Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Brought to you by the letter W...

Well hello there Wednesday! I won't be keeping this up for the whole post, but I will be mentioning The Wedding Present and Westfest, and I am writing this on Wednesday instead of my usual Sunday, what with being at Westfest, so I'm going with it...

It seems a while ago now, but it was only 2 weeks past Thursday when we made the short journey through to Leslie in Fife to see Indie legends (and they wouldn't thank me for that title!) The Wedding Present in a tiny function room in the Greenside Hotel.
This is Greenside, Leslie:
As you can see, it's a pretty little village, and not somewhere you expect to go to a gig that leaves your ears ringing two days later! We arrived early enough to have a pre gig drink in the bar, where we had a good old natter with one of my colleagues who'd also made the trip through from Dundee, and his good friends who live basically over the road from the venue - handy!
The band do make a point of manning the merch stall and chatting to fans before and after the show but my fear of coming over all fangirl and saying something daft stopped me from going over for a chat.  Think David was probably quite relieved about this (husband, not Gedge - he wasn't to know he was missing out on my top chat 😉).
The room gradually filled up with, let's face it a lot of balding, 50 something chaps - there were a few women and younger folk in the crowd, but we were definitely in the minority. This tour has marked the 30th anniversary of their album 'George Best' and they attract the kind of loyal following of fans who've been going to see them for 30 years, which is pretty good going really, when the only original member remaining is David Gedge himself!
They opened the set with some of their newer material,  which received a polite but subdued response - it's not really the kind of music you'd mosh to, and quite different to their earlier output. It definitely took a few listens for Going Going to grow on me, but some of the tracks really are beautiful.

With the opening chords of 'Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft' the atmosphere in the room changed completely - this is what everyone was here for really! Must be an age thing, but we've seen a few '30th anniversary' shows lately, and I always think it must be a bit strange performing songs you wrote so long ago. They say the past is a foreign country, but beyond that the person you are at 50 has to be at least a little bit different to who you were at 20 - I wonder if it ends up feeling like someone elses songs you're singing? Whether that's the case or not, they were played with gusto, as you'd expect if you've ever encountered the Wedding Present.  My favourite album of theirs, Saturnalia, was released in 1996 so hopefully they'll do a 25th anniversary tour for that one in 2021 - I'd definitely go and see them again, but I'd probably not want to wait till 2026 😉

I'm never going to make it as a gig photographer - these are my pictures:

Still, it was a great night - I might take earplugs next time though as it really was one of the loudest gigs I've been too!

Brief interruption for a Public Service Announcement: we went to see Mindhorn on the Wednesday. You might have missed your chance, but if you can, do yourself a favour and go and see this genuinely funny British comedy.

So onto Westfest. This is a free community festival that started in 2010 as a celebration of the West End (funnily enough) of Dundee. It started out pretty informal, but the Big Sunday held in Magdalen Green has grown into a major event which meant that for the first time this year they had to put up a perimeter fence and secure an alchohol licence, meaning people can no longer bring in their own alcohol.  There was a bit of a 'public outcry' about this, with accusations of selling out/going corporate/ripping people off, but in all honesty they were lucky to get away with the authorities turning a blind eye in the past, and contrary to what the whingers were predicting it was just as busy as last year, which was the first time we'd been.  There was a great selection of food stalls, all small and fairly local businesses, and along with the Red Stripe and Koppaberg, one of the three bars was selling beer from two fairly new Dundee Breweries, Law Brewing and 71 brewing.
I'm always happy to support small local business, and if I can do so by eating burgers and drinking beer, well that works for me!
Think this was the All Nighter from Law Brewing!   It was raining as we walked in to town, but as you can see the sun came out and stayed out for most of the afternoon, hence my slightly red neck - at least I managed to cover my face and arms with sun cream, but I always seem to miss a bit...

The line up of bands was as eclectic as you might expect at a free community event. The Dundee Schools Rock Band put on a performance their parents would be proud of - actually they weren't bad really!  They were followed by Got Soul Choir - if you've ever come across 'Rock Choir' you'll get the idea - an open to everyone branded choir franchise that do pop covers.  Not really my cup of tea, but they were set up to combat loneliness and bring people together through singing,  which can only be a good thing I guess.
Next up, the winners of a recent battle of the bands competition provided a slightly surreal moment - a bluesy hard rock band isn't really what you expect at a family afternoon in the park, and I think Multistorey Lover were experiencing one of their stranger gigs...
We were back on slightly safer territory with local bands Kashmir Crows and Miami Vince, who if you haven't already guessed are a 70s and 80s covers band! They were joined on stage by, amongst others, Kit Clark (of Danny Wilson fame if you like your 80s pop music) to perform a set of David Bowie songs they'd previously played at a Bowie Tribute night in Clark's pub. We've seen a few gigs in Clarks where Kit's been at the sound desk so it was interesting, and pretty cool, to actually hear him singing for a change!

By the time they finished the set with 'All The Young Dudes' the sun was losing it's heat, so we headed into town for a quick drink in Brewdog before walking home.
Magdalen Green is on the flight path for the flight training centre at the airport, so I took some plane pics:

 Well, tomorrow is the General Election so by the time I post again I'll know whether we're doomed to another 5 years of Tory Government, or if Jezza's managed to pull off a near miracle. I think you can guess which way I think this is going to play out - after Brexit and Trump my faith in the democratic process isn't strong.  In previous elections it's probably been print media that have had the biggest impact on the outcome, whereas we appear to be in a faintly terrifying age of dark digital electioneering that nobody quite understands at the moment.  I may retract that statement if Labour actually manage to win this thing of course!
See you on the other side.......

*PS when did you stop noticing 'W' words....?

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