Monday, October 6, 2014

Guest blogging - My Mixtape Monday

I did some guest blogging for the awesome Pittsburgh blog everybody loves you ... lately and the post is now online. Alex invited me to write something for his music series "My Mixtape Monday" and I of course did! I love sharing music and put together a playlist of some of my fave Scottish tunes

The blog post features songs by Biffy Clyro, The Xcerts, Twilight Sad, The LaFontaines, Sucioperro, CHVRCHES, Twin Atlantic, Medals, Frightened Rabbit, Paws, Carnivores, Marmaduke Duke & Fatherson!  Every song comes with a comment and a link to the video. I quite like how it all came together and I hope you do as well!

Go here:  My Mixtape Monday - Scotland The Brave 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Save my soul with Rock 'n' Roll - Medals in Glasgow

Medals at King Tut's - Photo by Jessica Newell

So .... FINALLY let's pick things up where we left them after last weekend's Scotland blog post and that was here: 

After the two really short notice stunts to see Medals live in Irvine and at T In The Park we finally got a show with a bit more time to prepare and plan for ... very relaxing especially if you have a couple of miles to travel. And when I say miles to travel I do not even refer to myself - I had a good time anyway vacationing in Scotland - but to my travel group with Anita coming over for the long weekend from Germany and my dear friend Villate, who easily beats everybody else's mile counts with coming over from Philadelphia, as well as lots of people from all over the UK. It was a lovely gig-travel-family meet up and great to catch up one more time before we'll almost all meet again in December for the big Biffy adventure at the Barrowland (Friday & Saturday for me - sadly not the Sunday)! 

The set up at King Tut's is ideal for a relaxed gig night. We met hours before doors to eat, drink, chat and laugh and when it was time we just went up the stairs and that was it. I wish all gigs were that easy.
Tut's was packed but even though it was close to sold out I could walk around a bit and say hello to more friends arriving (it's so much fun to be so far away from home and nevertheless spent a night surrounded by people you like so much) before it was finally time for Then Thickens who would support Medals that evening. 

Then Thickens

There were two groups of people in the audience. One group was like "Is there a support band and who is it?" or "Then Thickens? Who's that?" and the other group was like "Yaaaaaaaaaaay.......THEN THICKENS!" Count me in for group 2.
I could not have been happier when I heard that Jon-Lee Martin's new band would come up for the show. I love their album "Death Cap At Anglezarke" a LOT and was considering to travel to see them live anyway. Seeing them finally together with Medals was what we call at work a "best case scenario".
The Then Thickens set was great and group 1 was getting smaller and group 2 getting bigger song by song while we in our "bass player side / front of stage corner" were singing along. I was an especially happy camper because my fave song "Any Other Thing" had made the set list and the live version was awesome. The crowd enjoyed the show a lot and it was a perfect start for the night. If Then Thickens come to your neck of woods make sure you do not miss them! 

Medals - Photo by Jessica Newell

Medals ... 
I think I wrote this "review" a dozen times in my head already and nothing seemed to be right, but I am giving it a try now anyway. If I say this band is getting better and better every time I see them it kind of sounds like the two other shows I have been lucky enough to witness were not as great and that's definitely wrong, but then again .. they ARE getting better.
The more appropriate way to tackle this is probably to start with the fact that every show I went to was a completely different beast. The first one in Irvine was just a couple of days after the "jump into the cold water" Biffy gig, the first ever headline show for Medals and an acoustic gig which always brings a special kind of intensity. It was a magical, one of a kind night and won't properly compare to anything else anyway.
T In The Park then was the first ever full electric show which brings a completely different dynamic to the songs. Yet a big festival with so much going on at the same time is a special challenge: it is for a new band more an opportunity to get new people having a first listen than partying with fans and friends. The time is short - all energy needs to be squeezed in very relevant 30 minutes and it is kind of unforeseeable how it goes. In the case of Medals it went great and ended with a happy audience dancing away appropriately to "I Used To Be Dancer"

A few weeks later now at King Tut's it was again a different situation - headline show, on home turf and in a packed club full of super excited, happy Medals / Sucioperro fans so ready to rock ... and that makes all the difference. I had goosebumps easily half a dozen times that night just from hearing people sing a long so loudly - the most probably for "Sit Back Down Judas" (I did not really see that one coming but it was great.). Medals are a bunch of super talented people with many years of live experience and so it's not exactly a surprise that they played a fantastic show from the top to the bottom of the set list and took it all to the next level, but it was sure extra nice to watch everyone around on and off stage being so happy and having so much fun

Musically there is definitely a progression that comes naturally with the band being together for a bit now and playing more shows - and JP never stops working anyway ... there will be always new ideas and twists and tweaks to it. For me personally the biggest jaw dropper was "Silent Movie House" which caught me (and not just me but others around me as well) completely off guard. The new version - with Marianne playing the violin - is so condensed to the emotional substance of the song that it is just heart shattering. 

Besides all the good not yet mentioned stuff from "Disguises" like e.g. "I Used To Be A Dancer", which is becoming a proper radio hit, or my all time favorite "Tastes Like Glass" we got Marmaduke Duke's "Silhouettes" and Sucioperro's "Dialog On The 2" as additional highlights.  A Sucio song with a Glasgow crowd is quite a thing .... let's just say we all knew that tune quite precisely with all the breaks and stuff *JUMP* ;) 

It's been a glorious night including a much fun after show party with more hugs, talks and laughs, too! If we just could rewind now and do it all again ...

Next shows for Medals as known to date are:

30/10 Stereo, Glasgow
21/11 Opium, Edinburgh
27/12 Ironworks Winter Showcase, Inverness

GO if you can! 

PS: Very special thanks to Jessica Newell for letting me use two of her awesome pictures. Have a look at more of Jessica's photos featuring Medals, Twin Atlantic or Frank Tuner's Mongol Horde at her site "Drumbeats and Heartbeats"


The new EP "Dancer" by Medals is out now!  Get 4 awesome tracks for as little as € 2,99 on iTunes now and HERE