BMX BANDITS with The Primary 5 & Randolph's Leap

GIG: BMX Bandits, The Primary 5, Randolph’s Leap
DATE: Saturday September 12th 2009
VENUE: The Classic Grand, 18 Jamaica Street, Glasgow
COST: £8 (plus handling fee)
Classic Gig on a Grand Scale

The gig kicked off slightly earlier than we had expected, so we missed the first 20 minutes of the first act. Randolph’s Leap, a conduit for Adam Ross, played primarily an acoustic set. The group included a cello and a violin player which made this slightly more interesting than the usual run-of-the-mill acoustic type band. With vocals provided solely by Adam, it was a gentle start to the night, easing us into what was a brilliant night of music. Randolph's Leap may be an aquired taste to the casual listener, but there was certainly something intriguing about the songs.

Next up was a band we have heard about, but not really listened to before. The Primary 5 is actually a six piece and their first number had 3 electric guitars, 1 acoustic and a bass. By the end of the 2nd song, (which had a very “Spector influenced” drum beat), one of the guitarists demonstrated his diversity by taking up tambourine, hand clapping and also a bit of keyboard. Vocals were delivered by Paul Quinn (ex Teenage Fanclub) and Jamie Houston and they sounded great. There is a fixation with West Coast of Scotland bands emulating the sound of the West Coast of the US, and when one of the guitarists swapped his electric guitar for a 12 string (a Rickenbacker look-a-like), the Byrds influence came through.

There was quite a bit of guitar tuning in between songs, and this gave Paul Quinn the chance to explain that the black and white striped top he was wearing was in honour of Jimmy Johnstone, a Celtic Football club legend. He went on to quip that it wasn’t green and white stripes as it reflected the days when he used to watch the football on a black and white TV!

We are not familiar with their material, so we can’t really provide song names, but for their penultimate number, the Spector influence was back, with the distinctive Wall of Sound drumbeat and sleighbells at the start. Their final song (which we did catch the name of), “Mailman” was a rousing number, and was a very strong song to finish the set with.

We were delighted with their performance, and we’d certainly take the opportunity to see them play live again.

The headline band, The BMX Bandits, has been around in a few guises for over 20 years, and tonight was the first time we were seeing them with a slightly changed line up –the return of Jim McCulloch into the band, and also Findlay McDonald and Jim Gash . We had no reason to be apprehensive of anything sounding different, because the Bandits’ songs are strong enough to hold their own. We had driven 400 miles in order to see this gig and we were not disappointed at all. The band was tight, the lead vocals and the harmonies sounded really great throughout, and the sound was excellent (can’t remember the sound engineer’s name, but Duglas gave him a well deserved mention at the end of the show).

The set started with the bright and chirpy, “Do You Really Love Me” which included a short kazoo solo from front man, Duglas Stewart. The set list tonight really allowed Rachel Allison’s vocals to shine, particularly on “Doorways” from the ‘Bee Stings’ CD, and “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You Baby”, a Brian Wilson song, which was recorded by his then wife Marilyn with her group Spring, and which eventually morphed into the Beach Boys’ “Darlin’”. Rachel’s vocals on this song were fantastic, and Minty thinks they should put it up on their MySpace page again, because everyone deserves to hear it!

A particular highlight was a song from the new BMX Bandits album, “Help Me Somebody”, which is extremely catchy, with terrific harmonies from Rachel and David Scott. Other songs included in the set list were E102 (which was the Bandits’ first ever single, back in the Mid 80’s,) "Elegant Lines" which had a young competition winner given the chance to play extra keyboards with the band, "The Sailor's Song" and "I Wanna Fall In Love."

We had an encore tonight – 2 quick songs as the curfew was tight in the venue, and they were very much appreciated by the audience.

Duglas was on top form tonight, eating his customary apple on stage, and providing lots of humour; encouraging the audience to gather closer to the stage (because we smelled nice!), reminding us of Zammo’s warning to ‘just say no’ when he introduced the song “Serious Drugs”, commenting on his new (short) haircut (people were starting to mistake him for Rachel!) and changing his shoes on stage for one song.

The Classic Grand is a fantastic venue, with reasonably priced beer. The bar staff is either very well trained or we just drink a lot, because they remembered the order every time The Beeb visited the bar for our refills! The loos were OK too.

And a final word on the music that was being played in between the bands…. Sounded like a fantastic selection of Girl Group related songs, which we found out afterwards, had been handpicked by Duglas…. Great choice of songs.

1 comment:

  1. the lucky young competition winner looked alot like the guy who was playing keyboard for randolph's leap? could they be brothers/cousins/the exact same person? :P