Photography – In Focus with Alan Campbell

In the midst of festival season it’s lovely to see some gig photos from smaller, more intimate venues. Photographer Alan Campbell has a knack for capturing the atmosphere of these events as well as shooting the striking Scottish countryside around his home…

(Header shot: Stock Manager)

I first got into photography around 10 years ago after attending a few workshops with an excellent photographer called Brian Sweeney. I’m fortunate that I live in Central Scotland, as there’s so much beautiful scenery, wildlife and culture nearby to photograph.

A local music and arts venue in Stirling called the Tolbooth is one of my favourite venues.  The venue hosts a diverse range of music, comedy, spoken word, art exhibitions and classes/workshops.  It’s well worth a visit and you can find their upcoming schedule of events here. 

Left: December 91  Right: Ross Fairweather & Annie Booth  Below: Withered Hand

Above: Emme Woods  Below: The Van T’s / CRPNTR

Kenny Bates from the Tolbooth, in particular, has been phenomenal by putting on so many cool gigs, either in the Tolbooth or in other unusual locations in the Stirling area.  I’ve included a few photos from some of those gigs here.

Left: Be Charlotte  Right: Constant Follower

A couple of other beautiful locations in my local area include the University of Stirling and the Ochil Hills. The views are simply stunning and no matter what time of year it is, there’s always a scenic view.

If you’re interested in viewing some more of my photos, please follow my Instagram page – I’m also on Twitter

All photos are taken and copyrighted by Alan. We’ll be featuring more of his gig photography on Breaking Glass in due course – in the meantime, do follow his Instagram posts to see his latest work.

18th July 2019

Festival – 2000 Trees 2019

2000 Trees Festival, Upcote Farm Cheltenham, 11th – 13th July 2019

Picture if you will a farm in rural countryside, transformed into an award winning festival location where you can walk the length of the site in 10 minutes, catching big names and new music, choosing from the best selection of festival food around and taking in the friendliest atmosphere you’re likely to encounter. No need to worry about carrying or losing money as the cashless system works a treat, just have your wristband scanned to pay. Families, fancy dress, diehard punks and metal-heads, they’re all here and they’re all having a brilliant time. You can only imagine the amount of work and preparation that goes on behind the scenes because the team and volunteers at 2000 Trees have thought of everything and everyone – artists, crowd, vendors, security, the whole crew seem to love being here. It’s a beautiful setting and there’s more diversity in the types of music on offer than many people realise.

2019’s event even brought the sun out of hiding, along with an enormous string of new and established artists. Whether it’s to catch a favourite band or discover a new one, 2000 Trees is a massive recommendation. Just be aware that when you’ve been once it’s very hard to not pick it up as a habit that’s hard to kick. Here are some highlights from Friday from a huge selection of what went on this year…

Deux Furieuses getting the day off to a solid start on the Axiom stage – powerful riffs and no holds barred drums belying the fact that they are only two.

Fresh from playing a string of sold out shows together, Gouge Away (The Cave) and Slow Crush (Neu) filled their respective marquees, with both receiving a great crowd reaction.

Lice have gained a well deserved reputation for their live performances and this was no exception – a stand out set of satirical art punk on the Neu stage which saw some excellent bookings this year.

You have to have your photo taken and take some of your friends by the Trees sign – it’s the law.

Carnage in The Cave. Bringing Belgian noise rock and their own language, Raketkanon are not to be missed live; for fans of vocalists crowd surfing in doughnut inflatables, this is not the time to forget your earplugs.

Time out to recharge the batteries at the beautiful Forest acoustic stage with a chilled set from locals Watercolours and some indie psych back at the Neu stage from Indigo Lo.

2000 Trees crowds are the friendliest crowds – unicorns not compulsory.

A long way from home, Australia’s Hands Like Houses pulled in a big crowd on the main stage who provided an equally big UK welcome.

Still on the main stage, the classic mix of 2000 Trees and Pulled Apart by Horsesalways a pleasure to see them individually; together is hard to beat. Stage jumps, circle pits and a guitar accompanied dive into the crowd are what Trees is all about.

Everyone welcome, dress code whatever you please. (By the way, any discarded rubbish disappears after each set, kudos to the litter picking team).

Really happy late afternoon vibe for Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly – packed marquee too at the Axiom.

Fast becoming firm favourites on the indie punk scene, Heavy Lungs put on a frenetic show, catch them in a smaller venue while you can, this time the Neu stage grabbing the spotlight again.

So, with this year’s 2000 Trees all packed away, it seems fortuitous to think a long, long way ahead and be aware that next year’s is already in the making. 9th – 11th July 2020 – put it in your diary, you won’t regret it.

Early bird tickets are available now.

Words and photos by Siobhan

15th July 2019

 

 

Interview – Dog of Man

Brighton’s Dog of Man have something special going on with their upcoming album and you can all get involved by doing much more than just streaming the tracks… find out more about the interactive release and the band behind it here…

You’ve been described as ‘great gritty DIY’ (Citizen Fish), ‘accordion driven acid punk’ (Viva Magazine) and ‘dream headliners for an end of the world party‘ (Brighton Source) – how would you describe your music and each other?

I would describe our music as a mishmash of punk rock and psychedelia with gypsy influences. Comes with the territory of an accordion. We come from a variety of musical backgrounds and influences, bluegrass, klezmer, breakcore and punk rock so the result is the freak out music that we make. We wanted to steer rock music away from the slow melodic towards the exciting and hectic.

Brighton’s a continuous hub of activity and creativity – where are your favourite places to go around the city?

Love to go to the Bee’s Mouth for a pint and chat with Superhans, or pop over to The Albert for a good show. During the day, Marwood cafe doth provide. Inevitably we all end up at the nudist beach anyway.

You’re part way through the process of putting out an interactive album Dogmatic Manual – how does that work and where did the concept come from?

The concept came from the fighting fantasy novels like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in which you choose where to go for the next part of the story (turn to page x to go left). This concept was recently revitalised by Charlie Brooker’s Bandersnatch. The album works like this: each week a song comes out with a video on Facebook. Embedded within the video is a poll with two options. Whatever the majority of people choose decides what the next song (and video) will be and the definitive track listing of the album which will be available at our launch party and online after the 7 weeks are up.

What’s the reaction been like to the tracks you’ve shared so far and are things going the way you expected?

Great! More and more people are getting involved with the polls and the views are getting more traction every week. We have been getting well over a thousand views on the release days and we expect that number to keep rising with each weekly submission.

The videos accompanying the songs have a great old home movie feel to them but have clearly been shot with a lot more skills than the average old home movie maker – who’s behind the camera and the ideas?

There’s a variety of talent behind the lens. Opiate – the first release was shot by James Van Vliet. This shoot involved a crew of 4 people, with incredible costume and design by Laura Byrom and her enthusiastic team. It was a high concept piece of work which involved a lot of planning and preparation and we were very pleased with the end result.

We have also utilised the gonzo skills of Babak Roshan, who is a veteran photographer and world traveller with years of experience behind a camera capturing ad hoc footage in any kind of environment. All videos aside from Opiate are edited by the accordion player Mike and the concepts for the videos are created by the band collectively to suit the theme of the song with essentially zero budget.

And what can we expect from your upcoming live dates and album launch?

Expect a raucous show! You’ve probably never seen an electric accordion psych punk band and the performances are always packed with frenetic energy. We are an excitable bunch, which is why it’s an honour to play alongside Town of Cats and Buffos Wake who know how to get the party moving!

Pending live dates:

19th July – London, The Finsbury
8th August – London, Dublin Castle
16th August – Brighton, The Hope & Ruin (album launch)

Check out the tracks released so far and have your say in future weeks on the Dog of Man Facebook page – you can also find them on Instagram and Twitter

12th July 2019

Off the Record – Wah Wah Records (Wakefield)

A report published this week suggests that over 50% of retail sales will be online in the next 10 years. But with a rise in popularity, can the humble record shop buck the trend? Ryan Bell takes us on a visit to his local – Wah Wah Records…

In this age of crumbling high street giants amidst the luxury of instant online purchasing, it can be sometimes difficult to imagine how independent retailers can navigate through it and remain successful.

However, I have found that there is still the desire to find authenticity in retail therapy, whether it’s through the independent clothes designers found on Instagram or Etsy, the tea made with love in a local greasy spoon café or the bellowing banter of a traditional barber-shop, I feel there is clearly a place for a friendly face or an impassioned presence in 2019, and I find it most notably in my local ‘Bricks and Mortar’ indie record shop; Wah Wah Records in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Opened by Alan Nutton in 2014, it has become one of Wakefield’s few musical must visits, what with the vinyl record boom still booming away nicely. Stocking a wide variety of new and used records of all genres with a passion for the music and for the format, Wah Wah don’t deal online, they have social media for news and updates, taking pre-orders and nattering with customers, but to pick up a record through them, you’ll need to call in, something of a novelty in this aforementioned age of Amazon next day delivery.

The shop layout is delightfully simple; new stuff at the front, used gems in the back (in Yorkshire we don’t like to faff about) and I will argue anyone that disagrees with Wah Wah’s presentation being the best way to display records. Popping in to the shop you will find that Alan and his self-described “record shop lackey” accomplice Will are both more than happy to go back on forth on any musical topic, an approachability and personable nature which has led to the shop’s durability in these uncertain times, leading it to land a runner up spot in Long Live Vinyl magazine’s Record Shop of The Year 2018.

It’s testament to them that they have had the opportunity to hold some great instore performances from Manchester guitar band Man Made, to alternative hip-hop group Ceiling Demons, to even an appearance from British folk-punk hero Billy Bragg in 2018 to coincide with his performance at Wakefield’s rising music festival Long Division.

I was honoured to be asked to contribute to the shop’s five year anniversary fanzine earlier this year and five years is a milestone for an indie retailer in Wakefield, a small northern cathedral city where the locals might remark that the town has seen better days from when the market was in full swing and the pubs were full, but the city’s early risers are bemused annually by the sight of a snaking queue forming out of Wah Wah Records’ door on Record Store Day.

It would be naïve of me to ignore the primary relationship between a business and its patrons, however I feel places like Wah Wah Records are glowing examples of the potential of independent businesses. Once a commonality is found, it can result in hours of debate and discussion (as well as  the occasional disagreement!), the forming of friendships and, whilst wishing not to wander into the gushing or hyperbolic, a sense of community.

Vinyl might still be in vogue, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the recent black-wax renaissance that spurred me into walking into Wah Wah a few years ago to gaze upon the glorious rows of 12x12s and begin my own collection/obsession. With this in mind, whilst Tesco and Asda might now stock vinyl, I doubt the cashier is going to be willing to listen to me babble on about Kanye West or Kate Bush for forty five minutes like Alan does, and for that, shops such as Wah Wah Records should be celebrated.

You can find Wah Wah Records on Facebook and Twitter

Words and photos by Ryan Bell

11th July 2019

Exhibition – Linda McCartney Retrospective (Kelvingrove)

Exhibition – Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, 5th July – 12th January 2020
The Linda McCartney Retrospective 

(Header shot: The Beatles at Brian Epstein’s home in Belgravia at the launch of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, London 1967)

Details from press release:

‘A major retrospective of photography by Linda McCartney will be shown in the UK for the first time at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow from 5 July 2019 to 12 January 2020. The Linda McCartney Retrospective, which is curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, features iconic names and moments in music from the 1960s along with more intimate and emotional later work by this acclaimed and prolific photographer.

The retrospective also includes one of Linda McCartney’s diaries from the 1960s, displayed in public for the first time and bringing new insight into the contemporary music scene of the era and the beginnings of her photographic career… (also included will be) her cameras, photographic equipment and vintage magazines that have been uncovered from her expansive archive. The range of material to be displayed reflects the McCartney family’s passion for Linda’s work and their desire for the extensive contents of her archives to be accessible to a wider audience.

Mary, Paul and Heather, Scotland 1970

Sir Paul McCartney said, ‘Linda would have been so proud of this exhibition being held in Scotland, a country she loved so much and spent so many happy days in.’

Stella McCartney said, ‘Through these images you meet the real mother I knew. You see her raw and deep talent and passion for her art, photography. Ahead of her time on every level this mother of four still held her camera close like a companion, she captures the world around her through her eyes and this can be seen on the walls around the exhibition. Her humour, her love of family and nature and her moments framed with a slight surreal edge… Scotland was one of her favourite places on earth, and so many images were taken there. Enjoy her passion and compassion…’

The exhibition was first shown at the Kunst Hausn Wien Museum, Vienna and subsequently at The Pavillon Populaire, Montpellier and Daelim Museum, Seoul.’

Left: Self portrait, Sussex 1992 Right: Linda McCartney taken by Eric Clapton, 1967

In so many ways, Linda McCartney was ahead of the curve. A respected musician, photographer, animal rights campaigner and pioneer of vegetarian food long before it held the lifestyle status it does today, her talent and ethos are to be admired for a multitude of reasons.

Aretha Franklin modelling for Mademoiselle, Los Angeles 1968

Photography may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you hear her name but this collection includes shots that display a real skill in capturing the spirit of the people and places around her. The images show a natural flair for catching a picture at exactly the right moment and suggest that the subjects were completely at ease with her behind the lens. Subjects encompass the 60s, family (including self portraits), animals and nature – particularly in the beautiful county of Argyll, home to the family farm and inspiration for Wings’ huge hit Mull of Kintyre. 

If you’re in the Glasgow area over the next 6 months, the exhibition looks to be a great place to visit and be sure to allow time to look round the permanent collection at Kelvingrove too; it’s full of great historical and contemporary pieces in a stunning environment.

The Beatles, Abbey Road, London 1969

The Linda McCartney Retrospective runs from 5th July – 12th January 2020

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG
Opening times: Mon – Thurs and Sat 10 – 5, Fri and Sun 11 – 5
Admission: Adult £7, Concession £5, Under 16 free entry – please check the
website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Glasgow Life; photos are copyright of Linda McCartney unless otherwise credited

Words (excluding press release extract) by Siobhan

5th July 2019

Live – The Howlers at The Hope & Ruin

The Howlers / Dog of Man / B. Spanks, The Hope and Ruin Brighton, 30th June 2019

Kicking off Sunday night at The Hope and Ruin, B. Spanks put on an impressive one man show, vocally reminiscent of the Pete Shelley school of sardonicism and with a definite nod to the nostalgia of DIY new wave – one to keep an eye out for.

Next on, Brighton locals Dog of Man brought infectious psych punk hooks, much laughter and talk of Stormzy and sweaty men to the table. If Violent Femmes had switched the xylophone on Gone Daddy Gone for an accordion it might have sounded like this. They’ll be back at The Hope and Ruin for their album launch party on 16th August if you want to hear for yourself.

Headliners The Howlers have been making waves on the live circuit with their aggressively energetic shows and have been on my must see list since catching them at Icebreaker and Portsmouth Psych Fest earlier in the year. Recent single La Dolce Vita has helped to cement their reputation as an important part of the new UK underground scene.

Desert rock, garage rock, call it what you will, The Howlers are a force to be reckoned with live, a heady mix of frenetic drums and twanging guitar befitting of a modern day western soundtrack – A Fistful of Reverb in the making perhaps.

There’s still a chance to catch the band on their current run of tour dates throughout July in Nottingham (5th), Manchester (6th), Sheffield (19th), Portsmouth (20th) and Hull (30th). Get along if you can and definitely watch this space – it looks like this is the start of something special.

Further details on live dates and other news from The Howlers here

Words and photos by Siobhan

3rd July 2019