Radical Independent Music was very fortunate to spend the day in Edinburgh recently with Brian McFie, legendary ex-Big Dish guitarist and driving force with Lou Reid behind the currently hottest emerging band in Scotland, Lola In Slacks.
We both arrived at the same conclusion that day as we wandered around the amazing Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art (more of that later folks) – there are no such thing as coincidences, what is meant for you will never go past you and you make your own luck in the music business.
Well at Audio on February 21st a number of remarkable collisions took place in the context of the Scottish music scene and the sense of parallel lives being lived in splendid isolation and then crossing paths somehow cosmically (forgive me that homage to the Sixties, I am just back from San Francisco!) came to the fore as Lola In Slacks supported Paul Hullah with Martin Metcalfe’s Filthy Tongues, a.k.a. Fin Wilson and Derek Kelly.
Those of you “young” enough like me to recall the Scottish music scene in the mid Eighties will be well aware how these two musicians of note – Brian McFie and Martin Metcalfe – lorded over not only the domestic scene, but the UK and overseas in their respective bands, Big Dish and Goodbye Mr Mackenzie.
A quick glance at the relevant chart listing sections of Martin C Strong’s “The Great Scots Musicography” is sufficient to confirm the musical pedigree and success of both bands, down no small part to Brian and Martin’s contributions.
For those of you who may have slept through the Eighties – and who could blame you? Not exactly a memorable decade for great Scottish indie music, aside from these notable exceptions and a handful of others – here is a reminder of both bands in their prime…
Nice swinging locks Mr McFie! :>P
So there I am in Audio on February 21st witnessing not only two excellent Scottish bands sparking off each other, but with the realisation that Brian and Martin are not only excellent musicians, they are also very fine artists who had both recently exhibited in Glasgow, and whose paintings/drawings I am very chuffed to say are now hanging on the very walls of the room in which I am composing this posting.
Having been at Glasgow Tech 1977 to 1981 (it’s Glasgow Tech right? Not that presumptuous Caledonian Uni thing they call it now) I told Brian I used to walk by Glasgow School of Art literally every day, where of course art students like himself were far too busy mastering the latest chord sequence on the guitar to have time to actually study.
Think of the illustrious musical alumni who have emerged from this auspicious place – Steven Lindsay (Brian’s mate in Big Dish, Scotland’s Frank Sinatra); Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice; Peter Capaldi, one of Glasgow’s early punks before his acting career took off; Fran Healy, Andy Dunlop and Dougie Payne of Travis fame; Robert Hardy, Franz Ferdinand; and Robbie Coltrane (well he did actually sing and play in the BBC series Tutti Frutti you know).
Ask Brian if he sees himself more as a musician than an artist, or vice versa, and the response will depend on the time of day, which way the wind is blowing and whether or not he sold a painting or a record that day. If you’ve not seen Brian’s art then you are missing out on a sensory experience of the highest order.
Why the man even has his very own documentary made about him.
Martin is very similar. A very fine, largely self-taught artist who’s Scenes book certainly caught my imagination when it was published last year, with his remarkable collaboration with poet and Associate Professor of English, Paul Hullah, Martin’s wingman when they ran riot in late Seventies/early Eighties Leith! Look out Leith, they may both be in the same place again this summer.
Scenes is a transfixing amalgamation of Martin’s artwork, Paul’s poerty…and wait for it…Filthy Tongues music in either 10″ vinyl or CD. Buy it now! You will be doing yourself a life changing favour. Certainly changed mine.
So back to Audio in Glasgow on February 21st. Call it karma, call it dialectical historical materialism, call it fate, but on the same stage we first of all had the wonderful delights of Lola In Slacks
followed by the incredibly cool and amazingly descriptive poetry of Paul Hullah backed by the driving indie sound of The Filthy Tongues, one of my favourite Scottish bands of the Noughties.
And to cap it all…just when we all thought we had already died and gone to musical heaven…Brian and Lou Reid get up and join Paul, Martin, Fin and Derek for a great rendition of Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Bring On The Dancing Horses”.
For the 80 of us who were there by invitation only that night, it was a memorable musical occasion on so many levels.
Scenes will next be performed in Tokyo in early December and I am delighted to say that Radical Independent Music will be there to tell you all about it.