Manic Pop Stills – Randolph’s Leap’s ICDTTM3

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Giles of Tigercats

Here’s a selection of photos from Saturday’s show that didn’t make the final cut of the best photos from the show which can be found on MPT Flickr.

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Bart of eagleowl

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Martin, Henry & Fleetwood

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Cap’n Adam of the good ship HMS Randolph’s Leap

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Kate Canaveral

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Viking Moses

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Duncan of Tigercats

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Withered Hand

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Prehistoric Friends (note absence of Tunnock’s Teacake on the keyboard)

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Gill, Henry & Fleetwood

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Owen and Malcolm of eagleowl

It Was Definitely Alan Shearer – Randolph’s Leap ICDTTM3

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Randolph’s Leap’s I Can’t Dance To This Music 3 – CCA, Glasgow – Saturday 21st March 2015

Yesterday saw the biggest ICDTTM event to date with the 250 capacity event a total sell-out thereby more than doubling the turnout for November’s show at the Glad Cafe.

The afternoon session was kicked off by the first ever solo performance by Kate Canaveral. Principally based around her own songs for the band the highlights were undoubtedly a new song and a really terrific take on ‘Skeletons’ which recast the electro pop tune as an acoustic lament. But there was also a lovely take of David’s ‘Low Winter Sun’.

Next up came my first encounter with Prehistoric Friends. I quite enjoyed them but to be honest a couple of unflattering comparisons were also suggested during their set. Bands with piano to the fore sometimes do that for me. Nevertheless I heard enough to give the singles a go.

The informal nature of the event was highlighted when singer Liam demonstrated a decent throwing arm hurling a Tunnocks teacake to the back of the room where, admittedly ,it was rather neatly caught by Kate Canaveral rather than its intended recipient Pictish Trail.

I also enjoyed Viking Moses’s solo set with an electric guitar. Last time I saw an easygoing North American with an electric guitar was last year when Jon of Virgin of the Birds supported Book Group. There was a similar vibe to Viking’s set although he also briefly set aside his guitar for the piano.

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eagleowl brought the first half to a tremendous conclusion. With just a five piece band, their set didn’t reach the level of intensity that the shows around the time of the album release did but it was still impressive. I’d never really before made the  connection with Galaxie 500 (albeit with approximately 66% less VU),but it seemed a particularly apt comparison for set closer ‘Not Over’.

The second half of the show kicked off with the gentlest act so far in the shape of Henry & Fleetwood. From the titles through to the laid back nature of the songs there was something essentially rural about their music in person and it’s definitely a different direction for Martin. There were a handful of instrumentals too which brought to mind a pastoral Human Don’t Be Angry. I feel like I’ve been a bit negligent in taking so long to catch them but am glad to have sorted that out now. The E.P.’s great too, by the way.

I missed a chunk of Withered Hand’s set (in part to get an interview for the blog and also in part to a desperate need to rehydrate!) but what I saw was as reliable as ever. There’s a real charm to Dan’s solo performances  and that was undoubtedly true of his set last night.

As is often the case he concluded with ‘Religious Songs’ which wasn’t quite the communal singalong it can be at, say, the Queen’s Hall. Perhaps it’s really Glasgow that’s really the more reserved city after all!

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Henry & Fleetwood

If anyone reading this doesn’t know by now how entertaining Randolph’s Leap are, they’re simply not paying attention.But from Adam’s initial, ahem, sea captain’s outfit (with a beret?!), through Andy’s, um, *energetic* dancing, to Heather’s inability to make eye contact with any of her bandmates without cracking up, this show scored highly for entertainment even by the Leap’s standards.

Adam too was in fine form even if he seemed determined to live dangerously. Doubtless winding up his bandmates is par for the course but to take on the venue’s security staff and, perhaps even more riskily, his girlfriend? A brave lad!

Musically they took a bit of a chance too dropping some of their best songs (‘Light of the Moon’, ‘Weatherman’ and ‘Counting Sheep’ to name but three) in favour of some new songs and some lesser played gems. But it actually didn’t make a lot of difference – they were as great as ever, undoubtedly helped by the fact that this was the best sounding show I’ve heard them play. Well, outside of Dundee, at least.

Somewhat unusually the Leap didn’t bring their own shindig to a conclusion – that honour fell to Tigercats.

Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly given the delays in the second half and the late hour, a big proportion of the crowd had departed before Tigercats finally took to the stage at the time they were supposed to be finishing.

Fair to say that they missed a bit of a treat, although I have to confess that we didn’t stay for the whole of their set either.

But that was nothing to do with the band, just tiredeness. Because what we saw was terrific, slightly edgy pop (with a hyperactive bassist) and I’ll definitely be checking out their new album on Fortuna Pop.

They’re also back in Scotland on 8th April doing a Bad Fun gig for Song, By Toad at Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh.

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Tigercats

If that’s the music taken care of, the comedians were a step-up from last time. Paul McDaniels didn’t quite pull it off for me but Andrew Learmonth was just as good as in November – perhaps not that surprisingly since he admitted up front that he was going to deliver largely the same set.

Richard Brown was a new name to me but he maintained the high standard whilst Josie Long, compering the second half of the show, was thoroughly entertaining and completely endearing but at the same time slightly terrifying! But I was surprised that she didn’t know that Peenko is the mayor of Glasgow!

A great day out then even if the running length proved to be at the flagging end of our endurance spectrum. The good news is, if you missed it, on past evidence it won’t be too long before ICDTTM4 comes around. Don’t miss it!

Proper photos from the show here.

Videos To Buffer – The Cathode Ray

Got two and a half minutes to spare? Then check out the video for the Cathode Ray’s new single ‘Resist’ above.

You may have caught this blast of post punk pop kicking off last week’s MPT podcast in style but if not this is your chance to catch up with 146 seconds which conjure up memories of Wire at their most concise. It’s nothing less than a blast.

‘Resist’ is out now as a download single and is taken from the forthcoming album ‘Infinite Variety’, due out on Stereogram Recordings on 20th April.

You Don’t Know Me – Vladimir live

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Vladimir / Krooked Saints – Drouthy’s, Dundee – Friday 13th March 2014

It seems a while since I’d caught Vladimir live so Friday’s low key headline show at Drouthy’s seemed an ideal opportunity to rectify that.

Playing the small, packed venue suited them and the relatively lo-fi set-up did nothing to blunt their fiery attack. If the more recent recordings have let in some light compared to the early material, they remain an exhilarating live experience retaining a hint of danger.

Running through effectively what’s their current greatest hits set (including their covers of ‘Born Slippy’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’) their most successful year so far seems to have honed their live skills.

Upcoming single ‘In My Head’, out next month, on this evidence follows the lead set by recent singles in making their songs more accessible without sacrificing any of their identity.

‘Smoke Eyes’ though probably remains the current pinnacle of the live set combining the intensity that seems embedded in the band’s DNA with something which undoubtedly has the potential to appeal to a wider (if not mainstream) audience.

If there’s a surprise about the evening, it’s that there’s not much in the way of new material. I’m used to 12 months making quite a difference to the band’s live set so the fact that they played most of these songs the last time I saw them is a bit unexpected. It doesn’t detract from just how good they are live.

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Support came from Krooked Saints whose heavy riffing rock reminded me of bands such as Gigantic Leaves although QoTSA would probably be a more universal comparison. As ever with these sort of bands I enjoyed Krooked Saints’ time on stage without necessarily being blown away.

Vladimir’s next single ‘In My Head’ is released on 27th April.

The band play the Green Room in Perth on Friday (20th March).

Manic Pop Podcast – March 2015

Manic Pop Podcast - march 2015 by Manicpopthrills on Mixcloud

So, no good reason that this has appeared now and, as ever, it's pretty scrappy, but, hey, at least the music's great!

Tracks this time are:

The Cathode Ray – Resist (Stereogram Recordings)

Tuff Love – That’s Right (Lost Map)

Githead –Bringing The Sea To The City (Swim Records)

Le Thug – Paints (Song, By Toad Records)

The Paranoid Style – New Age Tricks (Battle Worldwide Recordings)

Last Harbour – Before The Ritual (Little Red Rabbit)

The Sound – Golden Soldiers (Edsel)

The Mirror Trap – Silent Men (A Happy Death Recordings)

The Phantom Band – Denise Hopper (Chemikal Underground)

Public Service Broadcasting – Go! (Test Card Recordings)

As ever the MPT Podcast theme tune is ‘Community’ by De Rosa.

Nothing Stays The Same – Idlewild live

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Idlewild / Sorren McLean – O2 ABC, Glasgow – Saturday 7th March 2015

“Everything’s always changing/nothing stays the same”.

The first lines of last night’s encore (from ‘Too Long Awake’) seem to get to the very heart of what it means to be Idlewild. Some form of progress seems to be essential to this band – they’re simply not prepared to simply go through the motions and risk becoming a heritage act, known only for songs a decade old.

With new record ‘Everything Ever Written’ you feel that the band have rediscovered their raison d’etre. Not only does the record get a solid chunk of last night’s show, but the hiatus and new line-up seem to have revitalised both the band’s approach and enthusiasm for the older material.

Having said that it’s fair to say that over the last few years Idlewild have drifted away from what I liked most about them in the direction of folk tinged 70s rock. Certainly there was a time when a new album would have been fiercely competitive in demanding my listening time but ‘Everything Ever Written’ has struggled to compete for ear-time with a strong slate of early 2015 LPs.

I’d long given up on hearing the likes of ‘A Film For The Future’ live again and the opening tunes suggested that the live set might be about to head in the same direction as the records. ‘Nothing I Can Do About It’ was a low key opening with the violin fairly prominent. The following ‘You Held The World In Your Arms’ seemed a little intense than in the past, with the melody prominently carried by the violin.

But any suggestions that we might be in for a set of easy listening Idlewild were quickly dispensed with when violinist Hannah Fisher strapped on a guitar for a rousing ‘Collect Yourself’.

Thereafter the band ranged through virtually all corners of the back catalogue (with the slightly surprising exception of the completely ignored ‘Post Electric Blues’) with the musicians regularly switching instruments as the tunes demaned.

A fair number of old favourites, were recast, albeit not drastically with ‘Roseability’ sounding very metallic. However overall the result was a declaration of just how good this band’s back catalogue is.

And then there was a genuine ‘You’re shitting me’ moment when the band launched into, yep, you guessed it, ‘A Film for the Future’ which morphed into ‘Captain’, both of which proved that a violin can be deployed as a sonic weapon just as easily as on melodic folk.

To be honest, this segment sounded a little at odds with the rest of the set, not least because they were book ended by two gentler songs from the new LP, but there was no doubting the reception that they got from the long term fans.

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For all the focus on the newer material the biggest reactions still tended towards the older hits although the traditional ‘Spotlight on Rod’ slot, in this instance ‘(Use It) If You Can Use It’ also got a particularly warm response. But the biggest cheer of the night was saved for my least favourite of all the hits – ‘American English’.

I think much of my dislike for the song stems from the U2-esque recording. Given that the band have otherwise showed an unerring ability to stay on the right side of stadium bombast I can only assume that this one aberration was a calculated attempt at, ahem, mass communication.

To be fair, last night’s version was far more tolerable than that version if not quite as good as the totally acoustic reading of the song from the Barras a few years back.

It’s a minor gripe in a terrific hour and a half plus. Aside from the aforementioned punk interlude, highlights included an epic ‘Love Steals Us From Loneliness’, crowd favourite ‘Live In A Hiding Place’ and the two closing tunes a topical ‘El Capitan’ and the excellent ‘Utopia’ from the new record.

So last night conclusively proved not just that Idlewild have a phenomenal back catalogue but that they remain a great live act.

Support came from Sorren Maclean and his six piece band. With a warm voice and some very folky tunes, he sounded very much like the softer end of the headliners, perhaps just a little too much so.

Idlewild setlist

1 Nothing I Can Do About It  2 You Held The World In Your Arms  3 Collect Yourself  4 Little Discourage  5 Make Another World  6 Live In A Hiding Place  7 Love Steals Us From Loneliness  8 Come on Ghost  9 Quiet Crown  10 Roseability  11 So Many Things To Decide  12 A Film For The Future  13 Captain  14 Every Little Means Trust  15 American English  16 (Use It) If You Can Use It  17 El Capitan  18 Utopia

Encore

19 Too Long Awake  20 I Understand It  21 A Modern Way of Letting Go  22 In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction

Previous live Idlewild reviews on MPT:

Dundee, Fat Sam’s – 3rd November 2009

Dundee, Fat Sam’s – 30th December 2010

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