Wednesday, 1 May, 2024 in Culture, Live Reviews, Music

Into Music: The Best Pick and Mix

Like the best pick and mix, there’s something for everyone in this latest Into Creative article as we dig in to a couple of recent gigs, an exciting new record company launch plus some new releases. However, it is also with a heavy heart that we report on another sexual assault at a live show. Put simply, this is not on. You/we/I must do better as this type of behaviour has no place in modern society, let alone at a music venue. Don’t be that person and if you see it, challenge it, call it out, by ignoring it you become an enabler. 

At their Belfast show, Sprints lead singer Karla Chubb was sexually assaulted and not for the first time on the tour which makes it all the more depressing. A live gig should be a communal experience between band and audience, one where those in attendance can have a good time without fear of any kind of attack. The fact that deviant morons walk amongst us is utterly shameful, devastating for the band, families and true fans. The band released a statement saying:

Female performers should be able to engage with their audience, step off the stage or perform without fear of groping, unwanted touching, cat-calling and harassment. The fact that this has happened twice is abhorrent, the fact that it still happens at all is disgusting. We will not stand for it and we will not be silent about it. To those who noticed and called out the behaviour, thank you. To those of you responsible for the behaviour, shame on you. Do better“.

Concert: Sprints
Venues: Glasgow King Tuts 
Dates:  7 April 2024

Storm Kathleen was in full effect, buffeting wildly as flights were cancelled, roads blocked and the sensible idea was to stay in doors, don’t travel unless absolutely necessary. Well, Sprints were in town so the journey was of the utmost importance and yes, it was absolutely necessary. 

For those crammed into King Tuts, the gig long sold out for what was the hottest ticket in town, there was little escaping conditions of a different kind. It was like a furnace, Sprints taking to the stage and like a tsunami, leaving everything in their wake, producing a fast and furiously paced show that had everyone in attendance gasping for air, gasping for more of the Dublin band’s exceptional live performance. 

Of course, we’ve seen the type of hype Sprints have had with other acts over the years (many sinking without a trace) so the question on many lips was could they pull it off. Oh yes, they could and they did.

They start with Ticking, the album (Letter To Self) opener, Jack Callan’s repetitive drums have an urgency before Chubb’s deadpan vocal asks “Am I alive“? comes in. It build and builds then explodes as Colm O’Reilly’s sirenesque guitar takes centre stage. Heavy soon follows with the minimal of fuss. Jeez we are barely a few minutes in and we are already in a tailspin, I swear Storm Kathleen is happening right here, right now, in King Tuts and it’s bloody marvellous.

And so it goes, the full album is played plus a decent mix of tracks from previous EPs and the like. It’s a joyous night, the crowd joining in on some songs where a call and refrain opportunity arises but the real stars are on the stage. Sprints may only have one album behind them to date, but they are already a bludgeoning live act, they have an ease, an arrogance, a presence and most importantly they have the tunes. 

Finishing with the stellar Literary Mind and then Little Fix which sees Chubb jump into the crowd, sharing the moment with an appreciative crowd, it just tops off what is a special night.

Subsequently reading of those horrible incidents elsewhere on tour, it’s not clear if we will see such scenes from Chubb and Sprints when they next your and that is a real shame. You/we/I must all do better.

For more on Sprints, head to their website here

 

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Artist: Essential Logic
EP: John Peel Session 21.02.79 
Label: Precious Recordings of London

Precious Recordings of London continue their fine form of putting out old radio sessions first aired on the likes of Peel/Long/Jensen with this belter from Essential Logic, a post-punk first formed in 1978. 

Not a band I know but as soon as I heard opener Wake Up it reminded me of X-Ray Spex. Further investigation and the band’s saxophone player and vocalist turns out to be Lora Logic, once of X-Ray Spex!!!

The tracks are varied and include elements of post-punk, ska and bluesy art-rock, full of angular guitar shapes, off-kilter vocals, woozy sax and stuffed with plenty of attitude. 

Pick of the bunch is perhaps Alkaline Loaf In The Area, Logic channeling a little Hazel O’Connor style vocal. What really comes across though is an eagerness and energy that seems to jump from the speakers on all the tracks. Radio sessions don’t always capture the ethos or feeling of a band but I suspect this Peel session does that. Check it out. 

For more on Essential Logic, head to their website here

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Artist: The New Leaves
Single: Donaghaguy Reservoir
Label:  Corn Crake Records

A new record label imprint has sprung up in the shape of Corn Crake Records, a venture from its curator Ken McCluskey in conjunction with Last Night From Glasgow. 

With an emphasis on acoustic-based singer-songwriters and groups, the label will look to those invoking the folk tradition in the main. For their debut release, they’ve got a belter of a track in the shape of Donaghaguy Reservoir from The New Leaves, a four-piece hailing from County Down. The song is a pre-cursor to their debut album, A Sketch Form Home which is due to drop on 7 June 2024. 

The track has a serene beauty, the music gentle yet sweeping the listener along, the crisp production (recorded at Narrow Water Studios) crystal clear, laden with harmonious vocals and a reflective vibe that warms the soul. 

Donaghaguy Reservoir is located near the band’s hometown Warrenpoint and the band’s Decky McKay has attempted to capture a moment in time there, a moment of peace, tranquility and sanctuary. That mission has been accomplished, it is a song of aching enchantment. 

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Concert: The Shorez
Venue: Edinburgh Bannermans
Dates: 15 April 2024

Any band worth their salt has to start at ground zero, the writing,  rehearsals, early recordings and playing “the circuit” to hone their musical chops. That’s where we find The Shorez, only their second ever live show at one of Edinburgh’s foremost live venues, as a support act on a pretty cold and bleak Monday night. 

It’s a tough slot, the crowd are there mainly to see the headline act, you don’t get much time to soundcheck but nonetheless, it’s an invaluable learning experience for a new band. 

The Edinburgh band play seven songs and while there is a little nervousness on display, once the songs kick in, that quickly dissipates and the music shines. Coming Off The Street is bass heavy while Sonic Wave Rider is filled with some highly elaborate fretwork from guitarist/vocalist Colin Anderson.

The Shorez also delivery a couple of cool covers with The Cramps Goo Goo Muck and The Pixies Here Comes Your Man getting an outing but its the closing 768 that grabs the attention, the track seeing the band come together intuitively, driven by the rhythm section of Michael Cairney (drums) and Dean Adamson (bass) and guitar riffs from Anderson and Daniel Erskine.

There’s clearly more to come from this fledgling young band so keep an eye out for future gigs and releases.

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Artist: The Flaming Stars
EPs: John Peel Sessions 17.10.96 & 19.02.02
Label: Precious Recordings of London

Not one but two John Peel sessions on offer here from The Flaming Stars who amazingly actually recorded eight sessions for renowned Disc Jockey. 

The first is an actual live session featuring three of four tracks which were unrecorded at the time. Ten Feet Tall is awash with a swirling organ with a small nod to The Stranglers. Listening to the next song Spaghetti Junction almost stopped me in my tracks, simply put, it’s an excellent instrumental which the Fat White Family have clearly ripped off for their own When I Leave, released in 2019. There is a nuanced bossa nova rock feel to Bury My Heart At Pier and enough on offer to showcase a band perhaps at their peak. 

The second session is special too, having never been released before so definitely one for the fans, purists, collectors and YOU! 

Cash has a fantastically deep, layered vocal from Max Decharne, the music in the background is the perfect soundtrack for his honeyed tones before the more upbeat Over And Done allows the band to rock out somewhat. 

If you are looking for an introduction to the garage punk rock that is The Flaming Stars, look no further than these two releases. 

John Welsh
@welshjb

Links:

@sprintsmusic

@deadsoundmgmt

@logic_essential

@PrecRecs

@thenewleaves

@LNFGlasgow

 




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