Expecting a capacity crowd I arrived ten minutes before ‘doors open’ and found that around fifty others had beaten me to it and were already seated at the tables. For the rock gig that I was anticipating the venue seemed a bit surreal – walls decorated with tartan, nostalgic photographs and regimental crests, with tables and seats on three sides of the dance floor with a low stage area at the opposite end to the shuttered bar (bar sales were restricted to the lounge side due to the admission of under eighteens).
It was over thirty one years since I had moved to the local area to teach in the local secondary school previously and looking round saw that I recognised a large percentage of the audience as ex-students – some attending with their grown up children! This certainly set the scene for a different and memorable evening. I was told that a table that had been reserved for school staff – I observed that I was actually no longer a member of staff, but as the staff table was situated alongside the Generate Radio table I was quite happy to sit between the two.
As it turned out any concerns about seating arrangements became irrelevant once the live music started – I had already been thinking that there was something odd about everybody being seated around an empty central dance floor and once the tribal drum beats of the first song’s intro reverberated around the room I knew that there was no way that I could remain seated!
The first band, Morfsnud (From Duns – think about it!) consisted of five local lads, including one who had been one of my students a year earlier. The vocalist had also been a student of mine but from a number of years previously – I found it particularly heartening to see these guys performing with such power and professionalism. As the set progressed I even found myself being encouraged to dance by other ex-students. Thanks in particular to JR for her persistence in making sure I left my reservations to one side for the night. Morfsnud opened with a number of well-executed covers before treating us with some of their own compositions! One number impressed me with its resonances of The Stooges, I was making some notes and looked back to the stage to wonder where the vocalist had gone – I then realised that he had stepped off the stage and was right in front of me amongst the crowd, I half expected him to then remove his top and begin writhing about on the dance floor ‘a la Iggy Pop’!
With their mix of originals and covers I found myself considering the perennial question; do I prefer covers to originals? In the case of Morfsnud, their covers were very well executed but I would still come down on the side of their originals. Having said that, however, I certainly wasn’t hearing a disjointed assortment of straight copies, the band had obviously constructed their set well with a view to showcasing their individual style and talents.
After a short break to modify the equipment set up, Easter Street took to the stage, pausing to raffle off an Easter Egg before getting into their stride with ‘Soul For Sale’. Having previously played as The B Team, this was their first public outing under their new name and they were seeking to focus on showcasing their recently released EP ‘Paved With Good Intentions’. During a song called ‘The Conservation Of Angular Momentum’ guitarist Derek’s energetic on-stage moves caused him to bang into his microphone near the end of the song causing it to swing round on its stand which I found a bit ironic as the angular momentum wasn’t conserved for too long!
As they introduced the first of their two covers, tambourines were distributed amongst the crowd – the choice of song surprised me a bit but it certainly worked – Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ – the crowd were fully committed and the dance floor was alive with animation.
Throughout the evening I was also impressed to see the way that another of my ex-students went about her business as ‘rock band photographer’. As the evening progressed, and the ‘alcohol’ loosened inhibitions, more and more took to the floor to dance and a veritable ‘mosh pit’ developed in front of the stage. Kirsty Ellison, vocalist with another local band Stone Soul Tavern, guested for one number as Derek changed his electric guitar for an acoustic.
As the evening came to a close, they announced two final numbers – after the first one the question was posed “what day is this?” The day, of course, was Friday and the band managed to pull off a version of Rebecca Black’s infamous ‘Friday’, the song/video that had recently and very quickly gained 2.3 million dislikes on You Tube. Thankfully, an ‘encore’ was called for and the night finished on a more serious note with another couple of original tracks, including the driving ‘These Walls’.
There was a slight break in proceedings as the mix of alcohol and hormones caused a premature explosion of testosterone and flaring tempers resulting in a rush of bodies out of the side door. Things soon calmed down, however, although I did pass a group outside, as I left later, who still seemed intent on allocating blame for ‘starting it’!
Thanks were issued from the stage to Morfsnud for being such a great support, to ‘Generate Radio’ for their help by promoting the gig on air, and to the crowd for their enthusiastic support. I would like to thank all concerned, including Easter Street, for providing such a great evening’s entertainment. For a ‘new’ band’s debut night to be a sell-out was a great achievement and testament to the amount of local support that they have already built up.