Posts Tagged ‘black’

It’s rare to hear stadium quality music even in a stadium these days. Bands are wheeled out to play the same old hit(s) and the 4/4 chord chops that many young guitarists learn in their first lessons. In the manufactured, mediocrity ravaged music industry sausage factory, dullness and predictability stalk live music venues like ex-boyfriends on Facebook. However, tucked away in the North East of Scotland is some intriguing talent warming the cockles of the listening public. Three bands; three big sounds: Uniform, UTN and Same Faces. Their latest playground: The Tunnels, an intimate underground venue and one of the UK’s best avenues to hear live music. One weekend saw the arched roof shake with quality tunes from these three very talented bands.

Uniform providing great support

The first support act, Uniform, made an impact from the start. A strong six-piece presence with 3 guitarists, a bassist, drummer and- rarely seen these days-  keyboardist, filled the stage physically and with  a solid wall of  sound. With strong Robert Smith style vocals and some intricate interweaving guitar work, very much like early U2, they held their own like a mainline act playing to their own crowd, rather than just filler while the main acts wait in the wings. This very tight and melodic sextet of indie-rockers are due to do very well, being huge crowd-pleasers as well as consumate musicians, uniform in thought and form.

Stuart, leads from the front

George milks the guitar

Aberdeen stalwarts, UTN, were up next and whipped up the crowd with their wonderfully inventive songs. Harking back to the days of solid rock craftsmanship but with a great modern vibrancy, they played their strings and drumskins bare, reminiscent of the Black Crowes and Black Keys. The rangy and emotion driven vocals of striking lead singer and guitarist, Stuart Youngson, sailed across the fantastic precision rhythm of John Christie on bass and Attila Kiss on drums.

Attila: drum-master general

John in full bass flow

George Gillies punctuated and supplemented this wonderful landscape of musical mastery with well executed riffs and legato solos. Their songs never let your interest wane for even a split second, with multiple sections and tempo changes- all of them pure platinum class. I was impressed that they kept this energy through the whole gig as if they were aiming all songs to each member of the audience individually. This culminated in the whole crowd chanting along to the last tune which came with a ridiculously catchy chorus that I am still singing to myself now- a week later.

Charlie, charismatic frontman of Same Faces

Finally, Aberdeen’s answer to ACDC, Same Faces swaggered onto the stage to give their MOT tested and guaranteed blistering performance. As ever, the domineering presence of Charlie Munro and his razor sharp vocals roared the clever yet brutally honest lyrics to their confirmed fans, old and new.

Gordon and his golden Gibson exploits

Rich and his rich bass sound

Gordon Leith brandished his axe and tore through the songs with the chunkiest guitar chops I’ve heard in a long time. With his trusty Gibson Les Paul switched to the neck pickup, he certainly made sure his sound had hard edges that packed a real guttural punch. Tunk Reid was sat on his drumstool throne giving the kick drum hell and making cymbal thrashing a near Olympic sport. New bassist, Rich Lewis, fit right in with pumping fingerstyle bass playing that added massive tonnage to the already weighty tunes. They all look the part. They all sound the part. The songs are great. A great band whose phenomenal music rings true with all who hear it.

To all who say rock is dead in Scotland, think on. We have three bands in our seemingly sleepy corner of the world who are ready to rock the sh*t out of all who come. See it live. Hear it loud. Aberdeen rock is alive and great and proud.

All photos reproduced with the kind permission of Euan Ross. To see of his pictures from this gig, go –>here<–

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When strolling the well known streets of your home town, it’s easy to forget the beauty and magic of your surroundings. The daily trudge with head down, facing the biting wind, your mind focuses on the next port of call. With his latest exhibition, promising young photographer Gary Stewart reminds us of the beauty and depth of our forgotten urban landscapes.

The stunning images, mostly of Aberdeen street scenes, are interspersed with those of Venice, a seemingly unlikely thematic bedfellow of his home town. The presence of Venetian ramshackle grandeur is comparable to the tattered archways and shaded alleys of Aberdeen city centre. Through the eyes of Gary and his adept gauging of perspective we see the long trails of calles and wynds side by side, taking us on a journey through our own memories while dreaming of distant shores. He reminds us though that we have our own Venice right here which should be appreciated just as fervently. The absence of canals in Aberdeen are matched by their being unseen in Gary’s snapshots of the former Italian city state.

Within each frame stands a lone figure or couple, mainly with heads down and unaware of either the camera or the encapsulating splendour of the architecture. The seemingly isolated individuals are tiny in comparison to the buildings, which display imposing majesty and rock sure reliability. The dark figures are thrown into stark contrast against the brightness of the looming walls, and imperceptibly move as if to escape the narrow grip of the streets or tunnels.

The leitmotif of these thirty wonderful photographs should not be the places themselves but what they inspire us to redress: we should hold our heads up, face into the wind and admire the beauty and immensity that is omnipresent, following us wherever we go.

Leitmotif will be exhibited in the Aberdeen Arts Centre from 5th to 31st May.

To contact Gary about purchasing framed or unframed prints of these works, email:

garystewart2880@gmail.com