Charm Of Finches in Glasgow

Glad Cafe, Glasgow
28th May, 2022

This was my first visit to the well known south side of Glasgow’s Glad Cafe. It offered a very bright and spacious environment that had gone through major changes due to the Covid climate. You walk down a corridor, through the pub/restaurant and into a gig space at the back.
The room was half full for the evening’s performance by Charm of Finches. A very informative duo from Australia the two sisters; Mable and Ivy had travelled far and were very excited to be there.

For support we had Scott who was a solo act of guitar and vocal. His songs were of ultra realness as he beautifully sang about a time spent in the military. He was open about this theme and his lyrics were so fragile and sad. It was a 3 or 4 song set of music that has helped him a little in coping with the realities of wanting to be in the army against the facts of what happens when you do so; I don’t think he would recommend it for anyone. It was a endearing intro to the evening to come.

Then appeared Charm of Finches on the intimate stage, dressed in fine attire there was a guitar, violin and keyboard piano on set and they took to us with their story’s of experiences. They were jovial with us and we were welcomed into the performance with smiles and no little gratitude.

Immediately they were deep into their songs and styles with voices to die for. I practiced looking away so as to absorb the music in its purity and boy did it work. Their first tune for this recital quality act had in it the line ‘…concentrate on breathing’ to begin to their credit an amazing bond of beauty and vocal forbearance.

It’s always amazing to see and hear acts that are so well unified; making music that escape trappings and almost naturally give the world of things in an atmosphere of cosy professionalism. In all ways a truly splendid act of intimate giving just inviting us to enjoy. These two had travelled far in Victoria, Australia, but this will be their first exciting cruise outside of their heart land. And this little plush and comfortable venue was their only choice for the whole of Scotland but they expressed a desire to return for more.

They may well do this as they drive their act across the ocean and hopefully into our living rooms and what not. When we sat in our seats we saw in the roots for this duo who swayed in movements and in a strong musical kinship that was nothing less than powerful being accompanied with overwhelming music that their voices seemed to call upon.

Before each song, old and new, they graciously, politely and resolutely introduced the themes and origins of each and in their young life death had come to play a part in a big way. They were definitely completely unafraid to speak and speak well of anything they wanted to include, with lyrics that surpassed the heights and live up to great meaningful almost poetics.

Their story of success so far is pretty much just as awesome as their tight music, tight yet lyrical, provocative, beautiful and for the high and low times that was all for this show. Often in dark sadness they were two strong people and are well capable of running this act with every positive step that they make. I’m going to get their 2019 album ‘Your Company’ for when I need it and to partake in further listening of this two vocal harmony with classical guitar licks and sultry undertones. A duo who take life as it comes and are prolifically writing about it all. Playing music that almost forgives the world and its incenses. The future must be secured in our tender circumstances on it. They sing with everything so as to entail their responsibilities for what we do here.

Daniel Donnelly

Barbara @ The Usher Hall

The Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Brighton & Edinburgh, the two coolest cities in Britain, came together for half an hour of blisteringly ear-easy, eye-pleasing pop-rock in the form of a band call’d Barbara. The venue was the grandiose Usher Hall, which was slowly filling to capacity throughout with the masses here for The Divine Comedy. They were great, the Comedy, of course… but Barbara seem’d very much like a changing of the guard. Their first EP – Mildly Entertaining – is out, while the Comedy were dusting off the greatest hits package.

Buy the new E.P. Mildly Entertaining

So what did I absorb from that half-hour musical lagoon. Well, there was flamboyance & drama in the songs, melting into an ambience of quirkiness & stiff upper lip in abundance. Aesthetically I revell’d in the Brightonian fashions adorning the whole band, while their foppish Geography teacher of singer at the end of the gig slid across the floor on his knees ripping off his tweed jacket in a bacchanalian phrenzie to reveal his… red knitted tank-top.

Overall, the front man was extremely watchable, very much a Jarvis Cocker reborn. The music supporting his elegant vocals was constantly catchy, while the lyrics came from the corners of civilisation not normally interesting enough to merit a song, but the way Barbara approaches their writing with genuine fervour leaves you wanting more of their marvellous insights. Its going to be extremely interesting to see how these silky-flesh’d boys, their staccato beats & their cheeky sonatas do, but they are definitely going to do something memorable.

Damian Beeson Bullen

Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5, The Girobabies, Hugh Reed and The Velvet Underpants

St Lukes, Glasgow
Saturday 23rd April, 2022

This is going to be well funky, as you know. Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 are one of my fave Scottish Bands. Have covered the Mustard’s journey for quite some time, have seen and reported on them in countless venues and festivals over the last 10 years. They reached a new peak just before the first lockdown. With the 2nd Album “The DiffiCULT Number 2” It was finally released last May when the shops opened again. It was the first thing that I bought and I have to say that it is fantastic and on constant rotation in The Divine Parlour. The Mustards performing Lindisfarne Festival with Groove Armada was the reason that I snapped up the opportunity to review that festival in September last year and I wasn’t disappointed.

I was thrilled as the Mustard Cannon had been reinvigorated it was funky in a way that reached new levels of Funkyness. They are one of the hardest working bands in Scotland and now that restrictions have been dropped, they are performing at festivals and venues all over Scotland, bringing this amazing cannon of greatness to a new audience and us old fans alike.

And if that wasnae enough co-headlining this musical and dance delight The Girobabies return to The Winged Ox, fronted by local celebrity, successful Musical Podcast Musical producer and founder of YCTR Radio, Lead singer and Lyricist of Hip Hop Legends “Jakyl Trades” Mark McGhee, Joined by his equally talented partner in music and love, Lead singer and Bass player of the Twistettes, founder of the critically acclaimed multimedia art experience. “Minerva Wakes” Jo D’Ark. A power couple leading the post punk, lyrically conscious soul reflections of an Austerity wracked Scotland, essential social commentary with an ever-rotating band of supporting musicians. This is going to be a brilliant boogie.

This will be my first time of experiencing Hugh Reed And The Velvet Underpants too.

Good Time Divine ❤
Yellow Fever. ❤
Laugh Until You No Longer Know What It Is To Hate.
Release your soul.
Determine Your Own Fate.
Lose Your Self Consciousness.
Find Anonymous Awesomeness.
In bottomless Thoughtfulness.
Lose Your Inhibitions.
Forget the distractions.
Take Direct Non Violent Action.
Be Your Own Improvement.
Use Your Illusion.
You are Never Alone.
Anyone Can Happen.
Be the Best That You Can Be..
This Is the Blue Print..
We are the Nuisance.
The Fluent Union Of Amusement.
The Evolution Revolution.
A Symbiosis Of (Un)Conscious And Conscience…
Do Join Us.

Is It Any Wonder That I Am So Excited ❤

The Divine Verdict

Tonight was huge in a relatively small venue. The last time I saw Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 and The Girobabies was at Lindisfarne Festival on a stage that was massive and a venue that was humungous. Not that it phased either. Both bands played a blinder, it was a welcome return to quality live music.

Saint Lukes And The Winged Ox
Apart from loving the name, It is also a venue that I love, Its a double-barrel type of place, The Winged Ox is a lovely bistro, welcoming and always has quality affordable food with tunes and DJs playing. St Lukes is the performance venue that as you can guess was once a church, it still has a few pews and a really tasty church organ, behind the stage, Divine loves churches they always make me feel calm the first time I reviewed The Mustards and The Girobabies here was The Yellow Christmas Party in 2015 and I had a splendid time.

So tonight, the Yellow Faithful congregated at the Mustard Altar for a night crammed with quality entertainment. The night opened with a short set from Colonel John McMustard, a Piper called Craig Weir and a Guitarist called Colin Hunter. who performed three new songs to get the dancefloor warmed up. Playing with the heartstrings of The Yellow Massive with a touching Ode and reflection on Billy Connoly. Closing proceedings with a Ceilidh invoking foot stomper.

And we were off on Good Time Party.

Hugh Reed And The Velvet Underpants.

Ally Wilson Guitar,
Darren Paramsivan Keyboards,
David Irvine Bass,
Tom Docherty drums –
Hugh Reed vocals

To be honest I was nae sure what I would make of this, for some reason I got him mixed up with Captain Hot knives, he’s deffo from Bradford, Hugh Reed is deffo Scottish. Back in the olden days Hugh Reed And The Velvet Underpants supported Blondie on a tour and they are a Rockband with lots of great tales to tell. The Velvet Underpants were a very good band indeed with more than a nod to The Stranglers, especially the Keyboards. Hughs vocal style fits perfectly in this post-punk ensemble. Mr Reed is very much a comedian and an actor who starred in the Jackie Chan movie “12 Zodiacs” Hugh also had a cameo part in Irvin Welsh’s “Trainspotting” as well as a great singer he introduces various different personalities into the mix, with the use of simple stage props. Which to be honest I thought distracted from how genuinely good this band were.

This was Divines’ first Velvet Underpants experience, (Although I do have a purple velvet thong). Aye Hugh Reed has a good thing going on here, the Divine touchpaper has been lit. My favourite moment was when he roused a sing-along with lyrics beamed on to a screen at the back of the stage reading. “I’ve just had my car knicked. I’ve just had my car knicked, I left it for a minute, the keys were in it.” It was really funny.

The Girobabies
The Girobabies frontman and musical entrepreneur, who prior to lockdown had been a trailblazer for Scotlands alternative live music scene, curating and performing at live music events in Scotland, Kelburn Garden Party, Eden, Audio Soup, Knockengoragh & Deoch an Dorus, the festival in Arran in 2016. Have witnessed The Girobabies perform on the iconic Barrowland Ballroom stage twice. So have had ample chance to take in The Girobabies live experience. Even lockdowns and isolation didnae stop him, It inspired the very wonderful and successful YCTR Radio Podcast and channel that offered a lifeline to us all during the pandemic.

Mark McGhee and Bass-playing partner Jo D’Arc are the two mainstays of the Girobabies journey, with an ever-changing ensemble of supporting musicians. Tonight though on electronic treatments and keyboards the very lovely synth wizard Mima Merrow, A guitarist called Mark Stardust who played with the whole of his being delivering one of the best rockstar guitar performances I have ever seen. This guy was on fire. Two drummers called Matt and Colin. Colin Hunter playing one-armed because he had damaged his shoulder a couple of days ago, so Mat was ready to stand in if things got too painful. completing the rhythm section and what an outstanding performance it was. Well earned confidence rippled through the whole band as we were treated to an invigorated rock out that is The Girobabies musical cannon.

With guest appearances from two brilliant beat poets. Ashtronomik and The Empress spitting rhymes to maximum effect. It was a fully engaging hour of Punk Rock brilliance, complete with singalong anthems Equinox and Jeremy Kyle (Fucked My Wife!). The Yellow Massive were giving it Yaldi in the packed St Lukes Church. Reaching fever pitch for the headlining act of the night.

Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5. ❤

And so to the grand finale. Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5, The reason for this big Yellow Spring Bonanza

Colonel John McMustard. Lead Vocals.
Fathom Ross. Glamorous and beautiful Backing Vocals.
Colin Symes. Keyboards.
Craig Ross Drums.
Gary Mortimer. Bass.
With Horn Section
Kirstin McNair
Greg Halbert
Nicola Thorne
MarkDJ5Lang. Electronic Wizardry, Beats and scratches.

The band erupted onto the stage and the Yellow Congregation of Saint Lukes took the Good Time Groove up to fever pitch as the Yellow big band, fronted by Colonel John McMustard went into a crowd-pleasing greatest hits and full rendition of the most recent long player “The DiffiCULT No2” the dance was on and everyone got down with maximum Good Time effect. with a magnificent Dance-Off. It was out of this world further raising the spirits of this festive congregation As I stated earlier, Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 and Divine have had a long journey and have seen them evolve and develop, reaching this new level of performance brilliance. God was beaming a massive Yellow beaming smile in Saint Lukes tonight. With source material as good and well rehearsed as this, each tune goes straight to the funkybone and it did to maximum effect. The Church was bouncing. With a fully appreciative congregation of Yellow devotees. Indeed what a fantastic night.

5 Divine stars ❤

Review: Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Photography: Raymond Mondeto O’niell

The Mission & The Rose Of Avalanche: The Deja Vu Tour

Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom
Saturday 16th April
, 2022

Some bands represent the best years of our lives. The Mission being one of them. Back in the Olden Days, when life was about the party, and nothing but the party and pursuit of Alternative Night Clubs, Beavers,Bensons and Time And Place in Bradford, Le Phonographique, The Wharehouse and Central Park in Leeds and The Xclusiv in Batley spending hours and hours in preparation, Hair makeup and wardrobe. Every night was like prep for a stage performance. being a New Romantic was a full-time occupation back in the olden days.

Looking that good took maximum time and dedication. not to mention courage because West Yorkshire was pretty aggressively homophobic. LGBT and Trans Rights were pretty low in peoples awareness back then, in fact am sure the very suggestion of such a thing would have been quite a toe curler for most. Clubbing back then was tribal with dance and displaying our peacock feathers to full effect despite the ever-present threat of violence from stiffs that disproved, the only solution was to dance harder and wear more makeup.

Safety in numbers, The Tribe. It was a time when being on the dole was a perfectly respectable occupation as Thatcher had broken industry in the north of England the plus point of that was having lots of time to look fabulous and it didn’t matter if one slept through the day as long as one made it to sign on once a fortnight. So Nightlife was life. It was a lesson in not needing much money to have a really good time.

It was in Leeds, Le Phonographique that The Sisters Of Mercy first worked their way into my subconscious and a new kind of alternative culture was been being born, for without this iconic band the term “Goth” would never have been coined. Its when post-punk styles morphed to create a new kind of Rock N Roll rebellion from the hardship of the northern working-class culture of the time. With Wayne Hussey and Andrew Eldrige fighting for the creative helm after releasing their one and only album together. The Sisters Of Mercy’s iconic and brilliant.

“First Last And Always” After which creative tensions became too much. Andrew Eldrich continued The Sisters Of Mercy and Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams formed The Sisterhood (To piss Andrew Eldrige off) releasing one album called “The Gift” Legal wranglings followed and Mr Hussey had no choice but to change the bands name to “The Mission”. Both bands would become incredibly successful and further expanding the culture of looking amazing and having a really Good Time.

When I saw The Mission at Bradford, Saint Georges Hall in 1988. They were brilliant, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, I think I had a subconscious loyalty to Andrew Eldrige too. But when I saw them live it really really rocked and I loved The Waterwheel stage set. Whereas when I saw the Sisters Of Mercy at the ABC2 in Glasgae I had huge expectations because of how much I love the Sisters but was really underwhelmed by the performance because of how quiet it was. Maybe it was the wrong venue. But with the Mission performing The Barrowland Ballroom on the 16th April. There are no volume constraints. Excited you betcha Good Time Divine ❤

The band:
Wayne Hussey – vocals & Guitar
Craig Adams – bass,
Alex Baum – drums,
Simon Hinkler – guitar

Have just found out that The Rose Of Avalanche are to be The Missions support on Saturday. A band that are equally ingrained into the Divine subconscious A band that invokes Good Time memories from an age of creativity, brilliant mates and lashings of lovemaking. And just like The Mission, originated in Leeds and was another band that helped shape the fashions of alternative culture.

(From the Rose Of Avalanche Press Release)
They went their separate ways in 1992. 27 years of silence followed. Various rumours of a reunion surfaced over the intervening years, and there was still clearly a demand from a passionate fan base. In August 2019, seemingly out of the blue, the impossible happened. The band announced it was reforming the original lineup and played a secret friend and family gig at the Fox and Newt Leeds in September 2019.

The reaction to The Rose’s triumphant return was overwhelming, and history repeated itself some 30 years later – the band had again appeared from nowhere and within weeks were being offered headline gigs in the UK and Europe and were confirmed as main support for the UK leg of The Mission’s upcoming UK tour.

Now, this really is a Divine scoop. Gothic Yorkshire is coming to Glasgow. Yeeeeha Is it any wonder I am so excited ❤ I just know that The Barrowland Ballroom is going to be the perfect venue for both bands Its going to be one long boogie and a reason to get gothed up.

Raymond Mundito O’neill is on photographic duties for this prestigious resurrection of two of Yorkshire’s prestigious bands. The Rose of Avalanche were a lot closer to the Sisters Of Mercy in sound and texture. I couldn’t think of a better Support for The Mission. Because everyone that loved dancing to The Sisters Of Mercy and The Mission. Loved dancing to The Rose Of Avalanche too. They were a lot more underground and didn’t quite have the fame, (Or luck) Because they are equally as good. When I listen to “L.A Rain” I can hear just how much future bands would take part of The Rose Of Avalanche’s musical style and make it their own The Rose Of Avalanche were undoubtedly inspired by The Velvet Underground with a vocal style not far removed from that of Lou Reed. The Rose Of Avalanche were romantic art-rock. All the faces of Alternative Yorkshire had a Roses Of Avalanche album or two.

Rose Of Avalanche Band Line Up.
Phillip Morris – vocals;
Glenn Schultz. guitar
Paul James Berry – guitars;
Alan Davis – bass guitar;
Mark Thompson – drums.

Neighbouring City, Bradford had its fare share of successful post-punk art rock bands too, The Southern Death Cult, New Model Army and Ghostdance but to name a few.. Back in the 80;s Yorkshire birthed culture, It was good time to be alive. New Model Army and Ghostdance are still touring and recording too.

The Divine Verdict.

I love Glasgow, Glaswegians are really friendly and put that extra bit of sparkle into looking good. As I headed to Central Station for my rendezvous with my photographer of the night and his beautiful cousin, talented performers were everywhere on Argyle Street giving their best, for the entertainment of the busy shoppers, shopping. It made me smile a beaming smile.

I set out to have a really good dance because I knew that the combination of The Rose Of Avalanche and The Mission would set my feet on fire and I wasnae disappointed.

First up, The Rose Of Avalanche took to the Barrowland Ballroom stage and they were hot, dripping with rock fineness, masters of their instruments. So many different influences wrang out through the body of work that they delivered. It reminded me of what made them so good back in the day. They were sexy, very sexy. The four guitarists were on fire. Each of them stars in their own right, the rhythm section were really tight. The vocalist Phillip Morriss I think was battling his own demons in a beautifully expressive way, art therapy and the building of confidence, he stated to the audience that a journalist had stated that they looked bored when performing a gig earlier this week. Baby you were hot and your audience at The Barrowland Ballroom received you beautifully and with the supporting band of expert musicians backing that deep wonderful voice. Yes The Rose Of Avalanche have work to do in instilling just confidence in their frontman. Its about working the art isn’t it, working that fine body of brilliant songs with confidence. It is seldom I have experienced an audience demanding an encore from a supporting band. But tonight that is what happened.

Confidence shone from Wayne Hussey as The Mission took to the stage to recreate the very essence of the reverence that this band have always summoned from the loyal following, that worship the ground that these guys perform on. Hit after hit ripped into The Ballroom, Severina, Butterfly On A Wheel, Tower Of Strength et al and a very interesting arrangement of Wasteland that incorporated the guitar licks of The Sisters Of Mercy’s classic “Marian” Hmm this is interesting My beautiful dancing partner of the night agreed wholeheartedly as we rocked out together and then it came in the encore. A full-blown rendition of “Marian”, worked very well, The packed ballroom agreed wholeheartedly. As they bounced on the sprung dancefloor and created human pyramids and offered choreographed hand gestures, in a way that only a loyal Mission fan can, closing proceedings with Deliverance. Another fully satisfying live experience at the Barrowland Ballroom.

Words:Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert
Photography: Raymond Mundito O’neill

Killing Joke And The Imbeciles

The Barrowland Ballroom

Killing Joke have moved me since I was a teenager, being a young post-punk anarchist and New Romantic, Killing Joke were a Goth Staple. to any alternative Dance Floor. Who’s music would always bring out my inner dancer in a very theatrical way.

Have always been a fan of Youths work and massively important production CV outwith Killing Joke too. The combined chemistry of Dr Jaz Coleman and Youth have been immeasurably important to the soundtrack of my life and I know that this is going to be a belter of a Gig.

Dr Jaz Coleman’s Journey bears a lot of similarities to my own. from receiving a Spiritual Transmission from Glastonbury to resolving Karma through the Healing Arts. Beginning Killing Joke’s prolific rise through the Rock N Roll ranks with a Magik ritual That brought the perfect musicians together to form an artistic anarchic rebellion Inspired as a remedy for Thatcher’s Tory Blues, and possible Nuclear Armageddon, so sure of this he sacked his band at the peak of fame and famously left to live on a glacier in Iceland.

Dr Jaz Coleman’s inner peace and sanity were more important to him than the fame and fortune made by wearing his need to heal on his sleeve, that was always the point of Killing Joke, a voice for the broken youth of the 80’s. Most of us recognised part of ourselves in Dr Jaz Coleman, well those of us that were young inspired Wizards anyway searching for a way to Heal.

Even his obsession with Egypt and beautiful work with The Art Of Noise’s Ann Dudley on the culturally epic and musically brilliant “Songs From The Victorious City” Revealed Dr Jaz Colemans’ creative genius. Receiving his honorary doctorship in music from Gloucestershire University in 2021 for this and many other orchestral compositions of contemporary classics.

Dr Jaz Coleman, Vocals/ keyboards
Geordie Walker. Guitar.
Youth, Bass
Paul Ferguson Drums.
Roi Robertson Keyboards.

Paul Raven Ascended in 2008 the original lineup are assembled for the current tour. and it was Pauls last request to Dr Jaz Coleman that the original band members reformed to record and perform together again. Indeed it was the drum rhythms and Bass of Paul Raven that made Pssyche Wardance, and Requiem, so infectious,
I cannae count the dance floors that I have ripped up to the tunes of Killing Joke. Ever since I went to my first Punk Club in Bradford when I was 16 back in 83 it was called Beavers. That’s when I first fell in love with these songs.

Killing Joke are old Masters and with Youth compleating the rhythm section And Geordies lush guitar licks. Is it any wonder I am so excited to be seeing Killing Joke for the first time. It is the kind of rock N Roll soul expression we are all waiting for. indeed,

Another reason for me to be looking forward to this, Divine’s first time Killing Joke cherry being popped in The Barrowland Ballroom. mature Punks always do it better.

Indeed my Killing Joke cherry had been well and truly popped. and the experience will be with me for a long time, after all one never forgets the first time. It was superb and worth waiting such a long time for and to have witnessed this in Scotland’s Rock N Roll Mecca, The Barrowland Ballroom. an experience that is going to be with me forever.

Killing Joke. The Divine Verdict.

So my 2nd night of Good Time Grace at The Barrowland Ballroom. Last night was the best middle-aged rave club that I have ever been to and tonight was the best middle-aged Punk Club that I have ever been to.

Another wet arrival at St Lukes, to meet up with Barry Nicol and Kirsty McNicol for a bite to eat before meeting Raymond Speedie (The Mumble Photographer) We collected our guesties and headed to the ballroom to catch Killing Jokes opening act “The Imbeciles,” four guitarists and a drummer from the USA (Produced by Youth) Five lads that were very comfortable on this iconic ballroom stage, performing songs that were not far removed from Blur and Oasis in their early years.

With lots of old fashioned Rock N Roll swagger warming up the swelling audience beautifully in preparation for Divine’s first-ever “Killing Joke”Live experience. For Divine, the anticipation was huge as it was for everyone in the rammed ballroom, as the old masters took to the stage and launched into “Love Like Blood” They had us, completely and my Killing Joke hymen was beginning to break. Dr Jaz Coleman joined Youth, Geordie, Paul and Nick to a heroes welcome and the dance was on. I was very much in awe, the Soundsystem was massive and the sound production sublime. A chemistry of confidence (and experience) Emitted from the stage. Each of the band members had such a massive presence in their expertise as they delivered one of the best live experiences I have had in my life. Dr Jaz Colemans intense vocal delivery and theatrical grace represented why we are who we are, the post punk generation that became the tribe as a way of life, alternative culture.and a big fuck you to Tory rule and stiffs everywhere.

Performance Art at its finest.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Photography: Raymond Speedie

Teenage Fanclub

SWG3, Glasgow
6th April, 2022

It was a fresh spring evening as I made my way to the immensely popular Glasgow’s SWG3. This relatively new venue plays host as a hub for arts, a night venue and among other things an event space. Its atmosphere was of a fresh and large appeal and there was a feeling of being underground.

The name Teenage Fanclub was in the 1990’s on many people’s lips in Glasgow as a part of the immerging grunge scene that was alive at the time. The band hailed from Bellshill, a town near Glasgow and conjoined in 1989. In their first album called “A Catholic Education” they set the pace for honest and fearless commentary on Scottish culture and about what it was like growing up there. Putting smooth sounds that were part of melting the scene.

When Frokedal Familien took to the stage, we made our way to the front to take things in. Anne Lise Frokedal began to sing with her group who backed her melodies and varying lyrical whims. Coming from Denmark her musical journey has been varied and rich, as she keeps on developing her motives and guitar music sensibilities.

Described as folk/pop her lyrics become more and more about nature itself and how to try to celebrate it. She has produced 3 albums and on her 3rd one called ‘SON’ came her song ‘Flora’, which is a dedication coming from the very heart. With her vocals and guitar at the helm, the soft music was fulfilled by, violin, keyboard along with her sultry, young and beautiful tones to accompany.

Frokedal will be supporting Fanclub for their 2022 tour (which by the way this 6th April gig at the SWG3 kicked off as a tour preview.) So for a few moments the various stage props (gig list and microphone) were positioned in exciting readiness for the pivotal band to come. Though I heard the name Teenage Fanclub everywhere during its early 90’s inception they seemed to be very underground and had what seemed like a cult following surrounding them.

Their journies, as a band and as individuals, over the years give the band an edge of personality offering a many and varied insight into why they were as they were and how things have unfolded. The changing band line ups Teenage Fanclub’s music remains a sound of indie/rock music holding its tones of familiarity for their fans. As I looked round into the crowd to take it all in I noticed many lips syncing the lyrics of both older and newer fans.

Fanclub have produced around 12 Albums in their long 34 year career, from the afore mentioned album “A Catholic Education” brought out in 1990 to the fresh “Endless Arcade” done in 2021. Their selection of songs for this concert scaled back the years of old and favoured songs to their completely new music that is inspiring their tour.

Their remarkable change of members puts great testament to their sound and music that has always been the base of their style and unique sound. Unafraid to rock anthems that bellowed loud enough to reach an arena, they mix the styles of vocals by sharing lead vocals giving their act a great sense of flexibility, as a loud and well accomplished band.

Their popularity grew fast in the early days, not least because of where they had come from. In taking their own music in almost ‘Beach Boy’ like experimentation with their broad Bellshill accent’s. Their songs do their own thing, and their sound has lasted for over 3 decades, and they were obviously still into enjoying themselves.

This was my first visit to the SWG3 scene, brought to life by a Fanclub who are still in love with the music and sound that so importantly happened in a heyday for a great many teenagers back when. I turned up curious for an evening of love of music and entertainment to enjoy.

Daniel Donnelly

Groove Armada & Ewan McVicar: The Last 25 Tour.

The Barrowland Ballroom.

Groove Armada first formed after Andy Cato and Tom Findlay had been introduced by a mutual friend and soon started their own club night in London, called Captain Sensual. This was the birth of one of the most brilliant electronic dance acts on the planet.

By 1997 they had released a few singles, including “4 Tune Cookie” and the song that first brought them minor fame, “At the River”, A song that was included on many chill-out compilations. A lovely tune that was brought to the attention of a much wider audience when Marks And Spencers used it for a prominent advertising campaign.

Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub) was released in 2001 and, as its title suggests, marked a departure from their trip-hop roots to more upbeat music – as demonstrated on the Grammy-nominated single “Superstylin'” Written and sung by MC MAD (Mike Daniel).
Launching Groove Armada to a worldwide audience whose sell-out live performances would become legendry over a 25 year period, further successful albums followed, “Love Box” Again featuring MC MAD on the rather wonderful “I Feel Good” and “Black Light” Introduced Saint Saviour on vocals for the Divine Fave “Paper Romance” The current album, released in 2020 “Edge Of The Horizon” Is still on the Divine to-do list.

Divine has been fortunate to experience The Groove Armada live production thrice before and all three times were a fantastic Good Time party. So as you can probably tell I am more than excited to be attending the opening night of “The 25 Year Tour” Held at the iconic Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow, as this might be the last chance we get to hear this amazing cannon of sublime electronica performed live.

So on a wet and windy Tuesday, I headed to Scotlands Rock N Roll Mecca. The Barrowland Ballroom. My stagecoach pulled into Buchannon St bus station, It only took an hour, but what a Dreich day it was, pissing it down as I briskly walked to meet my posse at St Lukes. We all arrived at the same time.

Good timing So we gathered, Had some pizza and Coffee in the beer garden, it was covered, but it was chill and Divine was cold and soggy. then the rest of the Aulde Reekie Possee arrived. And we were off for a date with Ewan McVicar and godfathers of happiness, “Groove Armada.”

We collected our guesties. Put my soggy coat in the cloakroom and we were off Ewan McVicar. was warming up the enormous sprung dancefloor perfectly, Thats what I love about the Barrowland Ballroom it was built for dance. Everyone was up for it, The biggest middle age rave that I have ever been to. Ewan McVicar whipped his funky audience up perfectly. Oh yes , I waited a long time for this one, Everyone had, I think this is why everyone was so determined to have a thoroughly good time. This young DJ had his audience in the palm of his hand delivering a selection of Rare Groove, Soul and House. To an increasingly joyful congregation of people. Baby Divine was dancing, my feet were on fire. So Ewan McVicar did a brilliant job, I think his talent is taking him to some brilliant places. Well Done Lad. 5. Stars.

As Ewan McVicar closed his spellbinding set the Groove Armada Stage set came alive. This was the first time that I have had The Groove Armada experience not in a field. Glastonbury, Playground Festival and Lindisfarne too. So it was a Groove Armada first for Divine. Everyone was so happy. As the band took to the stage. Groove Armada live are an incredibly upbeat affair a musical antidote to the oppression of the current time. With shared vocals from three different singers to support the musical alchemy brought to our hearts from the Groove Armada touring band’

Veba a singer with a voice as big and beautiful as the songs that she was singing. Saint Saviour was in her prime form, with a stage presence and power of voice that held the ecstatic revellers and caused nothing but pleasure.

MC MAD (Mike Daniels), The only male voice, unmistakable and equally as exciting a stage presence got everyone bouncing with delight.
Andy Cato and Tom Findlay Electronic Wizardy, Keyboards and Horns
Dorian Dolem on Guitar.
Martin Carling on Drums.

Indeed between them, they brought the hits of groove Armada to life, with a light show that set The Barrowland Ballroom on fire. A cannon of music that can only invoke Good Time memories, The love that the members of Groove Armada have for each other was just lovely. For one night only, singers and musicians took us all to a place of goodness and release. This is why people love Groove Armada. They bring the party to the people.

It was just brilliant. I went in soggy and came out soaking. Girls were bouncing on boyfriends shoulders and the Barrowland Ballroom was full of smiles. Everyone was shaking that ass. It was just totally brilliant. Everything was perfect.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Photography: Raymond Speedie

Sunflower Bean in Glasgow

Glasgow Stereo
2nd April, 2022

Writing is made a pleasure with gigs by artists like Sunflower Bean. The Famous Stereo venue down Renfield lane in Glasgow hosted this 2nd April early spring coming together of all kinds of live songs. The whole experience is owed to very hard working people putting on shows but not every gig will pick you up and spin you round as Sunflower did dressed in capable rocking leather clothing.

This gig was my introduction to the American trio’s UK tour 2022. So to a slowly filling room the first act played some melodic music mixed with loud guitar, and consisted of a two woman duo. They were enthralling in their interplay sharing lead vocals with confidence and ease. The evening was already set to be special as it was a preview to Sunflower’s wider 2022 tour.

Sunflower have a new album coming out in May called “Headful of Sugar” an album that is to be an attempt (succeeding) to take New York culture by the chin and actually sing about sore or hard issues in its contemporary times by exploding into the music world. The new album had come together for the band, their studio and Electric lady (Jimi Hendrix) studios, in New York where things are kicking off for their major tour this year.

Lime Garden took to the stage for what felt like a big invitation to enjoy ourselves. They were very impressive on all their skilful levels not least saying precisely what they want and how they want to. They were really into retro aggressive styles and strong outgoing personalities. Making us in the crowd start to stir and immerse ourselves in the reality of wonderful music and greatly felt and admirable presentation.

The room (a nice space) began to assemble to experience music that would lead into a list of very well placed, entertaining in the fulfilling grip held by Sunflowers growing presence on stage. This essential grip was absorbed in the heartiest, warmest and most welcome reception from obviously diehard fans. The band is committed in their desire to make you scream or play or fight or simply to retrieve yourself from heart break, all very thoughtful and inclusive.

With their new album all but in the shops the songs they played were of both old and brand new. Taking to the stage the bands intimacy held by their personalities filled the whole room and were as though filling life itself. Impressively intense yet relaxed the expansion was strong and wonderfully rooted. The energy put into the show to delve and confront yet it held a loving care for wide ranging subjects and we saw a compelling importance behind it all of having great fun. The room had filled and bodies were jiving and heads were bobbing.

They had what I can only call an impact, with Nick Kivlen’s guitar solos wildly infusing the loud drum, Olive Faber, and deeply booming bass, lead vocalist Julia Cumming. In a testament to Glasgow this small in numbers gig partied in intimacy and universality.

But this was new music, new and freshly inserted into modern culture both pure and broken down. Holding open a page where the lyrics had the effects of modern life in New York waved not a grim face but instead the night struck the chords of celebration, confidence and bounding faith for their fans and followers. The evening kicked its graces from rock, punk, and alternative Indie music but with a message strong and powerful in an almost unbelievable attack against keeping quite.

Sunflower Bean have a pulsing significance in many ways not least being part of sheer quality in the talents of new and uprising music. Their accomplished work both support the music world and also kicks in its doors and dares it to make better and more powerful stance.

Filled with a fit insight that the wide spread problem of money being harder and harder to come by through work, “Roll the Dice” (an acclaimed Sunflower song) offers a punchy alternative in the idea that attitude itself might be harnessed as a means of taking back control of our own capacity to recreate riches more than enough to live on.
We may thank such ideas brought to us by a most charming New York band that seemed to have love and expression that was a marvel to see. Had a great time, back in a live event, was blown over by this spectacle we could all do with having more of.

Daniel Donnelly