GLASGOW FLOWER SHOW
…… and there was me thinking that Flower Shows were meant to quiet, reflective and serene.
Think again wee man! Not this one! Oh no,no, no, no …..no.
Spanning the 17th and 18th February at The Admiral in Glasgow City Centre, this is a small initmate ‘festival’ celebrating the emerging FLOWERS IN THE DUSTBIN label and showcasing their currently small but quality roster. Prior committments mean that I am able only to attend the Friday show and thus missing out on the particularly individual talents of a band presently garnering much critical praise, MUMMY SHORT ARMS who are due to play the following evening.
But no worries – I have been looking forward to the day when I can once again see the excellent FOR ABEL, so tonight’s a big night. (For various reasons, I haven’t yet seen them play live in their present incarnation, despite having written a New Blood article about them in ARTROCKER MAGAZINE towards the end of last year. But more of them later.)
Various specially invited guests are also playing over he two nights, and proceedings kick off with CAPTAIN MAJESTIC. To be honest, I don’t know too much about these guys, and so their set comes as really pleasant surprise. Over the past few years there has been a proliferation of two-man bands on the circuits and to be honest, I can take them or leave them. But CAPTAIN MAJESTIC certainly fall nto the former category. The powerful beats that are beasted out by the drummer can’t fail to have the audience’s feet moving, while the guitar and vocals recreate the impression of the mental Lew from (rather spookily) the quite similarly named but now defunct, Captain Everything. This is an excellent start to the night. Loud, brash riffs and thrashed drums. Yeah!
So now’s the time I’ve been waiting for. I haven’t seen this band play live for several years – not in fact since they performed under their previous name of Nacional. FOR ABEL take to the small, compact stage, their sound to be further supplemented by the addition of a trumpet player. Many, myself included, have drawn the inevitable comparison between FOR ABEL and the likes of The Wedding Present, so this could be an interesting diversion in sound.
Certainly, having spoken to vocalist Robert Armstrong before the show, I know the band are currently preparing for their second album and that tonight’s set will include a few new numbers, so perhaps their set will give some clues as to what direction their new stuff will take. (Just so long as they don’t drop my personal favourite, ‘Yorkshire.’)
I don’t have to wait long – the first two numbers, ‘House Of Ghosts’ and ’17th Failed Hope Song’ are new. From recollection (I lost my pen!) these still retain the distictive FOR ABEL sound, but seem longer and more ‘epic’ in their constuction and delivery. They are more deliberate and considered for want of a better description and reviewers may have to seek out other means of comparison.
Old favourite ‘Telephone’ gets an airing and then (woo hoo!) Robert introduces ‘Yorkshire.’
And this is where it all goes tits-up! Guitarist Colin seems to be having some trouble with his instrument – he takes an age to get it tuned properly and then when he finally tries to blast out the opening riffs, it sounds like his ‘lead’ has become defective. A new one is sourced. But confusion reigns as he struggles to find what cable plugs in where! (Perhaps some copious amounts of quaffed beer have something to do with this….? Just saying …… )
Eventually, all is well and FOR ABEL launch into my favourite song. One I haven’t heard them play live for so long. Sounding good, lads!
But, calamity! Half way through, Colin’s guitar refuses to produce any more sound. Confusion turns to anger as he crawls around the stage trying to remedy the situation, while the others manfully play on with a sort of ‘drum and bass’ version of the song. Anger quickly turns to rage,and one defective guitar is abruptly given the ‘Townsend Treatment’ and is battered off the floor several times before being thrown across the stage.
If it wasn’t so comical, it would have been annoying … and I guess if you had shelled out a lot of hard earned cash to see your favourite band play just four (well, three and a half) songs, then you’d be mighty miffed!
The set is somewhat embarrassingly ‘pulled’ at this point and the band sheepishly pack away their instruments (or what’s left of them) and leave the stage. This is ROCK AND FECKIN’ ROLL Y’ALL!
(This is what that particular song should have sounded like!)
Final band up are KICK TO KILL, one of the FLOWERS IN THE DUSTBIN triumvirate (the others being FOR ABEL and MUMMY SHORT ARMS)
The show’s running well late by now unfortunately, and transport issues mean that I am unable to see their whole set. But what I do see is well impressive. Here’s a band with absolutely no pretences who can rock it up big time! They seem to combine a slight Eighties feel with a harder, modern edge. Maybe I’m wrong … this was my first experience of the band – and only a brief one at that – so here’s a couple of tracks, including their new single ‘Avalanche’ for you to decide yourself. But I definitely get the feeling these guys could do well.
And so it’s time to go. I’m not quite sure what either the residents of Chelsea or Alan Titchmarsh would have made of it all, but this is one Flower Show that will hopefully blossom here in the centre of The Universe – sorry, I mean Glasgow!