Tagged: Oran Mor

Celtic Connections 2014

Each year I look forward to Celtic Connections. Each year I tell friends that the line-up is great. Each year I say I’m going to this that and the next thing. Each year I fail to get my act together sufficiently. Each year I only scratch the surface. Each year I vow that next year, I’ll make more of an effort. So this year, I’m going to put together a handy list of some of the things I’m hoping to go to. The festival starts this Thursday, the 16th of January and if the selections below pique your interest enough there is a feast of gigs over on the festival website.

Fri 17th January – Mull Historical Society @ The Arches
Colin MacIntyre’s Mull Historical Society are a long time favourite and have several songs that I’m personally very fond of. This gig will see the performance of his 2001 debut album ‘Loss’, in full.

Tues 21st January – RM Hubbert w/ Aidan Moffat @ The Mitchell Library
Were we a lads mag, there’s a high chance that Hubby would have been our man of the year in 2013, alas we’re not, therefore he’ll just have to settle for being a good dude. Having followed up his SAY Award winning album ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ with the equally excellent ‘Breaks & Bone’, this will be Hubby’s biggest Glasgow headline show to date. Aided and abetted by the mischevious storytelling of Aidan Moffat, this is a Tuesday night at the library you won’t want to miss.

Sat 25th January – The New Mendicants @ The Arches
Ahead of the release of their debut album, adopted Ontarians Joe Pernice (The Pernice Brothers) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) take to the Celtic Connections stage with new material and one would hope some tracks from their back catalogues. As a big Teenage Fanclub fan, only wild horses will keep me away from this one.

Sun 26th January – Olive Grove Showcase @ Oran Mor
An evening curated by local bloggers turned label bosses, the line up here not only includes a very rare performance by The Moth & The Mirror, but also performances by Elba favourites Randolph’s Leap, Jo Mango, and The State Broadcasters.

Mon 27th January – Bobby Womack @ Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
I first came across Bobby Womack on an old blaxploitation compilation which included his song ‘Across 110th Street’. In the last few years he’s become more of a household name after a guest slot on the Gorillaz ‘Plastic Beach’ record which has invigorated Womack, now in his 7th Decade in music.

Sat 1st February – Bill Callahan @ O2 ABC
Hands down the sweatiest gig I’ve ever been too was Bill Callahan at Stereo a few years back. Seems an odd statement, of course, there was no wild mosh pit but combine a midsummer date with a room full of jumpers and beards, and you’ll get why the temperature was so high. Heat aside, Callahan was an excellent performer that evening and IS an excellent songwriter, from Smog to his solo records, so it’s unsurprising that so many people I know snapped tickets up for his straight away.


Honestly, I’m not just cashing in on the snow buzzword. Whether it’s all you can talk about or it’s the last thing you want to hear about, the fact is that snow is the thing that is making me write this post. Well, and a couple of songs.

I go to lots of gigs, not enough in my opinion, plenty in my better half’s opinion. I’d say that I enjoy 90% of them. I mean, sometimes you just can’t help pulling a dud out of the bag.

I’m never sure if I have the same relationship with music as others. You see, I take some music really personal. Sometimes the lyrics will mean something to me, sometimes I just like the music and other times it’s to do with a time and

place. However, there are times when elements just click and I can’t fail to be affected by what I am seeing and hearing. A couple of years ago, myself and Chris (sometimes of this blog) saw The National at the Carling Academy in Glasgow. Yeah, I know, you were all there, it’s a badge of honour saying you were there, right? Anyway, it was incredible, from start to finish. The memorable parts though were towards the end of the gig. Whether it was the rip roaring rendition of Mr November which nearly blew the house down to the ‘unplugged’ version of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks which tore the roof off the venue, this gig was incredible, and I had ‘a moment’. It’s not easy to describe but if you’re reading this, I guess you have some sort of indescribable relationship with music and you too have had that moment that you can’t wipe the grin from your face because everything just seems so perfect in that moment. Sure it’s maybe not the most in tune version of the song you’ve ever heard or the most groundbreaking, but there’s nowhere you’d rather be.

And looking back on that night two years ago now, when we eventually left the venue, after a few post gig tipples in the bar, it was snowing. And something about the memory of The National’s final song of the night, and stepping out to a silent and white night, made that gig one of the most memorable gig-going nights that I’ve had.

Of course, fast forward to now, and you’ll question the connection. Why dredge up The National after a couple of years? It’s because I went to a gig last night, had one of these moments and when we exited the venue, the snow was falling.

I first heard Stars about 8 years ago when they released their ‘Set Yourself On Fire’ album and since then have counted the track ‘Your Ex Lover is Dead’ as one of my most favourite songs. I’ll not delve into why but when Stars played it last night, it sounded perfect. The band seemed to think it sounded perfect and so did everyone around me. I’m still smiling now. And then, to top it off, I exit venue, the snow is falling…

The Walkmen – Oran Mor 19/01/2011

If you have been reading our blog lately or follow any of us on Twitter, you will know that times have been busy round ‘ol Elba way.  It is with that in mind that I present you with tales of live music, long overdue.  Two astonishing acts in two weeks have left me with a boundless energy and enthusiasm to fill my calendar with adventures new. This year has already been so very good to us.  The time has come to reflect a little.  I will talk about one today, the other later in the week.

The Walkmen are a band that I have always appreciated.  Yet, I feel it is important to note that they are a band who troubled me slightly.  There was something about them that I just did not ‘get’ on record. Often it can take experiencing a band live to finally hammer home what it is you did not (but should have) understood previously.  I learned this at the Oran Mor; a gig that seemed a peculiar but welcome addition to the Celtic Connections 2011 programme. For all the richness of their production, it wasn’t until I was getting battered with their distinct New York twang in person that my eyes widened and I felt like I had finally awoken.

In The New Year was certainly the first song that roused the above revelation and that also put emphasis on how reliant the band are on Hamilton Leithauser’s voice.  Indeed how he manages to retain a voice when the man sings somewhere between a nasal and throaty yell with perfect control and an ability to project an inordinate volume really does leave you wondering.

Latest album Lisbon’s outing was a proud one.  Blue As Your Blood bounced along on its 50s guitar riff. Victory was fantastic live realization of the pivotal ‘sound’ of the album.  While I Shovel The Snow was truly beautiful live; delicately scored with a full band tinkering away, perfecting the distant and subtle delicacies of the song to the reverent crowd. Stranded was played, apologetically, without any brass and was as moving without, as it is with, what you would think to be the pinnacle of the track.

The Rat, of course, rallied the crowd during the encore.  It is a song that speaks greatly to its audience. It is a miserablist and aggressive narrative, entirely indulgent and wholly intoxicating.  The chants around me of the infamous bridge had me wondering what heartache had fallen upon these many men.  You can read this and assume that I am being overly flighty but a lot of the testosterone heavy crowd were croaking as they left the venue as a result of screaming along for those four charged minutes.

Many things about The Walkmen can be appreciated live.  Whether that be their their strength of catalogue or instrumental precision; particular emphasis put on Matt Barrick.  But to appreciate The Walkmen is to live them.