August is always a busy month and, all in, I’d say it has been a pretty decent summer. Last month we hosted four shows featuring 15 acts from across the spectrum of punk rock and each show has had it’s own unique energy and atmosphere. The last minute scramble at the start at the month ended up with an absolute banger of a show at Kage on August 10th with Shatterhand, Get It Together, First Step To Failure, young Glasgow punks Veto and myself taking to the floor at a gig that highlighted camaraderie and togetherness that was both heartening and inspiring. It’s all too easy, at times, to let the head drop and question why you do what you do, whatever it is you do. After both the headliners and main support had to pull, it would’ve been easy to cancel the show and stay home. Thankfully I’m not the only one who’s having none of that caper and I applaud the spirit and tenacity of everyone who buckled down and made shit happen. To paraphrase Tosh from Shatterhand; “punk rock might now change the world but it sure as fuck makes it a better place to be for a couple of hours”. Wise words, spiderman!
The Jeffrey Lewis and The Jrams show the following week was sublime. Not only did the band play for well over an hour and pack the house on a dreary Tuesday night in Dundee, but they were also impeccable house guests. I’ve been listening to my newly acquired copy of “Em Are I” almost daily for the better part of the last three weeks and there’s always something new to discover on there. Jeffrey is an engaging character; wry, thoughtful and very funny on top of being one of the most influential musicians of his (our) generation. Seth Faergolzia and Heck Yup were certainly one of the more musically challenging acts that I’ve ever attempted to “do sound” for, mixing up all kinds of interesting instrumentation on top of loopers, synths, flutes, electric cello and multi-layered vocals; a hypnotic and engaging performance that was unlike anything I’ve seen before. The lovely Esperi opened proceedings and treated us to some older classics alongside fresh cuts from his new album “Seasons” that was released yesterday. Thank you to everyone who came out to the show; it seemed like there were a number of MTAT show “first-timers” so hopefully those that were new to our approach found it a positive experience!
Friday night saw the “official” launch of “Thick Letters To Friends”, the incredible new LP from Kaddish and it was one of the most intense shows that I’ve ever been a part of. Kage was absolutely rammed and it was roasting in there. Even so, as I stood at the side watching the band destroy for the thick end of 40 minutes, I had shivers up my spine. The journey to the release of this album has been a long one, more so for the band and producer Ross Middlemiss than anyone, and to see the lid finally bursting off the pot was something that I’ll carry with me for a long time; pure, raw, unfiltered catharsis. I could go on at length about how important and necessary I believe this record to be but I’ll stop myself short and say that it is a vital LP that is best experienced at high volume with full engagement. Thank you to the band for allowing me to be involved in something that is so personal and to Black Lake Records, Boslevan Records and The Ghost Is Clear Records (USA) for helping release the record. Special thanks also to Karol at Idioteq.com for his dedication, insight and support in exposing this record and the band themselves to a much wider audience. Please do take the time to read Karol’s illuminating interview with Dom here.
The show itself was amazing. Stonethrower (featuring the aforementioned Mr. Middlemiss and Cal Sutherland, the man responsible for the album art) kicked things off in suitably impassioned chaotic fashion with 25 minutes of driving yet intricate discordant noisy post-hardcore that seems to grow in power with each live performance. Keep your eyes peeled for their first release as it is guaranteed to be a banger. Next up were Glasgow indie/emo punks The Sinking Feeling who stepped in at the last minute to replace the sadly-missed Bonehouse, who were forced to withdraw on health grounds (get well soon GW!). The perfect replacement, TSF more than held their own and charmed everyone present with their super-infectious youthful grunge/indie/pop jamz, all harmonic yelps, three-way vocals, scorched riffs and fuzz-driven bass. Struggletown Records are just about to drop their new 12″ featuring new EP “Ugly” on side A and last year’s “Old Friends” EP on the flipside, so make sure and pick a copy up.
The masterful Carson Wells then took to the floor and once again demonstrated why they are one of Scotland’s finest musical exports, regardless of genre or geography. They treated us to the prime cuts from “Wonderkid” as well as a peppering of new songs from their forthcoming second LP and a track from their split 7″ with Human Hands. Carson Wells are a band that makes this whole playing music thing look effortless and are three of the most charming gentlemen that you’re likely to meet also. They are currently in the midst of recording with Ross Middlemiss and it’s no exaggeration to state that the album will be another hulking slice of angular angst indie/emo rock goodness. Undoubtedly one of the most powerful three piece bands on this hunk of rock, Carson Wells are a band worthy of your love that absolutely knock the piss out of most commercial rocks acts currently masquerading as emo.
Kaddish then took to the floor in a dimly-lit room at 10pm and proceeded to blast us all away and leave jaws on the floor, as they also do. There are few bands that play with as much conviction as Kaddish; the way that Chris attacks drums and plays with his whole being is something that I’ll never tire of seeing, while John underpins the chaos with his Fugazi-esque elastic basslines. Dom has presence; he radiates intensity. He also plays guitar in a way that I will never understand. I think that this may have been the longest set that the band have ever played and they delivered their near 40-minute set with exactly the same intensity as they would a standard 20 minute set. Not only did they play the majority of the “Thick Letters To Friends” album but they also dipped into their back catalogue with songs from the first album as well as their split 7″ with Battle of Wolf 359. In short, it was a mesmerising, compelling and memorable performance that had everyone engaged from beginning to end. Kaddish are one of our most treasured bands. There are few bands that make me feel as though hyperbole is not nearly sufficient to express their greatness. Kaddish are one of those bands. I am proud to call these fine gentlemen friends and am proud to have played a small role in bringing this masterpiece of a record to life. I honestly cannot recommend this record highly enough. Please buy a copy, your life will be instantly enhanced for the experience of listening to it.
Huge thanks to everyone who picked up a copy of the record at the show, those who pre-ordered and everyone who has purchased a copy since the launch show. Massive thanks to everyone who came and packed Kage out too; thanks to your attendance and support we were able to raise and donate £280 to Medical Aid for Palestinians. Thanks also to Alana at Minimal Media for filming the whole show and to Ross Middlemiss and Huw of Carson Wells for recording audio on. This documentation will be present in the forthcoming months as an exciting little project, full details of which will emerge soon. Cheers to all who came out to the show too, you may well have made it onto a live record!
The weekend (and the month) was rounded out with our first ever 16+ Sunday Matinee Show at Non-Zero’s in Dundee. Unfortunately, local kids Palida Mors had to cancel the night before due to injury but the show rolled on with the four bands. Elk Gang are a new band of familiar faces from Edinburgh who are comprised of ex/current members of Shields Up and Taking Chase. They play full throttle hardcore punk rock coming over like a cross between Rise Against/Touche Amore/Strung Out with plenty of hooks and heads-down riffage on display. Bassist Craig is moving to Berlin next month so it’s likely that this will be their only Dundee show with this line-up, but hopefully they’ll get a replacement in before too long as these jamz are top quality and Scotland needs another fine DIY punk band of this pedigree. These dudes are also the brains and brawn behind Anti-Manifesto, so you know this shit is on point.
Glasgow punkers Sink Alaska were up next and took to the stage in good cheer as we celebrated the “official” launch of their new Double A-Side 7″ single. “The Path of Least Resistance” / “Among The Wretched” is exactly what is says on the tin; two tracks of razor-sharp upbeat melodic punk rock bangers that melds the speed and energy of 90s Epi/Fat skate punk with the wry wit and passion of late 80s/early 90s UK punk, coming over like Lagwagon and Ten Foot Pole covering Leatherface and Snuff songs. A band of a high calibre, these troops have been playing punk rock since before some of the kids at the show were born and that experience shined through as they whizzed their way through a half hour set of refined punk rock bangers, including their tracks from the ROASTER split and last year’s demo. The 7″ is out now and is strictly limited to 100 copies worldwide. The record comes with a download code, lyric sheet and full colour artwork as designed by Mark Bell of Mug. Again, thanks to everyone who has bought one thus far and thanks to DyingScene.com for hosting the exclusive stream last week.
Rope Spasm are another compelling proposition and a much under-rated band from our area I feel. While people may feel the have them dialled on account of their previous bands (MAFAFI, Torturo Nervosa, Drug Couple amongst them), there is infinitely more depth there than just your average powerviolence/hardcore band; there are elements of hip-hop and hardcore as well as a more refined “classic” punk sound, on account of Rossko’s deceptively deft guitar playing and Steve’s stomping distorted bass. Front man Sam is another character altogether; a tortured writhing mess of pained cries and contortions in performance, softly spoken and eloquent between songs. They may be close to the bone and primal, but they’d argue that that’s your problem, not theirs. I’d be inclined to agree. Top notch noise here.
The last act wrapping up a weekend of delectable Scottish hardcore/punk was Kirkcaldy thrash punk’n’roll legends Certain Death, who arrived at Non-Zero’s fresh from obliterating the elder Steedo’s Harley. These hardened road warriors never fail to deliver and scream out the same impassionaed antagonistic noise whether it’s a Sunday matinee in front of 40 folk or the Masters of Rock festival in front of 10,000 German metalheads and are undoubtedly one of the most consistently devastating live bands around. With stomp and swagger aplenty, you know from the word go what you’re getting with these troops and Sunday was no exception as they rattled through their cacophonous set at breakneck pace whilst inviting us to check out the Certain Death Ice Bong Challenge. Check that shit out on YouTube!
Thanks to Dave and Simon at Non-Zero’s for having us and to Scotty Russell for doing the sound. I think it was a quality show and certainly a worthwhile endeavour, so I hope that we’ll be doing another one in the near future. While there are no firm plans in place yet, this is something that we’ll definitely be getting to work on. Cheers also to the youngsters who came down and had their first MTAT experience and to everyone who picked up some records from the distro. Getting home in time for tea before heading back out was an added bonus.
There’s no rest for the wicked, so the saying goes, and it seems there’s no rest for those who try to steer clear of the wickedness also. We’re straight back on the horse this coming Friday when we host SPILL YER GUTS #3 at Cerberus Bar, Dundee with the inimitable Chris Clavin of Ghost Mice/Plan-It-X Records infamy. Chris will be performing live and reading extracts from his essential punk memoir “Free Pizza For Life” and will be regaling us with tales of a life lived immersed in US DIY punk rock culture and more. Chris is an interesting character with stories to tell who has been an influence of countless punkers the world over so having an opportunity to see him perform and speak in the intimacy of Cerberus should be a unique experience. Chris is joined on his travels by the piano-wielding Turtle Lamone who shall be playing his first Dundee show since his victorious performance at Book Yer Ane Fest VII. Andy Chainsaw will be bringing his none-more-gruff Andrew Jackson Jihad influenced acoustic punk gravel to the party and I shall be hosting things and compering for the evening. I’d love if y’all came to join us for an evening of refinement and culture. Doors are at half 7 and entry will be by donations please!
At the end of the month, we will be welcoming back our friends Arliss Nancy from Colorado for what is an EXCLUSIVE SCOTTISH SHOW and one of only four dates in the UK. They’ll be joined by some of the finest local acts in the form of Robot Doctors (last seen on home turf at their album launch show at Dae Yer Ane Club I), our own emotive punk rockers Lachance and the wonderful fiddle-driven folk/punk stylings of Broken Stories on Saturday 27th September at Kage. Advanced e-tickets are available for a fiver here and physical tickets are available at Groucho’s, Dundee (who featured on the Top 10 indie record stores in the world feature from The Guardian).
Finally, some news as pertains Book Yer Ane Fest VIII; September 30th will be your absolute last chance to get yourself a Super Earlybird Weekend Ticket for £20. Having one of these e-tickets is the only way to ensure your entry to all 7 BYAF shows, including the pre and post shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively and the two morning shows at Cerberus Bar on the Saturday and Sunday of BYAF itself. Cerberus is tiny and we’ll be running full band shows in there for the first time (including “The Menzingers” on the Sunday morning) so priority entry will go to Super Earlybird Weekend Ticket holders, after which it will be first-come, first-served. This is also the cheapest way to support the weekend and is not only a bargain but also cost-efficient. If you’re planning on coming along, get on that shit now!
We shall be announcing the rest of the bands, all of the acts for the acoustic stage, day splits, etc over the next month over on the MTAT facebook page so keep your eyes peeled over there and on the event page itself for updates as and when they happen. We aim to have everything announced, the final line-up confirmed, satellite events sorted, poster on point blahblahblah by the end of the month and hope to have all of this information available to you by the start of October. We’ll get to October soon enough though!
Thanks for everything.