The Rah’s: Living The Dream

By Harsharan Hoonjan

The Rahs 1Indie Rockers The Rah’s from Prestonpans, are music to my ears. After seeing them for the first time last summer in Cabaret Voltaire (Haddow on the Fringe), I was mightily impressed. They are the first bunch of talented young Indie musicians I have been lucky enough to witness live.

Catching them for the third time in Edinburgh was a surreal experience, because. listening to their songs, then coming to a live gig, and seeing their universal quality, is spine tingling.  Mileout Events pulled together an impressive line-up for the second half of their all day festival in Liquid Room, Edinburgh. The Rah’s kicked off the evening’s entertainment which also included The Begbies, Modern Faces, and Twisted Wheel.

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The band launched into their first track as fresh faces filled the crowd; the place was getting busier by the minute.

Andrew McLeod (bass guitar) Jack McLeod (lead vocalist), Jordan McIntyre (lead guitar/vocals),  Neale Gray (drums) provided a flawless, noteworthy performance. Whilst they were representing the best of Prestonpans on stage, this photographer’s camera appeared to be somewhat infected. The images of the performance did not adequately represent, The Rah’s set (therefore photos from Haddowfest 2013 were also used), but it left a rare window of opportunity to soak in their performance with bare eyes and ears! Looking at the boys, one thing was clear; they know how to ‘rock’ a stage,

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Since 2009, the boys have been working hard to create the magic that raptures our attention today. The band members are close knit (having grown up together, attending the same nursery and schools), and the vibe you get from them is reflected in their savvy style. Last year saw the band support top names in the form of The Holy Ghosts, The Rifles, The Complete Stone Roses and Twisted Wheel (who were also headlining this event). The Rah’s are next supporting; The Sherlocks in Glasgow as part of their UK tour on 29th March, and perform alongside Ded Rabbit in Edinburgh (for This Feeling) on 4th April.

The title track to their E.P. Living The Dream came on, whilst the heart of the audience looked up at the boys, hanging onto the sound of a promising beat, Jack McLeod (lead singer) began by strumming out a guitar rhythm that I know only too well, after that a strong slick voice and powerful instruments took over, The band also played Give Me Life, and a few other dynamic tracks including It’s Just Another Word.  The smooth melodies with juxtaposed rhythm include: knockout guitars, fiery bass and pounding drums that can leave you for six. They have the sound balanced just right. Enough to keep you dancing, and singing along, with plenty of jumpy beats to keep you on your toes!  In some aspects they remind me of the  Arctic Monkeys but that is just another thought…

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During their set, Jack announced the band were giving their E.P. away for free, and to pick one up –nice one guys!

The E.P. cover is a picture collage of the lads photographed in various poses, some animated more than others, from body parts to gig photos. Definitely Jack the lad stuff, speaking of which, have you seen their debut video yet? It is recommended viewing, for those who like, beautifully shot videography, which includes, silly sketches, cheeky antics meshed with sober singing, and comical dance moves.

Living The Dream is an inspirational track, ending on ‘You know what you’ve got to work for to live your life’, in the singer’s dulcet tones, it’s a firm favourite.  With well over 3000 video views for the video, if the boys release something similar for their first single, it will fly off those digital shelves.

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The E.P.’s second track, The Time Is Now, is an absolute rocker as well, it deals specifically with change. Again we have a song that is powerful in outlet as the message. It’s got an amazing intro, slow pulsing drums, fab bass guitar, with the vocals and rhythm guitar slicing through the record.

Last track on the I’m Feeling Fine, this is an up-tempo exhilarating trip of a song, from start to finish  a bouncy number is too cool for school and like most of their tracks, this is an impressive listen, rock n roll all the way to the bank.

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There are not enough words to describe the expertise that the boys have mustered to create music so ear pleasingly fantastic.  If these songs sound this good at home, just imagine how they sound live!  Quite a few of their tracks leave you feeling inspired to take action and make the most of your life. The E.P. which was released last year is about holding out until the weekend by toughing out the week, most of us can all relate to that feeling!

Their entourage of loyal followers echoed these words every couple of tracks:

“Ooh aah, up The Rah’s, Ooh aah up The Rah’s”

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The boys strong following could also be due to their, charitable contributions, witty banter, as well as their amazing musical talents, and because the young lads appear to just love what they do.  The Rah’s are easy to warm to, if you follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook you might be able to appreciate the personality behind those innocent smiles as well.

As they say on their Facebook page: ‘Stay Tuned’ for some exciting stuff coming up. I am in no doubt about these guys; something exciting could very well be the stuff that legends are made of. I’m already anticipating their next move.

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However, it seems like The Rah’s are already Living The Dream, but will it continue and will they headline a big stage show with superstar lights and mass market appeal? Yes they will, because, that I believe is inevitable.

Upcoming gigs:

4th April, This Feeling, The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

20th April, The Old Town Street Food Festival, The Three Sisters, Edinburgh (FREE ENTRY)



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Stolen Sound: Bringing the Heat!

By Harsharan Hoonjan

Stolen Sound 7Stolen Sound dropped a bomb when they performed for ‘Up The Junction’ at Liquid Room, Edinburgh this year. The debut festival run by Hazel Miller for Mileout Events and Promotions, included Shaun Gilroy, The Delaplains, Last Minute Glory, Danny Mahon, The Rah’s, The Begbies, Modern Faces and Twisted Wheel.

Attracting a friendly bunch of music lovers the party started as Stolen Sound cranked up the volume and rocked the crowd from one shockingly brilliant song to the next. Starting their seven track performance with Pretend and ending on Over and Over, It was an electrifying set and a revelation to many, the question on everyone’s lips was, if the first band are this good, then what can we expect from the rest of the day? It was a combination of catchy guitar riffs, thick bass, interspersed with solid drums and consistent fierce vocals, that gripped us all, Every change, each new hook in style and vocal range slammed our ears, what a discovery.

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Coming from Glasgow, members,  Andy Fyfe (Lead Guitar), Bradley Revel ‘Pockets’ (Bass) Connor McGlave (Lead Vocalist), Mike Biggert (Drummer) and Bradley Revel ‘Pockets’ (Bass), brought the heat, and set the bar high.   While they were playing I was able to learn more about lead vocalist Connor.  Prior to Stolen Sound, the singer was  a soloist for a number of years , he supported The View at the Glasgow Barrowlands in 2011, and even has a makeshift studio built into his house, it felt like we had unmasked a professional at his core.



The band also has a noticeable following, in fact, after their set, a spectator couldn’t stop raving to me about them, saying the band are “Sh*t Hot”, and I had to agree. They have the personality to match their Indie rock and roll image. Connor was the only singer I have ever encountered that gave me the finger (middle that is). I’m not sure if it was in jest for the camera or if I was in his face too much. Either way it was unexpected, and for some reason that photo came out a little blurry as well!

Stolen Sound 4.5Image aside, I do believe there is more to this band than meets the eye, for now, I can definitely assert that Stolen Sound is an edgy rock and roll band, with seriously hot tunes that could melt your ice cream on the chilliest of days. The high quality of this band’s performance was something else for 2.30pm on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Thankfully some of us made the start of the gig in time to see them perform.  Hazel Miller has even asked Stolen Sound back for her second event, to be held on 10th May in Glasgow. The band will support The Begbies, along with The Delaplains, and Blossoms.



As we await their official Facebook page, you can check out a sample of Stolen Sound’s songs on Sound Cloud and see them at their next gig.  I have no doubt; they will be bringing the heat, all over again!

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Sound Cloud:

Stolen Sound next perform at:

Mileout Events and Promotions Presents:The Begbies, The Classic Grand, 10th May, from 6.30pm

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Daniel Wylie @ The Old Hairdressers : Glasgow : 23rd March 2014

       By Pat McGuire

The old Hairdressers is an odd venue. You travel up some vertigo inducing stairs from a lounge bar that plays soul music and 60’s garage and past the strangest gents toilet in Glasgow (really). And then you get to the top and into the music room your trip is rewarded by some great live music. I’ve only been here twice before to see bands and it is an intimate venue where the band and the audience are in the same space. It’s a bit like going round to a mate’s house to listen to records. Speaking of which, thanks to Simon, Natalie, Mark, Jim and Keith who all met me before the gig and kept me company.

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Daniel Wylie will be known to many as the founder member of The Cosmic Rough Riders. A band that managed two top forty hits and supported U2 during their career. Nowadays he is a solo act and, albeit joined by various musicians live and on record. Tonight he is Joined by Neil Sturgeon and Dave Andrews (From The Golden Hour). Daniel’s son Joshua also plays too which adds a nice touch to the gig. (Making Daniel the “third best guitar player” in his family.)

Having a such a great back catalogue of music to pick from must be a challenge. The set includes many tracks from over the years and some from his last LP “Fake your own death”. Daniel’s songs are tinged with nostalgia and sadness, but live they still are uplifting and full of melodic hooks and chord changes that send a tingle up your spine. It’s not about sadness, more a reflective set with some great songs that have been written with an obvious sincerity that infects his songs.

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The gig is interspersed with some banter to and from the crowd. Old friends from his schooldays are here tonight along with fans of his career who have seen him play many times before. To my eternal regret this is the first time I’ve seen him live, but I wasn’t disappointed, instead I felt drawn into the communal experience that you only get at gigs like this. Eye to eye contact between the artist and the crowd is what makes a good gig brilliant. Especially when it’s done for real. Playing great songs with great people only adds to that. Having a receptive and involved audience amplifies it more. All the ingredients that send people home feeling great and liberated, and possibly even changed.

During the gig Daniel talks about people that inspired him. Elvis Costello and R.E.M. for instance (and he does a brilliant cover of R.E.M.’s “The one I love”) and you get the feeling that while he is a songwriter and producer, he is mainly a music fan who makes great music and would play in a basement to ten people just for the joy of doing it. Before and after the gig he spends time talking to people and signing CDs. Not like some big star who has been on the telly and toured the world, just as a guy from Castlemilk who got to follow one of his dreams (he didn’t get to play for Celtic though. But how many footballers get to play great music and record great tunes?) An impromptu and concise cover of Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music” which involves Daniel making hissing noises into his mic gets nods from the crowd. They know their stuff…

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Of course “Revolution in the Summertime” gets played. It wouldn’t be a Daniel Wylie gig without it. Also he dedicates “Everything I Give You” to Mark and Elaine which is another nice touch as he gave them the song for their wedding. This connection with fans is something that separates bands you go to see, and bands you end up following. I don’t know when Daniel Wylie will be playing again or where for that matter. I do know that I will be there though, and I hope that you will be too.

Upcoming Gigs from Daniel Wylie;

April 11th – Irvine, Harbour Arts Centre.
May 2nd – Liverpool, District. Alan McGee’s club night.
May 31st – Ayr, Fresh Air Festival.

Links :

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The Phantoms: Four Man Revolution

By Harsharan Hoonjan


TP - Group 1The Phantoms are a band I have had the pleasure of seeing a couple of times now.  Made up of Colin Simpson (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar) Colin McKillop (Lead Guitar), Peter Stewart (Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals), and Brad Young (Drums), the band got together in 2012, and come from Broxburn, West Lothian. Last November, they released their first single entitled This Is How It Should Be and it was included in their E.P. which received significant attention.

Interestingly the band went one step further when they released: Revolution earlier this month, accompanied by the music video which can be found on YouTube. (

After listening to: Revolution, which is free to download on sound cloud, that’s right it’s free, you may wish you had a signed copy of the single and/or the E.P.

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Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh hosted the release of the new single on March 1st, where the lads were watched by loyal fans, and brought in some newbies who are only just discovering that something akin to gold is being created here.

When you see The Phantoms live, there is a noticeable confidence amongst the members. From leather jackets, slick hair, smart shirts, sunglasses and vibes of ‘we know what we’re doing’. And that’s before they start playing…


Revolution leads with pulsating guitars, fluid bass lines and whipping drums before Colin’s voice pierces into the song, his rough edginess offsetting the progressive number. It’s evident that the guys have really worked to create a dynamic second single. This is a great solid track from the band, it expertly shows off their instrumentation and laces it with well-timed lyrics, the whole song upholds excellent melody and rhythm throughout. The guitar, the bass and the drums, from start to finish shows off the work of young professionals honing in on their craft. Because as the song ends there is as much effort placed in the fade out as there is with the intro.  Their video is also exceptional to watch, expressing their passion whilst shining in all their glory. On observation you will find it represents the band’s image at this stage, in that they are recognised for their musical talent above all else.


On seeing the band live you too will feel vibrations of something pretty rare, instruments being used in the way only indie bands can, The Phantoms energy and execution is a breath of fresh air. They are doing what they do best, pulling out all the stops and creating fine pieces for us to enjoy.  They are fantastic to watch, their talent will drive people towards them in droves.

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Yes, I believe their new track is the start of their very own Revolution. Because this band are going for gold and I believe they can take it…



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John Lennon McCullagh : King Tuts : Glasgow : Friday 7th March 2014

        By Pat McGuire.

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The Legendary venue that is King Tuts is tonight hosting a potential legend in the making. About a third of his way through his tour which began in Sheffield in February and will end in Hamburg in April John Lennon McCullagh brings his guitar, his harmonica and his bluesy voice to Glasgow. Signed to Alan McGee’s 359 Music label, and with his debut Album North South Divide released last October on Cherry Red Records, the young balladeer takes to the stage in a venue which has been the springboard for too many bands and artist to mention. If you are in doubt just look it up on the web, or, have a look at the stairs on the way from the bar to the stage and see the company he is about to become a part of.

I’m not saying that lightly. I’ve seen many bands at King Tuts, some went on to better things, and others didn’t. The fact that it is the kind of venue that people put on their list to play or to see bands at is the important thing here. For every band that gets success there will always be many that don’t. It’s not the easiest job in the world to be in a band, but if you get to do it as part of your life, it is perhaps one of the greatest.

Before I start my review proper, I need to mention the support acts tonight. Michael Timmons opened the gig with some excellent electric guitar and vox to an appreciative crowd and was followed by Jamie Coleman with spirited acoustic playing and rousing tunes. Both of these guys are definitely worth seeing live ( I will try to see both acts soon so I can write about them as a full review ). But tonight I’m here to see John Lennon McCullagh and also to try to take some photographs.

John Lennon McCullagh comes on stage and says hello to the crowd, then asks them to come closer to the stage. “Come on Glasgow, get nearer!” said with so much self assurance and confidence that everyone does just that. He is not cocky or brash, just setting the tone for the gig. And the tone itself is acoustic and bluesy and inclusive. He makes eye contact with people while he plays and sings his set, again not in a big headed pop/rock star way, more so as a guy who wants to play his music and include you in the experience. It’s not an act, it’s just the way he does his gigs.

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Lyrically his songs have a maturity that belies his actual years. “North South Divide” ( the title track from his Album ) has a depth in its poetry and message. “You’ll have a job at sixteen, it says so on the news. But as I look around, I see no jobs but dole queues.” Those words could be the anthem of teenagers from any post war decade to the present, maybe they should be the anthem of teenagers right now?

Lyrical maturity is the key here. Paul Weller wrote “In the City” aged nineteen. When Bob Dylan arrived in Greenwich Village he was a teenager with a guitar and a harmonica. Both of them wrote songs that have defined their respective generations and also inspired people who followed. Both were also influenced respectively by Guthrie and Townsend. What I hear when I listen to John Lennon McCullagh is almost a Mod version of Dylan. That comment might come across as ill conceived or based in ignorance, but that is what I perceive from the songs in a general sense. There are other influences in play too some more obvious than others. However being influenced by people musically is one thing, taking that influence and making it your own is another. John Lennon McCullagh does that successfully as he adds his own take to his songs live and on his records.

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Back to the gig… The crowd are fantastic, receptive and involved. John Lennon McCullagh takes us all on a journey and even smiles at the guy at the back who shouts for “Free bird“. We are not getting Lynyrd Skynyrd covers tonight though, instead we get a set full of folksy blues with a modern lyrical bent. The genre he plays wouldn’t have been out of place in a club in the sixties but still sounds fresh and contemporary tonight in Glasgow. There is a talent at play here that combines the old with the new without sounding like a tribute act. The obvious comparisons that some people have made with Jake Bugg are missing the point on so many levels. Maybe to a younger crowd that is the only reference point and that is fair enough, but to me you could add Johnny Cash or Joe Strummer to the list easily, especially on “55 Blues”. For a sixteen year old to have such a wide scope of influences and still make the songs his own is both surprising and refreshing.

He is still on tour just now and has just been added to the bill on the main stage at the Bingly Live Music Festival. You should catch some of his shows this year if you want to see a real talent before he hits the big time. If only so you can say you were there at the start.


Pat McGuire.

Links :–Bjp0TeePg

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John Lennon McCullagh : A preview

                      By Pat McGuire.

So who is John Lennon McCullagh? Why have you not heard of him before? Two questions to which I only have one real answer and one retort. He is a singer songwriter who is touring the UK right now, and most of the good bits of Europe later and who might surprise us all with just how good he is. As to why you have not heard of him before? Well that might be down to a lack of mainstream press coverage or the fact that you don’t use social media. Or maybe you just don’t like the idea of a guy singing and playing acoustic guitar with the odd harmonica thrown in there now and then. If that is the case then please remember that the roots of pop and rock music were played in that format before most of us were born. Then after you have chastised yourself and turned off the top 20 charts app on your phone ( delete it now, we can pretend it never existed ), after that we can start talking.

John Lennon McCullagh is sixteen years old and comes from Doncaster. He spent some time living in Australia and also has seen Bob Dylan live more times than most of us. He decided to play guitar and write songs when he was twelve, then also got a hold of a harmonica and mastered that too. I want to move away from the obvious stuff now. Lots of young musicians are in their teens, lots of them make great music. What makes John Lennon McCullagh different? Well from this old 45 year old guy’s perspective, it’s all about the songs.

North South Divide for instance. It’s a folk tune sung with passion and verve. It could easily have been written about the Miner’s strike in the 80’s or the current disparity in the UK right now. But it is not overtly political, just a viewpoint as seen by a singer/songwriter who does his own thing and puts his words into action on stage and on records. Slipping Away is a finely crafted piece that is bluesy and forlorn and suggests unrequited love. Towerland Lullaby which features Alabama 3 (You have watched Sopranos so you know who they are) shows what John Lennon McCullagh sounds like with a band behind him and a full arrangement. But still the song writing shows through. I’d bet he could play some spoons on his knee or play an out of tune piano and still have that singular essence that makes people like and listen to music.

John Lennon McCullagh is playing in Glasgow at King Tuts on 7th March. So don’t believe my hype, just go along and see him for yourself.

Pat McGuire.

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