A review of “Bandit Promotions – Blackmail lettering” at Studio 24

This was posted on a previous blog on 4/8/14, two years ago today.street finn

I actually spent TWO days exploring the local music scene, not through my own choice but through the coaxing of my friends. On Friday, an impromptu drinking session my friend dragged me out to Henry’s Cellar Bar down by Lothian road, where a promise of cheap entry was quashed after finding a new Belgian kid working the door. We went in only to find out the band had two songs left which pissed me off but the bar staff were sound enough so I kicked around and had a drink. The kid told me that what i’d paid would get me on to the club night later on, which i also went to but got so bored i left twice in the middle to get something to eat. I left first to get a greasy kebab from Samsun’s where i had not ventured for over a year. When i came back, Sandra told me I stunk of onions so i told her that’s just all i had. The night dragged it’s heels further, and i again found myself in limbo – not drunk enough to enjoy the tech house, yet i didn’t feel like another Red Stripe. I left again without telling anyone and found myself at Mcdonalds eating everything you can get there for £4.49.

The taxi home was expensive and depressing, as i wiped the special sauce off my mouth an intense shame spread from my stomach through my body. I couldn’t face my friends or the rain, It’d been a long but forgettable day. I think in the morning me and Sandra went for lunch, and the both of us being cheapskate bastards forwent any nice cafe meals or sandwiches and found ourselves at KFC. It was cheap, and it was chicken. I felt shame once again. Not for having the chain of my meals go from Kebab – Big Mac – Pulled Chicken, (Amelia Bayler would be proud!) but because i laughed and a bubble of snot came out my left nostril. Sandra was noticeably enraged and disgusted by my actions, i hope the old ladies sitting across from us weren’t too horrified at seeing pure bred bubble action.

We went to the museum out of boredom and when leaving received a call from my cousin telling me “I’m on my way, we’re doing something tonight right? We’re going to a gig now!” I hastily got my shit together, purchased a road beer and met him at my flat. My roommate came along when he said it was a Psycho-billy gig and off we went to Studio 24. On the way we looked at the “Legal graffiti wall” which looked beautiful. There was some lads there at the time signing off on a few pieces which we all were impressed with, and a motorbike popped a wheelie up the road as we walked into the tunnel. I kept telling my cousin “ooh this is the bad part of town” which he got angry at seeing as i’d never been to this side of the burgh.

The drummer of the band we were there to see came and gave us cheaper entry which was nice and gave us tickets with the band names on it, which is the only way i was able to remember any details of the gig whatsoever. I’m usually intimidated by most bouncers but these ones seemed real cheery and were just arguing about what Chinese food they wanted to order. As you walk in you see exactly what Studio 24 is attempting to go for as their ‘look’ inside the club. A dirty grimy punk club from the eighties, except it works. For whatever reason the fact you can’t see 4 feet in front of you in the hallway is quite appealing to me. I walked inside got what i pretty much expected from the crowd, a mixture of crusty punk mums and dads, barely legal scene kids and metalheads and definitely not legal emos and kids wearing badges and ties. I looked past the bar and it said “This is an over 14’s gig – only one drink is able to be purchased at a time.” Quite a good strategy for not selling underagers? But i doubt it works completely. I went to buy a Red Stripe but the bartender offered to give me it for a “low low price” if i gave him my hat to take a photo of, which i sucked up my pride and did. This hat in particular was the ‘SLUTS’ cap, which was perfect for blending in to this crowd of pink haired nosering flickin’ teens. He made a bearded guy wear it who didn’t look too happy about it.

The first band, ‘The Phlgem’ had a particularly good repertoire of old punk and new wave songs, but it was hard to tell if they had mixed in their original material. It’s probably better to announce when it is your own song when starting with 3 or 4 covers. They were Ok, the drummer was great, but the guitarist and bassist couldn’t really sing. They could certainly scream, which reminded me of the old days where i would proclaim “I’m not this band’s singer, i’m it’s shouter” in bands back home. The singing didn’t sound good. They even brought ‘Steve’s Cousin, Wee Hannah’ on to sing the chorus in one of their songs who looked so racked with nerves that her performance was all warbly. The notable thing about the band was their use of feedback. The guitarist fucked about with his cable and his guitar so much you didn’t really know if the feedback was intentional in creating a raw sound for the performance, or his guitar and amp were just plain broke. Either way, it’s probably OK to have shitty amounts of feedback swirl behind you if you’re trying to emulate punk.

We went out for a cigarette. Me and my roommate talked about the band and the atmosphere and decided we’d stay to see most of the gig. These teens not a lot younger than me came out and started whinging “Ugh it’s full of fuckin’ kids in there” and i would look at them and think, “you are kids.” This chubby guy with curly hair came out and started talking mosh pit tactics with his mates and then was left on his own. He said to us “Aw thank god am not the oldest person here anymore!” to which we cringed. He was near our age but probably not mentally.
He started to ask us if we were going to opium later for the after party, which we weren’t. He also asked us if we were going to go see a bunch of random thrash bands in the coming weeks, to which we declined. He had tapped out, and asked “What are you doing here then?” I shrugged and told him we knew the drummer, which we really didn’t. At this point the balder of the bouncers piped up and said to us “Steven there’s a drummer, aren’t you Steve?” to which we all said nothing, but smiled anyway to appease his awkward chat. Steve asked the other bouncer if he was gonna eat his rice.

The second band confirmed my feelings about the crowd, a lot of scene kids and punks who have being doing this since they WERE actively going to over 14’s gigs and having nothing else to do on a Saturday night. The band, Two Step Theatrics looked as though they had a bit of a following, and the “followers” started a mosh pit which resulted in an awkward circle in the middle of the room. If you didn’t want to participate in getting shirtless and smashing your peers to the ground, you had to stand aside.

The band were actually very talented, and had a decent amount of original material which we liked, and they had a fat guy singer which kinda relates to me when i see them, i always considered myself a fat guy singer. He had great stage presence and joked easily about their performance, and was able to switch into a smoother piano led track straight after asking to audience to form a “wall of death”. After the second song, he instigated a ‘wall of death’ which is separating both sides of the mosh pit and smashing them together to cause mayhem. The moshing which was led by the curly headed bro we met outside and a long haired greek guy wearing an extensive sleeve of anarchy badges. There was also a lone black kid who seemed to be really into it, it started to make me think that he was the only black kid in Edinburgh’s moshing scene. How lonely, maybe someday he’ll find another scene that’s way cooler, rather than hang out with metalheads who shove the girls they like into the circle. The sexual tension in some of these male to female encounters i saw was brutal. The desperate look on most guys faces and the longing glances from the blue haired snakebite girls, It reminded me of being a hopelessly in love teenager and only being in my early twenties, it also made me feel old.

The third act, was a girl singing one Jason Mraz song. I initially thought it would be a girl band after glimpsing her backstage but no, just one Mrazzy tune on the acoustic. Her name was Kayleigh Turnbull i think, depending on which girl is featured on the ticket. The girl had stage fright and looked away halfway thru the first verse so me and my roommate called her on(as well as a rowdy older crowd who sounded like pedophiles, shouting “come on Kayleigh, yeah. Kayleigh get it done girl”). She had the whole crowd cheering for her at the halfway point, even me, being sincere as i could be. It was quite funny seeing a nervous teenager coming on after a band that convinced the crowd to beat the shit out of each other, so out of place. But you don’t get to see those nerves often and that’s why she was my favourite, because of the connection she made with people. If it was a 16 year old nerve racked Peter Carson singing “I’m yours” i doubt they would have cared that much.

The last band played mostly covers and had an adept couple tunes, the main thing that stuck out about AMi was that their singer sounded very similar to the one from Wolfmother. They didn’t shy away from this, blasting out “Woman” for their opening song and closing with “Joker”. They had a great repore with each other, and nobody was trying to lord anything over anyone – they seemed to be old friends that were making good music together. We danced the most to their tunes, and cheered when they told the stagehands to fuck off cause they weren’t done yet. It was better than the previous two put together, and as the house lights turned on to kick us out at barely 10:30 i felt i’d got my money’s worth. The last band did have a lasting effect i suppose, as for the past few days after i listened to a Wolfmother album. You always forget these bands until you go out and get drunk and somebody convinces you to remember them.

All and all I kinda enjoyed the whole shebang. Sure i might have some differences or issues when it comes people active in the rock scene, where i have devolved into a guy who’ll listen to anything if it’s good. These people have their genres, they stick to em, and they enjoy it. What’s not to like? As we left i heard one of the pink haired girls on the phone asking to buy a pill off her mate, so at least these kids aren’t straight edge or nothin’, as long as they are taking casual drugs i feel that they might be an interesting crowd to revisit. I give the experience a on the spot rating – Three dyed heads out of 5.

But it doesn’t stop there, these adventures keep on going and going! My roommate was getting a lift with one of the bands so we made a swift exit with them. The night had just begun for me and we went off to find some other places to haunt, my roommate went to a deaf comedy jam – and i went to harass the Italians on Robertson’s Close who were going out somewhere close. I walked round the cowgate for a while until i met somebody to ask what the crack was, both girls were p.ring and only one had time to speak to me. Venturing south i met David and Gregor playing Jenga in the Monkey Cellar with two attractive weegies that lived in Dundee. We fucked about having a couple drinks before going to a party which took us a while to find, and full of quite drunk girls talking about somebody’s birthday and MDMA. I told a few people about the gig when my chat to the strangers ran out, which gave everyone (including myself) a chance to “laugh at somebody different!”There was a fair share of idiots there, including an Essex boy who appeared to be the stupidest person everyone had ever met. He wasn’t mean or a dick, he just wasn’t all there if you know what i mean. Without any booze i managed to tolerate everything till 6 in the morning, where i left to go to some other guys house…why didn’t i just go home there and then?

8am i walked into a Tesco i’d never seen before and bought a meal deal. Eating the whole thing on the walk i observed the colour of the sky and the attitude of the church goers. “Maybe i should go to church someday?” I thought. I always tell people i’m gonna. Just to tell the morally sound people they are doing a great job.
With my last breath i whispered “Christ..” as i slunk into my unmade bed, where i would sleep for a hundred years….

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