Apr 232015

nimmo trio2With thanks to David Innes.

Some fantastic blues acts have played in Aberdeen so far in 2015. Ian Siegal, Laurence Jones and King King graced the Jazz Festival and Robin Trower, with Joanne Shaw Taylor in support, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd all excelled at The Lemon Tree in April.

Then Seasick Steve, supported superbly by My Baby, delighted the Music Hall audience last weekend.

Graham Robertson of Blues Rock Aberdeen is keen to point out that the blues action continues, with the Stevie Nimmo Trio booked to play an afternoon show at The Tunnels on Sunday 3 May at 1500, a perfect way to celebrate the May Day weekend.

As one half of Scotland’s highly respected Nimmo Brothers, Stevie Nimmo has built a deserved reputation over 15 years of touring and recording, and is a well-respected musician throughout the blues and rock scene.

Following a successful Nimmo Brothers gig in Aberdeen in 2014, Stevie now brings his trio line up to the Granite City for a full-on electric gig.

Stevie’s critically-acclaimed Wynds Of Life solo album in 2010 featured top Texas musicians, and now the first Trio album is on release to coincide with the tour. Songs previewed live during 2014 received great audience reaction.

Virgil and the Accelerators will return to The Granite City playing at The Tunnels on Friday 15 May.

Tickets are available from www.aberdeenperformingarts.com

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Feb 122015

eofe_hammersmith_tomleishman-2__large (1)With thanks to Jenny Entwistle, Chuff Media.

Black Country 5-piece EofE are coming to play Aberdeen Downstairs on 23rd February, supporting UK metallers Glamour of the Kill. The tour will be in support of their brand new single ‘Stars In Hollywood’ (out 09/03) which is currently on the Kerrang! Radio and XFM playlists.

Last year, the band supported both McBusted and The Vamps on their mammouth UK tours, culminating 2014 with their own headline tour which resulted in them selling out their hometown date at Birmingham Institute.

Following the unveiling of their debut track ‘Bridges’ in November, EofE, continue to leave their mark with the release of the band’s first official single, ‘Stars In Hollywood’, due March 9th.

With their ever-growing army of devoted supporters, ‘Stars In Hollywood’ is a second helping of scintillating pop rock from EofE, sending out a real statement of intent. The song lyrically explores the theme of determination and hope, with aspirations of eventually leaving their hometown, moving on to bigger things and rising to the top.

‘Stars In Hollywood’ is the next chapter of the EofE story, placing the band firmly alongside the likes of fellow UK rockers You Me At Six and Mallory Knox .

“EofE are going to be the next big thing” – Sophie K (Team Rock Radio)

Tour Dates:

23rd February – Aberdeen, Downstairs 

24th February – Glasgow, Audio

25th February – Newcastle, Think Tank

26th February – Manchester, Sound Control

27th February – York, Fibbers

28th February – London, Underworld

1st March – Bristol, The Exchange

3rd March – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms

4th March – Stoke, Sugarmill

5th March – Nuneaton, Queens Hall

6th March – Nottingham, Rock City Basement

7th March – Gloucester, Guildhall

8th March – Milton Keynes, Crauford Arms

Jan 192015

The sound of Johnny Cash comes to the North-east in 2015 as Jericho Hill make their long awaited Aberdeen debut at The Moorings Bar on Saturday February 21st. By Al Pritchard

Jericho Hill2The Glasgow based five-piece have built a reputation as the tribute band for people who don’t like tribute bands with their high-octane shows up and down the country. Jericho Hill have notched up a string of prestigious appearances at summer festivals such as Wickerman, Belladrum and Blackpool’s annual gathering of all things Punk Rock, Rebellion.

They are regulars at a number of venues across Glasgow and including a recreating of the Live at Folsom Prison LP at The Grand Ol’ Opry and a memorable two-show day in the chapel at the infamous Barlinnie Prison.

Since their first gig in 2009, there have been a couple of changes in personnel but the current line-up has been settled for the best part of the last four years, and this gig is a bit of a homecoming for two of the band’s members.

Leader, and the band’s very own Man in Black, Bill Wright will be fondly remembered by Aberdonians of a certain vintage as Lonesome Cowboy Bill, who, as the name suggests could be found in bars and clubs across town in the late 1980’s playing a set comprised entirely of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash numbers to the assembled throng, and also had a spell with The Rodriguez Brothers with Dave Wilkinson of local punk dignitaries Toxik Ephex.

Bill’s first recruit, and the only other member of the current line up to have played in the band’s first gig in Glasgow’s Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, is Joe Whyte. Joe has provided lead guitar styling in a number of bands over the years, including Jailhouse (with current Jericho Hill bassist Rab Christie), The God Fearing Atheists and Reaction.

With a lovely line in Western shirts, brothel creepers and feverish fretwork, Joe was immediately sold on the idea of a Johnny Cash tribute band by Bill’s insistence that Mr Cash was indeed the original punk rocker.

The second returning son is drummer Al Pritchard. His first gig with the band was in mid 2009, but he will perhaps be more familiar to the Aberdeen crowd from his time on short lived early 90s acid house casualties, Thirteen. This will be Al’s first appearance in Aberdeen since Thirteen’s legendary Xmas Eve show in the Pelican Club in 1999.

Bassist and chief joke writer is Rab Christie. He and Joe were both members of the aforementioned Jailhouse. As well as having made an appearance at Aberdeen’s Cafe Drummond, Rab has also appeared at both The Albert Hall and The 100 Club with Al Pritchard as one seventh of the now defunkt proto-folk combo The Boppin Heads.

Filling the June Carter role, and lowering the average age of the band quite significantly is the wonderful Charlene Boyd. Star of stage and screen, Charlene’s infectious enthusiasm is an essential part of the Jericho Hill sound and they would not be the band they are without her.

Make no mistake, this is not cabaret. No slavish copying for this band, they prefer instead to dial up the Man in Black’s inherent punk energy and attitude, for a blistering show covering his entire career. From the beginnings with the Tennessee Two, right through to the American Recording sets of Cash’s later years, Jericho Hill provide something for everyone, provided everyone doesn’t expect to sit down and nod their heads gently.

Get up. Get Rhythm, Get down and get with it.

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Oct 172014

Sunset SonsWith thanks to Chuff Media.

After a great year that has seen them play the prestigious Reading and Leeds and Boardmasters festivals, Sunset Sons, are heading out on a UK headline tour to support their new EP ‘No Bad Days’ (Polydor).
The tour starts at Cafe Drummond in Aberdeen on October 24th.

The Anglo-Aussie four piece have unveiled the official video for ‘Remember’, the lead track taken from their upcoming release,

Shot in the idyllic French surf commune of Hossegor where the band currently live, the ‘Remember’ video perfectly encapsulates Sunset Sons, cutting between shots of friends and locals living in the town and blistering live performance footage.

The tour includes a stop at the riverside venue Tamesis Dock for an intimate 150-capacity show before heading to Koko to play Club NME.

‘Remember’ is being released as part of the No Bad Days EP which is out on October 26th. This EP follows their debut release earlier this year, the Le Surfing EP which garnered much attention and firmly established Sunset Sons as the band to watch for 2015. Building on a dedicated community of fans in coastal UK towns, the band are picking up steam with huge support at national radio and champions in Fearne Cotton and Zane Lowe.

Tour Dates:

October 24th – Café Drummond, Aberdeen
October 26th – Sound Control, Manchester
October 28th – Oporto, Leeds
October 30th – Tamesis Dock, London
November 1st – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
November 2nd – Sin City, Swansea
November 3rd – Cavern Club, Exeter
November 5th – The Hub, Plymouth
November 6th – The Watering Hole, Perranporth


Sep 122014
Ollie and Quincy

Ollie Howell with legendary film soundtrack composer and record producer, Quincy Jones.

London-based drummer Ollie Howell, who brings his acclaimed quintet to Aberdeen next week, has some high profile admirers.With thanks to Rob Adams.

Howell ‘floored’ Quincy Jones, the legendary film soundtrack composer and record producer who worked with Frank Sinatra and oversaw Michael Jackson’s multi-million-selling album Thriller, during a performance staged to feature some of the best students at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff in 2009.

This led to Jones, who is affectionately known in the music business as Q, mentoring the Wallingford-born Howell and monitoring his progress as he has moved into a full-time professional career.

“Quincy’s one-quarter Welsh and was being presented with an honorary doctorate at the RWCMD when I was a student there,” says Howell.

“I was a big fan of his work on the Sinatra at the Sands album and when he invited me to New York to play with some of his friends after hearing me on that concert in Cardiff, I had to pinch myself. He later invited me to Montreux Jazz Festival and I’ll be visiting him in Los Angeles later this year to go through plans for my next album.”

Howell has also been taken under the wing of the legendary former Miles Davis drummer Jimmy Cobb, who featured on Davis’s classic Kind of Blue album, and is the first musical recipient of a Sky award, having won a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship earlier this year. A television documentary will be screened on the Sky Arts channel during 2015 as a result.

In between these and other career highs, which include winning the prestigious Peter Whittingham Development Award in 2012, Howell has had to deal with being diagnosed with a debilitating brain malfunction, which required urgent surgery. He has now fully recovered and named his first album, Sutures and Stitches, which was released on Whirlwind Recordings, after the experience.

His quintet, which features tenor saxophonist Duncan Eagles, trumpeter Mark Perry, pianist Matt Robinson and bassist Max Luthert, appears at the Blue Lamp, Gallowgate on Thursday September 18 at 8pm.

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Jun 242014

There’s a weekend of top punk bands playing next month at The Tunnels. Voice’s Andrew Watson previews this upcoming event.

Oi Polloi

Oi Polloi

‘Freedom of Aberdeen City’ is the area’s summer punk rock festival which is brought to you by DIY promoters Bile Yer Heid and Eck Ruffneck on Friday 4th at 18:00 and Saturday 5th July at 13:00.

Friday’s lineup is Steve Ignorant & Paranoid Visions, Rubella Ballet, Shatterhand, The Cundeez (Dundee) and local noise punks The Obscenities.

Paranoid Visions are Ireland’s most infamous punk bands, and have Steve Ignorant, the vocalist from Crass, guesting on this year’s tour.

Rubella Ballet, who scored a Top Ten hit in the UK Indie Charts, will be playing their first Scottish gig since the early 1980s..

Saturday sees The Mob, Oi Polloi, Hooligan (Dublin), The System (Wigan), Black Light Mutants (Manchester), Battery Humans (Northumberland), Subvision (Fife), Down To Kill (Edinburgh), The Eddies (Dundee), Aberdeen City’s Toxik Ephex, Against All Flags (Inverness/the West Highlands), and Aberdeenshire’s Mark Ayling and Skizofrenik.

The Mob are straight off the back of a USA tour, having recently reformed. The south-west of England melodic punk band have not played Aberdeen since around 1983.

Oi Polloi return to Aberdeen for the first time in three years and have new, original Gaelic-language numbers to play for the punks and skins.

This will be a complete one-off event with many notable and influential political punk rock acts, coming from all corners of England, Ireland and Scotland.

A Friday gig ticket is £15 for five bands, a Saturday gig ticket is £15 for thirteen bands. To see all eighteen bands over the two days duration is only £25. Tickets are available from Cafe Drummond, or from www.bileyerainheid.blogspot.com.

May 302014

The Phantom BandInteresting music promotions present The Phantom Band and Adam Stafford at The Tunnels on Friday 6 June 2014

Even the most adventurous alchemists return to their favoured base elements in the pursuit of maximum potency.

So it was that The Phantom Band – those wilfully mercurial outriders – reached album number three seeking a return to the first principles of performance that brought them together to begin with.

Strange Friend (due for release on 2nd June) was, in vocalist Rick Anthony’s words, borne out of:

“a desire to try and get back to that feeling of it just being a bunch of us in a room playing music together.” 

It’s an attempt to capture the six of them live; raw, rugged, perhaps looser, but still fit to burst with earworms and oddities from every nook and cranny.

Strange Friend doesn’t have one firm concept at its root but several, infused with multiple meanings it reflects the constant percolation of voices within the Scottish six-piece, all jostling for their say.

Says Anthony of the album’s title:

“It can indirectly refer to a lot of different things, 

“Living in a world that’s increasingly hyper-connected through the internet yet increasingly disconnected in terms of actual real human relationships. It could also refer to the band and our relationships to each other; our individual relationship to the band as a thing; our relationship to this particular album. It’s like a strange friend that we can’t quite shake. Or our relationship to music as a whole.”

Yet musically Strange Friend is perhaps the most straight-up set of recordings the band have put to wax.

Fans of their previous critically-acclaimed albums, fear not; those burbling, fluttering electronics that drag their sound through a wormhole and out into the 70’s alongside the soundtracks of John Carpenter and the kosmische of Kraftwerk and Neu! remain; the elements of folk; the woozy organ sounds.

The difference is now it feels as though an imaginary thread’s been pulled tight through it all; The Phantom Band were always a rock band that enjoyed pushing the pre-conceptions of what that could mean – never the other way round. Strange Friend, take the driving opening track and first single, ‘The Wind That Cried The World’.

Singer, Rick Redbeard commented:

“The verses have a kind of nursery rhyme musical naivety and we wanted the choruses to just sort of blast in. The lyrics were kind of stream of consciousness that alludes somewhat to the inherent meaninglessness and randomness of artistic creation. The whole track acts as a nice opener and first single; a sort of a statement of intent after being away for so long.”

It’s been three and a half years since anyone heard anything from The Phantom Band, something that they disregard as a notable time away.

“We’ve always moved at our own glacial pace,” says guitarist Duncan Marquiss.

Yet, with due respect to the group, their absence has been long enough to have been felt; their time taken in getting the record together was down partly to the inevitabilities of outside lives, partly due to a change of drummer – with Iain Stewart now behind the kit – and partly because of the fiercely democratic ethos the band has maintained since its beginning.

Strange Friend, like their previous outings, is the sound of six clearly distinct personalities attempting to inflict their will on the rest of the group – it’s no surprise the phrase ‘love/hate’ is brought up repeatedly by all its members in an attempt to describe their relationship with the band as an entity – but it’s that fission between each other’s contributions that provides the intangible individuality of their music.

“Like all true utopias it can feel impossible to maintain,” admits Marquiss.

“But we’d have fallen apart long ago if any one band member took the reins, and that friction between people throws up music that no single person in the band would have imagined otherwise. I still hope our utopia will turn into whisky fountains and flying sandwiches.”

It’s something that you can’t help but feel would be fully deserved for these most strange but wonderful returning friends.

Adam Stafford is a musician and filmmaker from Falkirk, Central Scotland. Now based in Glasgow he is the founder of Wise Blood Industries and was the singer and songwriter in the group Y’all is Fantasy Island (active between 05-11).

In November 2010 he recorded the solo LP Build a Harbour Immediately which was co-produced by Paul Savage (Mogwai/ex-Delgados) in Chem 19 Studios. It was released on Wise Blood in August 2011 to critical acclaim and featured on many End-of-Year lists in the music blogging community (read them HERE).

Recently he has been concentrating on live solo work and films. He has won seven international awards for his short documentary The Shutdown, made in collaboration with novelist Alan Bissett, directed a music video for The Twilight Sad’s single Seven Years of Letters (winner of Best Video at the New Scottish Music Awards 2011).

He recently completed a 2nd short film No Hope For Men Below (2012), a poetic dramatisation of The Redding Pit Disaster in Falkirk 1923.

In July 2013 Stafford issued the follow-up to Harbour, titled Imaginary Walls Collapse via Edinburgh label Song, by Toad and Canadian imprint Kingfisher Bluez to unanimously positive reviews.

In April 2014, Imaginary Walls Collapse was long-listed for The Scottish Album of the Year Award.

The Phantom Band + Adam Stafford

Friday 6 June 2014
The Tunnels (Room 1),
Carnegies Brae,
Aberdeen AB10 1BF.Phone (01224) 211121

Doors 8.00pm
Tickets £9+bf in adv / £11 on door
Available from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/268191

Limited amount will be available (no booking fee for cash sales) from iiMusic, The Academy, Belmont St.


May 012014

Singer Christine Tobin, who appears at The Blue Lamp on May 22, might be crowned Vocalist of the Year by order of Parliament by the time she arrives in Gallowgate, says promoter Rob Adams.


Christine Tobin appears at The Blue Lamp on May 22

Dublin-born Tobin, who studied at the Guildhall School of Music, has just been shortlisted for the title, along with recent Aberdeen Jazz Festival star Zara MacFarlane and two other singers, in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, the UK’s most prestigious recognition for jazz musicians, educators, media workers and organisations.

Nomination is open to the public but the final decisions are made by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group, whose members represent both Commons and Lords and work to raise the profile of UK jazz.

The results will be announced on May 13 in a ceremony on the Commons’ Terrace Pavilion and having come close to awards for Best Musician and Best Album in previous years, Tobin, 51, is hoping that this will be third time lucky.

“It’s always nice to get recognition for your work,”

says Tobin, who won Best Vocalist at the 2008 BBC Jazz Awards and a British Composer Award for her 2012 album Sailing to Byzantium. She also won a Herald Angel at the Edinburgh Fringe last August for the show that she’s bringing to Aberdeen, A Thousand Kisses Deep, her salute to singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

She will be accompanied by guitarist Phil Robson, who has worked with Barbra Streisand, and double bassist Dave Whitford

A Thousand Kisses Deep is also the title of Tobin’s latest Proper Note album, launched at a sold-out concert at Ronnie Scott’s in March. It comes just in time to mark Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday year.

“I’ve been a fan of his since I was ten,” says Tobin.

My sister had the Fill Your Head with Rock album, a diverse compilation of early 1970s music. Leonard Cohen’s ‘You Know Who I Am’ was on it and I loved it. Forty years later I still love it and I’m really looking forward to singing it at The Blue Lamp because it’s such a great, warmly-intimate venue.”

Thu May 22: Blue Lamp, 121 Gallowgate, Aberdeen 8pm 01224 641122 www.jazzatthebluelamp.com

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Feb 272014

rannok_photoA very special collaboration is happening in three North East town this month. With thanks to Shona Donaldson.

Danish folk duo Rannok are making the trip to Scotland for joint concert’s with well-known traditional fiddler Paul Anderson and singer Shona Donaldson.

While studying at The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmark, Michael Graubæk and pianist Theis Langlands started the Rannok duo, playing what has been described as ‘a masterly blend of fiery folk music, authentic traditional tunes, and original compositions which give that contemporary touch’.

Rannok released their first album in 2010, dedicating it to both the Danish folk music tradition and to innovation.

Since then the duo have played at venues and festivals in Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and all over Scotland, where they have met with particular audience approval. In fact Rannok’s first album was partly financed by Scottish fans who thought it high time they produced a cd.

“When we are composing our own music”, Michael says,

“we are influenced by the traditional sound of Danish music and the Scots as well. Theis is married to a Scots girl and has lived in Scotland, so we know the music. A couple of hundred years back, the Danish and British traditions were closer than they are today, and that’s the sound we’re aiming for”.

Paul Anderson, who is based in Tarland is already something of a legend in the time honoured fiddle tradition of Scotland. During his competitive career he won most of the traditional fiddle championships in Scotland and in 1995 won Scotland’s premier fiddling event ‘The Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Championship’. A regular on TV and radio, Paul has recorded 9 solo album and guested on over 40 CD’s.

Hailing from Huntly but now living in Deeside Shona Donaldson is one of Scotland’s best known young traditional singers. In 2009 she won the coveted Scots Singer of the Year Award at the Scots Traditional Music Awards. She has a particular enthusiasm for the songs of the North East and as well as singing plays the fiddle.

The collaboration between two of Denmark’s most acclaimed musicians and two of Scotland’s best known traditional musicians is certainly not to be missed. It promises to be a great night of music and song!

Rannok, Paul Anderson and Shona Donaldson will be appearing at Tarland Primary School in Tarland on Friday 14th March and the concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £7.

On Saturday 15th March Rannok will be leading a music workshop in the Village Hall in Braemar at 2pm and all instruments are welcome to learn from two of Denmark’s most acclaimed musicians. The workshop will cost £10.

The concert in Braemar will be in The Village Hall at 7.30pm and tickets are £7.

On Sunday 15th Rannok will again be leading a workshop in The Gordon Arms Hotel in Huntly at 2pm with all instruments welcome and it is £10.

The concert on Sunday night will be in The Gordon Arms Hotel, Huntly at 7.30pm and tickets are £7 on the door.


Paul Anderson

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Feb 212014

Join Larry in The Secret Life of Suitcases as his world is turned upside down and he discovers the thrill of an adventure and the joy of coming home again. Catch it at the Lemon Tree Monday 14 April at 2pm. With Thanks to Liz Smith.

SuitcaseThe Secret Life of Suitcases is a funny and enchanting show, a new collaboration with the Unicorn Theatre, London, by writer/director Lewis Hetherington and puppeteer/designer Ailie Cohen.
The production opens on Saturday 15 March at Platform, Glasgow, followed by a two month Scottish tour prior to a London run at the Unicorn.

This is the first ever co-production between one of Scotland’s leading puppetry companies and the UK’s leading theatre for young audiences.

During the tour the show will also be playing at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen.

Larry works in an office and he likes it very much. He likes sorting and tidying and generally putting things in order. Everything in its place, a place for everything.

But one day, a suitcase suddenly appears at his door. The suitcase has a tiny label. A tiny label with Larry’s name on it. And this suitcase has a mission…

It will be a playful, huge hearted piece for small people with giant imaginations that celebrates an analogue, handcrafted aesthetic in a digital world.

Lewis Hetherington, writer of  Leaving Planet Earth, Grid Iron’s Edinburgh International Festival 2013 show and internationally renowned puppeteer Ailie Cohen, are two of Scotland’s most admired children’s theatre makers. Their previous collaboration Cloudman, was described as ‘…a joy to behold…‘ (The Herald) and has toured throughout Scotland, across the UK, including Imaginate Festival (Edinburgh) and Southbank Centre (London) and worldwide including the USA and Japan, garnering critical praise and playing to sell-out audiences.

The music for The Secret Life of Suitcases is composed by Niroshini Thambar and lighting design is by Andrew Gannon. Lewis Hetherington and Ailie Cohen have also received funding from Creative Scotland to create The Secret Life of Suitcases mobile app that will be launched later this year.

This Creative Scotland funded production is part of the Puppet Animation Festival and co-produced by the Unicorn Theatre, London. The production has been selected by The Touring Network (Highlands and Islands) and Arts nan Eilean for touring in these regions.