Wednesday 31 October 2012

Sean Kennedy.....Debut EP release.....

Young Scottish singer/songwriter Sean Kennedy was brought to my attention by Irvine Beat FM presenter Ben Grant recently.  

Irvine born and bred Sean Kennedy was aiming for the stars whilst on the books at Hibernian FC as a budding footballer but his career was cut short due to a serious injury. 

During his recovery Sean started recording cover songs in the studio, then quickly moved on to perform as a front man of local band October Sky.
Growing in stature he developed quickly in writing songs on his guitar and that was when he turned to a career as a musician.

Kris Kesiak Photography

Having been working hard refining his skills working alongside many highly acclaimed writers and producers such as Duran Duran's Andy Taylor, Nik Kershaw,  and Richard Lobb as well as Peter Vetesse of Jethro Tull who has produced records for The Pet Shop Boys, The Bee Gees and in more recent times Simple Minds.

Sean also has been working alongside Grammy winning mixing engineer Simon Gogerly (U2, No Doubt).

He's got inspiration for some of his tracks after travelling all over the globe resulting in the recently released EP 'Love Don't Live Here' available in iTunes. Sean was also invited down to perform at the London 2012 Olympics.

The 25 year old fuses together his influences of Amos Lee, Gavin DeGraw and Crowded House together with his accomplished songwriting to provide his own blend of home grown Americana. As Sean has grown as a performer it’s evident that his musical talents have matured through time.

The Bluebells
I can hear all that was good in Scottish music in the late 80's early 90' from the likes of Roddy Frame and Aztec Camera or The Bluebells in his tunes.  'Love Don't Live Here' for instance has all the pop like-ability of Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice's 'Rip It Up' and I welcome this return to a clean, crisp Indie pop style.  He's got the musical ability, voice, charisma and looks to take him to stardom.

“With the exposure that’s bound to be generated once his music gets out there, Sean is set to be a major star.” Jim Gellatly

"Sean's a natural, you can't learn what he has. You've either have it or you don't" Andy Taylor 

sean kennedy

Monday 29 October 2012

KOBI.....or not KOBI.....that is the question.....

KOBI - Dingwall High Street

In keeping with the strong resurgence of Scottish Indie bands over the last two years KOBI have returned to the fray with their recently released single 'Fight' and a batch of successful gigs including Ironworks and Lemon Tree up north and venturing down to King Tut's in Glasgow and Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh, as well as taking to the Main Stage on the Saturday at Belladrum Festival and The Clash Tent at Rockness Festival.  Not bad as they'd parted ways musically seven years previously and only reformed last year.

Let's not dwell on the past though, let's look at what's happening with KOBI now.  The bands line up is Gary Tain - Vocals/Guitar, Steve Robertson - Bass, Caroline Truslove - Guitar and Dave Smith - Drums and it has to be said they're well into their groove with the new single 'Fight' written by Gary Thain.  It's a heavy, dark track that  cleverly hangs on to an addictive (here's that word again) anthemic feel. 

 It's an undeniably Scottish track and with it's heavy bass, classy guitar and plaintive vocals make it the perfect tune for next years Festival circuit, on which they should feature strongly.

The 'B' side of 'Fight' is a Them & Us remix of 'A New Before' bringing a bit of electronica to KOBI giving it a dance floor feel, definitely one to get up and get down with your bad self to.  Got to be a favourite at their more intimate gigs.

The final track I'll take a look at is the deeply dark and delicious 'Sinister' with it's infectious, heavy base line all the way through and haunting guitar that pushes it to a climax.  This track reinforces the fact that KOBI have reached a new level of creativity.


The big news for last year was their support for the inimitable Glasvegas at The Inverness Ironworks leg of their 'Glasvegas December' tour.  Dates up now are 29th March, Mad Hatters in Inverness and 30th March, Nice 'n' Sleazy in Glasgow.

On my part I hope that they consider making a foray South as the music they're producing would sit well in the North West of England where there's a vibrant Indie scene in both Manchester and Liverpool. Just ask Fife band Modern Faces who are regulars.

Friday 26 October 2012

No Snuggles I said Vukovi
have a video called 
'We AreRobots'
not Attack of the Cylons!

OK bands you know the score by now....
the more hits your blog gets by the fans, the higher up the chart you Tweet it, Facebook it.....and generally expose yourself.....

A new video out Monday and now an EP released to great acclaim and they win this weeks battle of the bands for the top spot.....

1. Vukovi

Narrowly pipped for the No 1 spot also with an EP release tonight and a bright future it's.....

2. Everyday Goldfish

They were No.3 last week and it's no movement for Brighton's finest.....

3. Bent Cousin

Up one place after playing a set in Liam Gallachers Glasgow store at the weekend.....

4. Holy Pistol Club

Top spot last week but it's down four places this week.....

5. Tea Street Band

No movement for London band with a new stripped back vocal out last week.....

6. The Bedroom Hour

With news that they're playing The Online Festival's gig at Dry Bar Manchester.....

7. Transition Baby

Up two spaces for the unique vocals of.....

8. T.G. Elias

Just blogged two days ago and doing his first solo set at The Shipping Foecast, Liverpool it's ex A Band Named King frontman.....

9. David Gaffney

Hanging on in there with Ralph's most read blog and gigs on the go.....

10. Plum

Michael Marra.....see you up the road big man.....

It was with great sadness that I heard of the untimely death of Scottish singer/songwriter Michael Marra .  My feelings are echo'd by the tribute his family paid..... 

" We are devastated by our sudden loss but are comforted by the kind words of so many people who loved Michael, his music and his spirit. His life's work has told our family story and the story of his beloved Dundee. Michael's songs are his legacy, given to Scotland by one wee boy from Lochee"  

A concert to raise funds for Dundee’s appeal to set up a Sistema Scotland orchestra in the city led by Michael Marra's family sold out.

The campaign to establish a Sistema orchestra in Dundee is being led by the family of Michael Marra, one of Scotland’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters, who died in Dundee in December, aged 60, after a long battle against cancer.

The fund raising concert at Abertay University’s Hannah Maclure Centre Gallery on Friday, 5 April, will feature performances from Riley Briggs, The Filter Tips (featuring Alice Marra), and Christopher Marra.

Clare Brennan, curator of the Hannah Maclure Centre at Abertay University, said: “We’re delighted this event has sold out so quickly – it shows the huge support there is to set up a Sistema Scotland orchestra in Dundee.
“The project is genuinely inspirational, and we’re hoping our event can really help to support the campaign”

Michael Marra was brought up in the Lochee district of Dundee. His first public performance was at an NCR Christmas party in the 1950s Although predominantly known as a songwriter, Michael has worked extensively in theatre, radio and television. To most he was a solo performer touring the length and breadth of Britain, performing in arts centres, theatres, folk clubs and village halls. He had opened for such diverse performers as Van Morrison, The Proclaimers, Louden Wainwright III, Barbara Dickson and Deacon Blue.

Liz LochheadIn he had performed both in Washington DC and Melbourne, Australia in the show 'In Flagrant Delicht' which was devised in collaboration with poet and playwright Liz Lochhead. In theatre Michael had written original music and worked both as an actor and musical director. His own operetta 'If The Moon Can Be Believed' was performed at Dundee Rep to sell out audiences. He collaborated with Graham McLaren of Theatre Babel on a new production of 'The Demon Barber' for Perth Theatre having previously worked with him on Liz Lochead's "Beauty and The Beast". Michael had also recently performed original songs with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish National Orchestra, Concerto Caledonia, Mr McFall's Chamber, and his own Quintet. He had dueted with Patti Smith, Eddi Reader, Karen Mathieson and Karine Polwart.

In 2007 Michael was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Dundee University in recognition of his contribution to the cultural profile of his home town and in 2011 he was made an Honarary Doctor of Letters by Glasgow Caledonia University. He also won a  prestigious Herald Angel Award in 2010 for his performance at The Acoustic Music Centre during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

His play St Catherines Day played to enthusiastic audiences at both Oran Mor in Glasgow and Dundee Repertory Theatre. An exhibition of his unique portraiture prints was shown at The Bank Street Gallery. He had collobarated with award winning choreographer Frank McConnell and his Dance Company, Plan B on Parallel|Parallels and A Wee Home From Home.

His songs have been covered by a wide range of artistes including Sylvia Rae Tracey, Coope Boyes and Simpson and Rab Noakes.

Recorded Live on Tour with Mr McFall's Chamber was released on  Delphian Records. 
Michael's most recent CD was released on Tob Records in March 2012. Titled "Houseroom", it's a 6 track collaboration with The Hazey Janes, one of Scotland's finest contemporay bands.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

David Gaffney and A Band that was Named King

I previously mentioned A Band Named King when I blogged the West Derby Music Festival back in August. The double-front-man combination of David Gaffney and Joe Rogerson had busked their way to prominence, picking their way from Jersey, through Brighton and London, before finding their musical home in the North-West.  The additions of Pierso on Vocals and keyboards with Tobias Gibaud on drums helped to enforce the Merseyness of their sound, with catchy melodies and earnest lyrics telling the first chapter of their story, which had only just begun....personally I couldn't understand why I wasn't hearing more about A Band Named King with tunes like 'Little Cretin' and 'Not a Soul in Sight' with it's pleasingly punchy guitar work.  Well there is a good reason for that as the guys have since sadly, split up.

Embedded image permalink

That being said, the good news is former front man David Gaffney is doing a solo set as part of The Vexes debut showcase gig in The Hold at The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool on Saturday 27th October.  This is a unique chance to catch why this young mans vocals accompanied by his solid acoustic guitar playing are all that's good about the current Liverpool music scene.  Here's a video of David and Joe Rogerson doing a stripped back version of 'Concrete Trampoline'.  

David is currently writing some new tunes and working on a new project of which I'll bring you more news in the the meantime get yourself down to The Shipping Forecast this Saturday (27th Oct) 7.30pm - 11.00pm and tickets are only £5 for a night not to be missed!


Monday 22 October 2012

The Online Festival.....Manchester Dry Bar 9th November

Group logo of Gigs and Tours

As a follow up to the successful, inaugural Online Festival gig on the East Coast Ralph is pleased to be able to inform you that they are coming to Manchester with another great line-up of bands, two from Grimsby over on the east and three Manchester bands, two of which have featured in blogs recently.

The gig is in none other than Dry Bar which has undergone a refurbishment recently and with their new 25K Watt martin audio sound system, industry standard equipment, creative in-house promo team, in-house events and innovative talent coming through the doors every day Dry Bar is quickly re-instating itself as one of Manchester's premier music venues.

First on the line up is one of Grimsby's finest indie/punk bands, Just-Mammals.  They bill themselves as all about entertainment.  They hit you with an energetic set full of original material.  They're raw, upbeat and in your face so you can expect an earful from these East Coast lads.....

My Photos by Next up it's a band that's featured in one of Ralph's most read blogs and no strangers to Dry Bar. Transition Baby are an original indie/rock band with a dynamic sound and energetic live show. They consider their music to be a step forward in terms of their contemporaries in the indie/rock scene.  

Back to the East Coast again and it's The So ans So's from Cleethorpes.  Obvious Brit Pop influences with these cheeky chappies, especially front-man Richard Dutton and they're also no strangers to the Manchester music scene.

Next up is the popular Manchester band Stolen Haven who are a band of mates who have been performing their brand of indie music since last August and  they've secured slots supporting some well known acts since then.  Steve Craddock , Leeds based Indie rockers Sunshine Underground on a couple of occasions and local songsmith Danny Mahon.

Last but by no means least is four piece Manchester indie band The Ninth Watch.  The band is fronted by vocalist/guitarist Stephen Ahern, Mike Fieldhouse Guitar, Ian Holden Bass and Matt Ryan on drums. 

This has got to be one of the gigs of the year for Dry Bar and with tickets at only £4 from band members and The Online Festival or £5 at the door.  Promotional drinks offers are available all night.....result!  You can always follow Online Festival guru @daveyhub on twitter or give me a shout on @fruitbatwalton or even better click and buy your's in advance here.....and there's a deal for students too, just bring along your pass and it's only £4 on the door.....result!