Glasgow based four-piece Catholic Action are no strangers to the art of eclectic creation, with March’s L.U.V. single release seeing their stock rise exponentially thanks to their signature brand of stylish indie art rock.
Having supported the likes of FFS, Swim Deep, and more recently, Teenage Fanclub, the band are kicking off an 8 date UK tour (see below) in London tomorrow night in support of their new AA release ‘Rita Ora’/Breakfast – out on 7″ and digital format on September 23 via Luv Luv Luv Records.
And in Chris McCrory (also of Casual Sex), we may have a new pretender to Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand’s throne as the most talented frontman that Scotland has produced in recent years.
Thu September 22 2016 – LONDON Old Blue Last
Fri September 23 2016 – LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall
Sat September 24 2016 – MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Sun September 25 2016 – GLASGOW King Tuts
Wed September 28 2016 – ABERDEEN Tunnels
Thu September 29 2016 – INVERNESS Mad Hatters
Fri September 30 2016 – DUNDEE Buskers
Sat October 01 2016 – EDINBURGH Mash House
THE Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs), in association with Rebel Rebel Barbers, are set to return this October with a massive main awards line-up.
Celebrating their 7th birthday, the awards will again be hosted by Jim Gellatly. It has also been revealed that Paisley grime MC Shogun will perform live at the main awards night at the Garage Glasgow on Wednesday 12th October.
The awards re-launched over the summer by staging a show at Highlands creative industries festival XpoNorth in June and hosting a networking event at Glasgow hotel citizenM earlier this month.
SAMAs Founder/Creative Director Richy Muirhead and his team have since been hard at work assembling an events schedule, with a successful Paisley showcase in the bag and one to follow in Perth (9th September).
The SAMAs have also been working on a new streamlined nomination process for the main awards which will see specialist judges working on each award. The judges will be made up of members of the Scottish music industry from areas such as; live sector, music publishing, journalism. Set to take place on Wednesday 12th October at the Garage, Glasgow. As always, you can expect a few SAMAs surprises in the line-up!
Of the latest SAMAs developments Muirhead said:
“We’re absolutely delighted to be back after a summer of music research and attending all the festivals. This year, the SAMAs are going to be slicker than ever with our new nomination process and increased judges. Turning seven is a massive achievement and we’re thrilled to be hosting the main awards in October!”
The awards to be handed out this year at the main awards in Glasgow are:
Best Acoustic in association with citizenM
Best Electronic in association with Assai UK
Best Hip-Hop in association with 1000fans
Best Live Act in assocation with XPO North
Best Metal in association with Cathouse Glasgow
Best Newcomer in association with The Academy of Music & Sound
Best Rock/Alternative in association with Eventbrite
Tickets available are available from £20/£10/£6.50 through Eventbrite.
La canción “La gloria de los que fracasan” está incluida en el album “Perros, santos y refranes”. Es una canción pop con pequeños arreglos orquestales que incluye cerca de 90 pistas de audio. La letra habla de la relación que establece una persona con la música, algo doloroso y hermoso como puede ser una relación de amor con una persona. Siempre hay una parte épica en el fracaso que convierte ciertas derrotas en pequeñas historias gloriosas.
One of Scotland’s top DJs is returning home to play a gig for 30 people – in a laundrette.
Jackmaster, aka Jack Revill, from Glasgow, has firmly established himself among the top DJs on the planet, constantly touring the world to play in front of packed audiences in clubs and at major festivals.
The man from Hillhead’s hard work ethic and versatility saw him pick up the accolade of Best Breakthrough DJ in 2010 before going on to be crowned Best DJ by DJ magazine in 2014. He is also nominated for Best House DJ at the DJ awards, which takes place in Ibiza in October.
And no stranger place could play host to his talents behind the decks than in Glasgow’s Majestic Laundrette in the city’s Finnieston area. A mainstay of the area for more than 30 years, the laundrette has transformed itself into Scotland’s hipster HQ.
Having hosted everything from fashion shoots, celebrity interviews, acoustic concerts, Emeli Sande music videos and even 40th birthday parties, the laundrette has taken advantage of its perfect location sandwiched amongst trendy eateries, bars and restaurants.
And with its walls emblazoned with the flyers and posters on the latest events and concerts across the city, the laundrette doubles up as a place to both clean your smalls and find out what’s happening in the city and when.
Chris Edwards, who works in the laundrette, said “Where we are situated is absolutely spot on. There are a lot of coffee places, its ideal where we are. There are a lot of laundrettes in the city centre that are tucked away that you wouldn’t even know are there.”
“It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever heard. That people will be saying that they were at a gig in a laundrette the other night and it was amazing.
“But a lot of people seem to pop their heads in here for a look, just to read the flyers, to see what’s on in Glasgow. We don’t mind it. Then when they are in they ask us how much it will cost to get their suits dry-cleaned and things like that. Its two birds with one stone.”
Finnieston recently came top in a poll to find Britain’s hippest place to live, with the area’s transformation from former warehouses and dock lands into a trendy hotspot beating off competition from areas such as London’s Shoreditch.
The event, as part of Red Bull’s Music Academy’s UK tour, takes place on the 15th October, with the drinks company labelling the event “quite literally the freshest party of the weekend.”
The search for the real identity of Banksy is a story one that never fails capture the imagination of the media and the millions of fans across the globe of the subversive Bristol street artist, ever since he came to the public’s attention back in 1997 with his The Mild Mild West mural.
And with the news that filtered out in March of a scientific study by Queen Margaret University confirming previous studies that pointed out to him as being plain old public school boy Robin Gunningham, the final nail in the coffin was struck in what had left the world scratching their heads.
But what if Banksy isn’t the one person everyone thinks he is. What if – akin to the Shakespeare consiparcy theories, Banksy is a group of people who have stencilling different locations both at home and abroad. Such a rich body of work done over a decade, across the globe, may allow for the suggestion.
A rumour exists from 2010 that his work that went up around North America was his work but were not necessarily painted by him, but rather by a street team that happened to be following the Massive Attack tour.
And on analysis of his North American work, this makes perfect sense.
Around the time when six Banksy murals were reported to the press in San Francisco on the 1st of May 2010, including the famous ‘This Will Look Nice When It’s Framed’ image, Massive Attack performed a two night stint in the city on the 25th and 27th April, a few days previously.
Also in Toronto a similar pattern arises. Massive Attack played the city’s Sound Academy on May 7th and May 9th in 2010, the latter being the day that three new Banksy murals appeared in the city.
On the 12th of May, a new Banksy mural also appeared in Boston’s Chinatown area, depicting a ‘cancelled’ ‘Follow your dreams’ stencil. Massive Attack performed at the city’s legendary House Of Blues venue one day later, on the 13th May.
We can also jump backwards and forwards to both 2006, 2008 and 2013, when Banksy held residencies at art galleries in L.A. and New York and when new works of his appeared in the country. Again, a link with Massive Attack is evident.
In 2006, Massive Attack embarked on a US tour which saw them play in California in Berkeley on the 22nd of September and the famous Hollywood Bowl venue on the 24th in Los Angeles, the week after Banksy held his ‘Barely Legal’ exhibition in the city, over the weekend of the 15th-17th of September.
Fast forward two years to 2008, and Banksy returned to the US to produced 14 stencils throughout New Orleans to mark the upcoming third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Del Naja wrote the soundtrack alongside fellow Massive Attack member Neil Davidge to the New Orleans-themed documentary ‘Trouble the Water’. It received its New Orleans premiere on the 17th August that year – the same time period, almost to the day, that the stencils appeared.
And in 2013, when the artist’s month long residency in New York kicked off on the 1st October, the dates coincided with Massive Attack’s four night residency in the city between the 28th September and the 4th October at the city’s Park Avenue Armoury.
What about the wider field of play? The locations across the globe where Banksy has left his mark, apart from in Bristol, London and North America include Italy and Australia, and even, if we are to be believed, Africa.
As order dictates, I started at the beginning. And with that, somewhere close to home. Glasgow.
One of Bansky’s earliest public displays of his work was at the now defunct Arches nightclub and event space, under the city’s Central Station. The event saw the artist- then relatively unknown, share a billing with fellow, and more established, artist Jamie Reid of Sex Pistols fame.
Running from around the 1st to 18th March 2001, the Peace is Tough exhibition was poorly attended, but saw Banksy showcase some of his early work, like ‘Monkey Queen’. So why in Glasgow?
If Massive Attack are anything to go by, they also found the venue’s rugged charm to be the perfect launch pad. To celebrate the launch of their second album, ‘Protection’ (which came out on September 26 1994), the band played a concert at the venue on 8th December that year.
Looking abroad, one of Banksy’s first appearances outwith the UK was in Naples, Italy. His famous ‘Madonna Con La Pistola’, painted on the side of a church in the centre of the city, appeared some time around August 2004.
Banksy himself refers to the piece in a photo of the stencil in his book ‘Cut It Out’, released on the 14th of December 2004 – which allows me to make the jump back some months. Searches indicate that photos where first taken around this time of the work, which is still present in its location, covered by a Perspex protective cover.
A work appeared by Banksy in the city in 2010, only for it to be painted over quickly after, with which little information is available. So we know Banksy had ties to Naples, as its the only place he ‘tagged’ in Italy. And that he has visited on more than occasion.
Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja (‘3D’) is a massive Napoli fan and gave an interview to Naples’s Radio Marte in 2010, revealing his passion for the team – a passion handed down to him from his Italian father. In the interview he reveals he attended a Napoli match in Naples against AS Citadella during their time in Serie C1, a match that took place on the 26th September 2004.
So although Massive Attack didn’t play a show there, at least Del Naja was there around the time the mural appeared. The band have had a relationship with the city stretching back to a decade before then in 1994, when Channel 4 filmed a documentary on their visit to the city to visit Del Naja’s father’s place of birth and record with the Naples band Almamegretta.
Let’s move on to Australia, jumping back and forward as we do. He first went down under in April 2003, after being invited to attend to participate in the Semi-Permanent design event in Alexandria, Sydney, creating one of his biggest ever art works while he was there – a collage piece stretching 2.5m high by 9m long.
While in the country he also visited Melbourne, being shown around by a guy called Puzle from a t-shirt label called Burn Crew, whom he met in Sydney, where he sprayed some of his famous rat stencils and a ‘Little Diver’ image around the city, including the famous ACDC lane.
When Banksy’s work appeared in Melbourne, this also represents the last time Massive Attack played in the city, at the Vodafone Arena on March 11th that year, before playing at the Sydney Entertainment Centre of the 14th March, Brisbane on the 16th March and Canberra on the 18th, as part of their Australian tour.
In early August of 2005, Banksy visited Palestine, painting a total of 9 pieces on the Palestinian Wall, including the famous ‘West Bank Guard’ showing a young girl searching a soldier for contraband. He returned a decade later, in February 2015, he further stirred the collective conscience by ‘bombing’ his way across slabs left over from Israel’s 2014 offensive in Gaza.
As for a possible Massive Attack appearance around the time Banksy visited Palestine in early 2005, there is none. Del Naja and Massive Attack have been working since 2005 with the HOPING foundation- Hope and Optimism for Palestinians in the Next Generation – and have continuously lent their support to Palestine issues. After having played 2 gigs in Israel previously, he joined the movement for a cultural boycott of the country in 2010.
The band also played a run of three benefit concerts in Birmingham and London in 2007 for the foundation, while also made the headlines in July of 2014, with their headline show at Longitude Festival in Dublin including graphics which highlighted their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. Later that month the band staged a concert in Lebanon in collaboration with the HOPING project to support Palestinian refugees after visiting the Bourj el Barajneh refugee camp.
Perhaps of all the locations tagged by Banksy, Mali has to be the most random of places to have felt his artistic presence. Concretely, his work was uncovered in the suburbs of Bamako in Mali around January/February of 2007, with images first appearing online around four months later.
Bamako is a name that resonates due its links to Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project. Del Naja became involved with the project after visiting The Congo with Albarn in late 2007, and has strong links to the Mali music scene – being cited alongside Johnny Marr in Malian musicians’ Madou and Mariam’s section of the ‘Voices United For Mali’ song of peace, which was released in January 2013 – a song which was recorded in Studio Bogolan in Bamako.
Alburn himself part produced the album ‘Welcome to Mali’ by Madou & Mariam, which itself was part recorded in Bamako in early 2008, around the time when the murals appeared in the city.
Skip to 2008, and Banksy made his Asian debut after his work was included in the ‘Love Art 08’ exhibition at the end of April at the city’s Art Centre. This was around the same time that the art group United Visual Arts were invited to showcase their award winning multimedia artwork ‘Volume’ at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, from the 11-20th April.
Interestingly, the piece was a collaboration between design collective United Visual Artists, Del Naja and his long-term co-writer Neil Davidge (as part of their music production company, one point six).
Throughout his career, Banksy has spoken of his friendship with the band’s Robert Del Naja – himself a graffiti artist. Del Naja and Banksy are said to have exhibited together at shows in the past, with Banksy citing Del Naja as a big influence on his work.
And Del Naja himself appeared in Banksy’s ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’, speaking about his relationship with the artist from his early days in Bristol.
The artist also provides the foreword to the tome ‘3D & the Art of Massive Attack’, released in August 2015, which reads… “When I was about 10 years old, a kid called 3D was painting the streets hard. 3D quit painting and formed the band Massive Attack, which may have been a good thing for him, but was a big loss for the city.”
Del Naja was a graffiti artist long before becoming the ‘creative director’ of sorts of Massive Attack, and is held in high regard as one of the pioneers of the stencil graffiti movement, helping to bring hip-hop and graffiti culture to Bristol in the 1980s. And his work has been featured on all of Massive Attack’s record sleeved to date.
It’s also worth noting that Massive Attack cancelled a headline performance at Banksy’s ‘Dismaland’ event in September, citing ‘technical difficulties’. Banksy himself asked attendees to the event to wear masks, with the idea for ‘The Masked Ball’ being that he could attend without his identity being revealed by the paparazzi in attendance.
Perhaps the assertion then that Banksy is just one person is wide of the mark, instead being a group who have, over the years, followed Massive Attack around and painted walls at their leisure.
And perhaps, at the head of such a group we have Del Naja. A multi disciplined artist in front of one the seminal groups in recent British music history, doubling up as the planet’s most revered street artist. Now that would be cool.
Hay más teorías en circulación sobre la verdadera identidad de Banksy que he comido cenas calientes, pero esa historia no falla en reavivar los rumores o captar la imaginación de los millones de fans de la subversiva artista callejera de Bristol.
Las noticias que se filtran en Marzo de un estudio científico en Queen Margaret University en Londres utilizando mapas de calor y perfiles geográficos quizás poniendo un clavo final en el ataúd de la idea de que él es realmente un antigua alumna de un escuela pública de Bristol, Robin Gunningham.
A mí me dejó un sabor amargo, como las técnicas utilizadas en los círculos de Criminología están adaptado a la búsqueda de Banksy – aunque ofrece bastante evidencia concreta. Si yo fuera un jurado sobre el caso, me gustaría estar ver evidencia sacada de una búsqueda rollo algo viejo olfatear, la pluma detrás de la oreja, un come-donuts trabajo de detective.
Por lo tanto, impulsados por la -en mi opinión- agujera grande presente en el estudio – lo de centrarse sólo en los sitios de trabajo de Banksy en Bristol y Londres en el Reino Unido – me llevó a verlo todo a través de un amplio campo de juego, con ubicaciones en todo el mundo donde Banksy ha dejado su marca, y he vuelto con algunos resultados interesantes.
Como dicta la orden, empecé por el principio. Y con eso, en algún lugar cerca de casa. Glasgow. Uno de las primeras ocasiones que Bansky mostro públicamente su trabajo fue en la ya desaparecida discoteca y espacio para eventos ‘The Arches’, bajo la Estación Central de la ciudad. El evento vio el artista- entonces relativamente desconocido, compartir un evento con compañeros más establecidas, como el artista Jamie Reid de Sex Pistols fama.
Ejecutando desde alrededor del 1 al 18 de marzo de 2001, el ‘Peace is Tough’ exposición fue mal atendido, pero vio Banksy escaparate algunos de sus primeros trabajos, como ‘Monkey Queen’.
Entonces, ¿por qué aquí, en Glasgow? Esto, antes de su ‘Existencilism’ exposición en Los Ángeles y la siguiente ‘Turf War’ en Londres? Quizás él había visitado el lugar antes, en otra capacidad, y le gustó lo que vio. Suficiente para volver, como lo hizo en 2001, y pintar las paredes con su trabajo, algunos de los cuales aún existe hoy en día.
Ahora, donde se puede encontrar uno de los primeros pedazos de Banksy adornado una pared fuera del Reino Unido? Uno de los primeros que encontré, fue en Nápoles, Italia. Su famoso ‘Madonna Con la pistola”, pintado en el lateral de una iglesia en el centro de la ciudad, apareció en algún momento alrededor de agosto de 2004. Las fechas exactas de esto no puedo ser específico.
El mismo Banksy se refiere a la obra en su libro “Cut It Out”, publicado el 14 de diciembre de 2004 – que me permite hacer el salto algunos meses atrás. Búsquedas indican que las primeras fotos tomadas de la obra pertenecen a este tiempo de trabajo, que aún esta visible en su ubicación, cubierto por una tapa protectora de plexiglás.
Un trabajo apareció por Banksy en la ciudad en 2010, pero fue destruido rápidamente después, con lo que se dispone de poca información. Así que sabemos que Banksy tiene vínculos a Nápoles, a mi conocimiento, es el único lugar que él “etique” en Italia. Y que él ha visitado en más de ocasión. Más sobre esto más adelante.
Pasemos a Australia, saltar hacia atrás y hacia adelante como lo hacemos nosotros. Su primer visita fue en Abril de 2003, después de haber sido invitado a participar en el evento de diseño ‘Semi-Permanent’ en Alexandría, Sydney, creando uno de sus obras de arte más grande mientras estaba allí – un pedazo de collage que mido 2.5m de alto por 9m de largo.
Mientras de paso en el país también visitó Melbourne, y di un paso por la cuidad con un chico llamado Puzle, uno que curraba con una marca de camisetas llamada Burn Crew, a quien le conoció en Sydney, donde roció algunas de sus famosas galerías de rata y una ‘Little Diver’ imagen en varios puntos de la ciudad, incluyendo el famoso ACDC Lane.
A principios de agosto de 2005, Banksy visitó Palestina, pintando un total de 9 piezas en el muro de Palestina, incluyendo el famoso “West Bank Guard’ mostrando una joven parando un soldado por el contrabando. Regresó una década más tarde, en febrero de 2015, asimismo, agitan la conciencia colectiva por “atentado” a su manera a través de losas remanente del ofensiva en 2014 de Israel en Gaza.
Pero en términos de productividad, fuera del Reino Unido, es en los Estados Unidos y Canadá donde la labor de Banksy se ha concentrado a lo largo de los años. Después de su primer show en Los Ángeles en 2001, regresó a la ciudad en septiembre de 2006 con su show ‘Barely Legal’.
Avance rápido dos años hasta el 2008, y Banksy regresó a los Estados Unidos, donde dejo 14 galerías en Nueva Orleáns para conmemorar el próximo tercer aniversario del huracán Katrina.
De nuevo en los EE.UU., seis nuevas piezas de Banksy, incluyendo el famoso “This Will Look Nice When It’s Framed”, se informó a la prensa en San Francisco alrededor del 1 de mayo de 2010, una semana o así antes de tres nuevos murales Banksy apareció en Toronto.
Y alrededor del 12 de mayo, un nuevo mural de Banksy apareció también en la zona de Chinatown de Boston, representando un ‘Cancelled’…Follow Your Dreams” galería. Desde aquí, la última aparición de Banksy en el otro lado del Atlántico se produjo durante su famoso mes de residencia en Nueva York, que comenzó el 1 de octubre de 2013 con la aparición de su ‘The Street Is In Play” plantilla.
Así que aquí tenemos Banksy, en el transcurso de una década y media, viajar a ciudades de todo el mundo tanto para exhibir su trabajo y spray-stencil paredes sobre carriles dondequiera que vaya. Eso en sí mismo no es nada que todos nosotros no sabemos. Pero, ¿por qué ir tan lejos de Bristol y Londres para hacerlo. Sólo por el arte, a difundir su mensaje? O si existe una razón mucho más simple que le llevó a estas ciudades en estos momentos en el tiempo.
Formaba él parte o conectados con un grupo musical? Un grupo que han pasado veinte años o así lanzando discos y recorriendo el mundo para realizar shows y extender el alcance de su música. Tiene sentido.
Y ninguna otra banda tiene un vínculo estrecho con la artista como los amantes de trip-hop de Bristol, Massive Attack. A lo largo de su carrera, Banksy ha hablado de su amistad con la banda de Robert Del Naja – él mismo es también un grafitero. Del Naja y Banksy dicen que han exhibido juntos unos shows en el pasado, con Banksy citando Del Naja como una gran influencia en su obra y forma de pintar.
El artista proporciona el prólogo a la tomé “3D & The Art of Massive Attack”, publicado en Agosto de 2015, que dice… “Cuando yo tenía unos 10 años de edad, un chico llamado 3D estaba pintando las calles sin parar. 3D salir de pintura y formo la banda Massive Attack, que puede haber sido una buena cosa para él, pero fue una gran pérdida para la ciudad (Bristol).”
Del Naja fue un grafitero mucho antes de convertirse en el “director creativo” digamos de Massive Attack, y se mantiene en alta estima como uno de los pioneros del movimiento grafiti esténcil, ayudando a traer la cultura hip-hop y grafiti a Bristol en la década de 1980. Y su trabajo ha sido publicado en todas las portadas de los discos de Massive Attack hasta la fecha.
De hecho, se levantaron las cejas el año pasado después de que Massive Attack canceló un concierto en el parque de atracciones de Banksy ‘Dismaland’ en Septiembre, aduciendo “dificultades técnicas”. El mismo Banksy preguntó a los asistentes al evento a llevar máscaras, con la idea de que ‘El baile de máscaras’ funcionara como manera de que él podía asistir sin relevar su identidad a los paparazzi en la asistencia.
Así que vamos a ver si la apariencia del trabajo de Banksy tiene algo que ver con giras y conciertos de Massive Attack por el mundo, utilizando las ciudades que he mencionado anteriormente.
En primer lugar fue la exposición en Glasgow en 2001. ¿Por qué Banksy elija ‘The Arches’ como un lugar adecuado para una primera exhibición de su obra? Así, si Massive Attack son algo para ir por, también encontraron el lugar del accidentado encanto para ser el perfecto trampolín. Para celebrar el lanzamiento de su segundo álbum, ‘Protección’ (que salió el 26 de septiembre de 1994), la banda tocó un concierto en ‘The Arches’ el 8 de diciembre de 1994. Sí señor.
Luego tuvimos Nápoles en 2004. Del Naja es un gran hincha de Napoli y concedió una entrevista con la Radio de Nápoles de Marte en 2010, revelando su pasión por el equipo – una pasión dictada a él de su padre italiano. En la entrevista se revela que asistió a un partido de Napoli contra Ciudadela durante su estancia en la Serie C1, un partido que tuvo lugar el 26 de septiembre de 2004.
Así, aunque Massive Attack nunca dio un concierto allí en aquel momento, al menos Del Naja estaba allí en ese tiempo, cuando el mural apareció. La banda ha tenido una relación con la ciudad que se remonta a una década antes, en 1994, cuando el canal Británico ‘Channel 4’ filmó un documental sobre su visita a la ciudad del padre de 3D y su grabación en el estudio con la banda de Nápoles, Almamegretta.
Pasando a Australia de 2003, cuando la labor de Banksy apareció en Melbourne, representa también la última vez que la banda tocó en la ciudad, en el Vodafone Arena el 11 de marzo de ese año, antes de tocar en el Sydney Entertainment Centre en el 14 de marzo, el 16 de marzo en el de Brisbane y Canberra en el día 18, como parte de su gira australiana.
En cuanto a una posible apariencia de Massive Attack alrededor de la época en la que Banksy visitó Palestina a principios de 2005, no hay ninguno. Lo que si encontré fue que Robert Del Naja de Massive Attack ha estado trabajando desde 2005 con la fundación ‘Hope, Hope and Optimism’ para ‘Palestinos en la Próxima Generación’ – y continuamente ha prestado su apoyo a Palestina. Después de haber tocado 2 veces en Israel anteriormente, se unió al movimiento por un boicot cultural del país en 2010.
La banda también desempeñó una carrera de tres conciertos benéficos en Birmingham y Londres en 2007 por la fundación, mientras que también ha llegado a los titulares en julio de 2014, con una actuación en el Festival en Dublín incluyendo gráficos que manifiesto su solidaridad con los palestinos en Gaza. Más tarde ese mismo mes la banda organizó un concierto en el Líbano, en colaboración con el proyecto ‘Hope’ para apoyar a los refugiados Palestinos después de visitar el campamento de refugiados de Bourj el Barajneh.
Desde entonces me fije en el calendario de conciertos del grupo en los EE.UU. y Canadá. En 2006, Massive Attack se embarcó en una gira estadounidense que los vieron tocar en California en Berkeley el 22 de septiembre y el famoso Hollywood Bowl en el 24 en Los Ángeles, la semana después de que Banksy celebró su “Barely Legal” exposición en la ciudad durante el fin de semana del 15º-17º de septiembre. Interesante.
Damos un salto hasta 2008, Del Naja hizo la banda sonora, junto con su amigo de Massive Attack Neil Davidge, de los New Orleans documental “Trouble The Water”. Recibió su estreno en Nueva Orleáns el 17 de agosto de ese año, el mismo periodo de tiempo, casi día por día, que Banksy dejo 14 galerías por toda la ciudad para conmemorar el próximo tercer aniversario del huracán Katrina.
Mientras, en torno al momento de cuando seis nuevos Banksy murales fueron descubiertos por a la prensa en San Francisco el 1 de mayo de 2010, Massive Attack realizo una tanda de dos noches en la ciudad los días 25 y 27 de abril, unos días antes.
También en Toronto surge un patrón similar. Massive Attack toco en el Sound Academy en el 7 de mayo y el 9 de mayo de 2010, siendo éste el día en que tres nuevos murales Banksy apareció en la ciudad.
Alrededor del 12 de mayo, cuando un mural de Banksy apareció también en Boston, donde Massive Attack en la ciudad, habiendo realizado en la ciudad del legendario House of Blues lugar el 13 de mayo.
Y por último, cuando el artista hizo su mes de residencia en Nueva York, que se inició el 1 de octubre de 2013, las fechas coincidieron con una residencia Massive Attack de cuatro noches en la ciudad entre el 28 de septiembre y el 4 de octubre en la cuidad, en la Armoury de Park Avenue.
La realización de este mapa mundial de los murales de Banksy lanza una interesante relación entre él y el colectivo trip hop de Bristol, confirmando las sugerencias que tiene estrechas conexiones con la banda y, de hecho, con ‘3D’, también conocido como Robert Del Naja.
Voy a ir tan lejos como para decir tan cerca de hecho, que hay indicios que apuntan que son la misma persona, en una campaña de duplicidad que ha sabido conservar el misterio de su verdadera identidad, desde que llegó a la atención del público en 1997 con su ‘Mild Mild West’ mural en Bristol.
Hable con Euan Dickinson, colaborador con la banda, acerca de las sugerencias, quien dijo “Se que Massive Attack son bastante lentos a sacar discos pero nunca podría suceder si él (Robert) fue Banksy, a menos que se está tirando la lana en mi opinión.”
E incluso si este rumor resulta algo más que eso, es claro a partir de las fechas que hay algo más que un vínculo casual entre el artista y la banda. O tal vez hay unos cuantas personas involucrados.
Parecido a los teóricos de la conspiración de Shakespeare, quizá él no es sólo un chico como todo el mundo piensa que es. Quizás él es Del Naja, Gunningham y otros, sólo un montón de artistas de grafiti viajando con Massive Attack dando caña. Esto sí que molara.
I’m not really sure when, or where I first heard Mogwai. I’d been aware of them for a few years without really paying much attention. More than anything, I remember seeing the name on a t-shirt at Connect Festival in Inverary, Scotland, back in 2007. Everyone wearing ‘Blur are Shite’ across their chest had me wondering. I’d heard of the band, but I hadn’t heard them.
This was when my musical diet consisted of pure guitar driven indie pop, bands such as Interpol, The Horrors, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon and Arcade Fire. Stable bands that soundtracked your Saturday nights on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow.
I can’t even remember if I caught much or any of their set that night as I waited for Bobby Gillespie’s Primal Scream to churn out the hits to the thousands gathered at the foot of the castle. But I returned to Glasgow with the idea that instrumental music wasn’t just shite like Robert Miles’s Children or Daft Punk’s ‘Da Funk’ – a song I heard play for 36 hours on repeat on a school ski trip to France.
I think it was around that time that I saw ‘Zidane – a 21st century portrait’, with my brother Mike and pal Andy at the GFT cinema. A massive Spanish football fan, I was surprised to hear that Zidane had took part in a film, and even more so when I realized it was done by artist Douglas Gordon, who hailed from the same neck of the woods as me, Maryhill in Glasgow.
To say I was spellbound was an understatement, sitting there chewing on some sweets while watching the elegance of the world’s greatest ever footballer digging his boots into the turf, all while backed by Mogwai’s shimmering, wonderous soundtrack. I remember leaving the cinema feeling drunk and a tad high after such a visual, aural spectacle. I was Mogwai’d up, well and truly.
With the release of Hawk is Howling in September 2008, songs such as ‘Batcat’, ‘the Sun Smells Too Loud’ and the ridiculously epic “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead’ became fully ingrained parts of my daily routine, songs which transported me away from the inhumane existence that was working for a home insurance firm in a call centre in Glasgow.
Around this time, my brother jumped ship from Scotland and moved over to Italy to work as an English language assistant in the small town of Ferrara near Bologna. Not knowing anyone, or any Italian, his first conversation with a local said a lot about a yet unknown quantity for me, Mogwai’s level of support abroad.
A guy in bar asked Mike where he was from. “Glasgow”. “Glasgow ?,” replied the Italian dude. “Mogwai – our generation’s Pink Floyd.”
Jump forward to February 2011, and the release of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’. After taking a call from an old Spanish guy called Manolo in a broom cupboard in Macsorley’s Bar one Friday afternoon, I quit my job and rented out my flat to move over to Northern Spain to teach English – copying my brother in doing so.
I got a job teaching English in an after school academy in the evenings, while during the day I taught the staff at the Bayer pharmaceutical factory in the town of La Felguera – the factory that produces 100% of the active ingredient for all the world’s aspirin. It’s maze of steel tubes and chimneys dominating the skyline, giving the provincial, stereotypical Spanish non-descript town a heavy Blade Runner feel.
Turned out the slow walk along the river there and back to my flat took me around 50 mins, around about the same time it took me to listen to Hardcore…in its entirety. And listen to it I did. For some reason my Ipod shuffle broke after I downloaded the album, so I only had that album on it.
For a full school calendar year, maybe two – September to June – I walked down the Nalon river in the mining valley of Central Asturias to and from the aspirin factory with Mogwai as my guide. I was in another place – far from the abandoned steel towers and mining industry relics surrounding me as ‘Rano Pano’ and ‘How To Be A Werewolf’ kicked in.
Still having not seen them fully in concert, I was gutted to be back home in Glasgow that August when Mogwai headlined a festival barely 20 miles away from where I stayed, in the seaside city of Gijon, in the grounds of La Laboral – Franco’s mega technical college complex and amazing place for a concert.
For that, I had to wait until June last year, when Mogwai put on two shows to celebrate their twentieth anniversary in Glasgow, after missing their concerts at the Royal Concert Hall and and Richmond Park in 2014. And what better place to see them than a Saturday night at the Barrowlands – one of, if not the, best venue in the country.
And it was tremendous. Ear-bleedingly loud. And as the band worked their way through an extensive back catalogue, I was glad to be in the position to have become well versed in most of their albums to date, as opposed to just the material they released post 2007.
Not long after the shows, I bumped into Stuart from the band about 2 am one Saturday night on Byres Road. After a brief stop and chat he gave me his email address, so I could arrange an interview for music website/podcast Scottish Fiction. A week later, I sat down with Stuart and had a blast discussing the band’s 20 years together and their plans for going forward.
With me was my Spanish pal Sara, a Mogwai fanatic herself, who, being her last ever day living in Glasgow, I thought would appreciate sharing a beer with Stuart. Although that day for her she recalls as being both the best and worst in her three years living there, as, moments before the interview while waiting for me outside Tennents bar in the West End, a nutjob ran out brandishing a kitchen knife and threatened her. Such is life in Glasgow. One moment running the risk of a hospital visit, the other having a drink with your musical hero in a reformed Church.
After visiting Barry from Mogwai’s pub, Das Gift, in Berlin while I was there a few times earlier on this year, it was nice to meet the man behind both the world’s best Twitter account and best jukebox in Germany. And as the band geared up to release Atomic, I sat down with Stuart once again to talk about it over a beer in Glasgow’s West End.
This time in less cosmopolitan company with my brother, a conversation had between Stuart, my brother and Paul from Franz Ferdinand at Christmas time during their DJ set in a Glasgow pub played itself out before our eyes. With Franz having played a few gigs in the Italian town my brother called home, Stuart mentioned that he’d be up for playing at the same place with Mogwai.
Cue a number of emails from my brother to the organizers, telling them to get Mogwai onto the bill, and during the interview Stuart got a message on his phone confirming the date. Ferrara, Italy, July 2016.
Well I couldn’t not go could aye? So here I am, drunk as hell, in my brothers flat. Earlier tonight Mogwai played what was regarded as the best concert in the town’s musical history, to a crowd of 1500 people next to the castle, performing their soundtrack to the documentary film ‘Atomic’ while it played on the screen behind them.
The post gig Laphroig whisky with the band backstage in their dressing room went down pretty well, discussing Glasgow’s best curry house, as I cast my mind back to nine years earlier and the ‘Blur are Shite’ t-shirt in Inverary. Funny how things play themselves out.
Your music has taken me somewhere nice, more so than any other band out there. And I hope it continues to do so.
Wednesday May 15th 2002. Glasgow. Something big happened in the city that night as the rain, characteristically, lashed down from the heavens. If you are a football fan then, as well as the rain falling, you may recall how so to did a ball from a Roberto Carlos lofted cross, onto the boot of a certain Zinedine Zidane.
In the south side of the city, Hampden Park witnessed one of the most exquisite goals in Champions League history, as the Frenchman’s volleyed strike sealed a 2-1 victory for Real Madrid against Bayern Leverkusen of Germany, and the title of European champions for the ninth time in the Spanish club’s history.
However, just over 4 miles north west of the city, in a small, two bedroom flat above Nice and Sleazy’s, one of Glasgow’s best loved and renowned bar and music venues, something other than 22 men running round a field chasing a ball was happening that was to change the face of British indie-pop music for ever.
Four young men, none of whom were actually from the city, arrived to perform together for the first time as group at a party arranged by two friends, both students at the famed Glasgow School of Art.
Their name, taken from an assassinated Archduke, was Franz Ferdinand.
The students in question were Celia Hempton, the London based artist famous for her paintings concerning the landscape of genitalia, alongside fellow artist Jo Roberston. They chose the Wednesday night to put on an exhibition to showcase their work, alongside that of fellow female students.
The exhibition was entitled “Girl Art”, which, by Celia’s own omission, “was a kind of feminist joke in a way”. She continues; “The show was all female and the band all male. To be honest we didn’t think it through all that deeply. But I guess it worked though. It seemed like a fun, irreverent evening.”
My false understanding that it was only females in attendance was quickly shot down by Celia.
“It wasn’t only females, it was a mix. Although that would have been good, if we only allowed women in. Like it were a strip bar or some sort”, she says, laughing.
Jo’s bedroom was used as the exhibition space, while Celia’s bedroom used as the designated ‘performance’ space, from which Franz Ferdinand played.
“Bob (Hardy) was in our year doing the painting BA at GSA, while Manuela, Nick’s (McCarthy) girlfriend was in the year below us,” she recalls. “And we knew Paul (Thomson) from the previous band he was in, Pro Forma. And Alex (Kapranos), we would all hang out.”
Paul himself remembers the night with clarity.
“It was the Champions League final and people showed up late. Some friends of ours had organized an art showing in a flat, with the art in one bedroom and we played in the next. We only did 4 songs but because folk turned up late we played the same set twice. They all ended up on the first record. Michael, Auf Asche, Jacqueline and Tell Her Tonight.”
Before adding, “I was working in Directory Enquiries at the time so I came straight from work.”
To note, that record, 2004’s self-titled debut, sold a staggering 3.6million copies worldwide, including 1.27 million in the UK alone.
While around 50,000 people were in attendance at Hampden to witness Zidane’s moment of magic, around 50 lucky punters found themselves at the flat exhibition, with around 35 squeezing into the bedroom to see Franz take to the stage…carpet.
“We took all the furniture out and they played with their backs to the windows, which we had blacked out for the gig”, says Celia. “The vibe was very much – if you don’t have a venue for an exhibition – you find one, make one, and if you don’t have a venue for a concert, you find one, make one.”
The million dollar question was, how did the band perform?
“They were so good!”gushes Celia. “I kind of fell in love with them. It was great. All their gigs from that moment on were amazing, she finishes with a smile.
From that night forward, the band continued to put gigs on “for their pals”, without any hint or realization that they would achieve anywhere the success of which they have received since. For the band the focus was more on the day to day, as Paul confirms.
“We just knew it was a good band. I’d been doing it for years in bands like Pro Forma and The Yummy Fur. Usually what happens is you get someone to put your record out and go and tour for a week to promote it and try and get out of signing on (the dole) for that week. Go on tour and kip on floors and get drunk, and that’s your holiday basically.”
Certainly Celia could see the momentum that the band were gaining within the city, as the band went one better than play bedrooms, to play in abandoned prisons.
“The band were really instrumental in the energy that developed in both the music and art scene at that time in Glasgow, it was intertwined. There was a disused prison that we used for other art exhibitions and Franz would play with other bands and a place called ‘The Chateau’ which was a big building that the band got access to, for the same purpose.”
“I think there was something that took off in the scene that i was aware of, both in art and music in the early 2000’s in Glasgow, an energy and chemistry that happened because of various people’s drive and imagination… The band members were definitely part of that, instrumental in that i would say. Also the city itself, and the fact that it was possible to use these derelict spaces.”
With Paul adding; “I guess when people outside our social circle started coming to gigs then you’re sort of thinking that we might be onto something. With people who we don’t know hearing about us through not much effort on our part. We were just kinda doing it for our social group really because it’s what you do in Glasgow. Play shows and your friends come down.”
Paul goes on to credit Alex (Kapranos) with being the one who really motivated him and the rest of the band with the belief that something could happen.
“Alex taught IT to refugees and elderly people – teaching them how to work a computer. When we started out he had a proper job and a flat and a mortgage and all that. He had kind of given up on music because he didn’t think it was ever going to happen and then he really sort of pushed us when this came together. Whereas my life was, I was kind of living one day to the next, I was homeless and sleeping on Alex’s floor in the hall.”
“He was like, this was my last chance at this. Whereas I was so caught up in the now I didn’t have a long term plan. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for his determination and drive.”
And thanks, in no small part to Alex, Celia and Jo, and the rest of those in attendance that night, we are able to look back on a night some 14 years ago that, without doubt, ranks up there with one of the most important in the recent memory of the Glasgow music psyche.
For those of us who spend our free time at weekends packed into concert venues appreciating some live music or swanning around galleries as opposed to quiet nights in watching The Voice, last week’s Budget, in amongst the usual pomp and circumstance, raised an important question.
What does the budget mean on a cultural level for the UK’s music and arts sectors?
The general mood music emerging from the Treasury was sombre, but, within the statement from a Chancellor in George Osborne that rates NWA, Sufjan Stevens and St Vincent amongst his favourite acts, there are the one or two high notes.
£5m has been pledged towards the construction of one of Scotland’s newest cultural buildings, the new V&A museum in Dundee, while a new tax relief for museums and galleries will be introduced in April 2017, aiming to encourage them to invest in temporary and touring exhibitions across the country.
The government will also provide tax relief to orchestras from 1 April 2016, encouraging orchestras to perform across the whole of the UK. However, this seems to be the only ‘positive’ announcement affecting musicians.
However, with the music industry contributing over £4 billion towards the £84 billion ‘worth’ of the creative industries to the UK economy – one which employs 17,000 people -it’s fair to say that those involved in it could have expected a better deal.
Firstly, what the budget highlights for many commentators is a clear disparity between what can be regarded as the ‘high’ and ‘low’ arts.
“I do worry that there may be an element of snobbishness in how money is allocated. Opera does very well, ballet does well, jazz does very well – but rock and roll doesn’t do so well,” Shadow culture minister Michael Dugher told the BBC.
“We have a real crisis in the system. We are haemorrhaging small music venues – not just in London, but across the whole of the country. We really need to wake up to that and do something about it. We are extremely concerned that local authorities will be hit by another major cut to their budgets when local arts provision is already under pressure,” he continued.
For music venues up and down the country, the chance to apply for arts funding from local arts bodies may represent a lifeline for them to continue their very existence, against a backdrop of closures that has seen 35% of small and medium size venues shut since 2007 in London alone.
Culture minister Ed Vaisey suggested some time before the budget that “a vibrant music venue which is breaking new acts has just as much right to be considered a cultural venue as a local or regional theatre,” at a conference on live music.
What the Budget seems to suggest is a certain ‘rehashed’ rhetoric that goes far wide of the target of increased support for music and the wider cultural industries in the UK problem. A report by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) suggests that these often ‘familiar’ claims about the importance of arts and culture cannot always be substantiated due to the lack of thorough research into the impact of arts and in general.
The report, entitled ‘Understanding the values of art and culture’ concludes that the value derived from arts and cultural activity arises primarily at the individual level, but recognises that this can be a catalyst for wider benefits, like better civic engagement, stronger communities, economic benefits, good health and well-being, and positive educational outcomes.
One final consideration from a musical perspective concerns what is known as the “withholding tax”, which may have particular relevance for the worldwide music industry and connected creative sectors.
Transactions involving musical royalties between two companies, one being in the UK and the other abroad, are at the moment allowed to withhold tax at reduced rates (often zero percent) , to reduce the complexity of handling tax across different jurisdictions. However, from Thursday, 17th April the law changes so that tax will now be withheld at the full relevant UK tax rate.
This will no doubt have a knock on effect for the 69,000 registered musicians across the country. A country which represents the second-largest provider of recorded music in the world and accounts for 13.7% of global music sale, actually outperforming the UK economy in terms of growth.
Perhaps it’s time for the Government, and Chancellor Osborne, to show culture some love and appreciate the true benefit our music and wider cultural industries brings not just our pockets, but to our minds too.
Glasgow’s The Wellgreen are ready to take things up a gear as they set sail for the Spanish Main in two weeks time.
After lighting the touch paper with debut release, Wellgreens, in 2010, the band followed that up with Grin and Bear It, both of which were self-produced under The Barne Society label.
Considerable local acclaim was quick to come their way from fans and fellow musicians alike, none more so that from Stevie Jackson of Belle and Sebastian.
The band, centred around multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Marco Rea and Stuart Kidd, actually ended up making music together after Stuart asked Marco to work with him on a song for a Christmas compliation album.
Developing a 60’s psychodelic piano-based sound that feels like a cross between The Left Banke, The Kinks and The Beach Boys, with a nod to The Beatles Revolver period to boot, the band’s commitment to old school recordings allow them to cement that classic, other-worldy feel, backed up by retro casio tones.
A gig at last year’s Indie Pop festival brought them to the attention of Valencian record label Pretty Oliva, and after captivating their Spanish onlookers, the result has led to a collaboration that seems like a match made in heaven, in the form of the ‘Summer Rain‘ LP.
The 12 track LP features remastered songs selected from their self titled debut, alongside tracks off second album, ‘Grin and Bear It‘, alongside 3 new songs thrown in. With that flying off the press over in sunny Spain, the label has seen fit to take the band on tour across the length and breadth of the country, which will see them play four concerts in the cities of Madrid, Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela and Valencia.
The dates in Spain will see the band go on their first tour as a bona-fide 4 piece, with Daniel McGeever y Jim McGoldrick helping to reinforce and layer their sound.
The band’s manager, Balir McLaughlin, is excited about what’s in store for The Wellgreen;
“There’s a wee circle of decenlty placed music heads over there that absolutely adore the band. So hopefully we can make the most of our time out here. These guys have been amazing during this whole release & tour.”
Here’s hoping the boys do Glasgow proud and return home having earned a new legion of Spanish speaking fans.