Thursday 31 December 2009

Seventeenth Century & Second Hand Marching Band at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut

My last gig of 2009 was a trip to my all-time my favourite venue to see two of my current favourite young bands in Scotland - Seventeenth Century and the Second Hand Marching Band.

The Second Hand Marching Band are a glorious experiment in quantity and quality, with numbers and members ranging from gig to gig. To list all the members and instruments played would be a blog in itself, so I'll march on (pardon the terrible pun).

Last night there was 18 members of the Second Hand Marching Band on stage. Their dress style ranges from classic geeky indie - red tshirt, waistcoat and jeans, through to glamorous Sophie Conaghan-Sexon on flute and vocals with others wearing Ramones t-shirts, Christmas jumpers and cardigans.

As someone who manages a couple of bands I can only marvel at the thought of trying to get up to 20 people to a practice session or checking who is available for certain gigs. The band managers mobile phone bill must be huge!

The ambition of the Second Hand Marching Band has to be applauded. In a world where bands and artists are selling their souls (if they even have one) for 15-second of fame (never mind 15-minutes), SHMB are warm-hearted, homegrown, lovingly ramshackle and very independently minded.

One by one they take to the stage and then they start, slowly and quietly, gradually building up a cauldron of noise. For those in the crowd watching the band for the first time and being unaware of their numbers, it must have been quite a sight.

I wasn't noting the order they played the songs in, but from memory songs that they did play included;

'A Dance To Half Death' - Every member of SHMB joins in with the beautiful chorus, madolins intertwine with flutes to create a moment of beauty.

'Don't' - My personal favourite. In another universe someone would have started a facebook campaign to get this to number one at Christmas. The melody and beat are infectious and the refrain 'there is something you should know, don't go outside in the rain and the snow'.

The band have released a new EP and the title track 'Grit and Determination' showcases the bands talent and ambition. There is a definite Sufjan Stevens feel to the song. It starts slowly with the line 'I will melt the snow from your heart'. And the song has a warmth that could have melted the snow lying around Glasgow last night.

The Seventeenth Century are an incredible band that I have been following for 18-months now since discovering them busking in Sauchiehall Street. In their early 20's they display musicianship beyond their years. And as the name might suggest, this is not a band that use synths or computers.

Mark Farmer is the singer and violinist and his funky floppy fringe haircut and stage manner immediately attract attention. The band open with a stunning instrumental that builds and builds, reaching climax after climax, ensuring that the audience are fully focused.

The bass player is playing a McCartney-esque style bass, easily the coolest bass that I have seen in a long time. The trumpet player links with Farmer's violin to produce epic soundscapes that echo the likes of Beruit and Arcade Fire.

Farmer sings with all of his heart and seems lost in the moment at times. The band are tight and not afraid to experiment. Single 'Roses In The Park' is played early in the set and is a shining example of what Seventeenth Century are all about. Other songs played include a song called 'Countryside', full of vivid imagery of hills and mountains and a song called 'Francis'.

The band are only on for half an hour and resist calls for an encore. Sadly there is no place in their current set for old song 'Traffic', yet I am sure they will revisit it at a later date.

Seventeenth Century play Oran Mor on January 28th and I would strongly recommend going to see them. It is part of The Mill weekly series of gigs and it's free! Visit for ticket details

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Pearl & The Puppets at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut

Pearl and the Puppets, Brother Louis Collective and Kitty The Lion at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, 21.12.09

I made it upstairs in Tuts just in time to catch the last 4 or 5 songs from Kitty The Lion, AKA singer-songwriter Anna Meldrum and her backing band. I immediately recognised Anna from the Connect Festival back in 2008 when I liked her solo acoustic set. Unfortunately I didn't like her first song about 'Bird Seed that was trying a little too hard to be quirky, funny and clever. Things didn't really improve through the next couple of songs with the band seeming a little one-dimensional. Debut single 'Lion In The Bed' lifted things slightly and the closing'Catalytic Converter' ended the set on a pelasing note, a more upbeat song with the band and Anna gaining confidence and warming up.

The next support act was Brother Louis Collective. With a flutist and clarinet player taking to the stage, along with a double bass player (who was also in Kitty The Lion) I was immediately interested to see what sounds they could produce. The band impressed - they were tight and the second song in allowed the flutist to create some lovely melodies and the clarinet player came in at the end with a brilliant solo, with the resulting jam taking the band into a kind of 70's rock direction. Although I quite enjoyed the bands set, I couldn't help but think that the vocals didn't match the music at times. The flutist and clarinet player were creative and inventive with their melodies, with singer struggling to create any to match his lyrics.

And so on to the headline act; Pearl and the Puppets. I caught Pearl and the Puppets for the first time at King Tuts back in January and then at the Wickerman Festival in July when Katy Sutherland (Pearl) excelled, first by headlining the Solus Tent with a full band, and then playing acoustically on the main stage. I was keen to see how the band had developed over the last twelve months.

The band started nervously, perhaps due to the three photographers in the press pit at the front of the stage. Two of Pearl's MySpace hits 'Mango Tree' and 'Because I Do' were tossed into the set early on and quite a lot of the crowd seemed to lose interest after those songs. 'Because I Do' is surely going to be a hit single in 2010 - simple pop that will have kids humming along on first listen.

Judging by the amount of chatting going on through Pearl and the Puppets set, many had been driven to Tuts out of curiosity and were either not impressed enough or too drunk to listen to her songs, which is a shame as the band were clearly annoyed and disturbed by the chatting. It was a short set, with nothing really of note to get excited about with the highlight being the encore - a solo cover of 'Use Somebody' followed by a full band version of 'Make Me Smile'. It was interesting that Pearl (Katie) seemed most comfortable while playing solo and the beautiful cover of the Kings Of Leon smash hit was easily the song that saw her seem most confident.

It's still early days for Pearl and the Puppets and with a crack management team and major label backing 2010 promises to be a big year. Tonights show wasn't their best gig, but the band are still relatively new, they are certainly very young, and a couple of tours will see them feel more at home on stage together.

Friday 18 December 2009

Pet Shop Boys, SECC, December 17th 2009

Pet Shop Boys, Bad Lieutenant and Unicorn Kid at the SECC

Thursday 17th December 2009

It was a cold, cold night in Glasgow, but a display of warm electro tinged pop by the Pet Shop Boys warmed the hearts of thousands of music fans and got them into the festive spirit.

I arrived at the venue early, keen to see a bit of Unicorn Kid, the Edinburgh teenager who is causing a stir in all the right places just now. I had seen Unicorn Kid at Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh back in August and had been impressed and slightly jealous of the way he whipped an enthusiastic crowd of teenagers into a frenzy with his beep, bleeps and melodies. The cavernous SECC (albeit one of the smaller all-standing venues) was a different matter though - especially considering the fact that the vast majority of the audience were not really who he is aiming his music at. Yet it must have been a great experience for him, although the huge stage highlighted that he doesn't really do much other than push a few buttons and wear a lion hat - his presence is certainly limited although the tunes have enough melodies and ideas going on to mark him as 'one to watch'. He is still incredibly young and has literally came out of his bedroom to remix Pet Shop Boys, tour the UK and America. It will be interesting to see how, and if, he develops and starts to right lyrics, if he sings, or gets a singer.

Unicorn Kid was told to halt his set at 7.30pm promptly to allow the roadies to set up the stage for Bad Lieutenant - Bernard Sumner from New Order's new band. The band took to the stage and Barney said 'hello we're New…Bad Lieutenant.' They kicked off with a song off their debut album called 'This Is Home', although the soundman seemed to have forgotten to turn the mics on and it was only halfway through that the sound of the vocals came on. There was another track of the LP before Barney's co-singer Jake Robins said 'heres one you might know' before the instrumental build up to the New Order classic 'Bizarre Love Triangle'. This classic track quickly wakened and thawed the crowd with some pogo-ing and punching of the air near the front of the stage. Barney did a little bit of his 'dad-dancing' and whistled and whooped… 'you say the words that I can't say.'

Bad Lieutenant came back to the fore with their single 'Sink Or Swim', before 'Summer Days' melted into another familiar intro, 'Crystal', New Order's comeback single from 2001. As it finished the synths started for 'Out Of Control', Sumner's collaboration with Bobby Gillespe and Primal Scream. This is an amazing song of the Scream's XTRMNTR album and well worth tracking down if you haven't heard it. You may have noticed a hint of surprise in my review that Sumner was choosing to play New Order songs, this is due to his profile split with long-term friend and legendary New Order/Joy Division bassist Peter Hook. As a New Order fan my heart leapt at the end of 'Out Of Control' when it segued into my all-time favourite song 'Temptation' - a New Order classic from 1982 that still sounds fresh and vital in 2009. The guitar riff, the lyrics, the hooks and that glorious refrain 'oh you've got green eyes, of you've got blue eyes, oh you've got grey eyes….and I've never met anyone quite like you before'. Absolutely brilliant. And if that wasn't enough Sumner ended the gig with the Joy Division classic 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'.

The curtain dropped, the lights went down, a huge white wall was standing on the stage - a mic in middle and a bank of computers and keyboards to the right (stage left). The music started, a display of graphics came on the wall - were Pink Floyd about to play? The wall opened in two places and out walked Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe with coloured boxes on their heads to launch into 1988 single 'Heart'. 'Heart' contains the simple yet beautiful and meaningful lyric 'I'm in love with you, I mean what I say, I'm in love with you' and I guess that is one of the reasons Pet Shop Boys music has stood the test of time - it is simple yet extremely clever pop music.

'Did You See Me Coming' was next as the crowd found their dancing feet, 'Go West' was dropped in early and the crowd found their voice, expertly conducted by the ringmaster Tennant. 'New York City Boy' proved a hit with the crowd. Full marks have to go to whoever devised the groups stage set - the boxes were knocked to the ground, used to make mini-stages, steps and buildings. Every song had images, graphics or videos displayed in the background, their were costume changes - with Tennant playing the city gent, the futuristic pop star and just a good old Pet Shop Boy.

The hits kept coming for almost 2-hours straight, some I remembered and some I had forgotten. 'Love Etc', 'Suburbia', 'Being Boring' (what an ironic title - could the Pet Shop Boys ever be boring?). 'Always On My Mind' promoted a hands-in-the-air moment with Tennant grinning widely at the crowds response. He was having just as good a time as the crowd.

With so many songs coming thick and fast it was impossible for me to remember the order they were played in. There was a 3-song section where things were slowed down to reflect the fantastic stage show and the 4 dancers that ensured the crowd always had something to watch.

There was a point during the fantastic 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' when I wondered if those were the precise thoughts going through Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe's minds as they looked out at their adoring masses. The answer was in the music - inventive and original pop with a highly artistic edge, songs and melodies that became engrained in peoples mind on first listen, pop songs that stand the test of time, pop songs to soundtrack nights out - songs to make people dance and sing.

There were many highlights during the two-hour set of stunning pop, but the bit in 'What Have I….?' when Dusty Springfiel's voice kicked in with her image projected on to the white wall was simply stunning - euphoric. It was pop, house, dance and soul all merged together to create something truly special. 'Since you went away, I've been hanging around, wondering why I'm feeling down..'

Two of the biggest highlights were yet to come 'It's A Sin' and the groups debut single 'West End Girls'. Glitter cannons showered the crowd in glitter as everyone danced and sang along. Pet Shop Boys ended with their Christmas song 'It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas' with snow falling from the roof of the venue.

This was a stunning example of how pop music can bring people together, there were teenagers to people in their 50's (possibly 60's) dancing and singing as one, smiling and laughing. I hope Unicorn Kid stuck around to watch the show…

Thursday 5 November 2009

Second Hand Marching Band, Julia & The Doogans, Esperi and Noiserv

Monday 2nd November 2009

This was a night that reminded me why I love Glasgow so much. 4 bands in 2 different venues.

Julia & The Doogans @ King Tuts Wah Wah Hut

Julia and her band were 4th on the bill. So they were on at 8.45pm. The doors opened at 8.30pm, so by the time they wandered on stage it was still pretty quiet other than a few of the bands mates standing closer to the bar round the corner than the stage.

It was clear from the first song that Julia has a lovely voice, but Julia and the band all looked like rabbits in the headlights, awkward and nervous. The 5-piece line up consisted of Julia on vocals and occassional acoustic guitar and zylophone, a guitarist, part-time flutist, part-time keyboard player and drummer, yet it felt like something was missing.

It didn't help that the flutist and keyboard player were redundant for a lot of the 30 minute set and sat/stood looking bored and out of place. They should probably have gone off and on, as and when they were needed.

The bands songs are actually quite good and as it is early days for the band they need to be allowed to develop, gain on-stage confidence and flush the songs out a little. For example, it would be interesting to hear them with some bass and perhaps and electric guitar could be used on some.

'Collide' was a real highlight in the set. It can't have been easy playing to a pretty empty King Tuts. It's always meant to be a highlight of a local up and coming bands career, that first appearance at the legendary venue. It was a shame that the band were ushered from the stage before they could play their final song 'Glasgow'.

I wouldn't be surprised if they return to Tuts in 2010 with more confidence and a larger crowd. Nice songs, lovely voice, just something missing for now.

After Julia & The Doogans it was time to hotfoot it across town to Captain's Rest to catch The Second Hand Marching Band.

Noiserv @ Captain's Rest

My mate and I arrived to catch the very end of Noiserv's set and we immediately wished we had been there from the start. Noiserv is a one man band from Portugal. We caught him playing a gentle riff on acoustic guitar, he then looped it and added on all sorts of melodies and ideas by using various different instruments.

This built up into a beautiful tune and prompted me to buy his album.


Esperi is currently on tour with Noiserv. Again, it's a one man band with a difference. Chris Lee-Mar took to the stage barefoot and then announced he had forgotten something from his van; so it was back on with the converse and up the stairs. He was soon back though, laying down yet another instrument on stage. He started with a song called 'Home' on acoustic guitar, playing slightly jazzy chords but not in a jazzy way.

His voice was calming, never rising too high. He was barefoot again and augmented his guitar by occassionally tapping on bells with his toes. He looped a guitar riff and then started adding on layer after layer of riffs and melodies. Little toy keyboards, wind up toys, water pipes, things he twirled in the air…all helping to create a glorious tune and also being great to watch.

The song lasted around 15-minutes, possibly longer. So there was only time for one more song; another 10-15 minute song called 'Wolf' or something like that. Recommended.

The Second Hand Marching Band @ Captain's Rest

The Second Hand Marching Band can count up to 25 members. So I was slightly curious with regards to how many they could fit on stage at Captain's Rest. As it was they had around 16, with some members being otherwise engaged.

They started with a song on accordian, the choir coming in and engulfing the room. Everyone sings from the heart, everyone sings with soul. Highlight of the night for me was the glorious 'Don't' with its refrain 'there is something you should know, don't go outside in the rain or the snow.'

There is something wonderfully homegrown yet ambitous about Second Hand Marching Band. It is lazy to compare them to Polyphonic Spree, yet I find myself keep going back to that very comparison. It can be hard enough trying to organise and motivate 4 people, so to create something so joyous and soulful with 25 deserves to be applauded.

The band end with the mantra of 'Love Is A Fragile Thing' and that it is, so if you find it, take care.

The Second Hand Marching Band march on.

Friday 16 October 2009

Echo & The Bunnymen, Glasgow Barrowlands, Oct 14th 2009

There is something about the Barrowlands that makes me all nostalgic.

I still get goose bumps walking to the venue and seeing the famous neon sign. I still walk straight to the merchandise stall to check out the t-shirts, although these days it is very unlikely that I'll buy one. I still smell the burgers and wonder how on earth I used to eat one every time I started coming to the Barrowlands, and I still think back to my first gig there as a 17-year old in 1993 to see Teenage Fanclub with support from The Posies and the Juliana Hatfield 3. How I managed to get in with the most ridiculous fake id, I'll never know.

I'm probably not the only one reminiscing about days gone by tonight. Echo and the Bunnymen released their debut single in 1979, 30-years ago. I would imagine that quite a few of the crowd have been following them since around that time. It was when they made their 'comeback' with the glorious 'Nothing Ever Lasts Forever' that I got into them.

The atmosphere builds towards the Bunnymen's entrance with the dj pumping out tunes by The Doors, Velvet Underground and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas. The dry ice is blasted on stage, I spot James and Rab from Glasvegas heading from the back to the side of the stage and before you know it the band are on, silhouettes shrouded in dry ice.

It’s a slow start with two songs I don’t recognise, but 3-songs in Sergeant lets rip with the opening riff of traditional set-opener ‘Rescue’ setting off some pogo-ing and dancing in the crowd. McCulloch gestures for the band to slow down towards the end of the songs before starting the ‘is this the blues I’m singing?’ refrain, then ad-libbing The Doors ‘Roadhouse Blues’ in for good measure.

The crowd is noticeably lifted from this Bunnymen classic and the band then toss in old favourite ‘Villiers Terrace’ for good measure.

Seven songs in and we get ‘Seven Seas’ with it’s beautiful opening guitar and McCulloch crooning his heart out. The Barrowlands crowd are now in full voice and the temperature is rising, yet McCulloch remains icy cool in a long warm jacket.

McCulloch warms to the crowd response and retreats to the drum-riser to light a cigarette. Taking several deep draws as the band start up ‘Bring On The Dancing Horses’

The closing six-songs before the first encore start with two for the real hardcore fans; ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘Zimbo’, before the band play an astonishing run of songs consisting of; ‘Silver’, ‘The Back of Love’, ‘The Killing Moon’ and ‘The Cutter’.

The guitar break in ‘The Cutter’ lifts the song to a level that few bands can reach. Will Sergeant is the master of glorious riffs and melodies, before taking them to a higher place. If Nirvana mastered the art of quiet-loud-quiet-loud, then Sergeant is the king of lifting songs while remaining subtle about it.

The first encore consists of new single ‘I Think I Need It To’, showing that The Bunnymen can still produce brilliant guitar pop 30-years into their career, albeit with the assistance of Scottish pop-guru John McLaughlin on songwriting.

‘Nothing Ever Lasts Forever’ is the song that introduced me to Echo and the Bunnymen and it is a song that clearly means a lot to Ian McCulloch as he pours his heart into it; crooning and swooning through the closing section before leading the crowd into a sing-song of Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ segueing into a glorious slowed down version of The Beatles ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and then Wilson Pickett’s ‘In The Midnight Hour’ before launching back into ‘Nothing Ever Lasts Forever’. It’s a great moment, showing McCulloch’s ear for a tune and his impeccable taste.

The band come on for a second encore with McCulloch introducing his new friend James Allan from Glasvegas on guest lead vocals. Somewhat surprisingly Allan is booed by sections of the crowd, but that only inspires him to turn in a great version of ‘The Puppet’. Allan looks very much like a junior McCulloch with swept back hair, shades and a long overcoat.

The band tear into ‘Lips Like Sugar’ for their true finale. Leaving the audience wanting more. This was a fantastic gig, my only regret was that they didn’t play the stunning ‘Ocean Rain’ in the encore.

Even with only two of the original members left, Echo and the Bunnymen are a band you can believe in.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Peter Hook book launch - The Arches

Peter Hook interview and signing - Glasgow Arches

I went along to The Arches last night to watch Peter Hook being interviewed by The Herald's Teddy Jamieson to promote his new book -The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club.

Hook was immediately at ease, floating effortlessly into stories and anecdotes about his association with the legendary Hacienda. The highs set the controls for the heart of the sun - the introduction of ecstasy, acid house, Madonna playing, The Smiths, Jesus and Marychain on their feedback tour, Stone Roses in spring 89 just as they were breaking, Primal Scream on their Screamadelica tour, a movement, the discovery of music, drugs and friends, a time that people will always remember.

The lows were the dark side of the moon - gangs, drug warfare, muggings, stabbings, shootings, friends lost to drugs and the general move from The Hacienda being a happy place to one of paranoia and fear.

There was virtually no need for Jamieson to be there as Hook was only to happy to reminisce, although all credit to The Herald journalist for prompting Hook at the right times and steering him from start to finish on quite a crazy journey. You certainly got the impression that Hooky could have easily and happily talked all night.

Through Hook’s stories and banter, it quickly became evident that he fully appreciates how lucky he has been to have played in two legendary bands, to have witnessed first hand the impact of; punk, acid house and madchester, to have been part of Factory and the Hacienda, and to have shared his life with the likes of Tony Wilson, Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Seville and the Happy Mondays.

One great story concerned Hook being outside the Hacienda looking for an aftershow when through his drug and alcohol induced haze he heard an announcement on a radio/walkie talkie 'Mick Hucknall coming through, Mick Hucknall coming through....’ This continued until Mick Hucknall from Simply Red was coming through, actually saying ‘Mick Hucknall coming through’ complete with security guards only for one of Hooky's Salford mates to break through and deck him.

The excess, naivety, art, music and history relating to the Hacienda ensures that there are thousands of stories out there. Hook was at the heart of it. His stories range from funny and moving, to frightening and sad.

Having skimmed through the book and having prior knowledge of the vast quantities of money that were ploughed into the design and upkeep of the club, it is best summed up on page 304 when Hook says he was wandering through an empty club before it was stripped for closure and wandered back stage to find an old room with some barrels on a platform. The platform was propped up by something to keep it level. Hook investigated to see what it was and there, stained in sweat and beer was a quarter inch tape. An original master of Joy Division’s debut album ‘Unknown Pleasures’.

Hook smiled at the metaphor. ‘Joy Division held the whole fucking thing up.’

After the interview Hook took questions from the floor for 30 minutes before signing books and records. He was thoroughly engaged with his audience and only too happy to pose for pictures and sign all items of memorabilia. I was there with my mate Tel, an avid collector of all things relating to Joy Division. We waited until the end and Hook spent a good 15 minutes with us - signing my New Order records and quizzing Tel on where he found a certain bootleg, how he got the orange vinyl of Joy Division's first record and joking 'oh not you again'.

It was an entertaining evening and I ended in bed reading my newly signed copy of the book, I'm already hooked - excuse the pun.

Monday 5 October 2009

Music in Glasgow - October 09

The Glasgow music scene is as vibrant as ever, with variety, style, passion, expression and fun playing a huge part in creating a 'scene' that is ever evolving and always expanding.

To re-start the Music In Glasgow blogspot, this blog will look at some of the bands, venues and nights that make Glasgow's music scene so interesting and inspiring.

Pinup Nights & Heavylight/Darkbright

Run by two music fans that love to throw a part and get people dancing, Pinup Nights has gone from strength to stregth since its inception in 2007. The club night seems to have found the perfect venue at The Flying Duck in Renfield Streets, allowing their imagination to run riot with circus themed nights and guest dj's ranging from Alex James (Blur) to Naboo from The Mighty Boosh. Their taste in music has seen the cream of the crop of young Scottish bands playing their nights including Sonny Marvello, Mitchell Museum and Pooch.

Not content with running Pinup Nights, the two friends also run the Heavylight/Darkbright club nights that take place in various venues across the city. Their foresight and taste allowed them to book Mercury Music Prize nominees The Invisible in advance of their nomination.

Visit or or

Captains Rest

Captains Rest (and its Edinburgh brother - Sneaky Petes) have quickly established themselves on the Scottish Music Scene thanks to some innovative booking and the excellent taste of promoters PCL Presents. The venue, on Great Western Road, has almost become the equivalent of legendary Camden scenester pub The Good Mixer, with bands choosing to hang out, DJ, put on gigs and club nights and generally have a good time. Established bands that have played Captains Rest include The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart andThe Phenonemal Handclap Band, while local bands like Sparrow & The Workshop and Zoey Van Goey have made it a home from home. and

The Box

When The Box opened just along the road from the Glasgow Institution that is Nice'n'Sleazys, quite a few cynics didn't expect it to last long. That it has, is largely down to the get-up-and-go attitude and enthusiasm of owner Stephen McComb. With the simple philosophy of providing free live music 7-nights a week, The Box naturally appeals to students and claims to have over 3,500 people passing through their doors every week. As well as providing a platform for bands to introduce themselves to the Glasgow live scene - no need to sell tickets - the venue has established itself as a favourite for aftershow parties for the likes of Kate Nash, The Cribs and The Rumble Strips. James Allan from Glasvegas used to DJ regularly while the band were breaking and stil returns for the odd pint.


Your Sound at King Tuts

Your Sound is a platform for unsigned bands to get their music heard by their peers and industry bods on the first Sunday of every month at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut. Bands submit demos and biogs and an artist of the month is selected by the Your Sound panel, with winners receiving excellent prizes that have included recording time or instruments. Previous winners have noticed increases in hits and plays on their MySpace pages and been selected for high profile support slots thanks to DF Concerts. Previous winners have included Seventeenth Century, Woodenbox and a Fistful of Fivers and Ming Ming & The Ching Chings.


Seventeenth Century

Seventeenth Century dare to soar where others can only dream of. Check out their video for the song ‘Traffic’ to see what all the fuss is about. The band are slowly but surely building up a reputation for their live performances and they are also collating a superb collection of songs with influences ranging from Joni Mitchell to Beruit, Seventeenth Century have the taste to back up their quality.

Paper Planes

I've been meaning to catch this band live for a while now and I'm slightly ashamed I haven't. I have been visiting their myspace regularly. 'Disconnected I Know' is all Blondie meets Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Effortless guitar pop. Other songs are slightly heavier but the riffs and the glorious voice of Jennifer Paley mean that every song shines.

Futuristic Retro Champions

This is a band that always create a buzz when they play live thanks to infectious upbeat electo pop, full of hooks, choruses, harmonies and melodies. FRC’s are a band that are out and out fans of pop music and their influences take in everything from The Shrangri-La’s to Girls Aloud with pretty much everything in between. Check out ‘You Make My Heart’ with its New Order-esque bass-line and the absolutely gorgeous ‘Isn’t It Lovely?’ with it’s beautiful closing section complete with trumpet.

Nevada Base

Nevada Base produce beautifully crafted electro pop, think Erland Oye and you are on the right track. 'If I'm Late' and 'Love On My Mind' are crying out to be played at clubs and will no doubt be featuring on a late night compilation at some point.

Vendor Defender

If anyone has seen Vendor Defender live, I would imagine that they will return to see them again and take along a friend. With funk influenced basslines and a drummer who is a cross between Keith Moon and Reni, their rhythm is gonna get you. With a growing reputation on the live circuit, check them out now before they progress beyond pubs and clubs.

Any Colour Black

Any Colour Black’s passion and obvious love of music and playing live elevates them above the vast majority of the hundreds of bands playing in Glasgow. The chemistry between Andy and Louise who share guitar, vocals and programming duties is evident on stage and thankfully this translates into the recording of songs like 'Touch Me' and 'As You Are As You Were'.

Sonny Marvello

Sonny Marvello dress resplendently in vintage clothing with the singer wearing a tradmark red bowler hat. Their songs are all about love and hope, ranging from the out and out disco pop of 'Easy Boys & Easy Girls', the epic 'We're All Cruel' and the soaring guitar pop of 'Tiny Little Sparks'. A band with style, taste and passion. They recorded their debut single at Cava Studios and it should be out in late November.


Electro-popsters Pooch are a regular on the Glasgow gig and club circuit. Their tunes and beats mean that they are always welcome at venues across Glasgow and beyond. With striking looks and lots of hooks, Pooch will get people dancing and talking about them the morning after.

Mitchell Museum

Their poppiest moments recall Flaming Lips, while their more experimental side takes in Animal Collective and all kinds of influences. Early single ‘Warning Bells’ was a Radcliffe & Maconie single of the week. A hard working band that live for music, Mitchell Museum have financed the recording of their debut album and are hoping to release it in 2010. I’d be surprised if you ever see the singer without a smile on his face.


Boycotts have blitzed 2008 by playing live regularly up and down the country, becoming one of the tightest live bands in Scotland. Having signed a publishing deal with Sony it would appear that the only way is up for this young four-piece, fronted by the energetic Stina Twee. Their post-punk angular guitar sound could take them out of Glasgow and beyond.

The Second Hand Marching Band

There are bands that like to think big and then there are bands that just go out and do what they want to do and have fun. The Second Hand Marching Band are a 20-piece band from Glasgow that create a wonderful noise with layers of vocals and harmonies. Seeing them live is an experience you won't forget with all of the band singing their hearts out. Check out the glorious 'Don't' on their myspace with the mantra 'There is something you should know, don't go outside in the rain and the snow.'

The Tenemants

Hailing from Carlton in the East End of Glasgow, this four-piece take their life experiences and prove that Glasgow is alive to the sound of music. They are a cross between The La's and The Libertines. Simplistic yet melodic and with choruses that will get you singing along and punching the air. With a healthy appetite for playing live and a good fanbase, they are one to keep an eye on. Songs like 'Glasgow' and the pleading 'One More Chance' will have you humming along on first listen.

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Sonny Marvello @ Pinup Nights Circus Night

Sometimes the cloud breaks and the sun shines through, sometimes a band comes along with songs about love and hope, sometimes a song can make your day, sometimes everything feels right.

A band currently providing sunshine rays in the Glasgow music scene is Sonny Marvello

Glasgow has many 'too cool for school' bands. Many that try, some that have fun, many that fail. Sonny Marvello rise above pretty much every band in Glasgow right now.

They are stylish, funny and they have the talent and songs to take them some place.

The excellent Pinup Nights club at the Flying Duck was packed by the time that Sonny Marvello took to the stage some time after 11pm.

They opened with the Blur-esque disco pop of a song called (I think) 'Easy Boys & Easy Girls' full of hooks, choruses and harmonies. 'Easy, easy, easy boys, and easy, easy easy girls, will never, never get to heaven' is the chorus that teenagers across the nation could be singing in 2010.

The five-piece were in the mood to party and embraced the circus theme by having their faces painted. The band are tight and fired through a set with passion, style and a sense of urgency, belief and confidence that this reviewer hasn't seen in a long time.

The band introduced 'We're All Cruel' as their forthcoming debut single. On first listen it sounds epic, with a beautiful breakdown into the second verse that starts 'if you like the summer sky.....'

This is definitely a band to look out for.....if you like the summer sky.