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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.


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 ...       

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