Sunday 14 December 2014

2014 review by Craig from DF Concerts

Craig Johnston has a job that I once dreamed of (I guess I still do!)- working for DF Concerts, watching bands, keeping up to date with the music scene and booking them for King Tut's - one of my favourite places in the whole world.

I couldn't think of a nicer guy to have this dream job. Craig cut his teeth putting on shows in venues like Maggie May's, building up his knowledge and contacts. Craig is always vocal about bands he believes in and has been singing the praises of young Scottish unsigned/DIY acts like Vigo Thieves, Fatherson and La Fontaines and working with them beyond King Tut's to book them into the Arches and ABC - next stop the Barrowland!

Craig's passion shines through in person and online and I always enjoy checking what he is listening to as his taste is eclectic and he is usually ahead of the game. So this was one review of 2014 I was particularly looking forward to.

And here it is....

1. What singles/songs that have been released in 2014 have stood out for you?

This was a hard one and I think this list shows my mental taste in music.  I don't trust people who say they don't like pop music, I understand not liking the idea of the whole pop machine but then those same people say they like motown... wake up... it's the same thing! A few years ago I decided I would judge each song on the song rather than thinking of it a genre or who done it etc and it has totally opened me up to all different styles of music. If I like the song then I like the song.  I think people who dismiss pop music are just doing themselves out of hearing some great music and are obviously lying to themselves as everyone likes at least one Spice Girls song. Anyway this list isn't just pop but these are the songs that were released this year that I have listened to most.

Ariana Grande - Break Free

Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Little Mix - Salute

Paramore - Ain't it Fun

Ten Walls - Walking with Elephants

Paolo Nutini - Scream (Funk My Life Up)

The Xcerts - Shaking In The Water

Wet - Don't Wanna Be Your Girl

Little Simz - Devour

2. What albums released in 2014 have you enjoyed?

Fatherson's "I Am An Island" came out this year and it is amazing.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love this band.  I have been promoting them since they weren't old enough to get drunk after gigs.  I have watched them grow from a school band to and that are loved throughout the Country and when this album came out it was a really proud moment for me.  I imagine it is the same feeling that parents get when they take their kids the first day of school.  I am so proud of the boys and it is genuinely my favourite album of the year and not just because of my relationship with the boys but because the songs are belters, it is a massive step up. If you haven't heard this record yet then get on it you are missing out.

3. What old music/bands have you discovered/gone back to in 2014?
When I was at SXSW in March I found myself listening to Taylor Swift's Red album again, lots! I thought the album was good when it came out but I fell in love with it this year.  I was convinced it was because I had spent the two months leading up to SXSW listening to up and coming bands, bad recording and garage rock as prep I just needed some great pop in my life to redress the balance but thinking about it... It is weird that I got into the album in the quarter that Taylor was being relauched in prep for her new album.  Was she around the press more or on TV more so that made me pick that album over the debut Spice Girls example for example? So did I fall in love with the Red album because it is one of the best pop records of all time, was I a victim of the labels subliminal advertising or a bit of both?

4. What has been the musical highlight of 2014 for you?
T in the Park seems to be my answer every year but this year was very special.  When I was 15 I went to my first T in the Park and it was on that airfield in Balado that I got the bug for finding new bands. Later that year I went by myself to a gig for the first time (at the time I didn't know it would be the first of many) I went to the Martell in Falkirk and seen a band called Biffy Clyro.  This was the year I fell in love with both that airfield in Balado and Biffy Clyro so this year to see Biffy headline the last T in the Park on that airfield was a very special moment for me it was made even better now that I am part of the team that puts T in the Park on. Also seeing Fatherson play to a near full King Tut's Tent (12,000 capacity by the way) was very special I really hope there were a few wee guys and girls in that crowd that got the bug for live music like I did.

5. What are you plans for 2015?

Going to more gigs by myself..  really looking forward to the Years and Years, Soak and Prides records coming out (if that is their plans).  Also King Tut's 25th Birthday will be fun!

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