THE ROAD TO YELLOWLAND
“This is he… Who shall again set up the Golden Age amid the fields where Saturn once reigned”
~ [Virgil Aeneid 6.790]
Just as every 12,000 years Man ascends to a Golden Age, as our sun moves in binary orbit through the electromagnetic-enriched zones of its cycle, so every decade music has ascended to a ‘Golden Age’. 67′, 77′, even the 80’s and half the 90’s, all resplendent with folk heroes, guitar gods, rock stars, and music legends. The last twenty years however, have been devoid of the spark of revolution, the Gods have went missing. For the last two decades we have been subjected to and slapped with X Factor, Pop Idol, Gareth Gates, Spice Girls, Justin Bieber, and all the other upward mobile swine of their porcine ilk!
You want good music these days, you have to turn the clock back a few decades, or… make it yourself… Make it yourself… Yes… There’s an idea! And D.I.Y is exactly what a smattering of Scottish bands have been doing, for a couple of years now, with success. Success to the point of gaining a legion of followers, kicking off a musical revolution in Glasgow, and to the point of selling out the exalted Barrowlands to a capacity crowd, arriving by the busload, and brimming out to around 2000 Yellow Movement comrades… That’s all unsigned bands, all self-funded, selling out one of Glasgow’s biggest venues, on the strength of nothing more than heart, soul, and yes, peace love and mustard…and just fucking great music! Welcome my friends, to the Year Of The Dijon, The Yellow Age…
In support of The Clutha Trust, backed by the decibel-defying Twistettes, the alacrity and spontaneity of Jamie & Shoony, the homespun hoedowns of Have Mercy Last Vegas and of course the legendary Girobabies, and enforced by the 2,000-strong yellow-shirted crowd, it was sure to be a defining night in the history of Scottish music, of the Barrowlands and of the unsigned/independent scene the country over…
NHC and The Gonzo Division were there in full force, as were all the notable characters of the Scottish independent scene from fans, to festival-goers, to bands, journalists, promoters, DJs, celebrities… Anyone that had ever been touched by the glow of the movement was there that night. The overwhelming sense of belonging at a Yellow Movement get-together of this magnitude is so palpable it is intense, as with any movement of this scale, the Yellow one is a collective conscience, and tonight we are all connected tightly.
Favourites of ours, The Twistettes, kicked things off in fine fashion with the geared-up grinding, grungy, gallous, gynocentric punk for a new age, bringing back the glorious and oft-overlooked sound of past legends of the female punk scene, but seasoning it with their own twist and adding several decibels. I know from experience that when The Twistettes play a festival you can hear them, no matter where on the grounds of that festival you are standing. A powerful force to start the proceedings with… In a packed in Barras it is like standing in a wind tunnel! Start as we mean to go on…
Once sister-duo The Twistettes had blown us away, literally, the energy is picked up and carried on by the spinning, whirling, feelgood vibes of Have Mercy Las Vegas, another festival favourite of ours, and an unconventional swirl of folk, country, blues and celtic sounds, as a huge Waterboys fan, I was already sold a long time before I ever saw them live here, and witnessed the vibrancy and vitality that they bring to the crowd, you can’t help but dance and spill your cider, and that’s what we did as they twirled us through an eclectic myriad of sounds.
Genre-leaping as only a YM gig can, Edinburgh’s Jamie and Shoony take to the stage with zeal, aplomb and avidity! Their set leaves no-one out as they masterfully encourage the crowd to participate and take you on a rollercoaster rock rampage, as they duck and weave through songs like a champion boxer dodging blows. Despite being a relatively new band, they have learned well from their contemporaries, and demonstrate the experience of a well-seasoned band. Enthusiastic and bouncy, and setting us up nicely, for a psychedelic genre-splitting twist from The Girobabies.
The Giros’ have had a massive impact on me personally, by being one of my favourite bands of the last year or so. Their album ‘Who Took Utopia’ is etched into my music bank memory forever due to repeated unrelenting listens, on vinyl, CD, iPod, whether at home, work, partying, or out and about, their music won’t be far from my ears. Their songs are so infectious they hang around in your head for hours, days, weeks, months… No matter how many times you attempt to exorcise them by LP plays, they just keep coming back. Mark’s lyrics on loop in your head, the haunting basslines and the ear-worming riffs and hooks as well as the added bonus of Jo D’Arc (Twistettes) adding her serene voice to the grimy, street-smart vocals of Mark, as in ‘Bring Potions’ and ‘Late Night Sketchy’.
On this epochal night in The Barras, the band treat their regular fans and step up the game for the new ones attending ‘neath such hallowed halls as The Barras, by introducing a sitar and trippy keyboard effects and taking all sorts of tangents and turns throughout the set. All this from the band whilst taking us on a DMT-like journey with dystopian, but pleasantly satisfying sounds, the familiar sounds of Glasgow, personified in a musical soundscape. The energy was so peaked, even Mark treated himself to a crowdsurf during what was probably one of the best punk gigs The Barras has seen in a long time!
Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 are saving the face of rock and roll… Countless gigs with them have shown me that if one thing is true, you will not leave one of their performances without a smile etched so deep onto your face you’ll need surgery to have it removed. You can’t help but be swept up in it, the genre-colliding, the witty, sing-along, serio-comic lyrics, the bouncy balls, the gator-surfing and the floating dingy, carrying Dijancer as he literally rows with oars across the sea of people packed into the venue… By this point, our old friend from the ‘Vicki’s Days’ Rev. D. Wayne Love of Alabama 3 has joined the proceedings, and giant chickens are crowdsurfing, convivial celebration has reached a fever pitch, there’s wrestling matches taking place as The Colonel and Dijancer tag team ICW’s “International Sex Hero” DCT, and half the Gonzo Division are up there dancing among 5th and 6th Dijon alike, as a stage invasion takes place!
Misty memories of this night in March, as the headline act saw to the complete destruction of our brain cells through a heady combination of alcohol and euphoric vibes. Three very poignant moments stand out though;
The first few months of 2016 saw the losses of many legends, local and worldwide. David Bowie was one such icon, and he was inducted into The Barras Hall of Fame by 6th Dijon celebrity Gavin Mitchell (Still Game) and with a poignant and touching closing ceremony, Eli Stewart, who bravely battles cancer made sure the night ended on a resounding note by treating us to a rendition of ‘Life On Mars’ that marked the end of a defining moment for the Yellow Movement, and for Glasgow, as a city with a rich and varied musical history.
On a more personal note, NHC, The Gonzo Division, the Yellow Movement, and our friends, lost a real legend of our scene and treasure of our lives, Val Coleman, on 6th February. The loss was unexpected and keenly felt by many of our family of friends, not least Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5, who honoured Val’s memory in a way she could have only dreamed of, being such an enormous fan, who was never happier than when attending a Mustard gig, by dedicating the apt song ‘Ginger Girl’ to her complete with a slideshow of her pictures on the big screen behind the stage, depicting her as she always was, having fun, bringing a smile with hers, happy, gregarious, and a true Yellow Movement spirit, she is now immortalised at that historical concert where her attendance was sorely missed, even in such a big crowd, because she was a big character and a light to us all. RIP Val.
So let us ascend then, into a Golden Age of music once again, regain our Lost Star. Glasgow is once again supplying some of the best bands in Britain, any Yellow Movement or NHC gig is testament to that, you only have to buy the ticket, to take the ride, let us shake off the dust of a generation’s worth of crap music clogging the ears and minds of too many individuals. The creative cycle is overdue coming back around, but I sense it on the horizon, with the emergence of lots of different ‘Yellow Movements’ all around the world, scenes are erupting, a musical re-awakening begins… The past as model for the future… A Great Shift… With three words… PEACE… LOVE… MUSTARD!
Seeya’ in the pit!!!
NHC (Gonzo Division)
Originally published on NHC 08/04/2016