The Amazing Snakeheads
Way back in the dark distant past of 2014, whilst attending The Wickerman Festival, I stumbled on Dale Barclay’s Amazing Snakeheads playing to a packed Solus Tent. With a guitar strapped over his shoulder, stripped to the waist and slugging from a Buckfast bottle which was being passed around the stage, Barclay cut a striking image somewhere between a young Iggy Pop and Glen Matlock in his Sex Pistols role. The music was almost secondary as the they interacted with the crowd, but the solid tunes and threatening lyrical content instantly struck a chord with me. I returned home after the festival and told everyone who would listen to look this band up.
Nine months later I eventually managed to get to a show, along with some friends and family, when they played Sneaky Pete’s on 30th March 2015. The image was vastly different as Dale took center stage dressed in a clean white shirt and explained that he had made a promise to himself to calm down. This time around the set was delivered with restrained precision as we were treated to a Victorian Penny Dreadful style journey through the backstreets of the front man’s mind. Vampires and murderous intent abound as we followed the murky imaginings captured in their first album, Amphetamine Ballads.
Then they broke up.
The Tenement Trail and Laura St Jude
Last October, Laura St Jude played at Nice N Sleazy’s on the Tenement Trail, Tenement TV’s Multi Venue Music Festival. Dale Barclay played guitar and keyboards but it was clearly not a revival of The Amazing Snakeheads. It was as sultry and provocative a performance as The Amazing Snakeheads had been dark and threatening. I took the opportunity to speak with Dale as he packed up his guitar at the end of the set and expressed my disappointment that the Snakeheads had been put to rest. I also said that I had enjoyed Laura’s set and that I’d like a set list if they had one. He in turn, searched through the boxes and instrument cases until he found one and passed it over. Then he invited me back stage to meet Laura who had left. I declined, but this tells you all you need to know about this approachable Glasgow musician.
And Yet It Moves
Fast forward a further nine months and news comes out that Dale Barclay is going to be writing and touring again with a new act, And Yet It Moves. I was instantly excited at the prospect of seeing what this latest incarnation would look and sound like. Unfortunately I was out of the country when they were playing under Dale Barclay’s own name, otherwise I would have been in like Flynn as the old saying goes, but c’est la vie.They’re touring again in November. I’ll catch them then.
So, I couldn’t see them, but I could hear them. Their debut track, ‘No Way Back To Lunch’ is available here. I listened to this for the first time on Friday. Here is my first listen review.
No Way Back To Lunch – Review
All good music takes you on a journey. Mostly you are able to choose your level of involvement. No Way Back To Lunch runs to 12 minutes and by the end I wasn’t sure if I had walked voluntarily through this latest offering from the depths of Dale Barclay’s musical experiences, or been lead through on a leash.
The track starts with brain shaking feedback leading into a slow drum beat and thrumming keyboard, I am instantly drawn from my comfortable seated position in my living room directly across from the source of the music, to find myself standing in a scene from Saw or Hotel. A dungeon like image is described in a strong Scottish accent with animal sounds reverberating in the background. Dale Barclay’s vocals always portrayed the image of a troubled individual, the victim of his circumstances, this time around he is clearly in control of his situation. “It’s feeding time” is screamed as a call to the horrors my imagination is now producing. Where will this lead? A bell rings and I await the next phase of this journey.
Ghostly vocals stress the hopelessness of my situation as the song title is repeated. The pace picks up and the drums now pummel me into a corner before fading out behind a guitar shaped kick to the head. I come to in a restaurant. Lead by the perpetrator of my previous beating. An acid trip of delights are described as we sit down to dine at “the ususal table”, “blue cheese dipped in Irn Bru”. It’s David Lynch meets Irvine Welsh. No holds barred. The others in the room seem oblivious to the events unfolding at our table. Then we are out and home again. Home? Ha. It’s the location of my internment and I’m still being lead by that same leash.
A band appears in the corner of this darkened room and I sit watching as they play a fast paced guitar and drum finale, leading to a crescendo before fading to minimalist feedback.
Suddenly I am released to sit back in my living room. All is quiet and clean. But I can’t unhear what I’ve just heard. Thankfully.