Amy Lou – Broadcast (24.11.19) | SMALL GIG TRIPS

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Young up-and-comer Kate Kyle would be starting off the night. I had the chance to see her before at Resonate Live 2018, so I knew that she was able, it was just a case of seeing how much she has developed over the course of the last year.

Her greatest asset is her voice, which was really broad and mature despite her age, and she was capable of hitting some pretty extensive notes. She could tackle both melodic, mid-tempo songs and quiet, gentler pieces, mostly falling into the pop/country category.

Her words held attention, her guitar playing was solid and there was never that impression of her slacking at any moment, and while not nervous per se, it did feel like she loosened up as she proceeded.

A couple of shaky spots, but overall, not only a pleasant warm-up prior to the upcoming madness, but a good showcase for an aspiring musician who could potentially grow into something special down the road.


Next were electronic pop Kendama, an act I hadn’t seen as of yet but who I had been following keenly across what has been a bountiful 2019 for them, and in the face of the dreaded tour-end exhaustion, the boys still went up and put on a doozy of a showing.

The enthusiasm was off the freaking charts here, and even though the turnout wasn’t the biggest, they nonetheless managed to get the people involved and engaged with minimal effort; an immediate positive that makes them worth the time of day because let’s be honest here, if they don’t care, why should I and everyone else care?

Not only was Stuart a fervent vocalist and fine keyboard player, but man, was he full of beans, dancing like a coked up lunatic about the wide open stage as if his life depended on it; his stride only slipping whenever the cable slipped out his mic, to which he responded by kicking an innocent nearby water bottle.

John was a mighty drummer, belting out these resounding beats in a fast, furious and focused fashion, giving the music an extra pinch of intensity while he was proudly grinning all the way through.

The perfect cure to the Sunday night blues, it was a dazzling and energetic affair with intoxicating vibes. They put in the work here, and gave me my money’s worth as a result.


I had been waiting months to see Dunfermine’s resident wee belter Amy Lou in action again following a strong showing at King Tuts back in the summer, and my anticipation was higher following the release of her hot new single, so plenty of buzz to go around here.

From the get go, she came running in with her usual no-f*cks-given mentality. She was spirited and even sometimes raunchy in her singing, nicely shredding away on her customised Irn-Bru themed guitar as she went.

Lewis Capaldi look-a-like Scott was slick in churning out funky basslines, and glamorous Boohoo model Joe was a sturdy hard-hitter behind the kit.

We got a decent rocking rendition of Belinda Carlisle’s “gay anthem” Heaven and her standard sweet, stripped back solo cover of Pulp’s Common People, to which the audience chimed along, and as evidence of just how powerful her voice could get, she had absolutely no need for the microphone here.

The familiar Fiat Five Hunner featured a catchy chorus, Tonic Wine was darker and magnetic, and Don’t Worry About The Distance was a loving tribute to the one and only Donald J Makin.

Finishing on the vibrant Chania and the dynamically bouncing Addiction, the latter inducing a Kendama mosh pit and some nutter taking it to the skies, it was a straight up fun and glorious display.

Amy Lou may have a massive ego – her words, not mine, by the by – but it cannot be denied that she is massively fabulous.

 

The Great Western 2019 | SMALL GIG TRIPS

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Kicking off the entire festival were Freakwave, a group that have been highly touted in recent memory across the scene, yet I had been unfortunate to have not seen them as of yet. It became pretty obvious the benefit of this spot on the bill, given the rammed crowd on hand all ready to get their individual days on the road, and it’d be a safe bet to say that none of them were let down.

Surrounded in strobes and clouds of smoke, they battered through a short batch of whopping tracks that were tightly performed and generated a contagious energy within the room which never ceased.

Summer was a sensational frontwoman, her vocals being super strong and packing a punch. The riffs were totally great, thick throbbing bass chords were slapped out, and the drum work boosted the loud and large rhythms.

It was amazing how they could shift tones in a flash, seamlessly switching from smooth and easygoing to raw and ballistic, and remaining engaging regardless of the style being tackled.

Man, talk about setting the bar. Showcasing a real booming presence and virtually no chinks, Freakwave put on an impressive headline-worthy set in the space of 20 measly minutes. I’m officially in love, and I have a feeling this quartet are going to launch to bigger heights, and in not too long either.


Secondly were Edinburgh electronic pop duo Chuchoter, the only act I’ve actually seen in the flesh before, after they blew me away and cinched me as a follower back at King Tuts in January, and I was buzzing to witness them again.

Admittedly, it was awfully surreal to see them playing in this cosy pub (The Doublet, specifically) to a seated, respectfully well-behaved audience, given their energetic sound, particularly when wanting to dance along in my case, but I was too comfy in my chair. But despite the unlikely location, they were fantastic and the people were hooked.

Emily was suffering from a cold, although it didn’t affect her too much as she powered through with her usual stiff and effectively caustic singing that resonated within the restricted space, getting across the magnetic and unforgiving feminist lyrics as she really got into it and strutted about with fearless passion, while Owen handled the sweet keys, pounding beats and quality production.

With top picks from both of their damn fine EPs, this was another unsurprisingly stellar display from a mighty talented pair with tonnes to offer.


One mad dash to the Webster’s Theatre later, I entered and was immediately drawn in by Caitlin Buchanan, who was already in action.

To begin with, what a beautiful voice that she boasts, spanning a wide pitch spectrum, and if you don’t get chills around your body when she’s chimes at full strength, then there’s most likely something wrong with you.

Matching that quality was the really nice writing that kept my attention, and her fluent plucks and strums on the guitar which helped in enhancing the surrounding atmosphere.

A couple of fidgety mic and pedal issues hurt her stride a little, but otherwise, a captivating experience.


While this was my first time seeing the trio of Avocet, they weren’t brand new to me, as I was given the opportunity a while back to review their Borrowed Seed EP which was awfully nice and I had wanted to scratch them off my list.

After a miserably long issue laden set up process causing delays, the wait would be worthwhile as they played these nice songs with a charming essence blending pop and traditional folk and featuring solid lyrics that had the over-spilling room focused in a silenced hush.

Making up their music were these gracious, softly sung harmonies, lovely melodic harp strings, very subtle touches of bass, and excellent acoustics that were superb during the more livelier sections. The highlight was undoubtedly their haunting rendition of The Death Of Queen Jane, as the goosebumps were just spreading all over during that piece.

Despite the hiccups, they endured to provide a satisfying end result, and I’m happy to know I have a new album to look forward to now.


Returning after an extended hiatus, Holy Mountain were the only act on the itinerary that I had no prior experience with whatsoever, but given the preceding hype, I took a chance to potentially discover something new and worth my time; a blind plunge that paid off in spades.

The crowd were above and beyond the most loving and enthusiastic I had been part of in the day thus far. They were just eating up everything the quartet threw at them over the course of the hour, aptly hollering with much appreciation between the tunes, and on the topic, their ability to maintain a hot streak of that high a calibre for a lengthy duration like that truly has to be admired.

Their tracks were large and freaking bombastic, chugging on all cylinders at a mighty scale, drenched in these grungy, progressive overtones, plus the guys had quite the outstanding live presence that couldn’t be ignored. The guitar solos were supremely radical, the keyboards neat, the basslines insanely dynamic, and the drumming was earth-shaking.

They also battered through their planned set so fast that they outran their allocation, but not being ones to let that go to waste, they treated us to a few impromptu extra cuts which included a sizzling cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, even if the lyrics did slip the mind briefly…

With plenty to be happy and headbanging about, Holy Mountain administered the most phenomenally executed of glorious one-off comebacks.


Out of all the bands on my schedule, Home$lice are the one I’ve known by far the longest, stretching back to 2016 as a matter of fact, but a string of bad luck has kept me from seeing them at a show, until now…

What was nice was that their songs didn’t necessarily place into a single pigeonhole, although if it had to be narrowed down, it’s mainly an interesting blend of sharp indie rock and sleek dream pop, with bits and bobs of modern punk tucked underneath.

The dual harmonies were on solid form consistently, and both the quirky spoken segments and switching up who had the role of lead singer regularly helped give it an added freshness.

They progressed through these engaging, often warm toned melodies that would either be slow and smooth, or faster and toe tapping. The riffs were slick, the bass chords juicy thick, and the drum work was plain fantastic, especially when required to up the energy.

On the whole, the crowd liked it, as did, I so being topped off by a spot of the old amusing banter, so all in all, it was jolly entertaining stuff.

“Are you watching Match Of The Day?”


Kitti was a priority. I had seen her as a reliable partner to Emme Woods and Fenella in the past, but never in a lone scenario, which I had heard nothing but positive things about it.

Webster’s was already brimming as soon as I came around and it only piled up with more and more bodies along the way. On the subject, her ability to control the crowd was incredible, and a major factor in that was her infectious personality and unreal confidence. I struggle to think of many others on the scene that come even close.

As for her voice? Words cannot do justice as to just how breathtaking it is, she is hands down one of the very best vocalists in this entire country, simply a pure powerhouse in that field. And if that wasn’t enough, she also happens to be a capable pianist and great lyricist.

She played to us a line of infectiously fabulous RnB tunes that were utterly catchy and brought to life so well by Katie and the most ample group of musicians she could have possibly picked for the job, and you knew they were making a noteworthy impression as a sea of bodies were joyfully swaying about, and how could you even resist doing that?

Straight and to the point, this was my personal highlight of the entire festival. This was spectacular and a privilege to be front row for. Katie has given enough blatant evidence that she has checked off all the requirements to become a superstar, and it’s almost disgraceful that she’s still working small venues at this stage.

In the unlikely event that a major label is reading this: sign her the f*** up!


And now the main event – Tom McGuire & The Brassholes, an outfit I’ve been craving to bear witness to ever since they emphatically emerged. Oran Mor was lingering with a lot of buzz, so clearly I wasn’t the only one highly anticipating this. Lo and behold, magic happened.

A lone sax signaled for people to emigrate towards the stage until the front floor was jammed, and one by one, members of the entourage appeared before Tom himself leaped up and got the show going with Begone Skunks, which was responded to with a flurry of impassioned dancing, where shapes were being thrown in every direction; Tom’s awesome mum leading the charge; and it never died down from start to finish, it was a perpetual belter of a party going on, and there was no way of battling the urge to shake your hips even slightly.

Tom is the ideal blueprint for what you want out of a frontman, flaunting limitless contagious energy and an infinite heap of charisma that the attendees latched on to with endless love in return. Meanwhile, stimulating guitars, deliciously groovy basslines, dazzling keys, a funky four piece brass attack and thrilling drum fills drove forward the immensely addictive rhythms.

The audience interaction only escalated, complete with fervent clapping, jumping, echoes of the words and a trade off sing along. Focal points across the board included MC Sickboy, What’s The Point and Old Man On The Subway, and naturally, the legendary classic Ric Flair was in there.

With a palpable sense of excitement, countless epic scenes unfolding and buckets of sweat dripping down the venue walls once they wrapped up, it was a marvelous performance of legendary proportions. It was indeed a nice human experience, as promised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gatorville | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS: ISSUE #7

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THE BLIND LEMON GATORSGatorville

I was first personally introduced to the talents of blues maestro Greig Taylor back in 2016, when he and his Boos Band participated in the BBC4 series UK’s Best Part-Time Band, and while they didn’t emerge victorious, they had me curious. From there, I checked out their self-titled debut album, which I really loved and listed as one of my top Scottish records of that year.

But after that, Greig would disappear from my radar, only re-emerging lately when I discovered his new entourage – The Blind Lemon Gators – who are fresh off releasing their Gatorville compilation, and I’ve been left impressed yet again.

Right off the bat, it’s impossible to not fall in love with the opener Blue Man’s Shoes, which is graced by the most addictive and grooviest of rhythms you could ever imagine. In contrast, A Little Death Around The Eyes is a smooth-going and emotional piece that sustains the drawing power, perhaps even more so here.

All I Ever Wanted has that quintessential blues vibe and great lyrics, and the group continue to display some broad variety as they provide us something more minimal with Goodnight Irene, which is very quiet, captivating and totally driven by Greig’s outstanding singing, accompanied by some light, supple acoustics.

Hurt has an infectious beat, while Gravy Train finally returns to the truly lively stuff with the bouncing, where the harmonicas are in full bloom, and they stabilise to a calmer tempo again for the fluent, guitar-focused A Better Land.

You simply can’t hold back from tapping your foot along to Ain’t Got You, they elevate that gusto with the tubularly rocking Wicked Charm, before easing out with the real fine Ballad Of Trigarelli.

If there’s a higher entity up there in the cosmos, then I hope they can forgive me for missing out on this outfit for so long. Blind Lemon Gators have landed a bullseye with Gatorville, an immensely entertaining album from start to finish that never comes close to boring, crafted bit by bit with a blend of top notch performances.

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to name this my favourite blues record of the year, would it?

OUT NOW!


3DAYS

THREE DAYS FROM RETIREMENTEmpty Chinese Cities

Fair to say, it’s been quite a while since I’ve indulged myself in the music of Edinburgh post rock outfit Three Days From Retirement, but the group recently came out with a long-awaited new album entitled Empty Chinse Cities, and I’ve fallen in love with them harder than ever before.

Mandy is a dazzling opener, the verses comprised of these bright and bold chords, leading into staggering, lucid sections that screams with a vast, purely enthralling soundscape. The title track greets with a light and creamy intro quite pleasing to the ears, and they maintain that collected pace for a few minutes before gradually packing in extra layers of meat to eventually form something big and booming that digs heavy into the riffage.

Clare And Her Secret Life Of Daydreams is another sweet addition that shines with a polished, crystal-crisp vibe at first, but then ups the ante with a dynamic, hammering rhythm fused from robust drum spurts. Energy Always Lives Forever has a considerably different feel to it, shrouded in these somewhat dark and gloomy overtones, and effectively so.

Mr John’s Keytar strikes out the gates with potent beats, then joined by crunchy bass chords and awe-inspiringly progressive shreds. Swimming through various signature changes and going back and forth scale-wise, it makes for an overall tremendous climax to the record.

Empty Chinese Cities has proven to be a resounding success, being a thrilling listening experience that is immersive and intricately produced.

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DMS

DMS – Imposter Syndrome

DMS have been making an impact as one of the more unique, genre-bending acts in the current Edinburgh musicscape, and after building a decent amount of hype behind them, they’re preparing to show off their real potential with their first EP – Imposter Syndrome.

Tight Jeans hits the mark instantly with a superb, contagious melody that is welded from this fantastically tight combo of zesty harmonies, lively guitars and radiating synths, and the chorus is so super catchy that sitting motionless in your seat is a damn near impossibility. Dirt isn’t as wild but still maintains that sweet pop feel and keeps the energy going with keen piano keys, strong work behind the kit and more addictive hooks.

Howl is a highlight in the writing department, while churning out a continuously firm bassline and radical riffs, not to mention yet another bloody good chorus, and Vain keeps that established excitement rolling all the way to the end, shining again with effective lyrics and impressive singing, the band eventually capping off in a blistering frenzy.

This is how you make a debut. DMS have made the most supreme of statements by coming out with a short yet totally brilliant record that is fun, energetic, diverse and glued together by the excellent performances of five very capable musicians.

Definitely ones to watch heading into 2020, because at this early stage, they have the proficient know-how to produce entertaining material of a high calibre and that will surely elevate them to loftier heights.

*AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 29TH NOVEMBER*

IN ASSOCIATION WITH SAN PR & REACTION MANAGEMENT

FJORDS

FJORDS – Onirica

After years of hard work and determination, Nottingham progressive quintet Fjords want to stamp with authority their aspirations to be one of the UK’s most ambitious metal acts, and they’ve done a pretty well versed job in that regard with their hefty debut album – Onirica.

Entering in with thunder and a few faint touches of a piano, they break through with Into The Vista, and at 7 minutes in length, they’re sure not wasting time digging into the deeper material, and this is a great introductory sampler of what they bring to the table, with every aspect getting enough time to be showcased effectively.

Blossom In Rapture lightens the load a little, but not in a detrimental way, rather easing things up and going a somewhat simpler route, and standing out here are Dav’s cogent vocals. The title track nudges the pace back up considerably to deliver a hardened, more melodic piece that comes to life with great magnetic riffs from Jack and Ben which dominate here and a grand-scale chorus, plus the climatic final minute is damn sweet.

Prometheus brings it down again to a weightier, sludgy tone that is prominently driven by John’s throbbing, stomach-punching drumming, but still allows for space to breathe in these smoother segments where the guitars remain in excellent shape and the lyrics begin to be highlighted, until they explode into the immense, ear-shattering content once more.

After catching a quick break with Unbound, Tides Of The Sea serves as quite the awesome epic number that resonates with a dynamic force. And holy moly, if that wasn’t enough, they shake up the insanity with the pummelling The Godless Shade, amplified by Dan’s seriously dense bass tones.

Given the size of the songs, there’s this big possibility of listener’s fatigue setting in, but to this point, that still hasn’t happened, and as with Ode To The Albatross here, the guys continue to freshen it up, keeping focus with a variety of tempos and modes, plus it’s beneficial that the writing is top-notch in particular, and afterwards, they push through full steam ahead to churn out the mighty marathon of a conclusion, Polaris.

 There’s no way of denying that Fjords have raised some emphatic lumps here in what is a spectacular effort, where the band have definitively met the lofty expectations that they set themselves, and with dedication like that, it’d be no surprise to see them go far up the totem pole of success.

 

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Ghostwritr

GHOSTWRITERSecret Shakes

For a number of years now, indie rock quartet Ghostwriter have upheld their position as a mainstay in the Falkirk scene, and in the past they have treated folk to a pair of pretty decent EPs, but now they have another one out on the shelves – Secret Shakes – and it’s indisputably their finest work to date.

Cutting Room comes alive quite quickly with this vibrant pulse and a highly entertaining chorus, and the writing is really good too, as the words sink in fast. They don’t let time go to waste, keeping that energy rolling at a considerable volume into Homesick. The dual vocals have a firm mix of warmth and passion, and the keys add a much welcomed catchiness to the already engaging melody

We at last get a bit of a breather as Tell Me kicks off, but that buzz is soon restored as they drive through with a great rhythm. Mind Tricks is another highlight on the lyrical front, and they finally finish on the smooth, pretty easy-going Kiss The Ring, which excels in the latter half with nice, overdubbed waves of singing.

After a lengthy stint together, the four members have evidently developed their talents to a degree where they are capable of creating material to a high standard, with Sweet Shakes being the end result of that; a enjoyable and diverse record with more than enough good elements to incite the urge for repeated listens.

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RebeccaAlbum

REBECCA RADICALKnee High Socks & Hot Rocks

In 2018, Kirkcaldy DIY artist and self-proclaimed hippy c**t Rebecca Radical decided to take the brave plunge into music with virtually no prior experience, but with persistence and a riled passion, she found a newfound lease of creativity with this outlet.

Just barely over a year later, with a couple of EPs already in her back pocket, she has ambitiously went ahead and produced a whole album titled Knee High Socks & Hot Rocks.

Derived from her own life mentalities, she comes equipped with a variety of likeable songs with forward-thinking lyrics, often with a bright melodic skip to them; in particular, Be Intense and Skin Up Chin Up encourages to step up to the plate and achieve your goals. In other instances, she hits back at those who only want to impel negativity, as displayed in Too Many Blues and Don’t Belittle Love.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a punk record if it didn’t contain some bitterly scathing tracks with blunt, biting words, the best of the bunch being Bojos Nae Mojo, War Is S*it, and the amusingly Star Wars-themed Rebel Scum.

There’s a few cuts that are quite catchy, like Just Wanna Get P*ssed, Johnny Hash and Hedonist, and then you get something like Psychedelic Eyes, which is totally fresh by Becca’s usual standard, being quite slow, soothing and gripping.

She also treats the listeners to some nice and inspiring spoken word pieces including Positivity and Create, although they could have maybe done with another take because she belts through them so fast that she goes out of breath at random spots.

On the whole, it’s a very respectable album that has a rawness and honesty like so little anything else on the scene. Rebecca Radical’s aim to just do whatever she wants and not sugarcoat her music in any fashion is a refreshing outlook that other musicians around the block might want to consider implementing into their own games.

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dres

DRES_Lysne

Dres are a quintet from Houston, Texas who each come from their own unique backgrounds, yet are united in the cause of music, and they happen to be pretty capable in that regard, as proven by their latest EP – Lsyne.

With the bright and colourful Just A Thought, they are quick to spark an energy which resonates in waves, and Wake Up keeps the pace rolling nicely, especially hitting the mark with both the writing and the vocal deliveries on this one.

The buzz is only amplified doubly so with the swift, high-octane Road Trip, which is loaded with driving riffs and various catchy hooks. That exciting essence remains in Oh Florida You Got Me, and as a matter of fact, they intensify the rockiness, as noticeable from the more aggressive guitars and battering drum beats.

What I Want is a little looser and doesn’t quite reach that same level, although the singing is a key element here, but they climb back up with Cobain in order to deliver a damn good conclusion accompanied by a catchy chorus.

So as you can see, Dres have the talents to deliver the goods where required, and in the most rambunctiously fun manner possible.

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OPPKAST

Oppkast – C2H5OH

In what has seemingly become a weekly tradition, my latest venture into the underground scene of mainland Europe has led me to Norway punks Oppkast, who are bracing to unleash their forthcoming album – C2H5OH.

They set the pace in fine style with the fully-charged alcoholic homage Beer Hymn, comprised of jagged riffs and a rapid rhythm. I Don’t Care is apathetically toned, but in contrast, Get Out is quite empathetic. My Head sticks out with a pretty solid chorus, in addition to the occasional sensual groans here and there…

I’m A Boy isn’t too different, minus the lack of sensual noises this time. Ready To Go is lengthy by the group’s standard, coming in at 4 minutes, and as a result we get more added depth and it’s nice to actually see the members get more of a chance to shine in their fields without them zipping by.

No Reason returns to familiarity in brash, snappy fashion, and that intensity stays on course through Getting Old. After a vomit-themed interlude – charming – a few strums of the bass serve as the gateway to another jolly boozy anthem, Jaeger My Old Friend.

They present their own banging rendition of NOFX’s Linoleum, then there’s I Love You Beer next, and yep, you guessed it, yet another impassioned tribute to the drink. Liquid Friends is a major highlight that is dynamic and featuring the best guitar work of the lot.

Face has a bit of a catchier melody to it, Tesla C*nt is a beautiful stripped back ditty with the most exquisitely spoken language being used, and finally is Sober, and it wouldn’t be Oppkast if they didn’t finish on a bouncing number that didn’t even slightly relate to alcohol, would it?

The band capture a belting energy that is persistently high for more or less the entirety of the mad journey, although because of how brief many of the tunes are, they don’t leave much of a lasting impression and tend to blend in to each other, but saying that, in the final third or so, they do display a lot more variety.

There are a mix of positives and negatives to be had, but overall, those of the latter are at a minimum anyway, so their first full-length effort on a whole is a grand success.

*AVAILABLE ON SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER*


harrowman

HARROWMANRites Of Way

Farnham-based singer and songwriter Harrowman has been making a significant mark in the English folk scene over recent time, a commendable feat that has been eclipsed by the release of his debut full-length album – Rites Of Way – the perfect opportunity to see what he is capable of.

This Fair Land is a delightful way to start, an in-depth track that effectively puts you into the zone. Masquerade truly gets the listener reeled in with an infectious harmony-driven melody and haunting low-note strings producing a great enthralling atmosphere.

Last Orders keeps that entrancing tone rolling on while giving us a handful of lovely instrumental sequences. The acoustics are on top form in Blind Mice, and The Fields Around Our Town is among the most magnetic and resonant of this collection.

Pull The Plug is yet another that grips your attention with excellent singing and the catchiest of hooks, and True Belief is stronger yet, with a sincere maturity emitting from the wonderful lyrics and brought to a real life through the vocals.

Promises has a fine showing of sleek guitar work. Following that is The Busker, easily the most zealous tune we’ve got here that has you tapping your foot along to the sweet beat, and completing the set is the pretty nice Stress Fracture.

So it’s obvious to see where the hype for Harrowman stems from. Rite Of Way is a engaging and varied showcase of a top-notch musician whose talents are put to the test, and the final outcome is an undeniably successful one.

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The Girl Who Cried Wolf: “Oops” Single Launch | SMALL GIG TRIPS

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Before the main attraction, the audience would first be treated to one of Ayrshire’s brightest stars, Anna Sweeney, who I finally saw for the first time performing at King Tuts in the summer, and she was fresh off another successful Glasgow headliner at Stereo, so could she keep her momentum on a roll?

She’d be flying solo on this occasion, armed with not much more than a keyboard on loan and her own natural abilities. As she began, the chatter swiftly died down, the crowd being respectfully quiet and giving Anna their full attention, only piping up to show their appreciation with applause in-between songs including Change The Way I Dress and a stunning stripped version of Way Back When.

Put into a lone and potentially vulnerable position where exposure of flaws can be easy, Anna went up with a confident poise, got herself into a zone and performed remarkably.

Never before had I seen her singing on such a raw and powerful level, her voice resonating sharply through the nearby speakers and around the room, the emotions flowing through in waves and the notes being hit with grace. In the meantime, this was complemented by her warm and harmonious playing which further enhanced the mood.

Without all the usual bells and whistles accompanying her, Anna Sweeney impressed in a big way, again showcasing exactly why she has a dedicated following and plenty of praise to her name.


And now for The Girl Who Cried Wolf, who have established themselves as one of the hottest new acts that the Glaswegian scene has to offer, after quickly developing their live game and releasing a trio of amazing singles. So given all that, it was fair to expect something of a high standard, and they triumphantly surpassed that said standard.

Cheers roared as the pair traveled through the audience up to the stage, and as soon as they got under way, their usual smiling faces were replaced with looks of hardened concentration.

Lauren is as incredible as they come as far as singers go. Her harmonies alone were fresh and sturdy, but it’s the passion and authenticity behind the deliveries that elevates the material to the next level. Having a vivid swagger and being a sublime pianist didn’t do much harm either.

As for Audrey, she is an utter tank. The sheer amount of strength in her battering of the drums hit the senses with a stinging force, but even more so, the speed and often intricate manner that she thrummed across her kit was a sight to behold.

Among the multitude of highlights, Second Best was driven by a fiercely addictive rhythm and highlighted by gripping lyrics , Oops was an immensely catchy anthem that got a few folk up for a quick dance – even sound engineer Darren was having a wee boogie right in front of my very eyes, much to my amusement – and their debut Way Back Soon made for a ravishing conclusion, plus other nifty additions such as Better, Stay and the fixating Let The Light In were all top notch.

Linked by a wicked chemistry, an inspiring presence and being capable of taking their music in various directions, this was a damn near perfect set, the sweetest of victories that earned umpteen deafening ovations throughout.

The meeting of these two gifted women this year has resulted in something nothing short of special, and combined, they have the tools to launch to a higher stratosphere.

Banshee – Broadcast (21.11.19) | SMALL GIG TRIPS

BansheeGig


It had been a while since I had heard from long time scene pals Start Static until they dropped their sophomore album earlier in the year and blew me away. Seeing them on this particular line-up got a smile on my face, and I was looking forward to catching them on stage again at last.

It became pretty clear dead quickly that they haven’t lost a step as far as their live game is concerned, as they didn’t muck about too much and instead opted to churn out banger after infectious banger, bringing all these glorious pop rock vibes.

They weren’t much in the way of stilted at all really, the four being quite loose and fluent actually – especially John, but then again, being a touch intoxicated can do that – and they effectively delivered a combo of spirited equal leveled multi harmonies, energised riffs and high octane rhythms, plus you get the bonus of engaging, flowing melodies and dandy, catchy as heck choruses.

The perfect option to kick off the night, Start Static never fail to ignite a joyous buzz every time they go up and perform their duties, and you know what, given their long established talents, it’s been confusing as to why they are not in a bigger limelight by now.


Now making their Glasgow debuts, Dirty Orange from London were completely unknown to me, the only bunch to fall into that region here, so here was a potential opportunity to discover something new and worthwhile, and that it was.

That light poppy nature from before was out the window, as the quartet were more focused on battering out some classic old school rock and roll tracks dressed in hints of stoner and Southern influences, even going as far as to implement the vintage false finish in places.

Cutting chit chat to bare bones, they ploughed through their material which was consistently nice and groovy, made up by rusty vocals, thick raunchy guitar chords, deep bass pulses punching through the amps and spot-on drumming, creating swell beats that had me perpetually bobbing my head along.

Starting decent, they gradually grew on me more and more, and by the end, I was an awed fan, so job well done boys, and it would be a pleasure to have you back here in the city soon.


Like the boys before, Weekend Recovery from Leeds were a trio I hadn’t seen before, but I was aware of the name and the positive hype surrounding them.

That sense of variety emitting from this gig was again in bloom as the band switched dials with a full-frontal punk rock sound that was, for the majority, wild and dynamic, and that pace was effectively maintained throughout.

Lorin was a solid guitarist and her singing was suitably loud and brash, although in spots she did look a bit too preoccupied; her eyes wandering about, and that was a tad distracting.

And man, the pairing of Josh and Marcus were impressive, a coherent rhythm unit that boosted the tunes with a hefty kick thanks to the resonant gritty bass chords drenched in effects and slick thumping drums, and never at any moment did they slack.

Seemingly over in a flash, it was fast and furious stuff from an act with a lot of promise lurking there, but to be fair, their ever growing base of fans is solid enough proof of that anyway, isn’t it?


There are few in the Scottish music scene that I’m as well versed with than Greenock’s finest, Banshee. For nearly 7 years now, they have achieved everything that they could to hold on to me as a dedicated follower; their Bubble EP perhaps fully cementing my love for life.

It had been ages since they had graced me with their presence in a live scenario, so this was a long overdue moment, and I was not disappointed.

Commencing with Starts With One, they rattled through old classics such as Secret and Say My Name, before diving into the hot newer choices like You Said, the stunning Erased and their aforementioned record’s title piece, and they even treated the audience to a stripped back, emotionally charged newbie.

Despite suffering on the Lemsip-loaded run up, Erin was on fire and never had any bother delivering the most empathetic of vocal performances. She is seriously one of a kind in that field, whether it be bright tender harmonies or these epic, explosive yells. She’s also able to just get into this magnetic zone, where she loves to flaunt around like a fabulous diva.

Gavin put in an athletic, impassioned effort into his damn good riffs, the cool and collected Liam was efficiently smooth with the bass in tow, and Gianluca was a machine belting out these flurried, hard hitting fills.

Big, bombastic and having an unbelievably enforced chemistry not being dragged down by any noticeably weak links whatsoever, Banshee were on top, shining form once again, and given their extensive run where they have continuously persisted through and through and still not given up, they truly deserve to climb the ranks, because they’ve earned it.

SMALL SINGLE SHOWCASE – Week #2

THE RONAINS – Funtime Frankie

***SMALL SINGLE OF THE WEEK***

The Clydebank rock and roll outfit take quite the departure from their usual territory with this total banger, the most apt parting gift imaginable from the beloved legend Shaun Scott.

This is an unhealthily infectious track with the most sublimely radiant of sounds and the catchiest of rhythms.

The shrouded lead vocals mixed with the dazzling female harmonies, the cool riffs, the enjoyable flurry of drums, the bright synths, the thick bassline, the fun lyrics, the memorable main hook…it all just clicks as one perfect beauty of a number, perhaps the best thing they have ever produced to date.


SIIGHTS – One More

The Scottish/Irish pop duo continue their swift rise to the top with yet another enticing number.

A chilled, lo-fi track carried by an exchanging pair of stunning, devoted vocals forming a sweet, soothing melody, while featuring divine piano keys, really nice synths and memorable lyrics, all enveloped within this rich and crisp production.


THE GALLERYS – On The Other Side

Okay, how did I let this Kent trio slip my radar for so long?

Their latest offering is a superb tune with an infectiously rocking energy to it herded by a jumping rhythm. The blend of harmonies are seriously sleek, the guitars are stark, the bass tones solid and the drumming vibrant.

It also has that Beach Boys spirit to it, especially noticeable with the catchy chorus.


GRETA JAIME – Internet Love

While the subject matter of the London-based artist’s new single is one that’s been around the block a lot of as of late, that little downfall is made up for by everything else.

Despite her young age, Greta’s voice is tremendous and dons both a wide range and a grown maturity, which in turns creates this power to hook in the listener and have them entranced. The words are candid, the production is beyond stunning and the chorus really stands out.

An excellent result from a young musician who surely has a lot to offer and has those tools to set her course for a bright future.


ARMADA OF SECRETS – Make Me Over

The London rock duo’s latest of numerous singles of the year is a success in two senses.

Firstly, on a sonic level, it works in generating this forcibly sharp sound that is built up by a fuzzy and perpetual riff line through the verses, faint bass tones and thumping drum hits, reaching an explosive optimum in the catchy chorus and especially the loud and large climax.

Secondly, and more importantly, the themes tackled through the gripping writing really resonate on a personal level and are brought to this grand life by the fervent harmonies, which also grow in size towards the end.


SPLINTERED HALO – Happy Horrordays

The Glasgow character metal troupe’s music has always been perfect for the spooky Halloween season, so it’s nice to see them branch out and get their claws on the jolliest of holidays with a rugged track that creates a harsh tone with the raw riffs, protruding beat and especially the devilishly singing, plus the youthful choir offsets it and adds an extra creep value.

Admittedly, the production feels like a step down compared to their previous works, sounding kind of rough around the edges, but everything else falls into place nicely and provides a fresh option for those who can’t be bothered with the generic, overly sappy material played in loop around this time of year.


KOHLA – Gorgeous

It has been the longest and most arduous wait ever for Kohla’s debut EP to finally drop, but she’s been nice enough to spill an array of tunes over the past few months, and her latest offering is yet another dazzler.

The title pretty much reflects the quality of the song itself, with a ravishing sound that strikes a chord in the ambient setting, only elevated by Rachel’s sharp and stunning voice, a pulsating beat and a hooking melody; all these elements cranked up in the super satisfying chorus.


DEMI MCMAHON – Baby Steps

Dundee’s resident red-headed pop queen has stepped up to a whole new level with what is easily her greatest song to date.

Although very short and simple, the writing is fiercely emotional and couldn’t possibly trigger some kind of response from the listener, and boosting this element is Demi’s extraordinary voice, which is so heartfelt and able to hit the notes with such ease.


WOJTEK THE BEAR – Some States

 The Glasgow outfit have been known to produce some compelling music in the past, and their latest single continues that trend in strong fashion.

It’s a captivating song that is able to flawlessly blend feelings of happiness and sadness, and a big part of that is owed to the warm, luminous sound that is fused.

It comes complete with emotionally latching writing, sincerely mellow vocals, firm chords, a smooth rhythm section and serene strings that add to the scale.


GYPSY CIRCUS – A Place To Stay

Perhaps one of the Scottish scene’s most underappreciated rock acts are back to remind us what they’re made of, but this time taking a much more sophisticated direction than ever before.

The mellow singing is very strong and the writing quite magnetic, and the teaming of gentle acoustics and leisurely riffs, mixed in with the calm rhythm, forge this entrancing atmosphere that is splendidly warm and infatuating.


THE KNOW – 143

 The debut single from the LA duo is a sensational shoegaze piece that ignites this charmingly warm and cosy atmosphere, almost transcending the listener into another divine dimension entirely with silky soft harmonies, sparkly synth sounds and a delicately tapping beat.


KAMORA – Wild Thing

The second single from the Glasgow rockers is a nifty track that jogs along to a sleek melody, creating a heavily synth-focused sound that gives it a solid amount of depth.

Adding to that is some hearty mid-pitch singing, great guitars and a really likeable beat that, along with everything else, is upgraded as they proceed into the snappy chorus.


COLOUR OF THE JUNGLE – Humblebee

A poignant piece courtesy of the Portsmouth outfit that runs with quite the tender melody detailing the negative effects of humans towards the environment, while paying tribute to the goodness of nature.

The harmonies are sincere, the guitar line is smooth and the beat has an engagingly subtle pulse to it.


NO TIME FOR REASON – Catfish

Hot off the success and hype of their previous release, the Geordie rockers have followed up with another cracking tune.

The song is a short but fruitful burst of energy that bounces along to a nice rhythm while the guys bust out with solid riffs, great beats and peppy singing, and that main hook – while deceptively simple – is just perfect for participation at gigs.

The production could have done with better mastering, but otherwise, another fun addition to their fast-growing arsenal.


FAWKES – Don’t Stop Loving Me

The new kids on the Scottish block have made a tasty first impression with this belter of a tune that is wrapped in this enticing rock vibe that even has the subtlest touch of blues to it.

The vocal work is great, the thick bass chords are marvellously avid, and the lyrics do well to grab the lister’s attention.

A worthy starter for ten, and I’m quite keen to hear more from this troupe.


NICKY RUBIN – I’ll Never Forget You

Nicky Rubin is a candidate for perhaps the single most underrated singer-songwriter in the entire British scene right now. He’s been churning out nothing but smashing numbers all year long, and now here he is again, keeping that streak going.

He has this demanding power to captivate with his very interesting, striking writing, and a big part of that is the sheer sincerity that he’s able to bring to his vocal performance.

Adding to the equation is a sensational, melodic sound clipped together by good riffs, sizable drum beats and especially these stupendous strings that build up the track’s scale to another level.


astralsuns

ASTRAL SUNS – Groove Train

(AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 29TH NOVEMBER)

 The second in a trilogy of tunes by the Fife rock band lets you know exactly what you’re in for just by the title alone.

A swank banger that hits the senses in an intoxicating fashion with a sweet merge of radical riffs, a nifty bassline running across the duration, a nice and catchy drum beat, and ample singing.


THE TRANQUIL – Breakdown

Putting the slightly rugged mixing aside, the Bellshill rock quartet’s latest track is a respectable one that flows with a neat groove, a catchy rhythm, solid lyrics that are easy to cling on to, and most of all, distinctly cool and sharp guitar chords that are prominent from start to finish.


ROTHSCHILD

ROTHSCHILD – Make Me A Martyr

(AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 29TH NOVEMBER)

The Leeds rock trio give one hell of a preview to their forthcoming debut EP with a full-frontal stormer of a track that shakes with tenacious riffs, a relentlessly intense rhythm that doesn’t hold back, sturdy vocals, great lyrics and a superbly packing chorus.

Oooft, definitely ones to keep a close eye on.


ART BLOCK – The Basement

The London artist grasps the attentive listener’s full focus with a very mesmerising song that is minimally quiet to begin with, before adding layers as it proceeds, all the while maintaining interest with solid, gentle vocals and pulling lyrics.

5 Important Lessons Learned At Resonate 2019 | SMALL FEATURES

Resonate2019lessons


14th November 2019, I had the pleasure of attending my first ever music conference, that being 23rd Precinct’s third annual Resonate event, and it’s safe to say that in my near-decade of involvement in the scene, this was above and beyond one of the most important days that I’ve had.

It was such a rewarding experience in many retrospects, as it opened my eyes to so many aspects that I wasn’t too familiar with and hadn’t been there to necessarily get more info on, but nonetheless I got quite the solid education.

But above all else, easily the best thing about the conference was that rich sense of community. No matter if it be artists, writers, editors, managers, radio hosts, professional experts or even the passing casual, you can feel that everybody was determined and focused towards achieving the same goals, and as a result, there was an infectious enthusiasm that rubbed off in waves.

In the space of 8 hours or so, all negative notions of this often harsh industry were temporarily thrown out the window, and by the end of it, I had this newfound inner fire to take my work to another level.

Because this was a day aimed at the exchanging of ideas and opinions for the benefit of others, I thought I would take the time to share 5 key lessons that I had learned that should only enhance whatever you, the reader, seek to accomplish in music, regardless of what your career path may be.


#1: WHY?

This was definitely a recurring theme running between many of the panels that I either attended or witnessed in passing: have a why to everything that you do.

You usually hear that you should find yourself a purpose in life, and that is true, but it should also apply to every single thing that you do when trying to achieve a goal. For example, I’ll relate this to myself:

  • Why do I run Small Music Scene? To help give exposure to under-the-radar music acts that deserve attention.
  • Why do they deserve attention? Because they’re really talented.
  • Why do they need help? Because not enough people are giving them the light of day.
  • Why aren’t people giving them the light of day? Because the acts are in need of that platform which can be used as a stepping stone to be showcased to a wider audience.
  • Why don’t they have that platform to begin with? Because they are relatively unknown and are trapped amidst a sea of hundreds of other acts in the same position, and as such, they are unknowingly skimmed over by not only the general public, but the likes of labels, radio stations and major publications.

Having a why and being able to answer that why can not only clarify the objectives for yourself and provide a worthwhile reasoning in what you do, but more importantly, it’s essential when presenting your brand/product to others and they themselves can get a clear overview of what you are trying to accomplish at the end of the day.


#2: “CURIOSITY, CURIOSITY, CURIOSITY”

Most of these lessons are pretty general that were usually persistent between a lot of the panelists throughout the day, but this one can be directly attributed to Dame Evelyn Glennie, and is in fact is directly quoted from herself when asked by Carla Easton three words that best described her.

This is such a simple concept yet had not clicked with me before, but it can be a major help. In the process of creation, we tend to stick to a routine and rarely strive away from our habits, and sometimes that can be a hindrance, particularly when you are trying to develop an idea and aren’t able to make anything out of this, and in turn, grow frustrated.

However, if you’re willing to step out your comfort zone and make a bold detour from what you would usually do and try something new that perhaps never even crossed your mind, you could potentially achieve a radically different result that proves both successful and totally fresh compared to your usual stuff.

Long story short: never feel like you need to be restrained by your limitations, take a walk on the wild side once in a while, and you might just reap the rewards.


#3: ENGAGE!

If you don’t engage, you’re not going to get anywhere, and if you don’t want to engage, then you may as well pack it all in now.

I know that sounds uncharacteristically harsh of me, but the fact of the matter is that if you want to achieve anything in life, you need to put in the effort. The world isn’t going to sit idly by and wait for you, you just have to put the work in, simple as that.

If you want to spread the word, you need to get out there and share your content every single chance that you get, continuously and vigorously promoting yourself until you have the attention of people who are keen and want to invest.

If you really care about what you do yet you struggle in certain aspects, such as lacking self-confidence or not having knowledge on this specific subject, the best thing to do is to, again, step out that comfort zone and be willing to develop and improve upon your drawbacks and keep at it until they are no longer drawbacks and instead your newfound strengths.

And also be aware that you’ll need to constantly adapt to the evolving industry, so if you don’t like social media and (understandably) aren’t inclined to use it, then tough luck pal, because unfortunately it is required to be utilised nowadays, otherwise you’ll be slipping off the radar fast.


#4: COLLABORATION

This is more of a lesson that I personally want to circulate as opposed to being one that I necessarily heard frequently discussed during the event, because this really rang true with me as the day went on, and it’s that the power of collaboration can do absolute wonders.

As touched upon in the intro, one of the greatest things about the event was that sense of community, and throughout the day, I not only got the opportunity to hear some amazing stuff from the various panelists, but I also got the time to sit with and speak to several folk from different fields, and the one element that I noticed was commonly shared between them all was that they got my artistic wheels churning.

If you feel like you might be drained creatively, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to how much working and cooperating with others can be a huge benefit, because 1) through exchanging ideas, you might just spark something special that you can pursue and develop, and 2) if teaming up with those who are aiming towards the same goals, then you’ll stand a better chance combined of achieving your objectives.

The music scene truly is full of awesome people, so don’t be afraid to branch out, the results will be nothing short of valuable.


#5: JUST DO IT!

This point doesn’t need any expansion.
Stop reading this, get out there and make your dreams come true!