This past weekend was a very important one for me. It was my first weekend of shows since Book Yer Ane Fest VII and the first weekend of shows I’ve been involved in since attaining sobriety. It’s interesting to me that the new Get It Together EP, with whom I shared two of the three nights of shows, is called “Perspectives” (it’s a banger by the way, coming across like Kid Dynamite covering Descendents), as I faced this weekend with more clarity of mind and thought than previously; a fresh perspective, perhaps.
Friday night at Kage saw the first MTAT show of the year and it got off to an inauspicious start when I got word that Filthpact were running late due to horrendous traffic on the way out of Aberdeen, then they began to experience van problems. We kept in touch and hoped for the best but it became clear that they weren’t going to be able to make it when the van broke down completely and the band were forced to stand on the roadside at Stracathro to wait for a tow truck to take them back to Aberdeen. An absolute gutter across the board and it’s a total bummer that we wouldn’t be able to host them one last time. However, these things happen and the show must go on. Usually we keep the vast majority of the Uniforms gear in Kage, but there was a big clear out after BYAF so we had to scramble to find backline, as Filthpact were due to bring it in the van. We managed to pull it together at the last minute and we were ready to go by around 8.45pm.
Rope Spasm kicked things off with their first ever show and they charmed the very understanding audience with their refreshing yet familiar brand of hardcore punk rock mayhem, like the amalgamation of all the sleaziest and most disturbing elements of their previous bands, which include Torturo Nervosa and Drug Couple. The sound was raw as there were no sound checks but it suited these troops perfectly. It’s reassuring that Sam maintains his livewire chaotic presence as he barks out indecipherable mantras like a wounded beast. As far as first shows go, this was an assured and confident first 18/20 minutes, no great surprise given the calibre of their previous projects. Keep your eyes on these animals for sure.
Get It Together were up next. This was the second show of their “Perspectives” EP weekender, having played in Dunfermline the night before, and it was the first time that I’ve seen them as a four piece. It was clear from the very start when Mark started running the ropes across Kage to the Ultimate Warrior’s ring music that this is how the band was meant to be; fun, fast, uplifting and, ultimately, pretty fucking positive. I’ve known Craig and Mark for many years and they’re some of the best dudes in the game and to see them having such a good time playing refreshing yet familiar skate-punk/melodic hardcore in front of 30 odd folk just brought a massive smile to my face. It also helps that the new EP is fucking rocking.
Rounding out the evening were the simply jaw-dropping Sufferinfuck. I’d never seen these dudes before but know that they have a fearsome live reputation and that they’re one of the most intense bands that you’re ever likely to witness. Having listened to their album “In Boredom” (which you can download from the awesomely-named Grindcore Karaoke), I knew that we were going to be in for lead heavy slabs of brutality but I didn’t realise just how intense the experience was going to be. I don’t really have a great many points of reference; it was a bile-spitting display of contempt for everything and it was fucking brilliant. At one point, the guitarist was attacking his instrument with a screwdriver and I couldn’t tell whether he was attempting repairs or accentuating the “ambient” noise passages. Either way, it sounded like the piercing squeals of a million dying souls. Bleak shit, in the best possible way.
I must give a shout out to everyone who came to the show on Friday night for their understanding concerning the circumstances with Filthpact, as I know some folk were disappointed. I think it says a lot about the spirit of the community that many people laughed at the idea of issuing refunds, which we offered to do, and nobody took us up on it. I think I gave everyone at the show a MTAT sampler, so I hope that makes up for it. Massive thanks also to everyone who brought donations for Tins For Tunes. The bags will be delivered to Dundee Foodbank tonight. As for Filthpact, godspeed gentlemen and all the best!
We had an early start on Saturday and I was picked up by Jonny and Luke in a motor filled with gear to head to Stirling for a practice before I went to play acoustic at Europa Music. We jammed on the songs that are going to be recorded for our new 7″ (coming soon!) and had some photos taken by Craig as it has been a while since we’ve undertaken such an act of douchebaggery. It was fairly amusing. We also drank tea and I told a story about how a band I spent a whole three hour practice setting up and tearing down their gear so they’d be efficient and timely at shows, all while taking the thick end of half an hour to restring my guitar. The acoustic show was quiet but great fun. I stood in the shop and played for about half an hour, people flicked through records, applauded politely, heckled gently and took refuge from the absolutely pishing rain. Once we wrapped we dropped the gear and set some shit up in the basement of Barnton Street Music for the evening’s show before setting out in pursuit of a soya chai latte.
When we headed back along the shifty little alley beside Molly Malone’s to get to the back door of the venue, there was already a small gathering of miscreants who seemed ready to get involved and have a good time. By the time we were due to play, the place was pretty much rammed. The basement of Barnton Street Music is exactly that; a small basement room fit for about 40/50 people and I was absolutely roasting by the time we played our second song. For our first show in two months, it was fucking tight and we played at around 10,000mph. We played a bunch of new songs, kept the banter to a minimum and ripped through twelve songs in half an hour. It felt pretty fucking good to me.
Get It Together then took to the floor and absolutely killed it in front of their hometown troops. Again, it was a case of my cold black heart being warmed by the sight of my friends having a good time. Craig and I used to play in 13 Broken Fingers together and we figured out that it’s ten years ago this year that we broke up. To think that we can still come together ten years later, despite everything that has happened since and how our lives have changed, to have a good time together at a punk rock show like no time has passed at all. Maybe I’m overthinking the matter, but it was a fairly powerful experience for me. All too quickly, the show was over and we loaded out with haste to avoid any unwanted attention from the constabulary or any complaints from neighbours. The Irish boozer round the corner was heaving anyways, so I doubt that anyone outside the basement even knew it was happening. Kudos to Neil and the crew at Barnton Street Music for having a cool thing going; support that shit!
My weekend wrapped up with a trip to Glasgow on a super-busy train where I was stared at with a look of bewilderment by a lady in her mid-to-late 50s who was sitting directly across from me. I can’t help but think she wanted a houp of my iced tea and a swatch of my Razorcake. I paid my first visit to Plan B Books round by the 13th Note and played my second basement show of the year alongside Marc Ruvolo of Chicago rock’n’rollers The Fur Coats, Phil Taylor from Paws and our pals Greig and Ade from The Kimberly Steaks playing acoustic. It was a cosy little environment and the crowd was very attentive and well behaved throughout. The Steaks played some acoustic versions of songs from their forthcoming “To Live and Die In West Central Scotland” album that will be released at Stuck In Springtime Fest in Glasgow on Saturday 15th March. Phil was excellent and played an amazing version of “Religious Songs” by the wonderful Withered Hand. Marc rounded out an cosy evening of acoustic goodness with a short and sweet set of Americana-tinged acoustic rock’n’roll interspersed with stories about travelling and the Chicago punk rock scene. Thanks to everyone for listening when I played and for everyone that I talked to at the show. See you again sometime!
A great way to end a great weekend that covered a great deal of ground; it’s not every weekend you get to do sound for Sufferinfuck and play fully unplugged in the basement of a book shop. Hearty stuff all round.