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.

Odd balls and green eyes

Another rugby weekend done and dusted, the French fans will all be back home again after a grand weekend away. Some arrived early last Thurday (as noticed in Stramash in my last post), some stayed to carry on the party ’til Sunday night. Oh, I wasn’t witness to it ’til after Peaky Blinders had been on telly. Yay, the new and final series of Peaky Blinders is up and running, and I wasn’t being anywhere other than in front of my telly at nine o’clock on Sunday night. By ‘eck it was good, a fine tribute to the late actress Helen McCrory, Aunt Polly, who died almost a year ago.

Only after it did I tidy round from my evening meal and get ready to head out to Whistlebinkies. For why? The Buccaneers were scheduled to play at midnight. Now if you’ve been following my posts recently you may wonder if it was worth staying up so late – this time it was definitely happening, The Buccaneers said so on their Facebook page. I’ll admit to a slight hesitancy as I drank my way through a pint of Stewart’s Edinburgh Gold at just after midnight, oh yay, the band members started turning up, that helped wake me up! And I stayed awake ’til around three having the most splendid time drinking and dancing, it was a fine crowd there, all really enjoying the music. Mr Marah was on top form, well, all the band were. From pics on Facebook yesterday I think the keyboardist, Luke Cunningham, had just been on at Stramash which could explain his being the last to turn up but it was no problem to turn in a great performance. God, I’m so lucky to have such great musicians on my doorstep!

Not so lucky as the Welsh, though, well, the ones in Swansea. Whilst the Welsh may have been beaten by England on Saturday, they will have the first look at the new Logan’s Close line-up at Hangar 18 in Swansea on Thursday 17th March – jeez, I’m sooo jealous! I’ve never been to Swansea, don’t think I haven’t been pondering on a visit! The day after it’s a drive to The Elmer’s Arms in Bristol; again, somewhere I’ve never been, some very nice pubs there so I’m informed, hmmm. Saturday 19th March sees the band trotting north-east up to The Running Horse in Nottingham, then a left turn to Liverpool and the Prohibition Recording Studio on the Sunday evening before heading home to Auld Reekie. Might as well give you the other dates, that’s their long awaited return to the Voodoo Rooms on Sunday 27th (yay!!!) and then a skip across to Hamburg and the Indra Musikclub on the 31st; again, I’ve never been to Hamburg, I haven’t been anywhere (except Yorkshire) for over two years, maybe?!

I’ve noticed that the Nottingham gig is on Super Saturday, the final day of the Six Nations Rugby this year (so called as all three matches are on the same day). In years gone by that was a pub day, often the Greenmantle or The Blind Poet, ah, we were young, up for it and very, very drunk by the end of it. This year I’ll be down at the Mothership around that weekend, Nottingham is just down the road, well, under two hours down the road, oo.

Maybe I should just appreciate that the lads are having four dress rehearsals before the big one back here, the glass half-full approach. Yeah, I’m not really buying it. Swansea, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, Logan’s Close are coming your way, you lucky, lucky bastards!

Speak easy at the Voodoo Rooms

Yes, I was back in the Voodoo Rooms again this week (and I’ll be there next week for Black Cat Bone). Not the big room this time, but the Speakeasy on the first floor, a very intimate venue. I didn’t think I’d ever been in there before, certainly never for a gig but the more I dwell on it, I reckon I may have seen a Fringe show in it years ago. There is bar at the back of the room but, as it was roasting in there, I trotted upstairs for a pint of Caesar Augustus for a bit of a cool down (there are two large air conditioning units on the ceiling but they didn’t seem to be doing much). On one of the side walls is a large mirror, a really large mirror. For aesthetics? To the make the room seem much bigger? Maybe to help shortarses like myself to get a good view of the bands! As usual for a music gig there was a substantial number of giants attending; my jigging around was only half inspired by the beats, the other half by trying to catch glimpses of the bands. Then I realised I got a much better view if I watched through the mirror, result!

I actually knew next to nothing about the bands playing; absolutely nothing about the two supports and only pictures of the headline band on a page I follow on Facebook. The pictures were super cool, oozed style and screamed 60’s vibe – if the band sounded half as good as the pictures that would still be bloody good. The bands?

Apologies to The Poppermost for my lack of organisation to get there earlier and see them, whilst waiting to get served at the bar I heard that I’d really missed a treat! Damn! My excuse? Rain, buckets and buckets of it! My usual mode of transport, Shanks’ pony is averse to the stuff. I’d hoped it might peter out, but by the back of 8 o’clock I had to come up with a plan c (to see the rain without it touching me).

I missed the very start of Les Bof! but I don’t think by much. Their bio on Facebook just says “UK premier French 60’s Garage Rock band!” Well, this moose likes French 60’s garage rock apparently, never knew that before! I love their style and sound, yes, very sixties and that dirty, gritty sound like early Dr Feelgood and the Animals. For the first time in a while the lack of cigarette smoke fog seemed slightly odd, definitely one of those gigs where once upon a time you could have cut through the smog with a knife! The singer Laurent Mombel sure likes to shake a tambourine, and being French he looks cool doing it. I have later discovered that the rest of the band are Scottish (an easy assumption to make that they were all French), well I reckon they’ve picked up a Gallic ambience from Mombel over time. I’ll be watching out for Les Bof! in future.

And then, The Courettes, like wow, talk about the passion, baby! I’m in love! Flavia Couri is a rare and beautiful creature, stylish and sultry, strong with a sweet mischievous smile, and by’eck, can she rock a guitar! Guys wanna be with her, girls wanna be in her gang. Alongside Flavia is husband Martin Couri on drums, and that’s the whole band, nothing else needed. They’re touring to promote their new album Back In Mono with a cover pic that describes their music perfectly, no words required. I would have bought the album that evening, but end of the month, you know.

If I had to describe their sound, I’d say, think of The Ronettes, trash it up, fuzz the guitar and add a wee snarl to the voice. One song has a line, “Look out! Look out! Look out!” which is a very obvious nod to The Shangri-Las’ Leader of the Pack, a classic in my book! The Courettes also have a new single out from the album, R.I.N.G.O. and yes, it’s a tribute to Ringo Starr. Ah, just twigged, it’s images of a seedy old funfair, fumblings in the dark, à la That’ll Be The Day that their music evokes for me (Ringo Starr starred in it). So many Courettes’ songs would be perfect for film soundtracks, someone call Tarantino!

I hope it’s not too long before The Courettes ride back into town. I need more ❤

A marvel, a spy and a little bit of voodoo

I finally got round to seeing Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings on Wednesday night – the last evening showing of it at Cineworld. It’s only been showing for about, oo, five or six weeks! I actually knew nothing about it, hadn’t seen any adverts or previews, I hadn’t even noticed it was a Marvel film, yeah! How? I know! Just the poster and the title pulled me in and I’m so glad I went.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is not a brilliant film, but it is really enjoyable (great fight scenes) and, as I had only just found out it’s part of the Marvel-verse, a tad befuddling when Trevor the Scouser turned up in it. If you’re now wondering who Trevor the Scouser is, you either haven’t seen all the Marvel films or you weren’t paying attention when you did. I recognised him straightaway and my brain was whirring trying to remember the details, thankfully he gave a long flashback exposition to fill all the blanks. There’s a number of long exposition speeches with accompanying flashback scenes in this film, possibly annoying to some; the lead-ups to them are a tad trite, but then I came to the conclusion that it was intended that way and went with it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, it is quite unusual these days to see a mainstream film without being aware of any of the plotline beforehand. I wish now I’d seen it earlier so I could have gone back and watched it again; and how good to see Michelle Yeoh on screen, such serenity! The actress playing Shang-Chi’s friend Katy was bugging me as she seemed familiar but, no, it wouldn’t come. Turns out it was her voice I knew, she played Sisu in Raya And The Last Dragon that I saw back in May, she is Awkwafina an American actor and rapper and I reckon she’d be a great laugh on a night out!

The following evening saw me back in the cinema for the latest Bond movie, No Time To Die. Well, its a Bond movie with all that entails – great villains played by class actors (Rami Malik and Christoph Waltz), beautiful ladies (I particularly liked Paloma played by Ana de Armas), the team back in Blighty (including of course Miss Moneypenny played by, the more beautiful than ever, Naomie Harris), a great theme song and musical score with an added bonus of We Have All The Time In The World woven through it. Oh, and a plotline that necessitates plenty of international travels, of course! I liked it, one of the better recent Bond movies for me, though I’m not sure about where the franchise will go next!?

Last night (yes! out three nights in a row!) I was in the Voodoo Rooms to see The Eclectic Electric Ukulele Blues Band, I was intrigued by the name and had to check them out. The fact that Willie Dug and the Cosmic Gents were the Support may have nudged my decision to go. Just as well the support were excellent, ’cause the EEUBB were rather uninspiring. Oh, the main guy had some fancy electric ukes but they were just an average pub blues band, nothing to write home about! If they didn’t have the word Ukulele in the name it would hardly have registered that two of the band were playing ukes, but I guess it helps intrigue the punters in, like it did me.

A lovely surprise bonus to the support band was one Carl Marah! Didn’t see that one coming! I hope he didn’t feel too comfy there, to lose a drummer or bass player is one thing but …….. Nah, he wouldn’t. But he would promise, and I quote, “a big ol’ bauble banger Xmas bonanza”, yay! A Logan’s Close Yuletide Special, can’t wait!

I shall leave you with pics (taken with my new phone, I’m sorry!) of The Scat Rats doing their thang…….

You take your eye off the ball for mere moments…..

Hello, dear reader, did you miss me? I do have a tendency to disappear into other things after the Fringe is done. This year I somehow managed to totally miss that Logan’s Close were playing at the Dunbar Music Festival, headlining no less, at the Battery on the Saturday night. And with a new bassist! Okay, so there was a different drummer too, but they’ve had various drummers in ever since Mick left (drummers round here seem to be real tarts, they don’t commit to one band). I’ve seen clips on Facebook and reckon this bassist is a good fit, and he can sing harmonies too, bonus! Check out the Dunbar Music Festival’s Facebook page to see for yourself, there’s plenty of clips of all the bands through the weekend.

Oo, I’ve just spotted one Willie Dug & The Cosmic Gents were playing on the Saturday afternoon. They’re rather good, I caught them at the Voodoo Rooms last Wednesday; I heard there was a free gig with three bands to celebrate the return of live music, yay. Annoyingly I wasn’t aware that Carl Marah was the first support act – until I wandered in during his final song, dammit. I also didn’t hear that he was the guest with the Handsome House Band at Stramash the previous Sunday until after it happened! Three misses in less than a week – no, I was not a happy bunny or moose.

I’m not the only back in the room, the students are all back in droves. This last week has seen masses of wide-eyed, big suitcased young’uns trying to find the right Students Residence (there are an awful lot these days and not all are well signposted, as the fast food delivery guys will testify). The older returning students have been making up for a lost year by hitting all the night spots hard, the local media have been going on about the long queues. Oh, give them a break, cut them some slack, please. Yes, Covid is still here but we’re gonna have to get on with life some time, as far as I’ve seen they’re all carrying masks ready for donning as necessary and have phones out ready to check into places (yeah, this is still what Beyond Level Zero means in Scotland).

Mind, the locals may have yet another reason to moan about the students – shortages of beer and certain food items made even shorter. The beer isn’t flowing as it should (last week the Voodoo Rooms were without any Joker or Caesar Augustus and Stramash has had a few beers missing) and the hoards of students will drink plenty, I would imagine. A couple of days ago, the Tesco’s up on the Southside was devoid of olive oil, much of their own brand herbs and spice range, the pasta, rice and tinned tomatoes were severely depleted as was the cheaper soft loo roll; that’s definitely students doing a first stock-up.

Sadly, the start of a new academic year has meant that Roy the Barista has left Edinburgh to study in London – no more lattes and cheery banter on the Royal Mile for me! His latte was so fine I didn’t need to add sugar to improve it, a first for me. Some years ago the best coffee was to be had from Ruby in an old police box, this summer it was Roy from an old phone box, where will the next best coffee be served from? An old pillar box?!

G’night! Sweet dreams!

It was a very good year (part I)

2013 was the year the Free Fringe got really quite exciting, no longer was it just stand-up comedians in back rooms of pubs, there were proper shows to see! Or, at least, that was how my buddy and I perceived it. Casual Violence: Om Nom Nominous in the Voodoo Rooms was one such show, so good we went to see the company’s other non-free show the next day; the live musical accompaniment was a fine asset!

The Hawke Papers at the Blind Poet (loved that pub, alas, no longer there, that fine old boozer has been absorbed by the Pear Tree) was an interactive murder mystery using the full space of the pub for us to move around, look for clues and talk to the various characters. It was popular for a morning show, we missed out one day but were given a signed flyer and told to be there twenty minutes early the next day to be sure of getting in!

We heard that Death Ship 666 at the Three Sisters was very good and very popular and at 10:45 in the morning! After one miss we made it in plenty of time on the second attempt, great show, dubious venue. It may be fine now (I haven’t seen any shows there for a few years) but the back of the Three Sisters used to have a whiff of stale urinals, watching a show distracted from it, but hanging around waiting for a show to start was not pleasant!

The Free Fringe show that sounded right up our street was Captain Morgan and the Sands of Time at what was the Fiddlers Elbow at Picardy Place – ours and every other bugger’s street. We’d heard it was popular so headed down a good twenty minutes early, apparently not a hope in hell said the guy who came out to count the queue.  The next time we were just over half hour early, so did we get in? Argh, by a gnat’s crochet, no!!! We were right at the door, next in, sorry, jam-packed full!! Now fainter hearts may have given up at this point, not us, another evening another even longer wait (forty five minutes) but, yes, we made it in! Was it worth it? Absolutely! Two actors, one musician (yes, more live accompaniment), lots of characters including Poseidon, a Lovecraftian creation played by the actors together.

2013 was the year we saw the wonderful Aidan Goatley for the first time, another visit to the Voodoo Rooms to see Ten Films With My Dad, a Free Fringe show. It was also the Fringe we finally scaled the mighty Arthur’s Seat, not once but twice, to see This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Ritchie, a gala spectacular of Barry Ferns and friends (not quite at the top as it was a very windy squally day) and then Barry on Arthur’s Seat, which poignantly turned out to be the last time he’d do his solo show up there – his knees had decided enough was enough.

Here’s a little collage of pics from the Arthur’s Seat shows. See, you can tell it was a proper Free Fringe show – there was a doorway to go in through and it’s where he stood with the bucket at the end 😆

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…. meanwhile at the Voodoo Rooms ….

Evening, peeps! Friday evening and I’m home, drinking alone, tapping my thoughts down. I could be out, you know. I could be in The Pond listening to the dulcet harmonies of Carl and Scott; I could also be wandering lost in Leith trying to locate said Pond, I’ve never been there. No, I intend to write this post, this post that I intended to write late last Friday night but was side-lined by a need for more music (til after 3 in the morning).

So last Friday night I was back in the Voodoo Rooms to see Logan’s Close supporting Black Cat Bone. Crikey, it’s almost a year since I was there for the launch of their EP Fried Bangers there. But what was this? A keyboard on stage? Ummm, not sure what to make of this development. A favourite band changing it’s line-up has connotations of a pub “being refurbished”, ummm. I remember way, way back when Thin Lizzy brought in keyboard player Darren Wharton for their Renegade album and tour in 1981 (first gig I ever saw!) I was dubious but it was the start of the 80s and keyboards were a thing. I actually quite like the Renegade album but it’s not like classic Lizzy, but hey Phil Lynott’s voice was my passion. Then I recall the last time I saw John Martyn perform around ’92, ummm, I remember wishing someone would shoot the saxophonist! I do like sax, Reuben Legge, case in point, but the saxophonist that night just would not shut up. He was up in the mix and played continuously through everything (I like my sax sparse and selective) Aargh!

So there I was, supping a half of Joker IPA, wondering if this could be the end of my crush on the Close. First number, Work, hmmm, well that worked rather well! Just enough, not too much, a nice touch. I don’t remember the name of the second song but I know it’s one that sounds like it belongs in a Tarantino soundtrack, again, keyboards like a bowl of baby bear’s porridge. New songs thrown in too, nice! A fine set, In The Morning and I Want You particularly brilliant (Scott’s vocals on I Want You are sooo good) Yes, I totally approve of the new chap, except, dude, the trousers, turning them up so high with white socks, no, really.

And what of the headliners Black Cat Bone? A great, bluesy, sleazy, pretty darn sexy sound, I’d reckon not so much black cat, more dirty ol’ ginger tomcat heading out on a night of fighting, f**king and caterwauling ’til dawn.

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And here’s a look at the newest member of the Close doing his stuff….

It’s only rock’n’roll but I like it!

So last night was a bit of alright! I was in the Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68 come August, very nice but rather warm, real ale in the bar) for the launch of Logan’s Close new EP “Fried Bangers.” Sold out so it was very packed and very warm. I got there shortly after the second band came on (sorry to Shredd, I’m sure you were awesome too), Ayakara who were pretty fine. There was a good contingent of their fans in the crowd (they knew the words!)  After procuring myself a pint of Joker IPA I found a good spot to see the band and be faintly wafted by what air-con there was from time to time, unfortunately as usual some beanpoles took up their strategic positions to block at least half the band from sight at any given moment.

Pardon me a little rant here. So okay, I am quite a shortarse but even average-sized humans can’t compete with those guys and they do like to go centre towards the front. Beanpole may not have been the correct word, that suggests tall and thin, these guys are pretty often quite broad, not easy to see around! There should be a line three-quarters of the way back that anyone over six foot has to stand behind – it’s not like they wouldn’t be able to see over our heads!!    And breathe.

Where was I? Being gently wafted before getting another pint of Jokers and wading back in to find a spot to watch the Close. This time I was at the side, a better view than I would have had in the now packed out centre, but no wafts to cool me down. Oh, the lads were on top form! Just, just, bloody marvellous, shit hot, astoundingly awesome! These are the guys I’ve been waiting for, finally a band worthy of the rock’n’roll crown hung up since the demise of Nick Johnson and Bluefinger!

I first saw Bluefinger in 1988 in the then Preservation Hall and followed all incarnations of the band until Nick left Edinburgh for Spain permanently  (he had been semi-regularly coming back over to play but had decided it was time to stop) and was sadly killed in an motorcycling accident about a year or so later in 2010. Bluefinger were a force of nature, even when it was only Nick on guitar and Ed on flamenco box drum, they rocked up a storm in Whiski on the Royal Mile during the Fringe in 2007. Bud and I would wander in late after a show, sit at the bar and soak up the vibes, and when Ed would do his box solo in Not Fade Away, wow, people would get up from their seats, crane their necks, a mass movement towards the band to see how one guy’s hands could create such a sound. Ed was always good but some nights he was totally “in the zone”, man, I will never forget how great those nights were.

Aaand, back to Logan’s Close again. Indeed, I get the same feeling of blissed-out happy watching them; Big Nick would approve of them inheriting his crown. But will they be playing Edinburgh during the Fringe – you may wonder, oh yes!! If you’ve read my early posts you may have spotted that I must have broken my self-imposed Fringe Code if I am aware of this fact. Okay, so I get emails from the Fringe whenever a new batch of shows are up online; I just had to check if the Ukulele Death Squad were coming back (yippee, they are), at the same time I noticed the Close were playing, and at a venue I’ve never been to before, ooo.

I also spotted Bon the Musical, yes, a musical about Bon Scott!! I’m not sure how I feel about it, if they don’t get it right it could be terribly wrong! Maybe I’ll check reviews before I commit to it, at £12 a ticket that could be a big mistake. Mind there’s always the chance they may put some tickets for sale at the Half Price Hut. There’s also the fact I am still a Friend of the Fringe which brings the benefit of 2for1 tickets for a long list of shows which this year includes all three shows mentioned above 😊. I could purchase pairs of tickets, then offer the pleasure of my company and a half price ticket on Facebook, I could, it might be quite fun.

Toodle pip!