Posts Tagged ‘Sea Shanty’

Letham Nights 13, The Loveliest Night of the Year

September 8th, 2010

Talking late into the night we got onto the subject of recipe’s. The discussion went onto discuss the fact that recipe’s aren’t

always food related. There are recipes for, say, a happy life, a good book or a perfect day, I bet you have many more examples.

With these thoughts bouncing around our heads Claire, Michael and I thought about the recipe for the perfect Letham Nights.

This is what we came up with

1800g of Celebrating Fife
2 fl oz of Midsummer
7 visiting relatives, From the USA
70°F of fantastic weather
13 Locally sourced performers, young and fresh
6-10 seasoned open mic musicians, various ages
1 compere, preferably juicy
2 professional, performing arts-based practitioners.
100 burgers from Pillars of Hercules
25 punnets of free strawberries
4 pints of cream, optional.
1 Clap and Tipple bar, fully stocked and staffed
1 Luva Anna.

To start, early in the morning mix together the two Arts practitioners with the 13 young performers, leave to photosynthesise for the rest of the day, making sure the creative juices flow nicely. Set aside to marinade towards a performance.

Meanwhile, arrange the Hall, the Clap and Tipple bar, the Pillars burgers, the strawberries, cream and the 7 relatives along with the PA, the Celebrating Fife funding and weather. Leave to soak up the atmosphere.

Then, mix all the elements together for the food part of the day, Make ready the audience by serving great veggie burgers/salad and very tasty free strawberries, allow situation to relax until done. Mix in 70°F temperatures and sunshine.

When replete, start the performance.
It started in a “flash mob” style, no introduction, straight into the performance, the young people walking through the hall from the various entrances. It took the audience a few seconds to realise what was happening. The performance included the spoken word, both solo and collectively, singing and musicianship. They conveyed a surprisingly honest take on teenage thoughts, fears, humour and sorrow. Being in the “gang” or not, loneliness, body image were issues also touched. Haggis man being particularly poignant.
They had written a song called the Loveliest Night of the Year and sang it beautifully.
Huge thanks to the young performers, to the tutors Fiona Miller and Mick Slaven for their fantastic efforts. What they managed to achieve in a day was remarkable.

Next, allow the musicians to play and sing their hearts out. First up, and as a wee taster for the music side of the day Roy Campbell and Mick Slaven performed two songs one of which Roy knew and the other Mick knew, neither had been practised beforehand.
Rhythm Is a Dancer and Pills and Booze were well received.
Steven Tom Smith soulfully sang through his beautiful songs, You Burn, Invisible Boy and If This Song Had a Name.
Mick Pritchard – Wow, who would have thought that voice would have come from Mick. He played Soul and Blues classics as well as a new song about his tortoise Herbert.
Kevin and Karen Scott, half of Ladybank Supergroup Skin and Bones played “May you never”, ”Still haven’t found what I’m looking for” and a version of The Black Oil Brothers’ Wednesday Afternoon.
Xander Duffy. Well, this was Xander’s second visit to Letham Nights and his voice soared and soared. He is completely unique and engaging, a tremendous voice and song writing skills. His songs featured a couple of covers – Hit the Road Jack and Halo along with his own I Go Back To and the brilliant Freedom.

Then add the acoustic Anthill Mob to finish. They played through rock and Blues classics from AC/DC to Zeppelin, to get everyone dancing.
What a fabulous mix of people – we do have some brilliant talent locally.
All this was seasoned with “peppered” comments from our comedy compere, the very “fruity” Bruce Devlin as each musician took the stage. Thanks Bruce… no really, thanks!

Finally, place on stage, one of the best live band’s the world has ever seen, Luva Anna.

They played for us in November and were truly fantastic then. This time it was no different.
They kicked off with the chillingly beautiful Sea Shanty, a 4 part vocal harmony that had the audience stunned. They then “battered” through old favourites like Coma Girl, Angry Fat Bouncer, Pigeon Song and The Ballad O’ Boaby Smith as well as newer numbers like Dumba Dumba, Sober, This is F*****g Urgent and Postcards – and of course the wonderfully evocative love song ‘Hold Still’.

Two encores were demanded by the audience which had an insatiable appetite for Luva Anna.

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Letham Nights 9- LUVA ANNA AND THE BUMCLOCKS

January 14th, 2010

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.

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