The City is full of people dressed up as super heroes and sexy nurses, cheer leaders and axe murderers. I’m walking up the street toward the O2 ABC and see a guy with a cool zombie face on. “Brill costume mate.” I quip as I pass. “It’s no a costume yah c**t! I jist goat slashed!” I hustle on swiftly and see four drunks dressed as cops rushing down to the zombie/slash victim to make enquiries no doubt and maybe call on a fake paramedic…
It’s Halloween and people are slightly more mental than usual I suppose. It’s also a Friday night in Glasgow. We are used to this, it’s part of the vibrant and pulsing heart of our city. I’m mulling these thoughts as I see a guy dressed as SpongeBob SquarePants trying to urinate in an alleyway. But he is failing dramatically and getting pee all over his costume. Our eyes lock for a second. His say “This seemed like a good idea at the time.” while mine say “I hope you find the Velcro or the zipper before you drown.”
I get to the venue and upstairs to the gig with a few minutes to spare before Gerry Cinnamon comes on. Usually I’d grab a quick pint and a smoke but I’m running late and it’s an early show. The place is filling up nicely too. Usually first supports are lucky to have twenty or thirty folk in. Tonight there is a healthy mob of people at the barriers in front of the stage at least five rows deep.
I set up my camera, say hello to a couple of other photographers and get into the photo pit. Gerry Cinnamon walks on the stage and immediately there is a roar of “here we, here we, here F*****g go!” And we do. He used to work here when he was “a wee guy”. But this is him on the stage and treading these boards to play the venue. It’s special and deserved and about time too. Gerry only recently sold out King Tut’s and also has another gig there which might have sold out already coming up on December 6th.
Gerry Cinammon by Pat McGuire
He starts off with some loopy blues magic on Gerry’s Lullaby to get us going nicely, then does Hope over Fear which has become an anthem for positive change. People in the crowd know all the words and sing them back with passion. I know a lot of folk here tonight but there also a lot more new people who are wanting to hear Gerry. Not just for that one song but for the whole repertoire. And they do, they get a great set from a true performer who puts all his energy into playing and recording. He’s not bathing in the stage lights (in fact the lights were pretty bad for photographs, all backlit no front) or acting up. He just does his great songs the way he does. Crowd engagement is natural to Gerry. He just loves playing live and it shows.
Kampfire Vampire is introduced with a caveat about the music “business” which is good advice if you are willing to take it. You sing along to it but at the same time you can absorb the message if you are open to it. Later on Gerry is joined by Calum Frame on Fickle McSelfish which is a lovely song delivered with grace and applauded by many.
Sadly, for me, I had to bail out early to get to the other end of town for another show. So I missed the other bands at the O2 ABC that night. But it was brilliant seeing Gerry Cinnamon getting a larger stage to play on. Also the Castlemilk folks who are part of his core following and friends (all brilliant people) being there. He also had a lot of new fans in the crowd.
Gerry’s star is rising. He puts the work in and delivers great songs and performances whilst avoiding the traps of the business. He also does regular open mic nights on Wednesdays at The Priory. See below for linkage.
25th July is a Friday night. It’s also a summer night. King Tut’s Summer Nights as it happens too. The City is full of buskers and scam artists, tourists and people here for the Commonwealth games. It’s what we call “Taps aff” weather. However the Council and the Cops have been pro actively moving on beggars and making homeless people feel even more homeless, as if that could even be possible, just so the City presents a nicer veneer to our visitors for the games. I think they may even be prohibiting the traditional fat guy with no T shirt custom that is a part of the Glasgow summer (like it or loath it, it happens on the 2 or 3 days of summer we usually get here.) I’ve only seen a couple of them this week, they might be an endangered species.
But that is what happens when they open up a City to the world. They only want to show the good bits and ignore the rest, we all know our City is great though and so do our visitors and people who come here. Be it for the games or the music or the patter. We also know that there is a lot of problems with OUR City too. We don’t need to airbrush them out of the equation.
This is our City and anyone else’s too, if they want to be a part of it. And one huge part of it is King Tut’s. It’s a venue that has hosted bands that took on the world, and won. I don’t need to tell you who played there unless you lived under a rock for the last 20 years or more. Some of the best gigs I’ve ever been at were in Tut’s. I’ve seen maybe 40 or more bands that I can think of right now in that venue. Some went on to greater things, others didn’t. That is how it goes in the music firmament, it’s all a bit of luck and talent and good timing that either works for or works against you. You almost need to just do it and fall into the net of chance, in the hope that it doesn’t break you but you get to bounce back up, like a gymnast and get the applause. Or you miss the net and break a few bones and decide to have a real job and a real career and call it quits.
So tonight we have four distinct people on the bill for King Tut’s Summer Nights. All of them play acoustic sets but each of them approach their music from different directions.
First on is Paul John MacIver, an intense young man from Inverness-shire who leans into his guitar and the crowd with a lot of energy. I don’t really know a lot about the guy although we spoke briefly after the gig, but I liked his set and you can hear more of him at his Sound Cloud link in my preview on the gig here.
The second artist on the bill is Aaron Fyfe, and his set is lovely to my jaded ears. I’d like to write more about him and his music, but again I don’t feel I know enough to write anything worthwhile so I’ll look out for his next gigs and try to pop along and maybe do him justice. Again see my preview piece for his Sound Cloud and have a listen. Here.
So for me the next two people are why I’m here tonight. Jamie Coleman is now a friend of mine after I saw him play King Tut’s and then Pivo Pivo a few months ago. Since then Jamie has supported Alabama 3 and also John Power. Jamie’s strength lies in his songs, each one is a story about life, from the day to day mundane stuff to the tragic and almost hopeless. He described his singing as sounding “like a guy who swallowed an ashtray”. And I’ll grant that he does have a rough tone to his voice. But that just adds to the overall effect of his music. He doesn’t do much banter between songs. The message is in the music here. Most if not all of the crowd know the lyrics and sing along too. Jamie has touched on that essence of life’s ups and many downs that people instantly identify with. Some people do crowd interaction, Jamie doesn’t. His intensity is in the words and the chords and the ashtray voice.
Jamie Coleman @ King Tut’s Summer Nights by Pat McGuire
Standout songs tonight (well all of them are) include “Welfare State of Mind” – A song that is a masterpiece even if you didn’t know the background to it. Even if you thought Jamie had just made it up (he hasn’t though it is based on his personal experiences.) This is a song that had a music industry rep approach him as he loved the song, but wanted the title changed… I think Mr Coleman told him where to go, precisely and succinctly. As it happens Jamie was at the social a few weeks ago to sort out a claim (how many of us have enjoyed that experience?) and when he came out a protest against benefits sanctions was happening. So he ended up playing some songs and joining in. It’s not quite Rock n Roll, it is real life though.
I don’t need to hammer on about how “real” Jamie is. Anyone who knows him is aware of what he does for society above and beyond writing and playing his music. He doesn’t do charity shows and donate proceeds from record sales to appear as if he is from the people. He does it because he is that type of guy. He could get exposure by just playing his stuff. He is from and of the people. Like millions of us. Just he is a talented guy with a big heart who wants to give a bit back.
It’s not at all downer music though, it is uplifting. “Remember the Old Days” has become a staple at Jamie’s gigs. A rousing ode to a misspent youth when you could go down the park with your mates and have a great time (God how I miss those times…) when life was that bit more free and fun and just felt that much better.
Jamie Coleman KTSN by Pat McGuire
There is an overriding theme here. A look back at the good times, and a document on the current not so great ones. But at the same time “Sit down Skin Up” is all about the moment. Taking the time to realise that life happens right now, so grab it while you can. It is not a rehearsal you only have one shot at it.
Rather than bore you with more words though, courtesy of John McKinlay here is Jamie’s closing song from the gig – “Die My Own Way”
Jamie Coleman has a lot of gigs coming up. So treat yourself and go along with an open mind and an open heart.
Jamie Coleman is playing :
Dullatur Golf Club Cumbernauld : 1st August for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Next up for this sold out King Tut’s Summer Nights gig, is the one and only Gerry Cinnamon. I was aware of Gerry through some mutual friends, but also the aforementioned Jamie Coleman spoke about him in an interview I published a while back. Mr John McKinlay (who makes cracking live videos, camera in one hand, pint in the other) had also urged me to go along to Gerry’s open mic nights at The Priory. I took them up on this offer and had a brilliant night, but that was more about Gerry getting people to play and play alongside them. Tonight was the first time I’d seen Gerry play live for a “real” gig.
The word enigma is over used. But I’m using it here because I can. By definition it means something difficult to explain or understand. Gerry Cinnamon’s talent and general star quality is not what the enigma is for me. It’s how bloody good he is at being an enigma that is the enigma itself. Have you ever met someone and the first thing they do is hug you and make you feel welcome, then go on to play guitar and drum boxes and harmonicas and compère an open mic session with great people playing, and get that greatness out of them too? That is what Gerry does. And this was weeks ago at The Priory open mic night.
Tonight Gerry comes on with the audience shouting his name like a football chant. One that is derived from KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Give it up”. The roof seems to swell in the venue almost to bursting point. Gerry is genuinely astounded as his tall frame approaches the mic. “How good is this? Really?” Then he jams along with the crowd for a few chords. Well we all know the answer. The Venue is excellent, the people are up for it, the atmosphere is giving me the shakes and I’ve only had two rum and cokes. I see loads of familiar friendly faces and have met a few new ones outside. It’s gonna be a BELTUR!
I knew this gig was going to be a good one, the line up dictated that it must be, but even then my high expectations were surpassed. I posted on social media when I got home that “I’ve seen many gigs at Tut’s, but this one was amazing”. Okay I’m sometimes over enthusiastic about live music, but trust me. I know people will be wishing they were there. It just had that feeling of something on the cusp of greatness. Something about to happen. Something else?
Gerry Cinnamon by Pat McGuire
Before he plays “Kampfire Vampire” Gerry urges people to do what they do, not to get hung up on the money makers. Then gets tore into the song with guitar and harmonica and a huge smile. His Mod looks and poise suggests a younger Paul Weller, but Weller never smiled a lot at his gigs. Gerry has a big cheesy grin on his face for most of the show.
Case in point – with thanks again to John McKinlay –
Most of the gig for me is a blur, I’m trying to take pictures for this review, but also trying to soak up the ambience and the feeling. I’m in the pit then at the sides and then one of the staff tells me I can shoot from the stage too. I pop up for a bit but drop back down soon as I want to see the gig the same as the rest of the people here. I want to soak the event into my mind. I want to lose myself to the wisdom of the crowd. I end up at the back so I can just watch the event unfold. Standing on a bench seat surrounded by like minded people. Popping a shot and sipping another rum and coke. Smiling like an idiot at anyone giving me eye contact. I’m almost lost for a while as Gerry Cinnamon plays like a holy demon and just keeps upping the ante. There is an air of almost messianic fervour and it is evident all around me. Not in a bad way, just as a unifying force binding people together for a part of an hour. We all know it has to end soon, but we are grabbing it while we can. I look into my tumbler to make sure no one has added something “extra” to it. It looks clear, it’s just rum and coke.
Gerry Cinnamon 3 KTSN by Pat McGuire
Forget about the timeline – I hear “Flickering Flame” begin with a some rasping guitar chords and a non apologetic lyric. “Dead Man’s Shoes” meets us on the other side but only if we get there. And then a drumbeat from his pedals gets another chorus of “Gerry Cinnamon nana nana na na” going to take us into a cover of “Good Feeling” but done the Gerry Cinnamon way and not Flo Rida.
Gerry does covers in his set, Beck’s “Loser” gets a good workout. But for me his cover of Dougie MacLean’s “Caledonia”, as imperfect as it was, is just perfect anyway. Some people only know it from adverts on the telly. Others know it from late night parties, when we are not in Scotland. Usually played by the least drunk mate in the room with the rest of us waiting for the chorus. In King Tut’s we are still in Scotland, but we all join in the chorus anyway. Why? Because it’s a great song and Gerry gets us to “take the roof off!” It was “pure dynamite” Gerry, it was.
(With thanks again to John McKinlay)
After the gig, a few of us retire to The Priory and meet up for post gig drinks. I’m heading out for a smoke and hear a round of cheering and applause. I’ve never heard that much joy at me leaving a pub before. Then I realise it’s because Gerry has just walked in. He gives me a handshake then a hug and his eyes are watery. Genuinely surprised at his reception. As I lope up the steps I hear the chant again… “Gerry Cinnamon,Cinnamon nana nana nana na na!”
Gerry Cinnamon @ King Tuts by Pat McGuire
Gerry has some gigs coming up :
Glasgow Green as part of the Commonwealth Games Festival : 31st July and also 3rd August.
Prestfest in Prestwick on 2nd August.
He also has an EP due out this Autumn so check his FB page for more info :
Work today was rubbish. I sat at my desk and talked to morons on the phone as usual. I annoyed my workmates by drumming on my desk and doing double bass drum flams with my feet and triplets with my fingers. Being middle aged, my belly worked as a floor tom for added drummage. The most exciting part of that shift, was when someone called the support line and just screamed expletives for almost 2 minutes then hung up. I love that random stuff when it happens. I hope that crazy caller gets some therapy soon and no one dies.
But even though I had to endure a shift on a Saturday afternoon, when I could have been playing poker or even buying books from the pound shop, I knew I had something cool to do that night. It sustained me through the day of BS and idiocracy. I was going to be taking pictures of some metal bands!
What I know about “Metal” you could probably write on the edge of a postage stamp if you used a huge magic marker. I don’t claim to be an expert, so if I make a faux pas ( that’s a mistake or “false step”, for anyone who is too stupid to Google “faux pas” ) in this review, please accept my apologies beforehand.
Also I would like give special thanks to Gerry Corr and STG promotions for the media pass. And the venue itself : River (which used to be Barfly) for selling pints at three quid (yes only three quid for a pint, I almost fainted!) and putting on some great gigs in a good venue.
So, to the gig. As I said earlier, I’m not a Metal expert. But there are as many sub genres of Metal now as there are wrinkles on Iggy Pop’s testicles. I’ve heard some groove Metal, dark Metal, death Metal, thrash Metal, very Metal, mental Metal and of course sheet Metal..okay that last one I made up, fabricated even (a wee joke there). My point is there are loads of types to this general type of music. Tonight the three bands are all different from each other but are still METAL.
AMOK by Pat McGuire
Out front the sound is good as AMOK take to the stage. Speeding into their stuff and despite the place not being as full as it should be, they get tore into their own brand of METAL. Lots of riffage and tempo changes and with a bassist who looks like a cross between Billy Bragg and Prince Harry. AMOK run amok. This is what I remember classic metal being like. Their singer has a vocal range that reminds me of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) when he had all his own hair and didn’t buy it from Ebay. (Don’t quote me on that, but he did…nah he didnae.) Great band, loved their set. Their drummer is a “Banger” too. Broke the kit a few times (well he knocked the first tom off it’s mount.) And any decent drummer is always a “Banger” so no harm done there. AMOK are Loud and proficient and Metal as feck. Go and see them live or buy their music if you like loud rock played by dudes who are into it.
28 mph by Pat McGuire
Next on stage we have 28 mph. Who to my ears are a bit more punk/metalish. A good band, and not knocking them at all, but not as tight as they could be. Still they do their set with aplomb, despite the request for “James Blunt” covers from a member of the audience. (I’m sure this was an in joke and not an actual request.) They deliver some more vibey METAL than the usual. Some drones and Eastern influenced Rock too. Maybe their set wasn’t as tight as usual, I dunno as this is the first time I’ve seen them. Not a bad performance, I just think they can be better. And please don’t think I’m trying to be superior or that I assume I know anything about this genre. I’m just speaking as a guy who loves live music. I will go and see this band again because they do have some good stuff going on, perhaps tonight wasn’t a good gig for them?
Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire
Right, now. Splintered Halo, what can we say about a band that has only one “named” member – Evelyn? While the rest of the band wear white / black masks thus making them anonymous. Well apart from the obvious, they are an excellent band. By that I mean their version of METAL is loud, full of musicality and they know how to do a show. Before the gig and whilst having a smoke outside the venue I met and had a chat with some of them sans stage gear. Under the official secrets act I can’t reveal who they were, but can say they were nice blokes and have a pedigree in music that wouldn’t surprise you. One thing about METAL in general, regardless of what sub genre, is that you need to be able to play your instruments really well. It’s one of the genres that won’t allow you to fluff notes or drop beats. You can’t cover up mistakes and call it Punk or Indie.
Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire
Splintered Halo have the riffs and the arrangements down to a T. Also visually they are astounding. The masks the the band members wear adds an eeriness to their stage persona. And Evelyn layers that with a sexuality and presence as well as fantastic stagecraft that makes seeing this band a total event. From the get go you feel you are going to be entertained whether you want to or not. 6 string bass, technical drums, ethereal keyboards and guitars that work together in an almost orchestral way. And over that you have a front person that puts her soul into the gig. The stage is warm the crowd are too. Songs rip and weave in a torrential crescendo from the P.A.
Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire
“Evelyn, you are so hot!” is the shout from the female voices in the crowd. I think the blokes are scared but appreciative. I don’t want to over focus on the fact that Splintered Halo has an attractive female front person, but they do. It is part of the band’s dynamic. She almost evokes both Shirley Manson and Marilyn Manson as if both of them were morphed into one body. But at the same time her vocals are not just a pastiche of one or the other, they are just Evelyn’s.
Splintered Halo by Pat McGuire
All in all it was a great gig, in a great venue. Kudos to all of the bands and the crowd and the venue staff who made my Saturday night a good yin. METAL is not my usual genre. But good music and live bands is what counts. People are playing live, people are putting on gigs. Venues are creating spaces for Joe Public to go and hear music. What I am saying is. Git yer bodies to gigs, embrace live music, take a risk. Support live bands and the venues and promoters that put shows on. Otherwise we will be stuck with crappy talent shows on the telly. And really have no excuse at all for it all being crap.
Back in March I saw Jamie Coleman playing live at King Tuts. At that time I was covering John Lennon McCullagh so while I mentioned Jamie’s set and took a couple of pictures of him live, I didn’t feel qualified to write a review on him. Since then we got in touch via social media and he asked me to come along to the gig tonight at Pivo Pivo. I also got to meet him in person and do an interview where he speaks about his influences and upcoming gigs as well as what makes him tick. (See links at the bottom to listen in.)
Jamie Coleman @ Pivo Pivo by Pat McGuire
One of the reasons I wanted to cover Jamie Coleman live is that at the King Tuts gig his set was rousing and carried the crowd. I didn’t know his background or his song titles but detected something different and yet familiar there. Since then I have had the chance to listen to his stuff closely and my first impressions have proven to be correct. You know when you hear talented people. Their tunes/lyrics stick. You keep hearing part of the song or a part of a chorus and it won’t leave that record player in your head…
Jamie is first up in a mobbed Pivo Pivo. A small venue on Waterloo Street that seems to host a lot of great music. The gig itself has a lot more acts on the bill who I’d like to cover and maybe photograph soon.
I couldn’t stay to do pics or cover them though as I’m dead old and had an early shift the next day, however mucho kudos to Jay Hale (A Northern Contribution) who organised the gig. And the bands that turned up: who were – The Beat Movement,Joe Symes & The Loving Kind, The Jamie Reilly Band and Vida. I’d heard most of the sound checks and really wish I could have stayed for the whole gig. Although gig is not the right term for it, it was more like a review or a show where you’d expect John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers to appear. As if it was 1963 and in a basement in London instead of Glasgow. Back when Eric Clapton was learning his chops and clothes were that bit cooler.
Jamie Coleman @ Pivo Pivo by Pat McGuire
And not labouring the point or being too retro, but I almost wished I was back in my early teens and a wee Mod who would have loved the whole vibe of the gig, whilst also getting into the indie/rock/blues thing too. It wasn’t a flashback gig, but a modern take on a classic multi faceted genre that keeps on keeping on.
Jamie Coleman opens his set with “Morning after” one of his songs I alluded to earlier that just sticks in your head. A Jazzy/swingy blues number full of Maj 7th’s and vocals that seem to drawl at you only the way a son of Clydebank can. A few songs in “Wanna fade away” which is a dreamy, melancholic tune that could be the love child of Mazzy Star and Pink Floyd if they ever met one dark night. Glazed over with Jamie’s vocals“Take me away from this moment, I don’t wanna feel no pain. I just wanna feel free now, be myself again.” Really, re read that line. If you have never felt like that, you are not human.
What Jamie Coleman does live (and on his recordings) is capture feelings and emotions succinctly. It’s an art that can be learned, but only really works when it comes from the heart and soul. And while his onstage persona tonight might seem laid back, you know that the inspiration for them might not have been as casual. Jamie works at his songs and his performances. It’s not an act, it’s a distillation of experiences and observations wrapped up in a creativity borne from pain and joy and a lot of other emotions in between.
“Little Moody and Harry” is an inspirational song. Louder than most of his set, you can imagine this one with some drums and bass guitar kicking some ass. But even as an acoustic song it carries a lot of power. It almost reminds me of Mike Peters (The Alarm) back in the day (I mentioned that I’m old, back in the day means the 80’s and 90’s).
I’m not going to just do a song by song review though. Jamie did give me his set list for reference. That would be like me reading a dictionary aloud and beginning with Aardvark and ending with Zyxt (which is the last word in the Oxford English…) I’d rather focus on the feeling of the gig. And that is one of introspection, joy, and bloody good music!
Jamie Coleman by Pat McGuire
You have a guy on stage, not dressed up but not dressed down. Pouring his heart into the music. He doesn’t do banter or tell jokes or stories but does say hello to folk he knows. People are talking through the songs but he keeps on playing all the same. When Jamie Coleman puts on his guitar and starts playing, the room could be empty and it wouldn’t make a difference. He seems to get lost in the story of the song and it carries him away to a place that we are all invited to, but only if we chose to listen.
One song that he does tonight that I have been waiting for though is “The Fear”. As songs go this is the one that could define him in my eyes. It might sound at first as a reserved, yet jolly tune about drinking too much. But is it really? Maybe I’m reading my own issues into it but “Just gonna lie here, with the fear deep inside, and I don’t feel right” resonates with me on so many levels. Vocal delivery, lyrics and tune all just hit the spot. By accident or design it is just a great song from a great songwriter. I’m haunted by it.
Jamie Coleman and Lynette from The Claurettes
And at the end of his set he is joined by Lynette from The Claurettes with “Hey Soul Sista” It’s a fantastic way to round off a brilliant set. (See the video from John McKinlay in the links below)
Jamie Coleman’s songs also have that essence of hope in them. Real hope that can only be defined from having been through it and then come out the other end stronger, that is what defines us essentially in life. We are the sum of what happens to us and around us. And how we in turn take that and move on to our next stage in life. Tonight I moved to a place where six strings, a voice, some harmonica and some great people made me feel alive and vibrant and not quite as old as when I walked in.
Jamie Coleman has some gigs coming up soon :
1st of May @ Beresford lounge for Session on a Rug
2nd may @ The Duchess of Kirkcaldy supporting John Power of Cast and The La’s
9th may @ Brixton Jamm London supporting MOL ( Mountains of Love : a new band featuring members of Alabama 3)
13th @ Roxy Glasgow
And some surprise shows in July ( which we can’t reveal right now, but they promise to be pretty amazing.)
My interview with Jamie Coleman on Mixcloud ( errors are mine and special guests are a guy asking for money, and a woman putting her drink on the table)
I was sadly unaware of Jamie Coleman until fairly recently. I was at King Tuts to cover John Lennon McCullagh and Jamie was one of the support acts. Due to family and work commitments I didn’t have the time to cover his gig then but I got in touch with him via Facebook shortly after the show and he has kindly invited me along to see him on Friday 18th at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow.
Jamie is from Clydebank and plays a nice mix of indie/folk/blues infused acoustic songs. He toured with John Lennon McCullagh (hence the King Tuts show) and also has some great support slots and headline shows coming up soon. I’ll cover them when I do my review of his gig on Friday, but one in particular that makes me wish I could play some songs as well as he does is his upcoming support for John Power ( Cast / The La’s ) in Kirkcaldy in May.
What music is essentially about is the songs, and Jamie’s music is all about that. Voice, acoustic guitar and some harmonica to spice up the mix. And while that dynamic is nothing new, Jamie puts his own flavour on top. Written from the heart and delivered with passion, what else could you ask for?
Friday night at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow, Jamie Coleman is on the bill along with The Beat Movement, Joe Symes & the Loving Kind, The Clocktower, Jamie Reilly and Vida.
It’s a wet and pretty miserable Thursday in Glasgow, doubly so for me as even my usual tipples are just not moving a bug I’ve had most of the week. But I carry on gamely and switch from lager to rum and coke. It helps a bit but maybe what I need is a secret ingredient to chase away the tiredness and general downer I’m on. As it happens there might be a cure involving more rum and coke and some good live music.
I’m in a packed out King Tuts bar waiting for the doors to the venue to open. There is a sense of energy in the air, something good is going to happen. So I have another rum and coke and try to let the ambience soak in. I also think to myself, Kilmarnock must be desolate tonight because most of that town are here. The headline band is The Parlotones ( from Johannesburg, but now based in L.A. ) who have played to huge audiences worldwide and are an amazing band, but sadly, they are not from Kilmarnock.
A band that is though is One Last Secret. And they are who I’m here to see tonight. As yet unsigned ( but maybe that will change soon ) they do a great line in melodic power pop/rock which is the ideal thing to beat a rainy night in Glasgow into submission. It worked for me in any case, I felt much better for being there. And before I get to the gig review proper, I need to mention the opening act : Huevo and the Giant. A young band who had no song titles as such but despite some technical issues opened the night and should be a band to look out for over the coming months.
One Last Secret describe themselves as “Rock Pop Sexy” which is not a genre I’m familiar with. They are Rocky and Poppy and I guess sexy to the ladies (or even the guy who was feeling the drummer Darran’s arms outside the venue). I hasten to add that Darran was waiting for his girlfriend and not expecting to have his muscles massaged, but if you are in a band you need to expect some kind of tactile interaction at gigs.
Taking to the stage with singer/bassist Wesley wearing a dapper white jacket and they tear into their set and get the audience going nicely. However they too are beset by technical issues soon. Fraser’s guitar needs replaced so their manager Laura has to run up the back stairs to get one from The Parlotones and almost breaks her leg, that’s what you call dedication. Meanwhile the band do an impromptu cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” to keep the show going. Soon as the guitar issue is sorted, they get back to the set which is punchy and solid, Liam with his blonde modish hairdo on the left of stage seems to almost invoke Thom Yorke/Brian Jones in his demeanour. The band look “cool” which is one thing, but they also sound “cool” too without appearing as if it’s an affectation or a put up job. And to be honest, if you come from Kilmarnock you won’t get away with just looking good. You need to back it up with talent.
As I’m not on camera duties tonight, Derek Fowler is, I have to watch the rest of the show from the bar ( poor me…) as the place is jammed tight with fans. There is a live video feed and I can still hear the band via the P.A. system. It’s not where I prefer to see a band from, but the place is so mobbed I simply couldn’t find a spot to watch and take notes. They had sold out their ticket allocation and left Kilmarnock empty and filled King Tuts for a support slot. No easy feat for an unsigned band. There is banter “This song is for Stuck up bitches”. And people dancing at the front of the stage. One Last Secret deliver some great tunes live and look like they were made to play in larger venues too. Their finale is the brilliant “Coral” which is my favourite song so far from this band.
My overall impression on seeing them live is that they could be great if they keep up the obvious musicianship and writing skills they have. This year could be theirs if they take it. When you are this good you don’t need to keep it secret, even if it is your one last secret…
Words – Pat McGuire / Photographs Derek Fowler.
One Last Secret have some gigs coming up soon :
The Garage, Glasgow, 18th April
Aberdeen Student Union, Aberdeen, 30th April
Dirty Weekender, Kilmarnock, 25th May
Secret Venue, Glasgow, 14th June – Official Re-launch