I CAN ONLY LOOK ON IN ADMIRATION

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A guest posting from Aldo……………

So here we are once again folks, another year gone, another half century of gigs racked up…

At a rough count over 150 acts, across more than 30 different venues/locations…

Reflecting on this year’s list of gigs reminds me that a fair number of the most memorable and enjoyable musical happenings I attended in 2014 were either festivals or all-dayer events with various acts on the bill, so it is these I shall focus on in rounding up my year of live music.

The first of them took place way back in February with an all-dayer at the Glad Cafe on the Southside of Glasgow. Promoted by Pop!South who have been putting on a number of excellent acts over the last year or so, this day (and a half – with acoustic sets on the Sunday) brought rays of indiepop sunshine to brighten up a bleak February weekend. This was also the first time I would see sugar-coated girl popsters TeenCanteen who I would end up catching plenty more of throughout the year. A full weekender event has been announced for next month, again at the Glad Cafe, which I’m looking forward to immensely.

The first major festival of the year would be Primavera Sound in Barcelona, two close pals had been raving about it for the last few years and I decided I’d take the opportunity to see what the fuss was all about. It has to be said that the lineup was pretty impressive, with even a stellar trio of Scottish acts on the bill in the guise of the Twilight Sad, Chvrches, and Mogwai. It was a great weekend and although I caught some of my favourite bands over the course of it (including some twice – Dum Dum Girls and the Twilight Sad), the real enjoyment for me was going to check out a number of bands who I’d not seen live before. The only negative (aside from the vast number of hipsters) was the tremendous downpour on the second day, which just goes to show that even European festivals can’t guarantee summer sunshine.

Next up was Scottish behemoth T in the Park, which truth be told I’ve avoided over the last few years due to the deteriorating quality of the lineup, particularly amongst the ‘headline’ acts. However, having grown up around 10 miles from the festival site and knowing that this was to be the last at this location, I decided to head along out of nostalgia more than anything else. Away from the main stage there was some some quality in the shape of the Twilight Sad, Pixies, Manics, Inspirals, Maximo Park, John Cooper Clarke, as well as catching bands like Drenge, Royal Blood, Metronomy and Tame Impala for the first time. Communal sing-a-alongs to the Human League and Soul II Soul also stand out.

A couple of weeks later it was a festival on a completely different scale, Indietracks which takes place in the Derbyshire countryside only attracts a fraction of the number who attend T and it’s all the better for it. This was my third year in a row and seems to become more and more enjoyable with each visit, this despite the lineup, in my opinion, not being quite as strong as in previous years. Among the highlights of the weekend were Allo Darlin’, the Just Joans (to Indietracks what Shellac are to Primavera), the Spook School, Dean Wareham, Gruff Rhys and the Flatmates. The festival euphoria was of course helped along by three days of glorious weather, post music indie discos and the odd pub lock-in.

As JC mentioned in a previous posting, 2014 was a big year for Scotland, not least because of Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games which resulted in an expansive and diverse cultural programme to accompany the Games themselves. Two such events which were part of this were the Glasgow Mixtape and the Last Big Weekend.

Glasgow Mixtape was a free day of music held at Glasgow Green featuring a host of local musical luminaries over two stages – one outdoor, the other a beautiful spiegeltent. It was a wonderfully eclectic day beginning with a country and western novelty turn (Sydney Devine), onto psych-folk (Trembling Bells), post-electro (Errors), and miserablism (Malcolm Middleton). Particular mention must go to Edwyn Collins – who had the packed spiegletent rapt, and possibly a bit emotional, with an outstanding performance. Bis and Amphetameanies upped the tempo again, before we headed back for the outdoor stage and the closing set from Lloyd Cole. This was a truly cracking day and it was just a shame the weather didn’t match the musical talent on show.

Curated jointly by Chemikal Underground and Optimo the Last Big Weekend, as the name suggests, was the grand finale to the East End Social programme of music which had ran for a few months in the lead up to, and during, the Commonwealth Games. It took place in Richmond Park, with the Saturday being given over to rock/indie and the Sunday being more electro/dance flavoured. Outwith those acts on the bill I was already familiar with, the sets by Honeyblood and Golden Teacher stood out as highlights.

The final all-day affair of the year came courtesy Kid Canaveral’s Christmas Baubles – the fifth running of this annual event, which took place at Portobello Town Hall. As the lineup consisted of a number of bands I’d already seen and enjoyed this year it was keenly anticipated. From opening act the Spook School through to Ibibio Sound Machine who closed proceedings, this was a joyous and fun pre-Christmas show. It had the feeling of a bunch of mates getting together their pals who were also in bands for a party…and that’s because essentially that’s what it was. Marvellous.

Outside the festivals, other notables included Teenage Fanclub attracting Glasgow’s indie cognoscenti to the recently reopened Kelvingrove Bandstand, the Jesus and Mary Chain’s wall of feedback as they masterpiece Psychocandy at the Barrowlands, and the low key return of Idlewild at the Brewdog AGM. In late autumn I was accompanied by JC to a run of three gigs which were right up there with anything else this year namely Pete Wylie, Young Marble Giants, and topped by seeing one of my musical heroes for the first time, the godlike Johnny Marr. Who says the 80’s were sh*t? And a special mention to Sun Kil Moon for the longest set of the year at just shy of 3 hours.

As with the previous year, 2014 was wrapped up with a gig by the Twilight Sad. This time at the Tolbooth in Stirling, with the band on top form in a cracking venue, it was an exceptional end to an exceptional year of live music.

Aldo

1. Pop Group + Sexual Objects – ABC2

2. RM Hubbert + Aidan Moffat – Mitchell Theatre

3. Tom Hingley – Wee Jimmies, Cowdenbeath

4. Pop!South All-dayer – Just Joans, Spook School, TeenCanteen, Martha, Where We Lay Our Heads, Yawns, Bodyheat, Sweet Nothings, Adam Ross, A New International, MJ Hibbett, Stranger’s Almanac, The Bobby McGees, David Leech – Glad Cafe

5. Kid Canaveral, Randolph’s Leap, Malcolm Middleton – Stereo

6. Cairn String Quartet with Aidan Moffat, Lou Hickey, RM Hubbert, Emma Pollock, James Graham etc. – Platform, Easterhouse

7. Ela Orleans – Glad Cafe

8. TOY + Proper Ornaments – King Tuts

9. The Stranglers – Academy

10. PAWS + Conquering Animal Sound + RM Hubbert – The Bowlers, Bridgeton

11. Space + Republica – King Tuts

12. Wild Beasts + East India Youth – The Arches

13. Klaxons – King Tuts

14. Randolph’s Leap + Sweet Baboo + Rachael Dadd – Kinning Park Complex

15. Northside – Classic Grand

16. The Sonics – The Arches

17. Shonen Knife + TeenCanteen – CCA

18. Aidan Moffat – Barrowland

19. Primavera Sound – Follakzoid, Real Estate, Midlake, Warpaint, Future Islands, Chvrches, Bo Ningen, Arcade Fire, Wedding Present, Twilight Sad, Pixies, The National, Factory Floor, Courtney Barnett, Dum Dum Girls, Earl Sweatshirt, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Cloud Nothings, Helen Love, Cold Cave, Black Lips – Barcelona

20. The View – Oran Mor

21. Echo and the Bunnymen – Queens Hall, Edinburgh

22. TeenCanteen + Just Joans – Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh

23. SAY Awards – Barrowland

24. Brewdog AGM – Idlewild, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Little Kicks – AECC, Aberdeen

25. Pains of Being Pure at Heart + Fear of Men – Mono

26. T in the Park – Maximo Park, Royal Blood, Drenge, Pixies, TeenCanteen, Manic Street Preachers, Chvrches, James, Human League, Soul II Soul, John Cooper Clarke, Inspiral Carpets, Tame Impala, Metronomy, Twilight Sad – Balado, Kinross

27. Indietracks – Allo Darlin’, The Chills, TeenCanteen, Spearmint, Gruff Rhys, Dean Wareham, The Spook School, Hidden Cameras, Withered Hand, The Just Joans, The Flatmates, ONSIND, The Yawns – Swanwick, Derbyshire

28. Spook School + Tuff Love – Glad Cafe

29. Glasgow Mixtape – Sydney Devine, Trembling Bells, Errors, Malcolm Middleton, Edwyn Collins, Phantom Band, Bluebells, Bis, Amphetameanies, Lloyd Cole – Glasgow Green

30. Teenage Fanclub – Kelvingrove Bandstand

31. Belle & Sebastian – Corn Exchange, Edinburgh

32. Killers + Courteeeners – Bellahouston Park

33. St Vincent – ABC

34. Blondie – ABC

35 + 36. Last Big Weekend – Honeyblood, Holy Mountain, Swervedriver, Twilight Sad, Young Fathers, Fuck Buttons, Mogwai, Golden Teacher, James Murphy – Richmond Park

37. Alphabetical Order Orchestra – Glad Cafe

38. Goat + Lay Llamas + Trembling Bells – SWG3

39. Tom Vek – King Tuts

40. Pete Wylie – King Tuts

41. Young Marble Giants – Stereo

42. Johnny Marr – Academy

43. Black Lips – Electric Circus, Edinburgh

44. Chvrches – Barrowland

45. Future Islands – ABC

46. Jesus and Mary Chain – Barrowland

47. The Drums – Art School

48. The Vaselines + Schwervon! – Art School

49. Love Inks + TeenCanteen – Glad Cafe

50. Temples – Liquid Room, Edinburgh

51. Sun Kil Moon – SWG3

52. Kid Canaveral, Randolph’s Leap, The Spook School, PAWS, Synaesthete, Hector Bizerk, Ibibio Sound Machine, Pictish Trail + Sweet Baboo – Portobello Town Hall

53. Twilight Sad – Tolbooth, Stirling

———————————

This is the third successive year that Aldo has made it along to in excess of 50 gigs/festivals in a calendar year.  It’s an extraordinary achievement both in terms of the time he’s committed to live music not to mention how much he has forked out in for tickets, travel and the occasional refreshment along the way. In among all this, he holds down a full-time job and spends many a Saturday (and occasional Tuesday or Wednesday) watching his favourite football team, Dunfermline Athletic. As I said, I can only look on in quiet admiration.

I was with Aldo on 14 of the above occasions. I probably got to about another 20 or so shows that he wasn’t at which represents by far the most gigs I’ve been at in a calendar year in gawd knows how long. It will be interesting to see if we are inspired enough to hit such heights again in 2015.

mp3 : Teen Canteen – Honey
mp3 : Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)
mp3 : Young Marble Giants – Final Day

(songs chosen by Aldo)

JC

3 thoughts on “I CAN ONLY LOOK ON IN ADMIRATION

  1. You can’t see me, but I’m tipping my cap, Aldo. Quite a few shows I wish I could have witnessed… especially Indietracks and Glasgow Mixtape. One of your stops, Lloyd Cole, will be a first ever for me in about two weeks. Very excited.

  2. Great work, Aldo. That would be some compilation boxed set of artists.

    But you of all people deriding “hipsters” …
    … and JC, there’s nothing to admire in him being a Pars fan.

    Jacques xx

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