West Lothian Rockers Make Waves Across The World

by Harsharan Hoonjan

The Phantoms 55It would seem, Broxburn Band, The Phantoms is making waves in Scotland, England and across international waters too.

From write-ups spanning America ( both Argentina, and New York), Australia, England, and Scotland (including words from the reputable Jim Gellatly). The Phantoms are gaining recognition from rivers to oceans. Not only have they headlined King Tut’s thrice, they’ve supported  Catfish and The Bottlemen, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and recently played at London’s Palomino Party, supporting Bombay Bicycle Club DJ set, they have also bagged a Sheffield gig in July. The Phantoms are jetting through the circuit and quickly aligning themselves as a household name.

tp6Their influence was strengthened last week when they landed in London’s Amersham Arms on Saturday night. Colin Simpson, Colin McKillop, Blair Cullen and Zach Tarimo Goodhur played to a 100 man strong crowd.  The gilt-edged young rockers provided the essential warm up before Bombay Bicycle Club’s DJ Set, blasting out tunes till the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Colin Simpson was delighted saying:

‘It was amazing, we smashed it!’


So much so, that the venue organiser got back in touch, mirroring their positive response; London wants more of The Phantoms.

The band’s Facebook and Twitter posts read:

‘London thanks for having us!!!! That was incredible, one of our best gigs yet!! We will be back soon…’

tp8Big cities seem to love this band; they have a way of making things come together.  In Edinburgh they’ve been packing out shows in both Sneaky Pete’s and Cabaret Voltaire. And in Glasgow The Phantoms managed to supply a bus load of hometown supporters to attend their gigs at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in August and December last year.  On the back of that, they were requested to perform again in March this year. On this occasion they scored more sales than the main band and in an unprecedented landslide, wound up being the ones to headline!

If that doesn’t surprise you, then maybe finding out about the number of bloggers who pen review after review of the four-piece through each stage of their journey will, and it’s been non-stop (Ahem!) Ralph from Ralph’s Life, even has a poll of most blogged bands, at one point The Phantoms were number 1!  Bloggers from Scotland to Australia have had a thing or two to say about the band. The Phantoms music was described in one review as, ‘Arresting’ Well who can contest that?!

Also, Jim Gellatly not only featured The Phantoms latest release on his XFM Drive time show, he wrote impressive things about them in his weekly column with The Sun as well.

‘What Oasis would have sounded like if they had listened to The Doors rather than the Beatles’ – Jim Gellatly on The Phantoms


tp9Additionally, the lads recently  supported Kyle Falconer from The View on 5th June in Edinburgh. They’re also set to play Tramlines Inner City Music Festival in Sheffield, on 25th July. And of course they are just fresh from rubbing shoulders with members of Bombay Bicycle Club.

Successful shows and rave reviews from Scotland, England, America and Australia are definitely great feats for the 20-somethings who are sharp as tacks, producing noteworthy tracks that hook an audience locally, nationally and internationally.


Wasting Time and Revolution are just two examples of their potent style.

Listen now:



Also, news just in confirms there are only 10 tickets left for The Phantoms upcoming headline show at Sneaky Pete’s this Saturday. They sold out all their presale tickets, surprise has left my face and in its place is… excitement.

What are you waiting for?

Sneaky Pete’s Event Link:








Share Button

Supa & Da Kryptonites Will Play to Win at Wickerman Warm Up Gig

By Harsharan Hoonjan

SKNews about a sizzling gig has set tongues wagging. Supa & Da Kryptonites are playing a Wickerman Warm up gig this Thursday night (25th June), at Nice ‘N’ Sleazy in Glasgow.  Along with three other impressionable acts; The Van T’s, The Turning Plates and Hello Future, Supa & Da Kryptonites will compete to play and open with their set on Wickerman’s Main Stage this year.

The band were voted and narrowed down to 1 of 4 best unsigned bands in Scotland by Sunday Herald readers. Winning the chance to open one of Scotland’s favourite festivals would be an incredible opportunity for all acts, including the Hip-Hop/Grime/Reggae Ska Funkmeisters.


When asked about winning Jay said:

‘It would mean a lot to us all, Pretty humbled to just get this far’

‘Winning I suppose is something I haven’t really thought about,

‘Would be funkin pukka though.’

This event organised by The Wickerman Festival, in association with XFM Scotland and The Herald, is also being headlined by none other than the revered Hector Bizerk!

If you need a Thursday night gig fix, or if you want to see some spectacular performances to accelerate your weekend while supporting Scottish musicians, this gig comes highly recommended.

Here’s Funks The Only Time (I Get Down) which is Supa & Da Kryptonites latest release. Having added the sultry smooth vocalist that is Sarah Knowles to the line-up in November last year, Conal McIntosh  (bassist) in March,, and Jonathan Ginty (alto-sax) last month, their sound has been spiced up once more, Jay’s daughter, Ava,  also introduces this track and the combination is irresistible.

Have a listen here:


Wickerman Warm Up Event Link:



Share Button

Mickey 9s: The Party Manifesto

by Harsharan Hoonjan

2015-06-24 09.18.15

Date:  16h May 2015

Venue: Stereo

Band: Mickey 9s

Hometown: Glasgow

Formed:  01/01/09

Genre: ‘Superfluent Sizzle Beat’   – www.facebook.com/mickey9s

Event:’ The Party Manifesto’ Album Launch Party

Album Release Date: 19th June 2015

1The Yellow Movement means happy times! But what is this masked man and his fellow comrades communicating to us? The venue is Stereo, and Mickey 9s are the funk.  The debut album launch party for ‘The Party Manifesto’ had finally arrived. And glistening faces in the filled out venue marked the eminence of a vibrant collective fan base.

But when Mickey 9s were up there in lights, I was transported back to 2013; it was Stereo again, in winter (a Christmas Gig). The Post Orgasmic Sunshine Band had headlined that night.

Mickey9s however were playing first, but they were not meant to be first on the bill. I clocked the lead singer we’ll call him masked man again. He was coming out from the shallow opening in a dark corner.

Into the stage he pounced and started jolting out song after song.

There was no stopping the sheer force or movement emitting from this yellow and gold mask- wearing man, and the rest of the band. He was galloping, he was kicking, he was imitating a few Macarena moves and he was telling us to ‘Find A Thing’ to dance to.


In all honesty, there was a level of calm I was expecting unfortunately for my expectations; there were little calm moments during the performance. It was high octane energy and I was struggling to catch each moment, scene/ word.

This all passed by so quickly I hardly recognised myself getting sucked into Mickey 9s quicksand. It was all a bit hypnotic and mind altering. I wanted to dance but couldn’t, I wanted to sing but didn’t know all the words, and I wanted to say all the right things on paper, but they had that covered too.

On the album launch night, I felt a similar affliction to when I had seen them for the first time. They have definitely improved their performance standards. The masked man may have calmed his movements, but not the energy, or beat, and if the mood takes him he will still kick and jump on the spot. Leaving his signature colourful socks on as well – not conforming to shoes on stage yet.

So in winning the Scottish Alternative Music Award in March 2014 for Best Live Act, it was crystal clear why.

Mickey 9s might just be one of the coolest bands I have ever seen,

With their main influence being Daft Punk, they have succeeded in producing a sound that is uniquely fused with funk, whilst sticking to its Glasgow roots and Scottish heritage.!  Patter filled tunes, like ‘Psycho Control’ and ‘Shark in the Water’ exemplify this. Songs like Ammunition and Berlin are also great examples of the band dissecting a piece of history into factual digestible chunks of dancefloor gold.

The album which was available to buy on the night of the launch, gave us a 5 week exclusive over those who didn’t make it. Proceeds also went towards a children’s refugee charity. This is not that surprising a gesture, as philanthropic acts like this is a regular event for Mickey 9s. I can remember at least a dozen gigs last year alone where ticket sales went to a charity of some sort/or they played for free. And it always feels good paying for quality while helping out a worthy cause.

And their album is quality! Containing 10 fiery tracks that leave you fully charged.  It’s not one of those albums that plummets and rises; it’s got a consistent beat and bass power that allows you to enjoy the whole record, without evoking any melancholy. You can nod/bounce on the spot or back flip to the tracks. These four funkmeisters have mastered the art of engaging the listener to their fizz fueled sounds, while delivering sometimes serious political/sociocultural messages.

Their style is to be admired, should you be inclined by a ‘super fluent sizzle beat.’


What else is there to mention? Well the band did provide complimentary gold masks for everyone at their album launch and before that the single launch for Psycho Control. They have their own comic strip providing a further political back bone to their works, portraying the band as musical superheroes.  Also they are always innovating and making it fun for themselves and their fans. For instance, inviting fans to help design their latest batch of T-Shirts. Yes, it’s top drawer jumping on the Mickey 9s bandwagon.

Mickey 9s might just be one of the coolest bands I have ever seen.


Every ounce of their beat, bass, electric guitar, and vocals feels surreal. From singing about Electric Eels, Christopher Walken, dancing to Shark in the Water and Find A Thing to trying to match their stage energy, It is a trip of a show ladies and gentlemen. It’s a smile inducing, goosebump creating, happy after effect, singing their songs for days on end show. That is what I believe they are communicating to us…

That’s the Mickey 9s effect.


For consistently producing this effect and always giving 100 percent, I only have one thing left to say.

Thank Funking Yaldi for the Mickey 9s!



34bAdditional Notes and Summary:

1)   Psycho Control was also issued in an 8″ Vinyl format for Record Store Day at Love Music Glasgow.  They also produced Tins O’ Funk. This is likely a tin of beans wrapped in animated packaging.  Dave Arnott is the face of the new product.  It’s said to contain bits of shark too!  Last time I checked, Love Music  confirmed it still had copies of their single, ‘Psycho Control’ on vinyl , the album , The Party Manifesto, and plenty of Tins O Funk!

2)      Only 200 physical copies of the CD for Psycho Control were produced

3)     They won a SAMA Award last year for Best Live Act, then played an after party  set at Nice ‘N’ Sleazy’s

4)      As well as major cities, they’ll sometimes come to places like Cumbernauld, Greenock and Hamilton to play, adding to their already impressive gig map.

5)      They rock every crowd no matter how many people show up.

6)     Official launch date for the album was June 19th 2015. But they gave album launch party attendees a 5 week exclusive over everyone else.

7)      Ammunition is actually about the Holocaust

8)      Psycho Control is based on David Cameron and the Tories

9)      Mickey 999? That one is actually about the Mickey 9s


Enjoy the album and the gigs  – worth every penny.

To Mickey 9s, thanks again for having me and congrats on your superb debut album!



Album Launch Night Videos:



Band Links:




Upcoming Events:

Friday 17 July 2015

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, UK

Saturday 18 July 2015

The Tunnels, Aberdeen, UK

Friday 07 August 2015 – Sunday 09 August 2015

Mugstock Festival  at Mugdock Country Park, Glasgow, UK







Share Button

Marmion: E.P. Review, ‘Prophylactic Groove’

by Harsharan Hoonjan


Band: Marmion

Members:  Sandy Power (vocals, keyboard, mandolin), Carlos Donaire (Guitar), Caroline Mayo (Guitar), James Lagarde (Bass), and Liam Tucker (Drums)

E.P. Title: Prophylactic Groove

Released: 17th April 2015

Location:  Edinburgh

Formed: 2014

The sensational Sandy Power is back! Not on his own though, he’s returned to the music scene with college mates: Carlos Donaire, Caroline Mayo, James Lagarde, and Liam Tucker. Together they make up the Edinburgh band known as, ‘Marmion’, and they released their debut E.P. on 17th April. Combining glistening vocals with an eclectic blend of poppy /psychedelic alternative rock, the musical agility binding Prophylactic Groove is interesting.

The title, Prophylactic Groove, actually defines the healing/medicinal benefits associated with music, and this theme is served up in each song.  Also, not only have Marmion produced a lot more tracks than is expected for a debut E.P. But the band contributed to charity organisation, Drake Music Scotland, handing over a £120 cheque for the first batch of sales made as well. Already setting in motion their promise of a band that ‘intrigues and excites.’    – http://marmion.instapage.com/

Prophylactic Groove’s tracks:

1) Mindscape this lets you into relatable yet, “uncomfortable at best” head of a troubled soul. It’s reminiscent of Sandy’s solo efforts, and the band just heighten the hedonistic experience.

2) Going Out is dance floor gold. Full of swaggery hooks and powered up vocals. It evokes head banging, toe tapping, and dance shaped bodily reactions.

3) Goddess is a slow but steady stunner, beautifully arranged and nicely played.

4) City Dreams is a quirkier tale, which will build smiles on any journey.

5) Walking on Water captivates; the story’s romantic entanglement will put you under a trance of hypnotic proportions

6) Sapphire Skies contains intriguing notes that end on an enthralling finale.

The vocals and instrumentation on each track is uncompromising, which makes Prophylactic Groove a finely crafted E.P.

I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from this talented lot.

Well done Marmion!






Images used with permission.

Share Button

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

Share Button