THREE WEEKS TONIGHT : A GUEST POSTING BY HUGH HAGGERTY

JC writes………I had intended to post something about the sorts of tunes that I might play at the next Simply Thrilled evening until I came across a wonderful piece of writing from Hugh Haggerty, one of the real driving forces behind the club. I told him that I intended to steal it and repost it….it’s his reflections on Teenage Fanclub, written in appreciation of them perform three entirely different sets on consecutive nights in Glasgow, drawing solely on the material from the years they were on Creation Records.

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“Every day I look in a different face”

Don’t we all? Looking in the mirror it reflects back all the new creases that my face seems to have picked up overnight, and I see the aggressive campaign that the grey in my hair is waging against the brown. (Spoiler: The grey hair is winning) I have to sigh and accept that I’m getting older, a fact that’s made all the more solid with the thought that popped into my head about the three nights of sheer guitar pop bliss I’m about to attend at the legendary Barras.

My first Teenage Fanclub gig at the Barrowlands was nearly thirty years ago.

Ten seems cheeky, twenty seems statesman like but thirty? That’s a lifetime. Could I ever have imagined as an awkward, skinny eighteen year old who babbled a lot of gibberish that I’d be right back at the same place but this time an awkward, fat forty-five year old babbling exactly the same gibberish but with the seasoned tone of man with aggressive grey hair.

Why have I come back? Well that’s obvious, Teenage Fanclub have been a hugely rewarding band to grow up with. The melodies have never left them, from those shambolic riffs and scattershot drums of ‘A Catholic Education’ to the pastoral multi-layered joy that is ‘Here’ and the constant beauty of all those glorious albums in-between, it’s a soundtrack for the musically eloquent who still have a sense of humour and dress well.

Since that freezing cold night in December 1991 (Why did Gerry want to assassinate December anyway, does he hate Christmas?) I’ve had the fortune to have met people that would become impossibly precious to me and I see some under the star strewn turquoise and cream ceiling each night. I shall spare their blushes and not name them but it doesn’t go without saying that each night of the band’s residency is made all the more special because of them.

Needless to say the gigs are an utter delight with so many highlights and here’s some of mine.

Brendan’s Back! I have a feeling of sorrow for those poor people who climbed aboard after Mr. O’Hare left the band, his Keith Moonesque tub-battery notwithstanding the high jinks and banter was solid gold entertainment. Never a dull moment with Brendan and it was no different for these gigs. My favourite moment being him walking onstage shrouded in a red cape only to drop it to shake the maracas for the intro to Sparky’s Dream. With perfect timing both musically and comedically.

‘Thirteen’ The album they were lambasted for getting it’s day in the sun. So much of this album has aged beautifully. Of course ‘Radio’ and ‘Norman 3’ still light the room up but ‘Fear of Flying’ (Given even more depth due to recent events), ‘Escher’, ‘Ret Liv Dead’ and the dreamy ‘Gene Clark’ all sounded magnificent. Extra credit for the always superb ‘Tears Are Cool’ and the utter joy of hearing ‘Get Funky’ live.

Norman and Raymond’s harmonies on ‘Say No’. A song that was merely ok in the past seems to come completely to life when live and the two voices lift it to a higher plain.

Gerry. Nuff said really, the man was born cool.

Paul Quinn’s drum THUNDER! I always thought Quinny’s (As the crowd were chanting) drums were really efficient and tight but watching the man up close I realise when he hits a drum they feel it in Australia! The recordings don’t do the man justice, he really batters those tubs and his fills are raptor-like. Hats off to the drummer man.

Norman being the most charming bastard ever made. Effervescent and smiling throughout, he gives the impression of a man who loves his job. And as such you can’t help feeling warm and fuzzy too.

Raymond being a guitar hero. Again having the fortune to watch the man at work up close pulls into focus how much he’s doing at any one time. From scuzzy guitar freak-outs to squealing solos the man does it without breaking a sweat. A total professional. (The solo during ‘I Need Direction’ is like a robust hug from a dear friend you’ve not seen in years)

Francis’ backing vocals. Tucked away at the back sat behind a keyboard with no spotlight Francis joins his voice with the three songwriters at the front and it’s alchemy, never showy but crystal clear harmonising. Wonderful and ridiculously multi-talented. Playing everything from drums to guitar, keyboards and even setting up the metronome for ‘If I Never See You Again’ He even stopped it at the right time, what a guy.

Speaking of multi-talented what about Dave McGowan? With effortless grace he plays bloody everything whilst showing Brendan which button to press to make the whooshing noise on ‘Take The Long Way round’

The B-sides set. Every one of them belters! Two favourite moments were hearing ‘Long Hair’ which catapulted me back to being the aforementioned awkward teen but the stand out moment must be ‘Broken’ in which a hushed choir of perfectly formed voices sang ‘Your heart has been broken again, it’s broken’ over and over, even after the song finished. Shimmering and frankly stunning, it was a moment of beauty that could only come from the combination of Teenage Fanclub, their fans and Glasgow’s most beloved venue.

The sheer joy that this band give is one of the reasons we do Simply Thrilled. I walked away from the gigs right beside my brother in arms Robert and we were both deeply affected by the music and the way it was embraced. We want to capture a little of that magic, those voices, and many more, we want to light up people’s faces when their favourite Scottish song suddenly bursts from the speakers. We love this music, so should you.

HUGH

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mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – December
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Tears Are Cool
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Say No
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Start Again
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – I Need Direction
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Long Hair

Tickets are available from here.

JC

FOUR WEEKS TONIGHT

Simply Thrilled is on its way back, once again at The Admiral Bar in Glasgow, on the evening of Friday 30 November, And you’ll see from the publicity poster, there’s a couple of guest DJs, one being a well-kent face and the other one of his best mates.

This blogging malarkey over the past 12 years has enabled a ridiculous number of incredible experiences, far too many to list and to risk mentioning as inevitably I’ll have missed something or someone out. Being able to share a stage (as such) with the nearest thing Scotland has to a living national bard is up there.

You’ll hopefully recall how much fun we all had at the debut Simply Thrilled event. It was never the plan to wait so long to get it all going again, but a few logistical and availability issues caused a bit of a delay. It’s somehow fitting that a club night dedicated to music, new and old, from singers and bands from Scotland will coincide with the feast day of our national saint, thus providing an opportunity for the tagline of a St Andrew’s Night Shindig.

Robert, Hugh and Carlo will, as ever, put together a genius plan to make the evening go with a swing, with some free stuff to hand out to the first 100 or so revellers who come through the door (nothing too fancy, it’ll be a one-off badge or the likes), while Ash is already putting his mind to some suitable and appropriate artwork, visuals and graphics for display on the walls of the basement venue. Me? As I said in the aftermath of the launch night, I’ll pull together a set list for my allocated time in charge of the laptop and hope there’s a similarly warm response as I try to take patrons of a certain age back to the days of 80s student unions and the like.

The really positive reactions to certain songs took us all by surprise last time out. A number of tunes, some which were huge hits and others which were loved locally but didn’t travel well outside of West-Central Scotland, got loud cheers from the outset. Others had folk, mostly blokes, cosying up to the booth and asking to be reminded what a particular song was and saying it was amazing to hear something again for the first time in decades. I’ll very happily take the same result again.

This one filled the floor:-

mp3 : Danny Wilson – Mary’s Prayer

The temptation is to try to play a completely different set next time around, but in the same way that bands can’t get away without playing the songs that the fans have come along to hear, those of us charged with trying to ensure the floor fills up and stays that way must air the popular tunes and requested tunes. I suspect the big hit for Danny Wilson will be aired at some point in the evening, but there should still be room for some more recent stuff such as this:-

mp3 : The Twilight Sad – I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want
mp3 : Mogwai – Party In The Dark

To my surprise, neither of these two outstanding pieces of music have been posted before.

Tickets for the St Andrew’s Night Shindig, priced just £5, are available from here.

PS : As it all this wasn’t simply thrilling enough, my dear old friend Walter from A Few Good Times In My Life is flying in from Germany to come along.  Can’t wait.

JC

BONUS POSTING : SIMPLY THRILLED IS RETURNING SOON….WITH BELLS ON!

Hopefully, some of you will recall that I got rather excited to be asked to get involved in the launch of Simply Thrilled, a new club night in Glasgow at which all the songs to be played over a five-hour period would be by Scottish singers or bands.  I even posted a review of it on this very blog….click here if you like.

A lot of folk seemed to enjoy themselves and so the real brains behind the night – Robert, Hugh and Carlo – have been working hard in recent weeks on plans for the second event.

The good news is that Simply Thrilled will be returning to the Admiral Bar in Glasgow on Friday 30 November to celebrate all that is brilliant about Scottish Alternative Music.

Our November night is going to be particularly special for a number of reasons..

Firstly, it just happens to coincide with St Andrew’s Day, the feast day of Saint Andrew and an official national day in Scotland with a number of government bodies having the day off work.

Secondly….and you’ll have to excuse me as I pinch myself to find that I’m not dreaming….we will have two very special guest DJs joining us – Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap fame will be playing some choice tunes alongside his partner in crime and fellow raconteur Noj.

It will be a genuine WTF?????? moment in my life and I can guarantee that I’ll not a get a wink of sleep in the days leading up to it due to excitement.

It would be great if some of you could manage to come along and hopefully help make the night a sell-out.  Tell your pals who live around these parts about it.  Tickets are priced at just £5 and can be obtained from

http://www.wegottickets.com/event/448926

There can only be one song to go with this posting….

mp3 : Arab Strap – The First Big Weekend

JC

LOTS OF DANCIN’ etc.

I spent a few days last week working on and fine-tuning in advance a set of approx 60 minutes for the first ever Simply Thrilled night last Saturday.

Best laid plans and all that!!

I shoved this up on Facebook about 45 minutes after I’d done my bit:-

Three and a bit hours in…and it’s been a triumph but in a way that we never expected.

The indie side of Scottish music has been put to side for the most part and we’ve played loads of chart hits that’s had loads of folk dancing.

Folk are having great fun…..

All of us involved in this venture aren’t ashamed to say that we are occasionally snobbish about music.  But….and this is where it counts most, each of us know that having a great time at a club night is what it is all about. This was how I felt when I woke up on Sunday and shared my thoughts on Facebook:-

The morning after.

Still coming to terms with the fact so many folk came along to the first Simply Thrilled night and had such a great time dancing, laughing, hugging and singing along.

Followed Rule #1 of the DJ bible…..play what it is your audience is wanting!!! The first 90 minutes of the night were as indie and obscure(ish) as we liked, and then once I played “Don’t Talk To Me About Love’ by Altered Images, the place went nuts in a really great and friendly and happy way.

I got by through binning my planned set list – some were shuffled around in order while others were dropped.  It was also decided to introduce two new songs, suggested by Robert, including one by The Orchids which hasn’t even been released yet!!

In short, I tried my best give the paying public exactly what they wanted which was made easier by the fact that the vast majority of the paying public were aged 35-50 and lived in or around Glasgow…..

Set List – Simply Thrilled Launch 28.07.2018

Friend of the Night – Mogwai
Dark Matter – Siobhan Wilson
Cockcrow – Aiden Moffat & RM Hubbard
A Friend Like You – Aberfeldy
Twisted and Bent – Trashcan Sinatras
Long In The Tooth – Pictish Trail
Milk – Garbage
Aye Today – Delgados
Scotland – The Wedding Present
Heard About Love – The Big Gun
Imperial – Butcher Boy
It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts – Tracyanne & Danny
No Longer Young Enough – Just Joans
If He Loved You He’d Listen – Hardy Boys
Safety Net – Shop Assistants
Plastic Bags From Tesco – Wilderness Children
Let’s Fall In Love and Run Away From Here – Ballboy
Geraldine – Glasvegas
Into The Valley – The Skids
Happy When It Rains – Jesus & Mary Chain
Iceblink Luck -Cocteau Twins
I Only Wanna Be With You – The Tourists
Nobody There – Veronica Falls
Candyskin – Fire Engines
Foxheads – Close Lobsters
I Never Learn – The Orchids
Don’t Talk To Me About Love – Altered Images
Breaking Point – Bourgie Bourgie
Rip It Up – Orange Juice
Since Yesterday – Strawberry Switchblade
Be Less Rude – Frightened Rabbit
Oblivious – Aztec Camera
18 Carat Love Affair – Associates
I Travel – Simple Minds
Everything (I Ever Wanted) – Fruits of Passion
Labour of Love – Hue & Cry
Fast Girls and Factory Boys – Port Sulphur
Mary’s Prayer – Danny Wilson
Sunkissed – Friends Again
The Honeythief – Hipsway
You’ve Got The Power – Win
Ain’t That Enough – Teenage Fanclub
Movin’ On Up -Primal Scream
I want to fall in love – BMX Bandits
Robert De Niro’s Waiting – Futuristic Retro Champions
Testify – Hi-fi Sean
Blueboy – Orange Juice
Sorry For Laughing – Josef K
Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand
Only Happy When It Rains – Garbage
Obscurity Knocks – Trashcan Sinatras
The Rattler – Goodbye Mr Mackenzie
Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken – Camera Obscura
Rattlesnakes – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
I’m A Cuckoo – Belle & Sebastian
Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds
Right Here – The Go-Betweens
Check My Heart – The Pastels
Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat
Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads
Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera
Party Fears Two – Associates
Kiss This Thing Goodbye – Del Amitri
Country Girl – Primal Scream
Sweet Dreams -Eurythmics
I’m Free – Soup Dragons
Millions – Teen Canteen
Sparky’s Dream – Teenage Fanclub
Happy Birthday – Altered Images
The Boy With The Arab Strap – Belle & Sebastian
Walk Out To Winter – Aztec Camera
Living In Colour – Frightened Rabbit
Promised You A Miracle – Simple Minds
Dead Connection – Pictish Trail
Loaded – Primal Scream
The Mother We Share – Chvrches
Mr Blue Sky – Delgados
Pitch The Baby – Cocteau Twins
Sound and Vision – Franz Ferdinand
National Express – The Divine Comedy
Super Trouper – Camera Obscura
Keep Yourself Warm – Frightened Rabbit
Everything Flows – Teenage Fanclub

That’s five hours worth…but such was the energy and enthusiasm on show that the time flew in.

There’s been an incredibly positive reaction from folk who were there with loads of nice words and images posted in places. It’s given all of us a huge lift and made us very determined to make the next occasion even better, and we are hopeful of doing something in October. It’s very much Robert and Hugh who are the driving force and they will again work really hard to pull it altogether, while Carlo and Ash will work their creative magic on the design side of things.

Me? I’ll just turn up, throw out a few tunes and hope there’s as great a response as there was last night. One person has said that Simply Thrilled took them back to the days of Level 8 and the QM (two student haunts of mine in the early 80s) and if that’s the case, then it really was, from my part, job done.

Thought I’d share with you the very first set that I planned out…10/18 survived on the night and Robert played another of them later on.

mp3 : Various Artists – Simply Thrilled One

Track Listing

Candyskin – Fire Engines
Let’s Make Some Plans – Close Lobsters
Sunkissed – Friends Again
Mary’s Prayer – Danny Wilson
His Latest Flame – The Motorcycle Boy
Be Less Rude – Frightened Rabbit
Oblivious – Aztec Camera
Breaking Point – Bourgie Bourgie
I Travel – Simple Minds
I Could Give You All That You Don’t want – Twilight Sad
Top of the Pops – Rezillos
Rip It Up – Orange Juice
God Knows Its True – Teenage Fanclub
Since Yesterday – Strawberry Switchblade
18 Carat Love Affair – Associates
Hayfever – Trash Can Sinatras
Speed-Date – Arab Strap
Sorry For Laughing – Josef K

I hope you enjoy listening….and maybe even have a wee dance round your living room/office/garden in tribute to our wee night.

Feel free to visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/399089003891387/ to see some photos etc.

JC

THE COUNTDOWN TO SIMPLY THRILLED (d-3)

A few potential curve-balls for my Simply Thrilled set this coming Saturday, one of which may well be a b-side cover of a classic:-

mp3 : Sons and Daughters – Nice’n’Sleazy

This was the flip side of the 7″ vinyl release…..and it was the third 45 released by Sons and Daughters back in 2005.  I’ll be the first to admit that it’s nowhere near as good as the original but that would be an impossible task.  The bass line is a bit on the light side, as indeed is the keyboard solo but I’ve always been a sucker for a distinctively Scottish vocal lilt as provided by Adele Bethele and David Gow.

Here’s the a-side:-

mp3 : Sons and Daughters – Taste The Last Girl

While this is the b-side from the CD single:-

mp3 : Sons and Daughters – Stranger Song

Here’s the promo for the single:-

I must get round to doing an ICA for this lot……..

JC