Not many people would choose to spend one of the sunniest and warmest evening of the year in a hot and sweaty West End basement. However, those that did were treated to 3 stunning performances by Stevie and the Moon, Sonny Marvello and The Ray Summers.
Anyone reading this who is remotely aware of the independent music scene in Glasgow will know that the 3 bands mentioned above are all excellent, The Ray Summers have sold out King Tuts three times, supported The Charlatans, released 2 singles and were fresh from Rock Ness, Sonny Marvello released their debut single earlier this year and celebrated by packing out Stereo, while Stevie & the Moon have just released a gem of a mini-album that is gathering heaps of praise.
All 3 acts were giving up their time for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, the charity I work for. Maggie's Centres provide a unique mix of practical, emotional and pschological support to anyone affected by cancer, as well as their family and friends. All services are completely free and no appointment is necessary. The Glasgow Centre, less than a mile from the Captain's Rest, received over 14,000 visits from people living with cancer in 2009. We work it out that it costs around £30 per visit to pay for the centres to run.
Last night, after buying the bands some well earned beers and paying the sound engineer for a great job, just over £300 was raised for Maggie's - essentially covering the costs of over 100 visits to the centre. When you consider that some people visit moments after receiving the shocking news of a diagnosis of cancer, each of these visits can be life-changing.
For more information on Maggie's please visit www.maggiescentres.org
The night started with a nice bottle of Magners in the McPhabs beer garden with some work coleagues before I wandered round to the good Captain's. The heat in the bar hit me instantly and for once it was actually cooler in the basement. The bands soon arrived and soundchecks went well, with a lot of thanks to Gav the sound engineer (formerly of Findo Gask).
With the football on upstairs I was hoping to kick off the night at full-time, but with 3-bands to get through Stevie & the Moon started at 9.05pm with the barmaid ringing a bell to send people downstairs. Stevie had brought a good crowd to catch them and it was good to see the other bands going down to check them out too, as well as their mates and fans. I was on the door at the top of the stairs for most of the set but could hear it clearly and thankfully Lynn came and took over the door so I could go down to catch the last 3 songs, including the excellent 'Born Again'. Stevie's voice is exceptionally clear and incredibly soulful and he was really getting into it, earning a great ovation from the crowd. Anyone going out to catch Stevie & the Moon on their current tour is in for a treat. It's a young band all really up for it and playing with smiles mixed with determination on their faces.
After a short changeover it was the turn of Sonny Marvello and again I was on the door for the first half of the set and Lynn for the second. I could hear the cheers as the boys launched into 'Easy Boys' followed by 'Pull Me Up' - two 3-minute guitar pop songs full of hooks and chiming guitars. By the time I got down Stephen (voclas) had lost his trademark red bowler hat due to the heat and the band were working up a sweat. 'Tiny Little Sparks' practically exploded into life, the harmonies near the end of the song followed by an epic guitar riff more suitable to Hampden that the Captain's. New song 'Never Smile' was instantly catchy and 'My Lover' took in Blur via the Bee Gees. It was a great set, but then it always is.
Having seen The Ray Summers at Oran Mor (headlining) and the Barrowlands (supporting The Charlatans) I was really looking forward to seeing them in a smaller venue. They didn't disappoint. Closing up the door with everyone packed into the basement I caught all of their set. They clearlry enjoyed playing in peoples faces and the energy they generated on stage could have powered all of Glasgow. The Ray Summers take in influences from the 60's to present day. The guitars are loud, yet melodic and it is to their credit that you never know where they are going to go next, soaring off to new heights during middle eights and choruses. Andrew on lead vocals sang his heart out, the whole set was an absolute joy to watch but special mentions must go to 'Heshka Rashka' at the end of the set when the band were on fire, tearing through it with a ferocity that music fans rarely see. An incredibly tight band and one that you should check out some time soon.
Thanks to everyone that came along and to all the bands for their time and support. It was a great night.
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