• Errors / 1990s - Aberdeen Moshulu 23 February 2008

    8 Mar 2008, 15:48

    'Adventures Close to Home' is fast becoming a quality brand in the UK. Starting out at Camden's Barfly, the brand now plays out to an appreciative Aberdeen audience once a month. This month showcases the talents of two acts from nearby Glasgow, Errors and, firstly, 1990s.

    With the clock still far off midnight and the crowd-swelling wave of post-pub revellers yet to depart, Jackie McKeown, Michael McGaughrin and new bassist Dino Bardot do not need to fight to make themselves heard over the light chatter of some fifty audience members. McKeown bedecked, as ever, in a chequed flannel shirt over a t-shirt with maple leaf design, makes light of the situation chuckling "Come on, we're losing the crowd!" during their opening number.

    Interest picks up during outings for 'My Cult Status' and 'You Made Me Like It' two of the better known tracks from last year's 'Cookies' LP, however it's true that the band's early material is becoming somewhat stale, especially to a veteran of many shows like myself. So when 'Vulnerable' (as I think it was called) makes an appearance shortly after it's an opportunity to re-assess the band based on new (or at least newer) material. However, a huge 'uh oh oh oh' call illicits no audience response and, despite a wild rock 'n' roll finish, the 1990s are still having difficulty reaching out to this minor audience.

    Therefore a return to the 'classics' is needed and the swamp blues of 'Weed' and the impossibly sing-a-long 'See You At The Lights' appear to have the crowd back on side just in time for "another new one" which, despite sounding as though Mick Jones had a hand, from bassist Dino's enthusiasm it suggests he co-wrote it. It's an effort and enthusiasm that's matched by drummer McGaughrin whose falsetto on final track 'You Were Supposed To Be My Friend' is as lovable as the band themselves.

    Despite being billed second, Errors are the headline act tonight and treated to a much larger and appreciative crowd soon show their worth in the role. Errors live essentially build loops of sound, producing illicit dreamscapes and are prone to more false endings than you can shake a confused applauder at. It's involving and mesmerising stuff and all the more exciting when you kid yourself that the band are making a lot of it up - some 'freeform jazz nods' to each other being notably apparent.

    The crowd now range from those chattering quietly around the bar to those up close and personal with lead Error Simon Ward, dressed tonight in a seasonal beanie, enthralled at the sound of an early appearances for key tracks 'Crew Cut' and 'Hans Herman'. The set becomes more guitar-driven as the night progresses with more of the audience becoming engrossed with the night's shimmering post-rock sound. Final track 'Mr Milk' is the best of all - cosmic, layered expulsions that you'd need to be deaf or culturally retarded not to love.
  • Emmy the Great @ Moshulu - 17th Feb 2008

    23 Feb 2008, 13:39

    Sun 17 Feb – Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Emmy the Great, X-Certs

    Sandwiched between performances by two completely different acts (The X-Certs and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly) Emmy The Great shuffles on stage bedecked in an outfit (a flimsy skirt, grey bobbled leggings, butterfly hair clasp) suited perfectly to her hushed folk repartee and flanked by a guitarist (Euan 'Young*Husband' Hinshelwood - a Culturedeluxe Records artist in his own right), a violinist (sporting a knitted farmyard jumper, the dictonary definition of twee) and a drummer (he's a drummer). Hitting things off with 'The Easter Parade', it takes a great number of "shoosh"s from the minority of the audience who want to listen before the song's inherent fragility can be enjoyed. Unfortunately this remains true for the majority of the set, save for a slightly louder track which sees Euan take on bass duties - the headline act's fans simply don't care and many potentially poignant moments are drowned in inane chatter. Visibly upset at the set's end, the band leave hastily and, one hopes, unscarred by the Aberdeen crowd. A return to see this band as headliners is more than the average fan tonight deserves, but it is an opportunity I hope we will get.
  • One Night Only / Clocks / Nick Hamilton - Aberdeen Cafe Drummond, 19th February 2008

    22 Feb 2008, 8:18

    Tue 19 Feb – One Night Only

    You'd expect that One Night Only did not expect to be recent top 10 visitors when they booked this tour. Why else would you book Cafe Drummond, a venue more suited to Shed Seven tribute acts and occasionally the surprisingly less popular Rick Witter himself, and submit a potentially huge crowd to its meagre standing space? Perhaps it's because they'd heard of the venue's excellent sound, a factor which has made some of the nation's less celebrated acts sound like world beaters in the past. One thing is for sure, with such a young audience (it's 14+ tonight) in residence, bar service is but a dream.

    First act tonight is Nick Hamilton and his band whose brand of reggae mixed with heavy guitar imparts an innovative departure, however they simultaneously sound as if they're shacking off the shackles of a former life as a The Police tribute act. In order to do this, Hamilton has clearly been taking some vocal cues from Jamie T and Luke Pritchard which finds favour and familiarity with the front of a surprisingly large initial crowd. Nick's between song banter is fantastic, however, and he should go far if his material outlasts The Police's current world tour.

    I note with interest that after supporting tonight's top 10 heroes, Clocks will be hitting the road with the equally chart-bothering Scouting For Girls. One insipid pop act could be a coincidence, two certainly can't be. That said, what better way to gain exposure to a potentially huge audience? Yes sir, Clocks are either very shit or very shrewd.
    It's refreshing to say that evidence points to the latter as the band launch into an impressive swamp-rock introduction, morphing into an intriguing mixture of scuzzy garage rock and candy-like harmonious pop. It's like the Beach Boys meeting Heavy Stereo and actually having a clue who they are and, ignoring a couple of noughties-indie-pop-by-numbers workouts early in the set, the boys put on quite a show.

    Four tracks in, a number of ears prick up to an introduction the mirror image of Katrina and the Waves' 'Walking on Sunshine' and collective sighs of relief are audible as it transmutes into great, guitar-led pop. This is immediately followed by the best track of the night which sees vocallists Tom Hewitt and Ed Hilliam share duties on a 60's-tinged sing-a-long displaying a lot more panache than Penate. Equally good is 'Call On Me' which recalls the classic jangle of fifteen year vintage Teenage Fanclub.

    Clocks finish with their new single 'Old Valve Radio' which nicely completes the circle with a return to the glam stomp of the opener replete with contemporary 'uh-oh-ohs'. The new disc is not entirely unenjoyable but there's no doubt that Clocks less commercial output trounces their releases to date tonight.

    Headliners One Night Only then with a strong act to follow, and the early signs suggest all they've mastered on the trail to the charts is the whereabouts of the 'cool' preset on their synth and how to sing out of tune between excruciating guitar. When the next two songs fail to improve - some awful prog-rock influenced jam and Smartprice Futureheads - I head for the door.