Saturday, 2 October 2010

Live Review - UWS Freshers Music Festival

UWS Freshers Music Festival
UWS Union, Paisley
30th September 2010

Haven't done a gig review in ages, so why not break myself back in gently, by reviewing around half a dozen bands at once? This could be messy.

First of all, ways to make me feel old: #1 put me in a room full of young, bright eyed, enthusiastic students. #2 make that room in a student union that didn't even exist when I was a student at that same University.

The first band I caught were Aspen Tide, opening the upstairs acoustic stage. I'm pretty unfamiliar with the band, but what I caught of their set did enough to encourage further investigation. Aspen Tide are a relatively new band and so far don't stray too far from anthemic pop/rock templates, but they do it well, particularly in a stripped back acoustic setting. More ones to keep an eye on than fully formed and ready, if Aspen Tide keep working on their songs and find a sound they are comfortable with that is a little more distinctive there's no reason they can't find themselves higher up the bill on gigs in future.

Next up were local boys Pacific Theatre, my second time seeing them in a week, having gone along to their split single launch the previous Thursday. On that occasion Fraser from Pacific Theatre was celebrating his birthday and had been introduced to the joys of Bloc's infamous Balkan shots, this time round he looked less likely to pass out at any moment, probably just as well since he was one of the ones organising things today.
Pacific Theatre already have more than a handful of quality songs and a couple of choruses that almost demand to be sung along to. They aren't half bad live either, with a bit more of a rough edge on stage than on record which suits them. Now if only I could stop thinking how much their singer reminds me of Kevin Bridges...

Make Sparks are a band that I'd somewhat fallen out of love with. Way back in January they went on my Tips for 2010 list, but for no reason in particular I've not paid much attention through the year, except to pick up their last single. Their set, the first time I've seen them in ages, was a timely reminder of why I fell in love with the band in the first place. Straight up guitar pop from an incredibly tight band with more hooks than a prize fight, Make Sparks are both a breath of fresh air and a little ray of sunshine, as well as showing that there's no substitute for hard work. Welcome back to that little place in my heart, it never realised how much it missed you.

Trapped In Kansas were cutting it fine, transport problems meaning they barely arrived in time for their set. Having seen trapped In Kansas plenty of times before, a bit of a clash meant that I only stuck around for the first couple of songs. The couple that I caught were newer material and sounded encouraging.

Ryan Bisland provided the aforementioned schedule clash, since I've been meaning to catch one of his gigs for ages, but keep missing them. As I join proceedings Ryan, joined on stage by another guitarist, breaks into a cover of Elbow's One Day Like This. A bold move really, considering the level of exposure that song has had, but one that works out. What helps is that there is no noticeable dip in quality between the cover and the originals, with Vultures in particular standing out. Battling against an increasing level of chatter in the main bar with just a couple of acoustic guitars is no easy task, but it is a challenge that Ryan and his band rise to. The style is one I don't normally go for, but the craft and quality of the songs is undeniable.

If I'm not careful Carnivores will think I'm stalking them. If I'm not careful Carnivores will deafen me. I really must stop standing next to the speakers when they play, throughout their set their bass drum made my clothes move, and my drink ripple like a scene from Jurassic Park. Carnivores make one Hell of a noise, and do it brilliantly. Not only that, but they have the song quality in that noise to save them ever becoming one dimensional. Absolutely a band you should see live, but the sensitive out there will want to pack ear plugs.

A minute of The LaFontaines proves to be a minute too long for me. The busy room suggests they have some appeal, just not to me. Let's just say it wasn't my thing and move on swiftly.

Kitty the Lion are playing upstairs where the chatter has steadily increased, making this an uphill battle. The band get a bit lost in the noise unfortunately, but do manage to shine through a few times. Songs like Lion In the Bed and Catalytic Converter emerge from the chat as strong and catchy, while Anna Meldrum's voice is generally hard not to love.

After that the lure of being able to get a bus home instead of walking miles overcame the desire to see the remaining bands, so like the old man I am I headed off, leaving the kids to enjoy Sucioperro.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Aye Tunes Vs Peenko III

No one ever stops at two, you need to have at least a trilogy, don't you?
With that in mind Peenko and myself have been working for a while on the third AVP gig which we can finally announce. We'll be the Back To The Future, Toy Story, Evil Dead and Friday series, not The Matrix, MVP: Most Valuable Primate, Beverly Hills Cop or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
We promise no Ewoks and no Sophia Coppola. All bands will be appearing in full definition 3D though, unless you only have one eye.

Never ones to outstay our welcome (shh) we've upped sticks again, shifting to downstairs at The Classic Grand this time round, so we are nice and handy for the train station and Pizza Hut. If you saw me before either of the previous gigs you might have noticed a lot of blind panic, well The Classic Grand is a much bigger venue than The Captain's Rest or The 13th Note were, so expect my look of panic to be significantly increased too. But enough about me shitting myself, and more about the fools bands we've somehow managed to get to play for us.

The Seventeenth Century are simply a band I can't see myself getting bored of watching. Not only do they have magnificent songs, but also a level of on stage energy and chemistry that has to be seen to be believed. Don't just take my word for it, listen to John Robb, who said "Their sound is utterly original and the band is pure genius"

Come On Gang! are an Edinburgh based three piece with a line of catchy melodies that embed themselves in your head and refuse to leave for some time. They also have a singing female drummer which not only makes them stand out from the crowd, but shows that at both Peenko and Aye Tunes we like both females and people from Edinburgh. Fair warning - they recently made a man dance so hard he tore his trousers.

I Build Collapsible Mountains is another Edinburgh dweller. This mysterious singer songwriter is on the verge of releasing his debut mini album A Month of Lost Memories (out on October 13th on Peenko Records. Hang on...) and will be revealing his true face for us. Well, IBCM is really Luke Joyce, formerly of The Gothenburg Address and gifted photographer. But shh, don't tell anyone.

We try to put together a line up that is a bit different from the usual, no booking support bands that sound a bit like the headliners but not quite as good, which we've hopefully accomplished. All three bring something different to the table, and your ears, all we ask is that you bring the ears.

Aye Tunes Vs Peenko 3 takes place on the Fifth of November - if only there was some little rhyme you could use to stop yourself from forgetting the date - at The Classic Grand in Glasgow.
Tickets cost £6 and are available from Tickets Scotland, TicketWeb, Peenko, or by harassing either me or Lloyd by email or in person. If either of us bump into you over the next month or so we will try and sell you a ticket, so be warned.
Also, Facebook users can go here for the event page.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Return of the YAK

Give me an excuse to reference Mark Morrison in a post title and I'll take it.

You Already Know released their debut album Stop Whispering last year to much acclaim, it also scored a spot in the Aye Tunes favourite albums of 2009. Since the end of last year they've been fairly quiet, slipping out a tour CD and a very limited - and excellent - collection of cover versions for Record Store Day earlier this year. The quiet time has been well spent, whipping second album Petrol Money into shape.

Now that Petrol Money is finished, it is time for You Already Know to make a bit of noise again, something they do very well. Starting in October the first fruits of the second album will be released, under a series of digital singles.

YAK's Allan J Swan says "We have 3 tracks from the album we will be releasing as singles, each in the old 7" vinyl style of A-side + exclusive B-side. For £1 a month from October to December, we'll be offering up the finest instrumental riff-based music Scotland has ever offered up. And with all this being digital, you won't even have to brave the weather to get your fix. It just makes so much sense, i could cry."

The first single Boomstick will be backed with Into and Over You (Naked), an exclusive acoustic version of another album track. The single is set for release by in October and will be available exclusively on You can hear Boomstick below.

You Already Know are also set to make a return to gigging, with a show at The 13th Note on November 12th. Support comes from DeadOtter and Circle of Tyrants. Go.

<a href="">Boomstick by You Already Know</a>

Sunday, 26 September 2010

This Week's Gigs: 27th September - 3rd October

There seems to be very few posts in between the gig listings recently, I need to work on that. Particularly since there's a large pile of CDs to be reviewed which fall on me occasionally, not to mention digital stuff, which obviously doesn't fall on me. Ooh look, I'm babbling again, that's a sure sign I should get on with things.

Martin Docherty. The Liquid Ship. Free

The Glad Cafe/45 A-side Records Present: Dam Mantle, Song Of Return, Conquering Animal Sound, Barn Owl, Detour DJs. Stereo. Tickets.
he Glad Cafe is a new venture being set up in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow, which will host both a restraunt and and arts venue. To raise funds and awareness 45 A-Side Records are releasing a compilation album, with this gig being the launch, which features a ton of great bands, including those playing the gig. The record can be bought in advance here.

UWS Freshers Music Festival. Paisley Student Union. £4
As I've said before, Paisley gigs get plugs. As it happens that has a pretty good looking line up too, with the likes of Aspen Tide, Ryan Bisland, Kitty The Lion and Aeriels Up on the acoustic stage, while Carnivores, Pacific Theatre, LightGuides, Trapped In Kansas, Make Sparks and headliners Sucioperro gracing the main stage. Everything kicks off at 4.30pm, £4 entry, and non students can get in too, which is good news for me. Download a free sampler compilation of some of the bands taking part here.

How To Swim launch their debut album Retina (or More Fun Than A Vat of Love) with this wee gig. As well as quality supports there has been cake promised. Entry will cost you £5, but for £10 you can get in AND get a copy of the album, so do that.

Music Like a Vitamin. HMV Picture House, Edinburgh.
Featuring solo sets from Karine Polwart and Scott Hutchison, along with a whole host of collaborative efforts.

Music Like a Vitamin. O2 ABC, Glasgow.
Like Edinburgh the night before expect a bunch of collaborations, plus solo sets from James Yorkston and Alasdair Roberts.

First Glasgow headline gig from French Wives since their ace performance at King Tut's a wee while ago. If you missed it then you can have a listen to a new French Wives song here, and get it as a free download on Monday.

Be a Familiar, Endor, Gdansk. Classic Grand.

Aberfedly, Second Hand Marching Band. Aberfeldy Town Hall.
Fancy seeing Aberfeldy in the place they take their name from? Now would be your chance.


As we hit October we also hit Oxjam season. Other Oxjam gigs will have to go some to beat the line up for this one though. The sensitive out there might want to bring earplugs.