Tomorrow (September 18th) the people of Scotland will vote in the Independence referendum. A hugely important decision for all concerned. This calls for a topical blog…I am after all uniquely placed to talk about it. Yes I’m English, I’ve rarely been to Scotland (apart from for a brother’s wedding…and once accidentally finding myself in Aberdeen for a day) and I have a hatred for whiskey. How can I possibly have a say in the #indyref? Well I did once see Wet Wet Wet in concert…so that counts right?
Ok before you slaughter me of course I jest. I just needed to write a blog and this seemed like a good time for a Scottish themed one. By my reckoning I have seen 11 Scottish artists in concert and not one was a let-down. Exactly what makes a group Scottish is not entirely clear. If the lead singer is Scottish then I included them…but if just the bass player is (Snow Patrol) then I didn’t bother...it’s not an exact science admittedly.
1) Gun (#indyref rating 7/10)
I saw the Stones at Wembley stadium…no Scottish there of course but the support that day was from the mighty Gun. I always felt I would see them a lot more after that first time but as it turned out I only got to see them play twice more in support of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi. I liked them then and still give them a listen now. Could have been big. Word Up may have been a hit but then trying to change their sound to match just didn’t work.
2) The Almighty (#indyref rating 6/10)
The Almighty were a very good rock band back in the early nineties. I’ll always remember this gig at Leeds as it was the one and only time I went to a gig with both my brothers. Ricky Warwick has proved himself to be a versatile musician in the years since and hey he was once married to Miss Vanessa ‘Headbangers Ball’. Of course Ricky actually isn’t Scottish but some of the band were so I get to include them here…
3) Del Amitri (#indyref rating 7/10)
Cracking band who I only got to see once supporting the Stones. In Justin Currie they have a lead singer who, as he approaches 50, is as suave as ever. They wrote some top tunes, including the sublime Nothing Ever Happens, and I hope their comeback continues with a new album and further tours.
4) Wet Wet Wet (#indyref rating 6/10)
Seen: September 8th 1997
Yes, yes I know not very hip but actually pretty damn good in concert back in 1997. Marti of course loved himself back then and if he flicked that long hair any more I could have twatted the git. Soulful voice though. A band that was underrated and will always be seen as a boy band but there was far more about them that though.
5) Travis (#indyref rating 9/10)
Some Scottish fellah I know has seen Fran and the boys a quite ridiculous amount of times. Just the once for me though back in the nineties in support of Oasis. A hugely underrated band who have consistently produced good music over nearly two decades. Back in ’97 it was all about debt album Good Feeling. A lot more was to come.
6) Primal Scream (#indyref rating 9/10)
A top live band with a rock and roller for a lead singer in Bobby Gillespie and a group that never rests on its laurels. In truth I can barely remember them at all at the one gig I saw them at. That was as part of the 2002 ‘Witnness’ Festival in Ireland which is all a bit of a blur to me. No idea why I haven’t seen them again. They are a band to be admired and one that will hopefully be around for many years to come.
7) Franz Ferdinand (#indyref rating 5/10)
Bounced a long to Take Me Out in Dublin back in 2005. I only ever really listened to their self-titled debut album which is rather splendid. A good gig in ’05 but never felt the urge to see them again.
8) Deacon Blue (#indyref rating 8/10)
I caught Deacon Blue around twenty years too late but they have a back catalogue that many would kill for and seeing them in ’07 was a tick off the wish list. Playing to an Irish crowd up for reliving their youth this gig didn’t disappoint and my only regret was not seeing them back in the late ‘80s at their height.
9) AC/DC (#indyref rating 5/10)
Scotland’s or Australia’s finest? Depends on your definition of what makes someone a particular nationality. I guess if Angus Young is Scottish then Slash is English. Hmmm not sure on this one. Wherever they are from they are of course a legendary rock band and one I have seen a couple of times. Top, top live act but not sure they can qualify as Scottish…
10) Paolo Nutini (#indyref rating 9.5/10)
I had never taken too much notice of Mr Nutini and never had any intention of seeing him live but in 2011 he played as part of the ‘Arthur’s Day’ celebration of Guinness. Every year, for five years, artists would pop up around Ireland in pubs and theatres and play surprise sets in late September. He was terrific that night and I would love to see him again in the future. The whole pub danced along to Pencil Full of Lead (admittedly after many pints of the black stuff) and he genuinely seemed like an all-round nice guy. Top Scottish points for getting pics taken with lots of people and sharing a pint or two.
11) Temperance Movement (#indyref rating 6/10)
At this year’s ‘Download’ Festival at Donington one of the surprise standouts was from new blues rock outfit fronted by Scottish singer Phil Campbell. The rest of the band aren't Scottish so they lose points...keep an eye on them though as they could be huge.