My First Moustache @ 229

Uncategorized

After traipsing around Great Portland Street, passing many lively pubs and some great street performers, I found where I was supposed to be, the venue, 229.

The entrance was a tunnel that slopes into the ground below pavement level —  a sub-pavement grotto. This portal was guarded by a tall man swaddled in a thick black coat and beanie hat. Our encounter was reflective of that between the ugly troll and the smallest billy goat in the tale of the of the three billy goats gruff. “Can I see some ID?” he growled, doesn’t he know WHO I AM? As an almost automatic response, I handed him my dishevelled passport and went on my merry way. After all, the grass is greener on the other side.

A wall of heat enveloped me as I trotted down the stairs into the unknown. My friend Elli, who was putting on the event pulled me towards her magnetically for a unious embrace. My free ticket in. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know — by the way…

The venue was dark, as you would expect, you know, being underground.

One side of the room was padded back to back with brown, ramshackle couches with a coffee table between each — water stains apparently being part of the interior design. The other side sported a bar supplying heavily overpriced lager (£4.50 for a pint of Carlsberg I’ll have you know). It’ll be a tap water for me thank you, sir.

A low standing stage is slotted in the top corner of the room next to the entrance, so when you arrive your eardrums are instantly scorched with fiery blasts from the speakers. Convenience is great, I didn’t want functioning ears anyway. It’s great banter having to say “What?” about five times after someone speaks.

Fast forward about two hours from my arrival and I’m two drinks in (a rum and coke and a pint of Carlsberg, IF YOU MUST KNOW). My First Moustache (MFM) are finding their feet on the shallow stage.

Some space had opened up between them. The stage was not as cramped as it was since I last saw them, in fact it looks rather empty. This could partially be explained by the fact that the stage I last saw them on was going on microscopic, but it was apparent that members were missing. Two members are gone, and only one has been replaced. You know what they say, if they’re slowing you down, cut them off. Or in the case of MFM, let them fly away to Amsterdam to go and study art.

I can’t think of the words to describe them. MFM are Jack’s racing pulse. MFM create a rampage. They perfectly capture the essence of a stampede of elephants being preyed on. Their sound is utterly outrageous. My eardrums were blown away— hello permanent tinnitus. I stood on a table to try and escape the ruckus happening below me as ‘lads’ lads’ bombed and darted around the room smashing into each other like a group of juggernauts and rhinoceroses.  

Despite being experts of exhilarating, face-melting guitar riffs and complex drum rhythms, I would say that MFM are quite the musical chameleons. Their setlist leaps from hardcore to something along the wavelength of dream pop and I simply could not keep up with it. One minute I wanted to punch everyone in the neck, the next I just wanted a good cuddle and chocolate covered strawberries.

Once their had finished their set (I don’t know how they knew they were finished as they had no setlist), the crowd roared for more. A little peer pressure never hurt anyone, and they succumbed. Having run out of songs to play, they opted for a very jazz, improv, “jam” type thing. For me, this made it clear who wears the trousers and what the state of the inter-band relations are. I almost felt bad for the new guitarist who was utterly excluded from this three-way bonding session between the lead singer, drummer and bassist. He just stood there awkwardly trying not to make it obvious that he had no idea what was going on, but this was pretty clear. He almost melted into the background. To be honest about it, that was probably the best for him as their little “jam” was nothing to boast about. It was long boring and repetitive.

It was nice to see them smile were nice though.

What ever happened to….all of the record stores?

Uncategorized

I was stood awkwardly outside 53 Rupert Street in Soho. Maybe 30 years ago, I wouldn’t have looked quite so strange donning my bulky, black Sony headphones and an unironed Rolling Stones t-shirt. But here I am in 2018, gawking through the glossy windows of the pint-sized Italian restaurant that calls itself ‘Mister Lasagna’.

Rupert Street is an offshoot of Berwick Street. And Berwick Street used to be famous for its abundance of record stores. And ‘Mister Lasagna’ used to be a record store called Cheapo Cheapo.

According to my sources, Cheapo Cheapo used to be the place to be — a something for everyone, “I’ll give you the lot for a tenner”, sink your teeth into this record kind of shop. Alas, the only thing you’ll be sinking your teeth into at 53 Rupert Street nowadays is a hearty, layered, Italian pasta dish with an icy pint of Peroni to wash it all down.

The air is different in Soho today…quite literally. Berwick Street is bulky, stuffed wall-to wall with street food market stalls, each sizzling intensely with the scent of different parts of the globe, inflicting a frenzy on the nose and mouth-watering mayhem on the tongue. Berwick Street once was a parade brimming toe-to-toe with record stores (and as I envisage it, discs of vinyl flying everywhere). But the reality is, things aren’t as they used to be. Like the great David Bowie once said, “Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes”. Where there once was 16 record stores has now turned into 4.

Unfortunately, like Cheapo Cheapo, this is the tragic fate of many of Soho’s record stores. How is it that during this time of vinyl record renaissance so many record stores are floundering? What is it that the record stores that are still standing (maybe only on one leg) are doing to stop from toppling over into the pit of nothingness that so many other stores have fallen into?

Standing boldly amongst the fallen, one of the three musketeers of Berwick Street is Sister Ray Records.

I must have walked aimlessly up and down Berwick Street four or five times before I finally found the record shop tucked snugly between a rather flashy looking dental surgery and your bog-standard plumbing store. There’s something so utterly refreshing about entering a record store — it’s like time has stopped, you’ve slipped into a vortex and have been transported to somewhere completely ethereal. The chaos from outside has waned away. The sound of traffic is distant. But most importantly, it doesn’t smell like kebab and burnt chicken. Some sort of electronic dance music pulsed away profusely in the background as vinyl record enthusiasts stalked the shop flicking through the different bright sleeves like lions hunting for their next meal.

Co-owner and manager of Sister Ray, Phil Barton, was sat discreetly, tucked away in a crowded office. The room, which was basically a closet, was stacked high with vinyl and cardboard boxes, one of which was pragmatically called “faulties and shit”. The door was open, probably because they couldn’t actually close it.

“The only thing that has saved the independent record shops in the recent years is the rise of vinyl” said Phil very matter-of-factly. “There’s no need for us to exist without vinyl.” And it’s true, without this rise in the sale of vinyl, not even the longest standing record stores would still be around. In fact, the sale of the LP is on the incline, increasing every year. Between 2015 and 2017, the volume of that records sold doubled. DOUBLED. It can only be assumed that the trend will follow suit in the upcoming years.

Running a record store in 2018 is blatantly difficult, as Phil puts it, “these are difficult times”. Honestly? It really doesn’t come as a surprise with all this fancy streaming and Spotify malarkey, meanwhile forking out small fortunes on rent and fending off the monstrously ugly, capitalist consumer giants such as HMV.  “A lot of people have opened stores up and are finding it incredibly tough because you have to have a reputation and you have to have a history before people y’know really lock on to you” Phil adds. For many people who open record stores today, it’s all guesswork and many cannot sustain their business because they have no idea what they are doing. Phil says he fears for these people who one day decide “I’ve had enough of being an accountant, or butcher or something and I’m gonna open a record shop” because “it’s really, really hard to make money out of records if you don’t know what you’re doing.” Hey, they might not succeed but hats off to them for giving it a go. “It looks really cool but it’s bloody hard work.”

The principle source of income for all record shops is physical sales and we’re not talking about cafes that sell vinyl on the side. Yes, the sales are going up, up and up, but it’s still not enough. So I did my own digging.

As well as obvious inexperiece, record store closure can be linked to something in retail we like to call ‘customer conversion’. It’s really not as fancy as it sounds however it is a crucial cog in the big old, whirring business machine. What it means is, the amount of people who come into a shop and are converted from a visitor to a customer. In the case of our poor, little independent record stores, it would seem that the conversion rate is quite low.

I asked my peers some questions to get some insight (of course this isn’t solid data but it’s not totally invalid). 63% of them said that they did vinyl, however, only half of these said that they only go to any record store a few times a year. Even then, who is to say that they are actually buying vinyl every time they go? Dare I say that I discovered a trend occurring in their answers. The question was, ‘Do you enjoy visiting record stores?’, and the answers (almost identical) were: “It’s fun to browse and see what they have”, “I like going with friends to see what looks good”, “It’s fun to look around and see the album covers etc”. Oh yes, there it is. Many going to the stores but not purchasing anything. Do you remember doing charity bake sales at school? Do you remember when people would have a look at your cakes that you spent two hours making and then move on to buy from the person who got theirs from Tesco? I can only imagine that’s what the people who work in record stores feel like.

I then asked, ‘Do you think there is any need for record stores today?’. The majority said yes, because visiting record stores is nice, they are “authentic”, “they are unique”, “they are cool and bring a piece of the past back to life”. These are all lovely things to hear, but like I said before, it’s just not enough. Record stores cannot stay open just because people think they are nice.

The proof is in the pudding — independent record stores need supporting and record lovers young and old need to be there.  Berwick Street is probably never going to be the mecca for vinyl enthusiasts that it once was but that’s completely alright. Phil says, “You can’t look over your shoulder and go “eugh well it was better then”. Because it was different. It doesn’t mean it was better it was just different.”

At the end of the day, the real reason record stores are closing is because people are visiting and visiting only. Next time you go, do something different. Find a cover that has really cool album art. Delve into a genre you’ve never heard of before. Adopt a record that has a roughed up sleeve, because that means that it was loved and listened to over and over. Turn your pockets inside out, tip out the contents of your wallet and buy something with whatever amount you have, lint and all. Get the record that you’ve wanted to buy for ages.

You betcha I’ll be going back to Berwick Street. I’ll see you there. 21st April, yeah?

Drowning in a Glitching Genesis of ‘Memories’ with Sonic Jesus

Uncategorized

You’re a distant memory in the mind of your creator, don’t you see?

That’s what a Jesus Alone whispers when he walks through the autumnal path of his life.

Strolling through 36 subterranean paces from their debut album ‘Neither Virtue Nor Anger’, the Roman hermits, Marco Baldassari, Marco Barzetti, Tiziano Veronese, collected engraving inches of tubular fluorescent traces, ascetic numbers, choral symbols, cryptic dates.

On the last lunar quarter, November 30th, you will be able to embrace their spiritual travel that it starts from a pause of silence, a reflective subterranean prayer, an instant captured in a collection of mortal coils within a stifling absent nostalgic frame pictured in this new LP, Memories, a prequel to N.V.N.A. and a continuation  of Grace’s river of consciousness:

turquoise sky cutting the eerie winter evening,

heavy veil of a vague abode, a wooden and metal box of apparently abandoned familiar contents, where a beacon is a pale hushed guardian.

Loyal defender of a cloud of warping sounds, tenebrous post-scripts, caustic whispers.

But the defence falls on its knees, when the headphones are plugged in and the secret spell was unveiled, the miserable demons and anguished dionysiac spirits, within that abandoned Pandora’s box have already hurled themselves through the suffocating ceilings of Nostalgia’s harbour.

The first demon, the last soul to touch this earth, ‘Noah’ is ready to depart from the imminent apocalypse, embracing his faith in something not under his control, with his ark, accompanied by an austere folk march and a medieval choral, to tackle this unholy situation. In his lunatic uncertainty , moonson over his mind, dark make-up over his eyes and red lipstick over his mouth, he still has the ‘Spectrum Visionary’, funeral march of his Life, the only sound that will never abandon him.

But a moment of weakness permeates his vision, ‘Khullam’, so this grungy blond angel, feels to be abandoned by his faithful father, his intention of elevation is contrasted by his burning desire to please  his most filthy human aims. But his father, from the weeping stratosphere, is sending his Ermes to soothe his troubled son murmuring ‘I’m Here’.

Here he comes now, the Lizard King embracing this avant-garde nihilistic ‘Dance of The Sun’ this inebriant pirouette, then Jean Genie jumps from the mast, slights lekker, goes to join this ‘Whiskey Train’ and even the rowing crew ‘Monks’ turn psycho, corrupted by this demonic fuzz.

But this organ-driven deranged enchantment is just an ephemeral illusion, because in a remote cursed land, behind the edgy dark stones, green greedy vixens are ready to hypnotise and seduce through this climax of mystical orgy, these shamans whispering ‘Love Again’.

It is too late, they are trapped in that sensual grim whirl, maliciously enchanted, they cannot escape it and so their desires are bent to satisfy their mistresses, shaking uncontrollably their bones, feeble bowels to the notes of that mors et amor ballad ‘Reich’.

Suddenly the sun is hidden by some harpies that cannot marry this carnal celebration,   the sky is painted in grey and the dour troubadour, captain in despair, needs to leaves the profane ceremony, seeking his vowed ‘Town’.

This glitching Genesis, obscure Odyssey must go on, because nothing comes without a reason, not every sign is possibly translated in something comprehensible, so this damned poet, lone pioneer must follow what his brave heart shouts: ‘Cartaxo’.

Finally, he can behold at the edge of the horizon the golden blue promise land, ‘Heaven’, and oscillate gently like the waves behind his feet, this bitter-sweet abrasive chant, cradling his predestined fate to embrace a fecund solitude, till comes the dawn..

When I become death, death is the seed from which I grow.

The Abyss is not so cold while his body is smoothly drowning underground.

To begin tasting it, channel your mind through these vibrations:

Future blues hits London

Uncategorized

3ee9621f-9275-4fc7-b3c2-e121b0bbf229

Grammy-winner Fantastic Negrito will be headlining the weeklong Future Juke Festival in London tonight.

Xavier Dphrepaulezz aka Fantastic Negrito will be bringing his fiery brand of raucous blues-rock to Dingwalls, Camden tonight (June 1).

This is blues as it always has been – a visceral howl against modern conditions. It’s taking the traditional idiom and applying it to Trump’s America with clarity and passion. Described as one of the best live experiences you can have, he’s also a favourite of US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – no mean endorsement.

Meanwhilw Eli Paperboy Reed takes to the stage at the 100 Club in Oxford Street on Monday night (June 4). Reed’s soul revivalist songs recall the classic hits of Atlantic, Fame and Stax Records. He’s backed by the 10-piece High & Mighty Brass Band and is supported by one of Britain’s most talented young blues-rock guitarists, Marcus Bonfanti.

Finally performing at the festival next Tuesday (5 June) is Blind Boy Paxton, who plays at the stunning Bush Hall. Paxton revisits early blues and has a eerie knack of reproducing those mysterious sounds from the Delta Blues/Robert Johnson era.

Close your eyes and your at the crossroads with the devil on your tail.

One of his most popular live tracks is When An Ugly Woman Tells You No which is, as the title suggests a pure comedy moment. He’s supported by the up-and-coming UK singer-songwriter Nia Wyn, who has impressed fans and critics alike with her jazz-inflected vocals and her observational, melodic and gritty tunes.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/FutureJukeFestival/

Tickets: https://tinyurl.com/yd6eu2ek

PREMIERE: Gabi Garbutt’s ‘Lady Matador’ and Ezra Furman cover, release date 20th April

Music Reviews, Uncategorized

After the success of previous single “Armed with Love,” Gabi Garbutt is set to release new track “Lady Matador” on 20thApril with a cover of Ezra Furman’s “Teddy I’m Ready” as the b-side. Once again she has worked with Sean Read to produce them, they both show off her personality and versatility as an artist.

“Lady Matador” is an optimistic, upbeat track, exuding the fun yet complicated aspects of love. She sings quickly but without the loss of her intimate voice, whilst a saxophone led melody lifts it up into a cheerful, animated sound. Described by herself as enjoying writing about the “fragile, ecstatic feeling,” this one is heavily focused on a romantic context, “where everything’s magic and alive but tinged with destruction and chaos.” This shines through with the continued references to paradise and riding on a high, making an easy soul fused listen.

B-side “Teddy I’m Ready” has more of a stripped back opening with background vocals drifting throughout the chorus’, it emphasizes a subtler version of the vulnerable feeling she speaks so fondly of but still gives a sense of her lively and enjoyable presence. Her love for this song filters through the authenticity in her vocals and the simplicity of the arrangements. She tells us that the choice to do an Ezra cover was simply because her and a some of the band are big Ezra fans. She says, “I think he’s the most exciting artist out there at the moment, incredible lyrics and vision, he’s a magnetic performer and vocalist, and high energy brassy rock n’ rollalways strikes a chord with me! I came across him a few years ago when I was listening to a few Bella Union artists I hadn’t heard before, as I found I really like a lot of artists on that label, and now he’s my favourite. To me, Teddy I’m Ready is a perfect song. I struggle tothink of another song that brings me so much joy.”

This charm is something that not only echoes within her cover but also through her own music, the excitement surrounding her debut album rises with this release.

gabs shoot feb18 LR-8.jpg

You can listen to the cover here:

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/400992135%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-YLySj&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true”></iframe

And Lady Matador here:

 

She will be playing the following dates in London:

London Covent Garden Roadhouse (launch party) – April 19 

London Camden Monarch (Mark Beaumont presents) – May 9 

London Roundhouse (w/Frank Turner) – May 11

DSC05594a-LR

Words by Louise Tindall

Insecure Men at Scala

Live Reviews, Music Reviews, Uncategorized

A dimming of lights, hush of music and a roar of the crowd indicated that Insecure Men had entered. Amongst the shadows, a determined voice yelled “Can we have some lights on the stage, so we can see what we’re doing?”

With this, a rolling green light revealed a musical extravaganza: a vibraphone, slide guitar and saxophone being amongst the many instruments they could fit onto the stage.

Buttoned up in suits and with an intense flash of blue light the nine-piece opened with ‘Cliff Has Left the Building’. Immediately, the atmosphere was cosmic, encapsulating the Californian suburbs daydream air of their recently released, self-titled album, ‘Insecure Men’.

Like wind turbines on a desolate hill, the band remained relatively stationary throughout, completely entranced in what they were doing. Meanwhile, the performance was unfaltering in visual strength, bodies in the audience swaying, hypnotised, frolicking in the paint palette of light – there were slime greens, romantic reds, marine blues and hot pinks.

In an amateur way, Insecure Men announced each of their songs: “This song is about Heathrow. It’s called Heathrow.” The childlike jig played a pivotal role in really dragging people back into reality with the uneasy chugging that slows and grinds to a halt.

Mid-way through the set, Fat White Family frontman, Lias Saoudi, slinks onto the stage with a half drunk pint in hand. The spotlight shifts and soon as the song (‘Ulster’) begins, it’s over, and he slides back off the stage, as if nothing had happened.

‘Mekong Glitter’ upped the ante as the setlist reached it’s end, stressing dirty guitar and dissonant mess on the piano during the solo. Unquestionably, the song bounced off all the walls as the whole crowd joined in unison for the chorus: “Why don’t you ever ask why? Why don’t you ever ask why?”

Closing the set, the smoke machine relentlessly huffed and puffed transporting the venue into the steamy bathroom where ‘Whitney Houston and I’ exists, leaving the audience in the ethereal haze they first stepped into.

 

Words by Meg Berridge

 

Edited by George Kennedy

Prescription Addiction : Hip Hop’s dependence on drugs

Features, Uncategorized

Music and drugs have long since had a close and interlinked relationship. From early drinking songs harking back to viking times, to hippies prancing around a field with faces full of hair and heads full of acid, drugs have always played a vital role in the development and influence of music. It may be unclear whether the drugs came first and caused the music, or if the drugs just made the music better to listen to, but their prevalence in music survives till today.

Each genre and subculture has its drug of choice, for the Hippie’s it was Cannabis and LSD, for the Mods it was Amphetamine’s, and for the ravers it was MDMA, the trap scene is no different. Ever since the creation of the genre both listeners and the artists themselves use drugs ranging from weed and cocaine, to prescription pills and codeine. Obviously those that do take these substances have their personal reasons for doing so, but the similarities in usage among the community begs the question as to why these certain substances are used, and what their involvement is in the composition of the music.

The recent death of emo trap artist Lil Peep has caused many to ask ‘how far is too far’, in relation to the use of narcotics in music. The rapper, famous for his use of substances in his personal life as well as his music, was found dead in his tour bus on the 15th of November this year after a suspected overdose from the prescription pill Xanax. The drug played a huge role in his music, and was referenced in many of his songs, in ‘Praying to the sky’, he says: “I hear voices in my head, they tellin’ me to call it quits. I found some Xanax in my bed, I took that shit, went back to sleep”.

Trap originated as a Atlantan slang reference to the place used for drug deals, often referred to as a trap house. Notable for having very little furniture and home comforts save for a place to sit and a place to sniff, snort, or roll various questionable substances off or on. The term was soon integrated into southern hip hop, with artists such as Outkast, Ghetto Mafia, and Cool Breeze referencing the term and the lifestyle in their music.

The widespread growth of Hip Hop during the 90s and 00s meant the term was vastly used and was soon attributed to the rising genre of Hip Hop that described and often glorified the drug dealing lifestyle in their music. An individual often noted as one of the forebears of trap was T.I.. Who in an interview in December 2012 stated “before I came in the game, it was Lil Jon, Outkast, Goodie Mob, okay so you had crunk music and you had Organized Noise. There was no such thing as trap music, I created that, I created that. I coined the term.” Whilst T.I.’s claim over the genre may sound somewhat dubious, his influence in the sound of trap laid the foundations for the signature sound that has become synonymous with the genre ever since. Expanding on the sound of artists like T.I., producer Lex Luger created the signature sound of Trap that most artists still use today, his use of heavy 808 drum machine sounds and synthesisers became the background to some of the most popular tracks in Trap.

Hip Hop’s long standing relationship with narcotics is something of a controversial one, with many concerned about the glorification of the use and abuse of these substances in the lyrics having an adverse affect on the impressionable children listening to the music. However in recent years the number of references has increased dramatically compared to at the birth of Hip Hop. A study performed at the University of California noted that during the last two decades positive portrayals of drugs, and references, have had a sixfold increase from 11 percent to 69 percent. Not only are artists talking about drugs more nowadays, but they also appear to be taking more. Through the rise of social media platforms artists can let the world know what they’re taking, and how much they’re taking. Minutes before his death Lili Peep shared a video to his Instagram followers of him dropping six of what appears to be Xanax pills into his mouth. A prominent feature of trap music videos are joints hanging out of rappers mouths, whilst THC laden clouds of smoke hang around them like a bad smell, or a nice smell, depending on your preference.

Drug influence in the lyrical side of Trap is obvious and plain to see, however it exists in the music too. The long slurred words and mumbling commonly heard from artists most likely originated from the rappers drinking lean, a drink also referred to as sizzurp, concocted from a mixture of codeine, sprite, and a boiled candy. Due to codeine being an opiate derived from opium, from which heroin is derived from, it has the effect of turning the user into a well educated chimp, albeit a very relaxed and well educated chimp. Whilst this mumble style of rapping most likely evolved as a result of the use of lean, or as a result of becoming brain dead from the use of lean, it has now become style in itself, with people copying it purely because they like the sound. Musically the melodies and rhythms of Trap followed the sound of artists vocals, incorporating almost rolling or droning synth sounds, often with a very heavy bassline. The drum beats are the only feature that remains untouched by the drug filled haze of trap artists, the 808 style retains the same legendary status in Trap as it does in Hip Hop.

The illicit nature of drug use and dealing means that anyone connected to it is often viewed as a criminal. In this day and age of Hollywood crime films, the glorification of crime gives these criminals an often hero like quality, the Trap scene is one that plays on this greatly, the artists that talk about their dealing with narcotics become protagonists to their huge cohorts of fans who believe that they can do no wrong. This may be largely damaging to culture, especially to young fans that will often attempt to mimic their idols, however one could argue that rebellious idols are always going to be admired, and if it isn’t these artists it could be something much worse.
There is an over abundance of drug culture in Trap, without which Trap would not be able to exist in the form that it does today.

 

Words by Jamie Raybould

 

Edited by George Kennedy

Justin Currie and The Pallbearers at The Jazz Cafe

Live Reviews, Music Reviews, Uncategorized

Looking over the sea of wrinkles that was the crowd, it was clear that no one here, save the little boy playing on his parent’s or maybe even grandparent’s iPhone, was under the age of 25. A mass of pale bald scalps filled the room while the odd aroma of old spice mingled with ale, stout, and feet rose from the floorboards. The venue itself, for all of its history hosting world famous artists such as Amy Winehouse, Ben E King, Kym Mazelle, and Edwin Starr, looked completely modern.

The wooden detailing and warm ambience gives the cafe a cosy atmosphere. One thing which was a little strange to me was the first floor restaurant, which housed viewers throughout the night who ate as the performance took place, however the smell of the food could not mask the scent of middle occupants on the floor below. As the support act walked on stage the landing crowd took their places, a large number of them fought over the very few seats at the back of the room, fearing standing on their feet for an hour, while the brave ones filtered to the stage.

Les Johnson and Me opened the night, a Scottish bluegrass singer with a movingly deep soulful voice, unfortunately many of the crowd were unfamiliar with him or his work so the atmosphere suffered somewhat. An hour later the man everyone was there for took the stage. Justin Currie with his backing band The Pallbearers.

Opening with a rocking song from back in the Del Amitri days, ‘Just Like a Man’, an obvious crowd favourite from the reaction, the scintillating guitar tone mixing perfectly with the rough Glaswegian twang in Justin’s voice. A voice that hasn’t aged a day from his first record with Del Amitri back in 1985. From there they quickly rattled off the greatest hits of the Del Amitri days, ‘Be My Downfall’, ‘Move Away Jimmy Blue’, ‘Tell Her This’, and ‘Always The Last To Know’ were particularly well received by the crowd, almost all of which sang along, knowing all the words to each and every song.

After warming the crowd up with the classics he moved on to the latest songs from his new album ‘This Is My Kingdom Now’, including the title song, ‘No Surrender, and ‘Sydney Harbour Bridge’. His experience shines not only during the performance, but also in-between the songs, as the band left the stage for one of the more intimate songs he quipped “they hate the sad ones”, to a murmur of laughter “but then again, they’re all sad ones”.

Finishing with perhaps his most famous hit from the Del Amitri days, ‘Driving With The Brakes On’ was met with rapturous applause, as the crowd quickly moved moved out to catch the next train back in time for bargain hunt on BBC One.

 

Words by Jamie Raybould

 

Edited by George Kennedy