Firstly here’s a bit of background to this gig.
A few years back I had tickets to see Edinburgh’s very own Delta Mainline, a band described as being “Gloriously out of step with the rest of Scottish music” on their Bandcamp page. They were scheduled to play Sneaky Pete’s in The Cowgate in Edinburgh. Unfortunately I was unable to make it along, but I did offer my tickets, free to a good home, on the band’s Facebook page. As a result of my offer, the band’s drummer, Shaun “Mainline”, contacted a friend from down Leith walk as I remember it and the tickets went his way. A short while later, Shaun himself was offering guest list passes on the band’s same Facebook page, free to anyone who wanted to see Delta Mainline support California’s sunshine psyche rockers, Moon Duo play The Caves. Ying and Yang in action. So I jumped in and secured myself one. The gig was scheduled for 12th September 2014 and it was the first time I would be seeing a band I discovered when listening to Vic Galloway on BBC Radio Scotland the previous May.
On the night of the gig I had arranged to meet up with Stevie “Ticket Steve” Graham in Bannerman’s public house. I knew Stevie from going gigging over the years. He is undoubtedly one of the most passionate music fans you will ever meet, attending at least 3 or 4 gigs a week and although we had been at some of the same gigs, I had never spent time in conversation with him. Sitting in the bar, Stevie talked enthusiastically about past gigs and during our conversation he expressed a wish that he had bit the bullet and gone into band management or promotion like his mate Davie Spiers. At this point I didn’t know Davie, but as I wrote about in “Ye man, you lived it too.”, a few months later I did get to meet him and briefly got to know him. Sadly he passed away in 2016, but he left his mark.
Jump forward three and a half years to March 2018 and Stevie announced on face book “OK FOLKS, IVE HARPED ON ABOUT THIS BAND FROM CUMBERNAULD SHREDD!!! THEY ARE AN ALT ROCK BAND WITH A PUNK PSYCH EDGE. I’VE SPOKE TO THE BAND TO SEE IF I CAN PROMOTE ONE OF THERE GIGS. CURRENTLY BEING HAILED BY JIM GELLATLY AND VIC GALLOWAY AS ONE OF SCOTLAND’S HOTTEST BANDS TO SEE THIS YEAR, SO GRAB YOUR CHANCE TO CATCH THEM BEFORE THEY HIT THE BIG TIME. THEY WIIL BE BRINGING THERE SHOW TO DREADNOUGHT WITH SUPPORT STILL TO BE CONFIRMED.”
Hence with those words and one last nod of appreciation to his friend Davie Spiers, Keep On Knocking On Doors Promotions was born.
First gig on the books, Shredd + The Kidney Flowers at The Dreadnought Bathgate, 6th April 2018.
The Kidney Flowers are announced onto the stage by the MC. They are welcomed by a warm but restrained round of polite applause from the locals. Not something that this venue is known for, but as a 3 piece consisting of Abigail on drums, Sean on bass and Grant on Guitar ‘n’ Vocals, this band are promoted as an up and coming garage rock band from Glasgow who describe themselves on their Facebook page as “Musically Primitive Fast Food Enthusiasts”. The Dreadnought on the other hand has a reputation as Scotland’s oldest rock pub with a strong tie to local bands like The Exploited, Goodbye Mr McKenzie and more recently The Amorettes. These upstarts from the west of Harthill are going to have to work for their appreciation.
Grant, dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and an Andy Capp style cloth cap, opens the show by jovially announcing that they were “one song short of the 45 min set Stevie asked us to play, so we wrote this for you Stevie,” before launching into a decent sounding track that put a smile on the promoter’s face and had everyone in the bar sitting up straight paying attention. There are about 20 paying audience members at this point including me and a few friends and the room looks a bit barren so we move towards the bar at the stage. Introductions over, The Kidney flowers then launch into their set proper. Consisting of a scuzzy mix of Pixies sounding guitars and vocals on Small Fingers, to the wistful lyrical adventure of Spanish Sails. The latter invoking images of Nick Cave with a Glasgow accent. All backed by the effortless drumming that keeps the pace and holds it all together. At present the band have only one EP (A82) released, but also have, as I believe it, a number of other tracks ready to go into the studio for their first LP. I had been lucky enough to catch them supporting Bob Log III, at Nice N Sleazy’s a few weeks previous and their set was 4 or 5 fast paced songs long, so when at about 15 mins and 5 songs in, Grant asks Stevie “how long have we got to go?” and a reply comes from the bar area, “Just 40 minutes of your 45 to go, just keep playing,” there is a murmur of resolute laughter from the stage and the room. A bond is forming and the band have been instrumental in this with their stage craft obvious. “Okay let’s try this one,” offers the front man before shouting out “When I say Bath, you say…” A reply of “Gate” is returned with the dry wit and humour that the people of this county are known for. The band laugh and get the message. Each song so far has been met with increasingly louder applause and so they drive on with this opening support set with a song about Throat Cancer. I don’t know if they played a full 45 minutes, but by the time they announced their last song, the audience had swollen to 30 plus and no one was talking between songs. With the final strum of the guitar, The Kidney Flowers left the stage to a round of applause from a satisfied audience. I believe that they have asked to come back. I’ll be there.
Shredd receive the same introduction from the MC. Another 3 piece, this time hailing from Cumbernauld. As the blurb in the event Facebook page stated they have been receiving a lot of attention from two big names in the world of music, Jim Gellatly and Vic Galloway as well as winning Best Newcomer in the Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2017. Bringing this band to Bathgate is bit of a coo for KOKOD Promotions. Their Facebook page describes them as “A GARAGE/FUZZ/POP BAND FROM GLASGOW” whilst they have also been promoted as “AN ALT ROCK BAND WITH A PUNK PSYCH EDGE “. Which one will turn up tonight?
With little fuss, the three band members take to the stage and ready themselves. Guitars held high on the chest like assault rifles, the band launch into a tsunami of guitar and drum based sound, accompanied by a punk vocal style that is all their own. It’s hard to put them in a bracket, but the power and energy they produce on stage is infectious. The sound system in The Dreadnought must be given a nod at this point as the deludge of power chords this band fire into their performance, could easily swamp a lesser capable venue. It’s not all loudness though. There are subtly shifting swirls that tie their music to the psyche movement, but the vocals are definitely delivered in a punk style.
As the set draws to a close, I snap to attention, like I’ve traveled in time to the end of the gig. I know I’ve enjoyed the experience, but I just can’t remember it in any detail. Some might have blamed the Heverlee on tap, but I say I’ve been tuned in and zoned out all the way through and for me that’s the magic of great music, it can take you out of your immediate environment on a trip around the imagination and back in time for a chip roll.
Shredd are ehnthusiastically applauded off the stage and there is a buzz in The Dreadnought. I’ll be watching for them in the future, or am I already there?
As for KOKOD’s first gig, considering it’s a Friday night and this same venue had played host to local all girl hard rock band The Amorettes the previous night, whilst The Complete Stone Roses are playing at The Midnight Breakfast Club the following night, two sold out gigs, the numbers may have been a bit on the light side, but the sounds were heavy and I think this is going to be a good adventure to tag along on. I was maybe too young to see AC-DC play Armadale Centre and too late to the party to see Marillion at The Kaim Park, but I did see Shredd + The Kidney Flowers play The Dreadnought. The kids have been told.