Facebook Slider

Favourites Of 2016

  • Published in UNX

It's been another great year, and it got off to an amazing start with The Senior Service's cracking debut single, 'Depth Charge' (my favourite single of 2016), followed by their debut live performance at the Half Moon, Putney. It certainly exceeded my (already high) expectations. And, for those who don't know, the Senior Service have ex-members of The Prisoners, JTQ, The Solarflares, The Prime Movers to name but a few. The whole event was organised by Steve Worrall of Retroman Blog who definitely deserves a mention for all the hard work he puts in to organising these regular events, with such quality acts. Where would we be without you? I doff my cap to you sir. Their LP The Girl In The Glass Case is beyond sublime.

June saw the return of the Franklin Fest in Edinburgh (review here) which once again was a blast. Well done to the organisers again for supplying us with acts from further afield, such as the mighty Courettes, Thee Jezebels, The Embrooks, The Sine Waves and Oh! Gunquit. Also making their debut were garage lovelies The Nettles and The Gastronauts, featuring frenzied frontman Spencer Envoy of MFC Chicken. 'Scotch Egg' anyone? A fantastic weekend and I'm already looking forward to finding out who will feature in the 2017 line-up.

The best Halloween party in town was hosted and headlined by Geek Maggot Bingo, featuring The Fnords & The Reverse Cowgirls. Showing us that local talent is just as good as the more well-known names mentioned above, and of course they were all part of the Franklin Fest too.  

Lord Rochester played the early December Franklin R&R Club, and they really knocked me out. Maybe something to do with playing at the more attractive end of the venue? Their success lies in their simplicity. A minimal drum kit, sing-a-long swing-a-long tunes, with added bite. We also gratefully received an extra helping from The Gastronauts, with their second appearance at The Franklin this year. On form and as eggs-elent as before.  

This year also saw the release of The No-Things first LP, which is everything you would pretty much expect from seasoned musicians like frontman Laurent Mombel and drummer Calvin Burt. A review of that to follow soon…   

The only downside to this year is that I haven't really travelled far afield due to other commitments, so missed out of a few festivals like The Medway Legends Weekender and The Green Fuzz Weekender (both in Spain). Hopefully next year will be different, but I can't really complain, as my home town (Edinburgh) has such a great scene, and I for one, am very grateful for that.


Franklin Fest, Edinburgh - Friday Night

  • Published in Live

As Edinburgh continued to enjoy respectable temperatures for the time of year anticipation was also running high for the continuation of this, the first Franklin Fest. Given the calibre of the bands set to play across tonight and tomorrow there was much to hope for and as things unfolded from 8pm onwards expectations were to be readily met, if not in fact exceeded.

First to appear in the Franklin Academicals Beige Cricket Club pavilion tonight were local trio Sally Skull, reconstituted 17 years after their last gig specially for the event. Not a band that rang any bells with me from back then and whilst the length of time since that previous show was at times all too evident they got through their time slot pretty much unscathed after at least warming up the crowd as is the lot of an opening act.

Localism was the name of the game for tonight's second act as the legendary Thanes came on for a hometown show. Have I ever seen them play better? I doubt it. A tighter unit it would be hard to imagine. Whilst on record they can at times be a tad too light they had a rawness and energy about them this evening that sucked the crowd in and carried it along for the ride. Lenny Helsing, a chap you'd find it difficult to describe as anything other than mild-mannered, performed like a man possessed as the quartet raced through a packed set that amply showed what musical polymaths they are, covering Dutch beat tracks and suchlike along with their own wholly authentic original material. That and the exceptional sound quality they and the rest of the weekend's acts enjoyed made this a clear highlight of the whole experience.

Which meant that there was ever so slightly more meaning behind Russell Wilkins' thanks for Lord Rochester being placed next in the bill. The audience though needed a bit of a breather so the trio's Bo Diddley inspired activities, whilst not exactly slow by any means, came as a bit of relief after the previous musical assault. Pounding through a host of their own material including 'My Baby Won't Ride Beside Me', 'Seven Steps To Heaven' and their main inspiration's 'Who Do You Love?' they exhibited the bantering and inclusive nature of the festival as a whole with their solid engagement with the receptive crowd. They even inveigled Bruce Brand to step behind the drumkit for a rousing singalong finale, which is no small thing.

Mr. Brand was then of course back in the performance space in no time at all (swift changeovers being another major plus point in the event's favour) as The Masonics played us into the early part of the next morning. Longtime stalwarts of the scene Mickey Hampshire, John Gibb & Bruce were last seen by this writer at the inaugural Hipsville back in 2013 so being involved right at the birth of such events is looking like a bit of habit for them. Not though one they should break any time soon. Kicking off with 'I've Only Got Myself To Blame' they joked & thundered through more of their own classic material as well as new track 'Don't Torment Me' (during which the volume managed to rise significantly). Joined for a few numbers by Ludella Black (including 'Make You Mine' during the encore) theirs was as consummate a performance and example of what the weekend as could have been hoped for. Top marks & extra points for somehow managing to stay suited up in the pervading heat of the hall.

A finer first night proper you'd have been unlikely to find anywhere and one that those behind it and involved at any level could be rightly proud of. A hard act for Saturday night to follow ...       

Subscribe to this RSS feed