Saturday 10 December 2022

Monorail Music 20th Birthday Party

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.

The LH DJ set before Gerry Love was excellent, paving the way for Gerry, Noel (guitar and backing vocals), Paul (percussion), Jamie (bass) and Tom (all kinds of things) to take the stage and begin with the heavenly chiming guitar of December.

This apt opener from the seminal Bandwagonesque LP generated a heart response from the crowd. Gerry and his band then took us on a musical journey the setlist weaved through Lightships and Fanclub songs. 

Gerry's voice on Silver & Gold was exquisite, Sweetness In Her Spark was gentle gorgeousness, Starsign was flowing and dreamy and Take The Long Way Round was euphoric guitar pop, even when stripped back.

Paul Quinn's percussion skills really came to the fore on Every Blossom while the whole room seemed to sing Don't Look Back, the Mono choir. It was a wonderful moment and the ovation afterwards was long and heartfelt. 

Sunlight To The Dawn is one of my very favourite Gerry Love songs. The opening guitar riff sends warm tingles down my spine, a second layer is added and the band fall in, creating a great groove. 

Slow, contentment to your soul
A golden sun sets in your eyes
When love's in your willing heart

Gerry and Noel warned the band were running out of time and could fit in a couple more. There were cries of play them all and I don't doubt that the crowd would have settled in for the night if that was possible.

As it was, closing with Ain't That Enough and Sparky's Dream, was quite enough! Two incredible songs that had the backing of the Mono choir again. Gerard Love and friends left the stage to huge cheers and cries for more. I can't wait to hear what Gerry records next year. 

Before long Stephen Pastel was playing records including September Gurls and Daytripper to keep the good vibes going.

The party was just getting started, but it was time to head home to my Mum and daughters. 

I hope everyone who stayed to party to Apostille (a brilliant live act - check this blog) and DJ's had a goo time and got the dancing started.

No comments: