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