Mugstock 2017

A late review here but just in the nick of time if you are thinking of heading to Mugstock Festival this year, and for me,  it’s great to finally be catching up with this festival I went to last summer.

So what about Mugstock? For me it was first time there so I went not knowing what to expect and was eager as ever to get there and find out what hidden gems, if any, were on offer. The festival is held in the fantastic surroundings of Mugdock Country Park, just 10 miles from Glasgow and was not hard to find which is always a good start for me, well not getting lost is anyway and on arrival pleasantly happy, smiling if somewhat wet volunteers were on hand to show me where to go. I even had a choice of noisy or not so noisy camping, now there’s a good thing but where to go?

The festival site is good, reasonably flat under foot, it’s well laid out and signposted and is stunning, the surroundings of Mugdock Country Park is an attraction in itself, add a music festival to that and there is indeed potential for a superb result.

I was all over the site at Mugstock 2017 and I must say I was impressed not only with the festival and its surroundings but with the ethic the organisers carry accross the festival as well, little things like the smiling happy volunteers no matter what the challenge they are facing, being able to have a massage by the main stage while watching the act up there, loads of kids stuff do and so much more I saw and heard fit in well with a few words I read on the festivals website, “a team motivated by the sheer love of bringing lovely people together to have a great time in a beautiful place”. They pulled that one off for sure.

The stages were excellent also, with a great sound at them all, as were the musicians performing on them, there was even a stage beside the campsite which was a stroke of genius in my opinion, at least all the campsite dwellers, of which most festivals seem to have plenty, had some live music there for their weekend party, brilliant!

So was there any hidden gems? Absolutely, another area where the organisers over at Mugstock have it down is the hidden gems. Wee corners that hold stages and performace areas, for me, can sometimes bring the best parts of a festival and at Mugstock this was definitely in hand, my highlights of the hidden gems were the tiny Oxjam stage and Overheard In The West End, I caught many a delight on those stages. The kids stuff as well, I never had any with me but spoke to a few parents who were having a great time relaxing while their kids had a ball with the activites on offer and were never far away, all said they would be back and heaped praise on the dedicated family camping area.

There’s more praise to be heaped on this festival too, for the food. A resturaunt, 2 cafes,and superb street food, yep a resturaunt. It’s things like this that made Mugstock stand out for me, they really have thought of everyone, in my opinion anyone who goes will find something they love about this gem of a festival “music and merriment” is very true of Mugstock, it’s another one of Scotlands gems. I loved it and would reccomend it to anyone who thinks about going to festivals, give Mugstock a try and, as you will see in the picture gallery below, it will manage to make you smile come rain or shine.

My highlights? That’s a tough one, there were many but a few that stand out were the Twistettes who I had never seen before, loved their raw punky style. The stage that was known as Overheard In The Westend was sometimes sheer brilliance, some magic happened in there and we recorded it so look out for that coming soon. And the wee Oxjam stage also had its share of surprises, I think that stage might grow into something special.

Here are the links to book tickets and find out more about this years festival and please have a look at our picture gallery below and see some of what we saw.

Maybe see you there.

http://mugstock.org/tickets/

http://mugstock.org/

https://www.facebook.com/Mugstock/

 

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V.O.S. Session #2 with Steven Wilson

 

This weeks V.O.S. Session from Richy Neill’s Reinforcement HQ features Richy’s lifelong friend and rhythm guitarist in his band “Richy Neill & The Reinforcements” Steven Wilson, a great introduction to these new sessions from Richy. This time Voice of Scotland founder Neil Kerr is the interviewer, next time though these are all Richy’s  and we can’t wait.

In this session Steven tells us about himself, gives us a wee tip from his stage performance and we have the pleasure of a live acoustic number from Steven who is not only rhythm guitarist in Richy Neill & The Reinforcements but also a solo performer with a great voice.

Don’t take our word for it though, check out the video of this session for yourself on the link below and if you like it we would be well chuffed if you took a moment to click on the share buttons at the top right of this page and give it a share with your friends, that’s why we do it after all, so more people can hear the music. Check out the other links below as well to find out more about Stevens superb band. Enjoy!

Link to session video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9qndlU0ED0

Link to Stevens Bands website – http://richyneill.com/

And their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Richyneill/

Please do remember to share if you can, every share brings new ears to the superb musicians on our pages, that’s why we do it. Thank You,  and thanks to Steven Wilson and Richy Neill for creating this session.

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Take A Jump “Doune The Rabbit Hole”

By Neil Kerr

Doune The Rabbit Hole 2017, What was it like?

Why not have a look at our picture gallery from the festival and a listen to our review with a superb selection of music by artists who played at Doune The Rabbit Hole last year, it’s a great way to spend two hours. The details we have for this years festival below as well.       Enjoy.

Listen to our review with music from artists who played at Doune The Rabbit Hole Last year here – Doune The Rabbit Hole Review Special

And here are some of the pics we took, remember to scroll down to the bottom for info on this years Doune The Rabbit Hole.

Doune the Rabbit Hole Returns for 2018

New July dates confirmed for intimate, inclusive Scottish music festival

Friday 13 – Sunday 15 July 2018 @ Lake of Mentieth, Cardross Estate, Stirling, Scotland

Laid-back, welcoming music and arts festival Doune the Rabbit Hole has confirmed new dates for its ninth year ahead of their first lineup announcement.

Set in picturesque Stirlingshire near Scotland’s only natural freshwater lake, this eclectic festival will now be held from Friday 13 – Sunday 15 July 2018. Doune the Rabbit Hole brings exclusive performances from the best UK & international acts to Stirling alongside the cream of Scotland’s independent/DIY scene, attracting music lovers of all ages and from all walks of life. The festival will again team up with Scottish promoter Synergy Concerts to create an electric lineup.

Last year’s festival highlights included LA based punk band Ho99o9, former snooker world champion (and highly respected DJ) Steve Davis, Jenny Hval, Brooklyn art punks Liars, Start to End, Francois and the Atlas Mountains, Sage Francis & B Dolan, Drag City Records artist Jessica Pratt, K Records’ member Karl Blau and New Yorkers Big Thief.

Doune the Rabbit Hole is one of the UK’s most family-friendly festivals with a host of activities from arts to crafts and workshops and a family camping area quietly sited away form the hurly burly of late night events. Not one to exclude furry friends, Doune is also one of two dog friendly festivals in Scotland and to keep hunger at bay, Scotland’s best independent food and drink purveyors will once again be on site.

For ticket information and to find out more about Doune The Rabbit Hole 2018 visit:

@dounetherabbit | #DTRH2018 | www.dounetherabbithole.co.uk | www.facebook.com/DouneTheRabbitHole

Listings information

Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival 2018

Lake of Mentieth, Cardross Estate, Stirling, FK8 3JY

Friday 13 – Sunday 15 July 2018

Lineup – to be announced

Early bird weekend tickets £70 (available until 6th April 2018)

Tier 1 (7th April – 23rd June 2018) £80 | Tier 2 :(23rd June – 12th July) £90 | On the Gate (13th July only) £95

Youth weekend ticket (over 12 & under 18)  £30 |  Youth Friday day ticket £15

Youth Saturday day ticket £20 | Youth Sunday day ticket £15

Friday day ticket (adult) £30 | Saturday day ticket (adult) £45 | Sunday day ticket (adult) £40

Children (12 and under) FREE

Booking fees apply to all ticket prices and camping costs are separately detailed on the website where they are not included in the price

Tickets available from http://dounetherabbithole.co.uk/tickets

 

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V.O.S Sessions with Richy Neill

Finally getting ourselves back on track here at Voice HQ and I am delighted to introduce another new feature to you.

The V.O.S. Sessions, introduced and conceived by a long running member of the Voice Of Scotland team Richy Neill, normally behind the scenes, or at least a sound desk, this talented individual helps us with everything sound related from our showcase gigs to recording our sessions. On top of that he is a very talented multi instrumentalist, solo musician and front man of his own band, Richy Neill & The Reinforcements.

Through Richy’s passion for both sound and making music he had a brainwave to video a one song session every week with an interview. Nothing to unusual I hear you say? Here’s the twist, Richy’s interviews will be pushing towards the tech side of making music, not the usual stuff we see and hear all the time, an interesting and entertaining 10 minutes or so of information and music. We love the idea and so here it is, let’s check it out.

In the first episode  Richy and Voice Of Scotland founder member Neil Kerr chat briefly about the organisation and the idea behind Richy’s new sessions then we are treated to a superb acoustic solo track from Richy. Below you will find the link to the session video and links to all things Richy Neill, each week will be the same links to each artists socials and website will be posted along with the video.

I give you Richy Neill with The V.O.S. Sessions –

Link to the session video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isXZlo81CVM&t=171s

Link to Richy’s website – http://www.richyneill.com/

Link to Richy’s facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Richyneill/

Link to Richy’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/Richy_Neill

Finally we would be delighted if you checked out our socials as well   https://twitter.com/voiceoscotland

https://www.facebook.com/voiceof.scotland/

Another one next week, please share this around.

Thanks and enjoy.

Team Voice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kelburn Garden Party Live Review & Pictures.

 

By Neil Kerr

Something new from us at Voice Of Scotland. The written reviews have dried up as time is short for us volunteers so I decided to look for a way of integrating them into something I was already spending time doing, after all there was becoming no point to the whole Voice Of Scotland ethic, creating platforms to share music with as many people as possible. If I’m honest I became consumed with setting up our radio platform “Links Radio” which is now ready to go and is host to The Unsigned Sessions which is now in it’s 5th year which is all good.

So what did I decide to do? I have integrated the reviews into the show, A new segment of around half an hour every week with interview, live music and some recorded music from the featured act, I will then post the pictures from the gig reviewed here along with Links to the audio and any video.

To Kick this off I dedicated an entire 2 hour show to Kelburn Garden Party, there will be other festival specials taking the whole show soon but this is for the wonderful wonderland of magnificent music that is Kelburn Garden party.

Scroll down for links to all and our small picture gallery below.

Link to Listen to the show on demand – https://www.mixcloud.com/neil-kerr3/the-unsigned-sessions-kelburn-garden-party-special/

Link To Kelburn Garden Party Website – https://www.kelburngardenparty.com/

Link to buy tickets – https://www.kelburngardenparty.com/tickets/

 

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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.

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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 – https://www.facebook.com/Blackcatbone13/

Ticket link – http://www.rippingrecords.com/tickets.php?id=4678

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100 Bands On The Border Is Born.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

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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.

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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 – http://www.100bands.co.uk/

100 bands on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/100-Bands-1102121166483121/timeline/

Border Music News ans Reviews – http://www.bordersmusic.co.uk/

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The Best Soup Ever – Audio Soup

By Neil Kerr

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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.*)

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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?” )

 

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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.

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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.

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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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