Tag Archives: live

Our Falkirk Music Scene 2017

Pictures What Eddie Sees (RiFF), Gregor Boyd (Shuffledown)

Posters Afterglow

When you live all your life in Falkirk it’s hard to gauge what people outwith the town really think of our place. As far as 2017 goes Falkirk is having its ups and downs. The high street is struggling but they are trying to rescue it, the football team were humbled in the playoffs then plummeted near the foot of the championship. People come to visit though, the Kelpies and the Wheel are now ingrained in Scottish tourism.

So what about the Falkirk music scene in 2017? Just a few year ago you could argue that it was on tired legs. The last couple of years have been very promising, people would describe it as recovering. Now as we reach the end of the ‘teenies’ I would assert that we have a vibrant scene, there are now a number of excellent bands and events. Here then, is my personal experience of the Falkirk scene; bands I have seen live, played a gig with or albums I have bought. There are many bands that I have missed so any recommendations are more than welcome.

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Poster artwork Afterglow

The year started of with an almighty bang as Blind Daze played alongside us at Rock On Tap as part of the excellent One Weekend In Falkirk. These guys play loud, behind the mega sound is a very accomplished band. I caught their soundcheck at RiFF (more on this later) and their guitar work is excellent, finely crafted solos weaving through the tight bass and drums. They are a nice bunch of guys and it was a pleasure to play with the loudest band in town. We were also delighted to have our long time friends Buzzards of Babylon on the bill; they impressed a lot of the locals with their gigantic tunes.

 

The next night, as One Weekend in Falkirk continued Greg and I went back to the Artisan Tap to see more live music. Callum Baird played a fine set of acoustic folk, he had to nip away after his set as he had a gig in Linlithgow the same night, He’s toured extensively and is one of Falkirk’s hardest working musicians.

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Fuzzystar, great act playing live at the Artisan Tap

Fuzzystar are not from Falkirk but I couldn’t help but being blown away by their bittersweet music. They had a mixture of distorted and clean tones with strong lead guitar. Its was great to learn that they will be returning to these shores at 2018 Shuffle Down. They will be well suited to the Dobbie Hall. A fine band.

Louder Than Bairns was a great wee night up stairs in the Wine Library. I was pleasantly surprised to see Withered Hand headlining with an acoustic show. In support were another band that I was keen to see, Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo. It was a rare gig from David King and his ensemble, it was very enjoyable.

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

I have often said that Shuffle Down is perhaps my highlight of the local scene. 2017 saw it arrived at the Dobbie hall for a third year and there was more a focus on local bands than ever. We had the pleasure of playing this time, it was a fantastic experience. There were many great acts on, Miracle Glass Company, Fly Jackson and Pronto Mana were my personal favourites. There was a strong showing from Fairweather and the Elements and despite tachinal nitches Ghost Writer were good as well. All the bands seem to energise each other. Cannot wait until 28th April 2018!

 

Musicians Against Homelessness raised money for the chairy with a number of bands playing at Behind the Wall, including the impressive, youthful trio, SHIVA.

 

RiFF was another big highlight of the local scene, 4 bands (again including ourselves. Could be a pattern here…i’m not bias honest!). It was a pleasure to play alongside 13, The Nebulosity and Blind Daze. It was amazing to have these bands come together to achieve what was a successful and busy night. Look out for a showcase in 2018; I hope the RiFF community grows as Falkirk needs a sub-scene of harder edged bands

 

The Local Records released in 2017 that I had to buy.

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There have been many recordings released by local artists this year, I haven’t bought nearly enough and I am looking forward to seeing what I find in 2018. Noise Noise Noise is a great place to pick up CDs from local bands. Just head near the counter at the back of the shop and you’ll find an impressive array of local produced CDs.

Ghost Writers well produced Legends is a great record; it has good pacing with an exciting range of dynamics throughout. 13 put out a strong EP ‘Spirit of Resistance’, its a solid punk outing from the ever busy trio. The Nebulosity remastered their 2015 C+ album this year and its definitely worth a listen to their brand of heavy alternative rock, their music goes places you don’t expect and they are a pleasure to watch live. The Sonic Blues released ‘Something Today’, produced by Greg Breen it has a DIY ethic that I really like, it gives the album a personal touch that can often be missed from over produced recordings.

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I have to mention the mighty Rabid Dogs, they released a rare recording of their live North Star show from June last year titled ‘The Best Party in Town’. I fear we will no longer see Rabid Dogs live so if you can, try and get your hands on this record.

The annual AMiF awards are another fine way to discover local talent. Pleasure Heads, SHIVA and Bootsie Blues all have great music (the latter having their track Song For Insomniacs streamed over 10000 times on Spotify). 2017 also saw the arrival of Sianar and Bitter Alice and they have a promising year ahead.

Razor Cuts

At the end of 2017 Razor Cuts had just run off a print of its 4th edition. It’s packed full of stories, poems, interviews and music reviews. I even managed to get an article about the old alternative nightclub Pennies included.  Derek Steel is the passionate editor of the magazine, he is keen for submissions from budding writers email razorcuts@gmail.com with your creations.

There is so much happening in our town now; 2017 has been a stellar year. There were so many bands and events that I couldn’t attend so this look back is only scratching the surface. So if you believe in new year resolutions try to find a wee place on your list to support the local scene, you won’t be disappointed.

Words Pabs.

 

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Falkirks live venues past and present. part 1. the Martell

The Martell (now the Warehouse)

You never forget your first time, the anticipation, the hope that everything works, getting the mood right and of course making sure the drummer comes out of the toilet before we start. Yes i’m talking about our first gig back in the summer of 1995. We had a setlist of around 6 songs (it’s all we had) and we had a stage. It was a Thursday night, it was the Martell.

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Our Wonder video has Stu playing outside the iconic venue.

Just off Grahams road near the canal sat the Martell. It was hidden from the road by a furniture store. Once you walked past the lastest sofa sale signs you would arrive at the big sign lit up with the Martell font. You can hear the music as you approached the small unassuming front door and when you entered the music hit you. To the left was the till that took the ticket money. Then you would enter the front room, tables often bustling with punters and directly in front the long bar would stretch back to the pool tables.

A small CRT monitor would flicker as the tills rang though the drink sales. Gold Bier £1. This was the mid 90’s and many of the local kids were heading to this venue to see 4 bands on a Thursday for a fiver. Our friends Cage, rock gods  Monitor Lizard, the wonderful Foam and various other local acts played through Jimmy’s PA system. It was loud and some of us had school in the morning…

The stage was on the far right of the room, it was separated from the audience by a small brick wall for which many stunts and guitar poses would be struck. Up in the booth was the DJ, big Sid and his clap monitor for measuring the Battle of the Bands victors. (yes that was how it was decided…)

Watching bands at the Martell was brilliant; it was a small but loyal community that attended every week. From watching the bands to shooting pool you would find you started to know people’s names and hang out talking about the bands of that era, Oasis, Nirvana, Blur and various other acts. Some nights were packed, others not so and occasionally the place would be dead apart from the hardcore frequenters.

Our First Gig.

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Smokey. loud, young and proud to playing the local music scene

At around 19 years of age I had a mop of long brown hair and a stooped gait. Stu was in full Metallica mode, Greg also donned with long hair often tied up so he could show of his rose tinted shades and Derek the cheeky youngster who infuriatingly got changed a minute before we took the stage. I swear he enjoyed seeing my exasperation as he ran past me towards the drum kit smiling.

The first time we played the Martell was amazing. The lights blinded you, we were probably ropey but we played some of the best songs we had written. The Rain and Vancouver to name two, followers from the start will know these songs well.

The high school crowd that has followed Derek loved it and we were finally part of the Falkirk music scene. What followed was amazing. The battle of the bands.

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Advert for the battle of the bands. £1000 in those days would get you a decent stint in a studio. Our gig with Nervana and local lengends Cage advertised. Miss Wet T shirt perhaps showed the other side of the Martell…

Our first attempt at the battle of the bands would see our largest crowds swell the Martell to bursting. To date it is the biggest audience we have played original songs to. It was the quarter finals. Thanks to the clap monitor being pounded by the crowd we sailed through to the semis and the dreams of winning started to become a reality. The semi final was another packed gig but it was not to be, we lost and did not make the final.

We played a number of gigs at the Martell during the late 90’s it was like our Cavern, it’s where we cut our live teeth. Gigs ranged from supporting our friends Cage and Turtlehead to opening for cover bands like Nearvana. Eventually another battle of the bands took place and sadly we were not as successful.

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Stu on the bigger stage that was opened up at the rear of the venue. It would prove hard for us to fill.

The venue opened up a bigger hall at the back where the snooker tables used to be. It felt different and for us it was too much to fill with our small but loyal fanbase. Highlights started to thin out and the Martell’s appeal was starting the wear thin. Eventually we knew all the bar staff, had lock ins with George the bar manager and played live recorded shows with Central FM (hard to believe a local station used to record live local bands). The alcohol flowed, the gigs came and went. One night when I crashed beer all over the counter I knew it was getting out of hand.

We left the Martell for a while, the Thursday nights were no longer a regular occurrence.

In the 2000’s (do we have a decent name for this decade yet?) we were approached to play and we obliged but the magic was gone or perhaps Falkirk had moved from our brand of rock. The Martell, the birth of our gigging experience and the hub of the Falkirk Music scene for so many years had unwound. As we finished our last set at the Martell there was no ceremony, just an air of disappointment. We thought perhaps the next time we play will be better but there would be no next time for us the Martell.

Life went by as it does, new venues opened and I would head down Grahams road sometimes going home in a taxi after a night out up in the heart of Falkirk. For years the neon sign of the Martell would glow statically in the night. You would hear about the Martells reputation for club music and the place became alien to me. Eventually it changed hands, now it’s named the Warehouse and encouragingly the venue puts on bands albeit tribute acts and mid size touring bands. There has been little mention of local artists playing there.

The Martell was one of the best venues we ever had in Falkirk. It worked for years, bringing together like minded people who wanted to listen to or play in bands around Falkirk. Together we created memories that will never leave us. Indeed some of the people who lit up the Martell stage are sadly no longer with us which makes the memories of this iconic local venue all the more important.

Whitecraigs Rugby Club June 18th 2016

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Pictures taken by Purple Dot photography and Kirsty Smith

We had been invited to play a set of cover songs at Whitecriag rugby club as part of their yearly beer festival and family day out. We decided to go along and join in with the festivities.

We do not play a lot of gigs these days and we play cover gigs even less. So this set played at the Whitecraig’s summer beer festival was a welcome change.

For various reasons our confidence hit a wee bump at our last gig at the North Star so some easy (but enjoyable) covers would help us get back on track.

13433273_1356522297695425_3147361512921178835_oIt was also a chance for our kids to finally see the band live.

I packed the gear into the car and this time Kirsty and Lewis joined me, a stark contrast to the normal band banter that the designated driver has to face on the road to the normal gigs! The Scottish sun was scorching the sky, our wee nation looks fine when the blue skies are up high.

We reached the rugby club in Whitecraigs without fuss. Standing proud in the southern outskirts of  Glasgow this lovely club had already started the party. When we arrived Lewis helped his dad flit the gear onto the small stage that was sheltered by a canopy tent.

13497562_1134545353249938_5255583186297035836_o (1)It looked brilliant. The only gig we had played outdoors was years ago at Crossgates (a story for another day). It was a small area in which to play but as soon as i saw the surroundings and felt the atmosphere i had a good vibe about the afternoon ahead.

A DJ was blasting tunes as I met the rest of the guys who were busy setting up. It wasn’t long before we  were ready to go. Then there was the power cut.

13483142_1134545273249946_8832837971535641227_o (1)As guys organising the music were scratching their heads, i was told the sound guy hadn’t turned up. Thankfully our experience has taught us there are always ways around these things. We found the problem with the power, a plug had come loose. Always carry duct tape… we used that to hold the connection together, and viola, the rest of the DJ set went well,

We had a song to soundcheck, no time at all but the sound was floating into the fields below. The vocal PA, as it was setup, was fine so we went with it. The guy who was running the show had a cowbell.. We would hear more of that later. He was in good spirits and introduced us to the crowd that was not interested in us. They were drinking fine ale and basking in the rare sun. We could’ve been naked and they wouldn’t have noticed. Thankfully we weren’t. Now that I understood we were music for the background I was more than content and it was brilliant to see Lewis and Niamh in the front row! (Luke was there as well but I think he went for his nap!)

13442628_1134545253249948_449859285787194552_o (1)Whitecraig setlist

  1. Teenage kicks
  2. Fight for your right (to party)
  3. Should i stay or should i go
  4. Last time
  5. Say something
  6. Wonder
  7. All or nothing
  8. Creep
  9. Ever fallen in love
  10. Don’t you forget about me
  11. Come as you are
  12. Get back
  13. Curtain hits the cast
  14. Jumpin jack flash
  15. Sex on fire
  16. Whole lotta rosie

13443320_1356522304362091_1020145119376325230_oThe set went well without any problems and it was a tight gig which we thoroughly enjoyed. A real boost for the band as soon as the set was finished we agreed we had to get back on the live scene. After the first song Lewis covered his ears and walked away. It’s great to i see my kid is my most honest critic. However he came back when we played Wonder (he knows our songs more than the covers). Niamh and Lewis danced away as we played, A sweet moment.

13482857_1134545349916605_7663655686751780004_o (1)As we packed up Stu and Derek nicked all the beer tokens delighted that Greg and I were driving. With grins and empty glasses they headed to the bar.

Kirsty and I soaked in the family atmosphere and let Lewis jump around on the trampolines before heading off into the sunset.

 

Weird Decibels live at North Star 27th May 2016

Credits

The Crowd: Thank you for attending a local gig and supporting the artists. Thank you for staying right to the end.

The Sonic Blues, Rabid Dog: Thank you for playing along side us

Rory (Eindp Photography): For taking photographs for this and many, many local gigs

Juls Sampson (photography and pictures used for this blog): Our friend has shot many pics over the years

Kevin Byrne: for keeping an eye on the desk as we played

North Star staff: for keeping us fed and watered with a smile and allowing us to use the venue.

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Setlist

  1. It’s who you know
  2. Speak
  3. I hear the city
  4. Forward
  5. Curtain hits the cast
  6. Quoted
  7. Molly lips
  8. Miss a
  9. The dancer
  10. Once more with feeling
  11. Joker
  12. Wait (request)
  13. Deliverance
  14. Medicine
  15. Kill it
  16. Industry
  17. Whole lotta rosie (request)

 

A couple of days before we were due to play, Clubby vocalist with Rabid Dog, texted to say that the North Star soundman couldn’t make the gig due to work commitments.

These things can’t be avoided but I was frustrated as I wanted to record the show. This would put a different spin on things. There were options, to use the house PA but I didn’t know its layout. To be honest it’s a vocal pa and it wouldn’t have been hard to use. Our pa had more versatility to send feeds to the multitrack so I opted for that.

 

It had (shamefully) been a couple of years since I operated it so that added to the stress. I had to relearn the desk within a couple of days. A few turbulent hours pushing buttons and moving faders I had managed to get to grips with the machine.

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Looking back I understand now that doing the sound, recording the gig and playing at the same show is perhaps a step too far. This aside it was a great night.

 

Once I unloaded the vast amount of gear (probably too much) into the buzzing North Star I got to work setting up the sound, the time was half 6. Unbelievably it was now 8 o’clock and The Sonic Blues were due on in 30 minutes.

 

I ditched all ideas of checking mic placements for the recording. It was more important to get a decent live sound. That went fairly well, and for the recording I literally flung mics in front of the amps and the drum kit.

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The Sonic Blues were up first and played another great set of bluesy rock songs and covers. Greg (guitars vocals) Allan (Bass) and Douglas (drums) are a sound bunch of lads and they are very keen. Their performance went well with the crowd and they set up the night in fine fashion

 

Clubby and the gang stepped up next; their ultra loyal fanbase was pleased to see them back on stage for the first time in a while. Andy had a cracking guitar sound, he has two amps hooked up and a wave of chords hit the eager audience. Andy on bass and Alan on the drums provide a solid backbone for Clubby to sing their set of punk covers. They played very well.

 

The gremlins came to visit us, it’s been a while, you can go many gigs without incident before the little creatures visit. Usually in the form of technical glitches and set up problems.

 

Just as we were getting ready to go on stage the power cut to both the PA and the desk. Scratching my head I looked back to the plug at the rear of the venue. Two chaps had seated themselves the unit in front of the socket and had unwittingly cut the power to the show. (not your fault gents)

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Once I got the PA back on and the desk reloaded we were ready to play, only Stu couldn’t get the guitar amp on. (using someone else amp is fine but every guitarist will tell you having your own backline has its advantages). Once that problem was fixed we were ready.

 

We launched into the first song and the first time I went to hit a chord the lights were right in my eye. Whoops! A bum note right at the first song ain’t good.

 

To nail the opening track is essential; if you miss it it can unsettle you for the rest of the set. To a certain extent it did; although I have to concede I had been concentrating all night on the sound and with this loss of focus came a pretty standard performance from myself. So i’m a bit gutted about that. Stu, Greg and Derek all played well and helped keep the gig on track
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Things did improve. As the night wore on we regained our composure (and confidence) and belted out tunes from both the decibels albums. I was too eager to play Quoted and nearly skipped Curtain hits the Cast! Quoted was manic as usual, Wait was requested and that gelled well with Deliverance and by the time we hit Industry I was scraping the guitar off a nearby pillar without much regard for my instrument.

 

As we reached the end of the night we reached our zenith and I was pleased it had ended on a high. If we can’t nail the songs we give it all to the performance and personally it was the most exhausting I have delivered for a long time. Our friends requested While Lotta Rosie, who could we be to resist! A little rusty would be an understatement but we had a whole lotta fun playing it!

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So as our song Quoted and the politicians it depicts often say lessons have been learned. If i’m playing, I just want to play. I’ve I’m doing the sound, i just want to do the sound. This was the first time I had manned a desk at a gig and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience perhaps this could be an avenue for the future.

 

All round it was a great hot loud sweaty night, with a little rawness and a whole lot of heart which is what music at its purest form should be.

 

The Loft Sessions (BTW) 24th March

The following people and artist made this blog possible

The Audience

The Sonic Blues

Pleasure Heads

Ghost Writer

Afterglow Promotions

Photographs by 

Eindp photography  also on Facebook

AMiF

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The Sonic Blues. Brilliant.

Behind the wall has never been one of my favourite haunts; when I heard that a new local music event was happening in BTW I felt a tinge of disappointment that they picked that location. I headed through the main doors and passed by a relatively quiet bar with Thursday drinkers enjoying a week day pint perhaps glad that Easter had afforded them a long weekend.

I headed straight upstairs to the ‘Loft Sessions’. A different atmosphere presented itself here; there was a pleasant welcome from the gentleman collecting door money and promoter Rikki Tonner. Rikki looked happy, he offered a handshake but he was slightly distracted. He told me one of the PA speakers was down; underneath his calm exterior was a slight hint of exasperation. Immediately I could tell the guy puts a lot into these nights and he feels all the highs and lows.

There was an expectant air about the venue; the bar was the same as I had always remembered the Ale House to be (it’s in BTW). I grabbed a nice ale and enjoyed a cheeky school night pint (I was not off for Easter).

I bumped into Ranny, an old music friend who started a band around the same time as Weird Decibels. We had a wee chat about the old practice room and times gone past. With a nostalgic smile on my face I headed through to the stage area.

I was impressed. They have changed the layout for the live nights. Most of the tables are gone; under the soft blue lights lies a bigger stage than before. The darkness was pierced by the stage lights which remained static for the night and added to the intimate feel of the venue.

The sound desk and PA  was provided by Jimmy Dunbar who has presided over much of Falkirk’s live sound for years. I expected loud. However he has handed the reigns over to a younger chap, Ben White. The drums were excellent. The kick and toms were deep without muddy overspill and the snare cut through as expected. The band sound checking were The Sonic Blues.

I admit this was the reason I was here. Weird Decibels had a gig at the Kilted Kangaroo in Stirling, the Sonic Blues were on the same bill as us. I saw these guys soundcheck and I was impressed. We rudely left (to get a train) before they played that night. I had listened to their tracks online and wanted to see these guys.

11167960_525395094299516_6594349464135157036_oThe Sonic Blues have great invention; if you listen to their tracks you can hear many many influences straining to be heard. The blues feel is very much in their sound, they play really good Zepplin esq jams. They started the first half of their set with covers and they picked songs that suited their sound. The band members changed instruments and Greg Breen, a friendly guy who is very enthusiastic about his music, seamlessly switched from an excellent drumming performance to some, quite frankly, stunning guitar work.

They started to play the songs I heard online. Like many bands when they play live they sound  not better but free to improvise. Sometimes the thrill of the live performance outweighs the discipline of the studio. This was an excellent gig.

As The Sonic Blues jammed Rory passed with camera in hand and ear protectors in place. Tireless is a word I would use to describe this guy who is capturing the many events around Falkirk and the surrounding area.

They finished with ‘I can’t Get You Outta My Head’ by Ms Minogue (soon to be married, celeb goss on the WdB blog). It was fun and had me laughing as I made my way to the bar to meet my friends.

I spoke to Greg after their show and he shared the most common of ailments for any local musician. He’s moved to a new flat and this has curtailed the recording of drums for now. Hopefully he and the rest of the guys will get round this and released more music soon.

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Dressed for the occasion. Good set by these guys.

Pleasure Heads were next. The sharp dress code matched their music . The singer tall and dressed in a shirt and tie commanded the audience to move towards the stage and promised he wouldn’t bite. Those in attendance moved towards the stage. Their set was good and they had an enthralled audience watching their every shuffle.

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The mix of vocals between Iain King and Mags Dignan is very effective.

Last up were Ghost Writer. The crowd had thinned by the time these guys came on. One or two punters were talking of heading to City to no doubt listen to club music which, if that’s your thing, is fine but they missed a treat.

These guys take risks with their music. The singer Iain King stood taller than the rest and commanded the stage. Mags Dignan, on keys, shares vocals and this mix reminded me of Low and Foals but without the doom of Low, if that makes sense.

12916381_525526614286364_5480002945239723970_oThe different textures (keyboards and female vocals) in their sound was welcome and their songs were ambitious. I have tried to listen to their music online, so far their fine work is shackled by the 30 sec clip from iTunes. Their Outskirts Vol 1 EP has promise. I don’t do apple. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to download (and pay) for their music on Bandcamp. (if it’s on bandcamp please link, I couldn’t find it)

The proceedings came to a close; for the first time in years I had taken in a night of local music and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rikki, who had been darting around the venue all night, had a moment to chat. He hopes the Loft Sessions will work but I sensed doubt. He is a family man with a life outside music who has appeared on the Falkirk scene with a desire to improve it.

The Falkirk music scene is notoriously unforgiving. It will give you a flash of potential, of promise. Crowds will come then they will disappear for no reason. Scenes have come and gone. The Martell, the Happening Club and Dancing In the Dark I’m looking at you.

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Rikki (far right) chat with Ghost Writer

Now we have Rikki. He has stepped up and accepted the challenge that many have shied from. He and his team have invested time and money to try and make something work in our town. The green shoots of a new Falkirk music scene are all around you.

 

review of our year 2015

(featured image by Kevin Byrne)

Pabs looks back on 2015

What a year its been for both Weird Decibels and Pabs solo music. Many highs and to be honest a few lows but a great year.

January.

As the bells sound for the new year and 2014 turned to 2015 I remind myself that in February it will be 20 years since we first stepped into our Grangemouth practise room. Simply unbelievable.

2nd January

10891648_947995368558885_7424031052007615815_n The band head out to Linlithgow to choose a lodge in which to record the new album. We chose Kelso simply for the massive room that would allow for a great drum sound. What an inspired choice it was to be.

26th January

Tommy gives us a wee play on the Third Class Ticket ahead of our show at the Buff Club; he has supported us all year and his show goes from strength to strength.

31st January

10308122_967071426651279_2127647646909692300_nWe play the Buff Club in Glasgow. This was one of the strangest gigs we played! Look at the stage! We enjoyed it although it wasn’t our best performance.

February

8th February we turn 20 years old. We forget that this is an achievement; I guess as we’re all good friends it seems normal that we play music together.

19th February

we get a nice article in the Falkirk Herald to celebrate our time together. James Trimble has done us proud over the years.

21st February

We release the single version of Easy Way; never heard before until now. This was the version we sent to Bracken records which would never be released. Look out for more rare tracks in 2016 and beyond. There are loads!

28th February to 6th of March

We record some of Weird Decibels 2 over a week in Kelso. Here is the story part one two and three. This was one of the best weeks in the bands history.

March

March 6th

Pabs plays the Tolbooth in Stirling. A fantastic night for our singer who was lucky enough to be supported by friends and family as the headline act didn’t bring many people!

April

our modest desk

We continue to record parts for Weird decibels 2. Mixing starts; this turned out to be a long drawn put process despite our attempts to avoid this. Pabs went back onto shifts which helped but eventually he went back to day shift and juggling mixing, family life and work became difficult.

May

10th May we shoot the video for Its Who You Know at the Three Kings Kevin Byrne, Chris Wilson, Chris Burt and dale Ashworth all did us proud in this video which is nearing 500 views.

 

28th May Tommy Clark is first to air the new single on the Third Class Ticket.

29th May. Our new single its Who You Know released to the world. It went down very well; its since been remixed and will sound even better on the album.

 June

11095684_1039585756066512_5892143361267208515_n6th June we discuss the possibility of a deluxe version of Weird Decibels 2, over a few beers naturally… We had written so many ideas and recorded many practises as we wrote the album.

July

22nd July Stirling DIY Collective do a nice piece on the single. The Stirling scene turned out to be brilliant for Weird Decibels and Pabs this year. Big thanks to all at Stirling DIY collective and Kenny Bates.

August

August 18th and we set ourselves a deadline for releasing the new album. It would be missed. I will now be out 2016.

August 29th we play a superb gig at the Record Factory

September

Heavy mixing and mastering session begin to take their toll…

October

3rd October Pabs plays the Stirling Tolbooth 

10th October we release part 1 of our top 50 songs feature.

16th October part 2!

17th we play a great gig at Oxjam Stirling. 

23rd October we get a wee mention in the Stirling Observer.

25th October part 3 of our top 50 countdown is uploaded.

27th October Deadline for Weird Decibels 2 missed.

 

31st October part 4

November

kb (3)
Lets raawwwk. pic Byrne

 

1st November shooting starts for the new video for Kill it Kill It released next year. Thanks to Kevin Byrne, Ruari Pearson and Chris Wilson.

2nd November our new range of tees are launched!

7th November we reveal our favourite song that we have recorded. A surprise result!

7th of November we play a fantastic gig at North Star with Buzzards of Babylon to celebrate 20 years together.

13th November Weird Decibels, like all fellow bands and musicians, are shocked and saddened by the awful events in Paris, including the massacre at the Bataclan where the Eagles of Death Metal were playing.

18th November Weird Decibels and Pabs solo work are nominated for best song, acoustic (pabs) and best rock act alongside many other talented Falkirk hopefuls for the first AMiF awards. Still time to vote!!!!!

18th November Pabs and Stu lay some new alternative takes for Weird Decibels 2.

December

whapper stormer
The famous cover now all over the world!

‘we tried to get it out for the 20th anniversary gig and it became a rush. I wasn’t paying attention to the sound and was determined to get it released. 

Derek had listened to the masters on his earphones and voiced his concerns, I lost it! I was fed up, I wasn’t spending time with the family, work was hectic and I was coming home to mix. I nearly canned the whole lot. I walked away from the album and the band.

Stu came up to visit and we had a coffee and a blether. I returned after three weeks and felt great. I could hear all the problems with the sound and EQ’d them out. Now the album has the clarity it was missing. ‘ Pabs.

Pabs takes a three week break from mixing; comes back fresh and sorts out the frequency problems that had been causing issues. Album now sounds epic.

5th December Our first album Whapper Stormer appears on all digital platforms including Spotify.

 

 

 

 

Gig Diary. 20th Anniversary gig at North Star, Falkirk 7th Nov 2015

Gig Diary.

thanks to Kevin Byrne, Juls  Sampson, Gary Ivady and Kirsty Smith for taking photos/videos some of which are posted in the blog.

Lets raawwwk. pic Byrne
Lets raawwwk. pic Byrne

Upstairs Downstairs

The ever laid back Greg McSorley. Pic Byrne
The ever laid back Greg McSorley. Pic Byrne

I burst through the front door of the house exhausted after another day in the office. It was the end of a long week; now I had to jump from one life to another. You can’t beat being the frontman of Weird Decibels but before that I needed a wee 20 minutes nap on the couch. It wasn’t to be.

Mince and tatties in the microwave, I rushed upstairs to grab my gig bag, rushed back downstairs to grab a black tee shirt out of the dryer then back upstairs to check if the printer was working as I frantically tapped my last gen ‘smartphone’ to try and type up the set list.

Then I stood alone in the living room and tried to calm myself down; it worked for a minute as I ran back upstairs to grab mic leads then back downstairs when I heard the microwave ping!

Fed, watered and prepared I heard the doorbell ring and the ever laid back Mr Greg McSorley, 20 years served Bass player, and band gear fixer presented me with his usual enthusiasm for our latest gig. This time it was to be special.

I flung my gear into the back of his car and we set off on the thankfully short journey to North Star in the centre of Falkirk. It had been the best part of four years since we had played locally.

Snappy Singer

Snappy singer. pic Gary
Snappy singer. pic Gary

Stu and Derek were calmly setting up as hurricane Smith bashed through the doors with two guitars and a bag of leads. Two sighs later I flung the gear down and with my hands on my hips, I surveyed the scene. North Star looked the part, it was cosy and the tables had been neatly stacked away. I looked down at the empty floor and hoped that the free entry would tempt our loyal fanbase to fill this place.

Some diners were carefully tucking into their pizzas as I started to set up with the guys. It took a wee while to get the balance of the guitars right. Stu grew increasingly worried as he had to turn his guitar amp down 1. That’s -10 from the usual recommended rock level…

We balanced the guitars and then adjusted the bass slightly, Craig was dealing with the vocals and acoustic guitar which he mixed in well. Although there were no monitors on stage but we’ve played many gigs like that so it wasn’t a problem.

setlist

Setlist north star

  1. Home sweet home (Riot Act)
  2. Kill it Kill it (Weird Decibels 2)
  3. Educational suicide (Whapper Stormer)
  4. Show your face (Whapper Stormer)
  5. Joker (Weird Decibels 1)
  6. Just for today (Whapper Stormer)
  7. The rain (Whapper Stormer)
  8. Speak (Weird Decibels 1)
  9. Miss Asphyxia (Weird Decibels 2)
  10. The Ending (One More Solo
  11. Culture Creature (Firkin Outburst)
  12. Glass People (Whapper Stormer)
  13. Medley (Mix of One More Solo, Firkin Outburst and Riot Act)
  14. Wonder (Weird Decibels 1)
  15. Sofa girrrrl (Whapper Stromer)
  16. It’s who you know ( Weird Decibels 2)
  17. Vancouver (Whapper Stormer)
  18. Cold calling (One More Solo)
  19. Rosie (AC/DC)
  20. *last minute request Deliverance (Weird Decibels 1)
  21. High heels (One More Solo)

Our guests

After all the soundchecks were done Kevin Byrne kindly stepped up to entertain the crowd; he played a few acoustic songs which went down well with the audience.

It was fast approaching quarter to nine and the incredible Buzzards of Babylon, great friends of ours, took to the stage. By now numbers were starting to grow and the placed was getting warmer. The guys rocked through a tight and dynamic set with some hilarious banter from their captivating front man Rab Dempsey. A superb set from these guys. Suddenly it was game on!!

More people piled through the door (some literally) as the charged atmosphere added to our excitement. Nerves were kicking in now, we hadn’t played a lot of these songs live for years. I forgot the riff to Home Sweet Home just minutes before we were due on. I was snapping at the guys as the adrenalin was flowing. Guitars weren’t tuning and the mics were squealing feedback.

However when I hit the B chord of Home Sweet Home it all clicked in. The sound settled for a while and we burst into the opener from Riot Act. It was an apt song for playing back to our hometown of Falkirk after a few years trying to spread our name in Glasgow.

Going Back to the 90’s

Derek on fine form. pic Byrne
Derek on fine form. pic Byrne

The first third of the set flew past; after new single  Kill it Kill it was nailed I placed the guitar down; in that moment I was transported back to the Martell in 1995 when I was simply a vocalist. We played Educational Suicide and Show Your Face Soon. It was brilliant to be able to run about the stage without the guitar.

I loved singing Just for Today and Vancouver as well; the heat was building and I was gulping more water in between the free beer supplied by the venue (nice touch North Star).

The Ending was a bit wobbly, Greg couldn’t quite nail it and it took us until the end to find our feet. I made a hash of the end as well. So yeah there were a few mistakes on the night but what the hell, it was fun.

I lifted the trusty old Tanglewood which was nestled in its rack; this was the first guitar I had bought and became fused with our late 90’s sound. Culture Creature was the best song to come from that era. It sounded good although I didn’t nail the solo. Stu managed to carry us through that part. Derek and Greg kept things solid.

Glass people was next; the first time in perhaps 15 or so years the public it was pretty much spot on and once again the indefectible Stu nailed the solo; the chatter in the venue had lowered to a murmur as the crowd took in his playing.

The mood was changing though, restless perhaps, it was time to turn it up a notch so we played our first ever medley.

The Medley

We had many requests from our kind kind listeners; these included Hell Never Felt So Good, Underachiever and Fighting With Forever. We wanted to fling in Brought A Gun and the Nirvana version of the Vaselines Molly’s Lips before leaving the guitars to ring into Wonder.

As we switched from Hell to Bought A Gun I screwed up the change; with a shake of the head from Derek we soldiered on and got the rest right much to the delight of our listeners who were pleased with the new take on old songs.

The Final Straight

Stu gets the crowd going. Pic by Gary
Stu gets the crowd going. Pic by Gary

Sofa Girrrl was a riot; by this time I had a few beers and was trying to get the crowd to sing along to songs they might not know. So I dived away from the stage in search of some backing singers and a special dancer. Rooz stepped up and we Sofadanced through the 3 mins of punk. A superb moment.

New song it Who You Know burnt out the last strings of my vocal chords but the guys were now in full rock mode. We reached Rosie, our 2nd last song, or so we thought. The chants of (the much missed) Dave Broon echoed through the Star from our friends as Derek and Stu started our famous cover song.

After the guitars rung out my father stepped up to the stage, ‘you need to play Deliverance! There is a guy from Stockport here just to see you!!’ That guy turned out to be Falkirk bairn Harry Watson who had traveled 234 miles to take in the sights and sounds of his home town.

After Craig kindly allowed some more time (past 11pm now..) we launched into Deliverance. I disappeared into the crowd, guitar in hand. Stu was in stitches wondering who was going to sing the choruses!

friends! Pic by Juls
friends! Pic by Juls

We ended with one of the most requested songs in our history, it’s always the same voice that shouts for it! High Heels, Wilson’s favourite ended a superb night for us. As Stu And I played back to back during the solo it felt great to be on a Falkirk stage again. I went out into the audience and I was surrounded by people that had came to see us. It was a great  moment.

The Merch stand is open!

Merch did well, Derek set it up rather nicely, a great effort. We sold a number of Tee’s that Greg had spent hours making. We shifted a few of the back catalog CD’s as well. Thank you everybody.

The Buzzards were Buzzing!

Rab asked for a guide to Falkirk pubs that would be open until 3am I gulped… the adrenaline was seeping away, and my bones were aching. These guys meant business. Greg was the only Decibel to rise to the Buzzards challenge. They stayed up to 3am downing shots and proving that Stu, Derek and myself may have to brush up on our rock and roll skills.

The Greatest of Nights.

A fine night in the North Star. Pic Byrne
A fine night in the North Star. Pic Byrne

It was a great night at North Star. It’s a neat wee venue for bands to play and we would like to thank Craig for having us on. Both Kevin and the Buzzards were brilliant, the latter clearly looked like they were out for a party all night and morning. The crowd was brilliant as well. Many of you turned up to support us and it was nice to see the place full of much loved friends and family.

So thanks once again for your support. As we say so long to our first 20 years and look to the years ahead.

With a new album due soon we must acknowledge that it would never have happened without you. Our wonderful Weirdos..

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.

DSC01188

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.

11895243_945630095494870_7163749106360250034_o11894597_945630108828202_8805316265701286382_o11895034_945630078828205_1711385820095125995_o

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

DSC01193

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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Weird Decibels our 2014.

Weird Decibels review of the year 2014

January

The year started with a mixture of optimism and permission; we had started writing weird decibels 2 and it wasn’t really taking off so we had to find some inspiration from somewhere. We booked ourselves a wee lodge in Oakley for the end of the month.

Before we were due to set off we had the small matter of releasing a new music video. Speak was the song we opted for.

http://youtu.be/bhh3IeKejGM

We stayed true to the black and white theme of Weird Decibels 1. It was shot down at the practise room with a mixture of stills and live footage. The idea was to have a bit of fun with each of us switching musical positions. The video did quite well; sitting at over 1000 views and that isn’t taking into account the Blank TV stats. A good start!.

The Falkirk Herald kindly ran a story about the video. Nice folk.

http://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/what-s-on/weird-combine-sound-and-vision-once-again-1-3271181

Moshville times wrote a nice piece for us as part of their ‘Band of the Day’; my favourite quote would be ‘not exactly radio friendly (!)’ and ‘ an overall undercurrent of folk’ this led us to utter a new genre Folking Metal!

http://www.moshville.co.uk/botd/2014/01/new-band-of-the-day-weird-decibels/

Spotifyimage3as January came to a close we headed off to Oakley with the acoustic guitars and a shit load of beer. We wrote 6 songs. ‘I Hear The City’, Little Thoughts Lost’, ‘Digital Takeover’, Curtain Hits the Cast’, ‘Quoted Not Voted’ and ‘Hit Me’ the latter had everyone reaching for their beers a little quicker. ‘Its a song about depression’ quipped Stu. We never played it again.

February

This took us neatly into February and Tommy Clark of the Third Class Ticket Show continued to do us proud by playing us on his show; ‘Speak’ getting the slot.

Click ‘like’ here

https://www.facebook.com/TheThirdClassTicket

March

We were looking forward to playing Stereo but the gig was cancelled. I was gutted at this news; A because I love playing live and B because its a cracking venue.

We also uploaded the remasters of One More Solo to limited success!! I’m not sure if its worth doing the other albums; the overpowering bass of the original master was swamping the album. I like the new master though.

Hear for yourself.

http://weirddecibels.bandcamp.com/album/one-more-solo-remastered

April

April was quiet for us. I was busy working on Morningday; an album I recorded with Kevin Byrne and Jemma Burt.

May

Derek and Ann tied the knot. Its good to have a least one celebrity wedding a year.

World cup fever was building, we continued to practise the new songs another quiet month.

June

We had a gig at Pivo Pivo to look forward to. We were sitting in the practise room mulling over the limited response to the gig (we would learn that gigs are best played on a Friday or Saturday); we got a phone call from PM promotions who had helped us have some cracking gigs in 2013 (Oran Mor, ABC 2). It was to be at the QMU; an old stomping ground for us. The big stage right? We asked the promoter.

Ah no its Jims Bar.

Mmm it still looked ok so we went for it given that Saturday gigs tend to be better. First gig of 2014 booked… in June… Anyway it was to be part of the ‘West End Festival’.

June would also see us attempt our own event. We booked a gig at the brilliant 13th Note with young rockers Ciceros secret, Miss the Occupier and The Dark Arts. Things were picking up!

10401915_10152485640034519_7255418438963022257_nThe 21st of June would see us play Jim’s Bar. I filmed the approach to the gig hoping to start a documentary for the band. It was a clammy summers day, the football was on and the venue was like a an oven. Not the greatest gig; our patience with PM promotions was staring to run low.

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/pabs-gig-diary-jims-bar-qmu-live/

July

The film I made for the Jim’s Bar gig was quickly shoehorned into a video for Joker’ we hadn’t had a presence on YouTube for a while and this was a chance to get back on.

Not our greatest video by any stretch but it was a bit of fun. Views? 120 on our page around 600 on Blank TV. Very disappointing given the success of the other videos. A fickle world indeed!

Go on click the link and make it 121 views.

http://youtu.be/5GAXNtruyqA

August

I was with Lewis sipping a coffee at the Helix when the phone rang. James Trimble from the Falkirk Herald looking for an interview! So look out for our article in the next couple of weeks! Thanks James. This was a Facebook post I wrote the day James Trimble phoned my mobile as I sipped a coffee. You should have seen the looks of the other costumers as I was talking about writing albums and playing gigs!

http://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/what-s-on/falkirk-s-kelpies-are-rocking-horses-in-music-video-1-3501992

It was a very good article from James Trimble.

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

To top off this fantastic month we played our gig at the 13th Note. One of the best we played and we met some good friends old and new that night. I also highly recommend the Notes veggie burgers!!

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/gig-diary-22nd-august-13th-note-glasgow/

Oh before I finish August we had promised for weeks to do the ‘ice bucket challenge; the Facebook craze that had went mega viral, listen close and you will hear Stu scream like a big girl!

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=868665706491852&set=vb.128933433798420&type=2&theater

September

We booked another gig; this time at Ivory Blacks. It looked very promising; although it was on a school night…

September was a quiet month of writing and recording practise sessions. We actually started writing in the old room again and the results were pretty good.

October

We launched our very own website this month in a hope not to rely too much on Facebook. Its hard to say where this is going to go. My how did we get to attached to Facebook. Disturbing…

anyway here it is.

http://www.weirddecibels.com/

The website will probably evolve to become more of a tribute to our 20 years together. Watch this space.

We started drinking tea and coffee at practise; yes you read that right.

November

Stu rocks the ivory
Stu rocks the ivory

We hyped the Ivory Black gig as a send off to Weird Decibels 1. A very disappointing gig and a rather sad end to the live life of Weird Decibels 1. Maybe we’ll do another show and send it off in style.

As I write about the highs and lows of unsigned music life there are certain things that quickly pull you back into perspective

Our good friend and fellow musician Chris Masson passed away at the age of 37. Too young. Too soon.

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/chris-masson-1977-2014/

On the 22nd of November the guys brought their gear around to my place and we set up the studio. We wrote another batch of cracking songs for Weird Decibels 2. This will be the way we write in the future given the success of the session.

https://soundcloud.com/weirdmusiconline/the-canine-with-no-teeth

December

Weird Decibels 2014
Weird Decibels 2014

The band has wrapped up early this year, work and the festive season have taken their toll on our practise sessions.

All is good, we have a batch of songs ready to be rehearsed and eventually recorded next year

2014 has been a mixed bag. Some highs some lows; I feel we lost a wee bit of momentum this year due to different circumstances and perhaps poor choices.

2015 is our 20th anniversary. A new album is due, new videos, gigs, podcast and hopefully a film. So a lot to look forward to,

Massive thanks to the unflinching support of our family and friends

The unsigned musicians work is never done!

Gig Diary. Ivory Blacks. 6th Nov 2014

Black and white photographs by Kevin Byrne

Stu rocks the ivory
Stu rocks the ivory

It was a dark and stormy night as we pulled up to the slightly hidden doorway of Ivory Blacks; a venue known for its brand of heavier rock. We were looking forward to this despite the ‘playing on a mid week night’ doubts that were nagging us.

There were three other bands on the bill War head, Ritual Spirit and Fourth Gate, It was nice to speak to Bathgate rockers Warhead they were a sound bunch.

we got some chips for tea and we were ready to go
we got some chips for tea and we were ready to go

The sound check was kinda back to front; we wnet on first so we soundchecked and everyone else did a level check. I liked the sound on stage. The venue was empty though and we were due to play in 20 minutes.

the er.. setlist
the er.. setlist

Thankfully a few of our wonderful friends ventured through the doors just as we were due to strike our first chords. We played well to a largely empty venue. I really enjoyed the gig although it was slightly disillusioning that our final run through of Weird Decibels 1 was to a sparse audience given that we have had some great gigs recently. Forward was played for the first time in a while and it was nailed. Could be a regular again!

Pabs sings his heart out
Pabs sings his heart out

A huge thank you to all our friends who supported us through the Weird Decibels 1 era. We have learned a lot; we will be more picky about the venues in future and we’ll probably avoid playing midweek shows. See you for Weird Decibels 2.0 live!!