Friday 17th February 2017 at Ivory Blacks, 56 Oswald Street, Glasgow
This year I decided that it would be a good idea to make New Year’s resolutions that I could not only stick to, but that I’d enjoy. So I thought Id go and see 3 bands that I’ve wanted to see for ages, Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes (Glasgow), The Filthy Tongues (Edinburgh) and All Hail Hyena (Lancashire). I’ve kept putting them off because with a hectic work and family life, it’s not always easy to travel to gigs.
The first of these bands I chose to see were Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes from Glasgow.
I became aware of the Dark Vibes through Joe’s previous band, “The Coffins”. I’d come across them purely by chance when he posted a video on a Facebook thread I was following. I liked what I heard and decided to find out more about them. A glowing review concluded that they had a reputation for upstaging headliners.
Of course, in this day and age you never know whether a review is an accurate reflection of a band, or if it was written by the lead singers proud mum! Nevertheless, I found myself in Edinburgh the weekend they were playing so I popped through to Glasgow to check them out.
The Coffins took to the stage, and as is often typical, people who didn’t know the band continued to chat with their mates. But less typical, by the end of the first song, the whole room was hooked and excitement filled the air on the realisation that we were witnessing something very special indeed.
By the end of their set, the whole room was buzzing with talk of who where this amazing band.
I’ll not say who the headliners were. Suffice to say they were a better known act, they put on a good set, but they simply couldn’t compete with what we’d just witnessed, and the room gradually dispersed to go back to chatting with their mates.
The Dark Vibes is quite a change of direction, less straight rock, more keyboard driven, and spanning lots of genres and refusing to be pigeon holed. Could Joe pull it off again?
The venue, Ivory Blacks, is a fairly typical sweaty small gig venue. Untypically it isn’t tucked away up side street on the outskirts of the city centre. Indeed it is only a few doors away from Glasgow Central Station. Local word was that it has an impressive sound system and sound engineer. They weren’t wrong!
The Media Whores are a band I knew only through reputation, and sure enough they set the tone for the evening nicely, kicking the night off with an energetic set of songs that hooked you in whether you were familiar with them or not, political yet never taking themselves so seriously as to spoil the fun, and leaving the crowd wanting more.
With just 15 minutes to wait, next up were the band I was waiting for – Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes.
Sure enough they hit the ground running and had the audience in the palm of their hands from the opening song right to the end of their set, conventional wisdom says bands should stick to one genre, but the Dark Vibes aren’t a band to be bound by convention, and clearly neither were the audience. It takes real talent to write a song about the DWP and have the whole room bouncing!
I did wonder if perhaps this time around most of the audience were Dark Vibes fans. But at the end of the set, whilst I was checking through my photos, my ears were flapping to see what people were saying. Sure enough the conversations around me were people asking who the amazing band were!
Clearly Joe is hugely talented – putting together one band that can win over cold audiences who’ve never previously heard of them is a pretty rare talent. To be able to create a very different kind of band that isn’t bound to any particular genre, and pull it off again is pretty much unheard of!
Joe is a great front man to watch, very theatrical and hard to look away from, but it’s well worth checking out the other members of the band. For example, his drummer Jenny Tingle puts on an impressive show in her own right – banging the drums with passion and precision all the while looking effortlessly cool.
Indeed, there is no dead weight in this band – everyone works seamlessly to create an audio-visual treat for the senses. Part of the secret of Joe’s success at putting together impressive bands is clearly getting the right personnel on board.
You can pre-order their album via crowdfunder. It looks like it’s shaping up to be a corker.
I live in hope that one of the excellent promoters we have in Liverpool will bring the Dark Vibes here before long, but otherwise I suspect I will be back in Glasgow again before long!
And so to the headliners – The Godfathers.
Again they are a band I know more through reputation. In the mid 80s I bought their version of Sun Arise after hearing it on Channel 4’s Chart Show. I didn’t really know much more about them, though the guy in my local record shop was always raving about them after they’d been on, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t been to see them.
Well 30 years on I finally went to see them, and I didn’t regret it!
I read a review that said they start their set with the energy levels and buzz that most bands are lucky to achieve by the end of their set, and I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description.
They deliver a confident, polished set, full of energy and chanty anthems for all. It’s easy to join in even if you’ve never heard the song before. In fact it’s probably harder not to join in.
Peter Coyne the lead singer commented on a post on Facebook saying that the current lineup is the best they’ve been, and comparing a sneaky video I took on my phone of “I want everything” with the single on Spotify, I don’t think he’s exaggerating.
The band look the part as well. When Peter inspects the audience and snarls “You can buy our new album over there, we want your f**kin’ munay”, it did cross my mind that this could well be an offer you really shouldn’t refuse if you don’t want a horses head on the pillow in the morning. I’m pretty sure Travelodge’s terms and conditions mention a surcharge for that kind of thing so best all round not to take any chances.
Their new album is called “A Big Bad Beautiful Noise” and it certainly is – you can find it on Spotify, but best to buy the CD if you want to support quality music.
Their tour finished in Hebden Bridge at the weekend – when they tour again, make sure you get a ticket, you won’t regret it.
Without question, a band who deserve their reputation as an excellent, energetic live band.
Finally, after the encore the night was over – and what a night it was! Pure joyous entertainment from start to finish, not a single “hmm this song is a bit dull, wish they’d get back to the pacey stuff” filler all night, and that’s rare.
During the weekend in Glasgow we visited Café D’Jaconelli – the café used in Trainspotting where Spud and Renton shared a milkshake – it reputedly has the best ice cream in Scotland, I certainly wouldn’t disagree! Too many of these Italian owned cafes that specialise in Ice Cream and Bacon Rolls, with the old fashioned jars of sweets and glass bottles of fizzy drinks have disappeared over the years, so it was great to see one perfectly preserved and doing brisk business – even if my fitbit wasn’t impressed by the experience!
We also popped in to the Kelbourne Saint, which is the pub where Begbie threw the glass over the balcony – now more of a family-friendly gastro pub, nevertheless probably worth keeping an eye on the balcony just in case somebody decides to recreate the scene a little too accurately!
It was the first time I’d been to Glasgow as a tourist, and it was a top weekend from start to finish.
I’d say this was probably the best New Year’s Resolution ever, I can’t wait to do it again!