When One Thing Leads To Another – And What Things!

A couple of days ago, I saw an FB friend tag Brian McGee, mentioning him in a post and it suddenly had me thinking “I’ve not really seen much from Brian of late, and he friended me a while back. Has he just not been posting? Or has FB been glitching and not been showing me his updates? So I went looking at his FB profile to see.

And well, it would seem, a bit of both things happened. Brian doesn’t post TOO often, but I had also not seen any recent posts. One in particular escaped my attention from the end of September. A post Brian had been tagged in, from Jaine Henderson…with a gem of a photo within it.

Before doing this post, I had contacted Jaine to ask permission to share the photo here. It’s one thing that she put it on FB and tagged Brian (which in turn means Brian’s friends, and friends of friends can see it…it has a limited publicity), quite another thing to have it here, so I thought it best to at least try and seek permission.

I am yet to get a reply, so, with some trepidation, I will share it here in the hope it is okay, as it actually has been open to public eyes. Neither Jaine nor Brian seem to know who the photographer is…but it was obviously someone in “the gang”.

It’s just a great snapshot. Those ties!! That wallpaper! Lol. OMG – Joe looks like a BABY! Lol (And he’s older than Jim! Only by a few months.) Brian in those shades. JIM WITH A GUITAR?! WTF?! Obviously just a prop. And his shades too! Lol

I must admit when I first saw it, Brian stuck out instantly. I mean it’s on his FB timeline, but I recognised him straight off. And then over to the right side of the photo I was looking, thinking “that looks for ALL THE WORLD like Jim – but he’s got a guitar?! Surely not!”

Reading the comments revealed with certainty who was in the picture:
From left to right: Joe Donnelly, Brian McGee, Tony Donald, Jim Kerr

One question posed by someone in the comments wondered if Charlie Burchill had taken the photo. No one seemed sure. Brian thinks the photo dates from around 1976.

Let’s hope it’s okay to stay here. If not, of course I will remove at once!

UPDATE: Permission kindly granted. Thank you, Jaine 🙂

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.

78ADD63C-54E6-47D5-A56C-26D52A87EDB7

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!

456E715F-4102-49BC-8D8B-DC81F125A96F

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.

E6082089-4149-4D3E-81EE-F9D7A4AF2D46

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.

0FD382E2-0E97-41DC-B3C8-60DC237FBABC

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.

4EB665D5-F754-4069-90F2-14A54EC32AD6

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! 😦

My Pal The Drummer

The next Caezar gig is imminent – happening tomorrow night, in fact. Tonight I start my travels up to Glasgow for the gig. Two coach journeys…some 10 hours of travel. Coach travel being the most cost-effective way of getting to Glasgow and back (unless you book a flight MONTHS in advance, or manage to get a deal with a seat sale on the trains), but not really the most “joyous” way to travel. But the rewards are great!

I already know that Caezar are well worth the effort for the hours of travel having seen them on Saturday night.

During my conversation with JJ, he told me that Brian McGee would be playing drums for them at Oran Mor tomorrow night. I think I may have had a little freak out when he told me. Lol

I then spoke to Joe and mentioned to him that Jinky had told me about Brian. He confimred that, yes, Brian would be playing with them. “We’ve not played in a band together since we were 15.”

I kept it to myself, in case I was not meant to say anything about it. It wasn’t up to me to spill the beans, but knowing this info gave an extra bubble of excitement to tomorrow night’s gig.

From the earliest days of being a Simple Minds fan, I have wanted to meet Brian to personally thank him for playing his part in the Simple Minds story…and for the drumming on Boys From Brazil, in particular. I really do hope I get the opportunity to meet him and express that. But, beyond that…I never imagined I’d ever by privelged enough to see him play live.

This next Caezar gig is going to be extra special. I think tomorrow night is shaping up to be even MORE special than last week’s gig in Windsor (and that was pretty special already!)

As a side note – Brian is actually standing in at short notice. The drummer Caezar were meant to be having with them, Liam Bradley, had to pull out, requiring emergency eye surgery. I wish Liam a full and speedy recovery.

Caezar The Moment

One final piece of brilliance from last night’s gig. Jinky giving one heartbreaking and breathtaking rendition of David Bowie’s I Can’t Give Everything Away. This man’s voice is phenomenal! Tissues at the ready…

Review: Caezar – The Old Court, Windsor – July 21st, 2018

On a personal note, pre-gig logistics meant we ran the risk of turning up late. We were waylaid getting out the door on time and then our pre-gig meal ran later than we thought. It all came good though and we arrived at the venue in plenty of time for the show. Phew!

I was first introduced to Caezar in late 2016 by a post mentioning their music on the Simple Minds Official Facebook page. I listened to The Prayer at that time and thought the music held much promise.

I kept my eye (and ear) out for them, eager to hear more. Earlier this year came the news that an album would be released in the summer and some live dates would ensue. News came out in April, and as of that time, I could see a few Dutch dates, and then a single UK date for Oran Mor in Glasgow. So, I booked my ticket to see them up there, complete with red-eye coach travel up overnight from London to Glasgow and back again. If it was the only time I would see them, I was willing to make the journey.

CEF983F5-4425-49F9-846F-09E08A8F7C32

It wasn’t until the subsequent announcement of the release of their debut album, Time, did I see there was a gig taking place in Windsor. Strange! “Why Windsor?”, I wondered. Well, it is now the hometown of Joe Donnelly (also the hometown of the band’s record label boss) and so served as the perfect album launch location. I quietly spat chips, having gone through the logistics and expense (having to really try and do things on a shoe string) of going to Glasgow for the Oran Mor gig, Windsor was much closer to home and would have been much more convenient.

But I thought “Hey, Glasgow is booked. Can’t change it now. But we might as well do BOTH gigs! Let’s go to Windsor too!”

I’m really glad I learned about the Windsor gig and decided to go. The Old Court is a lovely intimate venue…but in the current state of the UK weather, an absolute sweatbox! The auditorium itself had little ventilation. No windows in the room and after a three week run of temps in the constant mid 20s, it really was quite stifling in there. And that was just for the spectators….can’t imagine how it felt being on that stage last night. *fans self with cold flannel*

Louise Connell

Support came from young singer/songwriter Louise Connell. Very folky, sweet sounding music. She has a lovely voice and a rather nervous and shy delivery, but seems rather gregarious between songs with her audience interactions. She was accompanied by Stuart McLeod. I had a feeling he was a relation, perhaps? But, maybe not. Perhaps just a great help and mentor.

26BF783A-1CBA-4586-A7BD-8271BE2D3D9B

There was an uplifting melancholia to her sound. I liked her set, the highlight for me being her cover of Talking Heads’ This Must Be The Place. I’m unsure if she is Caezar’s support at Oran Mor next week, but if she is, I look forward to seeing her again.

Caezar

Welcomed very warmly to the stage. Joe’s family were in to watch, so there was already a groundswell of love and support in the room. Jinky’s banter was typical Weegie – full of machismo and bravado, but funny as f***.

There were “ghosts in the machine” initially which meant the drum track dropped out half way through set opener, Time. A slight adjustment to the set (rotating songs Into The Night and The Presence Of Love) meant things soon got sorted out.

The songs are wonderfully atmospheric and JJ has the voice of an angel. Honestly. I’m not sure I have ever experienced such an amazing live male vocal performance. The man is incredible. Powerfully emotive and nuanced. A true “tour de force”.

After the initial sniggers at the song title, Motherfucker, you find yourself suddenly no longer sniggering with each utterance of the word, as Jinky just puts so much heart into every song, it just becomes an emotional expression. The shock value quickly evaporates.

E75B257F-5CAC-47A2-807C-0746C943455A

Up next was a Silencers song called Bullets And Blue Eyes…compounding that I must also dip my toe into The Silencers back catalogue.

The set then truly takes off (after one further drum track loss…quickly ironed out again) with incredible renditions of The Prayer, Love Is A Reason and I Am Not Afraid.

There is an incredible encore of David Bowie’s I Can’t Give Everything Away and the small crowd erupts into rapturous applause for a fantastic album launch and live set.

What little niggles that happened last night I am confident will be fully ironed out for Oran Mor next week. For one, the boys will be accompanied by a drummer on Friday, so no fear of the loss of the drum track midway through a song.

These niggles detracted none from the overall enjoyment of the music and power of the songs. Joe and JJ really have made some wonderful music together. I would highly recommend if you can get to the gig in Glasgow on Friday, that to go! You will NOT be disappointed.

CB5B3C5B-606B-4CFC-8FBB-FD6E06D53074

I met Joe and Jinky briefly after the gig. Both lovely men. Both happy to mingle and chat and pose for a photo op. Jinky was also gracious enough to sign a copy of the setlist for me.

Thank you, Joe and Jinky for such a wonderful night out. I am really looking forward to seeing you once again on Friday.

DA1182E8-CEB7-4653-8F35-918C956AE52C

Caezar Day

It was a fabulous gig tonight. Joe and Jinky have produced  the most wonderful music together. A full review will come later today, but after tonight I can safely say that, I am REALLY looking forward to Oran Mor next Friday.