The Cafe Drummonds Two Grand Final – Cafe Drummonds – 30/09/11
After a few months of gigs at Cafe Drummonds we finally come to the night when the six selected finalists perform in front of the judges and a busy and at times noisy crowd. As it turned out all six finalists were very different and all played to a high standard on the night. Guest reviewer for FnS is Mark “Gary Barlow” Riley from local band Glassman and here’s his review of the event.
So.. “Drummonds – 2 Grand Final”… the stage was set after dozens and dozens of gigs / auditions / online debates and the rest of the type of thing that would ensue when offering a local band / arteeeest a chance of winning two grand.
I got there relatively early and it was already showing the signs of being packed ( and also reaching a temperature to rival a middle eastern country of choice ) actually, it was as close to full as I’ve seen the place in 5 years of living in the ‘deen, this would “potentially” bark the question “why doesn’t this happen more often?”, anyway I guess that’s a question or more appropriately debate for another time, I must hasten to add, I think this kind of thing is a great idea, it gives bands a very obvious incentive, so fingers crossed more of the same please.
Anyway – Bands! Who was playing? Well the line up consisted of a few new names to myself but I’m guessing not to regular folks on the scene – THE WILLIE G TRIO , AMY SAWERS , STANLEY , ERIC EUAN ,THE BROTHERS REID and indeed CARA MITCHELL .
First up was young Cara Mitchell, playing her own blend of folk / pop… not really sure of the genre names, she’s a girl (good skillz Mark!) with a voice and guitar, nuff said, quite a decent player as well and a good voice too! Now, I know sitting on a stage by yourself isn’t for everyone but she handles it more than well. Her tunes were decent I’d say, I was right at the back and was having a bit of trouble hearing it clearly but that said – sounded good to me! I was a bit dubious of the Dire Straits cover though, not so much the song itself as it was a great choice of a tune but more the fact she said “its a cover of a cover” …maybe its me being a bit fussy but id have been a bit more impressed if it was her own arrangement cos it was very good, job well done! 8 / 10.
Eric Euan!… I’d love to know who Eric Euan is… anyway… I can’t believe I’ve never seen these lads before, that is very strange to me, them being Moorings bar regulars. Ekker are a rock band, they kinda remind me a bit of early Biffy? I kinda hear a bit of Kerbdog in there as well? hmmm..either way I like! – good voices – good harmonies – 3 guitars – good drummer – good bassman = winner!, also, I’ve played a few gigs at Drummonds and I’ve always struggled to get a decent guitar sound there? Now this is not a dig at the venue – this kind of thing happens, I mean…hold my hands up, it’s very probably me, these lads? No such trouble, I was really impressed, I’ll defo be listening in again. Nice work lads, 9 / 10.
Next up Amy Sawers, the nights winner might I add! Now, I’m new to Amy’s stuff but I’m reliably told that she’s been playing for ages, this would stand to reason judging by her very obvious vocal talent and the 20,000 fans she brought with her! She seems very popular, which is a great thing in a “musical world” that seems to have more rock chicks than ever …but still not enough, only an opinion. Either way, they’re pros and it shows ( that rhymed ). Tunes! Well, I’m gonna be straight here, the first one was a cracker – best by far, if you can imagine a genetics experiment between Bonnie Tyler ( haha! yip :) – PJ Harvey and Katie Jane Garside? THEN told them to write a tune… this is what would come out, ace!! For me the rest weren’t as good and …weren’t very similar “genre – wise”, after the first tune I was waiting for a bit more goth / punk / rock type stuff and it just didn’t happen, still good – but not AS good… the Radiohead cover of “fake plasterscene trees” or whatever its called, was rubbish, poor choice for me, not that it was badly played, far from it, I just thought with vocal range like that they could’ve chosen something a bit less “Saturday night cover band in the local” that said – decent enough, 7 / 10.
Willie G Trio
Ho hoooo! The Wilie G Trio! What can you say!? I am in no way shape or form a Reggae fan, but after last night I may reconsider my ignorance and buy a season ticket at the Willie G stadium, behind the goal, row F please! These lads killed it! It was great musically, the lad singing never stopped his impish dance all the way through, in a “If Flea decided to play and sing in a modern reggae band” type way, great energy this band! The bass player and drummer were as tight a unit as I have actually heard locally, no exaggeration. Fantastic! One slight thing I noticed was “no backing vocals”, those tunes had massive potential for BIG Caribbean style backing vocals, anyway! What do I know? These lads are ace! If the world has taste ( sorry, it doesn’t :( ) and it was up to me, they will sell 5 million records and will be getting the call from old Jools Holland very soon! 10.5 / 10…that’s silly, 9.75 / 10.
Next up, the mighty “Brothers Reid“. Now, to follow Willies lot would’ve been fairly daunting for most bands, but if ever there was a band to do it, then this was it, The Bros play – Country…I guess you’d call it, with Led Zep style break downs, I don’t just say that cos they played a snippet of “Kashmir” at the start, that is genuinely what it sounds like! Needless to say from that brief description, they know what they’re doing! Brothers Reid in their Smokey and the Bandit type way absolutely rocked the place! ( obviously….minus the tashes and transams ) great singing – great players = job done! The tunes were long but by no means laborious, and one thing that I think local acts miss a lot – they look like they’re having fun! Surely greater things will ensue for this band! 9.75 / 10
Last band of the night was Stanley, the band out of all of them I am most familiar, I’ve seen them a few times live and was lucky enough to share a stage with them a few weeks back. Stanley are one of 2 of my favourite Aberdeen bands, the other being local metal tyrants ”Prelude to the hunt”…bit different from each other? you be the judge! , the obvious comparison would be Radiohead, but I’m not gonna go there, cos there’s so much more to it than that, there’s a bit of Divine Comedy “wit” in there,…and to my ear, dare I say, a bit of the more mellow QOTSA…haha, again, you be the judge! There’s Yorke / Homme / Buckley style vocals, a multi tasking bassman, keyboard players, an axeman with a totally unique style – sound and a top drummer. Stanley are total pros, every one of them, if you have not seen them before, you are missing out – simple! However, tonight for me wasn’t the best I’ve seen them, looked a bit tense maybe? I dunno… they were still ace!! The song “Join Hands” has been a permanent fixture in my head for over 6 months I’m sure of it, it should come with a health warning, great lads – great band! Again if this band doesn’t go on to bigger and better things then I will eat my lawnmower. 9 / 10
All in all, great night! Great bands, some new music to have a squizz at! Well done to all!
Review by Mark Riley of Glassman and pics by Still Burning.
Still Burning’s comments on each artist -
Cara Mitchell – Enchanting young woman, maybe needs to slow down a little sometimes, just create the atmosphere within the songs a little more ya know? Hopefully she can take this experience on board and improve and refine a little for the future. Popular with the crowd though.
Eric Euan - I can see where Marks Biffy comparisons came from but Ive never been one to crucify too much because of that. Very good at what they did but didn’t really have any stand out tracks for me. I’ll catch them again and hopefully it’ll click better next time. Worthy of their place tonight.
Amy Sawers -I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t pay too much attention to her song titles but two of them REALLY stood out for me. I mean, really stood out. Not the first nor the last, but in the middle somewhere and not together. Pretty crap review that eh? (sorry) Loved her powerful vocals and how I reckon she’d absolutely rock a more `up for dancing` audience than she had on the night. Plenty whooping from her pals but no shapes from the neutrals (sadly). Looking forward to seeing her again but also their album when it comes out. I think she probably had two of the top three songs on the night.
Willie G Trio -I’d never seen these chaps before, surprisingly, but he, they didn’t half grow on me by the time they’d finished. After what I thought was a slow start I think they had most of the dancefloor grooving to their laid back rhythms by the time they’d finished. I want the WGT in my car cd player.
Brothers Reid -Seen them before a few times so not really surprised at what I saw tonight. Its a mish mash of soft rock-country-bluesy ingredients and it results in easy listening music that really does spell fun.
Stanley – Cards on the table. I love this band. Maybe the late slot didn’t do them any favours as sometimes they like a quiet room to play in and Cara being first up had a little advantage there and coming on stage after midnight on a Friday night, well, its a tough slot when its all been going on for four hours or so in my opinion. The crowd loved them as well. They have an album in the making, look forward to it and enjoy it when it comes.
Overall – I really enjoyed it, good quality acts and all very different. Maybe this could become an annual event I dunno but if it encourages local acts to up their game then maybe its no bad thing.
As for the winners, well maybe if I was a record company and wishing to create an album I think I’d go with Stanley on their performance, however if it was an EP I’d go with Amy, so strong those two tracks were (in my opinion). Wouldn’t say no to a release from the Willie G Trio either mind. SB.