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.

Five long gloriously juicy years

Next month It’ll be five years since I stumbled upon Logan’s Close, towards the end of this month the new line-up will take to the road with their mini tour of the UK before heading off to Germany; what will the next five years have in store? But before they headed off to their future would they have time to chat about their past to an old moose? They did ….. in the Waverley late Tuesday night before they played the midnight set at Whistlebinkies. Yup, The Scat Rats, aka Carl Marah and Scott Rough, agreed to meet me there (a favourite pub of theirs) well, they are two lovely amiable chaps, funny, smart, easy-going; as delightful offstage as on. Unfortunately we were drinking, and still drinking at Binkies ’til after two, so I’ve had to sift through an alcohol-induced blurriness to recall anything from the conversation.

Rough and Marah have been best buds since they met playing football at eight years old, so going on twenty years. Both started playing guitar around the same time, Carl was self-learning, Scott was going to a guitar class and told Carl about it; and so the seeds were planted. By 2014, in their late teens the two had been joined by friend Mike on drums and they took the name of a lane in their hometown, Dunbar, as their moniker Logan’s Close. This bit’s hazy, finding a bass player who fitted in took a while, I think Olly was the third one and he was a perfect fit. Now they were a tidy foursome, things started progressing nicely.

I first became aware of them at the end of April 2017 when Facebook suggested I might like their video Listen To Your Mother. Oh, I did, it was cracking and I still reckon it’s a great watch, do check it out! The following month they were the support for a touring band playing Sneaky Pete’s in the Cowgate so I went along and was totally blown away by their energy and sound, yup, one taste and I was hooked! I saw them three times more that year, the final time in November was for the launch of their latest single Girl, at the Caves just off the Cowgate.

Logan’s Close at Sneaky Pete’s Wednesday 31st January 2018

As good as this line-up and sound were, Rough and Marah were after one more piece to complete the puzzle – a keyboard-player, but where to look for someone to match their sound? The gods were happy to oblige them and dropped one into their laps, late one night after a gig in Stockbridge, a chance meeting in a small supermarket. He sent them a demo and Sean Keys was part of the LC sound; as I suspected, it was Scott who christened him Sean Keys, no his surname is not Keys! That was in March 2019 and now those keyboards are very much an integral part of the Logan’s Close soundscape.

Logan’s Close at the Voodoo Rooms supporting Black Cat Bone in April 2019

Alas, in July 2019 the band said a sad farewell to Mike. Since then they’ve had various drummers, but drummers seem to be flighty things, LC wanted one who’d settle down and go steady with them. Mind, it’s been an interesting time, Alex (as seen on the Fantastic Man lockdown vid and the LimbicTV gig) was great and Simon Gibb (currently playing with The Buccaneers amongst other things) has picked up the sticks for them on occasion. They have a new drummer, yet to be seen out at play with the band and also a new bass player since Ollie left for Italy last year, interesting to ponder how this change in the rhythm section will affect the band.

Messrs Rough and Marah have been very busy coming up with a whole stack of new tunes since the lockdowns. That must have been grand, finally getting back together, bouncing ideas off each other, getting the old chemistry sparking again. I had intended to ask a bit about the process of their particular alchemy on Tuesday night, hey ho, maybe another time if I’m lucky.

There’s been a shift in their style, the lads have gradually moved away from their initial early Beatles and Sixties sound, looking back Give It To Me (released July 2019) was a clear signal of this change. Oh, there’s still the sixties sensibilites in there in the weave but much more subtly. There’s so many new songs, and what with new band members, much of the old repertoire has been consigned to the band’s history, but there’s the odd one or two that’ll be kept around. Playing as The Scat Rats some LC tunes can pop up, I presume their particular favourites (some of mine too). A couple of songs from the LimbicTV session last year will be on the new album, I’m rather excited to hear how both will have evolved since then, and with the full studio treatment too! Yes, I know which two – not telling!

Sadly Eleanora isn’t one of them, shame. Oh, I did ask where Eleanora came from – Carl having his fortune told high up on a mountain in Italy (Apparently the fortune teller only spoke Italian, so he recorded it and got it translated later). Hey, at least it’s available on the Logan’s Close Live at LimbicTV CD now on sale as a limited edition vinyl-style CD on the band’s website for a mere £10 GBP (exc. shipping). I’d like to think I had a small part in their decision to put the CD out there, you may thank me later.

That’s it from what I’ve retrieved from my sozzled memory of Tuesday night. It was a fun night, there weren’t many in Binkies but we had plenty of enthusiasm and yes, I was up dancing again! So that’s the first five years of my acquaintance with the Close, can’t wait for the next five and beyond. Whatever Marah and Rough get up to next, it promises to a whole barrel of juicy fun.

Let’s finish this with a pic of the divinely talented, exquisitely in-sync Scott Rough and Carl Marah ❤

late night in Binkies

NEWSFLASH!!! Just announced on Facebook, the Close’s debut album Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi will be recorded in Hamburg in April. Well, newsflash to you, I already knew.

Driving with Elsie

Today has seen bright sunshine and blue skies over Edinburgh, very chilly with it, as the forecast predicted. Annoyingly they got it very wrong for yesterday morning! The forecast had promised snow from the early hours, some heavy, awoke all expectant and excited I did – bloody none! And I’d come back up on Thursday for it. Well, and also to avoid Eunice, that’s Storm Eunice (who came up with Eunice?! What sort of name is that for a storm?).

I was down in deepest, dampest Yorkshire again. Very damp indeed, not much time was spent out-of-doors, it was ‘orrible! The few hours of fine were spent wandering round Hebden Bridge, note to self, some shops are closed Tuesdays as well as Mondays. Still a tasty lunch was had and a few purchases made, I do like Hebden Bridge, and there’s usually a fine calibre of busker in the Square.

Naturally, my choice of travelling audio accompaniment included my new Logan’s Close Live CD, at 63 minutes its perfect for the last legs down and up. In the gathering dusk I hurtled across the moors to Scott letting rip on I Want You, followed by the classic Listen To Your Mother – that’s when the low fuel light started flashing (yeah, yeah, mother, make sure there’s plenty in the tank, I know); after that first, oh bugger, I reasoned there was actually around 40 miles worth left so no worries. On the homeward leg it takes about an hour to get from Abington services (junction 13 off the M74) to home, that is, without slowcoaches on the road; so perfect, with a second playing for Eleanora as I pulled up.

Eleanora is a bouncing upbeat babe of a tune, a catchy infectious earworm so it is! Everything a good Logan’s Close song should be, and also something slightly new, different but still undeniably LC. Sean Keys’ (that’s what he gets called, anyway) keyboards are at times reminiscent of Jon Lord on early Deep Purple, noticeably so on Mock Marble Linoleum. I’ll admit it’s taken me a while to get into this track, my original take was “fine but nothing special”, I’d like to update that, Mock Marble Linoleum is fine and dandy, like a mid 70s rock opus, swirling keyboards, grand majestic riffs, Scott going for it, yeah, it is pretty special.

Paralysed is a whirling dervish of a tune with Carl taking lead vocals this time. This lady who “reached inside and stripped you of your core” sounds like AC/DC’s Soul Stripper; two very different songs but the same female lineage (in my head, anyway). Gallus Laces is great, a lackadaisical swing and hook to it, love Scott and Carl’s vocals together on the chorus.

Probably (at least at time of writing this) my favourite track is Babe Station, from the opening drumbeats, sultry keyboards, offhand guitar, and then Mr Marah plaintively narrates the girl’s nightlife; the spacious sleaziness and Carl’s vocals almost echoey, with added Scott on backing, omg, it’s like sliding into a hazy drug-addled dream state! I’ve also had the pleasure of hearing The Scat Rats take on this song a number of times ❤

Mind, Give It To Me is a very close second on this, right from Sean’s piano intro and Scott’s and Carl’s harmonies; the guitar sound, the space, more beautiful desolation from the lads. I Want You is always near the top spot at any gig but the competition is tough here, even with Sean back on the piano and Scott’s sublime vocals. It would be hard to place all fifteen tracks in an order of preference, really, after my top five I couldn’t separate the others. God, I love this CD! Will this recording, this moment in time, ever be made available to anyone else? I don’t know, but if it is, no self-respecting LC fan would be without it!

Toodle pip!