The usual columnist is taking a well-deserved break for a week and I’m privileged to be asked to fill in for her weekly ‘Kick Ass Column’…as it’s the kick-ass column let’s talk about a few things that kick ass on the local and unsigned scene.

   You may have read in past issues of Amped Up about Jamie McDermid’s New Hellfire Club in Glasgow (NHC), and I’m pleased to report that their hub of operations is going well, a special shop in the Hidden Lane, Argyle St. where you can buy cheap DVDs, vinyls, gig tickets, band merch and all the music-related paraphernalia you can imagine. The beauty of the NHC shop is its noble and honourable modus operandi, which is to ‘feed the music, not the corporations’, every penny of profit NHC make goes straight back into the local unsigned scene, and you can see proof of these transactions for all to peruse in the shop itself. They even have regular live performances at the shop, how cool is that? You can buy some music merch, have a drink (which is usually free) and get to hear a live performance from an up and coming artist, what music loving dipsomaniac, discophile could ask for more!?

   Organizations like Amped Up and NHC are important because it is important to have an outlet for the abundance of gifted artists that literally ooze out of the woodwork of Scottish towns. Why is it important to support your local music scene? There’s a glut of reasons why. You spend plenty of cash going down the pub weekly don’t you? Why not go down the pub and see a gig too? Seems logical to have a live experience and a drink with your mates when possible. At the moment Glasgow and the surrounding areas are more saturated with talent than the walls of its chippes are with oil, and the lubricant that keeps the scene greased is the crowds, the more a venue or band becomes a point of interest, the more vivacious that particular scene becomes. Anybody who truly loves music understands that nothing compares to the aural sensation of the live experience, better than any live album, or iPod or jukebox on the planet.

   It never ceases to amaze me just how much undiscovered and relatively unheard music is out there that is genuinely incredible and sometimes profoundly gifted, but it’s there, in lurking, in every back alley bar and basement pub proliferating among the buildings and streets. Many of these artists don’t even have albums out, their wonderful music is exclusive to the live venue! This throbbing pulse needs support to keep it beating, the electricity of crowds to galvanise it. In the voltage of this environment, legends are forged and in its heat icons made, I honestly believe that sometimes I’m witnessing future stars, early in their career, after all, everybody started somewhere! So in order to usurp the X-Factor/One Direction acerebral, fickle audiences that dominate our dreadful charts, we need to give rise to these real musicians, actually writing songs, actually playing an instrument, it’s becoming a dying art and that is distressing.

   So next time you’re going out for the weekend, go somewhere there is a gig on, you will almost never be disappointed. As a music journalist I attend a great many gigs around the scene weekly and I rarely see a bad band, and always, always have a great time.

   In Ayrshire various promoters host a lot of phenomenal talents throughout Saltcoats and Ardrossan. Then Glencairns, with their excellent house band The Well-Fired Rolls, is a rising star of Ayrshire venues, situated in seaside Stevenston. In Glasgow, open mic nights are as ubiquitous as kebab shops, Monday nights at Pivo Pivo are always a blast! 13th Note, King Tut’s, QMU, Buff Club, Cathouse, Hard Rock Café, the list of dynamic drinking-holes and hangouts is infinite, all showcasing the best homegrown talents.

   Reading Amped Up Scotland, listening to local radio and liking its page and pages such as New Hellfire Club and P.R.A.G.U.E and associated, will keep you up to date with all the latest going-ons. A team of dedicated promoters, journalists and DJs, are constantly working hard to uncover all the music worth checking out and bringing it to your attention, and we do it all for one thing, the love of great music, and the music itself is reward enough. Whether it’s the thunderous uproarious splendour of the sublime Sambayabamba, or the wild and rambunctious celtic-punk stylings of the tremendous Trongate Rum Riots, the heady grunge of the inimitable Insectways, or the smooth, sculptural rhythms of the captivating Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5. Maybe the moody and mellifluous metal of the canonistic Corvus Experiment, or the upbeat scintillating ska of the energetic Esperanza.

   There’s an undiscovered band out there for everyone, waiting to be discovered, by YOU. It should be everybody’s commitment that they take in at least one live band a month. It’s not a task or a chore, like recycling or visiting your gran, it’s just asking you to let your hair down and go out and have fun and support your local scenes while you’re at it, to keep the scene rolling…rolling…like…well…like a…well, like a rolling stone of course!

                          And, “Where words leave off, music begins….”

                                                                                                              C.T Herron.

Originally published in Amped Up Scotland 09/10/2014

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