Some salad with my blues, please!

Last week was Independent Venue Week here in the UK, I don’t know much about it except that it champions small independently-owned venues and helps organise events across the country to increase awareness of how important these small venues are to live music. Living where I do, I’m spoilt with the number of music venues around me, you may have noticed from my scribblings!

As part of Independent Venue Week Whistlebinkies focused on bands playing their own original music; in a whole week something was bound to take my fancy! Thursday night saw me going along to witness the spicy, saucy, sultry, stringy, succulent uniqueness of Dr Salad; genre? they call it bad romance (which actually makes some kind of sense when you see them). Dr Salad are a lot of fun, with deep, heavy, infectious rhythms, guitars wandering their own mysterious ways and the words, they’re the saucy, sultry bit! Oh, and there’s some Velvet Rough in the mix helping the medicine go down.

Scotty boy was back out again on Friday evening with his fellow Scat Rat in Stramash, but huh? they were billed as Logan’s Close, well, yes, they are LC as well, but as a duo they’re usually the Scat Rats certainly on early Friday evenings. Last Friday evening was a ticketed event at Stramash, I had my ticket booked for The Black Diamond Express, a local band who play blues with celtic strains and an Americana twang. It was an unexpected bonus to later read that the lads would be on as support, just a short sweet set of delights.

Definitely in Logan’s Close mode – both were looking very smart (Carl always likes to look smart, but, well, Scotty goes for a much more relaxed look as a Rat), and Carl had his electric guitar for that LC sound. All their own songs apart from the usual finale You Can’t Judge a Book… ; including the latest two singles Dans Le Jardin and Heart-shaped Jacuzzi, sweet. The lads went down well with the crowd, as only to be expected, and had Stramash nicely warmed up for the main attraction.

The Black Diamond Express, are a band of many, the stage looked packed out after the sparseness of LC. With that many musicians about, there had to be one I’d seen elsewhere – yes, the bassist, Ewan Gibson. He’s a Buccaneer, one of Nicole’s Back-up Crew, a Blueswaterman, and that’s just the ones I’m aware of, probably a few more, I’m sure.

When The Black Diamond Express came on the place was buzzing and there was soon some jigging about going on in the crowd. For me the fiddle-playing really enhanced the mood of the music and sounded great against the singer (great voice there). Oh, it was all great, I just like a touch of fiddle to add a little pathos and melancholy.

Back in Whistlebinkies on Saturday evening Jed Potts and the Hillman Hunters were playing some of their originals, always a pleasure! Binkies was buzzing, well, Scotland had just beaten England in this year’s Six Nations Rugby Championship, I’m guessing quite a few folk were a few pints in already!

No, I didn’t go to the Handsome House Jam on Sunday evening, I stayed in with the telly. Mind, the video is out and the setlist looks very interesting, I shall have a watch at some point. It was a good night for telly, last episodes of His Dark Materials (god, I’d forgotten how sad the end is) and the utterly brilliant Happy Valley which, happily, finished perfectly! All the coffee shops and caf├ęs in Hebden Bridge will be looking forward to another influx of tourists on the back of it.

The sun’s beckoning me, must head out. There’ll be clips of the bands up on my Instagram later, please do check them out. Cheerio!

The Black Diamond Express

I feel better, thanks for asking

Finally I feel moose again! That lurgy was a real mean one, I hope you haven’t had the misfortune to start your year with such as I had. I’ve been battling mine with turkey curry! January is a great time for buying turkey carcases and frozen turkey legs from Brewsters Smalling at Edinburgh Farmers Market. Hurrah for folk who just want turkey crowns for Christmas lunch, that leaves extra legs and wings for later. A turkey carcass I bought last weekend made a splendid broth; a long, slow simmer allowed all the meat to be stripped from the bones. I left out the leg I bought yesterday morning to defrost and roasted it in the evening, oh my, it was really hard to stop after a little taste!

With my health just about restored, I finally caught up with The Scat Rats at Whistlebinkies on Friday evening, yay. It was fairly quiet – dry January? Personally I prefer to support my local drinking establishments, someone has to when so many abstain for a month, it was my duty! The Moanin Bones played the late night shift at a packed Stramash (the students were well up for a party before the next term gets under way), I had a quick peek in on my way home.

Oo, other news from Friday, Logan’s Close released another single Dans Le Jardin, do check it out! There’s clips of Messrs Marah & Rough looking very come-hither in Dr Neil’s Garden to help promote it on Instagram and Facebook; I’m not sure about the beret, though (why?! well, see for yourself do). I felt inspired to take a walk round there for myself. The garden used to be closed during the winter months, it’s good to be able to visit all year round now.

Dans le jardin du Brucie

Earlier in the week I was delighted to see that Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan both won Golden Globes for Everything Everywhere All At Once (Jamie Lee Curtis was nominated but sadly didn’t win), the weirdest film of 2022, probably the decade too. The Banshees of Inisherin did well too, picking up three awards and Austin Butler won one for playing Elvis (though Bill Nighy would have been equally deserving for his brilliant performance in Living). Not that I need my film choices to win awards to feel vindicated or anything, but it’s nice when they do.

Anyway, there’s a cooked turkey leg in my kitchen calling out to have a few slices removed and placed between two chunks of bread. Toodle oo!

A little voodoo magic from Elsie

It’s very late Friday night in Edinburgh, Facebook has informed me that Logan’s Close are in Hamburg; from the pic they were let loose on the streets after their first day in the recording station working on their debut album Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi. It being Hamburg they’re posing in front of a place called Sex-House, well, of course they would, all looking fine and dandy. I wonder how the gig went last night after just travelling over there? I hope it gave them a boost for today. Couldn’t have been as good as last Sunday night at the Voodoo Rooms, though.

Ah yes, finally Logan’s Close got to play the Ballroom in the Voodoo Rooms again – and it was awesome. Not just one or two, they had three support bands to get the crowd warmed up, Julen Santamaria, Jupiter Strange and Racecar. From a low simmer the room gradually went to gently bubbling with the beats and expectation, then the lights dimmed, the lads took to the stage, from bubbling to boiling, a most rapturous reception!! Oh, the love was in the room, I think they may have been a bit taken aback by it all for a few moments before opening with Lost In You.

At the time I was taken by surprise by this choice (oh, a very lovely one, just not a song I would have anticipated as an opener) but as I recall the atmosphere, they were totally caught up in the crowd’s adoration and enthusiasm, so yeah, lost in the euphoria of it all. Next up, Never Bloom, a great live song but like the title says it’s not destined to blossom into a studio track (well, you could grab a copy of the LimbicTV session CD to hear it). Newby Merry-Go-Round was third, I remember because it was also the third song down in the Running Horse, a gorgeous number from the new album (I’m really looking forward to how the studio version will sound, I’m expecting nothing less than totally scrumptious).

Another new song to follow, Half n Half which to be honest I remember thinking was great, but that’s it, the title alone had the crowd smiling. For those outside of Scotland I should explain, a half and half (or hauf n hauf) is a whisky with a half pint of beer for a chaser. Give It To Me a particular favourite of mine was next, the opening harmonies and keyboards slither round like thick smokey tendrils reaching out before engulfing you in a hazy, intoxicating fog (well, maybe not you but it does me) with that guitar break, oh yeah.

Oo la la, Dans Le Jardin bounced and tripped along joliment, one from the album? Next song definitely was, Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi, the title track. Okay, so by this time my powers of remembering were prerty much used up, that’s it. There may have been another new song in there, and the Close “finished” with another newby about Hot Blondes. Babe Station was in there, of course, and Mock Marble Linoleum, both destined for a soak in the Jacuzzi. Classic I Want You had to get an airing, it’s not an LC gig without it, and the song about the number 33 bus? Yeah, Gouching was there with it’s luxurious rolliness.

After the brief off stage right and the crowd hollering for more the lads obliged with Eleonara (oh yay!), Girl, and what else to end with, especially on Mothering Sunday? Listen To Your Mother, of course! The band each did the obligatory solo after being introduced, the crowd went suitably nuts, oh yes, the new line-up totally rocks it.

I am so, so looking forward to the album coming out, of course that’ll be a while yet, after the recording studio there’s loads to do before it actually gets to be released, all of which costs money, so Logan’s Close have set up a crowdfunder with various rewards for pledges ranging from a digital download of the album, to a virtual pint with Carl and Scott, to a live stripped-back full band set (that’s within 150 mile range of Edinburgh, fair enough). There’s a VIP Concert Day Experience that includes “a pre-concert fry-up at their favourite greasy spoon” – they have a new favourite now? The Babelon Cafe is long gone, I wonder where Scotty gets his tatty scones now?

My donation to the coffers was pre-crowdfunder, yeah, I’m a trailblazer; currently pledges have reached 134% of the original target, so like, wow, the lads are well chuffed and, there’s still over a week to go. It helps a lot that the band were selected by Creative Scotland’s “Crowdmatch” (one of just twenty to be selected), which as it sounds, means Creative Scotland matches pledges when they reach certain milestones. If from all my rabbiting on about LC you’ve checked them out and like their stuff, please check them out again. Gonna leave you with a few pics from last Sunday night. Sorry, epic night but rubbish mobile camera.