Sunday 22 March 2015

Scottish A Cappella Championships 2015

The Accidentals, A Cappella choir, won the 'Scottish A Cappella Championships' in St Andrews this March. There were great performances by all the choirs and it was wonderful to see and hear all these young people having such a great time!  Choirs taking part included The Other Guys, The Hummingbirds, Aperpella, The Bells, Choral Stimulation. The choirs now go to Birmingham for the National UK Championships in April. PHOTOS -     

Saturday 14 March 2015

Idlewild O2 ABC

I enjoyed a band on top form with the return of the celtic and soul-filled Edinburgh indie rockers Idlewild, who played two sold-out return shows for their fans at the O2 ABC Glasgow. 

The room was full of palpable nostalgia and love from the fans ready to rock!  Their dramatic melodic rock offers hopes - as Woomble put it 'For all you lovely people come to see us.' 

The strength of memories lost forgotten hopes and dreams –
The crowd waited eagerly for those songs replayed and also for the new material and sound of this refreshed re-energized band with their new members - bassist Andrew Mitchell, keyboard player Luciano Rossi and Hannah Fisher on electric fiddle.

The set was a good mix of both the old and new, which kept fans more than happy. Their music was at times understated and subtle and then with full-on throttle and energy on other tracks, such as A Modern Way of Letting Go.

Lead singer Roddy, displayed assured warm confidence, while guitarist Jones played his guitar like an energy wand and their older songs were reworked and energized. There were strong five-part harmonies on 'Roseability' and 'Little Discourage' and their sing-able choruses were enjoyed by the audience on familiar songs such as 'Love Steals Us From Loneliness.' They played melodic catchy riffs on  'So Many Things to Decide' and 'American English'.

The new album songs from their Everything Ever Written album - ‘Come Along Ghost' and 'Collect Yourself' were well received. Their sound is a blend of rock and folk with the emphasis at times on the rock - with impressive high-wire guitars and soulful melody from Rossi's keys and Fisher's electric fiddle.  

It was good to see new member, guitarist and bass player Andrew, up front for several songs. I saw him perform solo at Edinburgh festival last year and was impressed with his music there. On the new track (Use it) If You Can Use It, he and Jones rocked the sound up a few notches with a full on bluesy guitar duel.

Their influences are broad from Americana, folk earnestness and 90s full on rock. During the band's hiatus Woomble has written for Ballads of the Book and worked with folk musicians - I have seen him solo with John McCusker and Kris Drever.     

They are part of the forerunners of today's melodic pop rock bands (notably Scottish bands such as Biffy Clyro)  while there was also edges of REM here - Night Swimming came to mind.

All in all a winning formula. Hope the tour goes great for you!

Idlewild are a Scottish indie rock band, from Edinburgh Scotland formed in 1995. They are now a seven piece band with guitar, keys and electric fiddle - previous members are Roddy Woomble (lead vocals), Rod Jones (guitar), Colin Newton (drums) and now with new members - Andrew Mitchell (bass), Hannah Fisher (electric fiddle) and Luciano Rossi (keys). They have released seven full-length studio albums, with recent album Everything Ever Written released in 2015.

I was pleased to be the only photographer at this fun gig but would also have enjoyed to be creative and have shot the whole set too. My gig photos here -

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Karine Polwart & Dick Gaughan

One of the special moments at Celtic Connections is when some of our top musicians collaborate together. At ‘Blood and Roses: Concert for the Songs of Ewan MacColl’ at Celtic Connections 2015  we were treated to two of my favourite Scottish folk artists and top Scottish folk musicians  -  folk legend Dick Gaughan and Karine Polwart, who began the concert with a strong interpretation of Ewan's song Ballad of Accounting. 

Gaughan also sang a dramtic Father’s Song, whil Karine sang a truy felt interpretation of MacColl’s song Nobody Knew She was There.

I first heard many years back in Edinburgh and was taken on with the power of his very individual guitar playing and the moving expression and strength of his voice. He sings questioining songs of social commentary with a poignant honesty. Karine was moved when she first heard his album, A Handful of Earth.
 I first heard Karine perform at an initmate wonderful gig at The Tall Ship Glasgow where I enjoyed her memorable htoughtful songs and subtle insightful voice. She has a lovely quality to her voice.

Karine has a warm, sincere personality and a huge smile! Polwart is a Scottish singer song writer. She writes and performs music with a strong folk and roots feel.  She has been recognised for her solo career, winning three awards at the BBC Folk Awards in 2005, and was previously a member of Malinky and Battlefield

Friday 27 February 2015

King Tuts 25 YEARS!

Last night Glasgow's iconic King Tuts venue celebrated their 25th anniversary. The venue is known as the best small venue. (holds around 300).

I have enjoyed some of my favorite gigs ever there. – many fun bands and singer songwriters over the years.  

Pearl and the Puppets

Emeli Sande played at King Tuts in 2010, where I met her and had a nice chat at her sound check, it was such an honour to chat about her music then. She was very petite and focused on her music. I never imagined one day she would play the Royal Albert hall though I knew expectations were high for her even then.

Many now famous bands over these years have played here – such as The Killers, Oasis, Poalo Nutini and many others.

Emeli Sande 2011

Another thrill also in 2013 was when my son's band, Viking Galaxy, played here!

Congratulations to King Tuts!   -