Category Archives: UK

An Interview with Gordon Muir


To celebrate Belhaven Brewery’s 300th birthday, they are having a massive music party – & everybody is invited!


Hello Gordon, first thing’s first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I’m originally from Inverness and these days I live in Torphichen, near Linlithgow.

Aha! What do you think of Party at the Palace, we were there a few weeks back?
It’s a great event and has quickly become a fixture of the summer. It’s a wonderful backdrop and the location in the middle of town makes for a really nice mixed crowd.

Can you tell us about your role at the Belhaven Brewery & how you got the job?
I’m the marketing controller at Belhaven Brewery. I’ve worked in drinks marketing – soft drinks, spirts, coffee and now beer – for most of my career. It’s not that I’m a particularly thirsty individual, it’s just how things worked out. The day to day of my job at Belhaven involves everything that generates demand for our lovely beers. That might be advertising, events, sponsorship, social media or packaging design as well as new product development, which can be a lot of fun and involve a certain amount of tasting.

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Can you tell us about the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music?
The Belhaven Bursary is an initiative that was born out of a partnership with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient a few years back when Scotland was the country of honour. We started by sponsoring the beer tent but when we saw the energy and excitement around up and coming new Scottish folk music and the connection that it made with the crowd, we thought it was something we should explore. My main job is telling the story of a brewery that is all about old and new, proud of its tradition yet forward-looking and innovative; and this fabulously creative and still distinctly Scottish music just encapsulated that perfectly. Showcase Scotland Expo were the organisers of the Scottish presence at Lorient that year and we worked with them on a few ideas as to how we could best get involved in the scene and make a meaningful difference. So the idea of the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music was born, as a major award to grant to musicians at a stage in their career where they could use the funds and the exposure as a springboard and hopefully be able to take new creative risks and attract new audiences.

What is it about live music that makes you tick?
It’s the energy of it that makes live music so magical, and the fact that the people up on the stage are really playing stuff they love that you’re enjoying in a shared experience with the rest of the audience. There’s nothing quite like the anticipation when a band takes to the stage or the euphoria of a brilliant finale.

Elephant Sessions @ Belhaven Brewery

So there’s a big event lined-up by Belhaven, can you tell us the about the reasoning behind it?
Well yes, it’s Belhaven Brewery’s 300th birthday this year – quite an amazing achievement and one that we wanted to mark with a great big party. We’re Scotland’s oldest working brewery but we’re always looking forwards so it was important to us to celebrate as a vibrant, current brewery rather than a brewing museum. A live music festival – the Belhaven Birthday Bash – was the obvious way to bring together a great event, situated at the brewery and drawing on the work we’ve done with the Belhaven Bursary.

How were the acts selected & who have you got for us?
We knew from the off that the bill should celebrate the breadth and diversity of music with a Scottish folk flavour – again that reflects us as a brewery rooted in its Scottishness and taking on all sorts of influences from around the world. We worked with Active Events/ Showcase Scotland on putting together a line up with that idea at its centre. So, in alphabetical order, we have Assynt, Breabach, Capercaillie, Dougie Maclean, Elephant Sessions, Kinnaris Quintet, Niteworks, Talisk and Tidelines.

It seems you are going for a more traditional Scottish folk sound, why is that?
We’re proudly Scottish and trade on our “Scottishness” in export markets around the world (around 30% of our beer goes overseas) so we’re always looking for ways to celebrate a fresh, relevant take on Scottish culture and I think the breadth of our line up does a great job of that.

What else does the festival have to offer aside from the music?
We will of course have amazing beers available, along with food and drink and, as a family-friendly event, we’ll have some children’s activities going on too. On Sunday 22nd we have a brewery open day where we won’t have acts on the main stage but visitors can come in for a half-price brewery tour and soak up what I hope will be a lovely chilled out (and, fingers-crossed, sunny) atmosphere.

Is this going to be a one-off, or are there plans for a 2020 festival?
What a thought! Let’s get this one under our belts and you can ask me again afterwards!


Belhaven 300th Birthday Bash

Belhaven Brewery, Dunbar
Satur
day 21st September (12.00-23.00)

www.belhaven.co.uk/Birthday-Bash

Reminisce 2019

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Sherdley Park, St Helens
Saturday 7th september, 2019


Due to work commitments we were a bit late arriving but after an easy cruise down the M6 we rocked up at 7.30. A couple of helpful security guys escorted us to the main entrance only to find that unfortunately the production box office was at the other side, another guard took us to the right place. Roddy was apparently a kick boxing champ and after we saw him in action on his phone I relaxed, to be fair I’ve never felt safer. A few early casualties were being seen to by what looked like an experienced and effective set of first aiders.

69974078_377711886255432_629451478980886528_n.jpgAfter processing we headed to the Love House Arena full of optimism. For once I was in the demographic as the Festival was overtly a celebration of the 90’s dance scene. Jon Pleased Wimmin was just finishing his set with some bangers, we were starting to feel very at home so we headed out and about to find the Judgement Arena. Along the way we managed to trip over a very nice bar serving proper cocktails. Suitably fortified with industrial strength gin and tonic we found our destination where surprisingly Micky Slim was also filling the floor with a set of 90’s classics, are you starting to spot a theme? I can’t remember what the fuck he actually played but just type 90’s rave classics into your search engine, you’ll get the idea.

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Judge Jules was worth the entry and the drive all by himself, here’s one of the old timers who’s still smashing it everywhere he goes. One of the old school who’s kept it real over the decades he didn’t disappoint and I could have gone home happy after his set. This was lucky because the whole thing was set to shut down at 11.

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My companions think we saw the live set of Tricia McTeague but personally I can’t remember, I’m sure it was excellent though. She’s sung with all the greats over the years and now me, her life is complete. Love Inc got the main stage crowd singing along and bouncing, hard to tell with their scouse accents but I think they got the words right. Lee Butler and Sosumi’s sets looked absolutely amazing, the organisers must have spent a fortune on visual effects, no wonder it was £85 a ticket what with all the security and everything.

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If you can remember the 90’s you weren’t there but I’m pretty sure I saw Anton Powers and he was brilliant. Mike Lewis was great and finally I found what I was looking for where the streets have no name. 3-0 ya beauty! In the end everyone plays drum and bass. Banging out Danny Byrd’s Ill Behaviour. With a great MC. I just don’t know who is was! When everything started shutting down we were allowed a go on the shows for £5 and the guy kept it going for ages but with no music. Eleven!!!! Then I had a massive whitey which prevented me from attending the after parties.

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I know this is meant to be a review of Reminisce but actually I had a much better time at the Urban Flava 2019 party in Dundee with my good friend The General a Mains Castle, three floors of banging tunes from the attic to the garden. Easy days boys.

Words: Graeme ‘Steely’ Steel
Photography: Mark ‘Parky’ Parker

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Roosevelt Collier

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Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
July 2019


Roosevelt Collier is a smiling, heavyweight musical genius. A pedal and lap steel guitar player from Miami, Florida, he is sometimes simply referred to as The Dr. Though known for many acclaimed collaborations, he only released his debut solo album, Exit 16, in 2018. He tours with his own band, which changes on a regular basis. This time it was a young trio, also from Florida and each musician impressively proficient on their instruments of bass guitar (Rodrigo Zambrano), drums (Armando Lopez) and keyboards (Jason Matthews). They were each given turns to bring to life the beauty of their instrument, with Collier looking on encouragingly. They are also, in the tradition of Jazz, well tuned into each others’ musical style and wavelength, and had a cool and relaxed manner as if they were jamming together in the bandroom. Collier connected with us right away as an audience, joking about how driving on the left on British roads had led to some close calls on the way to perform in Edinburgh, and seemed genuinely overjoyed to receive such a warm welcome from the festival audience. The Piccolo tent is just as it sounds, a cosy and intimate setting to enjoy a performance from a small band. It’s a temporary structure; friendly and comfortable, but with mystifyingly great acoustics.

Collier began the show on his lap steel guitar, with Roosevelt the Dr. printed on the front. He’s named Doctor for mastery of this unusual instrument; a guitar with pedals and levers that can allow for a great deal of complexity. He gave us the eponymous track from his album that’s on the GroundUP Music label founded by Grammy award-winning Snarky Puppy’s manager (bassist and composer) Michael League. He has produced and contributed to some beautiful tracks for Collier; Exit 16 track itself is expansive as it steadily builds in intensity with a few Hendrix-worthy rock guitar moments.

Zambrano’s guitar strap broke half way through the set, leaving him temporarily disconcerted. Encouraged by Collier to sit down and keep it going, he sat on his speaker and did just that. It didn’t seem to matter a bit, because even without vocals, and playing just four instruments, the band was able to masterfully weave in a myriad of influences into the sound. Trippy, psychedelic tinges melded into a Detroit House vibe, then veered over into disco territory and some heavy funk, with the legacy of Collier’s gospel background and early years of playing in church with his cousins shining through all these layers of genres. Pedal steel guitar is associated with sacred music around the world, though it originated in Hawaii, and is popular in country music.

Supernatural Encounters was possibly my favourite number with its insistent beat and extravaganza of rock guitar spread over a deliciously indulgent five minutes. Their slow, swingy cover of Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel lets you experience the roots of the song structure differently from the original and feel the ancestral connections Black music has across genres. Happy Feet is fast and funky, a fun tune that had everyone moving. h

Make it Alright is a tune where Collier encourages some audience participation, and the crowd readily clapped along to this long, cheerful track. Satisfying and uplifting; this one took us on a comforting journey reminiscent of the waves of an early morning chanting session in an ashram.

Collier took his time deciding on what tune they should leave us with. “I’m from the South, so I’m gonna play some blues for y’all”, Collier beamed at us, before launching their last heavy blues number and encouraging us all to come up front and dance. An elderly man with a hearing aid was ecstatically swaying in his seat, a shy teenager behind him clapping along with the tune, an auburn American woman in a leather jacket rushed to the stage to rally to Collier’s dance call. As the audience continued standing for an enthusiastic ovation, the young French musician next to me exclaimed “That was the very best concert I ever saw in my life!” I think most of the crowd would probably agree. Quincy Jones has not dubbed him “the best there is” without reason.

Reviewer: Lisa Williams

Elephant Sessions

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Perth Horsecross
31st May, 2019


An acquaintance recommended Elephant Sessions live to me. I’d listened to their latest album and liked it, but somehow never managed to get to a gig, especially since they seem to be gigging all over the world these days. Their music is a bit like the electro-trad of Celt-fusion Simard & Gagné, Melisande or Ashley MacIsaac’s fiddling. But there is more than a hint of the progressive electronica of the likes of Boards of Canada in there too. I was interested to see when presenting a full set live, if, like the mythical Kelpie, they were a beast of two natures – would the two sounds that they marry so well on vinyl come undone, or worse, go a wee bit cotton-eyed Joe?

The audience in the cosy Joan Knight Room at Perth Theatre had been suitably warmed up by Perthshire’s own funksters Bohemian Monk Machine. Stank faces aplenty to some nasty grooves, the lads went though some soul-funk classics and a few licks of their own with real attitude, getting the audience in the groove like the wrong sized underwear. Phew!

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Elephant Sessions entered on an airy synth atmosphere that easily slipped into the, by now characteristic, progressive elevator fiddling from Euan Smillie and mandolin (yes, mandolin) from Alasdair Taylor, over a driving drum and bass line from Greg Barry and Seth Tinsley. Repetition, mesmeric, of a simple phrase is at the heart of electronic dance music. These guys get to the same place with traditional instruments. It’s infectious. Even this teuchter’s feet got tapping.

A selection of grooves from their first album “The Elusive Highland Beauty” and their acclaimed sophomore disc “All We Have is Now” demonstrated how the band have perfected their style. The track “Summer,” in particular, demonstrates a beguiling simplicity that is truly uplifting. To say that the audience thrilled to it would be a measured claim. “You guys are f**king brilliant!”, exclaimed someone at the end of one song, which got a roar of agreement. A few tracks from their new album “What Makes You” showed the guys just keep getting better. The track “Colours” was yet another crowd pleaser.

Elephant Sessions brought a real vibe to the room. Perhaps overall their set wasn’t as varied as their studio work, but it was driving and hypnotic, and fresh. Pasty Scottish folk can’t really dance, but the whole joint was jumping. Spectacular.

Mark Mackenzie

The Young’Uns – The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff

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Perth Theatre
23rd May 2019


Twice winners of best group at the BBC2 Folk Awards, The Young’Uns’ latest offering tells the tale of Johnny Longstaff, a working-class hero who grew up during the Great Depression, marched in the 1934 Hunger March to London and volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War. The lads, Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle, interweave the recorded voice of Longstaff with witty and touching ballads, bringing his story alive and serving a timely reminder that the evils of poverty and Fascism aren’t that far in our past that we can be complacent.

In 2015, after a gig in Clevedon, Somerset, the Young’Uns were presented with a sheet of paper by Longstaff’s son, describing the main events of his father’s amazing life. Longstaff had also been interviewed and recorded by the Imperial War Museum Archives in 1986 and recordings form the heart of a unique series of songs that paint a moving portrait of a heroic individual who challenged the inequalities he saw and fought for a better tomorrow, both at home and abroad.

The trio sing some fine harmonies, sometimes a cappella , sometimes accompanied by squeezebox and piano. The lyrics are bold, often hilarious and always performed with warmth and humanity. The songs take us on Johnny’s journey from the backstreets of Teeside, down-and-out in London, sleeping on the Embankment, standing against Moseley’s blackshirts in the ‘battle of Cable Street’. Then, as an underage volunteer in September 1937 Longstaff walks across the Pyrenees into Spain to defend the Republic against Franco’s Fascists, fighting in appalling conditions, but never losing his resolve. Throughout his journey, Johnny meets some remarkable characters, fondly brought to life again in the Young’Uns’ songs.

This is the kind of history lesson that engages the heart and the head. The kind that kills Fascism. It’s the kind of history lesson that we should be taking our children to hear. I’m reminded of Orwell’s observation from ‘Looking back on the Spanish Civil War’, “…unfortunately the truth about atrocities is far worse than that they are lied about and made into propaganda. The truth is that they happen.” It’s important that the real witness of men and women who suffered and fought against despotism are heard. Viva the Young’Uns!

Mark Mackenzie

Tectonics

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City Halls, Glasgow

May 4 – 5, 2019


It was a nice day when my companion and I arrived at the City Halls for Day Two of the Tectonics Glasgow Festival, annual showcase for all kinds of new and experimental music performance. Stepping in to the Recital Room, we were confronted with a large wooden floor paved with drawings that somehow constituted a kind of path. The four artists performing Lucie Vitkova’s installation, were standing together using their voices for a perpetual sound that varied from whale noises to some kind of prayer incantation. It appeared to have no structure to it and we stayed for a few verses, only to wander off, taking with us the impression that this had been all about the quality of sound.

Festivals always have their own character, and this one, though small, also had its own atmosphere of welcome and anticipation, not to say a slight feeling that we were at some kind of science convention! We stepped out to enjoy a chat between performances and readied ourselves for a performance at the Old Fruitmarket. It turned out to be a free-form improvisation of recorded and live breathing exercises that lasted about 45 min and was performed by Angela Sawyer, Alex South and Nicola Scrutton. With its focus firmly held on the crowd who were sitting together it proceeded into a lot of people making a lot of what I can only call farm noises.

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Dave Smith, Chris Hobbs, Catherine Laws and Paul Kean in ‘Diabolus Apocalypsis’ by Dave Smith at the Old Fruitmarket

For the next part of our festival journey it fell to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to perform for an hour in the Grand Hall. We were treated to two orchestra pieces by Juliana Hodkinson (All Around) and Mauro Lanza (Experiments in the Revival of Organisms). This was followed by the world premiere of The Gay Goshawk by Martin Arnold which had Martin himself on melodica and Angharad Davies and Sharron Kraus on highly sensual, traditional and beautiful vocals about the trappings of love and life.

By this point we were both very relaxed and in a mood to continue absorbing everything we could. We found ourselves back at the Fruit market, that famous old market hall with a large, high space for the Symphony Orchestra to perform Sarah Davachi’s Oscen, a large scale work all about textures and harmonies. The place was transformed as the music took us along a slow melodic journey telling a story of Consort and Disunion.

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Nichola Scrutton and Alex South in ‘Rough Breathing’ by Alex South & Nichola Scrutton at the Old Fruitmarket

My impression was of a day full of the tonality of music, the experience of being human, what is important and what perhaps is not.  A day showcasing theory itself, turning it into a solid phenomenon that can take you to marvellous places that are there for all of us if we would but listen. An experience uniquely offered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra over a very enjoyable and successful weekend.

Review: Daniel Donnolly

Photography : Alex Woodward

The Divine Toyah

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Photo: Liam Rudden

The Thunder In The Highlands Tour

Edinburgh Liquid Room 25.04.19


Back in the olden days, when I were a lad. Music was everything to me it was a natural progression of my inner Superhero and I held my first musical inspirations in the same light. It was the costume that I loved and Toyah matched that in real life. Bringing fantasy to life through theatre, Rock N Roll, make up and style. I loved Toyahs first three albums. Sheep Farming in Barnett, Anthem and The Changeling. The Changeling was my fave, a Pixie concept Album that brought Miss Wilcox’s magical creativity to life.

I was 14 at the time and best mates with Jengerisers, my partner in crime and musical sparing companion. At that point in my life “1982” I had only ever been to WMC Gigs. Toyah was coming to town, to Bradford St Georges Hall, I saved up my dinner money and bought a ticket. Jengerisers did the same. As you can guess I was very very excited as this was my first proper gig ever and I was about to see Toyah in real life. It was fantastic performance art that still resonates with me 38 years on. The Changeling brought to life while visiting all her earlier hits. I fell in love with the big gig experience that night. The morning after the gig, Me and Jengerisers bunked off school and headed down to the Norfolk Gardens Hotel to see if we could meet Toyah and her band. Our mission was successful Toyah was Lovely and we got autographs from all of the band, It was then that I became a fan for life.

This was when the evolution of Makeup began for me too Toyah set the benchmark for looking brilliant. I soon learned that looking that good took a lot of time and effort to achieve. It was The Its A Mystery EP and Toyahs makeup on the cover that was what I was aiming for. Both Toyah and Steve Strange enthralled me for the same reasons. Where faces became canvases for rich expression of Temporary Art. The style that easily transcended gender and looking as good as possible was an evolving process.

Bradford, back in the early 80’s was a pretty grim place, still held in the fear of The Yorkshire Ripper, 3 day weeks, unemployment and being in the hell hole of a school called Grange. Toyah, Gary Numan Bowie and Visage gave me the escape that I needed. I never adhered to be a rock star. But I did adhere to looking that good. That was the key inspiration. It didn’t come easy, the makeup I mean, it took many years and countless hours of practice, I even did a beauty therapy course to perfect the look. Dressing up became a full-time occupation. A big colourful fuck you to Thatchers Britain and an education system that failed me. , Dance, Style, Makeup, Music and making love, were my reasons for living and escaping in equal measure.

As I write this preview and look back at the photographs of Toyah that I fell in love with as a kid, I can still feel the inspiration to be creative that gripped me 38 years ago and completely understand why I was so excited and inspired. Its been a lifelong inspiration, even now at 52 years old I put just as much effort into doing my makeup as I did when pushing the boundaries of Northern Working Class Culture, Back in the early 80’s Homophobia was rife and this was one of the reasons that made my school life hell. This all started before I began wearing makeup, I never have been Gay, men and cock never has done it for me so I would have made a crap puff. However, I found the strength and courage to start a personal transformation that would indeed give people cause to think that I might have been Gay. The funny thing was that the more makeup I wore, the more girls wanted to get off with me. This turned my tormentors blue with fury. And the echos of “Calvert ya Queer” echoed around my consciousness for the best part of a decade. It certainly opened my eyes at a young age that being Gay was not a bad thing. I always felt safe in Gay Clubs and Bars. The torment and abuse did have an effect on me, I knew I might have looked femme but I knew I wasnae gay, so I set about proving that I wasn’t and that involved getting off with as many beautiful Ladies as I could, I guess to prove to the world that I wasnae gay. I loved sex and there was a lot of it. When one looks that fabulous it goes hand in hand with having a Good Time ❤ Toyah shaped my life. I love her. ❤

Investigating Toyah has been a rich experience in understanding what makes a person be themselves in the face of absurdity. Indeed looking amazing seems to go hand in hand with healing the inner child. Beginning her life with a physical disability and a lisp. Both of which Toyah overcame to become a fully formed successful artist and pioneer. How Toyah has the healing power of the Divine. and Spirituality came to her at the age of 4 with the realisation that we are all just a speck of dust in relation to the vast infinity of the Universe. What an inspiration she is. ❤ Make up, Divinity, Creativity and Performance Art. My first inspiration and the longest lasting. It is only just now that I realise why. Toyah had the answer. Toyah is a Spiritual Healer too. Make Up and fruity coloured hair has Powers. beyond being Punk As Fuck.

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I got to The Liquid Rooms in time to see the support band Gothzilla. A local Edinburgh Goth Band that got me boogying straight away, Gothzilla are like a Veteran Sisters Of Mercy, Three guitars and a drum machine. Aye they really rocked tonight the perfect warm up for Toyah. I was having such a Good Time. Once the support band had finished, the place was rammed in anticipation of The High Priestess Of Punks return to Aulde Reekie. She looked marvellous and I was much closer to the front of the stage than I was at St Georges Hall, back in the olden days. Toyah looked Marvelous with a tight-fitting mirror ball dress, she looked strong and majestic. The penny really dropped tonight, Toyah set the benchmark for my ideal Woman back in 1982. and she still has it, fit as fuck, with Punk Rock attitude.

She performed a balanced set of classics and songs from her new Release. In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, perfect for live performance and taking its lead from classic Led Zepplin. There were a few first-night gremlins and on the whole I think the performance was too big for the club, The Sound even cut out completely on Good Morning Universe, apart from the vocals and only briefly, as you can guess Toyah was more than a little miffed.

She really wrestled with the sound all night. Not that it hampered our enjoyment the sound was perfect for the audience. My favourite moment was Brave New World. Indeed it was Brave New Worlds art that I fell in love with as a kid, as she sang I could see the picture disc that I had when I was 14. I think I lived that song more than any of the others. Aye Awesome Stuff.

Toyah still held the same beauty tonight as she did back then. She was just as sassy and sexy. Robert Fripp is one lucky man. Toyah eventually got over her sound issues and ripped into the classic singles. Ieya, Its A Mystery, I Want To Be Free, she did a marvellous rendition of Martha And Muffins Echo Beach and some really nice album tracks like Danced and Angel And Me from The Changeling. It was fantastic, Toyah had me completely, I couldn’t stop singing it was really really good fun.

Slipping in a new song called Come, Toyah got all sexy and I fell in love with her that little bit more. the last time I saw her live was 38 years ago and Toyah thrilled me tonight just as much as she did back in the olden days. My guess is that the sound glitches will have been worked out over the rest of The Thunder In The Highlands Tour. If you get the chance go and see Toyah. A True Divine Nemesis.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

An Interview with Steve Arnott

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Steve Arnott had a dream; then he got a bus; then he got on the telly – The Mumble absolutely adore the guy…


Hello Steve, where are you from & where you at?
Hi Mumble I am from Kingston upon Hull and I am still here.

Where did your love of music come from?
My love for music came from hearing singers such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson played by my mum. Then I discovered hip-hop culture at the age of 9 through breakdancing.

You’ve got three famous singers from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and India Arie… Yazz could then cook 🙂 Starter: Fallafel and Houmous; Main: Stuffed Wild Mushrooms and for Pudding: Lemon Cheesecake.

Where & when did you get the idea for The Beats Bus?
I came up with the idea about 5 years ago as I used to do workshops with young people aged 16-25 in Hull city centre. The workshops were really successful, but there wasn’t a lot attending so it started me thinking why? I came to the conclusion that not a lot of families have excess money to give the children to travel to the city centre everyday, so I needed to make a travelling recording studio/workshop vehicle.

 

What kind of things do the kids say The Beats Bus makes them feel?
Confidence, a sense of family, proud to be part of it and they are excited about the future, which is great.

How did the documentary, A Northern Soul, come about?
I met Sean the director at the event “Made in Hull” that he created but previously. We had had a discussion through a mutual friend, Rebecca Robyns, about each other. Sean was looking for a character and I had a story to tell. Then we met we agreed to start filming and the rest is history.

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What was it like working with these particular film-makers?
It was a pleasure working with Sean, he is a very inspiring man and we are both from Hull. Sharing the same background we struck up a strong bond and friendship straight away.

How did A Northern Soul, change your life?
The documentary has changed my life massively; it has helped me fund my dream and also provide free workshops for young people in Hull.

Did being the City of Culture change Hull?
No, it never changed Hull, it has always been an awesome city. What it did do though is shine a light on our creatives and massively boosted our civic pride.

What’s happening right now with The Beats Bus?
In 2019 we are rolling out free workshops for young people who get stuck on their estates because they have no money to travel. We want to try and raise their aspirations. We are also working with the Police on a ‘no more knives’ campaign which is going to be an exciting project.

What would you say to somebody who has a dream?
Follow it with all your heart and going up, under or over to achieve your destiny. It is in your hands – choose a path and make a plan.

Have you thought about taking The Beats Bus further afield – perhaps even the Edinburgh Fringe?
Yes and we will, but at the moment we are concentrating on helping our community as they really need it.


www.beats-bus.co.uk

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The Medicine Men, Stanley Odd, Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5.

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Barrowland Ballroom. Glasgow.
22nd December 2018


My night was curtailed by TK Max Berghaus walking boots. BLISTERS! I danced so much during The Medicine Men and Stanley Odd. Stanley Odd I had seen before on the festival circuit so I knew to expect good quality Scottish Hip Hop.. The Medicine Men I had nae seen before. Being a Spiritual Healer the name of the band intrigued me. An emerging talent that took Rock N Roll inspiration from Rush, progressive and captivating.creating in unison a very satisfying Progressive Rock/Funk groove. The perfect opener for the nights proceedings.

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Indeed, the morning before the gig, I had freshly dyed my hair flame red, Brought a ten year cycle of Healing Development to a satisfying conclusion, shaped my eyebrows, crimped my lush red hair and spent some quality time doing my make up. When one has healed as deeply as this and one knows that this feeling in my heart a quiet celebration and my date with The Mustards at the Barrowland Ballroom gave me an added incentive to look fabulous. I had time to pop in to see Amisa Neonova before I walked into town for my bus to Glasgow, My boots had created a blister the day before so bought some plasters, hmm its a new boots kind of thing. So I placed plasters in the appropriate places and two pairs of socks. By the time I got to the bus stop the plasters were failing in preventing the blisters from hurting. It was nice to get on the bus my hip was nipping a bit too (Old age and growing pains). I meditated throughout my lovely bus ride. Holding the love in The Barrowland. The morning before whilst sending distant healing I had asked the Angels to ground the love and heal the hearts of the people attending in the Barrowland Ballroom. It worked. ❤ The place was Bouncing. However the walk from Buchannon street to The Barrowland, having only been there once before I had a vague idea of where I was heading, Divine disnae have a fancy phone so I had to use old skool tech knowledge and asked people directions to get to my destination. I wanted to be at the venue in time for The Medicine Men so had hastened my pace. This was not proving fitting for comfy walking.The Blisters were bringing tears to my eyes. The Barrowland Ballroom’s Brilliant neon sign flashing its multicoloured Glory, I joined the queue and picked up my AAA All Areas. Pass, put my coat in the cloakroom, had a burger and a can of juice and headed to the ballroom.

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I hit the Ballroom dancef loor bang on 7.30pm. To be delighted by The Medicine Men, proving to be the perfect warm up for Stanley Odd. Who thrilled the increasingly filling Barrowlands. inbetween bands DJ5 mixed classic rave keeping musical momentum and driving my dancing feet wild. I boogied with Angela Jack for a while. By the time Colonel Mustard took to the stage my right foot was so sore it hurt to move it. So I flashed my AAA pass and took a comfy seat at the back of the Ballroom on the riser. It was a perfect vantage point.

Having followed the rise of Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 for a number of years now, this would prove to be the 2nd time I have seen them take the Barrowland by storm. Both times filling the place with their loyal Yellow Army, inbetween the two times I have witnessed the live spectacular, This band have notched up the air miles both creatively and physically. Taking the show to be a Headliner at The Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party to headlining most of the Scottish festival circuit performing to increasingly bigger audiences. They have also taken the Yellow Movement to South Korea twice. So with a set of songs so well rehearsed, it would be impossible not to thrill the now capacity Ballroom fit to explode with anticipation of their heroes return. With DJ5’s opening banger The Dijon 5 took to the stage and the party went off.

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The Mustards played their cannon beautifully, full of colour an inflatable bounciness, firing through all of their greatest songs. The Ballroom was full of Bouncing happy people singing along to all of the songs performed, word perfect. A testament to how greatly loved Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 are. This band of Angels donate a large proportion of Gig profits to worthwhile charities. Indeed a creative art performance spectacular that benefits all concerned. So it came as no surprise that they were inducted into The Barrowland Hall Of Fame last night. The audience went wild, the legendary sprung dance floor was bouncing. This was the ultimate feel good Gig, The 90 min performance time flew by but bye eck I’m glad I made the effort.

After the gig I was torn between the options of going to The Art School After Party or catching the 23.59 bus home. My blistered foot was dictating the flow. So I hobbled across Glasgow and got the bus back to Edinburgh. The boots are going back to TK Max.

5 Stars For the Performance.
0 stars For the Boots

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Photography: Mundito

Søndergård’s Guide to the Orchestra

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Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 

Saturday 24 November


To celebrate the Year of Young People, the RSNO performed a programme of  treats for what their celebrated conductor Thomas  Søndergård called “the young at heart”. Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is known to all classical musically minded families in its narrated version as entertaining but a wee bit didactic. But here we were given the original concert version and Britten’s brilliant orchestration of Purcell’s sea shanty theme an interpretation that was as scintillating as it was instructive. The full-bodied opening statement was followed by each section of the orchestra in turn playing variations on the theme to show off their timbre and range, before the whole was re-built with the finale’s great fugue. But that only describes the form. What the RSNO and their conductor gave us was Britten’s playful catalogue of the almost infinite number of possible textural combinations between percussion, timpani, woodwind,brass and strings, played with terrific clarity. It was like being given a grown up version of what was written for the young, without any loss of the fun it has engendered since its first performance in 1946.

“Open the Eastern Windows” by Michael Cryne, winner of the RSNO’s 17:18 Hub New Work commission is unlikely to enjoy such longevity. On first hearing at least, his composition had no apparent form or discernible logic. With nothing for the mind to latch on to during ten minutes of agreeable sounds apparently proceeding solely via shifts in volume and tonalities, its première was a disappointment.  And then on came two grand pianos which were nestled together like pieces of a jig-saw, and twins Christina and Michelle Naughton to play Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos. The youthful and glamorous pair played the work with brilliance and enthusiasm, bringing out the exoticism and lyricism of the three contrasting movements, while the orchestra’s pleasure in performing this entertaining work with such sensitive interpreters of its shifting moods, was apparent.

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Another première brought a complete contrast of mood in “Ghost Songs”, a specially commissioned work for the year of Young People, from Gary Carpenter. The RSNO’s Junior Chorus gave a wonderful account of his sensitive settings of four poems by Scots poet Marion Angus, R L Stevenson’s “On Some Ghostly Companions at a Spa” and the folk ballad “The Wee Wee Man”. The composer exploited the quality of the children’s singing – not only their remarkable musicianship and beautiful sound – but also their nimble articulation and willingness to engage with the mysterious, spooky, amusing verses they were singing. This new composition will get many an outing over the years to come because its composer matched his forces and materials to express the qualities of the texts, and in so doing created a memorable musical experience for audiences of any age.

Last but by no means least, the final treat on this evening of treats was Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.  Originally written only for a private concert, the composer tried to get it banned from public performance, fearing, rightly, that its popularity would eclipse, for all time, his more serious efforts. The evident pleasure the Naughton sisters showed, during their energetic commitment to every nuance of the score, more than doubled the fun for the audience. The required chamber-sized ensemble played every creature with serious wit and flair, and the double bass soloist in The Elephant and cello in The Swan were superb. For the RSNO and their conductor it must have been a treat to fill a programme with works they hoped would have their audience leaving the concert hall smiling; and it worked. One caveat: an afternoon rather than evening concert would have brought many more youngsters to hear, and be inspired by, their contemporaries in the RSNO Junior Chorus.

Mary Thomson