The Unsigned Sessions Top 10 Session Artists

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The Unsigned Sessions is a radio show born from a passion for unsigned music and the people who make it, a show created to try and get this music to a wider audience.

The show started as a podcast published on Soundcloud and recorded with a small handheld recorder in a cupboard at home. Through time the show went on to be recorded in a proper studio, then onto live radio at Castle FM Scotland doing excellent  live acoustic sessions in the studio there. Now we are lucky enough to be able to record full band live sessions with an audience in a venue in the heart of Scotland’s capital city which is a true privilege and great fun to do, what’s more we have managed to keep doing all this on a voluntary self funded basis.

The aim of the show has always been the same though, our objective is to get new and unsigned artists heard by as many people as possible through as many channels as we can whether it be radio (now broadcast on 3 stations), social media, this webpage, our live shows  which have all been a huge success or any other ways we find to spread the word.

With all this in mind we thought we might find out who your top ten acts that have joined us for a session on the show are, so we set about getting your favorites via the live radio show on Castle FM Scotland. The listeners responded to this much more than expected and we soon had a top 20 to start working with. The top 20 was whittled down to 10 via the live radio shows over a 7 week period, all of which can be heard on demand here.

Now we have your top 10 Unsigned Session Acts, I can’t believe the number of emails that we received for this feature, the response has been massive, much bigger than expected which is great news. Thank you to each and every person who took the time to vote for their favorite.

Here they are your top ten with links to go and check them out.

10. Lyndsay Sheilds.                                                                                                                                      Find Lyndsay on Facebook here                                                                                                                  On Twitter here                                                                                                                                      Listen to Lyndsay’s brilliant session with us here

9. Noah Noah.                                                                                                                                          Find Noah Noah on Facebook here                                                                                                            On Twitter here                                                                                                                                     Listen to their brilliant session with us here

8. Michael Cochrane                                                                                                                                     Find Michael on Facebook here                                                                                                                    Listen to his great session with us here

7. Start Static.                                                                                                                                                 Find Start Static on Facebook here                                                                                                              On Twitter here                                                                                                                                      Listen to their brilliant session with us here

6. The Backbeats.                                                                                                                                           Find The Backbeats on Facebook here                                                                                                       On Twitter here                                                                                                                                       Listen to their brilliant session with us here

5. Logik.                                                                                                                                                            Find Logik on Facebook here                                                                                                                        On Twitter here                                                                                                                                       Listen to Logik’s brilliant session with us here

4. Lynzie Dray.                                                                                                                                                 Find Lynzie on Facebook here                                                                                                                    On Twitter here                                                                                                                                              Listen to Lynzie’s brilliant session with us here

3. Richy Neill & The Reinforcements.                                                                                                       Find Richy Neill & The Reinforcements on Facebook here                                                                      On Twitter here                                                                                                                                              Listen to their brilliant session with us here

2. Up In Smoke.                                                                                                                                               Find Up In Smoke on Facebook here                                                                                                           On Twitter here                                                                                                                                                Listen to their brilliant session with us here

Your number 1 Unsigned Session act.

The Number 9’s.                                                                                                                                             Find The Number 9’s on Facebook here                                                                                                      On Twitter here                                                                                                                                                Listen to their brilliant session with us here

Please go and check all the great acts you have chosen and share them on your social media, spread the word.

The Unsigned Sessions will be back in 2017 with more live show in The Banshee Labyrinth starting the second Monday in February, the live radio shows will continue every Thursday at 8pm on Castle FM Scotland.

Please also keep up to date with us on the links  below and give our pages a like and a share. Thank You all for the continued support with our wee sessions.

Click below to be taken to the relevant Voice of Scotland pages.                                                            Facebook                                                                                                                                                         Twitter                                                                                                                                                             Mixcloud

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Black Cat Bone – Growl


black cat bone growl cover

By Neil Kerr

Black Cat Bone, one of Edinburgh’s finest Blues Rock bands in my humble opinion, are set to release their debut album on the 30th of October 2015. I will not tell fibs, I am a fan of this act and have been since the first time I saw them, they are a great live act and well worth the price of a ticket to one of their gigs.

I was both delighted and apprehensive in equal measure when the guys contacted me to send three of the songs from their album for review, delighted to be hearing this music before release, apprehensive due to thoughts of “What if I don’t like it?” and “Can I write a review if I don’t like it?”  It could even be said that I put off listening to the tracks as a result of these haunting thoughts, stupid really but that is how it happened.

Stupid thoughts aside I did eventually open the file and download the songs, three of them, which as always on computers appeared before me in alphabetical order, so that is the order we shall use to check the songs out.

IMG_4384First up is “John The Revelator” an almost spooky sounding ballad played out to just a couple of piano notes. This song is for me vocally driven, although the piano notes are at the fore of the track. The vocal is crisp and the accompanying backing vocal compliments this well. This is a short song at two minutes forty one seconds long but it left me wanting for more. It is a real teaser of a song, it’s almost a capella  nature intriguingly new for Black cat bone and a shining example of front man Ross’ amazing vocal talent. I wanted more….

So on went alphabetically listed track number two, the marvellously entitled  “Piece Of Mind” a play on words from the start. This song introduces itself in a different manner with growling guitar followed by the deep thump of a kick drum, a definite bluesy feel to this one which is confirmed when the vocal kicks in, brilliant again, deep and bluesy telling a story of “A fever that won’t let go”.  This is a love song of sorts for sure, Black Cat Bone style. Musically and lyrically this song does it for me, my fearful thoughts of the possibility I may not like the new tunes now a distant memory, I was compelled to listen to these two tracks a good few times more before moving on to the last one in the file.

After my ears were suitably satisfied that the first two songs were indeed as good as I had hoped from Black Cat Bone I clicked the play button on the last track I was sent, the title track of the album “Growl”. This songs title could well be derived from the opening guitar, it growls for sure. Another bluesy feeling track encompassing everything that is Black Cat bone,  growling blues rock guitar riffs, smooth harmonica, the unique sound of the kajon bringing the percussion and of course the magnificent vocal.


If these three songs are a good representation of the album then I will be first in the queue on release day for my copy. The band have had a busy year of gigs, had a line up change and have went right on and produced an album with a sound that I personally think is great, it is unique to them and that is what makes a band interesting it makes them stand out among the crowd. Don’t be fooled by my bluesy description here either, the rock element is there in shed loads. It is clear to me hearing these three songs that Black Cat Bone mean business, there is a lot of hard work in these songs, they are not just simple tunes, each one different in so many ways, unique like their creators and very well put together. Oh and did I mention the superb vocal?

The album is released on the 31st of October with a release gig in Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms on the 30th.

Get your copy and check the band out with the links below. Go and see them too because they really are great live too. Don’t just take my word for it though check them out.

Band Facebook page –

Ticket link –

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100 Bands On The Border Is Born.


 By Neil Kerr

I have never been to a gig in the Scottish borders and if I’m honest I had no idea about the local unsigned scene in that area either. That is until a meeting earlier this year with a Galashiels man with passion, a real gut felt passion for the unsigned scene like no other person I have met on my journey in the world of unsigned music, this meeting has through time opened my eyes to the Borders scene.

The meeting was with a man with a dream, a dream which he has had for many years and this year he was fully intending to make a reality. In fact this was much more than a dream, we all have dreams, things we would love to do or happen, but for most of us they never  become a reality. I got the immediate feeling that this would not be the case as I was told about this mans dream, his dream was driven with passion and a great appreciation for talented musicians. He understood the need to get acts seen in other areas and wanted to create a platform in his home town for this to happen.

IMG_6527The idea was clear and simple at the same time as being a mammoth undertaking, he wanted to put on a multi venue, 3 day music festival with 100 bands from all over the country coming together with borders bands and kick starting a new network of like minded people working to spread music around and get it heard by fresh ears, an ethic that I too have a passion for.

I was invited to witness this dream become a reality in Galashiels on the 11th – 13th of September. One mans vision had, with a little help along the way, came to fruit. A new festival was to be born, the dates were set and the acts were booked. I was and still am excited by the opportunity to follow a new festival from the beginning and it looks like it could well be a long and pleasant journey.


I won’t lie to you, there were a few problems but it was first year so allowances must be made and the volunteers and organisers were quick to sort things out where they could, and with 7 venues and a huge amount of acts involved teething issues were sure to arise. That aside, upon our arrival in the centre of Galashiels the the first thing we saw was the main stage, easy to find, which is always nice. We were welcomed by our dreamer, who by now of course was no longer just dreaming, this was it for him, his dream was about to be played out to music fans in 7 venues across the town.

Inside the main stage area flyers were readily available showing all venues on a map as well as a daily line up for each venue, this was to be my bible for the weekend and was I was glad of it as I had no clue where the venues were located. The main stage and arena were well put together with 2 pubs supporting the event immediately beside the arena allowing refreshments to be had.


The first act were a band that was put together specially for the event called  “The Gala Boys” they had only been together for nine weeks and were a superb opening act heralding the beginning of the first ever 100 Bands On The Border Festival and if they were to be the standard of musicians we were to see over the weekend then it was set to be a great weekend of music. I was looking forward to 100 Bands On The Border more than ever now and was keen to see all the venues.


At this point we were lucky enough to meet the fantastic Diane Redpath, the owner of Borders Music News and Reviews, which you should take some time to check out on the link at the end of this article. Diane is also passionate about the local music scene in the borders and was a superb help to us in finding all the venues, in fact she spent the entire Friday evening with us and was great company, giving me some great tips on what bands to see which helps as choosing is hard when you know you can never see them all. I can’t thank Diane enough for that help, she was a great person to meet, and set the tone for every other local person we were to meet across the weekend, great people, each and every one of them, chatty, welcoming and generally nice people.

IMG_7072The music at 100 Bands Festival was just incredible, It would take me weeks to review all the acts so I will not, there is time for that in the future and it offers me an excuse to go see the ones I missed. The line up that was put together, or at least what I saw of it and also what I was told of some I missed, was of a very high standard. Act after act were brilliant and each one of them played an excellent set. The venues were all great too and of mixed sizes, so the atmosphere in some was brilliant. It was great to see acts from out of town playing in Galashiels for the first time to a packed venue. The organisers had every genre covered as well, so there was something for every musical taste from acoustic Bluegrass to Heavy Rock and everything in between. Every person I spoke to at 100 Bands Festival was loving the music, every musician I spoke to was delighted to be there and many gained new fans. One thought that was shared by Festival goers and musicians alike however was how great the Gala folk were, welcoming us all to their great town and embracing the new festival a sentiment that echoed across the weekend..


I think 100 Bands Festival will grow and become a great success over the coming years, the people behind it certainly have passion for music and a want for it to be heard by as many ears as is possible this is certain to drive it forward. The bands and those who went to see them all enjoyed it and will be sure to spread the word, and if the standard of the musicians is kept as high as it was then it is not to be missed. I had a great weekend in Galashiels, the town, the people, the music and 100 Bands Festival as a whole were brilliant.


Not a bad start to our dreamers dream. Clearly the term “dreamer” is not one that truly relates to this guy, maybe only as  descriptive word to explain how he felt about his idea, it has a use. I think believer is a better word to describe our man. He believed in himself, he believed in his idea not only becoming a reality but in it becoming a success. He believed in the musicians he and his team of like minded individuals selected to represent his dream, he believed in the people he chose to work with and the fantastic volunteers. He believed in his town and the brilliant people who share it with him every day. Most of all he believed it could all happen and that he could make it happen, and happen it did. 100 Bands festival was born and as I say, will in my opinion grow to become a major player on the summer festival scene.

IMG_7097Why do I think this? I think this because dreams and passions can work well together, many people work on the same principle and have great success. Couple that with a town full of people who want it to happen there and some of the most talented musicians there is around, selected for their passion, belief in their own dreams and drive to make it happen, chosen by a team that has all the same qualities and I think that is a recipe for success. If year 1 is anything to go by 100 Bands On The Border is here to stay. I will be there next year for sure. Get your tickets and come see for yourself.

Thanks to all at 100 Bands Festival for having us and special thanks to our believer,  for creating a wee gem of a festival and plenty great memories of a superb weekend of live music. I loved every second!

Links below to find out more about 100 Bands On The Border.

100 bands website –

100 bands on Facebook –

Border Music News ans Reviews –

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The Best Soup Ever – Audio Soup

By Neil Kerr


To us music lovers the name “Audio Soup” contains much excitement. It congers thoughts of many musical delights and multitudes of genres all stirred up into a magnificent ear warming soup. The type of soup that offers a hug, is heart warming, always looked forward to and hearty. The audio chefs that put together the aptly named Audio Soup have got the ingredients just spot on.

Audio Soup, held on the 17th, 18th and 19th of July this year, starts before you even reach the site as the setting for this festival is rural to say the least, but stunning is an understatement. The scenery is incredible as you make your way to Cranshaws where Audio Soup is held and the festival site itself is no different, nestled in a valley on a flat area beside the Whiteadder river, the backdrop of the Lammermuir hills in East Lothian is just stunning and campers are lucky enough to be camped right beside the peaty waters of the Whiteadder river, just perfect. The rural location is no problem though as the organisers were running a shuttle bus from the nearest train station to make sure all soupers get there safe.

On arrival at the well signposted site the relaxed atmosphere is immediately apparent at the well organised  box office where the staff were brilliant, not stressing and very welcoming, a brilliant start by anyone’s standards. Parking and camping also were well organised and staffed. Walking to the festival arena from parking Takes you passed the camp site which looked to be a great place to be, many campers were relaxing and enjoying a pre-festival drink beside the river, I think I might just camp next year.

IMG_5838On to the festival, “Audio Soup”. Normally at this point I would go on about the bands I saw and who I thought was great but I can’t do that here because the talent was all superb, I want this to be about Audio Soup, the fantastic people behind it and the great people who attend it because without all those ingredients the soup would be bland. The folks behind Audio Soup put together top quality ingredients for their soup, a blinding line up of acts of many different genres, including a dedicated Hip Hop tent which is a great addition, and the people who attend are the seasoning, Without each other Audio Soup would be just another good festival, with good music.

This festival however is much more than that, the layout of the arena this year was spot on, bars were well positioned so you were never too far from what you wanted to see and were reasonably priced, which is always nice. There were stalls with all sorts of delights for sale and food was plentiful and rather tasty too. My particular favourite was the Pizza from Big Blue but with plenty to chose from I never managed to try everything. There were plenty stages as well, each one seeming to be as popular as the others showing the wide ranging appeal of Audio Soup as there were never two genres the same, a proper scotch broth in a place that offers a setting that could not be more Scottish, hills, heather, fir trees, great music, great food and fantastic people all adding to the perfect soup.

IMG_5850I raise my hat to all, organisers, volunteers and festival goers alike here, all great people with the same idea, to enjoy some of the finest unsigned musicians in a beautiful place. And that is exactly what we all did, I spoke to a good many people there and they all said the same things as I have said above, some enjoyed the DJ’s, some the Hip Hop and others the live bands. Everyone had great things to say about the chill-out areas with swing seats and bars. Parents with children were equally happy with something as simple as a few bales of straw, creating endless joy for their kids, being just the beginning of what families can enjoy at Audio Soup, I for one never saw an unhappy looking youngster all weekend.

IMG_5945To sum up the music at Audio Soup was awesome, there really was something for everyone, two that stood out for me were Cherry Diesel and the superb Mickey 9s  although I could go on and on here. The sound was bang on too and organisation seemed well sorted except the programmes were a wee bit out but that is immediately forgiven as boards appear with a correct daily line up. The perfect soup just add the seasoning, the festival goers who really are just awesome, every one of them adding to the perfect festival experience offered to us in a field at Cranshaws in the Lammermuir Hills of East Lothian. Great location, fantastic music, brilliant organisation, excellent sound and lighting and probably the best bunch of people you are ever likely to have the pleasure of spending a weekend in a field with.

IMG_5658I loved my soup and suggest you get your tickets for next year as soon as you can because this festival is certain to grow and you really should become part of it as that is how Audio Soup makes you feel, like you are a part of something very special, and you are whether you are a festival goer, a musician, sound guy, organiser, media, stall holder or even supply the toilets. You are part of Audio Soup, a vital ingredient in the perfect weekend festival.

See you next year soupers.

Check out the pictures in the gallery below too.

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East Coast Defector & Universal Thee -Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh, 15th May 2015

As my friend Thomas (brother of Universal Thee bassist Andrew Perrie) picks me up Glasgow after he finished his shift at the place I used to work, I’m feeling philosophical about life in general. My intention is to drink Irn Bru and do some photographs of the bands and not consume alcohol at any point in the evening. However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, not that I’m suggesting that Edinburgh is in any way Hell. I quite like the place. Just sometimes setting yourself aims that are unachievable can only result in a fall.

The Motorway zooms underneath the car as Thomas becomes my proxy psychiatrist and we get to Edinburgh faster than you could say akataphasia. I’m rambling on a lot, he is driving so is a captive audience as we hit the outskirts of the capital. This is where the real problems begin though. Both of us kind of know where the venue is. However Matt Berry’s voice on the Satnav and the one way systems in the City cause a disconnect between where we are and where we hope to be. “fire the nuclear weapons!” and “tuuurn riight in 23 yards!” throw us a bit. “I’m a pedestrian” I shout aloud as Berry’s voice misguides us further away from the venue, of course he is not listening as it was just a recording of his lines. Thomas, a native of this fair City, eventually gets us close enough to park the car and walk to where we hope The Wee Red Bar is. This works tremendously as my innate navigation (due south of the Castle) gets us to the entrance of the Edinburgh Art College, where helpfully someone has chalked “follow the monkey” on the ground. This low tech approach takes us to the place we want to be, and would have been at earlier no doubt, if it wasn’t for that pesky Matt Berry Satnav!


We arrive just as The Indos are finishing their set, so I’ll leave a review of that band for another time. What I heard was nice though so I hope to see them at a future gig. The Wee Red Bar itself is a typical small student bar/venue which is nicely full of people who seem to like live music. Alan Clarke from East Coast Defector comes over and asks me if I’d like a drink. I automatically say “lager or something” and my soft drink dreams are shattered in three words. It is all his fault…well not really, I blame Matt Berry and his confusing directions on the Satnav.


Also at this point, I wonder about the possibly ex Spetsnaz security guard outside the place who was a bit worried about people smoking at the smoking area and requested we move aside for a trolley full of soft drinks and snacks whilst it was still out of range. We complied of course as we wanted to see the bands and not engage in combat. But for him I might have heisted a few Mars bars and some cans of Fanta as part of my world domination plans. Alas I was thwarted so I chatted with the bands for a bit instead.


And so…Universal Thee take to the stage and begin a fantastic set comprising of some songs from their first album : Back to Earth, interspersed with some new tracks from the forthcoming and as yet untitled LP. There is a dynamic at play with James and Lisa Russell’s vocals on top of Robin Spivey’s guitar riffs which are riding on top of Andrew Perrie’s bass and Matt Grieve’s drums. Like a layer cake or a pyramid. It would work just as well inverted. Universal Thee are poppy and punky and indie and rocky in equal measures. And their set is tight and organised despite their quirkiness and perhaps seemingly shambolic presentation. They come across as shy and a bit quiet in between songs, then hit you right in the face with some quite powerful lyrics and arrangements. I only do pictures for 2 or 3 songs so I can watch this band play (I also made a video on my phone can of  Xang : linked below.*)

Universal Thee 7

Universal Thee open with Keep Falling which is has the line “Chastity, I left my belt at home tonight” after it’s bouncy guitar/bass/drum intro.

New tracks Speaker and Hamlet 3 are high points in the set. Andrew’s bass playing suggests a baroque feeling whilst his energetic movements and genuinely joyful stances suggests a more free outlook. Robin gets tore in with his wonderfully off kilter riffs and phrases on guitar. Matt rocks out with his Cardiacs T shirt on and cowbell ( on just one song, but we are all waiting for it – Xang being the track in question.)  And Eric is done without an explanation of 0800 chat line numbers for a change (maybe I should have shouted “hey what is this song about?” )


Universal Thee 7 by Pat McGuire

Who do they sound like to me? Pixies and Pavement spring to mind of course. But there is also an extra thing going on with Universal Thee that I can’t quite put my finger on. Do I like them? Yes, of course. They have that unquantifiable and elusive ingredient that other bands sometimes try too hard to find but which will stay elusive unless you have it inherently. They have that thing that makes you like them as people as well as a band and makes you enjoy them more and more on each listen. That “thang” or that “xang” that just can’t be faked or manufactured. It has to just happen, it has to be part of an alignment of fate/synchronicity/talent and of course, hard work.


See Universal Thee’s Facebook page for more info here

My set of photographs of Universal Thee from the gig can be seen here.

Xang by Universal Thee on YT :



The headliners tonight are also friends of mine whom I’ve reviewed before. East Coast Defector. So tonight was pretty amazing for me as I got to see two of my favourite bands playing the same place on the same night. At this rate I might be up for a lottery win soon.


East Coast Defector are a band I’ve seen a few times in Glasgow. But tonight (to paraphrase Danny Dyer) “I’m on their manor, and things are about to kick off!” ECD (as us in the know refer to them) are an astoundingly good band. At first you would be forgiven for thinking that they shouldn’t exist, they do come across as if the universe had twisted itself a bit and came up with a random number pattern. Alan Clarke seems even taller as there is no stage in the Wee Red Bar. His frame dominates the centre as he hooks on his guitar and they go into the set. Winged by Kevin McCollum and Andrew Clarke on guitar and bass respectively. And With Albie Clark on drums holding the midfield they proceed to do what ECD do. Which put simply is to play some beguiling and lovely songs that transcend the bounds of “genre” music full stop. Some folk leaving the venue are drawn back in, at first their “WTF?” facial expressions change to smiles and thence to enlightenment.

You would be forgiven I suppose to assume that ECD are just having a laugh, they are to an extent in that they don’t take themselves too seriously, but at the same time they are a proper band who deliver an eclectic set that leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled. And also perhaps wondering about space travel, videostores, alt rock/indie music and The Hoff.

ECD 1_

Due to the curfew being 10pm and me being a bit wobbly, I didn’t manage to get a video of ECD from the gig, but trust me, they were amazing. Alan switches between guitar and mini keyboard depending on the song and the entire ensemble works with noisy indie pop rock music. There are periods of constructed feedback and heavy drummage (one song in particular displays Albie Clark’s love of Grohlesque drums as an outro.) And then a particularly lovely cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True love will find you in the end” reveals, perhaps where ECD are coming from.

Eastcoastdefector 8

My personal favourite of the night was Blu Glo which is perhaps a song about facebook addiction. But at the same time I’m always a sucker for Mixtape which they delivered with panache and style. I will always have a soft spot for ECD for many reasons. Alan buying me lager when I was foolishly considering a soft drink, is just one of them.


East Coast Defector are on Facebook here.

My photographs of East Coast Defector are here.


Review and photographs : Pat McGuire / PMGphotog

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Ian McNabb & Cold Shoulder / Daniel Wylie @ Barrowlands 2 December 13th 2014 : preview by Pat McGuire.

Those lovely people at STG Promotions tend to put on great gigs but this one might make my Xmas. In a show which has had it’s venue changed from the now sadly defunct “River” to Barrowlands 2 we lucky people will get to see the legendary Ian McNabb & Cold Shoulder  supported by the equally legendary Daniel Wylie.

For those who tend to live under rocks, Ian McNabb was the singer/guitarist in The Icicle Works, a band that have played up here a few times before and he will be fronting Cold Shoulder in possibly his last full band show in Scotland for while (unless of course people wake up to how good they are and maybe something nice happens.)  His last album Eclectic Warrior was a cracker (people who know me will know the opening  track – Smirtin’  see the yertube video at the bottom of the page.) I don’t know what Ian and the band will be playing on the 13th December, old stuff? New stuff? But I do know it will be good stuff. Forget the rubbish office parties and the horrible clubs, get your rear ends to this gig and we might end up Smirtin’ together.

The support for this gig is as near perfect as anyone could wish for. Daniel Wylie aided and abetted by Neil Sturgeon will begin proceedings. Daniel is a singer songwriter most famous for Cosmic Rough Riders. A Castlemilk guy who knows how to write a tune or and has a great voice too. The last time I saw him live at The Old Hairdressers he was excellent. He did songs from Fake your own Death LP as well as older material.  I hear rumours of a new record for 2015 so we might get to hear a taste of that if we are lucky and maybe a cheeky wee cover of  some Velvet Underground too…we won’t know until the actual gig so come along and we can find out together.

Pat McGuire.

Links :

STG Promotions on facebook.

Ian McNabb – Smirtin’ ( from Eclectic Warrior )

Daniel Wylie – It’s Always Been You ( from Fake Your own Death )

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Teenage Fanclub / Linden @ Kelvingrove Bandstand Friday 15th August 2014 : Pat McGuire.

I’ll never know which way to flow, set a course I just don’t know

A simple enough line at first glance, but one that comes back on you decades later. Even if you didn’t write it you, if you are a human being, may be able to relate to it. I’ve found it resonates for me often. Every time I make a change in my life, everything flows.

Friday night at the recently refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand being a case in point. The last time I was here it was derelict and full of scrubs. I took some photographs and my daughter said it would be a great place for bands to play in. Even as we both gazed into the rubble and rubbish below the stage she was as sure as a 10 year old can be, that this place would be a great venue. That was two years ago. I didn’t mention to her that I had seen bands playing there decades before she was born, when it was still a nice place and the stage was solid. The seating was still basic, almost like a Greek amphitheatre but it was a nice place to see bands. I can’t remember which bands exactly back then, but that doesn’t matter. The fact that this place is now a venue for bands is important.

Tonight we have something excellent and special. And this is even before Teenage Fanclub play. The support act – Linden.

Linden by Pat McGuire

Joe McAlinden has been a Boy Hairdresser, a BMX Bandit, A Superstar, and now has recordings produced by Edwyn Collins with a Sex Pistol playing drums on some of his stuff  (Paul Cook) and creates a wonderful hymnal presence as Linden (See what he did there?). Featuring members of The Wellgreen in his band he takes the early evening crowd on a melodic trip through his musical adventure with gloriously uplifting songs with amazing grace. There are nods to the classical frame as well as gentle pop themes as Joe and the band create some fantastically evocative music. Gentle hooks and phrasing on guitar and Rhodes keys set a great mood tonight. Ascending and descending on “Brown Bird Singing” for instance. Personally I’d love to see Linden in a more enclosed venue just so we could all enjoy and focus on what they do so well. Sublime greatness sometimes runs under the radar. Linden are great, adjust your radar and pick up on them please.


It starts to get dark in the bandstand. Dusk is settling over Glasgow. The queues to the toilets and bars seem a bit longer than before. I’m trying to have a smoke and use the facilities so that I can get my camera sorted for the main act. As I walk back down to the stage area there is a kind of electricity in the air, some of it perhaps from cider or lager, other parts just from a pensive excitement. As I trip then regain my footing, I notice that the place is mobbed. Since I went for a smoke it seems like all the vantage points I had scouted are now full. So I rush as fast as a 45 year old man can towards the stage whilst trying to retain at least some small part of my dignity. Of course I fail, and end up out of puff as I get my camera out and insert a blue extra chewing gum in my mouth. I’m nervous because I want to try to get some decent pictures and I’ve not seen Teenage Fanclub live since The Leadmill in Sheffield in 1990 something….

I manage to get into the photo pit with some time to spare so I mess about with my camera to pass the time and somehow appear as if I know what I’m doing. The fact is I’m more nervous taking pictures of bands than I ever was when I played in one. But that nervousness is good, it means I want to do it, it’s good nerves. I thrive on it.

Teenage Fanclub are playing in the Bandstand at Kelvingrove. Get that into your head. Two years ago I was doing black and white photographs from the stage that they are about to play on.  The place my daughter said would make a good venue. It of course looks a lot better now and it is full to the brim.

Teenage Fanclub begin with “It’s All In My Mind” and I’m still thinking it is. But I keep trying to take pictures anyway. I do my pit pictures, catch a breather and head to the sides to soak in the music and chew more gum. I’m scanning the crowd too and see so many familiar faces.  “I Don’t Want Control of You” floats over the audience with smiles and people singing back to the band and I’m feeling wobbly and emotional. The stage lights are scanning the crowd too. A nebulous feeling of togetherness is happening and it is wonderful. The rest is a bit of a haze for me as I try to get some long shots of the performance. I meet and say hello to folk I know and they say hello to me too.

Teenage Fanclub by Pat McGuire

You could say the gig was done in three parts, a bit like a symphonic review. It began mellow and light, the in the mid part it picked up on tempo, for the end part it really took off with “I Need Direction” which was a surprisingly beckoning song to draw lots of folk to the front of stage but it did. The Middle Aged Fanclub got off their seats, abandoned their wives and children en masse and began to mosh like it was the early 90’s again.

Sparky’s Dream” took people to another level. One of the security guys started dancing to that at the back. But stopped when he saw my camera. Sorry man. You should keep on dancing.

Then “The Concept” happened. And I think that if there was a roof it would have lifted off and flew over the City spreading it’s slacker drums and bendy twangy guitar greatness like Soma. The outro to this song is an anthem for lost love and failed relationships and general sing along tunes no matter who or what you are.

Teenage Fanclub leave the stage. The crowd start chanting for “The Fannies” which is an endearing term but not one you would use out of context perhaps. After a slight pause, the band return and treat us to three more songs, the final one being “Everything Flows” Which results in some people stage diving, and falling over the stage barriers. All in good fun I’m sure. At this point I remember joking with Alan Clarke of East Coast Defector earlier in the week about meeting him at the front for a stage invasion. Is that Alan’s legs I see being held in the air by two security guards? I’ll need to ask him later. I chickened out of course, I’ve already tripped up once tonight, I don’t want to put my back out…

The experience was uplifting and life affirming. A special gig in a special place in our special City. I saw many people I’ve know through bands and gigs over the years as well as lots of new faces too. Teenage Fanclub have that effect on folk that makes them feel close to each other. On the way home whilst standing at the bus stop as the crowd drifts past I hear one group of people talking about the concert. “Did you see that old guy with the camera tripping up?” As they walk by laughing I’m thinking “another one?” Then realise it might have been me.


And as I said at the beginning of this review…

I’ll never know which way to flow, set a course I just don’t know

Pat McGuire.

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The Beat Movement / Jamie Reilly and The Groove Allegiance @ Pivo Pivo : 24th October 2014 : Pat McGuire.

I’m pretty sure that in days to come people will talk about seeing both these bands either at this gig tonight, or gigs in other places. Memories will kind of mash into one huge performance a bit like when you try to recall a football game or a great party. People will get the set and who was there mixed up. Was it a Friday or a Wednesday? was it Glasgow or Gourock or Kirkcaldy? But it won’t really matter in the end. In a few years time both these bands should be playing venues that are huge enough for the memories of tonight to be just distant and fleeting. But for a happy few of us who were there, they will be as precious as gold dust.

Every gig is special to the audience. Things happen at gigs. Bands form, people fall in love, people fall out of love. Some people make new connections. All while the bands are playing. It creates a mood and a timestamp for folk to remember years later. Live gigs are the main reason that music exists. Sure CD’s and Records and Digital downloads are great, but they ain’t anything like a live band playing right in front of you. You need to feel the music in your ears and through the floor to really appreciate it. While the band is a few yards in front of you doing what they do.

There were other acts on the bill tonight, but I was here to do pictures of  The Beat Movement and Jamie Reilly and The Groove Allegiance. Both are bands that I have heard before at a sound check earlier this year in this very same venue, but had to leave to go to another gig before they played.

So…even though I hadn’t planned on doing a gig review, I felt compelled to do one anyway.

Jamie Reilly and the Groove Allegiance by Pat McGuire

First up Jamie Reilly and The Groove Allegiance. If you like your soul and funk with a nice bit of earthy groove too this is the band for you. Jamie is a young guy with an excellent band. He always reminds me a lot of Eric Clapton before “The Beard” (Remember when Eric was brilliant?) I really think the venue is too small for this band. The actual out front sound is great, but there are eight people on stage and the PA stacks hide some of them. It’s great to see a band all standing together but a venue with a wider stage would perhaps give more impact visually for this ensemble. Still they deliver in spades tonight. A totally professional and soulful set pulsates to the crowd and gets us all going nicely. Not a support act or a warm up band, these guys know how to play proper music. As cramped as the stage is they still show a lot of flair. I’m not usually into a band having a “uniform” or an “image” but this time I’m willing to make an exception. Talent abounds and I’m sure that when they get their break on bigger stages and on Telly their look will be something that people get. Musically they are superb. They should be on TV already and selling tons of records, but the music industry is generally too busy ignoring bands like this and pushing X Factoresque rubbish to the masses. They will have their day though, I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.


The Beat Movement by Pat McGuire

The Beat Movement are the headliners tonight. Another band that I’ve only previously heard live via a sound check. I’m glad I get to see them tonight as I had done a photo shoot with them last week and found them engaging and quite affable guys. When they take the stage, they really take the stage! By that I mean a bunch of guys you have been chatting and having a pint with, suddenly become a fekkin’ band onstage, tearing it up and giving it laldy! A few chords and a slight rumble from the drums and then…..instant Rock n Roll with a 60’s twist! It’s almost an immediate metamorphosis from four individual people to one entity. Sharp and stylish music with more than a wee nod to the Mod ethos, but at the same time with a lot of ballsy blues and indie going on too. Stage presence just seems to happen with these guys. It’s loud and structured and kicks you in the teeth like all good live music should. Almost like an early Small Faces gig, or perhaps The La’s when they were at their peak. It’s all great stuff. They have a definite buzz going on right now mainly due to them being an excellent band, and also as they have an EP coming out soon. (see their Face book page for info soon…)

Live The Beat Movement are note perfect the way that only a band who puts the work in can be. And that is heartening to me. I’m not anti electronic music or studio bands at all, but I really admire bands than put the effort into their music so that they can produce live just as well as on record.

I see great things on the horizon for The Beat Movement if they keep up their hard work, keep gigging and recording, and keep on keeping on.

Pat McGuire.

Links :

Jamie Reilly and The Groove Allegiance

The Beat Movement

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Voice Of Scotland – Ones To Watch 2015

15 for 2015                                                                                                                     By Neil Kerr

Here it is, my wee list of some of the acts I reckon are going to shine through in 2015. There is no order in the list, no 15th or 1st place, just the acts i have encountered over 2014 that I think have what it takes to progress in the industry. I have not based my choices on preference or taste as far as possible, although I think it inevitable that a bit of that has stowed away in there regardless. I have chose acts that work hard, and not just on stage but in the band room behind closed doors, on promotion, on recording, videos and of course their live performance. Hard work in my opinion well worth a mention.

It was a tough list to compile, many many acts should be in there but that would take forever to sort out so a limit had to be adhered to. I settled for 15 for 2015 because it was easy.

So without further delay and in no particular order here is my 15 For 2015 with a brief intro and some links to their stuff.

Have Mercy Las Vegas

HMLV have been on the scene since 2011 and have worked hard since then to be heard. I first heard this act a while back when I heard them on Ds Saturday Session on Radio West Fife and had to hear some more of the Dunbartonshire act. The band Released their single Pappy this year and it is brilliant I love it they also released their excellent debut album entitled That’s Life. Go Get the album if you can. And go see this great live act.

Enemies Of The State

EOTS came to my attention when they sent me a copy of their song “No Tomorrow” and I loved it so had to hear more. I have to say I am glad they sent me that because the band are superb. The past 12 months have seen the Glasgow band release their first music video, release their debut album (which is brilliant,) support big country and headline King Tuts amongst a host of other achievements. Keep an eye out for them in 2015 because this band is moving fast.

Victorian Trout Conspiracy

This band have the ability to bring entire rooms to life with their unique rock, pop, ska, funk mix If you like a dance then the Trouts will not disappoint, great fun band, great songs that make you move skillfully put together by talented musicians. This year saw the release of VTC’s second EP “Paddles With Piranhas” I have my copy and its great, go get yours and remember to catch the band live.

The first thing you will  notice when you hear Oskar perform is the vocal, the frontman knows how to use his voice, and he does just that. Oskar caught my eye in may this year at a gig in Edinburgh, the band were only a month old at that point and how they have progressed over the past 7 months releasing their debut EP and ending their debut year with a gig in the famous King Tuts in Glasgow.
Check them out
Broken Boy
Formed in 2012 Broken Boy have carved a successful path for themselves and if you go see them you will see why. This band work hard to put on a show you wont forget in a hurry, both visually and with their well crafted songs the three piece are sure to impress. I have watched this band grow over the past 12 months and they are definitely one to look out for in 2015. Go Check em out.
Break The Butterfly
Levenmouth Folk Rock outfit Break The Butterfly are moving fast. If folk rock is your thing then get a load of them. Another band who I must recommend you see live because they are great live, Their recordings are good too yes, but live they really shine. Their song “Pringle” Caught my attention the first time I heard them, great tunes and hard work from these guys is sure to get them seen in 2015
Check BTB out on the links below.
The Mona Lisa’s
The Mona Lisa’s brand of indie rock has got them noticed over the last 12 months seeing them get gigs with This Feeling, Pretty Green and King Tuts to name a few as well as airplay on many radio stations across the country. The Ballingry band work tirelessly to make their music the best they can and it shows when you see them. Formed in May 2013 The Mona Lisa’s have quickly made themselves a band to be noticed. Look out for them as they take 2015 to the cleaners. Keep up to date with TML using the links below.
Mickey 9s
Mickey 9s were recommended to me by a friend who was keen for me to see them, a great recommendation it turned out to be. The Mickey 9s are a real treat, showmanship is the winner here, mix that with catchy tunes, a great vocal and the talent that makes up Mickey 9s and you have a recipe for a great night. Again the recordings from this Glasgow band are great but you really have to see them live, it’s a must see.
In a successful debut year seeing the release their debut EP ‘We Float Like Sinking Ships’ and appearing at GoNorth, Wickerman & Belladrum Festival as well supporting some well known acts, Foreignfox have made themselves seen fast. Another great sounding hard working band to look out for in 2015. Have a listen and see for yourself.
Jo Hill
Jo Hill couldn’t not be on this list, Jo and I met through radio, she came and did a live session on a show I did and she left me shaking. This Catalan songstress has a voice that will leave you stunned. I have seen Jo Hill leave rooms of seasoned musicians stunned, they can’t believe their ears when they hear Jo belt out one of her original tunes for the first time. Another must see for 2015.
Cherry Diesel
Now this band are really new, having only played one gig to the date I wrote this so you could say they are a bit of a gamble, however I know some of the members from their involvement with another band. and I liked what they did there, I was also sent a couple of demos from them before their gig and I am impressed, I think if this band keep up the hard work and work their set the best they can then you really should check out Cherry Diesel in 2015. It’s gonna get funky!
Common Ground
Kilwinning band Common ground have had a busy year, after playing their first ever gig in December 2013 this act went on to become the Voice Of Scotland single of the year as voted by our readers then in early 2014 played their second ever gig to a packed PJ Molloys in Dunfermline in aid of the Clutha Disaster benefit. The band have went on to play gigs all over in their debut year and secured themselves some great support slots too. No surprise with songs like “Mr VIP” on their set list.
Jamie & Shoony
Another act that have kept up a fast pace throughout the past 12 months are Jamie & Shoony. This band started as a duo in 2011 and have progressed to become a four piece. The past twelve months saw the band release their first music video and share a stage with Big Country in front of 6000 people at Party at the Palace, good achievements which reflect the work the boys do to keep their art alive. Again another band that are well worth going to see live.
Echo Arcadia
Echo Arcadia are set to move in 2015, they have some big things coming and plenty new stuff for us to hear too, as well as all the fantastic stuff from their debut album “Beauty In An Average Life” released in 2014 which I personally love. The band are set for many things in 2015 which I will let them tell you about as they see fit, all you have to do is follow the links below and give em a like or a follow to keep up to date with this superbly creative band. 2015 looks set to be the year of the Arcadian.
The Beat Movement
I have stole the words of Voice contributor Pat McGuire here because he said it so damn well.

“Live The Beat Movement are note perfect the way that only a band who puts the work in can be. And that is heartening to me. I’m not anti electronic music or studio bands at all, but I really admire bands than put the effort into their music so that they can produce live just as well as on record. I see great things on the horizon for The Beat Movement if they keep up their hard work, keep gigging and recording, and keep on keeping on.”

There you have it my 15 for 2015, 15 acts for you too lookout for while they make their mark on 2015. Check them all out and give them a like, tell your pals, your mum and the delivery guy about them and remember to go and see them live and buy their work if you can afford it you will not be disappointed with any of these acts.

Now for your one to watch, we are going to find out the peoples favorite for 2015 using social media, email and a poll on these pages we ask you to tell us your one to watch for 2015. Email your nominations to and look out for the posts asking for votes etc. Here are the links to our social media.

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Reviewed by Jacqueline Sharp
Totally loved the ambience of being in a circled tent and lucky to have a space in a sold out show!
There is excitement by all awaiting her presence on stage! It’s like a ticking clock, counting every second till Michelle appears.
Then the fun begins, with a Simon Cowell face mask on a clip board on stage, as we all wonder why!
Michelle teases the audience describing her fondness for Cowell and even sings a song with him in mind !
The audience love Michelle Mc Manus you can tell on their faces and the way they banter with her and clap at her every word.
Other songs from musicals are in abundance and the audience can’t get enough of it all, singing along with her.
The stories of her journey since winning pop idol in 2003 to date, alongside her singing to musicals are directed well, well done to Michelle for her director skills.
One hour of Michelle Mc Manus was great and I got the impression the audience wanted more, more, more, more and more of this very talented performer and recording artist.
A fantastic fringe production!
Do go and see this production at the Edinburgh Fringe!
My final thought! It would be a shame if the rest of the World missed out on seeing this show, let’s hope there is a World Tour in the making, so you can all enjoy the wonderful Michelle Mc Manus!
Jacqueline Sharp
Michelle Mc Manus ! Winner of Pop Idol in 2003. At the Edinburgh Fringe with her show! Stories about winning Pop Idol, Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman, being number 1 in UK charts for three weeks and stories about TV presenting etc.
Michelle McManus returns to the Festival, after her sell-out show last year which received five-star reviews across the board. Since winning Pop Idol a decade ago Michelle has gone on to carve a career on screen, radio and the stage. From Chicago to Cabaret, Les Miserables to Chess, this fabulous evening of entertainment is set to have everyone singing along and laughing with Michelle as she recounts some of the ups and downs of her life as a TV reality show winner, from singing for the Pope to Simon Cowell.
Stand in the Square (venue 372)
August 20th to 25th 2014 at 7.00pm (1 hour performance)
Reviewed by Jacqueline Sharp…ty-the-musical
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