Jun 232017
 

With thanks to Craig Chisholm.

Aberdeen’s very own festival in the city returns in September in what promises to be an entertaining weekend. True North, now in its’ third year, has announced another strong line up over the weekend of 7 – 10 September. Kicking off proceedings are highly acclaimed act Public Service Broadcasting

With their new album released in July their date at His Majesty’s Theatre on Thursday 7th September is sure to be a sell-out.

The album, entitled Every Valley, depicts the history of industry in Wales, chronicling the rise and decline of the country’s coal industry.

Following previous concerts at The Lemon Tree, this is Public Service Broadcasting’s biggest date in Aberdeen and, as anyone that has seen them before will testify, they are sure to put on another memorable performance.

If one gig isn’t enough on Thursday night, then be sure to pop past the Lemon Tree afterwards for a late show by art-rockers Wild Beasts. The band are scheduled to release a new album – Boy King – in August so this will provide an early opportunity to see them perform tracks from it.

Friday night again offers two bills in two venues –  cult Scottish indie band Arab Strap at The Tivoli whilst The Lemon Tree plays host to art-pop quartet Dutch Uncles.

The recently reformed Arab Strap recently sold out two nights at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom and at forthcoming events at the Kelvingrove Bandstand. The more intimate settings of The Tivoli will provide a perfect setting for the band’s unique storytelling and singular musical vision.

Manchester band Dutch Uncles take musical inspiration from Low-era Bowie, Kate Bush’s The Red Shoes, East European Techno and, they claim, “some slightly less fashionable records belonging to their Dads”. With inspirations like that how could you afford to miss them?

Saturday night at The Lemon Tree also provides the opportunity to stay up late as Lost Map Records main-man The Pictish Trail, better known to friends and family as Johnny Lynch, brings his unique blend of folk, electro and humour to the stage there once again. Guest DJs will also be on hand to spin tunes into the wee small hours.

It’s His Majesty’s Theatre that provides the most intriguing performance of the weekend – a full band interpretation of Fleetwood Mac’s legendry album Rumours. Start to End provide the musical backing and they will be joined onstage by musicians from Pronto Mama, Fat-Suit, Admiral Fallow and a few special guests still be announced. This should again prove a big draw and will appeal to fans of all ages.

Rounding up the weekend is a double bill of two Scotland’s most talented young performers as The Tivoli plays host to Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison and Kathryn Joseph, who was the winner of 2015 Scottish Album of the Year.

On top of the main performances there’ll also be a Fringe festival over the course the weekend at venues such as The Lemon Tree and intimate sessions at the Maritime Museum.

Tickets go on sale for all concerts on Friday 23rd November – http://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/truenorth

Jun 232017
 

Duncan Harley reviews The Wedding Singer at His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen.

Once you get to grips with the schmaltzy ‘girls just wanna get married’ portrayal of the eighties which haunts this musical from the very start, The Wedding Singer is actually a whole load of fun.

Despite a story-line thin enough to gladden the heart of a coronary bypass surgeon and sufficient cheesy humour to keep McDonalds going in triple cheeseburger’s for a month, the entertainment value more than makes up for this sugar-sweet take on the Reagan decade.

Based on the hit 1998 film of the same name, the musical tells the tale of wedding singer and emcee Robbie Hart.

Robbie and his band ‘Simply Wed’ – yes you read that correctly – play the New Jersey wedding circuit making a precarious living on the back of those who have popped the question. Jilted and depressed he abandons the wedding gigs and comes of age on the bar mitzvah circuit. Predictably he gets the girl and equally predictably he gets invited to sing at his own wedding.

Starring Jon Robyns as the multi-talented Robbie Hart and X Factor/singer songwriter Cassie Compton as love interest Julia Sullivan, it would be difficult to imagine this production going far wrong really. Well known for roles including secretly-gay Rod in Avenue Q and Sir Galahad in Spamalot Jon’s performance literally shines.

Add in a mix of stars including Ray Quinn, as Glen Gulia, and Barbara Rafferty in the role of Rosie the rapping-granny and The Wedding Singer is off like the clappers.  A clutch of iconic dance-numbers including Saturday Night in the City and All About the Green plus some pretty dang impressive lighting and audio complete the line-up.

Alongside the main characters, the cast list includes a motley crew of ‘fake’ characters including Ronnie Reagan, Billy Idol, Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper. Additionally, and I could be wrong, amongst the line-up in the bar scene I swear I spotted a suitably inebriated Charles Bukowski

As a feel-good, Aspartame sweetened heart-warming trip into the past, The Wedding Singer works really well although the story-line does pose awkward questions for those who were actually around at the time.

Will Hart get the girl? And does Julia really want to be Mrs Gulia? For a definitive answer or two you will just have to join the audience. Oh! And watch out for those brick-size cell-phones and, of course, that singing cake!

Lighting Designer Ben Cracknell/Sound Designer Ben Harrison.
The Wedding Singer plays at HMT Aberdeen until Saturday 24 June
Tickets from Aberdeen Performing Arts Tel: 01224- 641122
Words © Duncan Harley and Images © APA

Jun 082017
 

Aberdeen’s Very Own Music Festival Returned for its Third Year, and Aberdeen Voice’s Craig Chisholm was there to review. Photos by Craig Chisholm.

With no T in The Park planned this year what are Scottish music fans supposed to do for their Summer festival fix?

Well, for residents of the North East, the answer was right on their doorstep as Enjoy Music returned for its third and, arguably, most successful year.

Boasting headliners such and Chase & Status, John Digweed and the legendary Primal Scream the festival moved up a league and proved not only was it here to stay but that it was also ready to expand and become a fixture of the festival circuit.

Unfortunately, however, things do not always go without a hitch.

A minor issue of missing toilets caused the opening of the festival to be delayed a couple of hours.

But times of hardship can bring out the best in people and it’s to the eternal credit of the organisers and their team that they managed to not only get things back on track but also not drop any of the acts from the bill.

Credit must also go to the bands performing on the main stage in the afternoon as they truncated their sets slightly to accommodate all acts and give everyone their time in the limelight.

Kicking things off are Aberdonian rockers The Ruckus who deliver a short set of, as they describe it, “no nonsense guitar driven rock n roll” and as far as descriptions go that’s certainly one that describes things perfectly.

Afternoon slots are also performed by Montrose band Emerald Sunday with their indie and britpop influenced rock and hugely popular local cover band FUBAR who provide some technically impressive renditions of Queen and AC/DC among others.

The hard rock takes a back seat for a while after this and gives way to the more soulful and funk sounds of FaR.

Led by the striking and powerful vocalist Fifi Greasly the band prove the perfect sound to an afternoon in the sun.

The same also applies to the magnificent Ransom FA. Mixing the urban sounds of hip hop, grime and trap the Aberdeen based crew pull of a short but energetic and forward thinking set to an obviously impressed crowd.

But, unfortunately, the sun doesn’t last and, as is customary at music festivals in Scotland, the heavens open.

It rains during sets by The Complete Stone Roses and acclaimed local indie band The Little Kicks.

That doesn’t stop the crowd from enjoying them however – The Complete Stone Roses pull off a pretty good approximation of their Manchester heroes.

The Little Kicks, led by frontman Steve Milne, perform an infectious and memorable set in support of their latest album, Shake Off Your Troubles.

The rain does however provide an unexpected bonus for bands and DJs playing in the tents as a lot of the crowd take shelter.

The Retro and Alternative tent has an eclectic bill that combines acoustic (Mark Buchan, Peterhead’s Marc Culley and others), the melodic Byrds and britpop influenced rock from Keith band The Carousels and hip hop from local rap legends SHY & DRS.
The retro part of the day is provided by a quite compelling performance by Bob Wyper in his guise as Rod Stewart, which goes down a storm in the packed tent as he runs through Rod’s big hits as the actual storm rages outside.

Also performing some covers, albeit in a unique style, are young band Gleadraich.

Hailing from Carnoustie the band perform songs by Blondie and The Undertones and many more with the added attraction of a bagpipe player taking centre stage, mimicking the vocal parts of the songs in most cases. It’s an unusual and entertaining concept that wins them over new fans of all ages.

The night in the tent is rounded off by a set by Ransom FA’s official DJ, Nojan and a set by Aberdonian alternative rockers The Cappolos.

Festivals aren’t just for grown-ups though, and Enjoy has catered for the kids as well – a whole section of the field is set aside for them which has slides, football challenges, colouring in walls, Disney princesses and Marvel Superheroes casually walking past. A family tent provides such entertainment as hip hop dancing for the eager kids. 

In the middle of it all is a Wrestling ring manned by Wrestlezone Scotland. There is a constant crowd packed  around the ring (not all of them children either!) as the Wrestlezone boys and girls provide action packed entertainment throughout the day.

There must have been a few parents pestered afterwards to get tickets to Wrestlezone’s Aberdeen Anarchy event at the Beach Ballroom on the 10th June once they’d seen this performance.

Back to the music however, and for those that prefer dance beats to electric guitars, two venues are available on site.

The TLF & Rondevue wigwam is steady all day with the crowd appreciating sets by a talented DJs such as Danny Reid, Tim Haux and Flexi.

It’s the perfect place to chill out in the sun and appreciate the day.

The Digital Love & Majestic Tent is the bigger of the dance stages and it proves immensely popular throughout the day to clubbers.

By the time that dance titan John Digweed takes the stage for a two hour set the tent is rammed with the faithful who witness a peerless set from the legendary DJ.

Closing off the Main Stage are the two biggest bands of the night.

Primal Scream are, as usual, a breath-taking live act. Their 75 minute set contains a few choice cuts from their latest album – 2016’s Chaosmosis – such as 100% or Nothing, Where The Light Gets In and Golden Rope as well such classics as the southern fried boogie of Jailbird, the laid back dubby grooves of Star, and the psychedelic dance classic Slip Inside This House.

The band close off their set with four of their absolute classics – Loaded, Country Girl, Rocks and Movin’ On Up before departing the stage to appreciative and ecstatic audience. The bands next Scottish performance is as special guests to The Stone Roses at a sold out Hampden Park in a few weeks so it’s a genuine thrill and a commendable coup to the Enjoy organisers to have them perform in a much more intimate outdoor setting.

In another coup of a booking, Chase & Status take the stage for a DJ set of high energy dance and rap.

Credit to the crowd at this point too.

After over 9 hours of music they are still packed at the front and “giving it large” for their set which the faithful clearly never want to stop.

But eventually it must end, and as the crowd depart after the last acts they must already be looking forward to next year’s event – and possibly making a mental note to take a rain jacket next time, just in case.

How the promoters top this year’s event remains to be seen. But one thing for sure is Enjoy Music is only going to get bigger and better as it goes on.

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Jun 022017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Organisers of the hugely popular inaugural Nuart Aberdeen have hailed the response of visitors, as research reveals that 80% of attendees agreed the event increased their pride in the Granite City.

The festival, brought to the city by Aberdeen Inspired, attracted crowds of thousands and set the arts and cultural scene in Aberdeen alight.

A survey put together by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce has revealed the thoughts of visitors to the event, which reflect the fantastic feedback received throughout the festival and in recent months.

Nearly 90% of respondents to the survey agreed that Nuart Aberdeen, which was supported by Aberdeen City Council and Burness Paull LLP, demonstrates that Aberdeen is a progressive city, with three in four also stating that the artistic extravaganza was their main reason for coming into the city centre.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The response we have received to Nuart Aberdeen, both in the city and around the world, absolutely blew us away. We knew the ambition of the event was high, so to receive such an amazing reaction was incredible after all the hard work that went into bringing it here.

“These findings are wonderful to look at, as they reflect what we strive to achieve, increasing footfall to the city centre and bringing a sense of pride and joy back to our wonderful city.

“Feedback in recent years from our levy payers has highlighted a demand for more large scale events to be held in Aberdeen and we are pleased to be delivering this, and seeing the benefits that it is bringing in terms of economic impact and the aesthetic of Aberdeen.

“The survey also showed that 76% of respondents agreed that the festival brought communities together, which is very much what we felt throughout the weekend, as families, individuals, couples and visitors to our city came together to enjoy and celebrate street art and the transformation it brought to the city.”

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.

Elaine Farquharson-Black, partner and head of planning at Burness Paull said:

“The Nuart Festival has reenergised the city centre, igniting a pride in Aberdeen and promoting a real feeling of inclusivity.

“The stunning artworks and the stories they tell are reimagining our built environment, but what is more important is the positive vibe Nuart has brought to Aberdeen and its people, and the long-lasting effect this will have.”

The popularity of Nuart Aberdeen has led Aberdeen Inspired to introduce regular walking tours throughout the summer. These will be held every Saturday at 11.30am, led by expert Jon Reid, with a meeting point outside Contour Café on the Green.

Mr Watson added:

“The numbers at our walking tours during the festival were absolutely incredible, with more than 1,600 people taking advantage of them, and we are thrilled to be introducing them in the summer months.

“The tours will give visitors the full Nuart Aberdeen experience, taking attendees to the smaller pieces of art as well as the bigger murals created for this year’s festival. Our dedicated tour guide Jon Reid will also give background on each of the 11 international artists that took part, as well as an insight into their inspiration for the work they created.”

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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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