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


Story of the Songs

Story of the Song 1: Glass People.

Glass People is track 10 from Whapper Stormer our first album.

whapper stormer






This is the Story of the Song. Glass People was written around 1994/5 inspired by the rock nightclub scene at Pennies. We went there every Saturday for a few years.

Screenshot (1)


it was a rainy night

Rain was a recurring theme in Whapper Stormer I wrote many of these songs around 1994/5. There was localised flooding and the Dawson Mission next to the river Carron was hit, that inspired the Rain. Many of our Saturday nights were spent down at a rock club called Pennies. It often rained. We’d get soaked on the walk down from Falkirk town centre to Pennies but we’d soon be dry in the muggy atmosphere of the club. Smoke would fill the room obscuring the DJ who would flip CD’s in the booth huddled in the corner of the dance floor. Nirvana had been around for a couple of years but were still popular, Rage against the Machine always played, Blur, Pulp, Elastica, great tunes. We all had Doc Martins, checked shirts and long hair. We moshed to Smells Like Teen Spirit although occasionally the DJ would cheekily play a rap version instead. Dick.

for the night I was going to witness, people who are desperate to escape all that lies before them

We were all in our late teens and early twenties. Most of us had been average at school. Personally I had wasted my education and went to college to stall the inevitable step into an unknown world. As a group we were close then, most of us took comfort in each other and the shared fear of having no idea what to do with our lives or how our lives would turn out.

all are congregated, maybe not at church but a place we can worship our freedom and our choice

I’m speaking for myself here but I don’t think many of us went to church or practised our religion. I certainly did not. Pennies was our ‘church’ a community that would meet every week to dance and drink or take drugs perhaps all three. There was a level of tolerance in our scene, many of us didn’t fit in at our earlier social settings. School alienated at lot of us. We were free from that.

the only place where I can let go for recreation, but I noticed, I noticed something spectacular, so spectacular

The lead up to the chorus, one night I probably had too many drinks but I remember the lights cutting through the smoke and the silhouettes. There were tears on many of the nights. The grunge era promoted an outward pouring of emotion. Sometimes it seemed people were trying to out do each other, to see who could be angry or the saddest, myself included. I thought I could see through people, hence Glass People. However looking back my opinion was naive as I’m sure many of my old friends had real issues that I was ignorant of.

glass people, looking so polished, looking so clean, looking so sweet now, perhaps it should’ve been, glass people

A simple descriptive chorus of ‘Glass People’

you wanna know where I witnessed. it was around a rectangular table in a lonely corner, there were a few beacons sitting there

Where the first verse describes Pennies and sets the scene, verse 2 focuses more on the area where we sat, it was often in the corner near the bar where they severed draft Tenents Special. Cheap beer. The glass theme is still present. We would sit around these basic rectangular tables and drink, roll cigarettes and dance when our favourite tune come on.

and on the table, a few bits of paper, glasses, generally, I looked around and I saw them, I saw them slipping so far away

We’d tear up beer maps, scatter them about the table. There would be Rizzla papers crushed and disregarded. This is the line that often transports me back to that time. That last part of this line describes what would happen at the end of the night, we’d slip away to smaller groups, some of us drunk some of us high. As the years went by we’d slip away into our lives never to return to Pennies. The lights would be switched off, the floor would lie empty and the doors would be closed.




Pabs General music thoughts

Music in 2014 will be…

…the year of writing Weird Decibels 2.


Weird Decibels 1 is actually a 2012 album, 2013 was the year we promoted it. Some of the songs were written back in 2009. So our thoughts turn to the next set of songs. We started writing last year but the writing was in fits and starts. Ms Asphyxia has been played live, a few others are holding on, Kill it! Kill it! Standing on a Viewpoint but its fair to say life got in the way and writing halted.
We’ve booked a weekend break in a lodge in Oakley. We’ll take the acoustics and a load of beer and wine, the studio and a dose of hope that inspiration will take hold and some songs will be born. I can see this being the way we write our songs in the future.

….when One More Solo turns ten.


Its hard to believe our ‘come back’ album is ten years old. This is the first album we recorded when Stu rejoined the band. The album was easy to write, we were invigorated, the 2 year break (myself, Derek and Greg joined Jon Shaw and formed the Seventeenth) helped refreshen our outlook. We recorded this album at Derek’s old flat on a Tascam 788. We had one or two mics the best of which was a Stagg condenser. We made a vocal booth from egg cups and it was mixed on my hi fi with two huge Celef speakers as monitors. I’ve learned a wee bit more about sound production. The album has been remastered, it sounds a bit better, more clarity and more dynamics and less guitar ringing! (Derek is gutted) Its a simple remaster, it will sound a lot better on its 20th anniversary when I finally work out how to use multi band compressors. The One More Solo remaster is out soon and will be free to download.

…. Weird Decibels playing live.


Derek is injured so we won’t be playing live until at least the spring. We hope to play new venues and new cities, maybe even new countries. Playing live made 2013 special for us and we met a lot of great new friends. I’d definitely like to re visit the 13th note I love that venue. Another gig in England would be nice…

….when music videos are once again all the range.


Wonder was great in 2013 but we left it too long to record its follow up so this year we’re going to have more content on YouTube. The Speak video will be first, then a video for Joker. We hope to have the film Making of Weird Decibels 1 finished and uploaded into episodes on YouTube. We’ll give video podcasts a shot as well.

…. a new Podcast series.


The podcasts have been popular. Thanks for listening. This year we will reminisce. We hope to have some friends from old Falkirk bands guesting in our pods, some live performances. A look at one more solo and general silliness. Look out for the podcast from the writing weekend where we’ll hopefully have a brand new song or two for you to hear in acoustic format.

…. social networking???


I’ve no idea where social networks are going. We’re signed up to all the major players. Updating them all is a pain in the arse. Engagement is the key… Is Facebook declining? Is MySpace back? Is reverbnation the hub? Is Bandcamp ever going to improve their search algorithm? There is a part of me that says word of mouth is best. I’m at a loss. Where is the best platform for our band? YouTube? See above.

….the solo album


I am writing a lot of songs at the moment. I trying to write my writers block to death! ( writing as much as you can kills block ) Some are for the band others are for me, mainly the tunes that wouldn’t work with the band but I don’t want to throw away. Seriously around early December I was staring at a blank page holding the guitar and nothing was coming. That thought. Is this it? Is this me finished? I played and played the guitar, staring out into the garden. Then stuff clicked and I recorded everything onto the tablet. I took the best ideas and have laid them down but its getting harder, so I have to work harder. Hopefully my 7th solo record will be out this year. However my priority remains Weird Decibels 8th!

…. I will expand ‘Pablo’s unsigned adventure’


Bandcamp, it was a random search and I stumbled upon the Spanish band 9M Lied. Loved their recordings and I decided to write about my favourite unsigned bands. Its not easy, there is so much content on the internet and its frustrating trying to find the hidden gems. The criteria? Unsigned. Not recommend by staff ( I don’t trust this). Not the most popular. I want the bands that are ignored or just starting out. Recommendations welcome. Hopefully I’ll get one new band a month.

…. Fail to hold back the stream

I love CD’s. Want to explore vinyl. You cannot match the sound quality of these physical formats…yet. But i cannot afford it. Bought 5 CDs last month, (still waiting for their arrival…) Cost me a small fortune. I have Spotify premium. ( another can of worms) For now its great but I feel weird using Spotify knowing how much we as artists get paid per stream. Anyway its feeding my music appetite this year as it did the last.

So enjoy your music in 2014 my big hope? Well we get signed, but seriously? A new scene, a fresh batch of new bands. Fingers crossed.