Saturday, 9 May 2009

Attic Lights/The Primary 5/Dropkick/The Parish Music Box - Town Hall, Darvel 8 May 2009

If the recent Camera Obscura/Attic Lights Barrowlands gig was a double whammy of pop, then last night's Darvel Festival gig was a quadraphonic aural delight with four quality bands taking to the stage on a great night for lovers of melodic pop.

Due to a prior engagement with a fish supper on the bench outside the venue, accompanied by Annemarie and Fiona from the Cairn String Quartet, I missed half of The Parish Music Box's set. But what I did see was very impressive and once you get past the Rhydian-meets-Morrissey look and mannerisms of lead singer Andy, you can hear an interesting band, with more than a hint of Cousteau about them. And that's no bad thing.

Two previous attempts to see Dropkick live had been aborted due to personal reasons too trivial to go into here. Needless to say I was delighted to finally catch their finely-honed country-tinged pop. I'm always delighted to see a band using harmonies and all four band members get in on the act to great effect. On a personal level I would love to have heard the title track from "Patchwork" and opener "Nowhere Girl" from the same album but I have no doubt I'll have more opportunities soon to hear them live. There was more than enough

Opening with "What Am I Supposed To Do?" from debut album "North Pole", The Primary 5, as they say in football parlance, set their stall out early doors. With four guitarists up front, including new recruit Gordon Keen (ex-Eugenius/Captain America/BMX Bandits), they were playing attacking pop and hell mend anyone who got in the way. Half of their set came from their most recent platter "High Five" and they were joined on stage for the title track by the Bellshill Beach Boy himself, Duglas T Stewart. Sure there are bound to be comparisons with lead singer Paul Quinn's musical alma mater but I can think of a lot worse bands to sound like. They're developing their own sound and musically maturing with every record. My personal highlight of their excellent set was "Fly Baby Fly", which, to me at least, had an air of The Beatles-meet-The Pastels about it and that's something you don't hear everyday.

Playing all the tracks from their stunning debut "Friday Night Lights" alongside a couple of brand new sings and some old favourites, Attic Lights served up a fabulous pick 'n' mix of pop goodies to an enthusiastic crowd. Despite seeing Attic Lights four times in the last six months, I still can't get enough of their harmonic, melodic guitar-driven power pop. With plenty of keyboards and pedal steel guitar thrown into mix too, their well-crafted songs are nothing less than wonderful. Your next chance to catch this very talented band at The Big Festival on 25th July. You certainly won't regret it. Hell, I may even join you! Again!!

The Parish Music Box
Heavy Drinkers
Sand Apple
Velocity Kendall
Can't Weigh The Rain
Sniffer Dogs
Our Roman Knows
Bring It On

Only For Yourself
Can't Help It
Making Time To Talk
Don't Know Where It Ends
Dot The I
Figure It Out
Lucky That The Heart

The Primary 5
What Am I Supposed To Do
Out In The Cold
High 5
I'll Lay You Down
I Wonder Why
Lost and Confused
Fly Baby Fly
So Much To Find
Make Believe

Attic Lights
Bring You Down
The Dirty Thirst
Suzi Come On (new song debut)
People Say
Never By Myself
Walkie Talkie
Send Those Dark Eyes This Way
Stay Before You Leave (new song)
Late Night Sunshine
Bad Day (new song debut)
Game of Pricks (Guided By Voices cover)
Winter On
Nothing But Love (Encore)
Never Get Sick of the Sea (Encore)

A big thank you to Fiona and Annemarie from the Cairn String Quartet for their company and craic. I had a bad start to the day and they snapped me out of my grumpy mood.

Music in the car going to the gig: The Smiths - Louder Than Bombs
Music in the car travelling home from the gig: The Primary 5 - High Five (3 times because I daren't risked changing CD mid-journey, especially at 1am on the M8!)

Highlights: Attic Lights “Send Those Dark Eyes this Way”, The Primary 5 “So Much To Find”, Dropkick "Lucky That The Heart", The Parish Music Box "Our Roman Knows", The Cairn String Quartet (well, half of them) doing "air" strings.

Lowlights: Twice being asked to "move along" from an area that wasn't exactly mobbed - not everyone wants to sit at a table and chairs at a gig. Also, there was only one prize at the raffle - where's the tin of shortbread? There's always shortbread at a raffle!! These are very minor gripes because it was well organised and I look forward to returning to Darvel in future years. Well done to Sheila, Neil and your team.

Ten Things I Learned In Darvel:

1. It's pronounced "Dur-vel", apparently.
2. Fiona and Annemarie (Cairn String Quartet) cannot do The Slosh - more lessons needed ladies!
3. Attic Lights' drummer Noel is actually Captain Caveman (Zowie!) or, sans beard, Bud Cort!
4. The Primary V could do with more guitarists.
5. All Attic Lights songs "need strings" (so say Fiona and Annemarie)
6. Darvel is near Moscow (no, not that one)
7. Attic Light's Jamie has a big organ. (Yamaha, I believe)
8. Nobody plays "air cello" and "air viola" like Fiona and Annemarie.
9. Salt and vinegar on your chips isn't so bad after all.
10. Annemarie McGahon is a human beatbox.

Peace out...

The Cat