Thursday 31 July 2014

Ever Evolving Lounge by Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab

Word of mouth. Remember that? People making recommendations over a beer, or playing you a song at their flat/house or in their car.

Well I am still very fond of word of mouth. Give me that over Twitter, Facebook or the Blogosphere any day of the week. Actual conversations with people you know and trust.

Two people I know and trust with their musical taste recommended that I check out Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab; knowing that I like a lot of bands beginning with 'B' - Beatles, Beach Boys and Byrds to name a few.

So I ordered the album via the bands Bandcamp site and a few days later it popped through my door. I really enjoyed it and had a good few listens, then put it to the side and got on with life - as you do.

Then today I decided to stick my iPod on shuffle, a few tracks were played, a few were skipped and then I settled into listening to whatever came on.

A song came on that I couldn't place. What Beach Boys album was it on? Who was singing it? Was it Brian? Mike?

None of the above; the song in question was Trading Time by Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab. Time for a blog review of this album!

Let's start with this song, a lovely slow intro eases us in; a banjo, harmonica and glorious percussion. Then the vocals - ah the vocals - absolutely beautiful, soaked in lysergic Beach Boy influences. The outro is even more beautiful than the intro.

Think that's good? Well check out The Secret Of The Tibetan Grapefruit Is...? which is Revolver crossed with the Beta Band - yeah that is as good as it sounds.

It's all across the ocean
It's all across the world

Backwards guitar, funky beats, some nice phasing and noodling on some kind of organ/synth. I have yet to listen to this track once in isolation. I need to play it again and again.

This album was recorded on old fashioned 4-track - quite remarkable when you listen to the quality. Warm and refreshing at the same time.

(Return To) Nineteen Canteen is ripe with melodies and flows superbly - very McCartney-esque. Macca has been known to cut up songs and stick them together and Dr Cosmo's do this superbly on this song. I love the section;

The weekend is over too quickly these days
The rat race is run from the cot to the grave
And it's true
It's happening to you

And the bit 3 minutes and 8 seconds in;

The sun came up
With golden rays
And chased the blues oh so far away
How long will it last?
No-one can say
But for now everything is OK

We may be right
We can't be wrong
For all we know it's been here all along
It may be that we
We just couldn't see
But for now everything is OK

Total gem of a song. The Beatles references should be no surprise to anyone who knows either of the Tape Lab - Stu Kidd (The Wellgreen, BMX Bandits and loads more) and Joe Kane (in the increasingly popular Them Beatles tribute band).

These guys can write, sing and play and they show it in full effect throughout this album. You can also clearly tell how much they enjoyed themselves when making it; the evidence is all over tracks like A Sting In The Tale and Adopt A Rabbit that open the album. Animal Man steps away from the 'B' bands. Well, it maybe puts one foot into Kinks territory!

Joe Kane and Stu Kidd, Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab

It is the second half of the album that is my favourite. Well 6/10ths of the album, beginning with the instrumental Little Curly (Travel Gravel). The duo really explore their full range of talent and capabilities with their musicianship, instruments, vocals and songwriting. It is a really joyful listen and I find something new every time I check it out.

I've mentioned Trading Time, (Return To) Nineteen Canteen and ....Tibetan Grapefruit..

Broken Star is country tinged heartbreak on the highways and the byways of romance.

The closing number Alphabetter Boogie is another song I enjoy. The duo have great ears for melodies  and harmonies and are not afraid to experiment with them - adding humour at times, bringing in all kinds of instruments at others.

All in all this is an incredible album that is available for only £6. You can't go wrong with it - honest.

Monday 28 July 2014

Wickerman Festival 2014 review

The Wickerman burned and so did a fair few people in the crowd as the 2014 Wickerman Festival experienced a Heatwave on the Friday before the almost traditional short shower on Saturday evening.

I headed down on Thursday for the first time. Good weather and a weekend with mates and music seemed like the perfect recipe - it was. It seemed like loads of others had the same idea and Wickerman veterans I spoke to noted that the campsite was at least 100% busier on a Thursday than previous years.

Thursday isn't an 'official' day at Wickerman; but you can start camping then and the Greenman Inn (the bar) is open for business. We arrived and set up camp quickly so we could get in for Them Beatles who had packed out the tent. They looked sharp in black suits, white shirts and skinny black ties, belting out classic hit after hit and ending with a euphoric Twist and Shout. I wish they had played for longer. After that it was a local bands playing covers followed by a DJ until the small hours.

Elliott, Martyn and me

Scorching sunshine turned our tent into a sauna by 7am, so Elliott and I got up and headed to the Down 'n' Dirty showers and thankfully the queue wasn't that long. The facilities there were excellent and Wickerman has to be commended for their regular cleaning of toilets throughout the festival. Martyn had been out partying until around 6am! However the sunshine and the promise of a slap up breakfast got him through the day.

A walk round the site and the obligatory picture in front of the Wickerman (Highland dancing) led us to the Secret beer garden and some ice cold mojito's and a sugar boost set us up for the day.

Like many others, we plonked ourselves down in front of the main stage to enjoy the glorious sunshine. The Hosts were impressive guitar driven pop rock whilst Skinny Lister brought punk folk to the festival and got people dancing down the front. Their double bass player had a brilliant 'this machine kills dub step' message painted on and their female singer was impressively energetic, swigging from a big jug of cider.

Skinny Lister

Cider with ice was the order of the day for us! We had a nice cold drink and watched some of the Mountain Bike stunt team performing stunts beside the Solus Tent.

We caught the last 3-songs from Atom Tree in the Solus Tent - their blissful electronica was warmly received - as was the chance to shelter from the sunshine. Reports on site said that water consumption was up 100% already compared to the whole weekend in 2013.

Machines In Heaven were then on next door in the GoNorth tent. They were as tight as always and their beats drew in a crowd from the sunshine outside.

Atom Tree

After that I experienced one of my highlights of the festival. We wandered down towards the main stage but the music coming from the SoChill stage/beer garden drew us in - it was Chic's Thinking Of You. The DJ was fantastic, spinning soulful disco, song after song. People were dancing in the sun and the DJ responded to us, keeping us dancing and then coming out from behind the decks to stand and sing a long with his arms spread wide and a huge smile on his face. I discovered the DJ in question is a northern soul/disco fan called Mark Linton. I'll be looking out for him playing in Glasgow as he was brilliant.

DJ Mark Linton

We had to leave though as we certainly didn't want to miss Martha Reeves and the Vandellas on the main stage. We met up with Craig and Jennifer just in time, they were late in as Jennifer had to work in the morning. As the festival basked in temperatures of 31 degrees there was only one song with which Martha could start - Heatwave set the tone for a short and sharp set (Martha's band took longer than anyone else to line check. It is a pleasure to be in the company of artists like this - you just don't know how much longer they will be around. Martha's voice was high at times, deep and soulful at others. Nowhere To Run was delightful and Dancing In The Streets a dream, especially with Martha causing much laughter as she said 'call the popo, I ain't finished yet', as organisers tried to halt her set as she was over-running. 

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas playing Heatwave in a heatwave

Quite an act to follow? Not for Alabama 3 who produced the performance of the day for me - just perfect. Their mix of gospel, country, rock'n'roll and electro produced a party vibe that suited the festival and the weather perfectly. Their backing singer was euphoric, the band were on fire, the rhythm section was just outstanding.

Alabama 3
The sun was beginning to set as Shed 7 took to the stage and launched into their hits from the 90's. Britpop fans rejoiced as songs like Getting BetterShe Left Me On Friday, Disco Down and a superb Chasing Rainbows were played with a real passion. I think the band were quite taken aback by the reaction from the crowd. They have always had a strong fan base in Scotland and it was clearly on display down the front.

 Shed 7
I was really torn between giving Dizzee Rascal a chance to impress and heading up to see Young Fathers in the Solus Tent. I did a bit of both. Dizzee Rascal's 100 mph garage/grime/rap just isn't my cup of tea at all, although a lot of youngsters loved it.

Young Fathers had the lights turned low in the Solus Tent, creating a real mysterious vibe. Unfortunately I only caught their last 3 songs. I wish I had caught more as their power, passion, delivery and on stage presence was nothing short of mesmerising. The closing I Heard was truly exceptional. 

A long day in the sunshine caused us to grab some food and a chat before heading to the tent where we could still hear the sounds of Dizzee Rascal belting out his hits and then the pound of the dance tent until the early morning. 

It had been quite a day - my plans of spending a good amount of time wandering round the tents went out the window thanks to the glorious sunshine. However that is what being at a festival like Wickerman is all about - don't make too many plans, just go with the flow.

 Friday at Wickerman was scorching


Sunday was cooler. I think even the most hardened sun worshippers were quite happy. We had a lazy morning outside the tent talking to a lovely couple from Edinburgh who were there with their 17-month old son Roco. I am definitely thinking of taking my daughter next summer when she will be 4.

We opted for mojitos to start the day again. That all important sugar boost!

Elliott and I had caught The Tea Street Band at King Tut's when they supported Jimi Goodwin, so we went down to the main stage to catch their set. They played well and have a real clubby element to their guitar tunes.

The guy in the red jacket must have had a good Friday!

We pretty much stayed by the Main Stage again other than a few wanders. The weather was still reasonably good at this point and there were a number of bands I wanted to see.

Model Aeroplanes were one of those and they didn't disappoint. It is about 9-months since I last caught them and the progress in that time is very evident. Confident in taking to the big stage, the 4-piece played a great set of 3-minute pop songs with influences from the likes of Vampire Weekend. There is a real buzz about this band in the Scottish music scene and they lived up to it and enhanced it. Well worth checking out if you haven't already.

Model Aeroplanes

Big Country went down well with the crowd. Big guitar tunes with a Celtic edge to them drew the masses from the campsites.

The 2014 version of Big Country

The Zombies were brilliant. Musically they were pretty untouchable, extending songs into brilliant funky jams, playing a delicious cover of the Motown classic What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?, a beautiful version of Time Of The Season and closing with a crowd pleasing romp through She's Not There. I really enjoyed their set and hope to see them if they come back to Glasgow.

The Zombies

We nipped back to the tents to get jackets as the rain clouds were coming in and there was some light rain for a few hours. Nothing heavy though and it must have been one of the few times at a festival where some people were actually pleased that things were cooling down.

When we returned I had the pleasure of interviewing Del Amitri front man Justin Currie for the brilliant lads at Tenement TV. I play seven-a-side football with Justin and he kindly agreed to come in for an interview. I'll post a link when it is ready.

My sister Carla's band TeenCanteen were booked to play the GoNorth tent, so there was time to hang out with them in the VIP area before heading up the hill to to the tent and await their show. I managed to peek into the Solus Tent to watch a bit of the Amazing Snakeheads from behind the stage. The tent was rammed for them.

TeenCanteen played very well, probably the best I have seen them. The 4 girls were in excellent form, coming directly from the Indie Tracks Festival where they had played the day before. Their harmonies were exquisite and their sunshine indie pop went down well, drawing in a good crowd. You're Still Mine got a great reception whilst the closing Motown beat of Coming Up Roses and the sing song chorus ended their set with the crowd wanting more.

There was only time for a quick well done cuddle with my sister and the band as we headed back down to the main stage for Del Amitri. They kicked off in style with Always The Last To Know and Kiss This Thing Goodbye. The band were sensational when I caught them back in January at Celtic Connections and they were even better at Wickerman. Spit In The Rain was utterly gorgeous, as was Tell Her This while Move Away Jimmy Blue was one of my songs of the festival,  as was Nothing Ever Happens which caused us all to hug and sing-a-long. A real festival moment.

The Ramones-esque Drunk In A Band caused Craig and I to bounce around like loonies. Craig was celebrating his 30th birthday in great style. There was also a wedding underneath the Wickerman at one point!

Del Amitri hadn't quite finished though and romped through a surprise cover of Motorhead's Ace Of Spades, sharing the vocals among them.

Celebrating Craig's birthday in style with Del Amitri

And that was almost that. We were partied out but had time to grab a drink and head up to watch the burning of the Wickerman and the fireworks.

What a weekend; Wickerman seems to get better every year and more and more people I know are checking it out. The festival site is spacious, the atmosphere is friendly (and family friendly) and the selection of bands is eclectic and brilliant; from 60's legends through to the best bands breaking through from Scotland and beyond.

I'm just off the phone to my friend Martyn who experienced his first Wickerman at the weekend and despite being a little fragile today his first question was - are we doing it again next year?


Thursday 24 July 2014

Belle and Sebastian at Kelvingrove Bandstand

Last night Belle and Sebastian officially opened the newly refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand in glorious sunshine; playing a career spanning set of songs that were written a mere stones throw from the venue.

Glasgow basked in temperatures approaching 30 degrees through the day, beer gardens were full and the city was buzzing in anticipation of the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games.

I originally didn't get lucky in obtaining a ticket for the show but thankfully my friend Joe ended up with a spare after his wife dropped out. We had a few beers at the Big Slope before walking through the park to the band stand. Glasgow was splendid in all its glory; sunshine, a beautiful park, Kelvingrove Art Museum and one of the city's finest bands playing an open air show.

Vic Galloway introduced the band and they bounded on stage wearing retro tracksuits, tearing into the instrumental Judy Is A Dick Slap. The band were as relaxed as the crowd and it was fantastic to see lots of families in attendance. One kid in front of us must have only been a few months old and Stuart spotted the young family and spoke to the Mum from the stage at one point - a nice touch.

I'm A Cuckoo was perfect sunshine pop, surpassed by Another Sunny Day - a pretty well titled song to have in your cannon for open air shows!

Stuart highlighted that a lot of the songs in the set had been written within a half mile radius of the venue and talking of well titled songs they played the magnificent Stars Of Track And Field.

The band were in fine form, assisted by a string section at times and a soaring trumpet at others.

Stuart sat on the edge of the stage for If She Wants Me, sun streaming through the trees that shelter he venue. Too Much Love pleased the hardcore and Dog On Wheels was a pleasant surprise. The band were getting stronger as the set went on.

Stuart was relaxed and spoke at length, even conducting a Commonwealth Games quiz at one point, causing much laughter when his sister answered one of the questions and won a prize.

The northern soul pop of I Didn't See It Coming lifted the pace and Stuart showed off his dancing skills.

The final trio of songs was a real highlight. Stuart urged some of the crowd to come and dance on stage and at the front of the seats. The highlight was a skinny ginger kid wriggling through security to get on stage and dance his heart out and then steal the setlist!

The Boy With The Arab Strap turned Kelvingrove into an indie disco as everyone got up to dance at their seats or down the front. It was a marvellous sight to behold. Pure summer, pure pop, pure Glasgow.

Stuart slowed things down at the end and sang accompanied only by finger clicks from the entire venue. It was a special moment, I'm sure it will be cherished by Stuart as much as the fans.

Joe and I were down the front at this point and jumped and danced like mad to Legal Man, one of my faves from the Belle and Sebastian back catalogue.

Judy and the Dream of Horses closed the set in stunning manner, the band jamming superbly, trumpets soaring heavenly. The crowd wanted more - much more, it felt like the band had just got going. Sadly due to the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony taking place across the city, it was the end...for now.

Monday 21 July 2014

Spinage a Trois - Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show

On Saturday night I was interviewed by Craig Charles for his Funk and Soul show on 6music. It is always on in our house on a Saturday evening if we happen to be in. With a young daughter and another baby on the way - we are certainly in a lot more than we used to be!

Charles is electric, a real livewire bursting with enthusiasm for the music and his listeners. The music is incredible - classics you'll know, rarities that you'll want to know and just quality. Track for track it has to be the best show on British airwaves.

I had emailed the show for their 'Spinage a Trois' section - where a listener gets to choose 3 songs, talk a little and they get played on the show. You can listen here (for a while). I'm on at 1 hour 11 minutes in.

The songs I chose were;

Looking For You - Garnett Mimms
I always come back to this song every so often. A heart has been broken and the guy just can’t get over it. Bass, beats, piano, strings and heart tugging vocals backed by gorgeous harmony, all combine in a glorious manner. The lyrics are so simple yet they say so much.

Each verse contains something a little different to highlight the pain and longing. Each verse is ended by the amazing ‘Baby I Need You'.

Just Loving You - Ruby Andrews
I discovered this song through my good friends Chris and Jillian. They asked me to dj at their wedding and asked for soul, 60’s beat,a little bit of funk and disco. Just quality tunes. They had complete trust in me and the only request they put in was for their first dance - I’d never heard of it and i have to admit I had tears in my eyes when I listened to it. I thought my wife and I had done well with Baby, I Love You by The Ronettes for our first dance but this is the best first dance song for a wedding I have been to. It was perfect for Chris and Jill - Chris is a real mod from the Highlands and Jillian is a sweet cool indie chick.

Just a beautiful song that says so much in a little over 2 and a half minutes.

Just loving you
I found that life has a brighter side
Since I found you
Oh how your love has turned the tide, yeah

Cause your love has been so good to me
You gave your heart so willingly
I love you, oh, I'll never leave you never, oh no no never,

You made me see
Just how wonderful love can really be
Til I met you
I never knew I had so much love in me, yeah

Yes you brought the best things out in me
The things I thought could never be
Ended all my misery, I'm satisfied
Just loving you

Sweet baby yeah
Sweet baby yeah

Don’t Leave Me This Way - Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes
It really doesn’t get much better than this for me. A lengthy intro, incredible musicianship throughout, heartfelt lyrics delivered with raw passion and soul and a HUGE uplifting chorus. I don’t DJ as much as i used to but this always go down a storm. The jamming at the end on the full version is just ridiculously good. So loose, soulful and funky

Don't leave me this way
I can't survive, I can't stay alive
Without you love, oh baby
Don't leave me this way
I can't exist, I will surely miss
Your tender kiss
So don't leave me this way

Oh baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
So come on down and do what you've got to do
You started this fire down in my soul
Now can't you see it's burning, out of control
So come down and satisfy the need in me
Cos only your good loving can set me free

Sunday 20 July 2014

Sugarhill Gang at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut

Last night I caught the legendary Sugarhill Gang in the intimate environment of King Tut's Wah Wah Hut!

In all my years of attending shows at Tut's I have never experienced an atmosphere like the one they created last night. It was pure party. The three rappers were backed by a huge DJ who spun their hits and others.

The first 35 minutes were truly sensational. I haven't smiled and danced that much at a gig since Chic at Wickerman last summer. In truth, last night was much more than a gig. Sugarhill Gang turned Tut's into a house party.

8th Wonder and Apache sounded fantastic as Michael Wright, Hank Jackson and Guy O'Brien rolled back the years by bounding about and swapping positions on stage, urging the crowd to throw their hands in the air, wave them from side to side and scream.

Old Skool Hip Hop was the name of the game and Sugarhill Gang worked the crowd into a frenzy with tunes like The Message causing Tut's to go wild. The Gang were quite taken aback by the response and commended the crowd which only served to enhance the atmosphere. By the end of the show we were being referred to as the 'loudest in the world'.

White Lines was utterly stupendous. The atmosphere was ramped up another notch. If the Gang ever do venture back to Glasgow it would be incredible to turn their performance into a club night. The 3 rappers worked things superbly, they really were ultimate professionals in crowd participation. If we weren't putting our hands in the air, waving them like we just don't care or screaming then at one point we were all sliding from left to right. Everyone was loving it.

Rappers Delight was better than we could have dreamed with a load of girls from the crowd invited up on stage to party with the band. Some of them knew all the words which again just helped the crowd party.

After that it turned into a house party with the DJ dropping all kinds of tunes; starting with some modern hip hop influenced by the Sugarhill Gang - Jay-Z and Eminem.

Two of the band then left to sign cd's (still hustling after all these years) leaving the DJ and most energetic member to keep the party going. There was a great run of songs including Madonna's Holiday, Eurythmics Sweet Dreams, Nirvana's Teen Spirit and The Jackson 5's I Want You Back. There was a hilarious moment when they dropped Vanilla Ice and I need to find the name of the Mary J Blige track that was totally gorgeous.

The DJ mixed it up big style before ending with Michael Jackson's Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough. Chants of 'one more tune' were sadly turned down, but everyone in the crowd had a smile on their face as wide as the Clyde after this show. Catch them if you can.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Wickerman Festival 2014 - a preview

I have become increasingly fond of the Wickerman Festival since Lynn and I first attended back in 2009. We've been back pretty much every year since other than when Lynn was expecting. The location, eclectic line-up, friendly atmosphere and the fact that it is just so different make it very appealing.

Personal highlights from my visits have included the pure pop of the Human League, Candi Staton in blazing sunshine, singing myself hoarse to Teenage Fanclub and The Charlatans, one of the best festival sets ever by Nile Rodgers and Chic, Miaoux Miaoux playing a rave in a caravan, Vigo Thieves packing the Solus Tent and generally having a great time just wandering around discovering all kinds of music.

The Wickerman goes up in flames back in 2009

As it is 2014, here are 14 acts or things to do for your consideration;

1. Del Amitri
I have the joy of playing 7-a-side football with Justin Currie, lead singer of the Del's. He is a pretty good player should you be wondering! Justin is also really looking forward to playing Wickerman with the reformed Del's and having witnessed their hometown comeback show at the Hydro back in January, I am positive that they will smash it with all the hits and more.

2. Dizzee Rascal
Bonkers?! I have to admit that the Friday headliner took me by surprise, but then the Wickerman Festival has a habit of coming up with the unexpected - they know how to get a crowd pleasing act in.

Massive pop songs like Dance Wiv Me, Bonkers and Holiday alongside Dizzee's enthusiasm and energy should get the Wickerman crowd bouncing and partying.

3. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Heatwave, Dancing In The Streets, Nowhere To Run and Heatwave are just 4 good reasons to go and see Martha. I have had the pleasure of seeing her on a few occasions (including getting up to dance on stage with her at Oran Mor a couple of years ago - look out for her getting some of the crowd up for a certain song with Dancing in the title!) and Martha's voice is sensational. Full of power, emotion and soul. Could steal the whole festival.

4. Alabama 3
One of the hardest working live acts around with a reputation of being one of the best. I caught them years ago supporting Primal Scream and I'm looking forward to seeing them again. Their mixture of country, gospel, electronic, rock and blues is bound to win them a few new fans. Their best known song is Woke Up This Morning which was the theme tune for The Sopranos.

5. The Zombies
Time of the Season is a sensational song. I already have a vision of watching it with a nice cold cider in my hand in glorious afternoon sunshine. Fingers crossed!

The Zombies 1968 album Odessey and Oracle is heralded as a classic, as is their 1964 single She's Not There. I am personally really looking forward to their set.

6. Solus Tent
I always spend a good amount of time in the Solus Tent and have got to know the curator Chay. Chay has great taste in music and ensures quality and an eclectic array of music is on offer throughout the weekend.

Chay is ahead of the game on many occasions and may just have surpassed himself as this year the Solus Tent has Young Fathers (winners of the Scottish Album of the Year), Neon Waltz (young guitar band from Wick signed to the management team behind Oasis) and the highly rated Amazing Snakeheads (who released their debut album on Domino) who are building a reputation for their high energy live sets.

If you are feeling fragile then keep an eye on schedules for when the Cairn String Quartet are playing. They may well feature some guest vocalists.

I hope to check out Atom Tree and Tuff Love amongst others.

7. goNorth Tent
Sitting next door to the Solus Tent, these two tents offer the best in unsigned and DIY bands, alongside up and coming acts that have a deal. Check out sunshine pop from TeenCanteen, the eclectic and electric Roman Nose, punk rock pop from United Fruit and loads more.

8. Grass sledging
There are all kinds of activities on offer at Wickerman, with plenty for kids to do. We certainly intend to take our kids in a couple of years time, but you'll see kids from a very young age upwards. Grass sledging is something I tried at Wickerman a few years ago and may well do it again this year.

9. Scooter Tent
I love the Scooter Tent at the Wickerman Festival, it is full of characters who are exceptionally passionate about music. There are certainly people who go to Wickerman and spend their weekend in the Scooter Tent or just outside in the sunshine.

I certainly recommend checking out Berry Tweed and the Chasers for some top mod action and depending on timings I also fancy The Counterfeit Clash.

10. The Silent Disco
I always end up in here after the main act finishes on the Friday night. Great fun as two DJ's play off against each other and the crowd click between tracks 1 or 2 on their headphones. You'll be listening to Basement Jaxx at one point and then half the crowd will go mental as the second DJ drops a classic on the other track and you switch over.

11. Acoustic Village
Very popular with families (and those with a hangover!) for some nice chilled out music. Roddy Woomble (who played the Main Stage back in 2009 with Idlewild) is among the bigger names playing.

12. Walk around and find the Jimmy Carr bar!
The Wickerman site is perfect for just wandering around. Go and sit by the Wickerman and chill out, stumble across a funky bar set in a small wood in the middle of the site, take a stroll around the stalls, mountain bike and check out every stage there is at some point of the weekend. Oh and get your picture and a drink at the Jimmy Carr bar!

My better half at last summers Wickerman

13. The Thursday night 
Despite a number of visits to Wickerman, I've never been down for the opening on the Thursday night. A handful of small stages are open and this year Them Beatles are set to get the party started. My friends Lorna and Colin have been down a few times on the Thursday and assure me it is great fun as it is so chilled before the main event. This year I am planning to go down on the Thursday - can I handle 3-days and nights in my old age.

14. The burning of the Wickerman
The focal point of the festival, everything stops and everyone gathers for the burning of the Wickerman and fireworks. I love the fact that this happens, everyone gets caught up in the one moment. It isn't quite the climax though as the party continues and in 2014 it will be Utah Saints taking to the main stage to keep everyone dancing.

That is just 14 things to look out for - there is much, much more including the indie disco brilliance of Shed 7, rising stars Model Aeroplanes, the legendary Big Country, a dance tent until 4am and the ever popular reggae tent that stays open until 5am for those still standing!

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Atom Tree soundtrack Mulberry advert with Cara Delevingne

Atom Tree are an act that have been gathering a lot of attention in Scotland (and beyond) through 2014 thanks to their blend of melodies and electronica.

Someone at Mulberry has good taste as their song Desired Effect (featuring Fergus Cook) has found its way into a promo video for their Autumn and Winter collection for 2014!

Not only that - the video features the absolutely stunning Cara Delevingne strolling around the countryside looking particularly gorgeous.

Desired Effect is the perfect soundtrack. Layered melodies introduce the song before gentle beats come in along with beautiful heartfelt vocals. The song has a real dreamy feel to it and I am looking forward to finally catching the band live at Wickerman later this month.