The ingredients of what makes a good Letham Night are hard to define but on 28th November, we got it right once again. The raw energy from the Bum-clocks and the sheer joy of Luva Anna combined with the irreverent humour of both bands gave us all another fantastic evening.
Is Tam Burn, lead singer of the Bum-clocks barking? Well he certainly was at Letham Nights #9. With a howl and a wuff , he introduced the first number in their brilliant repertoire in the guise of a demented dalmation and away we went – Iggy Pop meets Rabbie Burns in ‘A Tail O’ Twa Dugs’. “Noo ah wantae be yer dug” chants Tam, as Malcolm Ross’ jagged guitar and Russell Burn’s driving rhythm on the drums carry the song along. To our delight, we find that the relationship between the bard and other contemporary musicians is a strong one – ‘Lang Lang the Night – Panic in Detroit’ turns out to be a collaboration with Burns and Bowie.
Who the heck are the Bum-clocks anyway? And what is a Bum-clock? Here is the definition: A humming beetle, that flies in the summer evenings. (from Jamieson’s Scottish Dictionary -Edinburgh 1867). “So we are the Scottish Beetles” declares Tam – boom boom! All the band members have strong credentials in the Scottish alternative music scene of the 70’s and 80’s. Tam and Russell playing in the Dirty Reds and the Fire Engines, whilst Malcolm is an ex-member of Josef K and Orange Juice (Remember “Rip it Up and Start Again”?)
The band have been supported in their musical and poetic venture by the Scottish Arts Council as part of the Homecoming Celebrations. And what a brilliant way to weave together a simultaneous tribute to Burns and the godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop! No tired tartan formulas here but creative, genuinely poetic, entertaining and very, very funny . Thanks to the Bum-clocks for gracing the stage at Letham Nights.
Now over to Roy for the Luva Anna review….
Whilst sorting out the music for the Dundee College fashion show in June, Claire handed me a CD that one of her students had submitted for review and asked me what I thought. I popped it in my HiFi and within two tracks we knew that the answer was a no for the Fashion Show but an absolute, indisputable YES for Letham Nights. A wee bit of ‘tinternet trawling confirmed my suspicions. This is a young band with a unique sound and exuberance that most established stars would kill for. Finalists in the Channel 4 “Orange Unsigned Acts” show, playing 200 gigs over the last two years, they played festivals like T in the Park, the Wickerman, Rock Ness, and Connect. They also supported The View on the Acadamy Tour. Busy boy’s indeed.
It took a bit of ducking and diving to find suitable dates as they and Letham Nights have full books for some months ahead.
That date was the 28th November and I will remember what I did on this momentous night for, well, a very long time….
The set started with Sea Shanty, a fabulous four part vocal harmony with a folky twist, seamlessly moving into Hold On, an amazing vocal delivery from Dave Webster reminiscent of both the Buckleys, Jeff and father Tim. Truly goose bump stuff.
They then fired into a set of rhythm, pace, subtlety and harmony. Delivering each sonic ingredient with power and charm, catchy melodies and solid riffs, they played songs from the self titled Luva Anna and Made Without Compromise CD’s. Amongst Coma Girl, Dumba Dumba, Angry Fat Bouncer, Sober, The ballad of Boaby Smith, Arthur McBush, Bonny Little Girl and Granton on Spey they dropped in a few new numbers like Time to Laugh and Postcards.
Dave and Drewboy Gray shared the main vocals and Guitar parts, Robbie Ward on bass, bouzouki and bass pedals (the latter two, simultaneously), and Billy Fisher’s fantastic percussion. Superb musicians and vocalists, one and all.
Almost two hours later we were all wondering two things, why is the band not totally massive and where are they playing next? I’m not sure but I’m told that all the CD’s for sale were snapped up within 10 minutes of the gig ending.
Once again Geoff the PA man supplied us with superb sound for the gig. The “Clap and Tipple” provided the bar, keeping the thirsty crowd suitably quenched with a fine selection of organic, local and fair trade beverages and buxom serving wenches.