SMOKING – ONE BENEFIT
Before we went into the Scottish New Music Awards, Classic Grand, Glasgow on 4th September, we stopped outside as Kyle and Oscar wished enjoy a cigarette. Lighting up, Oscar was immediately approached by one of a nearby group of young ladies who was looking for a light. Ever one to jump at an opportunity I almost immediately asked her if she would mind returning the favour by using my camera to take a photo of our group as we prepared to go inside. The lovely young lady was quick to oblige.
Later in the evening the winners of the ‘Rock Recording Of the Year’ category was announced as The Amorettes for their album ‘Haulin’ Ass’ – as three very excited young ladies rushed on to the stage to receive their award from members of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, who had just been awarded a ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award, I recognised one of the trio. I turned to Colleen for confirmation, “that’s the girl who took our photograph, isn’t it”, I asked. Colleen confirmed that it was.
Once the Awards Ceremony was finished we were making our way down the stairs and I recognised the young lady walking close by – so I just went for it! The following is my best memory of the ensuing conversation. “You’re the helpful young lady who helped by taking our photo earlier, aren’t you?” “Yes”, she replied, “congratulations on your award, I’m with Generate Radio, do you have any tracks that I could include in one of my shows, and would you like to do an interview with us?” “Yes”, she replied, “I could send you something, but we are also on i-tunes,” “i-tunes is great”, I added. By now we had exited the venue and were standing back almost exactly where we had been when we first met. I introduced the others from Generate Radio to her and her colleagues and then all too soon said our goodbyes, yet confident that I had probably secured another interview for the station. I had some way to go to match Colleen’s impressive list, but we had still to call into the neighbouring MacDonalds where Sandi Thom chose to call in for a drink!
Fast forward to the next day and I was taking my kilt hire outfit back to Galashiels – before leaving home I had managed to purchase and download The Amorettes’ album ‘Haulin’ Ass’ and had ‘format shifted’ a copy onto CD, for use in the car. They list their ‘genre’ as “classic sleaze glam girl hard rock’ – I’ve been over this before – I don’t really care about genres, I just like to apply my simplified criteria – ‘do I like it?’ – in the case of The Amorettes, they passed the test with flying colours – I DEFINITELY DO LIKE!
So (as my reviews seem to be having a habit of turning out) what about the album?
In this digital age do we still bother about artwork? Some people must think that it’s important otherwise they wouldn’t put so much time and effort into selecting the image that will identify the collection of tracks. The graphic chosen for ‘Haulin’ Ass’ is an amalgamation of the ‘almost girly’ with its choice of leopardskin print as a background and purple text, to set off three smiling ‘mugshots’ for ‘Lothian & Borders Police’ where they are identified by nickname and number, oh and there’s also a ‘triple scratch’ graphic.
As I drove about the Scottish Borders with the album playing at max volume in my car, I found it hard to reconcile the appearance of the three young ladies and the powerful, tight and confident sounds that were blasting from my speakers! Track titles help to complete the image:
‘Takecaover’, ‘Boxticker’, ‘Whoot Woo’, ‘Hot ‘n’ Heavy’, ‘Bedrock’, ‘Pop Goes The Weasel’, ‘Talk Nerdy To Me’, ‘She Devil’, ‘Too Much Is Never Enough’ and ‘Son Of A Gun’. Each track, perfectly capable of standing on its own, but each also, clearly helping to showcase a trio of ladies who know exactly what they want and with the obvious confidence to know that they are going to achieve that aim – no surprise really that they won the award.
When we went to the bar for the first time, ID’s were requested, although when I asked if that included me, all I got was a wry smile! I’m not going to ask to see ID’s for Gillian, Hannah and Heather but I do know that they are yet more proof that there are many talented, creative and inspirational young people out there, working steadily away to counter any suggestion that the ‘youth of today’ have somehow ‘gone to hell’ and are incapable of making a positive contribution to society. It appears that they have been gigging for around two and a half years – it sounds more like twenty five years, their musical skills are perfectly honed, they clearly know what each other is doing and expected to do – and they execute it all with such crispness and commitment.
So, the title of this blog entry? If Oscar hadn’t smoked, Gillian wouldn’t have asked for a light – I wouldn’t have done the double take when the band appeared on stage to collect their award, and I definitely wouldn’t have been drawn to ask for an interview as we left the building. Without all these ‘coincidences’ it is much less likely that I would have gone straight onto i-tunes on return home in order to search out ’ Haulin’ Ass’ – in which case I may just have listened to BBC Scotland lunchtime news / current affairs whilst driving to and from Galashiels and my drive to return the kilt hire outfit would have been far more mundane. Many thanks to The Amorettes – for being The Amorettes! Oh and yes – it does seem that I have managed yet again to favour an all-female band!