Their latest album ‘Screen Violence’ was my favourite of 2021 and I just couldn’t wait to see them again live and even better than at The Hydro in those distant pre-covid days. Their latest songs have a more indie guitar rock edge to their retro electronica, a great combination with real imagination. The lyrical and visual horror movie theme is inspired. I had watched many live videos from their US tour so was well prepared for the show, knew the setlist and all the words too!
And the re-vamped Corn Exchange actually had a good sound for a change. Took Mhairi along as a special birthday treat and she loved it too.
Karen is such a Rocky Horror fan forever … we had to go to this new production and were not disappointed! A brilliant interpretation with super acting, singing, dancing, sets and spot on live band … what more could you ask for dammit! Janet! Audience loving it, dressed up, shouting all the old callouts and even had me up doing the Timewarp. Really enjoyed that.
I love Dry Cleaning so much and it’s tragic that it took over 2 years to see them again after my first time at Sneaky Pete’s just before the pandemic. That night I was already a fan and knew all the words, but they were just starting out and though Sneaky Pete’s was packed I worked my way right to the front where Florence was. Embarrassingly, whilst nodding away I got bumped and stumbled forward so much I nutted her music stand nearly sending all her word sheets flying!
Two years later they are flying high after the success of their ’New Long Leg’ album. A move to a bigger venue (sold out) and a bigger stage, so no repeat faux pas possible. Flo is a much more confident performer now and has dispensed with the music stand and trusts herself to remember all of her words. And so many great words and one liners. A brilliant set too with the best from ‘New Long Leg’, a few old favourites and newies. They all played and sounded great, but a pity much of Flo’s lyrics lost in the sound. Happily I know the words so sang/spoke along with no problems. A magic night. Bigger venue for them again next time!
A late suggestion from Andy to go see The Chameleons who I knew nothing about, so I thought why not, and was really glad I tagged along. First up The Membranes who I did remember a bit from the early 80s. I enjoyed their simple post-punky thrashiness and you’ve got to love the attitude of frontman John Robb.
The Chameleons are a much more melodic and inventive kettle of fish. Passed me by back in the 80s, but apparently they were highly regarded and influential and I can see why. Perfectly played and with a great sound. I was really impressed with their atmospheric, layered, effects drenched guitar sounds and the songs of bass player and front-man Mark Burgess. Well enjoyed by us and a very busy crowd. Nice one Andy!
I had a ticket for another show in Edinburgh this Sunday night so went to Liverpool on Saturday to see Arooj … but the Edinburgh gig was cancelled, so I jumped at the chance to experience such an amazing artist two nights in a row. And the gig moving to a bigger venue in the beautiful Mackintosh church, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh himself, was an opportunity too good to miss. So keen I was, I arrived early, getting front of the queue for a perfect seat in a church pew front and centre. Magic!
Not only is the church a stunning piece of architecture and design, such an appreciative audience was right up for this on the last night of the Celtic Connections festival … the atmosphere was crackling and I had some nice chats with some very knowledgable Scottish and World music fans. And they all loved this very special performance …same songs and quality as last night, but such a different atmosphere. Arooj was also very relaxed and laughed off her growing success with jokes about her record company choice of tour merchandise and her new, ‘out there’ stylist selected outfits.
I was so lucky to manage a few minutes to chat to Arooj outside after another brilliant show, cigarette and whisky in hand! What a smart and funny person with a dry wit. We talked about her touring experiences and the contrast between the venues and the occasions in Liverpool and Glasgow. She agreed that standing audiences can really get to move about and get into the groove that is there in her songs, but she was very grateful for the hushed attention in Glasgow and the thunderous reaction after her songs. She loves her whisky and was in the right place and mood for more of that!
Travelled home floating on air. I could not put the whole experience better than this beautifully written, spot on review by Graeme Thomson. So happy to be able to say ‘ I was there!’.
I stumbled across the wonderful music of Arooj via my favourite source of new music, KEXP, see the video below. I was mesmerised and blown away, so I had to catch her UK tour. Originally from Pakistan, but long based in New York, her recordings and performances have just started getting worldwide attention and she is going to be a big name soon. Couldn’t originally manage her Glasgow date so decided to take the trip to a place I’ve never been, Liverpool ! Had a great time around town (including the Cavern Club obviously) then to the really cool, smallish venue above Leaf café. A nice but low key room for a Grammy nominated International star!
And what a superb performance we all witnessed. Such a smooth and emotional singer who has a brilliant choice of what to western ears might sometimes sound odd notes … but in the context of Sufi style and melodies … just so right. You don’t need to understand Urdu to feel the dark intensity of her emotions. Lovely contribution on double bass from Petros Klampanis too. But the equal highlight for me of her ‘Vulture Prince’ album, and these performances, is the stunning Celtic Harp playing of Maeve Gilchrist … all the way from Edinburgh via New York! Magical, incredible, virtuoso playing … an unusual contrast for the style of music but so melodic and dynamic, I can’t get enough of her playing now, including her own albums and performances. Recommend you check out Arooj https://www.aroojaftabmusic.com and Maeve https://www.maevegilchristmusic.com . So happy, I couldn’t stop smiling all night!
To Liverpool to see Arooj Aftab. Andy advised me of some ‘must sees’ but No.1 was the famous Cavern Club and saw the real Complete Beatles who were brilliant for ones so very young. Really enjoyed the city and my short time there.
What a great night with such a happy and enthusiastic packed crowd. We all really enjoyed our night at the Voodoo Rooms ballroom in a real celebration atmosphere … the band’s first full on gig for over 2 years! Many thanks to : Kirsty, Annette and Kerry for having me join them on stage; brilliant support act The Laurettes; Elaine for all her hard working support, and to all at Sing In The City for making this such a special occasion. Also thanks to William Paterson for this magic video of ‘The Boys Of Summer’ and the takers of various pics. Cheers!
Thanks to all at Whistlebinkies and a lovely enthusiastic audience last night. Back there on Wed 29th Dec. Don’t think any other band plays these songs or quite like us. But then again … we’re not like other bands! Special thanks and best wishes to Sophie and James who travelled all the way from York! Lovely to meet you. xx The Postcards
Attended by George, Karen, Jan, Vina, Andy, Neville, Scott, Sophie, James