When in Rome….

Or an Irish bar in Glasgow late on a Thursday night, not somewhere anyone would expect to find this moose, drinking Magners cider too! Well, I’ve never been a fan of guinness and, being totally out of my element Irish cider seemed logical (no, you will never see me drinking the stuff anywhere else).

Yes, I adventured West to see Ol’ Times, better there than Penicuik, which it turns out is not happening (shame) instead they’re back in Binkies tonight (yay). Do I mind that I went all that way for a second look when they’ll be back in Edinburgh? Don’t be daft! Not remotely. Saw a great gig, discovered a new place and a new band.

The place, Malone’s is rather nice. Tucked down a little lane, blink and you’ll miss it, the bar’s at street level with the music venue above it. Doorstaff direct folk into the bar before the gig starts and give a shout when the door opens. Upstairs is a fair size, very long and a tad narrow, but it works. Malone’s has a good ambience to it with great barstaff up and downstairs, I felt comfy and welcome. It’s only a short walk from Buchanan Street Bus Station, very handy indeed.

The new band was The Best Bad Influence were first on-stage, boy were they fun! A three piece rockabilly band, double bass, drums and the guitarist sang. There were standard classics and their own stuff, all played with style and swing and a grin. I did spot that one of their originals started by borrowing from a great old ZZ Top tune She Loves My Automobile a real blast from the past (from Deg├╝ello an awesome album from before Eliminator). It would be great to see them over in Edinburgh in Stramash or Whistlebinkies, they’d go down really well in both.

And on to the main event, Ol’ Times were mighty fine, just a shame there were some technical problems, not that we, the audience noticed them but a brief chat afterwards revealed an unhappy bunny (hey, being fussy about quality is no bad thing), you’d never have known from his performance. If there was anything slightly down from their Binkies gig, I just assumed it from being in Glasgow rather than Edinburgh (just kidding!)

It was fun to be over West knowing the band would definitely put some Edinburgh mentions into their banter to bait the crowd. Whilst it was busy, it didn’t look to be as packed as Binkies, but the singing was louder I reckon (after a wee jibe!) The band wound up just after one but as Malone’s is open til much later plenty folk hung around, me included as the next bus wasn’t until two. No way was I leaving before the very end! Hey, I need to soak up every sweet morsel of sound to keep me going.

And on that note, I shall take myself on a wander to Waverley Bridge. Toodle pip!

Ol’ Times at Malone’s out West

Spuds and Saints

October already! Ah, but September ended on a couple of fine notes! First off, last Tuesday evening Fur were back in town, yay! This time at The Mash House, not a place I’ve seen a band at before, Fringe shows yes, in different rooms there. A friend said they weren’t keen on it as a music venue and having now been, I kinda get what they meant; not that there’s anything particularly bad about it, it’s just got no appeal. I will say that the bar there is quite nice and reasonably priced.

Fur were as brilliant as ever and the crowd were really up for it. I spotted Mr Rough across the room, so I moseyed over to say hi, and as there was a bit of breeze from a nearby air conditioning vent (very warm venue) I stayed on that side; there were also fewer giants in front of me there. It was a very fine gig but the announced last song was indeed the last song, no encores, no Can’t Help Falling in Love, the band were all there ready come back on except Murray, no one seemed to know where he’d gone! No sign of him, so the lights came up and that was that, an odd end (I gather he was not feeling well). Shame.

Friday I was all set for more music, even if I had to go over to Glasgow for it. It must be at least fifteen years or so since I last went through to Glasgow to see a band, I don’t know Glasgow at all – this was gonna be interesting. The venue was St Luke’s & The Winged Ox, the band The Strange Blue Dreams with support from Logan’s Close, yeah okay, so, it looked easy to get to and LC said they’d put me on their guest list, yay. I had a wee printed out map and the return bus times, knew how long it should take me to get back to Buchanan Street bus station (to be double checked with how long it took me to find St Luke’s). It turns out that St Luke’s & The Winged Ox is just past the Barrowlands, funny how many bits looked familiar as I went by; heading back afterwards I stuck to the same route, but had a strong recall of a drunken discussion between two friends I was with after a Barrowlands gig, about which was the best way back ( I just tailed along behind them praying we’d make it in time otherwise it was an hour til the next one).

Oh, I do like St Luke’s, it’s an old church that’s been converted into a space for live entertainment and other events, one with a three quarters round balcony and the old organ pipes are a magnificent backdrop for the stage. There’s still the old pulpit at the side of the stage which became a booth for DJs Anna and Holly to spin some fine pieces of vinyl, some seriously good taste there! The Winged Ox part of the name is the bar adjacent to the venue room, a good sized bar with a kitchen, so a convenient place to eat before a show; reasonable bar prices too, and a very nice IPA! (there is a little bar with limited choice in the venue, best to head to the full bar)

Now, the evening itself, wow, The Strange Blue Dreams, yep definitely on the strange side, haunting, intense, infectious, so many retro sounds going on, hints of forgotten tunes, glimpses of older times, smoky dance halls. The band are all dapperly dressed in keeping with their stylish sound; a sound and look perfect for a David Lynch film.

The gig was to celebrate the release of their second album Simple Machine, well reader, I was so impressed with their brand of rock’n’roll I just had to buy it (on dvd), oh, and a copy of their first album too. If you’re on Spotify you can check them out.

Yes, now I’m getting round to Logan’s Close , so good to finally see the full band again. I noticed Scott went and changed into his stage attire, no scruffy Rat for this gig! Head attire for the evening was his heart-shaped sunglasses (Scott always has something on his head). Eleonora was first choice and they were off!

It was a short and sweet half hour set of deliciousness. Naturally they mentioned the album-in-waiting Heart-shaped Jacuzzi and played the title track; Dans Le Jardin was in there too. A couple or so escape me, but I do remember they played the now very familiar to me Gouching On The 33 and, of course, Babe Station, Hot Blondes In Your Area Tonight rounded off an excellent set.

I would have included a shot of Sean Keys, but as usual he was in a darker spot and the guy is never still for a second! My crappy phone camera is incapable of taking a decent photo of him. The drummer in the back was previous sticksman Alex, filling in for the evening as Gavin was away.

It was a great evening, even my trek back to the bus station was well-timed with just a few minutes to spare. After their set Carl was on merch stall duties, apparently because he was driving, so Scott was taking the opportunity to get bevied, no surprise there! I noticed the Live At Limbic TV CDs were getting some interest, as they should, an hour of juicy goodness for only a tenner? Bargain!

Not sure what they were up to when I took this!?

It’s very late, I’ll leave this here I think.

Toodle pip!

Just a quick hello!

Oops, my blogging has slowed up some. No excuses, it’s not like there’s not stuff to write about. I will write something tomorrow but there’s a blues band, who are apparently rather good, starting very soon in Whistlebinkies, so here’s some titbits of what’s to come….

The Strange Blue Dreams celebrating the launch of their new album Simple Machine

Ah yes, maybe only a half hour support slot, but the lads packed in plenty of juicy goodies. And where is this unusual venue? It has the wonderful name of Saint Luke’s & The Winged Ox and it’s over west in Glasgow.

Ah yes, I was going in the right direction to get the bus home, phew.

Toodle pip!