CHVRCHES – The Hydro, Glasgow – 16 Feb 2019

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CHVRCHES old style electronica is not normally my cup of tea, but they are so good at it, with songs so catchy that their hooks work their way into your brain, well mine at least. Combined with Lauren’s magnetic charm and the fact they are probably Scotland’s biggest musical export just now, I had to go see.

Arriving early I managed to sneak right down the front and the great view and sound made for an immersive experience rather than sat at the back where my ticket was. Had seen support band The 9th Wave at Sneaky Pete’s and was impressed again.

CHVRCHES though, have built up their act and set to great stadium level effect. I found out I knew many more songs than I thought and really enjoyed it, more than I expected. Brilliant!

8/11 – Attended by George

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Kagoule – Broadcast, Glasgow – 8 Feb 2019

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Next to last date of their tour so Kagoule were on great form, on fire in fact, the best I’ve seen them. Perfect set, perfectly played … a superb performance all round from one of my favourite bands.

Really impressed by support band, Do Nothing, from Nottingham. Next time they come around my way I’m bringing all my friends to see just how awesome Kagoule are!

9.5/11 – Attended by George

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Hadestown – National Theatre, London – 5 Jan 2019

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Not really a gig review since Hadestown is a musical, but I’ve loved this music since I first heard the original album back in 2011. I’m also a big fan of writer Anais Mitchell and I’m made up for her to see her amazing folk opera grow organically from small venues in Vermont to massive mainstream production soon to open on Broadway.

Hadestown is Anais’s take on the Orpheus and Eurydice Greek myth, but set in depression, dust bowl America. What started out as music only performance has evolved into an elaborate stage show with dancers, amazing set and world class performers. I had read good reviews and couldn’t let the chance to see it pass me by, and I’m so glad I didn’t because it was superb, and Karen thought so too!

Though folky Americana is the style that underpins the musical, the arrangements are varied and take us through jazz and blues, always original, with great playing unforgettable melodies and poetic, moving lyrics. I, and most of the audience, knew all of the story but obviously some did not judging by the audible gasps of shock and devastated reactions from people (including Karen) at the tragic ending (no spoilers!). Absolutely wonderful. Bravo Anais!

10/11 – Attended by George & Karen

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My 2018 Music Review

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2018 has been a momentous year in so many ways, but for me musically … off the scale! So happy and lucky with my own music making exploits: joining and gigging with a great band The Postcards; gigging with my sister as Jan & George Glen; and recording and mixing a great CD for Rachel Edwards. Really lucky to have had all these things come together in one year … and manage to see and hear so many great artists …

Best Gigs –

My Gig of the Year award simply has to go to Susanne Sundfør at the Barbican in May. Unforgettably perfect … I still have to pinch myself to believe I was there and right in front. Sublime.

I was lucky also to witness some other really special occasions –

Best Albums

Very few notable albums to mention really this year for some reason. Enjoyed Ruins by First Aid Kit, Great Aspirations by TC&I and lately Lamp Lit Prose by Dirty Projectors, but nothing earth shattering.

Best New Discovered Artists

Again no earth shattering new discoveries either (if you exclude The Postcards ! ) Loma, Trembling Bells, Screaming Females and St Martiins are worth a mention.

Here’s to a great 2019 for all of us. It’s guaranteed to be ‘interesting’!

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The Postcards – The Old Hairdresser’s, Glasgow – 8 Dec 2018

 

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Thanks to so many of our friends and new fans who came to see my band The Postcards in our first full sized headlining gig at the marvellous Old Hairdresser’s. We have put a lot of work in this year and it was fun and rewarding to manage a set of 19 songs. More rewarding was the fantastic reaction we got, so much love in the room for these old songs played by these old codgers. Looking forward to more of the same in 2019 with many more of our favourite songs, ‘the songs that saved our lives’!

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The Cardigans – Academy, Glasgow – 4 Dec 2018

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I loved The Cardigans from their first album and only when they decided to tour again did it cross my mind that I never saw them first time round … time to rectify that! Met Andy there and I said I much preferred their first 2 albums, whereas he preferred their later ones, but the plan was for them to play the whole of their most successful 3rd album, Gran Turismo … Doh!

So although they are of course great, I hardly knew any of the songs played in their 1st set, later material 2nd Set, and only in their encores did they play 2 songs, Carnival’ and ‘Lovefool’, from my favourite albums! ‘I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer’ has to be the longest song title to the best song ever! Still they sounded great and Nina Persson is in fine voice and entertaining form with everyone in the Academy in the palm of her hand. Love her! Magic!

8/11 – Attended by George & Andy A

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Bernie Torme – Bannerman’s, Edinburgh – 25 Nov 2018

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Not someone I had ever heard of until Andy said he was a favourite of his from Bernie’s time in Gillan … a long time ago. When I spotted he was playing Bannerman’s on his farewell tour, we just had to go see. He is a great, showy guitarist, though his heavier bluesy rock is not my cup of tea, it was worth going along to see the beaming smile that never left Andy’s face!

7/11 – Attended by George & Andy

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Your Reptilian Masters – Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh – 24 Nov 2018

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2 gigs in 2 nights at Andy’s instigation, this one to see the band of a friend of his, Mikey, singer and bassist of Your Reptilian Masters. A bit of a pot luck, on spec night with 3 bands I didn’t know including Glassface and The No-Things. I really enjoyed them all though and The Banshee Labyrinth is a cool place.

7/11 – Attended by George & Andy

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Johnny Marr – Barrowlands, Glasgow – 15 Nov 2018

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The Smiths being my favourite band ever obviously makes Johnny Marr my no.1 fave guitar hero. His music has always meant so much to me but the first time I saw him with his own band I was not really blown away. Well 3 albums later I think they have got a lot better and this show was a belter!

Johnny has really grown into his role as band leader and consummate rock god with attitude and big poses to spare. His singing, though not his forte, is better than ever but honestly … it’s all about that guitar playing … a glorious, joyous thing. How does he do it? So casual yet perfect. I enjoyed plenty of his new songs but he has also learned to give the crowd what they want with a magnificent 7 Smiths songs so we could sing along ‘til hoarse. He made me very happy and Jan deliriously so. Bravo!

9/11 – Attended by George & Jan

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Half Formed Things – La Belle Angele – 10 Nov 2018

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I look forward to everything that the wonderful Half Formed Things do. They have been very sparing and selective with their appearances so there’s been lots of forward looking since that impressive last time at The Mash House. And a few more songs this time with their album getting there and the set growing … much appreciated and I love their approach to longer more dynamic songs than most bands.

Not sure La Belle Angele is a venue that gets the best out of artists though, I’ve never been happy there and I think the sound was disappointing and detracted from a great performance. Still, their choice of occasional cover is always inspired, from my favourite Bjork song to this time my favourite Kate Bush song … Babooshka was just brilliant. Hoping for many more Half Formed Things!

8/11 – Attended by George, Karen & Jan

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