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music Pablo likes this The Falkirk Music Scene Uncategorized

There are hidden treasures up in the loft

Credits

The audience

Rikki Toner (Afterglow) local music scene pioneer

Eindp Photography capturing the scene, his work is used on this blog with his kind permission

Bootsie Blue, The Projection and Grim Morrison the artists!

Ben White sound

Before I entered Behind the Wall to head upstairs into the Loft (the ale house for the older bairns) I had no idea who was playing tonight. The fact that event organiser Rikki Toner has made so much of an effort to continue his push to rebuild the local music scene has made me determined to go and support it.

Once I had paid at the door, pleased that my fiver would be going towards the bands I met up with the one and only Stewart McCairney, quickly followed by Greg McSorley. We reflected on our last gig (the week before at North Star) and planned our next assault on world music domination.

While we plotted to headline Glastonbury the soundcheck was one two-ing in the background preparing for the night ahead. Just before 9 the first band would adorn the stage.

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Bootsie Blue take to the stage. 

The tall, confident singer/guitarist Aidan Buhrmann of Falkirk’s Bootsie Blue held things together well and was clearly happy to be upon the loft stage. Dressed in black jeans, that looked welded on, the big chap strutted about the stage. Their drummer, Ian Simpson was manic. This guy truly delivered stunning beats hammering the poor drum kit to within an inch of new skins. You could see he felt every beat, superb. The bass player Callum Barret  balanced things by being subtly calm and focused on keeping the Bootsie’s sound tight.

There were great songs unfortunately I don’t know the titles but ‘Bad Apples’ was a highlight. The first half of these guys set was probably the best I’ve heard in the local setting for a long time. The songs were dynamic and well structured. Once they flesh out their set I’d be surprised if they don’t make some sort of impression on the Scottish scene and are one of Falkirk’s most promising bands. (lets hope the scene grows with them)

As the night wore on I sampled more Tryst Carronade and blether to both Stu and Greg about the local scene we were thoroughly enjoying supporting other bands. For a while we, like many other people, stayed away from Falkirk bemoaning the lack of live music in our town. Yet we failed to realise that staying away contributes to the problem.

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Falkirk finds its place. The Projection

Up next was Glasgow band The Projection. Now I can be dumb at times so when I explained to Greg and Stu that I was looking forward to a visual spectacle by the projection I was ridiculed. (in my defence many bands use projection, most recently at Shuffle Down, when Paddy Steer was performing)

No offence but these guys are ‘experienced’ and it’s great to see Rikki had booked a diverse set of acts. These guys, bar James Lee Brodie on the guitar, are older and still belting out the tunes.

Stewart Cuthill was shielding his eyes looking for the crowd and eventually he left the stage to dance with the audience. They had a punk ethic with good melodic licks and Stewart had donned a nice ‘London, Rome, Paris, Falkirk’ tee shirt. Its great to see our fine town in the same light as these cities!  At one point he explained that there “should be thousands of people here” before launching into No Fracking in Falkirk. Which had the biggest crowd response.

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Grim Morrison

The headline act, also hailing from Glasgow, were Grim Morrison a three piece who borrowed the excellent Ian Simpson from Bootsie Blues to play drums. They grooved well and I thoroughly enjoyed their set. James McManus on guitar and vocals gave it his all and he looked like he enjoyed it, Meg Kenny on bass donned with a floppy hat danced away as she skillfully handled bass duties.

By end of the night I was tipsy; full of Carronade ale and ready to get the train home. There is no doubt that I enjoyed the night with good company and it was good to catch up with Falkirk music scene once again. Long may this continue. Please support it if you can.

Categories
Gigs

Gig Diary 22nd August 13th Note Glasgow

Weird Decibels live at 13th note 22/08/2014

Our names in lights
Our names in lights

A few months ago at practise, Derek suggested that we run and promote our own music night for a change; give the promoters a wee break. So Derek, Greg and Stu ( I was kinda leaving it to them to be honest) fused their music biz minds together and came up with SYTB promotions.(if you’re wondering its Strumit, Yellit, Twangit and Bangit)

A venue was needed, 13th Note were offering their excellent venue plus sound man for a very competitive price. It seemed too easy. The only thing we needed now was other bands.

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a solid performance from the Dark Arts

We talked about the bands we have played with over the years and wanted a good mix of styles for our debut event. Up stepped Miss The Occupier, Dark Arts and Ciceros Secret. Three fine and very different bands.

Here is the story of the night.

The first thing that surprised me was my car; the boot swallowed up the bass amp plus two guitar amps without so much as a shrug. Gear packed we battled though the rush hour traffic back to the city of Glasgow which is still basking in the after glow of the Commonwealth Games.

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derek couldn’t wait until the photo was taken and kept eating nom nom

We arrived early so I had time to sample some of the 13th Notes grub. Its all veggie; to be honest I could do with a night of the red stuff so I ordered a cracking veggie burger. Once we were fed we headed down stairs to one of the cities most iconic wee venues. For a band our size it feels more like home; even a modest crowd fills the room so that settled us.

The sound check went smoothly; the other bands rolled in. It was nice to see Jon from the Dark Arts; we played for a least three years together in the Seventeenth. Now I’m not saying it was a time of high fives and fist pumps, we had our moments, but it is a time I look back fondly on; it was nice to see the fella again. I was tempted to ask if he still listens to the old Seventeenth records (I do) but I let that one pass.

Ciceros Secret arrived; they are a nice bunch. We played with this young band back in November 2013 at the Garage Attic that was a crazy gig; their fans stormed the stage and the place turned into a mosh pit.

Miss the Occupier are friends of our friends and it was nice to meet them.

Now that the greeting were out the way it was time to get down to business.

The wonderful Miss the Occupier
The wonderful Miss the Occupier

The crowd floated in as Miss The Occupier took to the stage playing a fine mix of their own tunes which reminded me of Joy Division, they had a really clean, punchy sound; Roz the singer owned the stage. The crowd swelled and the temperature rose; the 13th Note atmosphere was here!

I really enjoyed their set you should check out their excellent video on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPZrhr5Pbn8

Sometimes it good to hear something you know, the Dark Arts provided a cracking set of rock covers for the now packed audience. Pearl Jams ‘Even Flow’ was excellent; Jon was particularly good on the bass. He had his sound spot on which was not really a surprise given that he was a perfectionist back in the Seventeenth days.

It was our turn to step up and time was pressing I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little rushed. I quickly set up the gear and we were ready to go. Or so I thought.

Set list

  1. Speak

  2. Kill it! Kill it!

  3. Miss Asphyxia

  4. Wonder

  5. Little Thoughts Lost

  6. Deliverance

  7. Joker

  8. I Hear the City

The heat the rock it was all there
The heat the rock it was all there

We started well with the now stable Speak which often opens our set. This flowed nicely into Kill it! Kill it! Slight confusion at the intro but generally nailed. Then it was a wee hello to the crowd; straight back into Miss Asphyxia. By now I could hear my guitar on stage and it seemed out of tune but we flowed onto Wonder where Stu held the notes. A quick tune up confirmed that the G string was well out (har har). That fixed we moved on to a strong finish. New song Little Thoughts Lost got a little lost in my head! However Deliverance, Joker and new favourite I Hear the City went down well.

It was good to see the crowd right next to us; I was pleased everyone had stuck around to the end. It was hot; my shirt and tie combo was beginning to feel like a bad idea.

Before I knew it we were done and quickly packing up the pedals to allow head-liners Ciceros Secret on.

These guys are in their late teens; their music is high energy experimental metal. Its loud and in your face and I hate to say it but it took me back to the days when we started 20 years ago! Long hair waiving, loud music, playing hard and fast and not caring that some of the crowd were now starting to disperse into the late Friday night.

For those that remained they were treated to a brilliant show; their guitarists weaving through the crowd not missing a note. They were a brilliant end to the night.

We learned a few lessons on the night. Bands will run over, its natural with live music. So I’ll try not to rush my set-up in future. All in all it was a very successful night.

Final thought goes to our fans. Given that many of you have now seen us live many times we feel we are in a unique place that we have a group of friends that want to come tine and time again. The effort you guys make is quite simply brilliant. Thank you for keeping the band live.

Thank you WdB fans!!!
Thank you WdB fans!!!
Categories
Gigs

Pabs Gig Diary Jims Bar QMU live

QMU Jim’s Bar 21st June 2014

Pictures Juls Sampson

 

Promoter ‘Fancy playing the QMU’

Band ‘Yes’

Promoter ‘Its in Jim’s bar’

Band ‘right..’

 

A heated pabs rocks the joint
A heated pabs rocks the joint

 

We went for it anyway, back in with PM promotions it was nice to have a gig to look forward to. Jim’s Bar is a little sauna two flights of stairs up from the main stage that we played twice a few years back.

It’s been a while, Derek had a bad injury to his ankle then he got married so the first half of 2014 has been a quiet, subtle year for the band. I say subtle as we’re halfway writing wdB2. We cancelled the Pivo Pivo gig for this so we had high hopes for the Saturday show.

Stu brings in the red
Stu brings in the red

On arrival we opened the door and I could swear we stepped into an oven, it was so hot. Air conditioning was non existent, Jesus I was sweating taking my Guitar out of its case. We met a guy from PM promotions called Jim and he was nice. He was welcoming, told us what time we’d be on and introduced us to the sound guy, who was younger than my car (an old beaten up ford). The sound check was quick as it always is, it sounded OK on stage, I asked for a couple of changes thinking the young dude would fiddle with his knobs but later I would find it was not to be. Jim took us up another four levels to our changing room which had a fridge for the beer but we’d never use it,

After sound check we headed off to the west end of Glasgow, Ashton lane, we had a burger a beer and a seat in the sun. Fantastic. I had a great feeling about the gig.

We headed back to the venue, I was a little fuzzy from the beer I had. We caught a fine set from Augusta Fireball, two guys around our age playing in front of a white screen that displayed various pictorial moments including the colourful moment J F Kennedy’s head met a bullet. I’ve not seen the image for a while but it unsettled me. It was slightly distracting from their music which was excellent. We were up second.

Our faithful turned up and cheered the loudest. To be honest I’m not sure why we were on second , we had perhaps the biggest crowd on the night.

Set list

  1. Miss A

  2. Speak

  3. Joker

  4. Kill it! Kill it!

  5. I Hear The City

  6. Wait

  7. Wonder (replaced by Waiting On the Sound of Your High Heels)

Greg slams the bass
Greg slams the bass

It was the hottest gig I ever played, nearly fainted hitting the high notes of Joker. Our crowd were there but there was no one else apart from the other bands. The sound on stage was muddy, the young dude hadn’t made the changes as asked. Disappointing.

Every song we played was interrupted by the moving drum kit. Derek would would run off to find some gaffer  tape so I  would try my best to entertain the crowd.

Derek fixes the kit as i talk shit
Derek fixes the kit as i talk shit

I enjoyed it though. I loose it every time we play there is something about playing live that makes me reach into me deepest feelings and pour them out. As RM Hubbert would say its a kind of therapy and you don’t need to pay for it. We were getting ready to play Wonder and I had piled praise on Jemma for helping us on wdB1 when from the bar I heard the shout of ‘play high heels!’ Sounded like Wilson and Byrne. Then I heard ‘gonna remove the tattoo! I looked around, Derek stared the click and we rolled  into High Heels.

After us were a Perth band called Bedford Rascals, they were young and they were nuts the singer burst his hand and bled over his bass, that was the most rock and roll moment of the night. The headlines All Suns Blazing had a fine set of blistering blues. Really impressed. Unfortunately for the guys the heat had got to the crowd and most had left apart from the faithful.

I cant call this gig a classic. It wasn’t, in many ways it was the kinda gig you have to play to help you appreciate when the next amazing night come along.

Our next gig is the 13th Note August 22nd

 

Categories
Gigs retro corner

Weird Decibels talk Gigs!

By the time you read this we are about to, or will have played Jims Bar at the QMU in Glasgow (june 21st 2014), So below is a recount of some of our gigs, in no particular order we include the finest, the worst and the strangest moments from our time on the stage.

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Greg at the ABC2 2013

 

Classic. 1996 Martell Falkirk Battle of the Bands Quarter Finals. We had just started playing and our heads were full of dreams. Greg, Stu and I had just left school to go to college and Derek, the youngster was still growing cress on the carpet of the common room in Larbert high School. Three teenage kids and a fresh 20-year-old took to the stage to one of our biggest and most eager crowds. The place was packed, i couldn’t see anything from the glare of the lights but every time we finished a song the place erupted. It was the start of our dream.

Weird. 1996 A Field in Crossgates.. Chris from Cage phones us. ‘Hey guys want to stand in for us? Its a biker rally festival in Crossgates’  I thought biker rally = really drunk moshers + our brand of rock + festival = riot of a gig. When we turned up, it was a field full of cow shit. We were directed to the ‘stage’. The power generator was louder than us. The crowd was a single mother bouncing her baby up and down on her knee. The rocking bikers stayed outside playing spin around the stick whilst drinking whiskey. Stu and Derek were happy though, they sat and ate a bag of onion rings and drank  cheep beer…

Great Gig. 2013  Oran Mor, Glasgow.

A pensive Weird Decibels
A pensive Weird Decibels

 

Superb gig in the basement of Oran Mor. We supported Life On Standby who are now doing very well, that night they played a fine set to a growing audience. We went on halfway through the night. It was a great crowd really up for it. Our album Weird Decibels 1 was doing well and we were getting into the swing of playing it live. The sound was simply amazing, one of he best live sounds we have ever had. Annie Walker was kind enough to take some brilliant photos and through this gig we got a slot on the Third Classic ticket radio show run by Tommy Clark. One of those great nights.

 

 

 

 

Bad gig. The Cathouse Glasgow. A pay to play gig. Hate them. These days they still do them but in a more subtle way. We sold a few tickets and paid to play only for the bouncers to refuse entry to most of the people who had travel through to see us. Derek was raging, he can be heard venting his anger on a live recording which appears on our official bootleg. The place was nearly empty, it was a real setback for the band.

Great Gig 2009, The Argyll Falkirk.

Derek setting up the kit for Tonight Live Not Completely Sold Out
Derek setting up the kit for Tonight Live Not Completely Sold Out

 

In the ‘slender’ years between ‘Quiet Act’ and ‘Weird Decibels 1’ we were writing the new album and played a handful of gigs at various venues around our home town of Falkirk. Derek owned the Argyll pub at this time so it was an ideal opportunity for us to organise our own gigs. This meant we could use all our own gear and record our performance. We recorded this gig in question, this would eventually become ‘Tonight! Live! Not Completely Sold Out! A mixture of covers, old songs and four new tracks that would appear on WdB1. It was our faithful crowd who have followed us from day one and it was a great laugh. Keep an eye on Bandcamp, I’ll upload these tracks very soon. https://weirddecibels.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

 

Weird but brilliant. around early 2000’s My Parents Garden at a BBQ. A gigs a gig! Stu reminded me of this one. My parents held a BBQ every year and asked us to play a wee acoustic gig which we happily agreed. I took down the 4 track and flung a few mics around. The gig started well with cheers and laughs, that is until we played the Ace of Spades on acoustic guitars! The recording was great until my Dad started trying  to break a big block of ice cubes which was picked up on the recording, and yes it was out of time…

Classic Gig. Around 2005. The Path Tavern. Kirkcaldy. The venue may be closed and turned into a restaurant but the memories will remain. We played with Kranksolo, our two bands formed a fine friendship and shared a few gigs. 13 Tombs supported. They were superb, the singer had these massive boots that lit up. He looked like dynamo from Running Man. It was a small but fantastic crowd, they dug our music which at the time was One More Solo. We sold a few albums and we were even asked to sign them! Greg drove us back in the ‘Vulture’ old Vauxhall Carlton automatic. It took all the gear, three drunk band members and a sober bass player.

 

 Bad Gig, But Great experience. Around 2005. The Cavern. Liverpool.

Weird Rock the Cavern, the easy way...
Weird Rock the Cavern, the easy way…

 

Contradiction perhaps but this was one of the most memorable experiences for the band. We even saw the ‘Beatles’. In our desire to expand to other countries, starting with England Greg managed to get us a gig in the world-famous venue the Carvern home of a band called the Beatles. Quite good actually. On the road down Derek nearly broke his hand when Greg decided his stricken limb looked good as a door stop. It was a Back To The Future moment when Kevin Byrne was considered to stand in. The gig itself was empty, everyone was watching the Beatles, we discovered that night that most people listen to music they are familiar with. One the road back I needed to pee really bad as we had been drinking all night. I’m not sure why I’m mentioning this but it is scorched in my memory how long Greg made me wait… Thanks to Neil Henderson and Kevin Byrne who came down and took the photos.

 

Great Gig. 2013 ABC 2 Glasgow.

Rocking the ABC2
Rocking the ABC2

 

2013 was a great year for us live, the ABC 2 was a great gig. the sound the crowd and our performance ensured a great night. It was the first time we actually had a proper merch stand. Yes we have been together nearly 20 years but it takes us time to catch on… It was at this gig we played a brand new song Miss Asphyxia from our future album Weird Decibels 2. It seemed to herald in a new chapter for the band. The fact that it went down well was fantastic. There is a back stage room with a fridge which 5 years ago we would’ve filled with beer, however…it was not to be.

 

 

 

 

We are a small but perfectly formed rock band, there are no major venues with packed crowds. However we love playing live and every Monday when we return to our jobs, surrounded by the sound of keyboards typing furious emails and office workers sniping we can look back on these times with pleasure and indeed look forward. We never know what is around the corner, maybe when we step from backstage one day and see a wee venue packed with our friends and our fans. We play live 22nd August 2014,  13th  Note Glasgow. Make an unforgettable night with us. 

I finish with;

Ten Facts about Weird Decibels live

  1. Waiting On the Sound of Your High Heels Baby from One More Solo is our most played song.
  2. Dave Broon was our manager for a night, at a gig in Edinburgh, he paid us with a beer. Legend.
  3. A couple got ‘frisky’ when we played ‘Glass People’ at McSorley’s in Glasgow.
  4. The venue we have played most is still the Martell, Falkirk.
  5. Our sound checks take 2 minutes. Plug in. Play.
  6. I have broken one stage (the Martell)
  7. Derek winds the band up by getting changed into gig clothes during the walk on music.
  8. Stu averages around 3 devil signs per song, one during solo. God.
  9. Greg doesn’t need a setlist as he does not know the name of our songs.
  10. Phil and Juls Sampson have been to the most Weird Decibel gigs. Legends. In fact all of our hardcore fans are brilliant people.
  11. Wilson, our friend and a fan of the band has a Weird Decibels Tattoo. Nothing to do with gigs. But thought I’d mention it.

Pabs.

Phil, one of our greatest fans and a friend of the band.
Phil, one of our greatest fans and a friend of the band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Pabs General music thoughts

Pabs music musings. I prefer the early stuff?

At rehearsal we recently played through our entire first album Whapper Stormer as part of our preparations for our 20th anniversary celebrations in Feb 2015. It got me thinking about bands, their longevity and the law of diminishing returns. Is early output an artists best?
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When thinking of this subject I thought of some of my favourite artists and some others. Let me begin.

Case 1. Nirvana. 1st album Bleach. Best album In Utero 3rd studio release.
Case 2. The National. 1st album The National. Best album Trouble Will Find Me, their most recent.
Case 3. Oasis. 1st album Definitely Maybe. Best album. Definitely Maybe.
Case 4. Guns n Roses. 1st album Appetite for Destruction. Best album Appetite for Destruction.
Case 5. Radiohead. 1st album Pablo Honey. Best album. Ok Computer.

There is one band on the above list that did not achieve overnight success that the others enjoyed. The National. Slowly they have been building their music, and slowly they have been building their fan base. All the others, bar Nirvana had stratospheric success with early output and have since struggled to match this with later works. Radiohead had huge creative problems after Ok Computer and opted for Kid A which was great but not in the same league as its predecessor. They hit a high with In Rainbows, their peak lies with their difficult third though. Oasis produced one of the greatest debuts of all time then rarely recorded anything of merit thereafter. Guns n Roses had an agonising death after the wonderful Appetite.

So what has this to do with a small band like Weird Decibels I hear you scream at your tablet/laptop/mobile phone/PC and maybe, just maybe surface…

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Pabs tries a new approach to song writing.

I prefer their earlier stuff. This is an expression I had fretted over for years. When we had written Whapper Stormer we were a fresh faced young rock band with ideas pouring out of our finger tips. Whapper had found a small audience of people who really enjoyed it, including a radio DJ who loved The Rain and Vancouver. A year later we had recorded some of our follow up album, the slightly lazy drunken romp that is Firkin Outburst. We handed this DJ our new demo and in the very pub the album is name after I asked him what he thought. His answer? Well I think you know by now….
I stormed out the pub in anger, seething our new songs had not received the praise that our debut collection had mustered.
In the following years we wrote songs of varying quality, another 5 albums would be produced. The other guys would ask me what my favourite album was. Without fail I’d say Whapper Stormer, for the lyrics, the music and the youthful exuberance. Then from 2008 we started to write Weird Decibels 1.

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Our best album to date? Time will tell...:-)

Derek is quoted saying we had to do Quiet Act (our first fully acoustic album) to write Weird Decibels 1. He’s right. We had a renewed enthusiasm for writing. So many things came together. Our music, my lyrics and the gear we had to record it. A year ago I knew we had written one of our greatest albums. For months I was not sure if it was better than Whapper, a year on and several listens? Its my favourite.

So what Is the point here? I hear you ask.

We are a small band, very small. We have our little patch on the huge quilt of music. We have no pressure to make a living out of music, we can write what we want when we want. We have been together so long it was likely we would hit another creative peak.

Any band that is allowed to breath, grow within itself without the pressure of producing an even better follow up to the last will always prosper. In this new age of self released music, small artists will produce music the way they want to smaller but more enthusiastic fans. I hope these bands will glow for many years instead of burning out and fading away…

Pabs.

Categories
Gigs

Gig diary. Glasgow, Garage Attic 30 Nov 2013

Our last gig of 2013.

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It was a surreal night in the city of Glasgow, it was the night after the tragedy at the Clutha yet there was the normal hussle of Sauchiehall Street. We parked up at the back of the venue, climbed up several flights of stairs past the bigger and more impressive stages until we reached the Attic. A smaller, darker room in need of a little love and attention. I must confess I like the little run down places to play gigs there is something ‘underground’ about it.
We had reservations about tonight. Our fans have dug deep this year to support us at other venues, Christmas was on the horizon and well we didn’t push it as much. When I saw the venue I must confess to being spoilt by the recent adventures at Oran Mor and ABC2. The sound would confirm this. I believe it sounded good to the audience but on stage it was no where near the crispness of the aforementioned venues.

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We set up our sound and belted out a sound check in minutes. (I have no idea why it takes so long for bands to sound check) It was at this point we were asked for money to pay for the hire of the drum kit. There were four different reactions to this request. Stu went a bid red, (seething anger) Greg went quiet, (how to I sort this), I sighed,( why are we doing this) and Derek went into full blown Kirk rage ( Khaaaaaaaannnnnn, the older folk will get this). He said no to the promoter and we left to get a pint.

During our rather lovely pint and the effect it was having on me I had a conflict of thoughts. Do I really want, after 18 years of getting f**ked by promoters, to keep doing this. However I love it, sitting with guys pre gig, meeting our crowd and belting out our tunes. Why does playing live have so many pitfalls? I concluded I wanted to do this for as long as possible (although perhaps not as long as the Stones). I still love the whole scene.

Greg snuck off and paid for our share of hiring the kit… Stu and Derek were livid, I was angry but I could see where Greg’s heart was and gave him some money to put in his lighter pocket’s.

So we’re all a bit angry, the venue is lite on crowd and we’re about to go on. I looked at our faithful friends who came to see us. I thought, this is for them. The last time we played angry was at the QMU.

Set list
1. Deliverance
2. Speak
3. Ms Asphyxia
4. Wonder
5. Steel
6. Wait
7. Joker

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Angry gigs are amazing, we play hard and fast. Our 30 minute set felt like 10 minutes. I had had a few beers and we were loving it. Every song merged into each other, I didn’t say much to the crowd which is not like me. The sound on stage was poor though. I was distracted by feedback throughout and that really annoyed me.

I enjoyed the night. It was a fitting end to an amazing year for us. Perhaps the next time we play live we’ll be showing off new songs, oh and we won’t be paying to hire a kit!!

I must mention Cicero’s Secret.  They were brilliant live. The sound was a bit of a mash but the energy was incredible and their crowd were a delight to watch. Yes we were the oldies up the back foot tapping to the tunes! I wish them the best of luck.

Pabs.