May 242017
 

Review and Photographs by Dod Morrison.

Iron Maiden were formed in 1975 by bassist and songwriter Steve Harris.

They’ve released 38 albums including 16 studio albums, 11 live albums, 4 EPs, and 7 compilations – probably making them the world’s most famous heavy metal band.

The band were returning to Aberdeen after a five year gap as part of their ‘The Book Of Souls’ tour.

Released in 2015, this was the band’s sixteenth studio album as well as their first double studio album and at 92 minutes, their longest to date. It also contained the band’s longest track, ‘Empire of the Clouds’ at a staggering 18 minutes.

The album was actually recorded in 2014 but the launch was delayed to allow Bruce to recover from the removal of a cancerous tumour on his tongue.

The album was a commercial success reaching number 1 in 24 countries. They started the tour in February 2016 and it will go through until July 2017.

When Iron Maiden come to town it’s not just to play a gig, it’s an EVENT!

They are known for  their extravagant stage shows which usually feature a huge Eddie The Head (the band mascot). Eddie is a perennial part of Maiden, appearing on all the covers of their albums, and he appears in the live shows in various guises.

Unfortunately, a pending dispute about ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ song credits means that the fan’s favourite song (and my own favourite) had been removed from the current The Book Of Souls tour set list.

The Book Of Souls tour came to Aberdeen where the faithful filled the AECC and prepared to worship. The stage was made to look like an Inca style lost city. A half rectangle shaped wall surrounded and contained the stage with several braziers along its length and moving backdrops, flanked by pyramids on either side.

After a rousing version of ‘Doctor, Doctor’ by UFO was played to get the crowd going, the set commenced with Bruce Dickinson standing on the wall above and behind the drum kit.

Bruce inhaled the vapours from a cauldron on a pedestal as the first chapter of Book of Souls plays.

He then launched into a magnificent, energetic rendition of ‘If Eternity Should Fail’.

Flames erupted from the braziers along the city walls as Bruce dashed across them from side to side. Beneath him Nicko McBrain was drumming up a storm on his impressive and very shiny drum kit.

In front of him guitarists Janick Gers, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith covered the stage, adopting the usual foot on monitor poses.

Janick used the furthest forward set of speakers as a seat, and also enjoyed giving it the odd kick just to show it who’s boss.

Of course, amid all of this, the iconic figure of Steve Harris strode across the stage brandishing his bass.

As the set progressed the huge backdrops behind the band changed to reflect each new song.

Bruce also changed costumes to suit the songs.

At one point he sported a gorilla mask and brandished bananas at the other band members! For ‘Power Slave’ he wore a leather mask, which must have been incredibly sweaty on the warm May night, but it didn’t slow him down at all.

He charged across the city walls above and behind the rest of the band.

As all of this unfolded before our eyes, our ears were treated to a very well chosen set list which covered the entire career of this magnificent band. They played oldies such as ‘Wrathchild’ and ‘Iron Maiden’.

During a magnificent version of ‘The Trooper’ Dickinson was clad in a red ‘Trooper’ jacket and he charged along the walls brandishing a huge Union flag.

At one point he amusingly draped it over Janick Gers as he played his guitar below. It was hard to discern how much ‘playing’ Janick actually did as he spent a lot of time throwing his guitar around on its strap, dancing with it.

We were treated to ‘Fear Of The Dark’ and then on to current masterpieces from the ‘Book of Souls’ album, including a blistering rendition of ‘Speed Of Light’ during which the crowd sang impressively along with the chorus.

It was a well chosen, well thought out set list.

You didn’t want to look away even for a second in case you missed something spectacular, such as the huge sporadic flames that erupted from the braziers along the city walls, or the massive inflatable Eddie figure that floated up from behind the set.

During ‘Book Of Souls’  a giant Eddie figure appeared on stage and ‘attacked’ the band.

Janick ran through its legs, then when Eddie tried to chop him with his axe he responded by hitting Eddie between the legs with his guitar.

Eddie then moved on to attack Dickinson who fought back and pulled out Eddie’s heart. Bruce squeezed the blood from it before throwing it into the crowd – most entertaining!!

At the end of the song Bruce said “this isn’t something you see every night, the stage on fire” – and it was! There was a flame about 2 feet high burning up on the top of the set! The band carried on regardless whilst the fire was put out.

The main set finished with ‘Iron Maiden’ before an encore of ‘Number Of The Beast’ (which involved the appearance of a huge inflatable Satan figure), ‘Wasted Years’ and ‘Blood Brothers’.

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May 192017
 

Duncan Harley reviews Wonderland at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen.

A hard-working cast make this Musical an entertaining and at times a truly magical experience.

When Lewis Carroll ran an early draft of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland past fellow fantasy writer George MacDonald of Huntly, neither man could have had the remotest idea that the tale would still have currency some 150 years on.
The original story-line has seemingly never been out of print and literally hundreds of adaptations have emerged from a myriad of genres over the years.

Film, stage and parody head the long list; with comic book, opera and even Xbox 360 take-ons not far behind.

Herein lies a huge problem. Inevitably, reinterpretations trading on the back of this classic tale of literary nonsense will invite comparison with Carroll’s original.

If the Cheshire Cat fails to grin cheesily enough or if there are too few tarts at the tea party then heads will invariably roll.

Happily, theatre audiences are not as fickle as literary critics and if the stand-up-ovation enjoyed by the cast of Wonderland at HMT last Tuesday is anything to go by, then this latest anthropomorphic adaptation has ticked many of the boxes.

With Britain’s Got Talent Finalist Rachael Wooding as Alice and Coronation Street’s Wendi Peters playing the Queen of Hearts this musical is off to a stomping start. Add in Dave Willetts of Phantom fame as White Rabbit and Natalie McQueen as the Mad Hatter and things can only get better.

And get better they do. From shaky beginnings, down to the script and not to the cast, Wonderland soon gets into its stride.

Alice, in this adaptation, is a divorced single mum who after five years of separation clings to the past and, despite admirable encouragement from teen-daughter Ellie, is experiencing what can only be termed an extreme bad-hair-day.

Aside from losing her beau, she has lost her job and some scumbag has pinched her car. Ellie (Naomi Morris) and love-interest Jack (Stephen Webb) are at pains to comfort the stressed-out Alice but to no avail.

Predictably, a white rabbit appears and they all head downwards in a council high-rise lift to meet with the entire Lewis Carroll cast including a talking mirror. After typical Alice type adventures, the heroine is bundled through the looking-glass and her life takes a turn.

The musical numbers here are great, the dialogue is perhaps not so. At points I almost expected a harassed Compere to rush on stage to ask the audience if there was a scriptwriter in the house.

Music and movement is where this production is at. With around twenty numbers packed into two hours there is plenty for all including pounding rock, laid back jazz and heart-warming duets.

A hard-working cast make this Musical an entertaining and at times a truly magical experience. By the final curtain one could almost imagine an appreciative Dickens clapping softly from the Gods.

Directed by Lotte Wakeham and adapted from the works of Lewis Carroll, Wonderland plays at HMT Aberdeen until Saturday 20th May.

Tickets from Aberdeen Performing Arts Tel: 01224- 641122

– Words © Duncan Harley and Images © APA

May 182017
 

By Craig Chisholm.

Inverness based promoter Stephen Robertson is slowly but surely making a name for himself in the world of music promotion.

Over the past year he has put on big names such as Motown star Martha Reeves, The Bad Shepherds, who feature comedian Adrian Edmonston, dub and reggae legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Manchester indie stalwarts The Fall, Radio 6 DJ Craig Charles with his popular Funk and Soul Club and former PIL bassist Jah Wobble, with his band Invaders of The Heart, among others.

Though based up North he has put a formidable line up of talented acts on in Aberdeen venues such as Café Drummond, The Tunnels and The Lemon Tree.

He’s also been racking up the miles to promote gigs in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Stephen started back in the promotion business back 2006 when he started booking acts for several venues in Inverness. In 2014 he started TwentyTen and took things a step further, booking bands in Aberdeen and not just in the Highlands.

As well as established names he has also put on shows by up and coming bands such as Teleman, Fatherson, Bloodlines and Vokovi – all of whom are destined for bigger things.

Upcoming TwentyTen gigs in Aberdeen include an appearance by critically acclaimed influential New York band Swans and a rare intimate acoustic gig by The Rifles.

Coming up in Aberdeen –

  • May 18th – The Rifles (Unplugged) – The Tunnels
  • May 19th – Swans – The Lemon Tree
  • May 21st – Matt Anderson – The Tunnels
  • May 22nd – Natives – The Tunnels
  • June 3rd – Popes of Chillitown – Café Drummond

Tickets are available to these gigs – as well as others in Inverness, Glasgow Dundee and Edinburgh from – https://www.fatsoma.com/twentyten

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/TwentyTenEvents/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/2010Management?lang=en

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May 182017
 

Craig Chisholm reviews Maximo Park and Pins at The Lemon Tree. Photos by Craig Chisholm.

Maximo Park’s new songs go down well with the crowd, despite only having a week or so to familiarise themselves with the material

It takes Maximo Park singer Paul Smith precisely one song before he needs to remove his jacket due to the heat inside the Lemon Tree as his band perform in front of another sold out crowd.

The amiable front man still cuts a dapper swagger even in his less formal shirt and is in talkative mood as he commands the crowd and engages them with his warm banter and boundless energy.

The Geordie band may not be at their commercial peak anymore but latest album ‘Risk to Exist’ still managed to crack the album charts at a very respectable position of 11 and it’s obvious that they still have a devoted and loyal fan base – Smith even noting that Aberdeen is “as far north as we can come before people stop coming to see us”

The set is, understandably, weighted heavily in favour of their latest opus with a good third of the set list plucked from it. The big hits are all there though – ‘Apply Some Pressure’, ‘Books Over Boxes’, ‘Going Missing’ and their biggest UK hit ‘Our Velocity’, which made the Top 10 a decade ago.

Before ‘Questing, not Coasting’ Smith self depreciatingly introduces it as coming from their “Dead and buried third album [Quicken the Heart]”.

And it’s that sort of modest humour that makes him such an engaging and likeable frontman.

Before ‘Going Missing’, he speaks about the time the band first played The Lemon Tree, supporting Bloc Party, and how they were given a pre-gig meal of chili from the venue –  before joking that they never got any this time.

He also displays a bit of affection to the city itself – asking if the locals call it “The ‘Deen”, speaking of his trip to the Belmont Cinema the previous night. He comments on the architecture and the granite structures in the city centre – “So much Granite….. you should think of a nickname to do with that” he quips.

New songs go down well with the crowd, despite only having a week or so to familiarise themselves with the material.

What Equals Love?’ is arguably the poppiest song they’ve ever done, opening number, ‘Risk to Exist’ grooves along whilst putting across a political message and ‘What Did We Do to You to Deserve This?’ has late a 70s Nile Rogers guitar funk to it.

Opening the night are Manchester five piece Pins.

It’s a lazy comparison but, being all female, it’s hard not to compare them to other all female bands such as Warpaint, Babes in Toyland and, especially, Sleater-Kinney in both sound and looks.
But once that lazy comparison is out of the way there’s a lot more to see and hear in the band.

Their look and sound is the sound of punk and post-punk Manchester – The Buzzcocks, Joy Division – before it funked up and spaced out with Baggy in the late 80s.

It’s the look and sound of shade wearing Brooklyn indie bands, influenced by CBGBs and Bowery punk of the mid-70s.

And it works – it sounds, and they look, amazing.

Frontwoman Faith Holgate is confident and driven and especially bonds on-stage with the frantic energy of guitarist Lois MacDonald whilst the rest of the band provide a solid and dependable groove for them to paint their sounds over.
From the moment that Pins hit the stage till the moment that Maximo Park depart it nearly two and a half hours later to be a good night for the paying punters and should either band return they will no doubt be received with the same aplomb as they were tonight.

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May 052017
 

Alabama 3 perform another sell out gig at The Lemon Tree. Craig Chisholm reviews.

Many casual music fans may not know much about Alabama 3 apart from ‘Woke Up This Morning’, their theme tune to iconic TV series The Sopranos or from seeing their name on numerous festivals bills, from Rockness to Wizard and Belladrum to T in The Park, but for their die-hard fanbase they provide a near religious fervour which was evident in their performance at The Lemon Tree.

The band provided the sell-out crowd an entertaining 17 song set in support of their latest album, the minimalistically titled ‘Blues’.

But blues doesn’t even scratch the surface of the bands musical style – gospel, country, acid house, spoken word, rock and electronica are some of the genres that they touch upon over their 21 year, 12 album career.

The 9 piece band are a joy to watch in full flow. At the back of the stage, drums are handled by LB Dope, sequencing and effects by Wizard, bass and guitar by Rock Freebase, harmonica by Harpo Strangelove, and keyboards by The Spirit. It wouldn’t be a stretch to guess these are not their real names.

Stage front, vocals are handled by Larry Love, The Reverend Be Atwell and The Very Reverand Dr D Wayne Love.

The Reverand D Wayne – know to family and friends as Glaswegian Jake Burns – is less the shamanic, messianic figure of yore but more of a dapper East End villain in his look.

The long hair has gone, as have the sunglasses – replaced by a haircut more becoming to a man of his advanced years and a pair of spectacles. But he, along with lead vocalist Larry Love, still proves to be the driving force of the band, working a crowd into a euphoric frenzy with each song whilst co-vocalist Reverend Be Atwell cuts a dapper, but imposing, presence alongside them.

The set spans the bands entire career from old favourites to new tracks.

‘Hypo Full of Love’ from 1996s ‘Exile on Coldharbour Lane’ goes down a storm as the band members engage in a bit of synchronised swaying whilst newer cuts from their latest album. 

‘(I’ll Never) Be Satisfied’, ‘Rattlesnake Woman’ and ‘Nothing to Lose But Your Chains’, prove infectious enough to have a sizeable proportion of the crowd lining up at the merchandise stall to purchase it and have it signed by the band.

Their most famous song, the aforementioned ‘Woke Up This Morning’ is played of course – but such is the bands confidence and faith in their material that it’s played mid-set rather than as an encore.

After over an hour and a half on-stage the band finish up with ‘Hello…. I’m Johnny Cash’ from 2005s ‘Outlaw’ album, leaving the crowd ecstatic and happy.

If you’ve not seen – or heard – Alabama 3 before then it’s recommend you check them out the next time they are in town.

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May 022017
 

Local Music Festival Returns – Promising to be Even Bigger and Better than Last Year! By Craig Chisholm.

“When it comes to Scotland’s greatest bands, Primal Scream are right up there.”

Last year’s Enjoy Music Festival had it all – a great line up, a sunny day and a crowd that loved every second of the day. With top acts such as Example & DJ Wire, Green Velvet, Former Seahorses singer Chris Helme and Dusky joining up and coming local acts such as Emerald Sunday, Ransom FA, Colin Clyne and even an appearance from the Portlethen Pipe Band it proved to be a roaring success with everyone that attended.

This year’s line is even better with headline performances from Scottish indie legends Primal Scream, a DJ set from Chase & Status, the iconic DJ John Digweed, local stars The Little Kicks, rappers Shy and DRS and premier Stone Roses tribute band The Complete Stone Roses.

A full supporting bill across 5 stages will see a mix of bands and DJs entertain patrons whilst a fun fair, family entertainment area, a Market Place and an exclusive VIP area will give people places to hang out and have fun throughout the day.

And all your food and drinks needs will be catered for in the numerous bars and the food village on site.

Speaking about headliners Primal Scream, who return to Aberdeen after a sold-out gig at the cities’ Beach Ballroom last year, the festival’s marketing director, Mark Lenthall said

“When it comes to Scotland’s greatest bands, Primal Scream are right up there. From the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, to T In The Park and Reading, they have played them all, so we’re thrilled to be bringing the band to Aberdeen this summer. With T2 Trainspotting hitting cinemas now, what better festival act could we have!”

So, with no T in The Park this year why not make it along to Hazlehead Park on Saturday 3rd June to kick off the summer in style and make this the biggest and best Enjoy Music Festival to date?

Photographs from last years event  – goo.gl/2ZoHXs 

Tickets are on sale at www.skiddle.com/festivals/enjoy-music
Website www.digitalloveaberdeen.co.uk/enjoymusic
Facebook www.facebook.com/enjoymusicaberdeen
Twitter @EnjoyMusicAbdn

Apr 282017
 

By Fin Hall.

“Beneath the paving stones, the beach.” That was the apothegm of Nuart Aberdeen. I would add: “Above the rubble, art.” 

I must admit, the level of success that Nuart Aberdeen has achieved is beyond my expectations.

I knew that this innovative project, I nearly used the word ‘happening’, because that is what it was, was going to be interesting and popular, particularly amongst people who like art and culture, but it captured the imagination of so many others also.

Before the international artists arrived, not many people I spoke to was aware of it. But as soon as the Herakut painting of their six year old daughter on the New Market wall in The Green was underway, the interest of the citizens of the city was well and truly piqued.

As each new work was underway or completed, it was virtually all that the conversations was about.

The magnitude of some of the works quite surprised some people: such a thing has never happened in Aberdeen before. But equally pleasing was the reaction to the smaller scale pieces too.

Norwegian artist, Nipper’s Mission Directive, Make, Take and Replace installations were popular (where he left made items on clipboards in various locations, e.g. The Shiprow, Trinity  Quay and Harriet Street to name but three, and these things were free for people to take and keep. Then local artists could leave a sample of their work, to be taken too), and so successful, that I personally only saw a work left on one place as I drove by, and by the time I got parked and went back there, it had gone.

Local artists, however were leaving samples of their work at various locations on the trail.

These clipboards are still in situ with the hope that this sharing of work will continue.

The school children I mentioned in a previous article helped paste up their contribution to Julien de Casabianca’s Outgoings project in Queen Street and Shiprow, and in the future, they will pasting more works up in their local areas, thus creating a bit of a legacy.

Julien himself said, in a very interesting and comical talk he gave in the Anatomy Rooms, that he is looking forward to returning next year – as did other artists, particularly on their social media pages.

The event, which was more than just painting, stencils, and sculptures etc, included films and discussions in the Belmont cinema, live music in Drummonds and a fight club debate in Underdog. There were also free pavement chalk painting and street printing workshops too.

Proving exceedingly popular was the street walking art trail tour. Around 300 turned up for the Saturday afternoon one, meaning that it had to be split up into two seperate groups with more than one guide per group.

On the last evening of the event, the members and artists from NUART ABERDEEN spent a very enjoyable time having a game of bowling down at Codonas.

It seems inevitable that the event will return next year, James Finucane, told me,

“The people embraced the art and the artists wholeheartedly. The turnout for the street art tours was phenomenal and it was great to see so many people exploring the city on their own as well, looking for all the works.

“We look forward to developing plans for Nuart Aberdeen 2018 with our partners in the near future.”

So do we James, so do we.

Meanwhile his task continues as he goes ahead with the organising of Nuart in it’s home city of Stavanger as it enters it’s 17th year. This year it runs from 31st August until 15th October.

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Apr 282017
 

With thanks to G Promo PR.

For those who don’t know Madison Violet, it all began in 1999 when Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac met over coffee and omelettes, in a Toronto restaurant called The Green Room.

It was a chance meeting, 1900 km away from the small town where both Lisa and Brenley’s fathers were born. 

That was nearly 18 years ago, and the pair have been writing and creating beautiful music together ever since.

When you hear them, the first thing you’ll notice is that their voices blend together, symbiotically, like family: Born to sing the same songs. And over the past decade, the pair have taken to genre-bending, moving effortlessly from folk to pop to electronic to Americana.

In a word, they are musical chameleons.

Over their last two extensive tours of Europe, Madison Violet was overwhelmed by the incredibly warm reception that came from the fans, when they introduced their newer, bolder sound; one that came from their 2014 album Year Of The Horse. But Madison Violet knew that those songs had even more potential. And they felt an even bigger challenge would be to let the songs speak for themselves, recreating them in a more acoustic form. Their purest form.

And with that, came The Knight Sessions, which is both a re-imagining of previously recorded songs and a creation of brand new songs, inspired by their deep-seeded love of the modern acoustic sound and the human experiences shaping their world today.

With that in mind, Brenley and Lisa decided to start their new adventure by visiting several pawn shops in Toronto, in a quest to find discarded items that they could use to make natural sounds in the studio. They sifted through an island of misfit toys and out of date electronics, and eventually found several instruments and percussive toys.

From children’s wooden blocks to ukuleles with missing strings, one by one, Brenley and Lisa gave these gems a home, and started working on their new album. These unique items are what gave The Knight Sessions a more organic feel. The textures of the wood. The plucking of the old strings. The stories that were already in these ‘toys’, came out through the songs.

So, as the tour nears, Brenley and Lisa will be packing their suitcases a little lighter. They will not only be returning to the UK and Europe for dozens of shows, but they will be arriving in their most organic form.

The way most Madison Violet fans discovered them. As a duo. No backing band. No big light show. No rock star after-show dance parties.

This will enable Brenley and Lisa to showcase The Knight Sessions as it was meant to be heard. Raw but refined. Stripped down but still packing a punch. And it will also find them, as they were in 1999, ‘Back To The Roots’.

Madison Violet · ‘Back To The Roots’ Ireland & UK tour · May 2017

Tue 2         Barnoldswick, Lancs.                  Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre
Thu 4        Omagh, N. Ireland                         Strule Arts Centre
Fri 5          Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford    Colfers Pub
Sat 6         Rathfriland, N. Ireland                  The Bronte Music Club
Sun 7        Belfast                                      Black Box
Mon 8        Isle of Eigg, Inner Hebrides               Tea Rooms
Tue 9        Arisaig, Scottish Highlands               Astley Hall
Thu 11       Kinross                                     Backstage at the Green Hotel
Fri 12        Glassel, nr. Banchory                     Glassel Village Hall
Sat 13       Glasgow                                    CCA
Tue 16      Sheffield                                   Greystones
Wed 17      Leicester                                  The Musician
Thu 18       Birmingham                              Kitchen Garden Café 
Fri 19        London                                      Stanley Halls, South Norwood

Madison Violet Reviews:

“… swathed in glorious harmonies and delectable melodies.” – Country Music People

“Heartaching harmonies and tunes make Madison Violet a must-see act.” – The Independent

“They hold little back in their singing, as MacEachern’s sultry rasp dovetails with MacIsaac’s sweeter tones to create a kind of bluegrass-old-time sensibility with rock ‘n’ roll attitude that packs power as well as disarming honesty.” – The Herald

“There is something magical about duets, the way the voices interlace to create a sound that is neither one singer nor the other but something else altogether. Canadian duo Madison Violet make it sound the easiest thing in the world” – The Irish Times

“Utterly enchanting from beginning to end; Madison Violet provided an evening of unmissable entertainment, filled with warming anecdotes and beautifully told stories that was worth every minute.” – Maverick

“…beautifully sung…an all-acoustic cry from the heart” – Scotland on Sunday

Madison Violet – The Knight Sessions:

Format            CD & DL
Label                Big Lake Music
Cat. No.          471203-2
Release Date    May 5 2017

Links:

www.madisonviolet.com 
www.facebook.com/madisonviolet 
www.twitter.com/@madisonviolet
Audio: ‘We are Famous’ & ‘Ohio’ (acoustic)
Video: ‘Don’t Let Your Heart Be Troubled

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Apr 202017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix.

Organisers of the Nuart Aberdeen festival have hailed the overwhelming response from members of the public to the city’s first ambitious international street art festival.
A team of internationally acclaimed artists showcased their talents by creating eye-catching murals around the city centre which attracted large crowds over the Easter weekend.

Nuart Aberdeen was brought to the city by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, and was supported by main sponsor Burness Paull LLP.

Held in the Norwegian city since 2001 and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart Aberdeen was the first overseas version of the festival.

Street artists Fintan Magee, Nipper, Add Fuel, M-City, Alice Pasquini, Jaune, Isaac Cordal, Martin Whatson, Herakut, Julien de Casabianca and Robert Montgomery all showcased their latest work.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Nuart Aberdeen festival and it was great to see so many people admiring the work, engaging and capturing it in the build up to, and throughout the weekend.

“All of the artists involved have caught the imagination of Aberdonians and we are very proud to have spearheaded this ambitious project with our partners to bring the festival to Aberdeen.

“We all know the granite shines in the sunshine but it can be a different story on gloomier days and we hope the influential art helps to enhance the area and offering for residents and visitors alike.

“The festival will leave a lasting legacy in the city, all of the street art will remain in place and we hope help to attract more cultural activities to the city and help Aberdeen as we encourage a transition through the city centre masterplan.”

As well as street art, there was also an extensive festival programme of activity including walking tours, talks, presentations, art workshops and the UK cinema premier of Saving Banksy at Belmont Filmhouse.

The festival artists also worked alongside local artists to create a lasting impression in the city centre by brightening up neglected spaces with their work.

Locations for the Nuart Aberdeen Festival work include: Market Village (Market St), Centro Court (Loch Street) Mackay´s (29-31 Queen St), The Illicit Still (Guestrow, Aberdeen), The White Screen (visible from Union Bridge), and Robert Gordon’s College Wall (Harriet Street).

Martyn Reed, director and curator of Nuart, said:

“It’s been amazing to see the diversity of those who participated in the festival, from young toddlers taking part in our Easter egg hunt to young people and adults engaging with the street art throughout the weekend.

“It seems like people have taken it upon themselves to explore the city centre throughout the festival which is a positive outcome.

“We are really pleased to have trusted custodians in our partners to continue the work of the festival, and we look forward to seeing the city flourish creatively.

“We’re also looking forward to working with Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City Council and our partners to develop Nuart Aberdeen 2018.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

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Apr 202017
 

80s Hollywood hair metal legends reunite for an evening of rock to a small, but appreciative, audience. Craig Chisholm reviews.

Fate can be funny but also cruel at times.
Take the case of a couple of 80s rock bands that have seen members come and go but recently reunited their singers and lead guitarists for the first time in years. One of these bands is called Guns n’ Roses. You’ve probably heard of them and you know their story.

Singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash are touring together for the first time since the early 90s.

It’s a huge, lucrative, money-spinning event that takes in stadiums all over the globe. If you want to see them then their only British dates are at the London Stadium in June where they’ll play in front of 160,000 fans over two nights.

The other band are their former peers – the similarly titled LA Guns.

Their origins are intertwined – Tracii Guns was the original guitarist for Guns n’ Roses back in 1984 before falling out with Axl Rose and departing the band. He then formed a new band and worked with various singers before teaming up with vocalist Phil Lewis and having some minor commercial success in the late 80s and early 90s.

The commercial peak didn’t last long though, mostly due to the rise of Nirvana and grunge, before Lewis and Tracii Guns finally parted company in the late 90s.
Weirdly, both toured as separate incarnations of LA Guns for most of the early noughties before, like Axl and Slash, reuniting again last year. They too are currently on a UK European tour and if you wanted to see them then you could have wandered down to The Assembly where they played in front of less than 160 people.

Fate can definitely be cruel and you have to wonder if Tracii Guns ever wondered what could have been if he hadn’t fell out with Axl 30 years ago. But, if he does, he doesn’t show it in front of the sparse crowd on this occasion.

In fact, the band put on a solid and professional performance that goes down well by the fans in attendance.

The band, wisely, stick to the early albums for most of the set – their self-titled debut providing almost half of the main set alone – from openers ‘No Mercy’ and ‘Electric Gypsy’ though ‘Sex Action’, ‘Bitch is Back’ and more.

Lewis and Guns look to be enjoying themselves and put on an energetic performance that has sections of the crowd head-banging or singing along all night. Lewis in particular interacts and chats with the fans at the front in a colloquial and friendly manner.

During encore track ‘The Ballad of Jayne’ he even hands the mic to fans in the front row to sing along – kudos to the first two of the singers for pretty good performances that leaves the band impressed. However, the third audience member given the chance to shine probably only deserves praise for his enthusiasm, if not his voice, and his heroic level of drunkenness. 

The band finish their set with a boisterous ‘Rip and Tear’ from their second album ‘Cocked And Loaded’ before leaving the stage and on to the next gig of their reunion.

Whether there are more in attendance than in Aberdeen remains to be seen but those diehard fans who do attend will appreciate what they witnessed on stage.

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