Monday 30 January 2012

Remember Remember at Bar Brel, 29th January 2012

Well that was quite a weekend of music, Admiral Fallow were majestic at the ABC on Friday night and last night I was blown away by Remember Remember playing in Bar Brel. Both gigs were part of Celtic Connections.

I discovered Remember Remember late on last year. How I kick myself for not checking them out before. I've pretty much fallen in love with their album The Quickening that was released on Rock Action Records in the fall of 2011.

So last night Lynn and I headed along to one of our favourite bars in Glasgow last night, calling on the Grandparents to babysit for the second time of the weekend, we need to rebuild the brownie points! 

We were early, arriving at Brel for 7.30pm as the tickets had said it was an early show. Remember Remember were still soundchecking so there was time for a beer or two and a catch up with our friend Ceal.

Adam Stearns and the Glass Animals were supporting. The Glass Animals were quite appropriately named, helping Adam to create some fragile harmonies that captivated the Brel audience.

Adam, plus his sister and friend played well, especially considering they are so different to Remember Remember. There were laughs all round as Adam introduced a harmonium that they had bought the day before. Somehow his sister coaxed beautiful sounds out of it.

There was time to grab a quick beer as the conservatory in Brel filled up ahead of Remember Remember. We were standing to the side but a couple sitting in the very front row got up and said we could have their seats. After careful consideration for our ears and how geeky it would be to sit inches from the band (Brel is teeny tiny) we decided to go for it.

Remember Remember is a collective built around the considerable talents of Graeme Ronald (above). There were 6 of them playing at Brel last night, so they ended up having to use some of the floor space for their vast bank of instruments and pedals; Brel's electricity bill may be considerably higher next month!

The set consisted mainly of tracks from The Quickening; openers 'White Castle' and 'Ocean Potion'. Ronald displayed nimble footwork in a square foot of space to switch from playing glockenspiel to guitar, fully utilising his amazing case of effect pedals.

Xylophones plays a huge part in the music of Remember Remember, melodies are picked out before the band slowly but surely take the music and the listener off on a glorious and at times epic journey.

At the back of the stage we had the long haired and bearded drummer who seemed completely in tune with Ronald, responding to nods and hand signals to up the pace or bring it down. To the drummers right was a bank of synths where most of the bass sounds originated from, along with a whole heap of other glorious noises.

At the front of the stage a girl switched from xylophone to keyboards, while the guitarist could barely move to her left due to everything going on around him.

Ronald was at the front with guitar, effect pedals, keys/synths and xylophone and to his right was a guy playing sax and more keys/synths.

'Scottish Widows' started with Ronald gently playing a gentle piano/keyboard riff before swelling into something completely mesmerising. The six piece just seem so i tune with each other, they can take songs to places others can only dream of. 

There was an element of humour (as there is at most Glasgow gigs) when Ronald's Mum sitting behind us said that this was her favourite song. It was a nice moment and there was more to come.

'One Happier' is just beautiful. A truly stunning and emotive piece of music. I guess that is one thing that really hit home watching and listening to the band last night; how they can conjure up such emotion without words.

Take 6-minutes out your day to marvel at what must go on inside Graeme Ronald's head to create the layers of beauty that make up this song.

Ronald announced 'John Candy' as the bands final song and the beats started it off, the opening guitar riff was looped before the second started, synths started to bubble and the journey was starting. 'John Candy' is probably my favourite RR song. It teases and eases itself into the groove and it flows superbly; just gorgeous.

The bit around 2-minutes in is epic, particularly in the live environment. Ronald brought some gadget out that allowed him to coax some stunning star kissed sounds out of his guitar and the band just locked in for the ride.

Ronald asked if the band had time for one more and the promoter who was clearly enjoying the show said 'two more'. Ronald replied without missing a beat 'do you know how long our songs last?'

Then it was time for Ronald's parents to join in, almost doing the introduction for him when Ronald said 'we'll do songs in one, 'Fountain' and 'Mountain'' and his Mum said 'these are off the first Remember Remember album'. His Dad then joked that they would have to sit further back next time. It was a lovely warm moment that the audience enjoyed.

And so it ended, a show that I can put money on being in my top 5 shows of 2012 and January isn't even over yet. Remember Remember are an exceptional band with unbelievable talent and vision. I look forward to seeing them again and hearing some new tunes from them in the future.

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