Stag and Dagger, Glasgow, 5th May 2019

It’s been aaaaaaaages since I wrote about a gig.  I did go and see Chvrches a few months ago but I went along with what I thought was a bad cold, but turned out to be full-blown flu, so I wasn’t in much of a state to write about it afterwards.  They were amazing by the way, Lauren Mayberry is phenomenal and she and the band exceeded my expectations several-fold.   I also had tickets to the Twilight Sad but didn’t make it because my daughter had just come out from a short hospital stay.  Buuuuut, May is my birthday month and thankfully a whole bunch of shows were announced to end the gig drought.

I went to Stag & Dagger 3 years ago and had a blast. I kept an eye on the line-up for the previous 2 years but nothing stood out for me.  This year it looked a whole lot better and being only 2 days after my (scary big) birthday I decided it was time to return.

Suitably fuelled up, we dropped into the Garage to collect our wristbands and venue guide with stage times. Unfortunately I managed to give myself a paper cut retrieving the programme out of my back pocket which wouldn’t stop bleeding and had to cadge a bright blue plaster of the staff in Costa’s.  Always glam and dressed to the nines, me…


As it was still fairly early in the day, only 2 of the venues were open.  After a quick Google & Spotify search on the bands on offer (neither of us had gotten round to doing any research on the unknowns prior to the day) we first tried to get into Nice n Sleazy’s but found it was already full, so we popped next door to Broadcast and came across a band called Pleasure Heads. The place was also packed.  We assumed because other eager music lovers such as ourselves had got there early and were crammed into the only place letting folk in, but we soon discovered that Pleasure Heads have a whole lotta fans who like to sing along at the tops of their voices.  I liked the sound of the band.  After a few songs-worth time of a comparison nagging at me, I realised they somehow reminded me of the Manic Street Preachers.  I couldn’t exactly say why, but this is definitely a good thing.  My only slight downside was that I felt the singer’s vocals were a bit shouty, but this could just have been the venue/circumstances/reaction to the crowd joining in.  Overall I liked them, although I couldn’t see them at all, positioned as we were just by the stairs in our own little weather system with cold air from outside meeting the very hot air from the small packed room.

Pleasure Heads. Somewhere. Honest.

A quick drink pit-stop later, we made our way over to the Garage to see 2 of the bands that were on my To-See list, Honeyblood and Dream Wife.  Honeyblood had been vaguely on my radar for a while but have been getting a fair bit of 6Music radio play recently.  I was convinced that I had seen Dream Wife before, but couldn’t remember where or when.  In any case,  I had been listening to their stuff online for about a year or so.

Honeyblood were very good.  Loud, not afraid to rock out, but with beautiful, occasionally delicate lyrics and melodies.


Dream Wife were something else. Full of lively stage presence, they captivated the whole room and quickly had us under their command. Their songs were catchy, infectious and uplifting.  Lead singer Rakel engaged constantly with the crowd, encouraging participation, throwing teasing looks and then the next second delivering a stark warning to anyone who dared to get in the way of her “bad bitches”, the group of girls she drew, pied-piper-like down to the front for a safe, respectful mini-mosh.  The mosh kinda failed, but you couldn’t fault her enthusiasm and charisma.

Dream Wife

After a stroll back through town to pick up a free birthday burrito, we headed back to the festival area for Pip Blom.  I had heard them, again on 6Music (god bless my car’s digital radio), and was interested to see what they were like live and to hear more from them. They were playing in the CCA, which had pressed one of the larger halls into service, maybe to compensate for the lack of ABC.  Maybe it was the less-than-optimal venue, maybe it was that we were still riding the wave from Dream Wife, but Pip Blom just didn’t hit the mark.  They were good enough, but not very….interesting.  There was nothing to pique my interest or make me get an insight into what their USP might be.  It was all a bit samey.  That was until the guitarist started singing.  His mic was for some reason turned up about 8 notches louder than everyone else’s, which jolted everyone every time he piped up.  My friend had to leave a bit early to get her train, I thought they got a bit better on the last 3 or 4 songs, the sound a bit grungier, but I was still a bit disappointed.

Pip Blom

All in all, it was a good day and night.  I really like the way you just flash your wristband and can dip in and out of any venue, seeing any band that takes your fancy or discovering new ones along the way.  And given that it was bloody freezing, I was most definitely glad it was an indoor festival.  I’m glad I finally saw Honeyblood live and Dream Wife were awesome and my highlight of the day.



Editors, Glasgow Academy, 18th October 2015

Helllloooooo there!

It’s been ages! How many of my blog posts begin like this? Once again life has gotten in the way of me telling you about my life. Well an awesome gig has shaken me out of my reclusivity (Is that a word? It should be), and it was Editors again!

I had to go back and re-read what I wrote about Editors last time, cos I felt like I would be repeating myself. Here it is, in case you are interested…

Well a lot was similar to last time. The band had released a new album. I hadn’t listened to it. I had only listened to the previous ones a handful of times. I was ambivalent about buying a ticket and going to see them again. But this time I had the experience of seeing them once before, and that was a bloody good experience, so I thought “what the hell” and bought a ticket.  I later found out that a friend of mine from an early sign language class was also going, so it would be good to have a gig buddy and catch up.

I wanted to get there early to get near the front, also I found out that the Twilight Sad were supporting so I wanted the chance to see them properly after loosely following them for a number of years.  I met up with my friend and her friend, and we lingered just behind the crowd at the front as we chatted waiting for them to come on.  The Twilight Sad were really good.  They seemed to be approaching this as something akin to a headline set for them, so they went all out and the crowd responded accordingly, getting the party started early.  We discussed how we had never purposefully bought a Twilight Sad album or listened to them properly before, then wondered why the hell not, cos they were rocking the roof off the Academy.

After they had finished, and their lead singer looked like he was going to explode from the sheer exhilaration of the whole experience, I noticed the couple in front of us eagerly googling the band, clearly they had made an impression on them too.

During the break, after a suitable pause to let as many people go to the bar / loo as possible, we sidled our way as far forward as we could without being rude. Inevitably, several times during the night various tall people came and stood right in front of us (hate being short at gigs) but the crowd wasn’t so packed that we couldn’t shift a bit and still see.

We didn’t have too long to wait until Editors came on. Just the same as last time, right from the get-go I knew this would be a good gig. Their familiar sound filled the hall, Tom’s voice penetrates your very soul and everything makes sense. They play with an energy, an urgency that I just don’t get listening to their records.  I had managed to listen to the newer albums a couple of times before the night, so I kind of recognised the new songs, but only knew like 1 word in 20. Regardless I did my best to sing along, no doubt annoying the “real” fans who were belting out every word. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t as familiar with the songs, I got swept away in the music and captivated by Tom’s performance.


I will try not to gush here, but with Chris not being pat of the band any more (still hurts) I’m afraid I don’t know the new guys’ names, it’s all about Tom. To some extent he carries the whole band, in more ways that a lead singer should. I didn’t feel like the guitar/synth combo was anything special, their sound is still lacking something.  But I literally couldn’t take my eyes off of Tom, apart from to occasionally look at Ed on drums, cos he’s cool and drums are cool. Ok, really trying not to gush here, but Tom is just so goddam sexy and his voice I think literally melted something inside me.  He moved, gestured, writhed and as we say here “gave it laldy” for the full 1 HOUR AND 45 MINUTES of their set. 1 HOUR AND 45 MINUTES!! According to a setlist site we got 21 songs. Just like last time, the songs were only momentarily punctured with an occasional “thank you!”. He’s not a talker, our Tom.


One thing that was different from last time was that we did get a short, 1-song acoustic section. Tom performed a solo, acoustic version of Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors, which has always resonated with me, as I once lived on a street just outside a hospital – a fucking children’s hospital and maternity unit no less, and it was indeed a sad, sad sight to see people smoking outside. The song may well have a deeper meaning than that, but once you have seen a heavily pregnant woman in a hospital gown puffing away on a fag, that image stays with you. Anyway, I digress.  It was a gorgeous, mass-sing-a-long moment, only slightly ruined by the people who continued to talk during this most intimate, tender performance.  I was hoping for a couple of songs, but 1 is better than none. Thanks Tom. (inset lovey-eyed emoji here)

There was a point, during the very U2-esque “A Ton of Love” that I suddenly wondered why on earth this band were no longer the next U2? Sure, they had a couple of very popular albums, then some less so, but their live shows are amazing, Tom is a perfect front man, they clearly have a dedicated fan base. Maybe their time will yet come, or they will be slow burners, always somewhere on the scene and in 30 years I’ll still be there, singing along and telling my kids/grandkids that back in the day, this ageing rocker was actually a hot young thing….


By the encore, which included a stomp-fest, hands in the air Papillon, I was exhausted. Didn’t want it to stop, but thought I might need a sit-down if it carried on.  Must be getting old. Almost 2 hours of non-stop, jumping, sexy rock music. Why did I ever doubt you, Editors? One of the best live bands I’ve ever seen.

Since the gig I’ve gone back and listened to the “new” albums. I’ve decided that In This Light and On This Evening is pretty shite.  Barring Papillon and Eat Raw Meat, maybe You Don’t Know Love it’s boring. Really boring. But I’ve discovered I really like The Weight of Your Love. Well it gets a bit slow towards the end, but otherwise it’s a much stronger album that I first gave it credit. The actual new one is too new, but I’ll give it more of a chance now. Unfortunately I think Editors are one of those bands whose music really comes to life when played live, but I’m definitely not going to dismiss them as has-beens. And next time they come to town I’ll be there. And I look forward to taking my daughters and future grandchildren.