20 years of Monorail Music. 20 years of popping in for records, cd's, tickets and books. Not to mention meeting friends, beers, food, events and gigs in Mono.
The record shop, venue and the people involved in both have left an incredible imprint on the Glasgow music scene. The splash they have made has generated ripples that have spread across the world.
Musicians playing in Glasgow will seek out the venue, friends who have come to the city from further afield have the store earmarked and ask 'does Stephen Pastel really work there'. Music fans worldwide benefit from the knowledge and taste of Dep, Michael, Russell, Stephen and co from their weekly newsletters and Twitter musings. And their end of year lists are always so lovingly compiled. In fact everything about the store oozes a warm love and genuine passion that you can't help fall for.
On the Monorail website they mention they pride themselves in being independent, focused and friendly. And I think everyone who visits is proud of those qualities and all they have achieved.
I wonder how many times I have visited over 20-years. Nowhere near as often as some of the store regulars, but a decent enough amount to be on nodding or name terms with most people who work there. I don't think I have ever left the store empty handed. Does browsing exist in Monorail? It's going to lead to the purchase of something!
Monorail encourages and supports the arts in so many ways. The store is effectively a base for record labels like Geographic, Night School and Monorail's own sometime label. The Pastels and Sacred Paws are two of the many bands that work, or have worked, in the store.
And so, time to celebrate a landmark. 20-years. The party arrives at a good time, everyone needs escapism and a reason to celebrate something good. Monorail is good, in fact Monorail is great.
As a possible sign of age, I opted to drive in. Freezing temperatures, an ongoing lack of taxis and the fact Glasgow Central would be crazy with Christmas party goers were the reasons. Shout to Mono for having an excellent selection of no-alcohol beers, the Brooklyn Special Effect lager was lovely.
I arrived in plenty of time to see Water Machine setting up on stage and immediately recognised the artist Flore de Hogg who is (or has been) in a number of cool bands. I caught her at Mono on a Record Store Day a number of years ago in a brilliant band called Wet Look. I don't think they ever got to the stage of releasing, but they were super cool.
Water Machine were a bundle of fun and nervous energy. Opening song Water Machine 'we have at least 3 songs called Water Machine' set the tone. A lofi groove, synth melody and catchy vocals (with ace use of backing vocals) quickly won the room.
A song about the drummer always being late for rehearsals was fun, with a pop (almost playground) hook and melody that had people dancing and even singing on first listen.
Trying to find a website or social page to link to the band is proving impossible! I'm rarely on Instagram but you might get some info from Flore's page.