Archive for December, 2009
Thursday, December 31st, 2009
You can guess a person’s age by their wrinkles, skin tone, voice, laughter lines, sagginess… and how they choose to spend Hogmanay.
TEENAGERS: Miraculously immune to the cold, they can be found in mini-skirts and paper-thin shirts, soaking up the great outdoors at a plastic-strewn city-centre street party whilst trying to avoid being felt up by strangers.
EARLY 20s: It’s time to go indoors for that annual dose of ticketed fun, almost certainly at an overpriced nightclub or awkwardly underpopulated gig venue.
LATE 20s: The warmth and familiarity of a friend’s living room, the absence of a drink queue, the 4am irate neighbour, the 6am police visit.
30s: Logic reigns – and logic dictates there’s just no need to leave the house. Out goes boundary charges and Party Feet, in comes the crushing inevitability of Only An Excuse and Jackie Fucking Bird.
40s: Little Jack and Olivia will be causing chaos at knee-level, but their owners will be only too happy to let them run amok if it means the kiddies are conked out before the bells toll. Those with sympathetic babysitters will be at a ceilidh, always a ceilidh.
50s+: Goodness me, it’s just another day. You’ll only regret it in the morning.
So now you know how to bring in the New Year, here’s a city-by-city guide to the live bands mental enough to be entertaining the drunks on Hogmanay in Scotland…
Concert In The Gardens (£37.50)
Madness, Noisettes, Codeine Velvet Club
Street Party (£10)
The Enemy, Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Stanley Odd, The Cuban Brothers, Glitterbanditz
Toad House Gig (£5)
Jamie Sutherland (Broken Records), Virgin Of The Birds
Ultrasonic, Chill FM, The Rhythmic State, Driller Killerz
George Square (£15)
Deacon Blue, Tommy Reilly, Bahookie, The Black Hand Gang
Sons And Daughters, Sparkling Shadazz
The Flying Duck (£12)
Rod Jones & The Birthday Suit, Paper Planes
King Tut’s (£10)
The Amphetameanies, The Bucky Rage, Variety Suite
The Captain’s Rest (£6)
St Deluxe, Schnapps, Alan McKim
Pivo Pivo (£6)
Casino City, Another Love Party, Codeen
Nice ‘n’ Sleazy (£5)
Boycotts, Frances And Her Trampoline
13th Note (free)
Project Ven Hell, Sexy Entourage
Be A Familiar, Mitchell Museum, Washington Irving, Palace Ballet, Call Me Ishmael
The Barn Bar (free)
The Twa Tams (free)
Broken Records – Guilty Conscience/Restless Mind
Noisettes – Never Forget You
The Enemy – Away From Here
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
Hutchison is so affected by the significance of this night in the life of FRIGHTENED RABBIT that he’s on the verge of tears.There are two moments when Scott
The first comes during Good Arms Vs Bad Arms, in which the poignant slide-guitar sound echoes around the high ceilings of the ABC, a venue they could have sold out twice over. Glasgow, the city that has been the band’s home from home since their inception, has at last realised just how special these guys are.
I’ve been to at least a dozen Frightened Rabbit gigs in the past three years and never once seen them ‘go through the motions’. I don’t think they’d even know how to. Every song they perform seems so real and delicately formed, the lyrics both relatable and relevant. They give everything of themselves and ask for nothing in return.
Three songs in, a bunch of flowers lands at Scott’s feet. “I feel like Morrissey,” he quips, sweeping the anonymous fan’s gift across the floor and unceremoniously lobbing them to the far end of the stage. “Thanks for the flowers, by the way, but I’m allergic.”
The recent addition of a fifth member Gordon Skene – who flits between guitar, keyboard and even banjo on Old Old Fashioned – is a timely reminder that this band are building for the big time. Head Rolls Off and The Modern Leper, with their slow-fast tempo changes, benefit most tonight from a new-found meatiness and it doesn’t take long to realise that Frightened Rabbit have never sounded better live.
The only track aired from debut album Sing The Greys is the controlled thrash-pop of Square 9, with its immense conclusion as Grant’s bandmates leave him on stage for a frenzied solo drumming finish. After barely 30 seconds, Scott returns and asks the crowd to raise a glass (see above) as he thanks them for “one of the finest nights in Frightened Rabbit history” before the now-traditional singalong that is Poke, which the audience is only too willing to join in.
The band close the set with Keep Yourself Warm, possibly the group’s most unlikely anthem, and as it ends, Scott is the one left alone on stage this time, wringing out the final note on his guitar over and over again as he makes this euphoric moment last as long as possible. He is visibly moved and his eyes begin to well up as he takes in the crowd’s vociferous appreciation. I think everyone felt it.
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
the world’s biggest-selling new artist lives 25 miles down the road yet has barely had a mention on The Pop Cop or any other Scottish blog.It has been a strange year for music when you consider that
It’s also been a strange year for albums. I’ve probably loved more albums this year than any other but the difference is that I haven’t obsessed over any of them. 2009 didn’t provide a Boxer or an Alligator or a Funeral, but that doesn’t stop me feeling anything other than genuine exhilaration for every record you’ll find on the top-10 list, starting with the album that came first: Crossing The Rubicon by The Sounds.
THE POP COP: Congratulations, The Sounds, here’s your award for making the best album of 2009.
MAJA IVARSSON (singer): “That’s awesome, thank-you so much. It’s a nice compliment because there are a lot of cool albums out this year.”
FELIX RODRIGUEZ (guitarist): “The right choice!”
THE POP COP: So would be this your first award then?
MAJA: “We’ve won about five awards, including a Swedish Grammy.”
THE POP COP: Oh.
MAJA: “We also got an award for the best dressed band.”
THE POP COP: Unlike your previous two albums, Crossing The Rubicon didn’t have major-label funding – did that affect how it turned out?
MAJA: “We didn’t have to focus on making a three-minute hit song with a chorus after 50 seconds. Some fans think the album is a little too slow but I love it. It doesn’t have cheesy-pop synth songs. It has a lot more depth to it – I think that’s what happens when you’ve been a band for a long time. We were teenagers when we met and I just turned 30. In a way it feels weird, like ‘what the fuck happened?’ I still feel like I’m a teenager sometimes. It’s kinda crazy but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last 10, 11 years. I’m the biggest fan of our band, if you know what I mean.”
Thanks again to The Sounds for accepting The Pop Cop’s award in person. Here’s the full top-10 rundown, with each album description exactly 140 characters long, Twitter-style. Just because.
1. THE SOUNDS – CROSSING THE RUBICON
We never dreamed The Sounds had it in them to make the best album of the year. It’s punchy, hook-heavy pop which consistently hits the mark.
The Sounds – Dorchester Hotel
2. THE XCERTS – IN THE COLD WIND WE SMILE
Honest, accessible, emotive (but not emo) rock by three lads with an incredibly astute ear for a tune. There’s not one filler on this album.
The Xcerts – Lost But Not Alone
3. DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL – ALTER THE ENDING
The expensive production is its strength. Gone is the weedy old acoustic Dashboard, in comes electric songs, big ambitions and killer tunes.
Dashboard Confessional – Everybody Learns From Disaster
4. MUMFORD & SONS – SIGH NO MORE
If only every man’s broken heart resulted in an album of raucous party-folk. A success story that was long predicted but no less gratifying.
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
5. EMMY THE GREAT – FIRST LOVE
The charming lo-fi sound lets the lyrics steal the show. Emmy should sit with Feist and Annika Norlin as the decade’s finest female artists.
Emmy The Great – Bad Things Coming, We Are Safe
6. SEA WOLF – WHITE WATER, WHITE BLOOM
An accomplished, continually rewarding, divine album. If you like Arcade Fire or Bright Eyes (and who doesn’t?), Sea Wolf has to be for you.
Sea Wolf – The Traitor
7. BROKEN RECORDS – UNTIL THE EARTH BEGINS TO PART
Not only the hardest-working band in the country by miles, their debut record of orchestral bluster made good on the promise of their demos.
Broken Records – Nearly Home