Category Archives: N E W S

Shuffle Down 2017

credits

the crowd

sweet p photography (featured image)

Gregor Boyd photography

what eddie sees photography

afterglow events

ben white sound

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we’re on the bill! A great line up. Artwork Afterglow Events

 

 

Shuffle Down had a different feel about it this year as we were playing! Read more about that experience in our latest gig diary.

As I arrived at the Dobbie hall some two hours before the doors opened there was a surprising calm in the air. The various volunteers and stalls were quietly setting up their various stations, there was an air of anticipation, would it be as busy this year?

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Capturing the live sound for so many different bands with so many different instruments is a skill mastered by Ben. Pic What Eddie Sees

Shuttling back and forth from the stage was Ben White who once again had the duties of mixing and amplifying a number of different bands with a wide range of instruments; he did a superb job. Anyone who has ever provided the sound for a gig will understand how difficult this is to do for two or three bands never mind a festival roster! So hats off to Ben and his team they did very well providing a nice meaty kick sound that cut through the full range of frequencies that are needed for a balanced sound. Everything from the guitars to the bass sounded well knitted. I would argue that this year was the best sound, a couple of technical glitches aside (which you have to expect), it was clear the sound crew have got to grips with the acoustics the hall

In the background Jim Dunbar was once again overseeing the task, A stalwart of the local scene for many years. During soundcheck he reflected on his many years hauling speakers to various venues and hinted that it may be time to put his feet up.

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Jim Dunbar was doing our sound when we first started playing live. Local legend.

He did the sound back in at our first gigs at the Martell some 22 years ago, now here we were in the Dobbie hall about to embark on another Shuffle Down and all the challenges that come with putting on a show that gives local bands an opportunity to reach a bigger audience on a grand stage.

Once the soundcheck was completed the lights slowly came on, the true beauty of the stage was revealed. Shuffle Down always has the personal touch of the loyal volunteers and of course Rikki and Laura Tonner. This year was no different with a waterfall of lights hugging the back of the stage and the ever present Afterglow Lamp, stage right, proudly illuminated..

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Beauty and the fest, The Everglow lamp. Pic Gregor Boyd

The heavens opened outside, biblical rain fell as the last of the early bands arrived to drop off gear backstage and exchange handshakes. There was a good air between the artists, mutual respect and a common desire to entertain the crowds that were on their way. The doors opened and the rain started to ease, a good number of punters drifted into the scent of coffee from The Common Grind and a whiff of ale from the Tryst Brewery.

Up first was Kieran Fisher playing an acoustic set of originals and covers; his gravely voice reminded me of Kelly Jones I thought this was a lazy comparison until he nailed the Stereophonics. Kieran looked confident up in the big stage which is a hard thing to pull off given that you’re up there on your own. Continuing the acoustic theme was Robbie Lesiuk, when he took the stage the hall was starting to fill with punters. The noise of the crowd chatter grew as people greeted each other the atmosphere was starting to build; there was now a buzz about the place. Robbie played well, his subtle use of loops is always good to listen to and Fault Lines always gets stuck in your head

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A charismatic front man who had the crowds full attention. Pic Gregor Boyd

I was surprised to see Have Mercy Las Vegas on early but it really did help get the feet stomping. Their charismatic front man had the audience stamping and clapping and for the first time I felt genuinely nervous that our rock set would plummet to the earth like a dropped pint of real Tryst ale. Then up stepped Pronto Mama, whose dynamic sound no doubt tested the sound engineering skills of Ben but I felt that the mix held well. Their set was a good blend of synth, brass and guitars. I really enjoyed their show. There was an intense feel to it.

We were up next and you can read all about that in our gig diary.

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Rock comes to Shuffle. Pic Gregor Boyd

We played a half hour show which felt like 5 minutes. As we stepped back stage and took a few photos and admittedly did a couple of high fives the Lonely Tourist stepped up to the mic. The stage curtains were drawn so he had a more intimate platform for which to share his tunes. I caught a couple and I really enjoyed his music; I love the full band sound on his record and I hope he ventures up here with the band in the future.

I headed out the the stalls to grab a fine burger and the sun peaked out from behind the dark May clouds, they broke and scatters of blue sky could finally be seen. Finally I could relax and enjoy some Dobbie Shuffle from the Tryst stall (can I by bottles of this somewhere?! It’s sweet!). The alcohol hit me pretty quick!

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Ghosts on the stage. Pic Gregor Boyd

I was really looking forward to Ghostwriter who I believe are one of the best bands to have emerged from the scene recently. For Hire (Summer never ends) was a great opener and that guitar riff is one of the most infectious I’ve heard for a while. Technical issues distracted singer Iain King and it caused him frustration. To be honest I felt his anger added a little edge to the performance which I enjoyed; however it proved to be too distracting for him and sadly their set finished early.

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There was an edge to Fly Jackson at Shuffle, my fav show of theirs to date. Pic Gregor Boyd

Fly Jackson ambled up to the stage they seem to take these events in their stride, I saw them at the Trinity Church gig and enjoyed them but I preferred this performance. It was a very focused set by the band and the sound had a fine clarity to it. They have some great songs on their roster.

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Iain King found his composure and joined Fairweather and the Elements for their set. Ross and co headlined a great night at the Trinity church, this performance seemed to have more energy, perhaps driven by the occasion, vocalist Deborah Lang was clearly enjoying herself as she danced about the stage. By now it was clear that the electric atmosphere of Shuffle Down was influencing the artists; the performances seemed more energetic and the crowd were loving it. This is why we need this event.

I felt myself glued to the main stage, the atmosphere, the bands and the beer. In previous Shuffle Downs I found myself wandering upstairs to see some fine acts but this year I couldn’t leave the big room as it was proving too enjoyable. It helped that the bands were really quick to switch over. The hall seemed to be as busy as previous years, those watching the acts seemed to enjoy the various genres and warmly applauded all that played.

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Highlight? Yes. One of many. Pic Gregor Boyd

Miracle Glass Company were superb, I was transfixed by the drumming of Andy Duncan, he was keeping these Ringo Starr esq beats going at a pace while aptly performing his singing duties. There was good pacing to their set, Trouble is a great song.

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Transfixed we were, 57 rock. Pic Gregor Boyd

Then came a surprise. 57, a hard rocking duo from South Korea, took me by surprise.The crowd loved them. I liked the set it was impressive and it was a huge sound for just two people. I had no idea that this was coming.

By this time I was a little tipsy and thinking of work the next day (started in the afternoon folks) so my wife and I headed off into the night. The sounds slowly faded as we walked away from  the Dobbie hall.

Perhaps I’m biased as we played Shuffle Down this year but I felt that this was the most enjoyable year so far. The first year had big acts, the 2nd found its groove but this year felt different. It felt like a big party, a gathering of people who love music and will come to Shuffle Down regardless of who is on the bill and every band benefited from an audience that was open to hearing something new and it was fantastic to witness this.

Was Shuffle Down 2017 a success?  If success was a large group of happy people enjoying a wide range of music, surrounded by friends drinking local beer, eating local food and listening to local acts then yes it was a huge success.

I will probably attend another overpriced festival sponsored by Tennents at some point but I doubt that will enjoy it as much as I did Shuffle Down 2017.

So as the bands packed up and the Afterglow lamp was switched off, I do hope that next year it will illuminate the Dobbie hall once more. The Falkirk music scene would miss what is now becoming the most important date on our local live calendar.

words Pabs

 

 

 

Gig Diary. Record Factory Glasgow 29/8/15

The record factory Glasgow 29th August 2015

Thanks to James from Indievous gigs and Eve Smith for the photographs.

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Another gig break broken by a trip to the big city. Recording finished we finally set out to start promoting Weird Decibels 2.0. its been too long.

With the gear packed in the car we set off to the record factory; a venue at the bottom of Byres road in Glasgow, a place we had never played before. The venue is a basement buried under the street. It had a good feel to it. The smell of barbecued burgers and real ale circulated the warm August air.

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The place was jumping for Paolo Nutini nobody paid much attention for Paulo Smitty. The Nutinis eventually dispatched to a bigger venue to see the Paisley lad, we were left with an empty stage. No gear no promoter.

We had received quite a comprehensive contract from the promoter prior to the show; basically pay to play with the explanation for the pay being the provision of a full back line a sound engineer and some nice lights.

The cracking lads of Avante turned up with… a full back line and a drum kit. So here we are two bands that have paid yet these lads brought their own gear. Still no promoter.

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Sound check started, engineer seemed a bit lost. Avante were loud (all young bands are, we were once!), the sound guy had the charms of George Osborne eating a veggie burger. He spoke to everyone like we were kids.

You need to turn down, now that’s a fair shout but the explanation was hilarious. He explained that the neighbours will complain about the noise and they might come down and stop the show, also the drummer was asked to play softer!!! Avante singer couldn’t believe what he was saying, He replied well we play music and yeah its loud. Like it should be. However the sound man pointed out the flats were here first, a 100 years ago in fact. Why say that?? Bizarre, build a music venue under folks homes?!?

Our sound check was awful, the sound bounced everywhere but to be honest the big metal shutter was down so that wouldn’t have helped. Usual sound man lore, when its busy the sound will improve, yeah that’s fine…it did but then we turned our stuff down, to be fair the guy eventually nailed it.

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We were on 2nd that was perfect as it gave our crowd the chance to get trains home back to Falkirk (the hardcore stayed!).

Set list

  1. Kill it Kill It

  2. Miss Asphyxia

  3. I Hear The City

  4. Speak

  5. Crown

  6. Little Thoughts Lost

  7. Its who You Know

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it was an absolute belter of a gig; from one of the worst set-ups to one of the best gigs we played. From the off we were all up for it. The venue was busy the sound tight and the performance confident. It was great to play new songs to our fantastic listeners. It was great to see some new faces along; some folk made huge efforts to come out and see us!

Kill it Kill it went down well; seems to me growing in stature as a song, other highlights were miss Asphyxia Crown and Little Thoughts Lost. Its Who You Know was up last and drained the band after half an hour of rocking out in rather intense heat. The single wasn’t the tightest (well I got a little list) but it still went down a storm

Post gig there were a few sweaty hugs (need to remember spare tees), out friends were delighted which is great as I need to know the people who have paid money to see us enjoyed it, its great to be back on the scene with our new album. Here’s to a few more gigs like this!!

THANK YOU to all our friends and family that came to see us, including some straight from their holidays in Spain! Many made the trip from Falkirk to a far flung corner of Glasgow, every chord struck, every drum hit, every bass twanged, every sweat drip is for you. Without you we would not be able to do this.Fact.

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