sweat In Bullet picture sleeve just what it all meant. (The pic above is the more “composed” shot. Lol)

On to the gig itself?

Support, again, came from the lovely Louise Connell. Her tunes are definitely catchy, and I am already finding myself singing along to her songs. I must check out her material beyond seeing her live performances.

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There was more of a crowd at Friday night’s gig. We were in Glasgow after all. The “tough home crowd”!

I enjoyed the gig…but hand on heart…it didn’t quite have the same feel as Windsor. I am SURE the pressure was on to do good in front of a local crowd…and I feel that might have played a part.

Where JJ was fully relaxed and happy to have some “banter” with the crowd in Windsor…he was not as talkative on Friday night. The pressure he was feeling felt palpable to me. Still a very, very strong vocal performance.

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Acoustics were a little out of balance, I felt. It’s hard to compare it probably for at Windsor there was a drum track, but at Oran Mor we had the immense talent of Brian McGee on drums.

Oran Mor is a small venue. It was my first time there, and I am not familiar with its acoustics.

In all other aspects, the gig was great. The set flowed pretty well. Jinky’s vocal was clear and solid. But there was just…not quite the connection for me with the crowd as there had been at the Old Court. But that may have just been a personal feeling on my part. All of this stuff is so subjective.

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I got the feeling from the reaction of the rest of the crowd that many others enjoyed the gig too. I did as well. Don’t get me wrong! It was just those niggling after thoughts. It just…had a different feel to Windsor.
Did I regret going? Travelling 800 miles as a round trip there and back to see them? NO! Would I do again? Yes!
I’ll be there at future gigs, no doubt! And I absolutely adore the album. Those of you who were at the gig, and have yet to listen to the album, I implore you to do so. You can listen to it on Spotify. Give it a go. There’s nothing to lose. Joe and JJ really have made some wonderfully atmospheric music with a heart and soul to it. Find below a link to Spotify for their album, Time.

In case the link is not appearing when viewing on a desktop PC, you can click the album link to Spotify HERE

I am a firm Caezar fan, of that you can rest assured.

Next gig on the horizon (heaven help me!) is SM, Pretenders and KT Tunstall at Kent Event Centre, Maidstone, on Saturday. That overriding sense of trepidation is starting to bubble up inside me already. Hell! 😦

Weegie Treats

Arrived in Glasgow a couple of hours ago after taking the old “red-eye” from London.

I. Am. Fucked! Lol

But, I am here AND I can have a rest before tonight’s gig, so I’m happy.

And…I’ve had doughnuts! That ALWAYS helps…