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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.

 

 

 

 

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Pablo played the Tolbooth Stirling 3rd October 2015

The Tolbooth Stirling supporting JJ Gilmour Saturday 3rd October

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Oh the lights are Blue! (picture by Greg)

The nerves kicked in about lunch time as I walked along Blackness shore with Kirsty and my boy Lewis. What if I broke a strings? What if forgot the words or the chords. I looked over the river Forth; surrounded by the landscape that have provided much of the canvas for my music. I’m starting to hope that tonight will open new doors.

I kiss Kirsty goodbye, Lewis dropped off at his Grandmas (thanks!) and I walk to the train, guitar case in hand ready to catch the 5 past 5 to Stirling.

I crash down with all my gear onto a seat opposite a strange guy who looks half paranoid and half irritated. Eventually he relocates to a more comfortable seat. I turn to look out the window as the landscape rushes past. Alone with my thoughts its usually here I think of Weird Decibels. Before a gig the four of us are involved in some sort of banter; I haven’t played a lot of solo shows but this seems to be recurring thought.

The train wheels into Stirling; the city is bustling with people. I dodge through them and make the journey up the hill towards the Tolbooth. Eventually I reach the venue and I am greeted by Katie and her friendly colleague whose name has escaped me.

I’m lead to the dressing room; backstage there is a fridge with beer. Filtered coffee sits on a percolator and there is a box of curry. I head through to the stage.

I find JJ Gilmour on stage doing his sound check and Phil, his pianist, is in the seats listening to the performance. I’m delighted that the seats are out; it was the same set up used when I came here to see RM Hubbert.

JJ Patiently battles with a poor monitor sound that is eventually fixed by the sound engineers (who did a fantastic job for me). JJ is a perfectionist, he is clearly concerned about the on stage sound and you could tell he was thinking of the audience that would arrive later having paid money to see him.

Eventually the sound is settled; I sit back and listened to JJ and Phil play a few tunes which I really enjoyed. Its my turn to go up and sound check. Those nerves? Yeah they come storming back.

My sound check was terrible, I was all over the place. Usually with the band we settle our sound quickly and confidently hammer through our song. Solo? Much different. The silence of the room, every single string and every word sung is heard. It is a pressure I’m still getting used to. I regained my composure and for the first time I nervously asked the engineers to adjust my monitor sound. Suddenly I realised how important it is to nail your on stage sound. The guys could not have been more helpful; the sound was balanced and now the echo (or latency) from the back of the room was no longer putting me off. I strummed through a number of songs and my confidence grew.

Sound check concluded I stood with JJ and Phil; two cracking blokes who were happy to share stories to a guy who is interested to hear about their successful musical careers. Clearly they have had some amazing times with the Silencers and the many artists they have met along the way. The conversation turns to the present music industry. JJ is visibly frustrated at how musicians are treated these days, he explained that he had went to a TV station where musicians were playing.

(Not his exact words)The receptionist, paid, the guy who escorted me up to the studio, paid, the presenters, the sound engineers, the camera operators, paid. I look at the artists and they are the only people in the room who weren’t paid.

This struck a chord with me.

We all went back stage and had a blether about all things music; I found both JJ and Phil to be great company.

Time was flying and my stage time was approaching. I was escorted by a young stage hand awaiting instruction from the sound engineer; all very professional and certainly not what I’m used to!!

Set list

  1. I Had To Turn It Around

  2. What Are You Running From

  3. Looking From The Outside

  4. Awkward

  5. The Boxer

  6. Let Autumn and Winter Pass

  7. Hard Working Man

  8. Blue lights

The lights went out and I made my way towards the stage. I could feel the presence of the audience and I can’t remember if there was applause or silence. My nerves had really kicked in; I took a moment and lifted my father’s Takamine over my shoulder and stepped towards the mic.

I Had to Turn It Around is fairly easy to play and it went well. The applause was brilliant; I smiled, through the first song unscathed! I slowed things down with What are you Running From, my composure was now on and my confidence starting to rise. Looking from the Outside was fine, I think I hit a wrong note here but I carried on. I loved playing Awkward to an audience that listened to everything I played. Boxer went down well and I dedicated Autumn to Kirsty who had been joined by Lisa and Greg (thanks guys!).

Hard Working Man went the way I wanted; I slowed it right down at the end. The audience were very enthusiastic. I wasn’t used to this and I loved the experience. I went into Bluelights, the lights went blue (like that last time) a nice touch. This is a moment that will not leave me. Then there was the applause at the end, as a grass roots musician you wait for moments like this. I looked up to the lights, bowed, and left the stage.

Backstage JJ and Phil were sipping from what I was assured a nice red, a far cry from Buckfast! I cracked open one of our complementary Becks and took my place in the audience.

I liked their show, a really entertaining mixture of songs from the past and present. Halfway through the set JJ took the time to ask the audience to give me a round of applause; it was a nice touch, its been a while since I’ve been called ‘young Paul’! The stories were brilliant, then the sing along from JJ’s fans at the end was fantastic. I really enjoyable performance from them.

Afterwards, we stood at the merch stand. To top off a fantastic night I sold out my CD’s albeit with a little gentle recommendation from JJ. I signed some of the copies and spoke to some lovely people.

A once in a lifetime experience for me? I hope not!!

Thanks to

Kirsty, Greg, Lisa, Kenny, Katie, the sound team, the staff at Tolbooth and of course JJ and Phil.