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.

Glasgow Weekender – Linda McCartney Retrospective – Part Two

After not a super long but very solid night’s sleep, I awoke to see…although an overcast sky, high clouds and dry conditions. It seemed promising. I looked at the forecast which seemed to say although it was dry now (around 8am), it wasn’t going to last and it would be a dodge of sunshine and showers for most of the day.

I had to check out of the hostel by 10am, so after some social media catching up, I got myself ready and out the room at 9.45. The weather was still dry at that point but had clouded over quite a bit more.

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I stopped in for breakfast at the Bucket List Cafe up on Cambridge Street. I had scrambled eggs served with toasted sourdough and a very strong but very nice latte (and a second). By the time I left the cafe the weather had turned decidedly “dreich” and only got heavier as I walked along. I stopped under some shop facades because although I was protected enough by my umbrella, my cloth backpack wasn’t and I was getting worried about how wet things inside of it would get. The rain eased after several minutes and I walked onwards to the Kelvingrove.

My plans had chopped and changed over the weeks prior to arriving in Glasgow. Initially I wanted to see the Linda McCartney Retrospective, take in the Clyde, go down to Barras and Merchant City, have something to eat at a Cafe/Bar called Mono (with a fully vegan menu), then go back up to the Cineworld to catch a film before getting on the red-eye coach back to London. Then I thought, maybe with it being summer and the potential for good weather, I could go to the cathedral and then necropolis instead of the exhibition.

It was all change again when the weather seemed uninterested in playing along. So on I went to the Kelvingrove. Along the way, as I was making my way along Sauchiehall Street, just as I am walking by Royal Crescent, along comes this man on a bike. He’s in full MAMIL regalia and helmet…but there was something in the eyes. As he rode past me, he looked at me. I was drawn to those eyes. There was something familiar about them. Wishful thinking, I am sure…for one hopes that every street corner they turn into that you’ll see a familiar face. One hopes the serendipity would allow such a thing. It did with Derek once. Up in Glasgow for the Walk Between Worlds album signing, me and the OH were making our way back into the city from up the West End. As we’re walking down Argyle Street, who should we see walking along in the opposite direction but Mr Forbes. Well, I spotted him anyway. The OH was none the wiser. Lol. Did I make myself known or say hello? Hell no!

Anyway…Jim in lycra? Jim riding around the city on a bike? Naaaah! Doubt it.

The weather was still pretty dreich by the time I got to the museum, so the right choice was made. I left my bag in the cloak room and wanted to sit and have a coffee before going into the exhibition, but both cafes in the museum were heaving – it had just gone midday. The exhibition itself seemed relatively quiet and had no queue to go in so I decided to get straight on with it.

As you enter, you’re greeted with photos of a young Linda before her photographic career takes off. One or two self-portraits and then very early work of her capturing the Rolling Stones in New York on the Hudson in 1966 and some images of The Doors taken in 1967. To my surprise there were two wonderful photos of Linda that had been taken by Jim Morrison on display. I have to say, based on those two photos alone, Morrison himself wasn’t too shabby behind the lens!

Obligatory as it would be, there were several of her earliest photos taken of The Beatles and of Paul on his own. And there were also some absolutely stunning photos that Paul had taken of Linda.

The next room focussed more on later Beatles photos, mostly ones taken at Abbey Road, one of when Paul and Linda got together. And there were early family photos of Paul and Linda together and of Paul with Heather, Mary and Stella.

Elsewhere there were two sets of displays of polaroids showing intimate family life. Wonderful colourful images of the family on holiday and of local life in the places they went to. Life on the road, touring.

In the final room was a display of work dedicated to Scotland, incorporating family life on the farm as well as everyday life for the locals.

It was a really extensive retrospective with a lot to see. I really enjoyed it. I grabbed myself a few postcards from the gift shop on the way out.

As I left the museum I thought “Oh well, I’m down this way, might as well have a doughnut.” I walked over to the store on Old Dumbarton Road but it was quite full and still quite warm from the heat of the previous few days. I decided against it and headed on down towards the Clyde.

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What’s better than a jamboree? ….

By the time I got down to the Clyde, the clouds were parting and the sun was making a full appearance. And by the time I got myself down to King Street and to Mono, the clouds were high and distant and the sun was glorious. It was quite warm inside Mono, so I thought I’d indulge in an alcoholic drink. I looked at the specials on the board and saw among the options a kumquat margarita. I knew kumquats are citrus so I thought it would be a rather refreshing thing to have on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It was delicious. I could have easily had another had they not been expensive and had I not feared getting tipsy. For my main I had the Schnitzel – served with roast potatoes (they didn’t seem roasted rather than boiled, with skins on) miso mustard cream, salad and beetroot chutney. It was really nice. And I indulged in a dessert of apple cake, served with a scoop of ice cream on top. It was all really delicious and the decor inside is nice. I’d definitely go there again. And there’s a music store within called Monorail. I had a look around, but nothing took my eye.

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The Kumquat Margarita

After leaving Mono, I headed for Gallowgate and to Barrowland. It was the only point I had to get my phone out and refer to Google Maps. I knew I wasn’t far from there but I couldn’t quite get my bearings. I wanted to go to Barras so I could see the “Oor Ziggy” statute. There is a bucket trail on again this year. Last year it was penguin statutes and this year it is various decorated versions of Oor Wullie. The weather being as it was, I didn’t get to see as many Wullies (pun absolutely intended!) as I’d have liked. Lol. But I did see some. And I now realise, I missed seeing the one with Jim’s name on it. Damn! But I did get to see “Oor Ziggy”. Below are the Wullies I spied while I was up there.

I walked back through Merchant City and the market and had a quick perusal. I didn’t really see anything I fancied. Well, I saw one thing. A little plaque that said “Hame Sweet Hame” that I was tempted to buy to hang in the house that will be our hame that I hope we’ll buy within the next 12 months or so.

Another pit stop for an ice coffee and then up to the Cineworld for a film. I was hoping that, to tie in with seeing the exhibition earlier in the day, I’d get to see Yesterday. I got to Cineworld at 6.45 and the next screening of Yesterday was on at 7.50. It wasn’t due to finish until 10.15 which would have cut it fine for getting over to the station for my coach at 10.30. I thought it best not to chance it. With few other options and with at least 3 hours to waste, I decided on seeing The Lion King instead. I know! Lol. And I am sad to say I really did enjoy it. It has been really well done.

I grabbed a bottle of water for the journey home (and was armed with sesame snaps and a bag of marshmallows that I had bought earlier in the day) and was over at Buchanan Station at 9.40.

It was a long journey home…but it was a wonderful weekend.