GIG: BMX Bandits (25th Anniversary)
DATE: Sunday 23rd January 2011
VENUE: Oran Mor, Byres Road, Glasgow
COST: £12.50 plus a £1.75 transaction fee for the whole order
RATING: Friends Re-United

We were a few minutes late for the start of the gig due to the distraction of a rather nice curry at The Wee Curry Shop in Ashton Lane.
The venue for the gig is an old church, wonderfully converted into a classy cultural centre with bars and a restaurant. The gig took place in the catacombs...Goth Heaven!

Randolph’s Leap ( was already on stage and part way through their first song by the time we got into the venue.

Randolph's Leap

We first saw Randolph’s Leap around the same time last year, again as support to The BMX Bandits. What a difference a year makes. Last year we thought they were good and we liked their songs and their sound – this year they were really tight, much more confident and sounded great. The Beeb quipped that they have come in Randolph leaps and bounds!

What really works with this band, besides the songs and music that is, is the violin and the cello. They are subtle, but really add to the band.

Nick Garrie was up next ( – just him, his acoustic guitar, his mate Johnny with his guitar and Sarah Beth Brown doing some vocals. Oh, and a guest appearance from Duglas Stewart for one song. Duglas is a BIG fan of Nick’s and has been extolling his virtues quite a bit recently. It’s understandable when you hear the quality of the songs performed tonight.
Nick Garrie

The third act was the headline band, The BMX Bandits ( who were appearing at this Celtic Connections gig, celebrating 25 years. Their set was amazing with many, many of our favourites.

The BMX Bandits

Highlights for us were “The Sailor’s Song” (we think Duglas sounds like Mike Love from The Beach Boys on this one,) an exquisite performance of “Doorways” (during which incidentally, the audience were truly hushed, which rarely happens at this standing only type of venue), “Disco Girl” with a bit of synchronised disco dancing, “I Wanna Fall In Love”, “E102” and the great finale of “Witchi Tai To” which has the most amazing drum groove.

Jim Gash on drums was just great all night. As was his Pearlfishers partner, David Scott on keyboards, occasional guitar and a bit of tambourine.

The whole band seemed to have the time of their lives playing here.

Duglas T. Stewart is a fantastic performer, and with his trademark apple on stage, he is the most charismatic front man of a Scots band since the days of Alex Harvey.

The Bandits have changed line up over the 25 years and some previous members of the line up joined the party on stage throughout the set.

Former Bandit and current Teenage Fanclub member Norman Blake was part of the fun, singing “Serious Drugs” and also glocking the glockenspiel in a Phoenix Nights kinda way on “Sing the Things”, a track from their recent-ish album Bee Stings, one that they had not played live before. Gordon Keen was introduced as the Action Man of the BMX Bandits, and Sean Dickson emerged for one song, having been away from the Bandits for 23 years!
Norman Blake

A special mention must be made about Rachel though. With her great voice, she adds so much to the whole BMX Bandits family. Some of our favourite Bandits tracks are ones she sings on (did we mention “Doorways”? Ah, yes we did!).

It may be an 800 mile round trip for us every time the BMX Bandits play in Glasgow, but it’s always been well worth the effort. We’ve never been less that delighted at being part of their audience.

Here’s to the next 25 years right enough!


Oran Mor

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