Sunday, February 19, 2012
A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF GIGS : WEEK 7 (Part 2) : IN WHICH YOUR REVIEWERS STRUGGLE TO FIND THE RIGHT WORDS
A four band line-up at King Tut's on 16 February was originally intended to be the only gig of Week 7 but the late phone call from Drew for the Spector gig changed things a wee bit.
Regular correspondent Son of the Rock left behind a comment the other week that he was hoping the gigs would see me getting out of my comfort zone. I'd like to think to some extent that going along to nights where I know nothing about the bands was taking me away from such a zone, but I take the point that jazz, metal, classical and boy-bands should be taken in to make this 'adventure' complete. Give it time....
The 16 February event was picked out at random. Myself and Aldo thought that seven weeks in it was time we went along to said venue and that what we should do is find a night when none of the names of any of the bands meant anything to us. Here's what we we made of it all....
REVIEW OF SWEET SWEET LIES/THE WELLGREEN/TEN GALLON BRATZ/THE BAD BAD MEN : KING TUT'S WAH WAH HUT, GLASGOW : THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY
First impressions from the downstairs bar at King Tut's is that it's a very unusual crowd. Lots of folk who we wouldn't imagine are regulars - a lot older than normal for one thing and quite boisterous for the most part. We put it down perhaps to maybe the bands being local and that they've brought along a fair smattering of family members to support them on the big night.
We go upstairs at 8.45pm in time to take in the set from bottom of the bill The Bad Bad Men. Just 15 seconds in and Aldo says they sound and look like a band you'd find in Irish bars. JC nods in agreement. Before long, it's clear that the five folk on stage are incredibly competent and accomplished musicians and singers. But there's a feeling among us both that they are a band more akin to playing weddings and are getting the night off to do their own stuff which is, for the most part, upbeat folk-rock that is well received by the smallish audience. But not exactly our musical cups of tea.
Next up is Ten Gallon Bratz. They are a group of blokes in what we guess are mid-late 40s and possibly even 50s. Completely unlike any other line-up either of us have seen at King Tut's which, for the most part, is the venue through which up-and-coming wannabees pass through as they seek fame and fortune. This looked like men who played music for a hobby...they could easily have passed for a group of teachers who had come together to make music. Their songs were very Americana - the sort of stuff you hear from Tom Petty or going back further in time, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Again it's music that neither of us have much fondness for but again it's impossible to slag anything off. These guys, just like the opening act, can play and sing. They get a fantastic reception at the end of every song. Just before their final song, they take a photo of the crowd and thank everyone for coming along - especially those who came down on the bus from Greenock (a town some 20 plus miles west of Glasgow).
Before the next act come on, we muse over what we've seen so far. Two bands who were good at what they do but it was stuff neither of us particularly liked. But given we didn't know what we were getting into we couldn't grumble. So we didn't and instead settled down to experience The Wellgreen.
Two young lads take to the stage and between them play, keys, acoustic guitars and drums. They're another local act who give us a pleasant enough set enjoyed more by Aldo than JC. Lots of two-part harmonies and while there's still a fair bit of Americana about them, there's a variation in tempo amidst their set that was lacking with the earlier bands. Rather bizarrely, two members of the audience take to the stage to dance to one of their tunes - but not in any Bez type tribute - the song in question was slow in mood and feel.
We reckoned that with three local bands all having brought along their own fans tonight that the place would empty before the main act came on. And yes, while some folk did take their leave, there were still maybe 120-150 in King Tuts at 11pm when Sweet Sweet Lies hit their first notes.
The crowd went mad for the entire 35 minutes - all sorts of dancing down the front and even some singing along to the tunes. Again, none of the music particularly struck a chord with either of us, but it was impossible not to enjoy witnessing such a vibrant and whole-hearted event, band and audience alike. What did they sound like? Was difficult to say....there were a whole load of influences on their sound. At times they were as Irish-bar sounding as the opening act, at other times they evoked a far more European cabaret feeling.
We left King Tut's three and a half hours after entering acknowledging that we had a good night out but agreeing that with the exception of The Wellgreen, we'd probably not be all that fussed about seeing any of them again. But quite clearly, all four bands have a load of fans and deservedly so.
Details on each of the acts can be found at these sites:-
JC and Aldo, Sunday 19 February 2012