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2015 In Review


Personally, I think 2015 has been a great year for music. I've seen some awesome bands, and listened to some fabulous records.

Strangely, this year has also seen my transition from a writer to managing editor. It wasn't at all expected on my part, and I'm very grateful to Kenny McMurtrie and Joe Watson for their faith in my abilities. As with 2015, I'll still be writing, and look forward to hearing more music, both old and new. If you’re a band or label of the garage persuasion, and would like me to review your show / new releases then please drop me a line via the page or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

One of my favourite live shows this year has to be The Missing Souls at the Cosmic Trip Festival back in May. The Cosmic Trip, on the whole, was a very big disappointment. Not really the fault of the bands (although I still can't understand some of the choices of bands playing e.g. The Warlocks) but more to do with the sound / venue. The main stage was just too big, and the presence of any band playing there disappeared into the ether. Luckily The Missing Souls managed to avoid this by playing a pre-festival gig at a small bistro in Bourges town centre. I was knocked off my feet by their enthusiasm and most excellent choice of covers. They have since released their first single, a cover of 'You Just Gotta Know My Mind', and it looks like they have another 7" in the pipeline for early 2016 so very much to look forward to from their camp.

My favourite weekender this year was without a doubt the inaugural Franklin Fest in Edinburgh, which took place in June. Three days of the best rock 'n' roll on offer from bands as far flung as the the Medway! I was astounded by the performance of The Baron Four, who were just sheer brilliance in terms of energy and authenticity, not forgetting musicality (you can read about that show here), as well as the appearance of old favourites The Masonics with special guest Ludella Black, The Wildebeests and The Thanes. Also, it was really good to see the promoters showcase some of the lesser known bands on the opening night, such as The Phlegm. I'm really excited about Franklin Fest 2016, and cannot wait for the line-up to be announced.    

The Franklin has been a constant this year in terms of the quality of bands playing, and the enjoyability of the shows. For a tiny wee shack in the middle of a field, it has something really special. Yes, I know - I've said it all before! More recently they've hosted bands from further afield such as red hot property Les Grys Grys from France, who gave a performance of monumental proportions (see here for more), and the fabulous Oh! Gunquit from down south (review here). Furthermore, it's one of the only places where you can guarantee that the support bands are likely to be just as good as the main act, notable supports this year having been Geek Maggot Bingo, The Brutes, The Black Needles and The No-Things.

All day spectacular Buckfest which took place in Glasgow, is also worth a mention. With many thanks to organiser Alan Gemmel for chatting with Musoss. We saw sterling performances from such bands as The Kosher Pickles and The Bucky Rage (review here). A thoroughly enjoyable day of weird and wonderful rock and roll. Again, I'm looking forward to the same in 2016.       

As for LP's, The Arrogants - No Time To Wait, did it for me. However, The debut LP's from The Baron Four and Oh! Gunquit are very close behind. 

Next year I'm hoping to provide coverage from the Green Fuzz festival in Spain in April, and of course the Franklin Fest in June. 

Finally a huge thanks to all the bands / labels / promoters who've been so co-operative this year - it's truly been a pleasure to make your acquaintance. So please, put on your old-school 3D glasses, and watch this space.


Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, Electric Circus, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live


The No-Things know how to warm up a crowd, albeit a small one, at the Electric Circus tonight. Having only reviewed them a month or so ago, I’m not going to go into too much detail (link to the previous review can be found here). However, they are up to their usual standard, and are certainly one of the best garage punk bands around at the moment. Although a little bird tells me that they might not be around for much longer, and I certainly hope that this isn’t true ...

Barrence Whitfield - a bit of a legend I’m told, is a young 60 year old; and quite a striking character in his purple paisley shirt and headcoat. Conversely, we have unassuming guitarist Peter Greenberg (ex-Lyres (or as an old friend said to me 'it's easier to name who hasn't been in the Lyres at some point')). The quintet are touring to promote their new album Under A Savage Sky released on Bloodshot Records in July this year.

Whitefield and The Savages 'garage rock and soul titans' open up with the musical equivalent of a big fat exclamation mark, and by the second song in we are left in no doubt of Whitfield's screaming ability; before tearing through stomper (and best song by far) ‘Cornerman’, which is 2 and a half minutes of well, The Sonics basically! Not to take anything away from them. Their performance is tight, and very powerful stuff. It's also a shame that the sound isn't great; it's loud for sure, but a bit too clean in places. Having said that, the band work extremely hard, and they are certainly giving it all they have got.

Barrence talks in-between songs about a variety of subjects like having tried haggis earlier in the day (I didn’t quite get whether the response to this was negative or positive) before linking in to 'Incarcerated Casserole' from the new album. The sax player leaves the stage at one point through the front entrance (pee break?) and then as if by magic, he reappears.   

After a brief encore, the band are kicked off just before 10pm when the venue turns into a club night. Not the best venue (with hen and stag parties traipsing through the bar every 10 minutes to fetch jugs of cocktails) with rubbishy sound, but all considered they did a sterling job, and the fans obviously appreciated it.

Under A Savage Sky is available from amazon & iTunes.

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