First, apologies for the lack of ramblings recently. I haven’t been at my most prodigious due to being up to my eyeballs with everything else, much like everyone else. I’ve been working like fuck since BYAF, including eight days straight over Christmas, and have been working away trying to get things sorted for the upcoming UNIFORMS tour and releases. You know, the fun stuff! However, none of that is of concern for this blog.
What I want to do is have a look back at the shows that the Make-That-A-Take collective put on this year. Personally, I think they’ve been some of our best yet and that the year as a whole has been pretty incredible. I’d like to thank Neil, Barry, Gain, Kenny, Jonny, Jamie, Abbie and Dave from Cerberus for all the hard work that they’ve put in this year. This whole cavalcade of idiocy wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for us all pulling together. “Scenes” can be fragile and fickle beasts, but none if it would happen if it wasn’t for the people who share the same passions for punk rock and DIY as we do; the bands that play, the people who come out to the shows, love the music, buy the merch, etc. That sense of togetherness is, to my mind, what makes it all worthwhile.
Our first show of 2012 was actually in Perth, at The Green Room. It was the only show that we put on there this year, but it was a pretty fucking good one with Bonehouse, UNIFORMS and the sadly now defunct Drug Couple. We’re putting on another show in Perth on Saturday 9th February 2012 at The Corinna. There’ll be noise made about that one in the very near future.
Next up was Dead To Me in Dundee. This was something that we were all very much looking forward to as they are a band that we all collectively love and, as silly as it may be, we were all very excited to be hosting our first ever Fat Wreck Chords band. It also helps that Chicken, Sam and the boys are amongst the nicest fellas that we’ve ever met in punk rock and they tore Kage apart. It’s a pretty rare thing to see so many bodies in one place going absolutely mental, and it was a rare old treat indeed. The Human Project from Leeds smashed it, and we roasters in Uniforms played reasonably. Maxwell’s Dead were quality as well and this was probably the show that made me want to work with them more. Such a good show and massive thanks to everyone who came out to the show. We could have suffered badly if this show had been a disaster, so huge credit to the good taste of the Scottish punks!
We then threw together a somewhat last minute show for our friends in ONSIND at what was only one of a few acoustic shows we put on in 2012, and the only show that we did at Drouthy Neebors. ONSIND are a wonderful band and it was a pleasure to have them back up here and they were joined by the equally charming Eric Ayotte, who definitely made a solid impression and more than a few friends. Davey Nolan was his usual impeccable self and treated us to his charismatic blend of rootsy folk and rocky goodness, while I played a silly set and the marvellous Andy Chainsaw (two-pint) growled at people in the most charming way imaginable. Unfortunately, this is one of a few shows this year where I forgot my camera!
Two days after that, it was The Murderburgers, we roasters in Uniforms, the now deceased The Day I Snapped and the first Dundee show in around five years from The Kimberly Steaks. This show reminded me of the good old days of the “Pre-Entropy Punk Show” where a whole bunch of like-minded idiots would get together at The Balcony before heading along to Kage for Entropy, except this time round the show was in the club and the club night thereafter was Warped! Still, it’s not often that we put on “all local” (ie, non-touring) shows these days, so it’s always a nice little change of pace. That and the fact that all the bands rule, right? I was mostly likely pretty steaming before I had to bolt for the last train home.
Our next show was supposed to be more of a celebration of Uniforms releasing our EP and heading out on tour with Cobra Skulls. Instead it took more of the form of a wake, as it was the first time that I’d seen all of my friends in one place after the death of my father and the first time that we’d played together as a band since his death. We decided that we wouldn’t film any of the bands playing out of respect, but I can say with all sincerity that this was one of the most emotional and heartfelt shows that I’ve ever been involved in. It means so much to me that my friends in The Shithawks and Drug Couple were willing to play at such an important event, and even more so that Barry and Gain played what was one of the most heartbreaking 15 Minutes sets that I’ve ever seen. With my sister and mother in attendance along with 100 or so friends, I struggled to keep my shit together. I think I pulled it off. Thank you to each and every person that came out that night, it means more than you could know.
Next up was Direct Hit! and The Priceduifkes from Belgium with support from Maxwell’s Dead and Third Floor Incident. I think we were somewhere in California at this time, so obviously none of the Uniforms Roaster Originals were present, but the other guys did a great job of making everything ran smoothly in our absence. To say that we were gutted to have missed Direct Hit would be somewhat of an understatement, but them’s the breaks and we can’t really complain as we were losing our minds of the west coast. Thankfully, some video evidence of this event remains, thanks to Graham of No Aims, No Desires.
Our first show after getting back from America was the magnificent All Eyes West from Chicago. We had met these guys at Crash Doubt Festival in Lincoln the previous week although we didn’t get to see them play, so we were excited to finally get a chance to do so. They certainly didn’t disappoint and delivered a powerful set of Husker Du inspired fuzzy nostalgic noisy discordant pop-punk and were one of my favourite bands I saw this year. They were supported by the always gargantuan titans that are Kaddish, who just seem to get more and more intense with every show that they place. Min Diesel from Aberdeen brought their twisted noise pop and The Kimberly Steaks rattled through approximately fifteen minutes of grizzled punk rock anthems to open the show. As far as coherent bills go, I reckon this was one of our finest line-ups of the year.
In July, we hosted our Summer Punk Rock party, which came about as we had two tours crossing over on the same night. Six band bills are usually a bit much for my liking, but Kenny was happy to let us have the run of Kage once again, and for that we are most grateful. Our new pals MüG from London opened the show and treated us to their rapid Descendents/Bad Religion-esque SoCal style punk rock, with their uniquely dry English sense of humour. They are a great bunch of guys and one of those bands that passionately wear their influences on their sleeves. I’d definitely recommend checking them out. The Day I Snapped were up next and this ended up being the last MTAT show that they’d play, as they broke up not long after their UK tour with MüG.
Bear Trade then proved why they are one of the finest bands in UK punk rock. It’d be really difficult for these guys to be anything less than amazing considering the pedigree of their previous bands, including the likes of Blocko and The Mercury League. Plus they feature the mighty Lloyd Chambers and arguably the nicest man in punk rock in the form of Greg Robson. A great band for sure and well worth keeping an eye on. They’ll be on tour with Iron Chic next year so keep your eyes peeled. We played next and rattled through everything far too fast, something we tend to do when playing in Dundee, for reasons I’ve yet to fathom. It probably has something to do with running the shows, getting drunk and playing. There’s never a reason not to party, right?
Fights and Fires from Worcester then took the stage and ripped it up in their Cancer Bats/The Bronx style. These guys are one of the hardest working bands in the UK and have travelled all over Europe this year and it showed in their tightness that they’d just returned from a mammoth tour. Wrapping things up was our brothers in Shields Up. We’ve hosted Shields many times but looking back on it, there is a twinge of sadness about this show as it turned out to be the last show that they’d played for us before their untimely demise in December this year. Whatever the reasons for their break up, it’s a fact that Scotland has lost one of her finest hardcore bands and they will be sorely missed. I just wish that we’d managed to do one more show together. Check out the final EP here as it’s fucking incredible. RIP Shields Up.
August saw the collective host the inimitable Franz Nicolay, supported by the wonderful Algernon Doll, Billy Liar and Davey Nolan. Jamie and I, however, made the decision that we simply had to go and see Social Distortion play Scotland for the first time ever on the same night at The Garage in Glasgow. Abbie had bought the tickets for us long before we had booked Franz and I didn’t realise my error until just a couple of weeks before. Whether or not we made the correct decision is a subject for debate, but I have to confess that I fulfilled one of my lifetime’s ambitions by doing so. By all accounts the Franz show was something pretty special and I’m pretty gutted that we missed it, but we make our decisions and we stand by them! Hopefully we’ll have Franz back over soon and I can explain my choice to him in person. I’m confident that he’ll understand.
Two days after that, we hosted what was expected to be another tight squeeze of a six band bill, but unfortunately Defiance, Ohio were denied entry to Europe for visa reasons so didn’t get to play any of their scheduled tour dates, which is undeniably a massive bummer. However, the show must go on and we played host to a joint effort with GW and welcomed Everyone Everywhere from Pennsylvania alongside their touring buddies Chalk Talk from Massachusetts, ably supported by Kaddish, Bonehouse and us roasters from Uniforms who opened the show. This show was filmed for a forthcoming documentary by Pet Piranha Records, so I didn’t get any live footage from the show, but Abbie did film a new Uniforms song on her mobile phone. All the bands were amazing but I have to say that I think Chalk Talk stole the show. This was another busy night in Kage and once again I’d like to thank everyone for their support as there’s no way that we could do these sort of shows if people weren’t willing to come out, take a punt and put their faith in us to put on a good show, so thanks again everyone!
Another last minute acoustic show followed in September when we played host to Jeff Rowe from Boston. We had originally been in talks to bring Jeff up to Dundee but then it appeared that the routing of the tour just wouldn’t allow for a visit. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), a bunch of Jeff’s scheduled tour dates fell through and we ended up hooking up at pretty much the very last minute. I’m so thankful that we did as the show at Cerberus was one of the most special and intimate of the year. I opened the show in my Tragical History Tour guise, one of the very few acoustic shows that I played this year, and was followed by the supremely talented Mark McCabe and Grant George of The Barents Sea. It’s always a pleasure to have such a talented group of musicians and such a quiet and attentive audience in the cosy confines of any venue, although being at Cerberus seems to make these occasions all the sweeter. Jeff is one of the nicest guys you could possibly hope to meet and any night that you get to spend in the company of Gunner Records‘ tour manager Christian is always going to be a special treat. Hurry back guys, we can’t wait to see you again.
Ten days after the Jeff Rowe show we hosted what was probably Abbie’s favourite show of the year in the form of The Blacklist Royals from Nashville, Tennessee. These southern boys play gritty country-inflected melodic punk rock not a million miles removed from the likes of The Gaslight Anthem and Riverboat Gamblers. They were also some of the most polite boys that we’ve ever put on and had impeccable manners when they came to stay in our little flat in Perth after the show. Once again, Maxwell’s Dead provided the main support and were absolutely hilarious as Russell was clearly burst and is one funny motherfucker. The Shithawks let it all hang loose and blew everyone’s minds whilst The Kimberly Steaks once again dropped in briefly to say hello. This time they were even kind enough to drop in a Jawbreaker cover. I love those boys. Abbie was especially stoked when we got home and Blacklist’s merch man Bryson started dropping stories about how he used to date Taylor Swift in high school. I was more interested in the story of how her father bought one hundred thousand copies of her debut record in order to secure her record deal. I’m also a party pooper as I sent everyone to bed at 3am. To be fair, there is nothing more punk rock than feeding Americans green tea in the early hours. Blacklist also furnished us with heaps of merch including a 7″ flexi-disc that is quite possibly the most bizarre piece of vinyl that I own.
Our final “show” show of the year was another emotional one (seems to have been a few of those this year) from Elway. We’ve met the guys in Elway before whilst over at Fest in Gainesville and they’d experienced some particularly harsh luck whilst on their European tour. Not only were they detained by corrupt police in Russia, they also had over three thousand dollars worth of merch stolen in Germany. Why anyone would want to steal the merch of an obscure punk band, I have no idea but that’s exactly what happened. As such, Barry The Kydd instigated a donation campaign and thanks to the generosity of our community and the hard work of The Doctor at TeesOnTap.com, we were able to donate a sizeable amount of shirts for the guys to sell as they made their way back through Europe before going home.
Trails from England opened the show as they needed to fill in a tour date and I’m very glad that they did as not only did they fucking rip with their groove-laden tech-punk madness, frontman Sam also bailed me out with a ready half-a-step-down-tuned guitar when I broke a string during our frenetic Uniforms set. Leagues Apart were on tour with Elway and it was great to finally get those guys up in Dundee after crossing paths in various ways, shapes and forms across the years. They are a great band and an even nicer bunch of guys. It seems they especially enjoyed getting acquainted with Buckfast, something which is pretty much mandatory when accommodating travelling bands who have never been up this way before. Elway were absolutely incredible and play the kind of classic American sing-a-long punk rock that is impossible not to fall in love with. Unfortunately again I forgot my camera so there’s nothing filmed for posterity, but that’s what we’ve got hearts and minds for.
Last but by no means least was the madness that was the weekend of Book Yer Ane Fest VI. It kicked off on the Thursday night with a pre-BYAF show at the Tin Roof art studio in Dundee and was one of the coolest (not to mention coldest) shows that I’ve ever played. Our brothers in Question The Mark had van trouble so Dundee art rockers Playground Tactics stepped in at the last minute to open the show. We then played our first live set in over two months, including all of our new songs from our upcoming split records, and had an absolute blast of a time. Then it was the turn of The Shithawks who, in their natural habitat, were absolutely incredible. They’ve grown so much as a band over the past year and I can’t thank Dan Faichney enough for going to bat for us and sorting out the pre-show. MTAT will be releasing something from those guys in the not-too distant future, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that one.
The Friday night of BYAF was complete madness, much like every other day of BYAF. The Jackhammers set the tone with their dirty punk before Shatterhand went off like they always do. Big Baby on the drums is one scary looking fucker, let me tell you. Drive By Audio then left jaws on the floor like always and had everybody pissing themselves laughing, with the possible exception of those who were offended. Then Slaves came on and absolutely blew everyone’s minds. For a two-piece, they make a lot of noise but more importantly than that, they have such presence and a strong message. Provocative dark punk at it’s finest. From The Cradle To The Rave were absolutely insane with their drum’n’bass riot-core ska-punk madness before Wonk Unit were just absolutely insane (new album “Muffy” is a work of twisted genius). To bring the curtain down on the Friday night was punk legends Oi Polloi who absolutely destroyed before Vic Galloway provided the soundtrack into the early hours and was told by some roaster that Fugazi are not punk. I was long asleep by this point, on my hotel room floor.
BYAF is always madness so please forgive me if a few of these details are wrong! The Depressants opened the show with their sleazy pop-punk before FUCK! (It’s Pronounced Shit!) annihilated everyone with ten minutes of anxious melodic hardcore madness. The Walking Targets then took to the stage and blew everyone away with their youthful good looks and downright ridiculously good-not-just-for-their-age gruff melodic punk. They were joined by Raph of Turtle Lamone fame for a rip through Hot Water Music’s “Jack Of All Trades” that felt like something approaching a very special moment. Next up, The Hostiles brought with them their usual chirpy ska-punk charm and had everyone skanking away before The Kimberly Steaks once again proved that they are undeniably one of the best punk bands going just now. Check out the “Terminal Boredom” EP as it’s one of this year’s most essential pop-punk EPs. Aberdeen’s screamo juggernaut Cavlacades were next and I was happy to finally have them play a show for us as they are pretty much right up my street. I finally managed to get my hands on a copy of their “Coping” EP on vinyl. I have to say though that I find only using one side of a 12″ a little strange. Still, the music fucking jamz.
Cleavers were next at what was also their first show for us and they were nothing short of magnificent. They’ve been championed by a lot of the more mainstream music personalities in the country as well as by DA PUNX as they are fucking brilliant and play with passion, exactly the way it should be. After them it was more northern bleakness in the form of Prelude To The Hunt who were just devastating on every front. I felt like my brain was caving in, they were that fearsome. Unfortunately, Crusades from Glasgow had to pull out at the last minute so we decided to take a half hour break so folk could get food, chill out, etc before Question The Mark took things up a notch. Such a good band and I can’t wait to hit Europe with these guys in 2013. It’ll be rare. We played next at what was yet another highly emotional show for us, playing a new song called “Father’s Day” live for the first time. That song will be on our split with QTM coming out in March on Team Beard Records.
The mighty Clocked Out then absolutely ripped the place apart. Seriously, these boys are one of the finest bands in the UK and I’ve rarely seen any frontman with as much energy and passion as Crawford. Yes, he’s my friend but he also has one of the most magnetic presences I’ve seen fronting a hardcore band in a very long time. You have to see Clocked Out live to fully appreciate their brilliance. I am confident that we’ll have them back up in Dundee before too long. Next up is what I can only say was perhaps the most fun I’ve had at a punk show in my entire life. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to state that there aren’t really words to describe the set from The Murderburgers other than sheer madness. Those guys have had an absolutely incredible year and this was almost the perfect way for them to wrap things up. And, just when you thought things couldn’t get any more intense, Kaddish rock up and absolutely devastate everything that has come before them with the kind of emotive hardcore love-in that makes nights like this so special.
The Sunday of BYAF is always a testing one; you get the people who have gone too big on either the Friday or the Saturday and everyone seems to be suffering a little, especially as things kick off. I opened proceedings with a quiet yet somewhat amusing Tragical History Tour set before Ross Middlemiss played his very first show under his Little Anchors guise and hooked us all in with his introspective lo-fi. The Shithawks got the main stage rolling and hung loose once again, teasing our forthcoming plans before cowpunk lifer Andy Chainsaw serenaded us once more. I must give the due love to Chainsaw and say that I am truly humbled that he was the first person to scar himself for life with his beautiful MTAT tattoo!
The Barents Sea followed up with their first east coast performance with their new line-up and were exquisite as usual. They’ll be back with us supporting Arliss Nancy from Fort Collins, Colorado on Sunday 17th February. Kevin Thomson then made us swoon with his first set since returning from Canada and he brought with him his new fiddle player Gillian, who adds a layer of depth to the already emotive stylings of the young man from Alyth. We’ll be putting out some sort of release with Kevin in 2013 also, so it’s shaping up to be an exciting year. Algernon Doll then took to the main stage and showed us exactly while his LP “Camomile” is one of this year’s finest new records and just how far Ewan has come as a songwriter and a performer of the past year. Truly awe-inspiring stuff that is only going to get better with time. Carson Wells then closed out a year that has seen them release their critically acclaimed and really rather wonderful debut full length in the form of “Wonderkid” and their Sunday afternoon set was nothing short of triumphant before Davey Nolan nearly reduced me to tears with his searingly honest and soaring songwriting.
Drug Couple then played what has turned out to be their final show for now at least as guitarist Jordan is heading to Copenhagen, and they were suitably nuts as one may expect. Gone Wishing, the alter-ego of Bonehouse’s Owen McLaughlin, then played his first ever acoustic show and wowed us with his intricate and weaving storytelling before Sunset Squad devastated absolutely everything in their path with their first show since January, after the return of drummer Kev from Australia. These guys haven’t missed a beat and will likely be tearing it up throughout 2013. The delectable Mark McCabe then enchanted us with his wisdom and touching songs before Fat Goth absolutely destroyed. Their new record “Stud” drops in January and is likely to have a big impact, so it was a treat to see them in Non-Zero’s at the height of their powers. They won’t be playing Fests like ours for too much longer I don’t think!
John Harcus then played the acoustic stage and concluded his set with what I think is the best song that he’s ever written in the form of “Falling In Love With Strangers”. Check it out if you haven’t already done so. Billy Liar then played what I think is one of the best sets that I’ve ever seen him perform. Billy is one of my closest friends in music and it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to watch him grow from a gobby yet ambitious young punk into a flourishing, articulate artist with the power to transfix an audience using only his acoustic guitar, his flowing and poetic storytelling and his charm-you-to-the bar wit and patter. By this time, things were running a little late and Vasa took to the stage and tripped everyone out with their swaying, hypnotic post-rock/hxc instrumentals. They are a band on the rise for sure and their “Never Have Dreams” EP is a slice of wonderment. Hopefully we’ll have these guys up once again some time in the new year. The wonderful Turtle Lamone then wrapped up his acoustic stage with his bitter-sweet piano-based punk rock balladry before Bonehouse put everything to bed with what may have been one of their finest performances of the year.
All in all, 2012 has been an incredible year. We’re keeping the BYAF compilation online for download for £1 donation until January 1st and it can be found here.
All download donations to the MTAT Bandcamp page in December will be added to the total raised during the weekend of Book Yer Ane Fest. The full total raised will be announced some time during the first week of January.
You can also buy a range of MTAT merch from our shop page including a 2 x CD pot luck sale!
Once again, thank you so much to everyone who has supported us throughout the year and those that continue to do so. We couldn’t do the things that we do without the cooperation and understanding of our community. We know that things can be difficult for us all but nothing makes things seem more worthwhile than when we are all together sharing something that we love. That has been the over-riding theme for me personally this year; that love will see us through anything and everything that is thrown in our way.
Thanking you for everything.
For love, always.