NHC MUSIC Chats To XL Entertainment

The last six weeks or so have been kind of sprinkled with stress at NHC MUSIC and The Ice Box We have had flash floods, renovations, injuries, gofundme campaigns, website re-designs, and overfilled book skips… and it’s only this week we have finally managed to get back on top of things! So to start us off again we have managed to have a wee chat with newly registered record label XL Entertainment, who we will soon be stocking music and merch for in our newly re-jigged shop front. Check it out below then be sure to keep on the page for more info on the bands XL represent;

So please do start us off then by telling the readers a wee bit about yourself and your company, like how long have you been going for, and what made you decide on a career in the world of music? (It's not an easy world to work in, even if we still love working in it!)”:

XL Entertainment is a very new name for a much older labour of love started by Glasgow-born musician, T-J Connell. Having worked with a number of companies as a freelance sound engineer – including theatre companies (such as Thistle ‘N’ Thorn Edinburgh) and live music companies (such as Pressure Valve events) – and with years of experience working with and training with top DJs and Karaoke MCs, T-J knew that he would eventual need to put his skills to better use. His freelance work on the back burner, T-J’s solo music career flourished. Bands that he had depped for were impressed with the organisation, networking and professionality with which he managed his own career and soon he was taking on management positions within those bands. Bringing all of these things together T-J created XL Entertainment UK, an honest and fair company that looks to give real people their chance to create performances and art that they want and achieve the goals that they set.

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“XL have a few excellent acts on your roster already, is there any new releases coming out that you are particularly excited about? When can we get our hands on them?”:

We’ve been working hard in our first few months of official work under the XL brand to establish a team who share our mindset of, ‘real people, real entertainment’, and connect with useful contacts (both new and recently established) in the Scottish music industry. Our recent venture into working with NHC Music has been one that we’ve been very excited about and it has been timed perfectly with the release of new material from a couple of our acts. T-J himself has released his debut album, the first of its kind to be produced through the XL brand, which is a testimony to the XLEnt quality with which all of our acts release their material. Within the same weekend, Romarzs released their first music video since their signing with XL and other acts we work with such as Ninth Degree have also released singles since then. You can check out our acts and their recent releases at www.xlentertainment.co.uk/act-we-manage

“We have a lot of new acts on our own roster these days, and a lot of them seem to be a bit overwhelmed when it comes to the actual putting on their own events side of things. We know XL are putting on events, what advice would you give to the young musos starting out on their DIY gig journey?”

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At XL, we run events for our acts and we fully understand the stress both on the minds of those who organise the events and on the wallets of those who fund them. For those really struggling, finding people who have experience and are keen to share their knowledge with you is key. Just because your planning to Do It Yourself, doesn’t mean you need to Do It Alone, speak to other musicians and events organisers and have people in your corner that can help out and have their own skillset. Know a person whose doing a degree in sound engineering and wants experience? Let them run your P.A. at a DIY gig. Know someone who runs gigs every night in the city centre? Offer them a lift in exchange for a free ticket and see what you can learn. Most importantly, be nice to the people who do well by you and support your fellow musos. Thank the people who gave you a gig, and thank the techy who listened to your whole set without falling asleep. Find the people out there who are willing to give you a chance without asking for anything in return and look after them, they’ll look after you when you need it.

“Are you always actively looking to add to your band roster? What would be the type of things you look for in a band/musician?”

We love hearing new music and at every gig we see, there’s someone new that we’d love to work with. Unfortunately, we are still a small team and, while we would love to work with every one of those bands, there are only so many hours in the day. Our management package includes lots of benefits and chief amongst them is an attentive manager who attends rehearsals and actively seeks gigs for their acts. This can only be done when the manager has enough time to devote to the workload so we are not currently taking on new bands under our management. However, our roster is wider than just the acts we manage. Frequently we are asked to provide acts for events, support slots, gigs and this is where our wider roster comes in to play. This roster includes all of the bands we work with and gives them all an equal opportunity to be picked for gigs based on our client’s requirements. This roster is always open to new musicians and there will be no contracts to sign or expectations of the acts until they have actually been booked. It is free to join our roster but, if you intend to inquire, we ask that you have an act your are passionate about, your performances are performances that you know you would enjoy if you saw at an event and, most importantly, we ask that you have a work ethic that our clients will enjoy working with.

“So what big plans are coming up for [XLEnt] and it's acts, anything big you can share with the readers now?”

With most of our acts having recently released new work, our aim now is to get them out and about, playing their music, touring and showing off their musical awesomeness. There are still releases planned that we are just getting started on but they will be revealed in due course.

So there you go, check out the links above and below and be sure to check out the acts they support, you will be hearing from them on our own pages very soon!

Real people, real entertainment
www.xlentertainment.co.uk


www.facebook.com/XLEntUK/

Rebellion 2019, The Winter Gardens, Blackpool, 01/08/19 - 04/08/19 - Baz B.

Another year, another Rebellion. This one was always going to be special though because the mighty Cocksparrer are headlining the Saturday. After a pleasant train journey down to Blackpool and getting the wristbands and B’n B formalities sorted it’s time for the mayhem to commence. First on the agenda is the Barstool Preachers in the Empress ballroom. The lads turn in a passionate, powerful performance in front of a sizeable crowd and we leave the ballroom buzzing that the preachers first performance on the huge empress stage was such a resounding success. There’s not much more on the cards watching bands wise today though because I’m playing a gig with the Fuck Ups at the Temple Bar later on.  After catching up with some mates and getting a bite to eat, its time to head to the other gig. The Cryogenics are blasting out their high octane thrashy punk when I arrive, and damn good they are at it too. After playing our set (which I think went pretty well), its time to head back up to the winter gardens to catch the Descendents. This was my first time seeing them and they do not disappoint (they aren’t the fastest band I’ve ever seen though). Opening the set with “Suburban home” they churn out classic after classic with “I’m the one”, “I’m not a punk” and the aforementioned “Suburban home” being just a few of the standout moments. This is punk rock at its life affirming best, a shining example of why I continue to love it so much. With power, passion, humour and melody in spades Prof. Milo and the boys give us perhaps the performance of the weekend, and its only the first night, it’s just a pity that they were playing at the same time as Fear, who I also wanted to watch. Thursday night probably has the worst set clashes of the weekend because Poison Idea and Flipper also clashed. Who thought putting all the old US Hardcore bands on at the same time was a good idea?

The first band that I watch on Friday is Riskee and the Ridicule on the Arena stage. If you haven’t checked out their top notch blend of Punk, Grime and Hardcore, then get on it immediately, cos you’re missing out. They turn in a great performance and Scott Pickering is a great frontman as well as a great lyricist and vocalist. The sound isn’t the best, but the band play a blinding set regardless. Definitely ones to watch and my current favourite band. Next up is Gimp Fist in an intensely hot Empress. Only manage to watch half of their set before having to scarper for cooler climes. The Opera house is the coolest room in the venue by far and it also happens to be where Interrobang are playing. Their performance is simply breathtaking and definitely one of my highlights of the weekend. The sound is crystal clear, and you can hear everything perfectly. The band looking dapper in suits is also probably the most truly rebellious act of a weekend surrounded by identikit punk and Skins. A stylistic statement against non-conformity becoming its own form of conformity. I decide to stick around in the Opera house for a while, mainly because its cooler and I have a seat, but also because Lost Cherrees are on next. I’ve always had a soft spot for Lost Cherrees and their brand of angry tuneful anarcho punk and I’m glad that I decided to stick around to watch them because they don’t disappoint.  Firing out an incendiary set brimming with classics ( unfortunately no “still comes the rain” or “poem” though) The band put in a stellar performance made all the better by the vocal interplay between the two female vocalists and a surprise (and brilliant) cover of “common people” by Pulp.

After checking out Argy Bargy doing their brilliant anthemic Oi! thing in an absolutely roasting Casbah stage for a bit I decide to head back to the relative coolness of the Opera house to watch original San Franciscan Punks The Avengers. This is another highlight of the weekend.  I’ve loved this band for years and was really excited when I saw they were part of this years line up.  Starting the set with my favourite song “We are the one” the band are on absolute fire and vocalist Penelope Houston’s voice is on point. They deliver a strong set and play with a hungry passion that a lot of bands half their age can’t muster filled with punk classic after punk classic. Other set highlights were “Car crash” (from the same Dangerhouse records 7” as “We are the one”), Their, frankly better than the original, version of “Paint it black” by the Rolling Stones and “The American in me”. If you haven’t seen this lot already and you get the chance to, then you should definitely grab it. You won’t be disappointed.  After The Avengers set, its time to head round to the introducing stage to witness pals of the Fuck ups  The Signal do their thing (extra shout out to guitarist Lindsey for sporting one of our T-shirts. Cheers mate) The Signal are always a top notch live band, but tonight they’ve came to destroy and easily lay waste to the introducing stage with their own unique brand of hardcore punk. The whole band, but especially frontwoman Nikki give the performance of their lives and with song titles like “You say banker, we say wanker” and “Never trust a Tory” we’re left in no doubt as to where they are coming from. The Signal are one of the best punk bands from Scotland and if you haven’t checked them out already then you’re like one of those aforementioned bankers.  After The Signal I catch Red Alert on the Arena stage, some of the Angelic Upstarts on the casbah, the best part of which was Livi legend and Jocksparra frontman Hendo diving on stage to join in with “The murder of Liddle Towers”. Last band of the night for me was Infa Riot on the Arena stage, who are great but the heat’s got too much by this point so it’s time to bail to the comfier, air conditioned party central that is the Orbiston Hotel. Situated just behind the Wintergardens with a bar that stays open til 5am, It is the perfect place to continue the craic into the wee small hours if you’re still wanting to stay “on it” after the Wintergardens closes.

Saturday kicks of with the fantastic roots reggae stylings of the Rhythm-ites on the Casbah stage. Their Dub- heavy reggae is just what the doctor ordered, a welcome stylistic change from all the punk and the sweaty skanking that I indulge in during their set acts like a detox for the previous nights excesses. Lions Law and their anthemic aggressive Parisian street punk are up next in the Empress. Frontman Wattie comes out fighting from the start. He gives a 100% energy packed performance and his voice sounds amazing.  His performance is so full on that he ends up projectile vomiting in the middle of the set (probably because of the heat) and then storming back out to give it 100% again like a fucking warrior.  All in all it’s a great, memorable set from one of the finest Oi! bands on the planet just now. I was planning to stick around for some stomping glam rock courtesy of Guida, but couldn’t face it due to the heat, so retired to the pub with pals instead.

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When we get back to the Wintergardens it’s just in time to see Hagar the Womb on the Pavillion stage.  Angry yet tuneful Anarcho punk with a sense of fun is what this lot deal in and they deliver a solid, enjoyable set.  It’s time for some more French Oi! on the Pavillion stage next.  Kominitern Sect have been going on and off since the mid 1980’s, but I have only discovered  them fairly recently so there was no way I was missing them.  They don’t disappoint, proper old school anthemic Oi! with plenty of catchy riffs and terrace style sing-a-long choruses. All their lyrics are sung in French however, so I haven’t actually got a clue what they’re singing, but they sound great.  After watching most of Kominitern Sect’s set I decide that it’s probably a good idea to head round to the Empress ballroom to catch the end of the Cockney Rejects set and to make sure that I get in to see Cocksparrer.

The Rejects are on top form as usual. Has anyone ever witnessed a bad Rejects show? I know I certainly haven’t.  From our spot on the balcony (its way too hot to be mixing with the Oi! polloi on the floor) we have a perfect view and enjoy the Rejects while waiting for the main attraction. As soon as Cocksparrer hit the stage and blast straight into “riot squad” the whole room is transformed into a sweaty, singing, smiling, crying mass, as Cocksparrer tend to kick start all the emotions. The set list is a perfect blend of old classics and the best ones from the latest lp, the standout moments  however are when “Teenage heart” turns into “Droogs don’t run” and then switches back to “Teenage heart” again seamlessly and an emotional “Gonna be alright” which is dedicated to Manchester punk legend and creator of the Rockers England clothing line Kathy Rocker, and when Colin Mcfaull explains (again) that “England belongs to me” isn’t about exclusion in anyway, it’s about being proud of where you come from and absolutely nothing to do with right-wing nationalism, it’s only England because that happens to be where the band comes from and everyone is welcome to add wherever they come from when singing along. He didn’t have to tell my partner in crime Ellen that twice as she promptly proceeded to scream “GLAAAAAAAAAAASGOW BELONGS TAE ME” all the way through it.  All in all this is a flawless, life affirming performance from the mighty ‘sparrer, even the heat didn’t spoil it.  After ‘sparrer it’s time to head round to the Orbiston for more borderline self destructive hedonism (we’ll leave that there though, I don’t want to incriminate myself or others).

Woke up feeling rough on the Sunday, thankfully Fatal Blow were on hand to deliver a Fatal Blow (sorry) to my last day blues. Formed from the ashes of Anti-fascist Oi! legends The Oppressed, Fatal Blow play hard-hitting, no-nonsense anthemic street punk. Traditional, yet fresh sounding the lads tear up the pavilion stage with air punching anthem after air punching anthem.  Kicking off with “Spirit of 69” which contains lyrics like “Skinhead forever, bonehead never” and “if you don’t know your roots, you better give up your boots”, then blasting out a set full of great tunes like “Riot Riot”, “Sharp as a Razor”, “Johnny come lately” and a brilliant cover of Blitz’ “Warriors” we are left in no doubt what this band is all about.  They play a tight, powerful, enjoyable set that not even a malfunctioning guitar amp can derail. Ant-fascist, pro-working class Oi! at it best and definitely one of the bands of the weekend for me.

Suede Razors in the Empress are up next but when I arrive at the ballroom the unbearable heat is back. I soldier on valiantly and manage to catch most of their set which is an enjoyable mix of Rose Tattoo style bovver rock and punk. The musicianship and vocal performance are top notch and the band turn in a great set, I would have enjoyed it much better if I wasn’t sweating from my eyeballs though (who knew that your eyeballs could sweat). After Suede Razors I catch some of Culture Shock on the Casbah stage. Again, the band are putting in a great performance but it’s too fucking hot and I’m starting to get grumpy and pissed off because of it.  After getting some air I head back in to see Birmingham’s The Liarbilitys on the Arena stage. Seeing this lot was one of the things that I was most looking forward to this year, having become borderline obsessed with their debut lp “Antagonisms”, and they’re even better than I expected. The songs from the lp sound even more visceral live, yet still retain their melodic edge. They are cursed with “Arena stage sound” (the  sound is always shit in this room) but still manage to pull of a brilliant, memorable set. If you love angry, intelligent well played punk rock then this is the band for you. There’s no words in my, frankly limited, vocabulary to describe how good this band is.

After The Liarbilitys I see The Backstreet Abortions on the introducing stage. Been meaning to check this lot out for a while now and I’m glad that I’ve finally got the chance to check them out.  While essentially a hardcore punk band, their sound isn’t Easy to pin down. There’s a real Poison Idea vibe to their songs but there’s also a slight Rockabilly under current. The Musicianship is good and frontwoman Jesse’s vocals are superb. This band does contain Biff of Sick on the Bus, The Varukers fame though, so I’d have been surprised if they were anything less than great to be honest. After catching up with the better half and friends for a few pints and a blether in the Spanish bar (it looks like the inside of a 17th century galleon and is, needless to say, both cool as fuck and where we spend a lot of time between bands. The plan is for me to go watch Uproar (which I do and, as usual they are great, playing an energetic set made up mostly of newer material. Which isn’t a problem when the material is as strong as it is here) and some of King Kurt (which I also do, but get bored very quickly with them. Maybe the heat’s starting to get to me again, because I used to like this lot back in the day, but here it just seems to be pedestrian, puerile pish.) then meet Ellen back at the bar to go watch the Damned. This doesn’t pan out however, because by the time they’re starting we’re both done with the heat and just want to go back to the B’n B. Our pal Laura, who came down with us this year only wanted to watch the Damned and ended up not going because she couldn’t be arsed dealing with the extreme temperatures in the venue. The heat would be my only major gripe about the festival this year. It was seriously ridiculous and, from what I’ve been hearing from quite a lot of people, will maybe put them of attending in future. This would be a shame, because otherwise it’s a great, well run festival in a unique setting with helpful friendly staff.  Until next year……Baz.

Riskee and The Ridicule- Bodybag your scene lp - A Review

I must admit that this lot were new to me when I was given this album to review, and man was I missing out. Formed in Kent in 2014, Riskee & The Ridicule are an incendiary mix of grime, punk, politics and great song writing. Put simply, This lot are the band Slaves wish they were. Album opener “accelerate” sets the mood with a big sing-a-long na-na-na terrace chant style refrain which quickly accelerates (sorry) into a banger of the highest order, which is then followed by “kaboom” which utilises a similar motif but to much greater effect. Hooks that are catchier than the flu partnered with massive hardcore riffs and pop punk stylings are what this band trade in and they combine to make an album that’s infectious and memorable. The vocals and especially the lyrics on this release particularly stand out for me. As equally adept at singing as he is at spitting lyrics that are multi-layered, complex and political with lots of clever metaphors and wordplay Riskee gives 100% on this album.

Every song is a winner on this album, but if I had to pick standouts then they would be “Millwall brick, Glasgow Kiss”, (which quotes that “it wiz wan of ye’z, DISGUSTIN’ video that was doing the rounds on the internet a while ago), “Bodybag”, “Kaboom”, Black, white and grey and new single “In the dark” (which has a poignant video dedicated to the late, great Prodigy frontman Keith Flint to accompany it and is a powerful story about a couple and their struggles with their inner demons). If hook laden, powerfully played melodic music that is informed by grime, punk and hardcore with hard hitting, politically charged lyrics that deal with issues such as our relationship with sexual exploitation, racism, media generated fear and the threats to underground culture then this is the band for you.

If you’re going to Rebellion then go and check them out on the Friday at 2:20pm on the Arena stage. You’re missing out big time if you don’t. See you there!

Baz

CULANN & THE GONZO DIV. CHAPTER 2: PART 9 ‘THE LAUNCH OF THE GOOD SHIP ECUMENE’

Culann and The Gonzo Division have been on many epic, fantastical and incredible journeys; and I don’t just mean the live shows, the music and our first ever gig assignment… We have journeyed the South African Serengeti and the Himalayan peaks, we’ve been to ancient battlefields and post-apocalyptic futures. We’ve reviewed them several times over the years, starting with their debut album in 2012, and just about every gig they’ve played in Ayrshire or Glasgow since then. Each time we’ve come up with more and more abstract ideas for articles and unconventional approaches to music journalism. It has actually spawned some of our best pieces of writing over the years, where gonzo journalism meets creative writing meets music reviews.*

*If you want to follow that journey from its incarnation just go here and type Culann in the search bar https://ctherrongonzodivision.wordpress.com/

This time however, I don’t need to make up a fantastical story, as I’m in one, for real! You see while Culann are playing a gig to launch their new album, Will has to attend it without me, as I am in Egypt, in the sprawling, semi-derelict metropolis of Cairo, visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza! The only one of the seven wonders of the (ancient) world remaining. The Temple of Artemis and the statue of Zeus were destroyed by fire, the Mausoleum, The Colossus of Rhodes and the lighthouse at Alexandria succumbed to earthquakes; The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, if they ever even existed, were erased by war and erosion. The Egyptians however, were masters of cosmic and scientific arts and possibly the greatest architects that have ever lived! The pyramids have survived earthquakes, wars, fires, explosions and thousands and thousands of years of exposure to one of the harshest, most hostile, climates on Earth; the Sahara desert.

As I climb down, baking in the oppressive 38 degree heat, from the second step of the Pyramid of Khufu, I note once more before I leave, the breathtaking size of each block of limestone the structure consists of; 2.3 million blocks, some the size of small vans, weighing a couple of hundred tons, no two blocks the same, yet all fitted together, without cement, to within a hundredth of a degree of accuracy, you can’t even fit a Rizla between the gaps – it’s just showing off. These Egyptian engineers and architects could put an edge on a rolling pin!

The pyramid is said to date back to 2 or 3,000BC but recent evidence of the water erosion markings on the Sphinx, may date it back as far as 10,000BC maybe even earlier! (See Robert Schoch, John Anthony West, Robert Bauvall, Graham Hancock etc.). There is even evidence that the Egyptians just claimed the structures as their own, sticking an Egyptian head on the Sphinx and some hieroglyphs on the pyramids and taking the credit, and that the constructions may belong to an even earlier advanced civilisation. The proof and evidence is ubiquitous if you look for it. But it’s a deep rabbit hole and you’ll need a sturdy shovel and a packed lunch…

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As I lay my hand on one of the smooth blocks, cold to the touch, despite the desert sun, you can almost feel the age resonating off them and a sort of powerful energy flowing through them. As the centuries boil in the air around us, I think how great the human minds were which built these monuments, with technologies unknown to us, laser-precision, building up with ease and accuracy what we still can’t do today with all our new-fangled machinery and so-called superior intelligence!

I’m basking in the radiant glow of the pyramids, skin scalding, the smell of sand, dust and ancient stone floating on hot zephyrs, when my phone grumbles, and I obey it to find an email from PJ Kelly with the new Culann album attached! ‘Good stuff!’ The busdriver is calling us back anyway, and it’s a seven hour journey from Cairo, the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in my life with a population of over 25 million, to our hotel at Hurghada, where I can listen to and review comfortably Culann’s new album.

The journey back from Cairo had been an arduous one, wrought with military checkpoints, African wasps and the Saharan heat. Now I’m poolside at the Aqua Hotel Hurghada, azure shimmering water, radiant sunshine; a midget in a white tuxedo just brought me a drink, the kind of drink that is suspiciously-coloured and unnecessarily covered with foliage but that goes down really easily. All the holidaying Arabs have had their lunch and slunk off to wherever it is they go after lunch, is there an Arabic word for siesta? There is, it’s ‘qylula’. So it’s quiet round the pool and I fire up my Bluetooth speaker, and let the hot Egyptian air have it with a cool, refreshing blast of new material from the boys from Erewyn, Culann!

*!!!يصل لافتة

The mighty ship Ecumene sets sail and launches to an ascending psychedelic intro and into that valiant Culann sound that is now comfortingly familiar to me, like a favourite whiskey, or a warm coalfire. The sturdy vessel, illimitable in its glory, following a strong and wintry westerly wind, carves a path through choppy green waves with the sweep of many oars, sending us towards a pale pink dusk. High rocky bluffs, crowned with scraggly trees, dwindle into the distance, and we are adrift on the open sea, in search of Evonium, and The Stone of Scone, an ancient stone ‘pon which many ancient British kings have been crowned.

*Arabic for ‘up the banner’.

The album is a rip-roaring rock opera, I’ve often called Culann prog-celtic-rock, and they are very layered in the structure of their songs, with great skill they carry a tune through many progressions, bridges and changes etc. Evonium evolves like a writhing sea serpent cutting out of the waves. It really gets going with the thunderous, erratic cocaine-heartbeat at;

“Standing taller than I’ve ever been, the earth below me saw a mighty scene, kings and kinsmen screaming in my dreams…”

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Telling tales and drinking from grails, traversing vales and setting sails, the good ship Ecumene never fails; the imagery conjured up by Culann’s music and lyrics flashes through your head in a kaleidoscope of visions, like you’ve just done peyote under the branches of some ancient Scottish yew tree, and its memories and experiences of the last three thousand years are infiltrating your brain and flashing through your mind’s eye in an unstoppable hurricane of psychedelic apparitions, visualisations and images! Kings, queens, warriors, druids and soothsayers… The vortex of the visual/audio tornado is the balls-out rocking guitar solo two and a half minutes in. The song is taking us on a long, incredible adventure, if you listen closely… And try not to have an aneurysm rocking-out from the intense, potent deliverance of it…

A Pink Floydesque outro as Ecumene sails through thick, clinging mists which crawl fingering across icy waters… And out of the chilly calm and into the turbulence of the stormy seas that is ‘Event Without Experience’. Incredible vocal and perfect harmonies as always, nice use of a flute or something and the outro turns into an all-out punk rock assault that is a thing of beauty!

We brew the ale next and let it simmer, with a jangled, erratic, folky offering that develops into the soaring wings of an eagle, and then swoops low across fields of green and hills of brown. Crescendoing into a good Scottish folk-punk tune. Century Box, and each chord and note played is a precious grain of sand falling through the hourglass, but with enough high-octane energy to incite a surging moshpit!

The title track has a brilliant, swelling, gushing melody to it, as the good ship Ecumene conquers a deluge of Atlantian proportions! We’re approaching the brink, the swirling, cascading waterfalls at the Edge of the World, and soon a rising, spine-tingling melody sets us up, bracing for impact. Impact comes with a glorious explosion of bass, guitar, drums, haunting vocal harmonies and keyboard, the tearing of sailcloth, the shattering of timber, all aswirl, the stars of the constellations in the skies becoming streaks and melting into a swirling vortex as we succumb to the maelstrom of the whirlpool we have stumbled into! The good ship Ecumene vanishes below the waves; Davey Jones’ Locker beckons…

Bubbling blackness, bible-black, all-encompassing darkness surrounds, nothing but the sound of gurgling and the sonic boom wood makes when smashing underwater. Water penetrates everything, an even pitcher black beckons… Down… Into the abyss.

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We wake from all reverie to sun beating down on our salty face, we’re clinging to driftwood, alive and afloat on a calm sea, gulls circle overhead, land must be near, you can almost smell the earth on the seabreeze, taste the sand on the oceanic air. All Reverie is a dramatic, epic opus which I have enjoyed live already once or twice, captured now on record for repeated plays. That true and unique Culann sound. Clinging to a broken mast, in an ocean of majestic music.

Sharks circle menacingly beneath our feet as we tread water, but make no quarrel; the current is taking us to land, to the sweet, dry soil of Evonium, home. The bleak skeletons of many sunken ships lie entombed in coral and seaweed in watery graves in these parts, noble Ecumene among them now, but we are alive, alive and free. The music now tells of tragedy, with hope’s light shining through and illuminating the way, as the crimson sun dips below the horizon to the sound of dual guitars. The music is our shield, our aegis, and it is nothing short of a punk anthem, with brilliant shredding guitar and a chaotic overture to the Celtic, Norse and Roman gods of yore.

There’s a deeply-infused melancholic beauty, barely discernable, but pulsing away beneath all of the music of Culann, an alluring mysterious hint of hidden meanings and guarded emotions, shadows clinging to the feet of the lyrics…

Jazz-infused insane funk lets us know we’re still alive. The poke of a stick to the body on the beach. A brilliant wee psychedelic overture plays this track out seamlessly into a soaring guitar solo, musical mastership, shipmaster’s music, followed by a final grasp for shore. Man Overboard is now a Man Alive.

And we’ve made it, dry land, Glasgow Queen Street Station, the traffic roars and belches its acrid fumes, scruffy pigeons squabble and scramble and scatter, and the homeless line the pavements, shoulder to shoulder with the hurrying commuters. Back from Egypt, back from Ecumene, back from The Brink. The music is now a distant dream, like a distant shoreline, like another lifetime ago. Except for one more song, which strums up and plays out the latest chapter; a wistful, mournful, rootsy-Scottish ditty, wailing and weeping and wayment, it is wuthering the woes of the wayward.

Always a pleasure Culann, another fantastic album that was well worth the wait, and hopefully too, the work, you put in. One of the best Scottish albums this year, without a doubt. And the live show takes it to a whole ‘nother level! And with that in mind, I’ll seeya’ in the pit, walking the plank!

Culann are: PJ Kelly, Sean Kelly, Greg Irish, Ross McCluskie and Calum Davis.

You can buy their spectacular new album here:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Culann+-+The+Great+Ecumene&i=digital-music&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=ur2&tag=lastfmmp3-20

Here: https://open.spotify.com/album/4OV7BFRo8k0p6cEsLXwkZ8

And here: https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-great-ecumene/1459268383

C. T. Herron (NHC Gonzo Div.)

Photos by Vilhelm Gonztone




NHC Talks To The Signal - A Rebellion 2019 Special - B.B.

NHC music will be returning to rebellion festival again this year. As you know, the NHC is all about representing and promoting upcoming unsigned bands, so on that note we decided to conduct a wee interview with one of Scotland’s finest punk bands, The Signal.  Who you can catch tearing the introducing stage a new one at 6:30-7:00 on Friday 02/08/18.

THE SIGNAL

Ok, first off. Who’s who and who does what? 

The Signal are- Kieran/Bass, Dave/Drums, Lewis/Guitar, Nikki/Vocals.

When/where did the band form? 

We formed in Inverness early 2008, with a few line up changes on bass & guitar over the early years. Lewis was our bass player but moved on to guitar when Kieran joined about 5 years ago.

How would you describe your sound? 

Our sound is quite hard to describe, we take influences from very early punk & everything in between. We all have vast & various tastes in music. We like to mix it up a bit with some Oi, ska, garage, metal. rock, whatever. We never really aim for a particular sound, if a song sounds good we'll just go with it. Don't really know how you'd describe our sound, it is what it is! The Signal.

What releases do you have to date? 

We have always done our own recordings since we started & we put them up for free streaming/ download, we used to burn a few CDs to take to gigs to sell for a few quid. We never released anything 'official' until 2018.We decided to go into a studio & do a 'proper' recording as opposed to just having home demos. We recorded the 'Suck It' 5 track EP at a local studio which we released in March 2018 to coincide with the band being 10 years old. We have just recently recorded another 5 track EP which is in the early mixing stages right now, it’s yet untitled but hope to have it ready in some shape or form in time for our Rebellion debut.

How does it feel to be playing the introducing stage at rebellion this year? 

Playing Rebellion is a dream come true for us. We applied several times before with no luck, but this year we got lucky & we get to play the biggest punk festival in the world! It's a big deal for us, we're proud of what we've achieved. Geographically we are not in a great location so we travel A LOT, but we have to in order to widen our audience & get the opportunities we have been given but we are grateful for these opportunities & travelling is just something we have to deal with.

What’s the punk scene like where you’re from? Is there one? 

One of the main reasons we travel a lot is because of the lack of a music scene in Inverness, particularly a punk scene.  There's plenty of people who like punk but not in a band playing it!  The 'music scene' in Inverness is very middle of the road & safe, there's a lot of cover bands, who have their place, but when you’re in a small town they tend to dominate the venues. The Market Bar in Inverness is the best live music venue in town & we play there 4/5 times a year. Shirley who books us has always supported the band from the very beginning & it's definitely one of our our most favourite places to play hand's down! It's a great wee venue with a great vibe about it!

Do politics belong in punk? 

Politics belong in punk, they belong in any musical genre.  Music gives a platform to that. Punk is synonymous with politics but not every punk band is political. Music can educate & also influence people, people who might not necessarily watch TV, the news etc.  If a band they like has a political stance they are more likely to take notice of the message & maybe educate themselves.

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Any bands you’re looking forward to seeing at rebellion this year? 

We're only at Rebellion for the Friday & Saturday, but there are so many bands we are looking forward to seeing.  UK Subs, Angelic Upstarts, Steve Ignorant, The Exploited, Subhumans, Leftover Crack....so many & so many we are going to miss as well but work & money dictate. Really want to see as much of the Introducing stage as possible as well. It’s good to see what’s happening in the rest of the country and beyond.

Who have been you’re favourite bands that you have shared a stage with/what’s been your best gig experiences thus far? 

We've been pretty lucky with some of the bands we've shared a stage with. Stiff Little Fingers, Subhumans, Angelic Upstarts, Conflict, Oi Polloi, GBH, UK Subs. We were fortunate enough to play support to the Buzzcocks in 2016 when they played Inverness as part of their 40th anniversary tour, a real honour & a privilege. It's a prominent gig for us, more so now with Pete Shelley's passing.  We got the chance to share a stage with him & chat to him and we played rather well that night which doesn't hurt. Cramond Island of Punk 2015 is also a memorable gig & still probably one of the most surreal. It was a great day, it was our first time at Cramond playing/attending & definitely one of our most memorable gigs. A bunch of punks stranded on an island with bands & booze...brilliant!

Why should people come to see you on the introducing stage? 

People should come and see us at Rebellion because we are loud, brash, opinionated, energetic & melodic all at the same time.

The Viridian City Beat Police - Live Review - Jenny Tingle

The Thirteenth note is alive with sound. On the stage, two tables are covered in an array of drum machines, laptops, a large synth keyboard, and various box-shaped devices all trailing wires. Behind this jumble of hardware, The Viridian City Beat Police are at work.

Dexterously and attentively making adjustments to their equipment, the band deliver a banging set in the small, subterranean venue. 

The VCPD’s music is organic and unique. Band members switch roles and change instruments. At one point, Andrew leaves the drum machines and laptop in his rhythm-section partner James’ capable hands and picks up a 5-string bass from behind Tirek’s synth station. Some tasty melodies ensue. The trio of multi-instrumentalists from Glasgow and Paisley watch each other carefully for cues and seamlessly deliver tight  transitions from chilled-out electro pop anthems to harder tunes with pounding beats. 

Tracks like Freddy and Blobbb would be perfectly at home played by sun-drenched poolsides in Ibiza. Freddy is full of summery vibes, with bright, open Synth tones. Neon shimmer and  high-pitched hooks are kept down to earth by pulsating drum machines. 

Sailing Gold and Blobbb in particular are lovely tracks to relax to, with more mellow percussion, and dreamy keys. 

Atlantic Drive with it’s more biting drum tracks has more of an edgy club vibe, and the John Carpenter-esque 8 Walls contains some brilliant electronic retro tones. 

Love is Love is shows a harder side to The VCPD. It’s a stuttering build up, with strategic slamming beats, the wildest song of the night. 

Throughout their set the music is constantly building, shifting and evolving, from subdued trance to energetic rave tunes. 

After their set, bleach-burned logo tees are on sale, made at home by the band. It’s DIY meets polished electronica, and I really like it. The relaxed attitude of VCPD as a band makes for some great music and atmosphere. The heavily analog element of their equipment also lends itself to their creativity, and I love how totally immersed they are in the music while they play. It’s always nice to see a band who have great stage chemistry and are good friends offstage as well. 

The Viridian City Beat Police don’t gig very frequently, so it’s absolutely worth catching their set when you can! I highly recommend seeing them live! 

J. Tingle

Back In The Garden Again - An Eden Report - NHC Gonzo Division


The Garden of Eden appeared to us in a dream-like Shamanistic vision, reminiscent of the enchanted flying Island of Laputa... Our journey was long and arduous, we had grown weary from our travels, but we were close to discovering the entrance. Forests thinned and we could see patches of clearings beyond the old road. A flash of light sparked and fleeted between the trees out of sight, just a faint glimpse, glimmering far off in the distance revealing an incandescent row of multi-coloured orbs which flickered as we passed more trees before vanishing in the grey oblique farther along the road. We found a way into a field by the trees and pulled in. An overwhelming feeling of expressively empathic energy drew on the soul among swirling eddies of mist as we departed our carriage. We stood beneath towering pristine white clouds that billowed into the skies as rays of sunshine lanced our eyes unexpectedly amidst gathering rain. A jet black Rook cawed at our arrival and flew off in the direction of a brook that followed the contours of the meadows behind the trees where fog had pooled like some vast ghostly figure writhing in the undergrowth beyond...

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So we followed in pursuit. We were, in a word, armed to the teeth as you would expect from such an entitled mission of utmost importance as I was granted. We were well equipped for this adventure, after all I was charged formally with protecting 'Her Rajesty' - The Queen of Eden herself Ms Jay Coleman, also known as Red Jester in some circles... A task I was sure to complete with levered precision in accordance with regard to 'Man-At-Arms', Ben-Jitsu Escobar - who planned our meeting's location prior to our undertaking of this journey. We set up camp and established contact with him shortly before dusk and using 'The Force' we walked off into the mist and rain, our foot prints heavy in the wet-lands.

As darkness fell around us in the cloaked veil of night, the stars lit our way like a map in the sky to the mythical gates where the Garden lay in wait for us to explore. We were met with rows of perpetually changing lights and bizarre trinket stalls, with music of all varieties coming from every direction. There were people of all kinds wandering among artistic sculptures, mazes and a huge Ferris wheel decorated in light which towered over the whole festival. The smell of every kind of food you could think of hung in the air pulling on your appetite like a great magnet. One which all things flow according to the whim of...

We ventured around the entire Garden stopping to speak to other travellers and dwellers of the fair until finally reaching a Tavern known colloquially as 'Bobs Back Passage' where we were told of a musical group who went by the name – The Twistettes – would be performing. So we drank and schmoozed with the others until the band came on and holy fuck...

Booze flew into the air from all sides and everyone lost their absolute shit to rawkus punk rock madness! Diving about, bashing into each other and then an alien couple with conical heads appeared in the middle of the crowd with a Unicorn and several Pixies. At this point I became rather unhinged from my Ginger Cider and whatever that magical Pixie dust was so things become a little blurry towards the end, but The Twistettes smashed it and marked our highlight of our first night's entertainment... That Unicorn was actually David Blair aka 'Dijancer' of Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 and I have never seen anyone who can be literally everywhere you look at a festival... Does he have clones? Is there a series of Dave Blair robots carrying out menial tasks while the real Mr Blair pilots them from a control tower? I have no idea and because infinitely confused at this point... All I can say, is he seems to be some kind of Rainbow Warrior of sorts toting the flag for Positivism everywhere he can raise it. Kudos and sincere thanks for the encouragement through the darker times hermano. However, no darker times here... This, is Eden and sunshine awaits...

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Man-At-Arms tried (in vain) to walk me back to the camp site but I just wanted to stagger around looking up at the stars through the rain coz it looked like the rain came all the way from each star in a straight line down to my face, which was really quite epic. Needless to say though, it was like my terrible joke – What happens when you throw a 'Green' rock in the 'Red' sea?

... It gets wet…

At this point of course, I can only apologize profusely for betrothing your mind to this arbitrary malpractice use of bad jokage which is now making me abominably diaphoretic in my floundering apologetic state...

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Eh... Aye so anyway Saturday happened, we woke up alive and it rained... A lot... We got soaked pretty bad. Our tents got soaked really bad. Everything was wet and cold and we did not give one single feck. Man-At-Arms brought tea, Her Rajesty brought tea cakes... I brought everyone to tears with my anus... And so we garden partied like it was 1999 in an upper class garden in the suburbs of Cambridgeshire and made much of our maniacal merriment and enjoyed some bountifully abundant rejoicing...

Then we ate Robin's Minstrels... And there was much rejoicing... Yay.

It was still before noon at this point and we decided to be there for our friends - Melisa Kelly & The Smokin' Crows, and wow... Just wow. We were shaken by fiery funkalicious righteous awesomeness, stirred like a Madman Martini wi half a pound of mandem flung in it (aka The Weegie Sunrise), moved to tears by the poignantly delicate genius of that beautifully laced romantica ballad version of “Devil's Luck” right in the middle where the absolute gold unity of the backing vocals' harmonies intertwining with Melisa's really shone on the whole audience from every musical angle and for a moment even the weather seemed to become one with the music as the sun warmed us during those intricate melodies then when the song grew back up in crescendo, a gentle breeze blew over which induced goosebumps raising the hairs on the back of the neck and I think I am safe to say everyone felt it. Melisa's vocally empathetically expressive nature is so powerful and ranges through more octaves than a Piano can handle with techniques that bend and flex your own perception of the music you are listening to into physical reactions. Her abilities and musical definitions are so mind bendingly varied that not one vocalist anywhere that I know of can even come close to her virtuoso performances. Her voice actually affects me in a physical nature where the hair on the neck stands in every song and really pulls you in to the words and other instruments. She really took me by surprise with her cover version of Tom Waits - “Big In Japan” which drop kicked funk up our asses and right out the top of our heads with explosive depth and more bite than that guy fae James Bond that could chew through a steel cable, with his actual teeth...

Melisa is truly nonpareil. She puts Etta James to shame, she could jump Janet Jackson & Janis Joplin in a Celebrity Death Match with a Jack Hammer and bog-wash Beyonce all at once without breaking a sweat or missing a cue. Note perfect, rhythmic pulse oriented masterclass song writing paired with a passionately inspired stage presence all wrapped in a tightly packaged bouquet of exceptional musicianship on a level that deserves a worldwide audience on the global stage! Once you have had Melisa Kelly's music as an ear-bound aural feast for breakfast it's quite hard to locate an appetite for anything else afterwards because nothing else compares. In a perfect world, if Melisa's band could play all day it would prove the existence of Heaven right there in the Garden of Eden but alas, no one in the right mind is ever gonna play for an entire Saturday at a festival, and especially not when you give everything you have got into an hour long performance. C'est impossible... So after some hugs and compliments to the band we retired to food land and scoffed our asses off then went for a lie down to digest everything we had just witnessed in a state of shock and awe.

Back at the camp site, we lay in a crumpled heap, beaten by weather and the effort of wading through mud and had a light snooze to recharge before Mickey 9's headlined the Melodrome stage. I managed to get a small charge in my phone courtesy of a friends power brick and was able to find a message from my flat mates who were telling me they were playing a set at 5pm with Josephine Sillars in Vishnu and it was now 6:15pm... The annoying thing is we had walked by not far away while in search of food but trying to catch everyone at a festival is just impossible. Whether you don't have enough time, or people playing at the same time on different stages, or you are asleep, or too tired or cold or get side tracked... or lost and forget what you are doing (which seems to happen quite a bit to me) I guess it is what adds to the whole festival experience. Every individual who attends has a unique individual experience tailored to them which no one else gets and that is really quite a beautiful thing in itself. I still hate missing a friend performing though, but the main thing is that everyone enjoyed themselves. We did see an ambulance taking someone off site, not sure if that was over enjoyment en-route to the rubber walled funky farm in a smokin jacket, or maybe a prolapse they were unable to push back in with their finger but we hope whoever that was is actually ok and now home safe. Anyway, I digress... feckin tangents... pfft...

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Ahem! So we gave each other electric-shock therapy and got out of bed and went in search of the Melodrome stage which was located up a hill in the woods in what felt like the Ewoks back garden on Endor. There were rope swings and a log fire and lights strung all through the trees which looked amazing in the dark with the rest of the festival lit up down below. Some two hundred-odd people descended on the Melodrome to see Mickey 9's and as I arrived they had just begun their first song. The crowd were already fired up and diving about the swirling half-skank pogo-mosh-pit to 'Shark in the Water' with everyone doing the fin moves. Much to my delight I found Mr Master of None himself who some call Damo with a fetching silver cape dancing with his partner in crime Lucy and some of our friends and even bumped into a couple of Reiki Masters who also happen to perform under the guise of The Well Happy Band and up popped Ayrshire's very own Hit-man himself Colin Bilby along with John & Susan Soutar with some of the Yellow Movement in tow...

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At that moment a certain Pub Quiz Master known for his work with 'Jackal Trades' and 'Girobabies' (among many other musically promotional things) got up on stage to sing (my favourite Mickey 9's song) 'Rang Wi Me' with the band, however, the stage steward thought he was a random invader and tried to drag him off, but half the crowd simultaneously shouted - “Ho! That's Mark!”... Although the guy was clueless as to who Mark might be, he seemed to get the sentiment and the song continued much to the uber excitement of the now comparatively chaotic yet ultimately synchronismic crowd. The last song I can recall might be 'Psycho Control' as they wound everybody right up into a total frenzy! I am really not sure as to my whereabouts after this, vague recollections of talking to some friends as everyone filtered back from the now closed Melodrome stage, there were some tours through a few totally mental rave arenas with psychedelic painted ceilings - all mad shapes - and I realized that was the intense beats that had been calling to us from the festival while “asleep” at the camp site. (Nobody sleeps in the campsite haha).

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So anyway after getting my compatriots back to the tents, I grew restless and so I ventured back down to Rabbie's Tavern for last orders at the bar and to grab some food before consigning to lying down for a few hours and bumped into Sharleen and Debbie, Mark and Bilby, and a new friend known only as “Andy who knows the Girobabies” (if you know this guy please tell him he is a legend and thank you for being such a funny random sound person), we ended up Joe Mangle'd and talked several shades of shite into the night, much to the dismay of our fellow campers in - what I later found out to be - the fecking quiet section.... hahaha!! Sorry... Not with me about it's not hahaha!!! I should really come with a warning sign...

Suddenly Sunday happened... It was sunny... Like really sunny... All the mud and trenches had dried enough to walk on without breaking your neck or losing your hard earned pint or ending up looking like a victim of “Shat-Pantitis”. That's a pure real condition by the way. Some bloke down the pub told me. Must be true! Anyway, we started the day slowly, needless to say really and took a slow walk into the festival for a scran and a rescue beer. We decided to go take a look at the Drive In Cinema with Vintage Cars to sit in which was quite a novelty that we could have done with in the rain. Some mad 'cant' had written shit loads about Beef all over the inside of the car we sat in... I decreed that we must take it as a sign that the band 'Beef Monk' are on the rise and that these were disciples of the Monkery that is Beef.... by Beefy G, Beef Steg McBeeferton and The Beef Cake Blues Band... and Beefy Bum whoever you are, you made us laugh so hard that poo fell out, so we tip our hats to thee hombree, you sir are a comedic beast.

We happed across a very intimate and chilled performance with the Book Shop Band down the Great Mountain stage and I found thee best vegetarian food I have ever had at the 'Allotment' – I thank you from my toes to my Stellar Chakra for that eatery experience while enjoying the music in the belting blue sky sunshine. Just what the doctor ordered after a mental Friday and Saturday in the rain and midgies. However, some guy showed decked out in a freaky looking outfit made of baby dolls heads with some horror psycho mask and we were ultimately perplexed... We left that arena... and went in search of some other friends. At some point in our wanderings I bumped into 'The Sauchiehall Street Shakedown Squad' featuring Stefan Celosia, Lizzy Biggs, some others I can't recall the names of and the vocal legend that is - 'Matt The Hat' as some kind of Wizard nicely seasoned with Bourbon. Really cool to see so many familiar faces from the Glasgow music scene at Eden. We were headed to catch a band though and parted ways... Then we noticed some Police were getting their faces painted and joining in some games with a bunch of cool people who I thought were The Levellers at first glance. I reloaded my hand with pintage and aimed for the forest again...

We were headed back to the Melodrome stage to witness 'Root System' who really know how to put the Punk in Ska! As they were starting there were about 20 odd people all chilling round the tables... After the first couple songs and dancing through the gathering audience, even getting their wee kids up dancing and singing along with them which really was an absolute crowd pleaser and suddenly there were loads of people who had heard the music from down the hill and came up to see what was happening and we had people skanking up and down the place, dancing in the tree swings and falling off the hill, and... as if that wasn't enough the lead singer jumped up on a table to perform a Russian dance which takes some amount of strength and stamina. Now at that time I did not know the name of this dance and was intrigued to find out what it was called or where it came from because all anyone seemed to know was it's a mad Russian leg dance hingmie... Naw.

Kozachok” also “Kazachok” (Russian: Kaзaчoк) (Russian diminutive of Kazak “Cossack”) A Slavic dance, chiefly Ukrainian with a fast tempo featuring a step in which a squatting dancer kicks out each leg alternately to the front switching with the other leg back under them to squat on, whilst maintaining the squatting position height without dropping or bobbing

I would like to rename it “The Thigh Slaughtering Knee Crippling Ankle Bastard”. My hat is off squire! I think my defining moments of the whole set had to be “It's Up To You” when the band first invaded the crowd, “Wake Up” coz it is thee best Ska Punk tune anyone ever wrote, anywhere, ever and if you try to tell me otherwise... Well... In the words of Dave Lister... “Why don't we strap a bomb to my forehead and I'll nut the smegger to oblivion!” hahaha!!! I loved the double encore at the end as well, muchly enjoyed that set and it gave us a good charge to go venture around the festival again. In my opinion it was over far too quick. Root System should get at least an hour and a half minimum. People need that in their life!

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After some meandering and 40 trips to the toilet in an hour we went off to battle aliens on a far away distant planet and found Elvis. He was in a port-a-loo that whole time... Who knew... Anyway, tangents... ssssssake man! So we went for a tea break by the tents and were keen to find out if our friend who had to leave early got home safe so we chilled there for a while and sank some beers. Later we decided we had to have a shot on the Ferris Wheel and it was totally epic... After the wheel we took a walk and found Sharleen, our aforementioned Pixie friend and we attempted the Maze in the dark which was actually seriously difficult once you go in and get yourself stuck haha! We managed to make it out alive though and I got me some White Russian at the Coco-Cabana bar behind the psychedelic Voltan Temple. We chilled out there for a while then went to watch Bombskare who had literally every single person at Eden in a semi-skank bob n weave manoeuvre which seemed to spill out of the main arena, and even people waiting for chips and pints and looking around the boutique stalls were still doing it! I found myself still going long after the Ska had ended... but before I go there... Let me just say that Bombskare were were the absolute cream of the Eden scene and everybody was loving it. Just people laughing and dancing everywhere you looked, even the people working the stalls were all dancing to them! There was a truly righteous moment though, in amongst all that groove, when a highlight within a highlight occurred like some inceptional conception of sheer gallusness...

And that, was when Rory McLeod joined Bombskare on Harmonica to perform the Ska version of his original song “Love Like A Rock” from his 1988 album “Footsteps & Heart Beats”. That was quite a special moment for a lot of people but to see how humbled the band were to have him as a special guest up there with them and to hear him perform live in the flesh was a really amazing and truly defining moment. Their final closing set at the very end of the Sunday night's main stage bill left everyone with a near permanent smile. We managed to scurry over to catch a little of our friend Damo's band 'Jam on Planet Love' in the Vishnu Lounge but we were wet and freezing cold, starving and some guy sat beside me with a spliff that was like Long John Silver's widden leg and kept blazing so much smoke on me... These days I am weak as shit in the lungal region and was forced to retire to grab some air, my inhalers and some food before the stalls closed but it felt like a nice cap on the night to be able to finally catch a friend performing after missing several other friends' bands including missing Josephine Sillars and The Manic Pixie Dreams (which had my actual flatmates playing in Vishnu Lounge on the Saturday) and 'The Well Happy Band' who I actually played with but haven't seen in a couple years. So I was gutted I missed them all but I will make a point of catching up with everyone and getting out to see as much of your live shows as I can cram into 2019 coz I am back on the case, like Columbo, except you can understand what I am saying, sometimes, and I don't smoke... Yeah... maybe Columbo was a bad example, but you know what I mean.

This was a very last minute festival for me, so I had no plans to be there, but got a chance of a last minute ticket and decided to make it as random as possible, no program, just turn up and meet people and see what happens. It was a beautifully bizarre, righteously epic and paralytically unctuous experience wrapped in a paradoxical paradigm of expression poured from the souls of some of the best people I have ever known in my life. There were many friends who I wish so much had made it this far in life to witness it alongside us, but alas, such is life. We remain though, and continue to push for the most awesome new experiences that life can exude in our general direction. The land of opportunity is a fortuitous and fruitful fortress like some mental jungle which lies dormant until the day you realize it was always there, inside your own thoughts, your own perspectives and only ever appears to you when you finally admit to yourself that you accept it as rightfully yours. That it is well earned and deserved. One world, one life, one love.

Even in duality and in synchronicity, the opposite only exists so that the most amazing positivism can exist in harmony with it and vice-versa. Yin Yang. One can not exist without the other. You need the bad experiences or you will never have appreciation of value in the good ones. It is the distance between them that gifts you with understanding and knowledge. It is when you live through them that you gain experience, and when you combine all you have experienced and all you have learned and apply that to yourself and live in accordance with those ideals, that you finally realize wisdom or contentment and joy.

You can't just go looking for happiness like some item in a shop, you can't buy love somewhere or travel to it physically. It is you. The whole time, it was there, right there within you all your life. It is only when others help you realize it that you experience it at first, but once you finally understand it is something you generate by yourself and share externally with others, and that you do have something to share with people that you can really live the life you feel you have always wanted to. The only thing stopping you, is you. Be fucking good to each other, and to yourself, coz we only get one shot at this.

I would like to personally thank “Her Rajesty” - Jay Coleman & “Man-At-Arms” Ben-Jitsu Escobar for general camaraderie and awesomeness :) Also I have to thank Stevie Powers, Martin Windebank and Lee McGilvray without whom I would have missed that post, the tags and lost that last chance ticket, but youz are awesome and it all just fell into place. I leaped at the opportunity, flung stuff in the car, grabbed some good friends and fled the scene like Ricky Bobby's Dad in Talladega Nights... and like the man said...

“If you ain't first, you're last.”

Photography credits to Jay Coleman

NHC GONZO DIVISION MEETS JACK RABBIT SLAMS - C. T. Herron

I find my weary mortal-remains once again in the architecturally-delightful metropolis of Edinburgh, which is a city that puts me in mind of a cleaner, slightly-modernised  version of Ankh-Morpork. A city which is the polar opposite of its unruly neighbour Glasgow. Scruffy charisma vs. opulent ostentatiousness. Medieval lanes vs shady back alleys. Cliques vs overly-friendly drunks. And NEDs vs… Well, NEDs with more intimidating accents. I prefer Glasgow, that’s why I live there, but Edinburgh is not without its charm. I’d probably feel more at home in Edinburgh out in the surrounding areas, the rough parts, where everyone but junkies fear to tread. That’s more my kind of scene… I prefer Glasgow to Edinburgh for the same reason I prefer jakey old man pubs to yuppie wine bars.

I’m up here to see The Howling Lords and to meet a band who have been on my radar a few times but who I haven’t experienced yet; Jack Rabbit Slams (a cool name is always a good start for any band!). They’re playing in Bannerman’s Bar as part of the The Howling Lords’ ‘Texas Medicine’ tour, for the album of the same name; a fantastic album, you can find my review of it here: https://www.newhellfireclub.co.uk/news/2018/11/5/the-howling-lords-texas-medicine-album-review-c-t-herron

After circumnavigating the streets of Edinburgh which twist like entrails in the guts of the city; over vaults and tunnels, we arrive, quite high on potent marijuana and slightly tipsy on Stormy Cloudy Apple Strongbow, at the designated den of iniquity. Not being too familiar with this bit of Edinburgh, I don’t know what to expect at the venue Bannerman’s, and so when we arrive at a cosy little bar to find four dishevelled figures crammed into a corner poking each other with their instruments and trying (not unsuccessfully) to do a folksy version of a Ziggy Stardust song to a small disinterested crowd of onlookers we assume this is the gig and settle in…

After purchasing social-lubricants (meads, which they warmed by plunging a hot poker in) and settling in to watch the performance, with no sign of those damned Stornaway Vikings anywhere, our marijuana-laced minds became relaxed in the small confines of the wee bar, listening to the jangling of confused instruments, until Felix eventually materialised out of a side portal wearing a leather hood and carrying a large crossbow…

And now, armed with a guide to lead me through the archways and hidden rooms of the building, I realise I have mistaken this establishment for being a tiny little bar when in fact it’s a sprawling complex of interlocking buildings that houses a lounge, a gig room, and even an upstairs accommodation for the bands playing, and god-knows-what-else, probably a scullery and a stable! It’s not unlike a village inn you might find in Game of Thrones, just replace the swords with mobile phones and you’re there. What I mean is, Bannerman’s has a look and feel to it like it may once have been a medieval inn, filled with swordsman and serving wenches and peasants and cutthroats.

Carrying our brimming flagons of mead, and sidestepping a few dwarves playing some sort of game that involves throwing daggers into the wall, Felix shows us to upstairs; a winding staircase that leads up to what looks like a squatter’s flat, and is really, seeing as it’s given over to musicians; you know what musicians are like! There was women and whiskey and drugs strewn everywhere, actually not so much the drugs, well not strewn anyway, so I provided my own by rolling a blunt and sitting on the windowsill to smoke it, looking out at the jagged, smoky, hodgepodge rooftops of Auld Reekie.

After my joint I was introduced to a handsome bunch of rockers, and this was Jack Rabbit Slams; cutting a fine figure they sat down on a battered couch, Sean, Archie and Rob, and I sat on the well-worn coffee table and fired up the old Dictaphone; this is what happened next:  

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GONZO DIV: So how long have you been a band?

ROB (guitar/vocs): Just under three years, I started jamming with Sean first, and then it took us like an age to find a bassplayer, er for whatever reason it just took absolute ages and ages and ages, nobody seemed to play bass in the whole central belt of Scotland…

NHC: It’s really strange that, it seems to be a prevalent problem among bands!?

ROB: Aye, I dunno’, it just seemed to take like ages and ages to even get a reply, ended up Chris came and joined, but he’s actually just left us the now, nu’hin bad happened, just one o’ they things, we decided to part ways. So Archie’s jumped-in and replaced him, three weeks’ notice man, learned a full album’s worth o’ songs, fuck!

NHC: So why is it so hard to find a bassplayer Archie?

ARCHIE (bass): Easy way to put it; my dad’s been playing bass for years and every time he goes to the toilet someone’ll come up to him and tell him his band’s really class, or you were really good up there, and he’d be like ‘I’m not on stage for another fifteen minutes!’ So that’s why, cos’ no-one gives a shit about the bassplayer.

NHC: Maybe it takes a special, rare breed of demented human to play bass…

ARCHIE: You don’t wanna’ be seen in the spotlight…

SEAN (drums): Everyone’s wantin’ to be a guitar-player innit’, cos’ it’s cool.

NHC: Aye, showing off! So Jack Rabbit Slams, is that a reference to Pulp Fiction?

ROB: Ha! Aye, and naw… Er, we kept tryin’ to think o’ names and er, every time you try n’ name a band every name just sounds shite. If ye’ think o’ big bands now, like The Beatles, the first one that said ‘let’s be called The Beatles’…

NHC: The Beatles is a shite name, it’s not even a good play-on-words…

ROB: I know aye, it’s a mince name, but we were hitting about with loadsa’ ideas n’that and I actually thought the restaurant in Pulp Fiction was called Jack Rabbit Slams, but it’s actually Jack Rabbit Slims…

NHC: Haha, so that play-on-words was a mistake!

ROB: Aye and I put out all the posters and realised we’d misspelled it, but it actually worked out better cos’ on Youtube there’s lotsa’ videos for Jack Rabbit Slims, but we’re the only ones that come up for Jack Rabbit Slams…

NHC: And I thought it was like a play-on-words like a heavy-rocking band with a nod to Pulp Fiction’s dance scene! So speaking of heavy-rocking, what do you describe yourselves as, cos’ I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing you yet, judging by the sound-check I heard, are you stoner rock, psychedelic metal…?

ROB: Er naw man, just like… [long pause]…

NHC: Rock & roll?

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SEAN: Hard rock

ROB: Aye, high-energy rock, we’ve no really got any slow songs, sleazy rock & roll, sleazy, anytime we’ve been reviewed the word sleazy comes up. Dirty and sleazy, that’s the two words that always come up in reviews.

NHC: Grimy, grungy, unctuous. Any upcoming gigs or albums you wanna’ promote?

ROB: Aye, everything man, we’ve got an album called ‘Crackerjack’ which comes out in June, the first single will be coming out in the middle of May, we’ve got a video coming out for it, we’ve got merch; t-shirts, badges, everything, we’ve been really hard at work…

NHC: Have you got a website or is it just the social media? Stupid question really, who has a website these days!? When do you ever go on a band’s actual website!?

ROB: Aye, well we just finished the album and we were thinkin’ o’ different ways to promote it and obviously you’ve gotta’ have social media, although it should be about the tunes, not the likes and shares and that, but you can’t fight against social media, it’s impossible…

NHC: It depends how you use it, if you use it negatively, you can go on stuff you don’t like and moan about it, or you can go on stuff you actually like and promote it and spread positivity…

ROB: That’s it man, but you feel ever-so-slightly cheap having to go on Facebook and that and having to beg to promote your posts…

NHC: Ok, if I switched all your instruments to the left, would you still be able to function as a band?

ROB: Errrrm, naw! Haha!

SEAN: I can’t play bass or guitar or sing, so I’d be fucked…

ROB: Aw man the singing, holy shit…

NHC: So the band would collapse…

ROB: On the first EP we wanted Sean to do backing vocals for one chorus and er, it was…

SEAN: Autotune couldn’t even fix it

ROB: Aye, I’m no having a go at ye’ this is just genuine fact, it was fucking horrendous, cos’ he didn’t have anything to dae’ with his hands, he was just standing all nervous and we’re like “what ye’ daein’” n’ he’s like “what do I dae” and we’re like “just fucking stand and sing!” Like four notes or something like that, it just wisnae’ happenin’. I had to go and get my wee brother and get him to come through from fucking Glasgow just to record one line!

NHC: Okay, final question; the apocalypse is definitely coming, how do you think it’s gonna’ happen?

ROB: Ooft, well, it could be a zombie apocalypse…

NHC: You really think there’s gonna’ be a zombie apocalypse!?

ROB: It was actually just a ruthless plug for our video, which is zombie-themed, which’ll be coming out with the single in May.

NHC: That question was a good segue then! Sean, how do you think the world’s gonna’ end?

SEAN: Probably robots isn’t it, artificial intelligence, it’s slowly happening now, slowly but surely…

ROB: Skynet!

NHC: People say we’re starting to be infiltrated by AI but they don’t realise Google is technically AI and we’ve been using that for decades!

ROB: I’m prepared man cos’ I have watched The Terminator series maire’ times than any human on Earth…

NHC: And what valuable wisdom did you glean from that? The only way to kill it is to dip it in molten steel?

ROB: I’m the real John Connor, yiz’ are all laughin’ noo but I’m the real John Connor!

NHC: You look like the real life John Connor, you’ve got a post-apocalyptic vibe! How do you think the world’s gonna’ end Archie?

ARCHIE: North Korea man.

NHC: Good answer.

ROB: Fuck, you been reading the Daily Mail again!?

NHC: Ebola spiders coming from North Korea disguised as Muslims, that’s the kinda’ headlines you get in the Daily Mail.

ROB: Aye, I want to change my answer to that actually.

NHC: Yours was the most far-fetched I think, Archie and Sean were on-the-button. It could just be the flu; “A message sent to other worlds will say it’s ‘just the flu’”

ROB: Something needs to be done, the maire’ times I watch ‘Infinity War’ the maire’ I’m on Thanos’ side, know what I mean…

The conversation took a dark, sinister, controversial turn after that, and I’m knackered from scribing, so we’ll leave it there…

Except to say, that afterwards Jack Rabbit Slams absolutely fucking blew me away from the spot I was standing on! Call it stoner rock, psychedelic metal, hardcore rock & roll, high-octane rock, bluesy-grunge, cosmic chaos, call it all those things; call it what you like, but it’s fucking impressive! Bands with leporids in their name are always good, like the seldom-seen Bastard Killed My Rabbit, The Frightened Rabbits, Echo & The Bunnymen etc. and now Jack Rabbit Slams.

One of my best live experiences of 2019 so far (and I’m writing this in June). Their sound was very much in the vein of Kyuss, Clutch or QOTSA. If you like your rock music with a bit of testicular fortitude I suggest you get out and see them. I was absolutely astonished by the drumming, which put me in mind of Travis Barker a lot. I haven’t used the word sleazy to describe the band once, and if you were to consult the thesaurus for alternatives to the word sleazy you would find that none of them are very complimentary anyway.

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The Howling Lords were, of course, married finely to JRS with their own style of hard-hitting-blues-viking-rock! The two bands complimented each other well, and left my ears suitably-ringing.  Although the release of this article was delayed the timing has actually worked out well as JRS are about to drop their new video for the single from the forthcoming album, ‘Crackerjack’. And I have a feeling it’s going to be a very, very good album, maybe even a contender for local album of 2019! A real flagship album for Scotland’s heavy-rock scene no doubt. Check out the teaser for it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNxUQ_DjjJ0 and its due release is 14/06. A definite band to watch!

                                                                     Seeya’ in the world-famous Jack Rabbit Slams’ Twist Contest! 

C.T Herron (Gonzo Div.)

Rotten Core - Turning Pre-Loved Items Into New To Love Art

We had a chat with one of the amazing local artists we stock at our NHC shop, sitting within the confines of The Ice Box Arts And Music Centre about the work they do, the art the create, and what the future may hold for them. Check out the chat below then be sure to visit their Facebook page and website, as they have some amazing, and unique works of art to share with you!

Can you tell us a bit about what made you choose your specific style of artwork? Especially the use of old cd's and records as a medium?

I was always the arty kid growing up but it was through music that I really discovered the world I wanted to be a part of. Typical emo kid, spending all my Saturday-job money on cds and band t-shirts, it didn’t take me long to discover Alex Pardee, Dan Mumford, Shepard Fairey; incredible artists whose work in no way reflected the things I was being taught in my art education. Their work was fresh, bold, uninhibited and plastered all over the album covers of my favourite bands. They were exactly what I’d been looking for; where tutors told me ‘no you can’t’ their work screamed ‘do it!’ I’m not sure if I have a solid style yet but those guys definitely gave me the assurance I needed to work in my own way.

Using unwanted, unusable CDs and records as a medium came about quite unintentionally but actually seems to be the perfect fit for combining my love of art and music. Like a lot of creatives, I’m a terrible hoarder and becoming more conscious about my impact on the planet and wanting to reduce waste has only made me more obsessed with holding onto things ‘that’ll be useful one day’. Years ago, I came across 1000’s of unwanted vinyl records being sold off cheaply and knew I needed to save them before they ended up in landfill. (Don’t worry, I don’t paint over anything special!) Creatively I’m happiest when I’ve got a scalpel in one hand and a spray can in the other but I’d never really brought those skills into my commercial work. I was holding onto all these puzzle pieces for years and not putting them together then last year my Broken Records just happened. They’re my favourite thing to work on and having to work quickly and spontaneously painting them is a great release after hours of meticulous, controlled design work.

What would you say to other artists wanting to throw themselves into their work, any words of encouragement, or words of warning, you would share with your younger self if you could?

Oh man, so many cliché quotes spring to mind! If it’s something you love, you really will make it happen. If someone tells you you can’t, they’re just another hurdle to pass on your journey. Don’t let anyone stand in your way- they will try.

Early-on I pushed myself to discover lots of artists, not just the few they teach you about in school and I think it’s one of the things that’s helped me most. You can learn a lot about art and about yourself by studying the work of others and at the same time, you get to look at really beautiful art!

Also think about the sort of community you want to create and be part of. I spent years being taught that everyone else was my competition and I had to be better than them, it wasn’t good advice. The creative world becomes a lot more beautiful when we come together, collaborate, share; I wish I’d known that sooner.

Being enthusiastic is great but making a living as an artist is definitely hard work and anyone thinking of taking the leap should do their research first. I’ve had a lot of struggles since launching Rotten Core but even on my darkest days there’s nothing I would change about the journey I’ve had so far. Every lousy thing that happens really does make you stronger. Oh, and always get everything in writing, that advice will save you one day!

What is next for Rotten Core then as a brand? Do you ever see yourself opening up a shop, or a dedicated art space / studio?

How long have you got? I have a new business plan every other day! I think I’m a long way off having my own shop but it’s definitely on the list. As a brand, I would love Rotten Core to be doing more to inspire and impassion people to get outside, discover how incredibly magical the natural world is and do more to live kindly. I’d like to involve more screen printing in my work and I’d love my product range to all have eco/ethical credentials by the end of the year. I have a lot of grand plans involving t-shirts which I hope will come to fruition soon. My motto is ‘make pretty things and change the world’. I’ve made some pretty things so I guess it’s time to start on the changing the world part.

https://www.rottencore.co.uk/shop

https://www.facebook.com/RottenCoreCreative/

Culann Chapter 2: The Launch Of The Great Ecumene - Will Johnston

Freedom...

 

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A year ago or so, maybe it was longer now (forgive me for my vague recollection traveller, my mind is not what it once was) a familiar faced messenger came to the mountain where I had chosen my solace to bring news of a gathering of utmost importance. In deepest regard and highest respect I adorned the enigmatic fabled Mind Sweeper shirt once more, dusted off the red leather jacket and followed the path home in an epic pilgrimage to be reunited with The Gonzo Division & Culann at one of Glasgow's original alternative music venues – The 13th Note. This marked the return of brethren who had parted ways over several years, however, what ensued that night became a mythic tale of forgotten folklore in local circles, strewn among mist and heather in winds no man has yet ruined, casting shadows among stories like woodland fog in sunshine in air so fresh your lungs would feel they were finally free of the burden of holding you to life.

 

If you will, please allow me stranger, to shine a light on some recollections in mind from that encounter and the meaning associated with this rare forging of kinship between us...

 

Culann have a strong following of adoring loyal fans and for those who are in the dark, walk towards the light and you might find The Gonzo Division in the pit, right before the band. These guys won The Best Alt Rock Band in Scotland for a reason. They are of a musicianship and kinship rarely seen and have worked hard to get where they are and to keep pushing their music. Get behind them and let's all push and see how far this boat goes out coz I feel like this one is going to dwarf 'The Jahre Viking'...

 

 I was particularly inspired by the words of 'Evonium', chiefly, the final verse with it's indelible starkness and poignantly definitive connection with me after everything I had been through, clarity after many years of blurred vision and misguidance, now finding that direction, that focus and determination and courage to define the path ahead with a deeper sense of empathy...

Now I understand, it’s all because I’m from Evonium. Now it’s in my hands...

            The greatness past, fuels greatness not yet done that’s still to come...

Honour...

We now stood once again united with half of Ayrshire in Audio Glasgow to bear witness to the launch of The Great Ecumene. This was the official release of the 2nd album nearly 6 years on from Culann's debut self title which marked the official beginnings of The Gonzo Division as it is now. When Culann play live I disappear in my mind to other worldly places, it is an esteemed privilege for me to be a conduit in writing and promotional affairs between the band and the people who follow them. Harmony of this persuasion in terms of timing, involvement, achievements and in terms of abundance is scarce, a rarity of a somewhat epic magnitude. Rather than deconstruct the band's live performance in a textbook template – mechanically standard journalistic fashion, I will instead instead allow you to enter my mind and take an introspective view of the experience itself through my eyes...

Evonium...     

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Stirring in the soul's vibrations as the music's harmonies envelope the mind with an ancient sense of valour, courage, beautifully intricate art, hard graft and heavy industry. Changing times meet fleeting ebbing tides where fine lines merge rolling green hills atop heather covered moorlands, sinkholes and crags in mist and rain, and sun and wind. Fishermen piloting trawlers out to sea by the Firth with a cloud of Gulls in tow. Mountains towering into the skies like the black teeth of a gigantic beast's mouth. Rivers surging through glens and gorges to piers and jetties and iron stone mounted moorings all tarnished by time. The settling clarity of the sea air and thoughts of generations of families of sea faring explorers, clansmen and kinsmen and strangers alike. Open hearted, open minded and open armed people despite being battled hardened, weather beaten and fighting for survival on the edge of the world. In all the inns and taverns, pubs and free houses along the coast - while all of our brothers and sisters found their hearts in homes across the lands and spread and mingled and changed - the shore bound dwellers remained, and somehow retained a raw imprint of their forefathers. Still of an ilk of silk and chalk story tellers, singers, musicians and jokers, soldiers and farmers, tradesmen and women all as cast iron in stature as they ever were. It is a place steeped in history and folklore and one of which being the story of the lost city of Evonium... No one can say for sure where Evonium was truly located but A.J Morton's thoughts on Irvine in Ayrshire really fits the bill and given that the name itself Irvine has changed many times from Erewyn, Ervin and Erevine which also has it's ties to Erin, Eire from early Irish Pirates who had made crossings between Ireland and Scotland finally settling opting for a strong agricultural link between both lands. The people of Ayrshire have endured much throughout its two thousand or so year old history, which is vastly enamoured with some of the greatest minds the world has known. From The Bard – Rabbie Burns our world famous Poet, to Robert The Bruce – King of Scots, to Nicola Sturgeon – First Minister of Scotland, to John Dunlop – inventor of the pneumatic tyre, to John MacAdam – inventor of Tarmac roads, to John Boyd Orr – Winner of the Nobel Prize, to Alexander Fleming – inventor of Penicillin, to PJ Kelly, Sean Kelly, Greg Irish, Calum Davis & Ross McCluskie who founded Ayrshire's Finest Export – Culann...

Courage...

 We are as much a part of that heritage as they are. We are all here creating and sharing, exploring, learning, defending and pushing boundaries - as far as we can push the boat out. We have fought long and hard in the freezing cold, we fought on through the blistering heat, torrential monsoons over mud and rock pouring blood, sweat and tears into our own battles amidst this collective ongoing war we must all participate in. Each in our own experiences, struggling to survive and coming to terms with great loss - both of family and close friends, near fatal experiences and serious ill health, and bad fortune. Relationships were struck up in mirth as others ended in misanthropy. Then as if by magik new life breathed into our own, and new friendships were forged in fire and our names are forever more etched in stone as we fight on, carving a path through the years. Fights that lead uphill in the snow and gale forced wind, unable to see or hear, unarmed and disabled in our plight, weakened by lack of rest and sustenance...

Horizons...   

Yet here we are friend. Strangers no more. Right here, right now. You and me, us and them, all together... in this one unique, fragile moment. If you close your eyes for a second, you won't be fast enough to catch the essence of it. If you stop to take a breath you will fall behind and never be quite quick enough to catch a glimpse of it again in this lifetime. If you stood on my shoulders, and I stood on my brother's, and he stood on my father's, and he stood on his father's and we all let go of all the hate in our hearts just to rise up high enough to have a chance - you still wouldn't be able to see over it, but if we all laid our hate down like a road we could reach around the world until one day we wound up back home.

Forgiveness...

I am always home. Ayrshire flows in my veins and in my heart and fuels me to live for greater things. To share more, learn more, educate and inspire. Connect and nurture, network and fight for, motivate and cultivate and flow all of this back into this life using strength, respect, knowledge, love, honour, experience and wisdom. I began my own journey in the creative arts when I was very young, what feels like many life times ago. I feel like I have been many different people and have changed much since those days. Embarking on a mission to become involved in the music scene was something that felt very justified and important but I never thought for one minute things would have worked the ways in which they did. The roller coaster has been a harsh reminder of the frailty of life, and at times has been more exhilarating than anything in my wildest dreams. I have met thousands of people who I would call friends on this journey through music, and somehow lost a few who felt like they would be here forever. In their wake I dedicate my time here, in some justification juxtaposed to their infelicitous departures, that I make more appropriate usage of my existence and seek new experience at every opportunity.

Synchronicity...

 Time is the most precious gift any of us will ever be granted and yet we constantly lose it, all the time, time is disappearing. Hold onto the people who are important to you, spend your time wisely on the right people in biased amounts, favouring those closest and give them the best of you. Don't just give them you after work and in the morning before work, give them your day off, give them some holidays when you are fully charged and make them feel loved and appreciated, but most importantly, and I mean this is the top drawer of the filing cabinet for serious shit, which you must adhere to no matter what... above all else... come rain, or shine... Take them to see Culann live, raw, untainted and organic and let them know what it means to be truly alive.

“Happiness is only real when shared” - Christopher Johnson McCandless

It is only when we do these things together with other like minded people that we feel that essence and understand the importance of being there in that moment to experience live music as one. It starts out we feel unconnected to others, distant and anxious, like we are all just separate people experiencing the band subjectively but when the music envelopes us at that volume when it starts to make you feel like moving it changes how we feel and how we think and we all connect under one banner...

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Inspire...

You have to understand the complexed majestic essence of what makes Culann one of Scotland's greatest alternative bands in recent years and Ayrshire's Finest Export. It is mandatory that you grant yourself the opportunity to experience them live. Stand alongside ready to fight for the freedom that you long for as they rise to power on the energy that you bring with you. One hand washes the other hand, a strong hand lifts a weak hand, two hands keep time and many hands make light work. You have to be hungry to fight for what you believe in and for what you desire the most in this life, and fighting alone is not an option. No one ever won a war on their own, it was only when enough people banded together and fought back against their oppressors that any chance of freedom just to exist was defined. Well we are fighting our owns wars and squabbling over the smallest insignificance when we should all join forces and aid a more noble cause. If we all get together and just offer our presence, and our time there is a very real chance that we can all be part of music history as we all help push Culann into the lime light where they deserve to be...

Affinity...

Now they stand in wait, silhouettes against the pale grey skies above the moor, the banner held aloft, torn edges but still in one piece, flailing on the breeze. Five local heroes armed to the teeth with an arsenal of weaponry worthy of Kings who call themselves Culann, ask nothing more than your support. At their side stands a unition of some of the most talented and handsome bastards Scotland has ever produced (in England, and probably some bits in China)... Born of the pit, castrated by society's easily offended, pointed at by stereotypical hoity toity upper-class wannabe wank-sack globules, cast out by those who are too scared of creative free thinking individuals... New Hellfire Club's darkest abhorrence... a hoard of Necromancers, defilers of corpses and damn fine promotional front liners - The Gonzo Division...  We ask nothing more than you stand with us in support...

Rabbie Burns tried to join us once, but that was pure ages ago man and we hadn't really got our shit together at that time, but I would now like to offer you the chance to read this poem he sent us which he aptly entitled...

            'Scots Wa Hae Wi Culann Bled'

         Scots, whom Culann has often led

Welcome to your gory bed

Or to victory

         Now is the day, and now is the hour

See the front of battle lower

See approach proud Edward's power

Chains and slavery

         Who will be a traitor knave?

Who will fill a coward's grave?

Who's so base as be a slave? -

Let him turn, and flee!

         Who for Culann, King and Law,

The Gonzo Division's sword will strongly draw,

Freeman stand or freeman fall,

Let him follow Culann!

         By oppression's woes and pains,

By your sons in servile chains,

We will drain our dearest veins

But Culann shall be free!

         Lay the proud usurpers low!

Tyrants fall in every foe!

Liberty is in every show!

Let us buy the new album or die!

Influence...

Robert The Bruce (who resided in Ayrshire when in hiding) once famously stated as he led his men into battle to fight for the sovereignty of Scotland in Wallace's name... “You have bled with Wallace, now bleed with me”... Well when I punched my fist into the air at 13th Note during a bout of mosh pit mayhem as Culann played Jerusalem at 90 decibels I mangled my hand on the ceiling, taking a pound of plaster with me and trailing a pint of my own blood across the city that night in a en epic adventure that would leave a lasting impression on everyone who bore witness... I say to you now, join us in Aegis on our honourable quest for Salvation as we traverse The Great Ecumene united in All Reverie under one banner, to where Sunken Ships lead us back to Evonium in the hope that it's once proud name might be restored from legend...

Gratitude...

I urge you to brand a piece of their lineage for yourself, the long awaited 2nd declaration inscribed in granite stone by the hands of the army of Clansmen united behind them. An Argentavis Magnificens sized beastly-feast of a well-greased masterpiece - 'The Great Ecumene'... 

If you would care to peruse an in-depth review of this colossal achievement of unparalleled musicianship please refer to the article produced by my brother from another mother and Gonzolite mastermind C.T Herron available via the NHC Music ltd website...

http://www.culann.bigcartel.com

http://www.facebook.com/culannband/

http://www.youtube.com/user/culannband