Category Archives: 2022

Fills Monkey: We Will Drum You

Pleasance Courtyard Grand
Venue 33 (16:00)
Till 29th August (Tuesdays excepted and strikes permitting)
Strobe lighting
Possible Brouhaha

An hour long drum solo performed by two French hippies/mime artists and featuring a kazoo trombone fashioned from the plumbing aisle at B&Q is a hard sell. and would have me reaching for my gun. On hearing this pitch the temptation is to roll the eyes and stride off indignantly muttering ‘festival bollox.. grumble grumble…’

There is no doubt the festival has its share of ‘Macbeth on a bouncy castle‘ codswallop, and long may it reign, but these things are not everyones cup of tea. So you’d be forgiven for dismissing this show out of hand. and flicking the safety off*

You would however be missing a cracking percussive hour of virtuoso drumming visuals and music that thrums along as tight as a paradiddle.

First and foremost these guys are world class drummers.

They employ a surreal quiver of instruments, from drills with which to torture their instruments and each other. From the aforementioned kazoobone (ed.?) to chainsaws and their skulls, and more. They belt out the classics from Queen to AC/DC via Pantera and Grease with brioche (ed. I think you’ll find you mean brio) Of course being French you get a bit of Jean-Michel Jarre and Daft Punk. (Mais qui, d’accord, bien sûr, pôt pourri).

As they are the only two French recording artists since Edith Piaf that anybody takes seriously. MC Solar doesn’t count.*

The dynamic between the pair is played upon but not dwelt upon. Excellently conceived vignettes are conjured. Morricone’s Wild West, Bruce Lee style Martial arts movies and Star Wars. There is crowd participation, but this involves a bit of whooping and stomping and not the the dreaded dragged up on stage variety.

The audience loved it from kiddie winks to ‘aul grumpy punters (like me). The lighting sound musicianship choreography and timing are all as tight John Bonham’s trousers and everyone left with a smile on their face and a slight ringing in the ears. Excellent

Adam McCully

Groove Armada


The Junction 1 Festival
Glasgow. Sunday 31st July


Hi Honey I’m Home.

What a lovely rock n roll couple of days it has been. I woke up on Sunday Morning So Had breakfast, a shower and put some thought into looking cool as fuck.

I left the house at 9.30 am, it was raining and blowing, Hmm I thought maybe shorts, a black dinner jacket and my fave black shirt, Hair freshly tinted Crazy Colour Rouge Red. With just a touch of eyeliner, I wondered if I had overestimated the lovely summer we are having, Och I had my brolly in case things got out of hand, so am on the 30 bus, gets to Nicolson st and pulled my cash card out of my pocket to realise that it was nae my cash card . but my Council Tax Card. I didnae have any other money on me, so had no option but to get off the 30 bus at The Cats Protection Leagues bus stop on Nicolson St. I walked back home along the innocent railway path. Got home, the card was in the pocket of the shorts that I was wearing on Saturday. It took 35mins to walk the Innocent Railway Footpath and it did me the world of good.. So the 30 to Princes St and the 900 to Glasgow To go and see Kelis and Groove Armada at the Junction 1 festival.

When I got on the 900, I fell asleep and woke up just as the bus was pulling on to Buchanon St Bus Station. Must have been that early morning exertion. So I headed to catch up with my festy companions of the day, Raymond Speedie, Al Roberts. Teri Welsh and Lotty. They were all a bit worse for wear, having already done two days of this pop up festival. All the main stage stage performances were cancelled because of a dispute over payment on Saturday night. Luckily the DJs wear top Notch and the Leftfield Set will have been brilliant. By the time I got to Teri’s I was raring to dance, Al and Teri needed a disco nap, So myself Raymond and Lotty went for a wander around the West End and Kelvin Grove Park. It was very pleasant indeed.

After Pizza and beverages, we got a taxi, to the most unusual of festivals, very industrial with the main stage right next to the M74, We got our guests and back stage wrist bands and i was off. Brilliant house DJs had me in the Groove. Within 5 mins of Dancing to Kelis I started to feel better. The sheer love coming from the young lasses who knew every word fo every song. It made my heart smile and the bass was rattling my rib, cage.

After Kelis I went and joined the lengthy queue for one of the ten cubicles in which to have a wazz. Had a really good natter with Kirsty McNicol who was standing in front of me, Too few loos for a festy population of that size consuming rather expensive alcohol. I was straight back into the groove after having a waz. Had a great dance, then back into the main arena for Groove Armada. Who were fresh from triumphant shows In Bristol and Ireland. It was spectacular, the light show was out of this world, the vocalists, all stars in their own right brought The Hits of Groove Armada to life, it was just as brilliant as The Barrowland Ballroom Gig in April. (More in a bit am hungry and want my Tea ❤ )

The house DJs really were exceptional. And is part of the course with The Groove Armada massive everyone was up for this exceptional show of performance art. It was at the Barrowland Ballroom Gig that the light and laser show was revealed, I thought then how wonderful it will be to experience this in a festival setting. I wasn’t disappointed However the setting did leave a lot to be desired, Of which the quality entertainment on offer totally distracted everyone. The dancefloor in the main arena was rubble, I really felt for the people wearing high heels, good job I had my good stout walking boots on and to the left of the stage one could see the traffic wizzing past on the M74. It was the last place anyone would want to be on a beautiful Sunny Sunday evening. Especially when there are so many beautiful parks in Glasgow. Good job we were nae there for the aesthetics we were there for the Rock N Roll. When Kelis finished the performance the Arena cleared really quickly and the lass that was DJing next, was playing to an empty arena of a building site, next to the M74. Everyone had gone to support the local DJs in the Adjacent arena with an astroturf dancefloor boogie, boogie, boogie. They were really really good. I went to give the DJ in the main arena a bit of moral support, There was no way a rug could be cut on the broken stone rubble.

However the GA light and laser show was firing up and the main arena filled up really quickly, The only flat surface on which to dance was centre stage on the plastic that covers the cables to the PA. Perfect stereo and a few inches higher to really take in the lasers and lightshow. Had been listening to Groove Armada’s “Lovebox”, Vertigo and Good Bye Country And Hello Niteclub” all week. This music and uplifting songs have been part of my life for 20 years or so to hear them live is always nothing less than an exhilarating joy for the senses. I was singing along in the same way the lassies did for Kelis.

MC MAD, Veba and Saint Saviour along with the Amazing Groove Armada Electronics of Andy Cato and Tom Findlay have made the Greatest Hits tour and the songs performed so great. Groove Armada bring the party to the people in great style. It was fantastic. with Dorian Dolem on Guitar and Martin Carling on Drums. These guys have taken The 25 Year Anniversary tour to thousands of people since the tour started in March, having performed in Bristol on Friday and in Ireland Headlining the Splendour n The Grass Festival on Saturday Night. As one can imagine everyone was tired but performed fantastically. So being invited to the after party by Mike Daniels who ensured that we had backstage access. Thankyou Mike It was a rare joy to be in the same room with such amazingly talented people. Brilliant conversations were had after I had come out of Starstruckness. Getting back to Teri Welsh’s pad at about 3am I was buzzing the day had certainly been a tonic for the soul.

Photos by Al Roberts and Raymond Speedie. Words Divine ❤

The Calderdale Fantasy Orchestra


‘Damo, the Fantasy Orchestra is amazing,’ said my good friend, Lady Fee, a resident of the western extremities of the ever-gorgeous Calderdale valley. It was a frequent statement of hers from the time she went to the first rehearsals in January, right through to last weekend when I found myself at the Golden Lion in Todmorden mooching about to some serious deep bass reggae.

Dave & Lady Fee

‘Why don’t you come to rehearsals on Wednesday,’ she insisted rather than asked on the Golden Lion dance floor, ‘& write one of your mumble thingies?’ I love a good mumble, me, like, so I accepted her invitation most gracefully & the following Wednesday returned to the vales of Sappho for my induction to the Calderdale Fantasy Orchestra.

The CFO is the third incarnation of the Fantasy Orchestra ‘franchise,’ the brainchild of Jessie Vernon, a musical maestro who currently plays guitar in the band ‘This is the Kit.’ His idea was to introduce an inclusive, happy vibe into the staid world of orchestras – in fancy dress, with proper banging tunes. Bristol was first, Paris was second, & thanks to a former musical director of the Bristol posse moving to Calderdale, Todmorden is next. His name is David – a delightfully ebullient chap, who says he’s a percussionist, but his conducting skills are something to be relished. He appear’d in the valley a couple of years ago, & within about 3 months realised it was no ordinary place, a cauldron of odd-bod flamboyance simply ripe for a Fantasy Orchestra – & so it has proved. I met him quite by accident driving pass’d me & Lady Fee at the bus stop, & I was soon motoring to the Golden Lion, giving him a wee inquisition as to what the hell I was going to be up to that evening & why? It turned out I would be joining the choir.

The Golden Lion is a beacon of sanctuary, sound & light – some quality acts flow through its chambers. The main performance space is upstairs & doubles up as the practice rooms for the CFO, with the roof terrace being where the choir do their own thing. One-by-one the singers & players drifted in – a rag-tag collection of active bohemians & happy retirees. Among them was a permaculture designer, a clinical herbalist, an outdoor educator, a really cute baker called Lois, a medical tattooist who specialises in 3D nipples, & a doctor of palliative care. Each was in fine spirits, happy to be there & re-releasing the pressures of life into a fine melange of music.

They warmed up with a jazz-infused piece of random razzmatazz which David conducted like Tony Blair on acid, & when he wiggled his fingers at the wind section I was ‘like what kind of sorcery is this?’ Then we divided up for a while, the instruments buzzing about like bees on the bouquet-like interactions of energized razzmatazz, while next door choir leader Jan tightened the singers up into SAS precision. The orchestra was comprehensive; strings, brass & wind – guitar, bass & drums among which Lady Fee’s bass trombone held everything together, the veritable & vital glue of the CFO. Outside Jan was teenage-giddy, yet matron-efficient, as she guided us through ‘Don’t You Love Me Baby.’ This was one of 200 songs which Jessie has transcribed for orchestra, from which pool the CFO will be choosing their pieces. The idea is that a member of the Bristol or Paris Fantasy Orchestras can just slot into the CFO, & vice versa.

Jan & David were at the Royal Northern Music College together, & we were in capable hands. Both their rooms were planning together, & building an experience which when conjoined later flowed like magic, full of a go-for-it attitude fleshing out a spontaneous spine. Novices performed side-by-side with experts, an unpretentious crazy gang abounding with equal quantities of mental, where the central edict is ‘more is more!’ With a quirky acceptance for anything new, the Fantasy Orchestra is for those who think a traditional orchestra too intimidating. Its also a unit with little comprehensive rehearsal, & more a vague idea of doing it right – no brilliantly – on the night, with the confidence of doing so running through every note.

Damian Beeson Bullen

Beth Orton / Alanis Morissette @ the Glasgow Hydro


Sunday 19th June 2022
Glasgow Hydro


The girls are back in to-oownn – have they ever been away. Alanis Morissette & Beth Orton have hit the road together on a European arena tour, where Glasgow & its epic Hydro & all their Scottish fans had the privilge & pleasure of hearing them perform.

In her supporting role Beth was simply beautiful, turing with the re-release of her second and most acclaimed album, Central Reservation. Starting off with Stolen Car, she played eight more songs including my favorite Concrete Sky, & ending on Stars All Seem to Weep. Over her fundamentally folk-rock vibes, bolster’d by a double bass, she offers an ethereal voice, subdued & sublime yet so, so soft & good. The way she blends her word in communicating her messages, while letting the sounds sit on her siren melodies is Beth’s forte – an uberpoetess of the sonics of sour souls. As song-bysong she surf’d her set, I found myself being drawn deeper & deeper inside her art, her mind, & her music. She is a consummate enchantress & I cannot wait until 23rd September when Partisan Records will be releasing her new LP, including “Weather Alive.”

After Beth’s short but searing set came the queen of break-ups, herself, Alanis Morissette, who delivered her Jagged Little Pills with so much polish & affection it is if they had been written only yesterday. Around me women in tears, hearing the voice which had comforted them thro their own break-ups.

Meanwhile I was having a right old dance & just sense of womanhood in the room thro the whole not left me cleansed for the happy walk home.


Damian Beeson Bullen

The Parrots with Memes


Broadcast, Glasgow
June 14th, 2022


Attendance was sparse as the up and coming Loup Havenith took to the stage. This three band gig was held at the Broadcast pub and venue on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street with the street freshly refurbished and renovation with cycle lanes and street lights.

Also performing were the Glasgow act Memes and the Spanish made The Parrots who were to headline. During his solo performance Loup in his loneliness admitted that such things are character building he smiled and left the stage.

Memes are a Glasgow act who take their name from the word meme meaning repetition and replication. They interestingly entered from the back of the space in a black and white boiler suit costume. It was just the two on bass, guitar and vocal, though they played the ruckus drum beats with pre-recordings.

They stood out, and there was a certain humbleness about them that was laid to rest as they began their set. Their sound boomed in manic and racing playing and they had enthusiasm and drive right for just that, in a more full room I think they would work very well to have a close musical encounter.

But here came the headliners The Parrots. It looked like everyone there were fans and followers as the room had filled a little. They were well versed as a punky rock n’ roll band who have for many years been recording multiple albums and putting tours under their belt.

At its roots again the music and evening was totally dedicated to heightened fun and with so few people there t felt a lot like a party among friends. Some songs were in Spanish and some were done in English. The four of them partied kicking the door in with the powerfully charged punk style anthemic super charged and benevolent show down where reaching love might matter, for fans.

He stepped from the stage to strut into the front of crowd as he also took great care of us with a well oiled range of octave’s and in a certain lurching attitude. After every song we were only too eager for the next and as I said the momentum was nonstop and without hesitance.

On the night it didn’t matter about the low crowd, perhaps giving it a special edge, because the ready musical fulfilment had reached the room around every corner with flamboyant joy to cheer up almost any crowd very much enhanced by fans of the group.

The performance only broke character when after their last song he slid to the floor in seeming exhaustion that only brought about a bigger appreciation for the evenings unfolding. If you love music or simply want a good time of an eve, The Parrots will help you do that, with their finely tuned and importantly loud, screaming act of a man in euphoria.

Daniel Donnelly

The Meadows Festival


Edinburgh
4th & 5th June 2022


Yesterday, I headed along The Innocent Railway Path and onto to The Meadows Festival to catch The Smoking Jefferies, Black Wolf trap, The Victor Pope Band and Black Cat Bone. The sun was glorious as each of the bands played a blinder, from the Ska and big band sound that really entertained from The Smoking Jefferies a band of experienced musicians from Edinburgh who are making a name for themselves through hard work and determination, have caught them at Lindisfarne Festival last year and Decembers premier of Black Wolf Trap at Bannermans and countless times at Audio Soup and Eden. The smoking Jefferies really get the party started.

Sean Campbell- saxophone
Elliot Cresswell-bass
Lei brown- drums
Bernie Fitzsimmons-guitar
Fraser Thomson-guitar
Robyn husband- bk singer
Tam treanor-keys
Geoff rowan- singer

Black Wolf Trap fronted by the amazing “Jamie Kierra” A performance artist that has earned his stripes on the live circuit in Scotland with his previous band Jamie And Shoony. Blackwolf Trap are a powerhouse of Drum And Bass, Lewis Linnington and Richey Neil combined performing the musical template for Jamie’s fizzing personality and vocal prowess. If one likes ones rock n roll deep, dirty and well funky. Blackwolf Trap will appeal. The massive congregation thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Indeed two bands that are going places. Brilliant stuff.

Next up, The Victor Pope Band a handsome band of merry men that produce a Punk As Fuck Hybrid of well-crafted songs and melodies again perfect for a Sunny Afternoon. Steven Vickers miraculous transformation into Victor Pope. His songs are packed with good humour and wit. A Victor Pope Band performance is always an event, because Steven Vickers supporting musicians are really hot and incredibly musically talented. With Graham Mackay on Bass and the musically versatile and multi talented musician Roy Jackson, with borrowed from The Smoking Jefferies, Lei brown- on drums As you can guess, I had a really good time ❤

Then on came Black Cat Bone. Deeper and dirtier Rock N Roll Blues. ​Have seen this band and performed as DJ Divine at Black Cat Bone gigz in the past. They are a band of experienced and talented musicians, that really appealed to everyone’s 1960’s Inner Love Child. They were brilliant as always I really got down to such fine Rock N Roll Groove ❤

Ross Craig – Forntman/ harmonica player
Ewan Mackenna – Bass / Backing Vocals/ Bow
Jamie Beaton – lead guitar / backing vocals
Kai Wallace – Drummer

All in all perfect weather. Perfect Bands and loads and loads of friends that I havenae seen in ages. We had an after-party in Leith and I walked back over Arthurs Seat, making haste along The Innocent Railway Path To get Home to Niddrie Mill before sunset.

Then this morning,I realised that I had left my mobile at the afterparty, So this morning it was back along The Innocent railway Path and back over ancient volcano, picked my phone up. Thankyou Steve. Popped in to see Ross to arrange arrival at Eden on Wednesday. Then up through town to the Meadows to catch Supa Da And Kryptonites and Big Fat Panda. Of which i will write more of later. Because am knackered and hungry, Hungry Like A Wolf ❤

I didn’t get chance to see all of the bands that performed on Sunday Afternoon, it was totally by chance that I arrived just as Supa Da And The Kryptonites were sound checking, fucking A, I hadn’t seen these guys perform since The Castle Party in 2019. I was needing a dance and these guys really are the antidote to not dancing. Jay Supa struck a handsome presence in his skin-tight white jeans delivering funky rap with a supporting Bigband,

Rachel Duns – Tenor Sax and Jazz Flute.
Josie Beth – Alto Sax and Keys
Jonathan Ashwood – Drums
Francesco Castello – Bass
Shaun Evans – Guitar

Wendy McAuslan Vocals

It was Good Time funkiness, Jay had the Meadows Festival audience in the palm of his hand a demonstration of an expert showman and when he took his Tshirt off to introduce his new six-pack and lovely muscular toned torso and the tight white jeans, Mr Supa was channelling Freddie Mercury somewhat, total eye candy for the ladies and gentlemen of a certain persuasion. Jays vocals are always brilliant and his stagecraft huge, raising the goodtime groove on The Meadows on a Sunday Afternoon.

Big Fat Panda are becoming one of Scotland’s leading SKA acts. A band that are celebrated for the Skanking big band sound. Fronted by Big Andy, The Big Fat Panda sound is like a time tunnel to the 80,s Ska explosion bringing everyones inner Rude Boy to the fore. Everyone was up for this, dancing in The Sunshine, the highlight for Divine was a Ska rendition of Sally Cinnamon by the Stone Roses. Thanks, lads another brilliant performance.

Andrew Laidlaw Vocals.
Andy Dins keys
Alex Read guitar
Alex Weir trumpet
Mike Cashin sax
Kat Brown trumpet
Tam Kane Bass
Merty Davidson drums

After a coffee and a natter with Louise. I was tired and hungry, so with thoughts of the walk home I headed for The Innocent Railway Path and enjoyed the lovely walk back through Duddingston to Niddrie Mill. It is such a lovely lovely walk. This is a very healing area in which to live, am settling in. ❤

Review : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Supa Da And The Kryptonites. Photo by Jay Stupa.
All other photos by Raymond Speedie

The Gulps



The Hug & Pint, Glasgow
2nd June, 2022


Glasgow’s Hug and Pint is a stone’s throw from the City Centre it’s known as a vegan restaurant upstairs and a music venue in the basement. It’s a small space that held this June gig by a rapidly rising punk band called The Gulps. They are a group formed from different countries with a singer from Spain who had a great stage persona.

First to step up were the Glaswegian band Tonto, a group who are also set to do well. They had the set up of two guitars, a bass, drum and flamboyant vocalist. It was refreshing to take in the intimate gig that exploded with volume turned up fully. Their sound had a feeling of the early nineties Manchester music scene which took me back to those special days. Engaging the crowd to dance and party with some very well written songs set to create a vibrant atmosphere.

After this strong start to the evening up stepped Mark Maclean, an act who is also circling this new scene, to play his songs of vocal and guitar, his nuance was a mixture of folk sang with a gutsy expression and rock that he made something personal of. After Tonto had hit the stage and Mark played his set he announced the coming presence of The Gulps and there was sense of something about to happen.

They came on already with a visual spectacle dressed as different characters from the music world, rockers, punks and what not. Diving straight in and engaging with their new punk thrust. They’ve caused quite a stir among critics who have hailed them as new Kings of proper punk. As they worked their way through their very sultry tones there was an obvious willingness to do nothing less but conquer through the facets of their gutsy act and tribute to punk with that effect.

Their emphatic media attention was evident making videos and composing photographs that will I hope be found in the magazines that helped stir the original punk casts now so long ago. I think the need has once again arisen for an exploration being answered by this band in particular, unafraid to announce themselves with conviction.

The room stepped up with the band which had a rarity enjoyed by all. Vocals rang with titles like ‘King of the Disco’ which was a tune to rearrange what had seemed like a tired dogma.

The night was just that, a night fit for celebration and a night that transcended stereo type. With music you’ll want to hear again also in its recorded element because this was no tirade but rather a carefully amounted and vitally young experience of nothing less than total charm.

He touched the roof which I enjoyed as it said so much about the situation of the very act of socialising itself a simple thing that brought the room even further together with the greatness of that magic touch. If you’re reading this I would like you to know that the band had already done all the upsizing needed so there is no need for me to exaggerate in any way.

They’re going to bring a new meaning to success because now’s the time to talk about them. They have released an EP called ‘In the Kings house’ and it’s a place to find the space to come alive again

Blowing straight past hesitance with music once again as the vehicle, and as an entourage to cover the glory of ripped jeans, leather jackets and the true fun at the roots of rock and roll. It was exciting to be there, a joy to remember and one of the friendliest and lively atmospheres you could have, if you think you don’t like punk I think you’ll be surprised!

Daniel Donnelly

The Charlatans in Glasgow

Sunday: Hill Walking on Arran. Monday: oo! mi knees a bit sore. Tuesday: ah, my knees getting sorer. Wednesday: Knee proper swollen, cant bend mi leg, Charlatans at the O2 in Glasgow. Can’t miss it tho’, I fuckin’ love the Charlatans me, gonna pop a few pills (ibruprofen & paracetomol) & off I go.

A ferry, a train, & an agonising walk later I’m sat in the upper echelons of the O2 witnessing the Charlatans deliver a set of classics to the videoized backdrop of 32 years of performances & posters. It was brilliant, the dance floor was packed & throbbing. “I’ve driven all the way from Liverpool,’ said a lady punter at the bar within my earshot, “but it was well worth it.” Yeah, distance & knee pain are nothing when it comes to seeing the Charlatans in their pomp.

Songs from every era enter’d our ears via cheeky, cardigan-clad cherubim Tim Burgess & his boys; for me Different Days, North Country Boy, How High, One To Another & the sexy stomper You’re So Pretty were all highlights. They also played a heavier version of Sleepy Little Sunshine Boy, a sneaky favorite of mine from 1999.

Gazing round at the crowd, it was all smiles & singalongs & up in the stalls stand-up-athons, with the more majestic numbers being met by roars of euphoria. Groovy as fuck like & long may the Charlatans, their journeyings & our personal paeans to their superbia continue !

Damian Beeson Bullen

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
27/04/2022


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


www.barbaratheband.com