Tuesday, 17 December, 2019 in Live Reviews, Music

Pearl Jam Scotland, Pearl Jam UK and Diabetes UK

Pearl Jam Scotland and Pearl Jam UK Fundraiser for Diabetes UK

A chance meeting back in August while watching a Pearl Jam tribute band (Pearl Jamm) introduced me to the online world of the Pearl Jam Scotland community. It’s a community, as you would expect, who like to talk about American rock band Pearl Jam and also associated Seattle and Grunge groups but who also work hard to raise money for charity and in particular Diabetes UK.

This year they set a target of £10,000 and through various activities had nearly reached their goal. To help push them over the line, they arranged a pre-gig party prior to Pearl Jam UK taking the stage at the Garage in the evening. The venue for this fundraiser was The Box, directly across the road from the Garage and despite only knowing one person I headed along to show my support. But, given it was a room full of Pearl Jam fans, I reckoned I was in friendly territory and so it turned out.

The afternoon was a mix of music and raffles. The music was provided by Andy Colliar, who ran through an entertaining acoustic set before The Lost Dogs took the stage to pay tribute to the greats of Grunge and Seattle such as Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Alice In Chains and of course Pearl Jam. They also chucked in an unexpected cover of the very underrated Collective Soul song Shine before a stomping rendition of Rage’s Killing in the Name Of that had the whole place bouncing. A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

In between the live music were the raffles with a whole host of great prizes including Pearl Jam t-shirts, skateboards, baseball jackets, tour posters, a guitar and numerous other prizes. The raffle was in danger of going on longer than the music but they got through it and I was lucky enough to win a couple of prizes, although I’ve no idea what to do with a skateboard at my age.

The Box got into the spirit of things, no pun intended, by providing some Pearl Jam themed cocktails including a Red Mojito, a Crazy Bloody Mary, The Dirty Frank and a concoction that included Buckfast and MD 2020 called the Neddie Vedder.

It was a most enjoyable afternoon and met some great people doing brilliant things. Colin Rodgers is the main man who started Pearl Jam Scotland through its various guises and also doubles as the lead singer of The Lost Dogs.

He was ably assisted by Martin Higgins who joined forces with Colin this year. I know I’ll miss some names out but a shout out to Elaine, who was selling the Pearl Jam Scotland merchandise. Lisa, who did a great job of selling raffle tickets and making sure the draw went smoothly. Andrea, who carried around a cardboard statue of Eddie Vedder for folk to get a picture taken for a small donation to charity. Probably as close as Eddie will get to Glasgow sadly. Apologies for all the others who should be name-checked for their efforts in making the event such a success.

As I was finalising this piece Pearl Jam Scotland announced that they had passed the £10K target and then some which is a fantastic effort. Colin says he has big plans for next year so it will be interesting to see what he and the Pearl Jam Scotland team have got in the pipeline.

As the afternoon’s event drew to a close most people prepared themselves for the evening’s entertainment in the form of Pearl Jam UK who, as you might have guessed, are a Pearl Jam tribute band.

I used to have a rather illogical mistrust and dislike of tribute bands. Always felt they were making money off the back of someone else’s endeavour but my attitude has been slowly changing in the last few years after seeing a few Pink Floyd tribute acts and a couple of Pearl Jam bands namely Pearl Jamm and tonight’s band Pearl Jam UK. Five guys playing for three hours at around £18 a ticket are not doing this to get rich.

There is an element of suspending belief when watching any tribute act but if you can get past that you can just enjoy the music and Pearl Jam UK have got that down to a fine art. Close your eyes and they have Pearl Jam circa 1998 nailed right down. The evening started off with an acoustic set including a couple of personal favourites in Long Road and Footsteps before they launched into the frenzy of Animal for the start of the electric set. It’s a set that relies heavily on the first half of Pearl Jam’s recording career and the band sound immense with a show full of songs you’d love to see the real thing do and which they might do on any given night. The crowd join in as if it’s the real thing with the various fan interactions in place even going as far as singing the first part of Better Man on their own. There were crowd surfers a plenty including Kevin Dixon, the band’s ‘Eddie Vedder’, who let the crowd carry him during Porch.

There was a fitting end to the evening when Colin Rodgers was invited up to sing with the band on the Temple of the Dog song Hunger Strike and Colin did a fantastic job as Chris Cornell to Kev Dixon’s Vedder particularly in the closing section as the singers traded lines and complemented each other perfectly, just like the original.

Over 30 songs in three hours that just flew by. Safe to say I’ve been converted.

It’s now nineteen years since Pearl Jam last played in Scotland and despite Pearl Jam Scotland’s best efforts Scotland has again missed out on Pearl Jam’s recently announced Europe 2020 tour. For many, seeing a band like Pearl Jam UK is the only opportunity to hear these great songs live and Pearl Jam UK really do those songs justice.

Maybe one day the real Pearl Jam will venture North but until that happens this is the next best thing.

Kevin Williamson

If you wish to donate to Pearl Jam Scotland fundraising for Diabetes UK follow the link below


if you would like to join the Pearl Jam Scotland Facebook Group follow the link below




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