ARDROSSAN CIVIC CENTRE

   Since its inception WUTS has been a Rolling Stone that gathers no moss. I’ve been following the company’s progress since the early days of small pub gigs, which wasn’t even that long ago and therefore testament to the exponential momentum; in its wake it drags a host of successful gigs, from the small-key local pub-rock events, seeing such musicians-on-the-rise as Gary McLennan, Will Johnstone, Adrian Blom, David Spence, Manic Shine, Calum Ingram, and many many others making up the extensive back catalogue, not to mention such legends as Dave Sharp bringing up the fore-guard. WUTS took it a step further and woke up the West last year with a gig that shook West Kilbride Town Hall to its rafters, showcasing such talents as The Corvus Experiment, Calum Ingram and The Dave Sharp Band all backed by none other than Aziz Ibrahim (ex-Stone Roses/Simply Red) and who has worked on albums with members of The Smiths, Marillion, and the daddy of all songwriters Paul Weller himself! And all this in just one year…

   Flash-forward just half a year, and the event has moved into an even bigger, improved venue in the company’s hometown of Ardrossan, The Civic Centre, and is once again pulling off a must-see-show for miles around, The Big Bang, and the rosta this evening is coruscating with gems as always; Perpetual Motion, who played at the Vikingar in Largs last year and who I was most impressed by at the time, Johnny Graham, who is truly a rising star in the local area, backed by his his skilled band there is no stopping them! The Mojo Cams are a home-grown talent that are on the cusp of signing major (shhhhh), and none other than the massively adored Junkyard Dawgs with their army of fans! As if all that wasn’t enough though, there is the knock-you-dead headliner in the form of one Dave Colwell, who is a prolific character of the rock scene for the past thirty years and more! Playing guitar for none other than Bad Company, who were seventies superstars with such hits as ‘Feel Like Making Love’, ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love’, ‘Shooting Star’ and a whole extensive back catalogue of timeless classics, heavily associated with Free, and a must-see for all veteran rockers and young musos in the area, as Dave ‘The Bucket’ Colwell has collaborated with not only Bad Co., but Iron Maiden, New York Dolls, Thunder, The Quireboys, The Jones Gang and even Humble Pie!

   And The Big Bang certainly did draw a crowd, as that night the place filled up til’ it was swelling with a whole multi-cultural cross-section of music fans. I was privileged enough to be there to catch the bands off stage and interview them post-performance, and those interviews will be edited and released in due course.

  First act of the night, Perpetual Motion are a post-grunge, new-wave, young up-and-coming band, last year when I saw them at the Vikingar’s metal festival, I was struck by them, they reminded me of Joy Division, this time around they have replaced their singer (a bold move as he was a major strength in the band, but it turned out to be of no matter as they have replaced him with an even more major strength in the form of a female singer who packs a punch with her vocals!) Their music is very unique and excitingly new-sounding, old with a contemporary edge, and some points it was like Chuck Berry clashing marvellously with the Stone Roses. I sense Perpetual Motion are definitely going places, they’ve already jumped the hurdle of playing King Tut’s, and that venue has been a platform for many a successful band, all the way up to Oasis and back down again. Perpetual Motion will no doubt live up to their name with  their good mix of strong vocals and a tight backing band, including a heavily-Hendrix inspired guitarist who may one day fill the great man’s shoes, you never know…

    Johnny Graham followed them up, and I had the benefit of seeing him for the first time at the Big Bang, though he is certainly a name that I’ve heard floating around the circuit a lot and indeed you can catch music videos for his songs on Youtube. It was all hits and no hype as Graham played consistently great song after consistently great song, a strong acoustic-sound, great guitarist, great singer, and backed by an exceptionally talented band in the form of a handful of skilled guitarists/percussionists. I caught up with Johnny and his lads backstage where they were in high spirits and chugging from a bottle of Jack, that particular wild interview will be on the WUTS DVD. Fans of Mumford and Sons and any folky-celtic-inspired or modern-indie-music would love Johnny’s style and he can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/music.johnnygraham. Johnny is definitely a rising star and as you know, every star needs to go through a Big Bang to rise. When the faculty that has forged the scene for decades crosses over with the freshly budding talent – it is a wonderful generational cross-over that happens all too rarely in the music world, yet happened that night with a wonderful Big Bang that will be heard for miles around for months to come!

   The Mojo Cams and I had a very enticing interview backstage, superlative local songwriters and Ardrossan-grown, musical-savants, the Cams, hinted at possibilities of major record signings in the pipeline and clandestine meetings in London. They were merry and hyped from their performance and so too was the crowd, which had been picking up gradually all night, the Cams had got the place buzzing with their weird blend of indie-rock and twisted-folk music, and left the audience suitably wakened for the Dawgs entrance into the foray…

   …Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s the Dawgs’ Bollocks! I’ve followed the Junkyard Dawgs since way back in the Vicki’s days in Largs circa 2008 and they have gathered such a huge following these days that every time they play they draw a vast crowd, an amazing feat for a cover band, but this cover band aren’t just your average blue-print copiers, they bring their own twist to the music and with a lively electrical onstage presence they know how to galvanise a crowd! They have been going strong with the same frontman, with his flowing, snowy-white hair, since the eighties! And have played literally every town in the local and surrounding areas…twice! So it’s no wonder then, that they have developed such an army of followers and such a tight, unyielding onstage presence, the band is such a well-oiled machine they say they, “don’t even need to practice, they just do what comes naturally”. The Dawgs have been like Pied Pipers, pricking up and then picking up people place to place with a prolific pattern of perpetual playing and powerful performances! As soon as the Dawgs launched into one of their floor-filling numbers, fans literally scrambled to the dancefloor, whether to mosh, bounce, spin, dance, or pogo respectively, it didn’t matter, they amalgamated that crowd into one writhing, vibrating mass. The floor was bouncing so much I was actually concerned the speakers were going to topple at one point. The Dawgs are balls of energy and the crowd are invoked with its spirit. They have left the place salivating for the next act, job done, they exit stage-right and head off for a sweaty, exhausted post-show interview…

   The gig is peaking now, but then comes that special moment when you realise you still have the headliner to go, and it can only get better, and it does. Dave Colwell is everything we expected from such a prestigious, prominent and prodigious personality. He starts off with some new material (after recently finishing recording in Glasgow) and he litters his set with good rock standards that keep the crowd jumping and head-banging (even the older fans, in fact especially the older fans!) and when he hits out with such showstoppers as ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’, Free’s ‘All Right Now’ and ‘Fire and Water’ it’s like lightning from the Gods of yore. This is the music that fashioned our whole rock scene today, these are the sounds we were raised on, and the air is saturated with its influence and it is heart-beateningly palpable! We caught up with Mr.Colwell himself after his show and the interview will be released soon.

   WUTS go from success to success; they are arguably the top dogs of the local music scene. Before them, we would never have seen such an historic event as Aziz Ibrahim playing in West Kilbride! Or Dave Sharp playing in Saltcoats! Or certainly Dave Colwell playing in Ardrossan. The local music scene of Ayrshire has been flat for a long, long time now, and WUTS have resuscitated it, breathing new life and dusting off the surrounding long-forgotten venues to host not only great established talent, but also to catapult the fresh up-and-coming musicians, who until now, had no real truck in North Ayrshire. This is a musical revolution, so get behind it and push, because without the drive and ambition to unite the gifted local musicians and forge new scenes for them to thrive in, the future would be bleak. Support your local scenes, get out to gigs whenever you can, you will always be rewarded with discovering unexpected genius, and genius should be nurtured and encouraged to stem the tide of X-Factor-borne diseases that infect this industry. Thanks to WUTS’s team of organizers, promoters, cameramen, staff, fans and musicians, we wouldn’t have a platform for bands to be proud of, like The Mojo Cams, and Perpetual Motion and Johnny Graham…

   Our next event is August 30th at The Civic in the height of Summer. And the line-up is even greater than the last two events combined; the illustrious Aziz Ibrahim, Dirty North, The Merrylees, Will & The Wild Horse, Alan Frew Band, Howlin’ Radio, Simon Atkinson & The Foundryman’s Apprentice and even an acoustic stage featuring the legendary Dave Sharp, the excellent Well-Fired Rolls alongside James M. Rogers, Caleb Major and Josh McKee! So an event that is surely not-to-be-missed! Trust me…I’m a doctor…of journalism…

                …In the Year of the [Wild] Horse on the Chinese calendar…and it all started with a Big Bang…

CTH.

Originally published on NHC Music 31/04/2014
Advertisements