Tag Archives: Live music reviews

Record Store Day at Tenement TV, Glasgow – 16th April 2016

DSC05225.jpgRecord Store Day, an event to honor the UK’s independent record shops was founded in 2007. It’s held on the third Saturday of April. This year Glasgow’s Tenement TV opened their doors and put on a great collection of bands to celebrate.

With a line-up that included Crash Club, Barrie-James O’Neill, aka Nightmare Boy, Other Humans, The Bar Dogs, Gangs and Strawberry Wine – the tenement was rocking its foundations all day. Here’s a selection of photos and videos from the day.

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For a list of the records released for Record Store Day 2016 – see Record Store Day Website



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Filed under Events, Glasgow, Live Music Reviews, Music, Photography, Record Store Day 2016, Tenement TV, Videos

Profile: Glasgow singer/songwriter: Horse

Horse - Singer

Horse – Picture Credit: Kris Kesiak

Glasgow-based singer Horse may not be occupying the charts but she commands respect and has gravitas. September 2015 saw her celebrating the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough album The Same Sky, which upon its release, gained critical acclaim, with standout songs such as The Speed Of The Beat Of My Heart, Breathe Me and Careful. The latter of which was covered by Will Young at VFestival in 2009.

Rightly recognised as someone with a vast musical knowledge, married with life experience, she’s now a wise Scottish stateswoman, who gets called upon to host radio shows, comment on the music industry, she gives master classes to help up-and-coming artists and is an ambassador for The Clutha Trust. She also continues to bring much emotion to many people who find solace in the words of her cathartic songs.

Reaching people is important to Horse and it’s also apparent she still loves to perform. She has a faithful following who want to hear her. And when you sound this good – who can blame them? Horse still boasts one of the most remarkable voices in Scottish music.

I saw her recently at her annual Wintersong in December at The Union in East Kilbride, a small intimate venue, decked out with fairy lights. She ran through her songbook and sounded impeccable, even though she struggled with a heavy cold, an affliction which often causes Horse distress due to her asthma. When she sings it’s a very physical act as she puts everything into her voice, so the strain this puts on her can be quite considerable.

She’s a great storyteller who loves to chat, and the night was peppered with funny and sad stories, as well as dedications to the audience and great songs. Careful never fails to move the crowd and renditions of God’s Home Movie and Sweet Thing also stand out, as well as the cover of Dusty Springfield’s I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten.

The video below shows Horse singing this cover version at a previous Wintersong gig in Edinburgh.

This year Horse has already got dates in her diary. You can find her hosting the Gaia Women’s Supper at the Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre in Glasgow on Friday January 29th. It’s a take on the traditional Burns’ Supper, but for women, and it’s all for a good cause, with money being raised for the Stonewall Scotland charity. Included in the price is a three course supper and entertainment. It looks set to be a great night. You can buy individual tickets priced at £49 or buy a table of 10 places for £490.

Gaia Women's Burns Supper 2016

For information on Gaia Women’s Burns’ Supper – click here for website

Horse also appears in an exclusive cover feature and interview in this month’s Gaia magazine out now – January 2016.

Gaia Magazine Cover - Horse - January 2016

To read Gaia Magazine – click here to access Issuu.com

In March she’s touring the UK with a series of dates which will include Newcastle, Liverpool and Ladock in Cornwall.

And April will see Horse with a full band at Glasgow’s Fruitmarket on the 16th of the month.

For tickets for Fruitmarket gig – click here




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Filed under Charity, Fashion, Gig Reviews, Glasgow, Live Music Reviews, Music, Scotland

Spotlight on: Glasgow band – Teen Canteen

Teen Canteen


TeenCanteen are a four piece girl band from Glasgow who make beautiful pop harmonies. Apart from sounding  great, what impresses me about this band is their ethos and social conscience.

They support Scottish Women’s Aid and run an event called The Girl Effect, the second of which, called The Girl Effect #2, was held at Mono, Glasgow in November 2015. It’s where they brought together an impressive collection of Scottish musicians, and asked each of them to sing two cover songs. The only proviso was that the song choices had to originate from female singers. Some of the choices were surprising and inspired. And all the money raised from The Girl Effect was donated to Scottish Women’s Aid.

Scottish Women's Aid Logo

At November’s Girl Effect #2 – a total of £2146 was raised, add the takings from the first event, and it amounted to a grand total of £5602.72 which TeenCanteen has raised for Scottish Women’s Aid. It’s impressive. Apart from raising a whooping amount for a worthwhile charity, The Girl Effect was a slick, well organised operation, backed by excellent Scottish musical talent and an entertaining night. It attracted the likes of Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour Leader, Angela Constance, Education Secretary, Zara Kitson, who is currently running for female co-convenor of Scottish Green Party, SNP MP Alison Thewliss and Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative & Unionist Candidate, who all arrived on the night to support the event.

To keep the night running smoothly there were a lot of bands and musicians to get on and off the stage, added to this, there was a raffle, which boosted some great prizes, and if you wanted to shine you could even get your face adorned with glitter.

The Girl Effect #2 Poster

The Girl Effect #2 Poster

The list of bands ensured there was something for everyone, from the gorgeous Cairn String Quartet, to the rock of Skies Fell and the spellbinding vocals of SAY (Scottish Album of the Year) 2015 winner Kathryn Joseph and the heartbreaking tones of Jo Mango, who sang the beautiful November by Azure Ray – a perfect choice for her.

Edinburgh based Broken Records, were joined on stage by two TeenCanteen members (Carla Easton and Sita Pieracinni) for a rendition of The Supremes’ Stop In The Name of Love.

The video clip below comes from BMX Bandits and Duglas T Stewart – who were also playing at this event. This shows TeenCanteen performing their own song, Honey, accompanied by the Cairn String Quartet.

Worth a special mention is Skies Fell – who performed an outstanding version of the Shakespears Sister hit Stay. The lovely Kathryn Joseph will always leave a room spellbound and her song choices included Call The Shots by Girls Aloud and I’ll Set You Free by The Bangles.

Rounding up the end of the night was the always popular BMX Bandits who sang That’s How Heartaches are made by The Marvelettes and It’s Gonna Take A Miracle by the Royalettes, the latter being sung by BMX Bandit Chloe, who is also part of TeenCanteen.

And TeenCanteen finished with some excellent song choices – Trouble by Shampoo, Waterfalls by TLC, I Know Where It’s At by All Saints and their own song Sister.

A cracking night from a band who show a great passion and conviction for what they do.



Buy their single Sister and 20p from each download goes towards Scottish Women’s Aid.

Download via: TeenCanteen Bandcamp Download

And they’ve got some live dates coming up. See them:

Sunday 17th January, 2016, 02 ABC, Glasgow, (afternoon show – 2.30pm), as part of Celtic Connections.

Wednesday 27th January, 2016, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, (afternoon show – 2.30pm) as part of Independent Venue Week.

Thursday 28th April, 2016, Summerhall, Edinburgh

Friday 29th April, 2016, CCA, Glasgow


Glasgow-based TeenCanteen formed in 2012. They are Carla Easton (lead vocals, keyboards), Sita Pieracinni (vocals, bass), Chloe Philip (vocals, guitar) and Deborah Smith (vocals, drums).

They describe themselves as “sticky cherry-cola kissed three part harmonies backed by talking toms and stomping beats in a new Wall of Sound”. Their debut single Honey, was mixed by Bill Ryder-Jones via Edinburgh Arts Collective Neu! Reekie! at the end of 2013.

See more at TeenCanteen Website

For more about Scottish Women’s Aid – see Scottish Women’s Aid Website



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Filed under Charities, Charity, Events, Gig Reviews, Glasgow, Live Music Reviews, Music

Will Butler, Art School, Glasgow, April 20 2015

Will Butler at Art School Glasgow

Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns via Getty Images

Will Butler, younger brother of Win Butler, the Arcade Fire frontman, played a blinding solo gig at Glasgow’s Art School. And although his band can fill stadiums and headline festivals, you get the impression that some artists like going back to  their roots by playing small sweaty gigs.

As a frontman, Will disposed with chat to power through the music. With a minimalist stage set, which he set up himself with his band, a three-piece wearing black t-shirts, their names Julie, Sara and Miles, displayed in big bold white letters, it was a quick fire gig that delivered songs at a blistering pace.

He only has one solo album, Policy, which contains eight songs but he crammed in quite a few others to this hour long gig. The variation of songs allowed him to show off an impressive vocal range, at times deep and throaty and then high pitched and hollering.

He’s already said he’s influenced by Talking Heads, which was apparent in Anna and the toe-tapping dark growl of When the Sun Comes Up, while Sing to Me, is a gentle ballad.

The encore included a cover of the Violent Femmes’ American Music and the former poetry student also devoted some time to his Irish namesake William Butler Yeats by reading one of his poems.



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Filed under Gig Reviews, Glasgow, Live Music Reviews, Music, Uncategorized

Goldfrapp, Royal Albert Hall, London, 18th November, 2014

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The diminutive Alison Goldfrapp surrounded by the impressive London Contemporary Orchestra in the majestic setting of the cavernous Royal Albert Hall looked uncertain, somehow frail and nervous – displaced perhaps, like some Hollywood star brought back to life in the shaft of light that bathed her. She looked a bit like Marlene Dietrich. Staring out into the crowd,  she admitted she was nervous, it showed a charming vulnerability.

She is a true chameleon, you’re never sure what Alison Goldfrapp you will see. She displays the whole gamut of innocent childlike naivety, angelic otherworldliness, then she’s the sweet seductress, a screaming siren and a whirling dervish. In whatever form, her tiny frame with its powerhouse voice totally commands and captivates.

I’ve seen Goldfrapp many times and I imagine them to be sound perfectionists, every gig is note perfect, and this one was no different, apart from the feeling of occasion. While it may not be a “Last Hurrah” – it had the makings of one. Everything was pulled in, an orchestra, an amazing band, at one point the Lips Choir – made up of 54 female voices, and a special guest appearance by John Grant. Alison Goldfrapp and Grant proved an impressive double act as they sang the Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra hit One Velvet Morning, with Alison’s girly teasing a perfect foil for Grant’s deep throat masculinity.

The bulk of the night was a play through of latest album Tales of Us. The album is a departure from their electro-disco pop and very much a return to the vibe of Felt Mountain. So additional older songs such as Utopia fitted seamlessly into the set list. The carefully crafted and haunting songs of Tales of Us lent itself easily to the wonderful strings and arrangements of the orchestra.

Stranger is particularly beautiful. It’s a song to lose yourself in as you can feel the harmonies swirling around you, but watch the video which accompanies it and it’s a macabre and twisted contradiction.

It’s also begging to be used in a James Bond soundtrack. Goldfrapp should be creating movie soundtracks with their ease for crafting vast sweeping cinematic landscapes.

There were special programmes on the night, only 500 were made and each one was hand-stitched. They were numbered and signed by Alison and Will Gregory.

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The nerves, although apparent at the beginning of the night, soon subsided, and Alison need not have worried. The audience were in the palm of her tiny hand and this was a truly memorable gig that captivated from start to finish.





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A Farewell to T in the Park – Balado


As the 21st T in the park drew to a close in July and said a final farewell to Balado, I was watching Calvin Harris from the comfort of my sofa and thinking about previous years.

At the Sunday Mail I was part of a team that covered T in the Park from 2001 to 2011. It’s Scotland’s biggest music festival and it was treated with respect. Our Editor wanted every band on every stage covered, no mean feat, especially as over the years T in the Park has grown exponentially.

The team was headed up by Sunday Mail Showbiz Editor Billy Sloan and one year the T in the Park coverage got off to a sticky start. I believe it was 2007. There had been huge traffic problems and when Billy and Sunday Mail Showbiz Writer Steve Hendry eventually arrived at Balado, some hours late, the ground was muddy, their car got stuck and they were going nowhere. Then in true Laurel & Hardy fashion, they got out to push, the wheels started spinning and they were covered from head to toe in dirt … And that was just the start of the weekend …

The press tent was often a bit of a tight squeeze as people sat close together and photographers always brought lots of gear. Then there was the time an unknown drunk person wandered into the tent and randomly swung a punch at someone, who was easily able to dodge the drunken fist before the staggering man ambled off elsewhere.

Armed with pieces of paper letting you know the running order of every stage, it was then time to get out on site and it was often the last time you saw your colleagues until the end of the day.

T in the Park - 2009

Working hard – Some of the Sunday Mail T in the Park team  – 2009

T in the Park has brought a huge amount of bands and musicians to Balado and I’ve seen some truly memorable performances over the years.

There’s been glamor, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt showed off an amazing washboard stomach in 2002, there’s been Fergie of Black Eyed Peas, while Lady Gaga and Kerry Perry fought to be the Queen of T 2009, and festival favourite Alison Goldfrapp always captivates. Lively and vibrant on stage were the Scissor Sisters in 2004 and 2007, with both Ana Matronic and Jake Shears equally bedazzling.

Gwen Stefani in 2002

Gwen Stefani in 2002

When the sun descends on a festival stretching out its long hazy afterglow, it becomes a magical moment. People at this point are usually merry and carefree. They haven’t quite tipped the scales into overindulgence, with its messy aftereffects. It’s also when most of the headline acts start appearing giving them a chance to shine.

Sunset at T in the Park

Sunset at T in the Park

And there’s been some amazing headliners at T in the Park. 2003 belonged to REM and The Flaming Lips. Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters were on top form in 2005, while you knew The Killers, with their slot some way down the bill on the main stage, would be back to headline. (They headlined in 2007). They’ve got the tunes, as crowd-pleaser All Those Things That I Have Done, is perfect singalong festival fodder and they’ve got Las Vegas style glamor, all padded shoulders and feathers, sported by front man Brandon Flowers.

The Killers - Brandon Flowers

The Killers – Brandon Flowers

Arcade Fire were third from the top on the main stage in 2007, and they rocked the crowd, although they seemed a bit bemused by the Scottish audience, and perhaps that’s why they never came back?

Apart from the headliners, there’s been lots of other stand outs. Maxi Jazz of Faithless getting the whole crowd jumping finger in the air to their massive anthem We Come One. Elbow and Doves always delight and unite with their blokeish but sensitive rock. There’s been Tim Booth’s James and the good-natured vibe of hit Sit Down, The Proclaimers will always make sure everyone is up for a party and Paolo Nutini’s mix of laid back style and feel good romp is always popular.

The feisty crowds that appear for Primal Scream, Kasabian and Oasis are always a challenge when you’re standing with a notebook and pen. You’re bumped around, dodging pints and fielding statements like “who are you writing for?” and “gonna write about me”.

Snow Patrol headlining the King Tut’s tent 2004 just before single Run was about to propel them into super stardom and change their lives, was a special moment. The reception they got just about brought the tent down.

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody Picture Credit - All Posters

Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody
Picture Credit – All Posters

Then fast forward to 2009, and on the main stage Snow Patrol were just behind headliners Blur – who were playing a “will they / won’t they appear?” game – as guitarist Graham Coxon was hospitalized with suspected food poisoning. They made it eventually.

Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro have played at T in the Park more times than any other band. In 2014 they made their 10th appearance. They were signed as young band in 1999 after their first outing at T which was on the T Break Stage.

Biffy Clyro - T in the Park 2014

Biffy Clyro – T in the Park 2014

T in the Park is also a great place to discover new bands to love. A band that captured me at T was Sons & Daughters with a brilliant set that I raved about for ages afterwards.

And it’s good to see how bands progress through the years, like Snow Patrol, mentioned already, and also Calvin Harris. He was second to open the main stage in 2009 with an understated set – and look at his headline act this year. It had an announcement from Hollywood actor Will Smith and more lights than Sports Direct supremo Mike Ashley’s house at Christmas.

In the earlier days of reporting T in the Park you phoned your copy into the Glasgow office to a team of dedicated copy-takers.  Later on the copy-takers in Glasgow were no more and you phoned your copy to a central team in England. There were quite a few challenges around this process. You had to find a quiet spot away from the stage, music, and throng of people, and a decent phone signal.  If you found a quiet spot, you suddenly became like Houdini, i.e. invisible, as drunk people were often also looking for a quiet spot … to pee. Then when you eventually got through to a copy-taker, read your carefully thought out words, you left the phone call wondering if your words would appear as you had said them. It made for a nervous pick up of the newspaper the following morning as you wondered if any musicians had suddenly joined other bands without them knowing it.

And there were deadlines, which meant a rush during the headliners to get all copy over as the editors and sub-editors were sitting waiting patiently / impatiently for words and photos to arrive.

At the end of the night everyone would get together again in the press tent, with sore feet and legs from standing or running about all day. We might have exchanged a few terse words during the day, it’s expected, but we still had a celebratory hug at the end.

T in the Park 2009

T in the Park 2009

T in the Park Balado is no-more … it will be interesting to see what next year’s T looks like in its new home.

Pic: from T in the Park

Pic: from T in the Park



For more information about T in the Park 2015:  T in the Park website

Tickets on sale now for 10th – 12th July 2015


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Filed under Festivals, Gig Reviews, Music, Scotland, T in the Park