Monthly Archives: June 2015

Cara Mitchell – The Caves – Edinburgh

Cara Mitchell, Josie Duncan and Lisa Mitchell at The Caves, Edinburgh, 10th June 2015 – Presented by Fake Frown Acoustic Sessions.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Having supported a wealth of respected artists including Emily Sande, Gemma Hayes and Fatherson to name just a few, a couple of excellent EP’s and a single released, Aberdonian singer-songwriter Cara Mitchell’s performance was one I was particularly interested in.

Rocking some fabulous long golden locks and taking to the stage with just her guitar, by simple candlelight this silhouette came to life. “Suspended Motion” seemed like we were happily being led by the ear and into ‘Cara’s World’. Throughout her setlist it felt very honest, and with pure emotion Cara aired her thoughts, feelings along with hopes all double stitched with yarns of feistiness. She sang lightly at times almost sounding Icelandic, while at other points there was a stronger essence of acoustic folk. “Sail Away” was pretty dramatic, creating the beat from guitar tapping and opening fully with powerful strumming. P.O.A. started fast and became speed singing while “Your Eyes” and the finishing track “The Devil, My Friend” left us on a high and hungry for more. When Cara chatted with the audience she was endearing and presented a warm and open appearance  of loving what she’s doing.

Songwriting and performing, recording and touring, Cara Mitchell is already a strong identity and her musical career excites me. I recon she will be one of our great Scottish women in music for years to come. Earth, environment, love and politics already feature throughout her lyrics and as this develops further she will be a force to be reckoned with. I would hope to see a headlining tour and a full album from Cara by 2016. From what Ive seen and heard she already has plenty of material.

For all the latest news, updates, festival dates and gig information for Cara Mitchell visit Facebook, music from Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes & Amazon.

Joe

Have You Ever Wondered
Pick Up the Pace / Paint Them Red [Explicit]
Afraid of the Dark

Josie Duncan – The Caves – Edinburgh

Josie Duncan, Cara Mitchell and Lisa Mitchell, The Caves, Edinburgh, 10th June 2015 – In association with Fake Frown Acoustic Sessions.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Opening the evening was celtic harpist Josie Duncan, a young singer-songwriter from the Isle of Lewis now based in Glasgow and studying Scots Song at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Her début EP ‘Typewriter’ launch was a sell-out here in Edinburgh and she’s a returning Fringe performer. I have very few reference points for comparing Josie’s skill and technique on the harp, I just found it quite fascinating how composed she remained as she sang her way through a selection of original material and a couple of popular covers thrown in for good measure.

 Josie’s accent and Island charm shone through between songs and amongst her lyrics, self penned “Recuperate” for example sings of being busy, this is simplicity ‘persongified’ and rather catchy. Another of her original songs “I Knew A Man” has a more smooth and maybe a ‘love song’ sound. “Man On A Mission” is a bit more upbeat, lyrically this is a busy one and matched with a more dramatic tempo. She also performed “Fishing Net” from the new EP and not missing a trick managed to squeeze an extra song in at the end to everyones delight.

Josie Duncan will be performing at the Hebridean Celtic Festival in July, launching her second EP and returning for her Fringe GigsThursday 27th at St Mary’s Cathedral and other days playing at The Tron and The Cowshed.

Joe.

For the latest gig information visit Josie’s Facebook page, music from her Soundcloud and videos visit her Youtube channel.

 

James Grant – Edinburgh

James Grant at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh 29th of May 2015.

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James Grant has been a force to be reckoned with on the Scottish music scene for decades now. Love and Money released four outstanding albums from 1986 to 1993 including the classics “Strange Kind of Love” (1988) and “Dogs in the Traffic” (1991) before splitting up in 1994. James Grant’s first outstanding solo album “Sawdust in My Veins” was released in 1998 and since then he has released four other albums including the essential “Strange Flowers” in 2009. In 2011, Love and Money reformed for a one off show during the Celtic Connection festival in Glasgow but due to the success of the event, the band carried on to release a new album called “The Devil’s Debt” in 2012 and “Strange Kind Of Love (Live in Glasgow 2011) in 2013. Since then James Grant has continued to tour as a solo artist and released sporadic tracks on download including the beautiful “Work of Art” in 2013.

On the 29th of May 2015, James Grant returned to the Queen’s Hall to delight a crowd with songs from his solo albums and Love and Money’s back catalogue. As always, James Grant is a charismatic performer and gifted musician who enraptured the audience with his humorist storytelling and dry Glasgow wit. However at the core of any James Grant concert is the exquisite songs. Without a doubt, he is one of Scotland’s finest and most underrated song writers. The audience responded to each song like a reunion with a dear old friend. This is not surprising when you consider many of these songs have been part of people’s lives for years. The songs have become the soundtrack to the hopes, dreams and disappointments experienced by his fans. An evening with James Grant can become a truly cathartic experience, allowing the listener to enter a space where the aspiration of youth and cynicism of experience are reflected on but you still leave the concert hall with a warm comforting glow.

During both parts of the concert, James Grant treated the audience to some jewels from his solo albums including the beautiful but bleak “My Father’s Coat” from 2009 “Strange Flowers” and “Jacqueline’s Shoes” from 2006 “My Thrawn Glory”. He also opened with the sublime 2013 single “Work of Art”. The concert also featured many of the classic Love and Money songs including “Halleluiah Man”, “Walk the Last Mile”, “Jocelyn Square” and the title track from 1988 classic album “Strange Kind Of Love”. Songs from the outstanding album “Dogs in the traffic” were also featured heavily in the show including “Winter”, “Whisky Dream” and the divine “Lips Like Ether” which still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Hearing the songs presented in this stripped back form made me realise just how bloody good they are. With just his voice and an acoustic guitar these songs managed to entrance you throughout the whole show.

Like a fine malt whisky, James Grant just keeps getting better and better with age. I can’t recommend investigating his back catalogue or catching him live highly enough. As a music fan, these are songs you live to hear and the concerts that make you remember why music has become a truly spiritual and emotional experience to you.

Malcolm.

For upcoming concert dates, tickets, music store, videos and links to social media and his journal visit jamesgrantsongbook.com

Paper Aeroplanes – The Caves – Edinburgh

Paper Aeroplanes at The Caves, Edinburgh 07:05:2015 presented by Fake Frown Acoustic Sessions. 

On time Jane, Cat and I arrived pre-excited and ready to party, the last time we were at The Caves together was Torture Garden where the dress code was somewhat different than this evening. Lewis and Leigh provided top notch pre-flight entertainment we had a little time to shop and relax while en-route to a fantastic evening of music.  After a short break Welsh duo Paper Aeroplanes landed safely on stage with their dandy band on-board.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat at BeardedRadio

Although hot on the heels of their latest album release “Joy”, Paper Aeroplanes  kicked off the evening with EP title track “Time To Be” from 2012. This was a pleasant surprise for a packed room, there’s a good positive energy with this song putting us directly onto our flight path. I think I had expected the set-list to be mainly from the ‘Joy’ album but the band subtly blended a mixture of new, recent and older material and as it was my first time seeing them live proved to give a fantastic insight into their back catalogue. The Joy album mentions a journey and reawakening after a period of darkness. It seems that Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn have progressed and evolved over time and they certainly have used this to influence their songwriting and musical direction.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat at BeardedRadio

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat at BeardedRadio

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat at BeardedRadio

The first track performed off the Joy album “Good Love Lives On” demonstates how truly beautiful Sarah’s voice is, that wonderful lilt comes through and thankfully never sounding affected. Engaging the fans with chat and telling tales from touring, the music industry and even a story about a sore eye which led on to vanity, at which point Sarah was heckled for being good looking(I kid you not). The chat between songs was endearing without cheese, playing us off against other venues, hook, line and sinker we fell for it(they probably heard us in Norwich as we cheered and roared competitively).

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat at BeardedRadio

Sarah could close her eyes and fall backwards, Richard would be there to catch her. They have been making and performing music together for nine years and this clearly shows. He is smooth, appearing out of nowhere joining Sarah s vocals seamlessly.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat at BeardedRadio

What really comes across is the emotion in Sarah’s voice. I don’t find it fragile or vulnerable, I think she sings with life’s experiences behind her with a strong and optimistic approach without a fear of revisiting darker times. There is a certain edge to this female artist  who was able to morph and adjust the atmosphere and mood through her stage presence. Its evident when witnessing them play live how much they get lost in the music and are by no means afraid to let go in what proved to be a smooth flight that demonstrated a remarkable band in the act of doing what they do best.  Sarah has been composing songs since she was just 13 years old and no way could have foretold her future back then. Thankfully her musical gift allows her a vehicle and an outlet to beautifully relate the stories back to us.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat at BeardedRadio

“Red Rover” is their most performed live track and I can see why. From the same album ‘Little Letters’ we also had ‘Multiple Love’ which is a song I have always connected to, some songs just do that to you. The more raw and upbeat strumming in “My First Love” and “Days We Made” from ‘We Are Ghosts’ reminded how much I enjoy live music and that subtle celtic influence. “Books” is instantly recognisable and a strong contender to be a huge track this summer.

At some points of the evening it was most appropriate to dance some ‘guy moves’ which were busted out by us all, in particular to the album title track “Joy”. It was simply involuntary as the crowd locked eyes with the band  who reciprocated in return. I would have loved to have heard “Sail” live as its a personal favourite of mine but thats me just being greedy. “Goldrush” is pure vocal perfection, both moody and leading to a soaring high by Sarah who is demure. It’s dramatic and not unimaginable as a “Bond Theme” or the likes.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat at BeardedRadio

When the show concluded, Richard and Sarah made their way through an endless line of fans, all chatting about the numerous times they had seen them, giving feedback from the new album. Right down to the protective sleeve it comes in, this album is presented impeccably and its quality shows. Some may call it Nu Folk, Alt Folk, Pop, Electro Folk or yet another new made up genre I haven’t learned yet. For me Paper Aeroplanes hits me in all the right places and tickles me in places I’d forgotten existed. I strongly recommend ‘Joy’ as an album, many flavours feature and avenues ventured on this one, and now having properly familiarised myself with their entire body of work I understand why this band have gained such a following and have matured along their musical path which is an ongoing process and will prove to be.

Get information on Tour Dates and tickets, the latest news, music, videos, social media and store, visit the Paper Aeroplanes website.

Joe.

 

Dearly Beloved – Scala – Kira

Dearly Beloved Live at the Scala, London 27th May 2015.

Enduro

I couldn’t say no to a last-minute invite to a gig at the Scala, a venue I hadn’t yet ticked off my list. Dearly Beloved are a band I’d never usually go to see as my repertoire of indie/rock music is extremely small; it never usually interests me. However this Canadian four piece from Vancouver somehow managed to change all that. Due to my age, we were brought to the balcony – VIP area, yessss, which had a perfect view of the stage. I looked down to a sea of heads, the audience were for the most part made up of middle aged men with sun-roofs, all awaiting the main act, some 90’s band called Swervedriver (who were actually pretty bad) and I could spot someone at the front reading a book, something v rare lol! The vibe was buzzing and my excitement was building as a huge cloud of smoke came from the side of the stage, engulfing us all.

As soon as they started to play I was entranced and couldn’t keep my eyes off each band member. The amount of energy was immense, everyone on stage was totally going all-out. Watching them made me want to jump up and down as high as I could. The way they played their instruments was insane, I couldn’t help noticing that the lead singer played his bass similarly to a regular guitar, with the full chord rather than singular strings.

During the entire gig, Niva completely entertained the crowd between singing, with quirky props. She fired a luminous gun, erupting with bubbles which I especially loved, and played the theremin– an early electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact. As she waved her arms and spun her hands, there was something quite witchy about it, dark, unique, unstoppable.

It was brilliant when Niva and the main singer jumped from the stage to the moshpit and performed an entire track from there. They were so close, the Scala suddenly seemed small and it made the experience so much more exciting.

Their album, Enduro, is out now available in all the usual places. I never thought I would ever be an Indie Rock Chick but if there’s a song that could persuade me, it would be Olympics of No Regard. On the way home the line “Reap what you sow” from it was stuck in my head on repeat, and I’ve been listening to that track ever since.

The best part was that I went home with a souvenir. The Luminous Bubble Gun.

Kira.

Enduro

The Gaslight Anthem – O2 Academy Glasgow

The Gaslight Anthem9th June 2015 – O2 Academy Glasgow.

Cat and I popped over for an incredible evening at the O2 Academy Glasgow. Support band The Scandals got the crowd pretty worked up leading us to headliners The Gaslight Anthem who received one hell of a welcome and proceeded to blow the roof entirely off this beautiful venue.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

 

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

 

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

 

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

 

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Joe