Category Archives: gig


Posting these rather far after the fact, but here are links to some articles I’ve written recently.

Review – Blood Brothers at Leith Festival for The Edinburgh Reporter

EIFF Review – An Evening With Chemikal Underground for The Edinburgh Reporter

Top Ten picks of EIFF for Ten Tracks

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Filed under 12booksin12months, Community News, Edinburgh, edinburghreporter, gig, music, noise, scotland, tentracks


Interview with White Heath and The Valkarys for STV Local

Guest post for Mslexia on finding your voice as an author

I helped out with live coverage of election night for The Edinburgh Reporter (manning the twitter, taking photos and uploading results posts) which extended from 8.30pm on election night until 4pm the following day.

I did a post on my personal blog about advice I’ve received on freelance journalism which blatantly belongs here, I have just realised.  Perhaps I’ll post it here later.

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Filed under 12booksin12months, Community News, cowgate, Edinburgh, gig, mslexia, music, scotland, STVLocal

Link – Steve Heron

My STV Local interview with Steve Heron about his involvement in the Sick Kids charity CD.

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Filed under Community News, cowgate, Edinburgh, gig, music, noise, scotland, STVLocal

Link – STV Interview with Scrap Brain

The title pretty much says it all… Here is another interview for STV Local with Scrap Brain, one of the bands involved in No Colour Too Strong to Paint, a charity CD raising funds for the Sick Kids Foundation.

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Filed under antics, Community News, cowgate, Edinburgh, gig, music, noise, pogo, STVLocal

Let’s Get Lyrical #33 – Cancel The Astronauts

I like lyrics that make me laugh, and I’m sure you do too.

I Am The President Of Your Fan Club (And Last Night I Followed You Home) by Cancel The Astronauts is such a song. It starts out earnest and a bit sad, then dives into the realms of the tongue in cheek creepy without hesitation.

I wanted you
I hoped you wanted me too
I was strange enough
I shouldn’t ever need or deserve your love

Aww. Surely not the case?

I am the President of your fan club, and last night I followed you home.


Looked through your window, and don’t think I don’t know
That last night you weren’t alone.
Who was he?
Oh well I don’t know.
Will he be here tomorrow?
I don’t think so.

Nice. This may not be the most logical approach to winning the fair maiden, but at least it’s proactive.

I think my favourite part is:

I’m sitting here, sitting here, sitting here
In your room
Where have you gone tonight?

It’s funny because the weird stalker, who is presumably trespassing, is annoyed with the stalkee for not filling him in on her plans.  DO YOU SEE?

Other funny lyrics by Cancel The Astronauts include most of them.  You should get both EPs and download remaining tracks from

And watch their newest video as well:

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Filed under Edinburgh, gig, letsgetlyrical, satire, scotland

Let’s Get Lyrical #32 – Heat Magazine, and she loves Smash Hits

I can’t believe I forgot about this when I was talking about lyrics that tell a storyKid Canaveral‘s first single, Smash Hits.  It’s literally the lead singer telling an anecdote.

You met her at the 13th Note
She was there to see her brother’s band
I saw you try to chat her up
I even saw you try to take her hand
I just laughed to myself
Stood at the back and I had a drink
That’s when you staggered up,
Said “She’s fit but her music taste’s shite”
When I telt you it didn’t matter
You tell me
She likes the McFly
And you like Erase Errata


You saw her for a second time
You took her out to the UGC
You thought it would shut her up
The conversation turned musically
You’d called her an idiot
She showered you in her popcorn
She said
“Stick it up your arse, I don’t care if you think my music taste’s shite!”
when I tell you it didn’t matter
You remind me that you like John Martyn
And she hearts Neil Sedaka


I don’t really know what to tell you about this song.

– It piqued my curiosity about Erase Errata, and I own their album Other Animals as a direct result.  It’s alright.

– “Stick it up your arse, I don’t care if you think my music taste’s shite,” encapsulates the end result of countless arguments I have been involved in/witnessed over the years. 

– I actually think that a degree of overlap in musical taste is a pretty useful thing in relationships – although it seems that this girl was nothing if not eclectic in her listening choices, so she might’ve been open to John Martyn and Erase Errata.  If only the subject of the story had made her a mixtape, how different things might have been.

– Hand claps are an excellent addition to any song.

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Filed under adolescence, adulthood, gig, letsgetlyrical, music, noise, scotland


Couple of new posts by me on The Edinburgh Reporter today.

Edinburgh Spotlight on Music featuring Cancel The Astronauts, The OK Social Club, The Nature Boys, Underclass and the Maydays


Social Network Launches Table Book in which creative types This Is Central Station make a book of the works of their members.


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Filed under Community News, Edinburgh, edinburghreporter, gig, music, noise, pogo, scotland

Bands Battle For Street Party Slot

First published on The Edinburgh Reporter November 15 2010

Hogmanay is one of the biggest events in Edinburgh’s calendar – after all, where better to celebrate the most popular Scottish holiday than the country’s capital?  But whilst event headliners Biffy Clyro and special guests The Charlatans were announced some time ago, local music fans are still in the dark as to who will have the task of supporting them.

This year Leith Records held an open competition called Hog The Stage, where any band in the country could upload a song to the internet to be in with the chance of gaining the elusive support slot that launched the careers of Franz Ferdinand and KT Tunstall.  Hundreds of entries had to be whittled down to just five bands who will compete in a live show at the HMV Picture House on November 21st.

We chatted to the five bands who made it through to the finale – Kitty The Lion, Come On Gang!, The Stagger Rats, Jakil and Pooch.

Here’s what they had to say.

Kitty The Lion

What would winning this competition mean to you?

“It would mean that Simon Neil [lead singer of headliners Biffy Clyro] might finally realise I am the love of his life,” laughs Anna of Kitty The Lion, adding “I think my patriotic heart would burst at being part of the best New Year party in the world.”

“If you look at the number of bands that applied and the number of people that attend the street party every year you can see how important this is to everyone in Edinburgh,” say The Stagger Rats. “To win the competition would be unreal, and to be honest it still seems like there must be a catch!  Local unsigned bands just don’t usually get this kind of exposure.”

“It would be a phenomenal privilege to open Edinburgh’s Hogmanay,” Pooch agree, “and a fantastic opportunity to stand out from the hordes of great Scottish unsigned bands out there.”

“I’ve seen some of my favourite Scottish bands play the Hogmanay party,” says Mikey of Come On Gang! “It would be an honour to follow in their footsteps and get people dancing into 2011.”

Jakil, who have recently relocated to London, said, “it would be incredible to be part of the soundtrack to the best street party in the world. And it’s at home in Edinburgh, in our old back garden. Nothing could really top that.”

Do you think the online format of this competition is a good one?


“It’s definitely a more open way of running a competition,” think Kitty The Lion.  “Rather than competitors blindly submitting entries and waiting for a result, you get to snoop at everyone else’s entries and size them up!”

“It’s a really simple but effective way of giving everyone the vital information about the participants,” The Stagger Rats concur. “You can see the band’s live performance through their uploaded video, hear their studio sound through their uploaded song and find out about them via their biography – everyone who’s interested in the competition gets to see all the bands involved and every aspect of their work.”

Pooch added, “the site was a great tool to display bands in a visually pleasing manner. And the fact anyone could browse entrants made things a bit more interesting than with other contests, where only winners are revealed and the pool of entrants go unnoticed by the general public.”

“The web is a great way to find new music, so it seems like a good fit to me,” says Rob of Come On Gang!  Band mates Sarah and Mikey agree, not least because, “it’s instant and means that bands can easily get their fan bases involved from the very start.”

Meanwhile Jakil reemphasise that the site provided a platform for over a hundred Scottish bands to showcase their work, which is a great way to promote local music.  “There are hundreds of fantastic bands in Scotland today,” they point out, “and a lot of people don’t know about the great gigs and concerts going on right now just on their doorstep, which is a shame.”

Do you find the Battle of the Bands nature of the final stage at all off-putting?

The Stagger Rats

“It’s pretty intimidating,” says Anna of Kitty the Lion, who has never done a competitive gig.

Pooch have no such qualms.  “Surely there’s no better way to decide which band will give the best live performance on a big stage than a live show in a similar setting? We’re looking forward to a high-pressure showdown!”

The Stagger Rats are phlegmatic on the subject. “We’re ‘Battle of the Bands’ veterans, having played several in our time together,” they say.  “We won The Evening News Battle of The Bands a while back and that competition also had a massive influx of applications, so we have experience in this area.”

“If anything, it will make all the performance that little bit better since there is such a huge prize at stake,” suggest Jakil.  “You’re playing to prove your worth, every fan of every other band doesn’t want to like you. We find that motivating, a challenge, not off-putting.”

“We actually really enjoy playing competitions,” says Sarah of Come On Gang!  “Apart from anything else, we like the energy of them, as all the bands are playing their hardest. And it’s a good test to see how well you perform under pressure. Bring it on!”

Come On Gang!

If you don’t win, will you say horrible things about the other bands in the press? What will you say?!

“Of course,” jokes Anna of Kitty The Lion, “Isn’t that mandatory?  I’ll say that the winners stole the bottled talent from our dressing room before we went on and drank it themselves.”

Nobody else is this forthcoming, though.

“As much fun as it would be to bitch about the other bands if we don’t win, I think they’re all great bands – it just depends what type of sound the judges are after,” says Rob of Come On Gang!  “We’re not the bitchy types,” adds band mate Sarah. “We’re all in it together, really. Bitchiness is just for the uninformed!”  Mikey concludes that if they don’t win, “I’ll get a drink in with my mates who’ll be there to cheer us on… then I’ll try and sweet talk some free tickets from the winners!”

If they are unsuccessful, The Stagger Rats plan to be “the most gracious and gentlemanly of losers in the press and in person.  An unattended pint might get spat in, but that’s the absolute worst the situation would come to.  All the other bands are talented, they wouldn’t be in the final five if they weren’t, so we would have no harsh words for any of them.  If we didn’t win, we’d obviously be upset, but if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.”

Pooch said, “at the end of the day music is subjective, each of the other bands deserve the place as much as ourselves,” and that the band who wins will get a “massive congratulations” from them.

And Jakil agree that “at the end of the day, we will all be trying our very best but whoever I’m sure whoever wins will deserve it.”


It seems that we’re not going to have any turf wars on the Edinburgh music scene over this one…

Tickets for the live showdown on November 21st are available here or from Ripping Records for £5 each.



You can also read our interview with Jim Wolff of Leith Records on how the judges did their best to make this the fairest competition possible here.

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Filed under Edinburgh, edinburghreporter, gig, music, noise, pogo, scotland, theskinny

Behind The Scenes of Hog The Stage

First published on The Edinburgh Reporter November 15 2010

Last week, organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay announced the five finalists in the competition to support Biffy Clyro and The Charlatans at this year’s New Year celebrations on Princes Street.  Come On Gang!, Kitty The Lion, Jakil, Pooch and The Stagger Rats will play in a live showdown before a live audience and panel of music industry judges at the HMV Picture House on November 21st.  We spoke to the finalists in an interview here, and also had a word with Leith Records’ Jim Wolff about the first new bands competition ever to be held by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

Whose job was it to go through over a hundred entrants to whittle down the short list of five?

Leith Records managed and sorted entries into a long list for other judges to make their shortlist choices from.  However, the judges could choose from any other entries on the site if they wanted.

Did they have specific criteria to help them choose?

Judges were looking for a number of factors, including whether the music was any good, what the band looked like live, general popularity, whether they were suitable for the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay audience etc.  Facebook likes and comments were used as a guide, but weren’t the only criteria.

How will the event on the 21st work?

Every audience member gets one vote, and judges – Ed Stack from Ten Tracks, The Skinny’s Music Editor Dave Kerr, BBC Radio DJ Vic Galloway and a very special guest judge – get a quite a few more. The aim is that the judges get some influence but the audience gets a say too.

Do you think there are any particular benefits or disadvantages to running this competition online?

Online competitions make entry easy, and it’s good for everyone to hear the entries. is now a good place to hear a lot of the new music that Scotland has to offer right now.

We’ve done a competition before where it all came down to an online vote, but we didn’t want a band with a big Facebook following to win this. It had to be about the music. The other side is that if it’s just down to ‘industry experts’, then you’re going to get accusations of bias. No competition like this is ever going to be perfect. When there are so many bands and different styles of music, it’s impossible to say for sure which is better than the other.

Do you think that some bands who could have been great for this competition may have been put off by the perception you mentioned that it’s a competition about who is best at persuading their fans to go online and vote?

Some bands we know just don’t enter competitions full stop. And that’s fair enough. You’ve got less than 1% chance of winning so why bother? But on the other hand, every band that entered got a bit of exposure, and bands that made it further get a chance to play the HMV Picture House, which is no bad thing.

We’ve hoped that bands don’t take themselves, or the competition, too seriously. Going out to your fans for a bit of support doesn’t need to be a big deal.

How popular has Hog The Stage been?

We’ve been really happy with the exposure it’s given all the bands that’ve entered. Over 30 000 people have visited the site over the past few weeks, with over 2000 comments and thousands of Facebook Likes.

So would you do it this way again?

We’d certainly improve some things, but so far it’s all gone pretty much to plan (amazingly). Ask me again in a few weeks.

Not wanting to be a stirrer, but we couldn’t help noticing that both Come On Gang! and Jakil are on the latest ‘ten tracks’ bundle available to download from the Leith Records website… have you been accused of favouritism at all?!

Lots of different factors came into short listing bands. Favouritism wasn’t one of them. Bring on the 21st November and the gig at the HMV Picture House – let the music decide.

Tickets for the Hog The Stage finale cost £5 and are available here, or from Ripping Records.

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Filed under Edinburgh, edinburghreporter, gig, music, noise, theskinny

Twilight Sad Review

The Twilight Sad, by any other name, would not make any sense.

I say this because James Graham’s penchant for being miserable in the semi-darkness outweighed all other aspects of the band’s gig in the Liquid Rooms this evening.

When I first saw the ‘Sad, as I’m sure they would hate to be known, they were supporting Idlewild at a 2007 gig in Dundee.  I expected little, given the first support band was shite; so was pleasantly surprised to be blown away by the unexpected wall of noise that ensued.  I promptly downloaded their album, and then proceeded to buy it with actual money a mere two years later.

I’ve seen them a few times since then and enjoyed their live performances, but tonight they were definitely erring on the side of pretension.  Even slebfan Ian Rankin admitted via Twitter that he only lasted 3 songs, citing the PA system as muddy, but that argument doesn’t wash because Errors sounded really good.

Can it be that my mates what’ve been slagging them off as Frabbit wannabes are correct?  Meh.  I spend more time listening to studio albums than hanging over balconies trying to get decent photos on a crappy camera phone, so screw it.  I will chalk this one up to you lot being tired from the tour, Graham.  But any more of your self indulgent Matt Bellamy style nonsense and it’ll be CD purchases only.

Errors sounded great.... Some sort of Liquid Rooms conspiracy?

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