Music review: BBC SSO: Hear & Now, City Halls, Glasgow

The prerequisite for the typical BBC SSO Hear and Now concert is an open mind. It’s easy to dismiss the experimentalism that features in these unorthodox programmes as pretentious, especially when the programme notes, as on Saturday, stretch the bounds of useful comprehension. Better in these moments to close the eyes and simply soak in the experience.

Django Django

Music interview: Django Django on their eclectic new album, Marble Skies

Django Django are impossible to pigeonhole. They’re constantly spooling through an eclectic mix-tape of genre-blurring sounds, from psychedelia and art-rock to house, techno, synth-pop, Krautrock, Jamaican dancehall, rockabilly, surf and even skiffle. That may sound on paper like an almighty headache, a messy punch-up at a record fair, but this London-based quartet have managed to knit their multiple personalities into one coherent identity. The distinctive dry-bliss vocals of singer/guitarist Vincent Neff and the galloping horseback beats of Tayport-born producer/drummer David Maclean are Django Django’s signature motifs, the glue that holds their disparate influences together. They sound like no one but themselves.

Bruce Watson

Music preview: Big Country’s Bruce Watson prepares to celebrate 35 years of the band’s iconic debut album The Crossing at Celtic Connections

Bruce Watson was an apprentice at Rosyth Dockyard when he teamed up with Stuart Adamson to form Big Country in the early 80s. As he prepares to celebrate 35 years since iconic debut album The Crossing, the guitarist tells Fiona Shepherd about the band’s early days

Charlie Steen, of Shame, on stage at the 29th Eurockeennes music festival near Belfort, eastern France. (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Aidan Smith: The second coming of punk is here

Despite being dubbed ‘punk rock for snowflakes’ by one online wit, Shame are making Aidan Smith feel nostalgic.

VisitScotland director Paul Bush is one of Scotland's leading festivals and events experts.

Scottish festival organisers told they may have to rely on crowdfunding in future

Festival and event organisers may have to rely on crowd-funding campaigns and donations from philanthropists to keep running in the face of the public spending squeeze, one of Scotland’s leading industry experts has warned.

The Skids PIC: Gordon Smith

Album reviews: The Skids | Neil Young | Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

The Skids commendably maintain their rage and energy, while Neil Young returns to form

Shawn Colvin PIC: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music

Music preview: Jim Gilchrist picks his Celtic Connections highlights

Contemplating the roots music behemoth that is Glasgow’s Celtic Connections can induce a dizzying bewilderment akin to that induced by the annual first sighting of an Edinburgh Fringe programme. As the programme truncheons you with statistics – 2,100 artists participating in 300 events at 20 venues across the Dear Green Place – choosing just what to attend can be a challenge, although for those nervous of straying beyond the security of their preferred genres, the online programme helpfully lists them under folk, Americana, world, fusion etc. Such choices are always invidious, but here are a few to consider.

The Skids

Music review: The Skids, King Tut’s, Glasgow

THE Skids’ 40th anniversary year exceeded expectations so the Dunfermline punk veterans are running with it right into 2018, starting with two intimate shows at King Tut’s allowing the band to show off some new songs from Burning Cities, their first new album since 1981.They opened their account with the live debut of assertive album opener This Is Our World, and it quickly became apparent that a venue as small as Tut’s could not quite contain the sound and fury of The Skids, tempered though it is with age and Richard Jobson’s obvious delight at being on a stage with his bandmates – pinballing about for all he was worth in the tight space he thrashed out for himself.

Robin Ticciati
Photo: Marco Borggreve

Music review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Robin Ticciati

“This concert ranges widely” went the SCO’s own description of its concert. With music from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries taking in all the big musical styles, plus a couple of complementary Czech works thrown in, that felt like rather an understatement. There was a risk, in fact, that the evening might have ended up more like the first part of its “Chaos and Creation” title than the second.


Under the Radar: Shredd!

Glasgow satellite towns such as Paisley, Bellshill and Hamilton have long served as talent feeders for acts the metropolis claims as its own. In 2018 the Le Corbusier-inspired seat of learning, Cumbernauld, could soon be joining the list thanks to the self-described garage fuzz rock outfit Shredd!

Oxfam's Byers Road store in Glasgow is the charity's biggest success story - thanks to customers' love affair with vinyl and CDs

Surge in vinyl sales helps boost charity shop profits

In this world of music downloads and streaming, it seems the allure of the hard copy still endures. And one charity shop in the west end of Glasgow has proved there is life yet in the charitable giving of vinyl and CDs.

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Lewis Capaldi PIC: Andy Buchanan

Ones to watch in 2018: singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi

Singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has released just four tracks but they have been streamed so much, stratospheric success is within sight for the 21-year-old, writes Fiona Shepherd

Hannah Rarity PIC: Martin Forry

Ones to watch in 2018: folk singer Hannah Rarity

After touring from Japan to the USA while still a student, Hannah Rarity is more than ready to record her debut album, writes Jim Gilchrist

Mezzo soprano Catriona Morison PIC: Rayfield Allied

Ones to watch in 2018: opera singer Catriona Morison

Before winning the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World last year, Catriona Morison from Edinburgh was quiety building her career with a regional opera company in Germany. That’s about to change, writes Ken Walton

The Grit Orchestra, conducted by Greg Lawson

Celtic Connections preview: what do you get when you cross Danny MacAskill with a folk orchestra?

Fiona Shepherd talks to stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill and Grit Orchestra conductor Greg Lawson about one of this year’s unlikeliest gigs, and why tearing up the rule book was the only way to make it work.

Franz Ferdinand perform on the Andrew Marr Show, with drummer Paul Thomson showing support for the NHS (right). Picture: BBC

Scots band Franz Ferdinand show support for NHS on Andrew Marr

A Glasgow band made a show of support for the NHS on a leading BBC current affairs programme in the same edition as Theresa May was questioned on the winter crisis gripping the health service.

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Legendary photographer Terry O'Neill Picture: Neil Hanna

Interview: Terry O’Neill

Legendary photographer Terry O’Neill hates having his picture taken. Loathes it, but you’d never know. He doesn’t let on, but smiles and points, posing with props including a chair and a mirror as the camera shutter clicks away. The shoot over, he relaxes.

Sacred Paws PIC: Brian Sweeney

Music interview: Scottish Album of the Year award winners Sacred Paws on long-distance musical relationships

‘Last night I had an anxiety dream where I wrote a song while I was onstage in front of thousands of people – and it was terrible,” says Rachel Aggs, singer and guitarist in dynamic duo Sacred Paws. Given that her band has recently toured Europe as special guests of Mogwai – who also happen to be their record label bosses – you can see where her subconsciousness is leading her.

The 101

Under the Radar: The 101

Hailing from the northeast of Scotland, five-piece indie-pop band The 101 have achieved a lot in their short time together. Formed in 2016, they have clocked up more than 150,000 plays via Spotify (with their latest single Cliché making it on to the Hot New Bands playlist), been championed by Jim Gellatly, gained airplay on BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio and performed live on STV2.

Rag 'n' Bone Man at the Concert in the Gardens, Edinburgh, 31 December 2017

Hogmanay music review: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man / Nina Nesbitt / Declan McKenna, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

“I NEVER get to play a New Year’s Eve gig and the first one is in f***in’ Edinburgh,” marvelled Rory Graham – aka Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – as he raised a fist to his chest in thanks for the loyalty of a crowd who had stayed with him until the end. The bearded 32-year-old singer in mismatched red and blue Nikes and a badge-peppered denim jacket looked overawed to be part of such a huge celebration, although the new organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will have breathed a sigh of relief to see him going down so well with the audience.

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