Sunday 27 July 2014


On June 19 2014, a new park opened in Glasgow near the city's legendary Barrowland ballroom (the Barras) called Barrowland Park. The centrepiece of the park is the Jim Lambie designed album pathway which lists the names of every band that has played at the Barras since 1983 and the date they played there

Obviously, there was only one reason I wanted to go there. Well, one main reason that is, as I had tremendous fun looking for the many gigs I've seen at the Barras. The main reason was to find the Depeche Mode entry commemorating their gig on 16 October 1984 on the Some Great Reward tour. It took some time, but here it is

That gig is the only one Depeche have played at the Barras. Believe me, it's one of the best venues on earth and to see them there is a long held dream of mine and all Scottish Depeche Mode fans. Given their size though, it's unlikely that'll ever happen. On 16 October 1984, they played:

Master & Servant(into)/Something To Do/Two Minute Warning/Puppets/If You Want/People Are People/Leave In Silence/New Life/Shame/Somebody/Ice Machine/Lie To Me/Blasphemous Rumours/Told You So/Master & Servant/Photographic/Everything Counts/See You (Encore 1)/Shout/Just Can't Get Enough(Encore 2)

I have a fairly poor quality recording of the show, but even from that I can tell it was one of those special nights at the Barras. Listen yourself here

Anyway, how cool to have a Depeche Mode tribute right in the city centre of Glasgow. Next time you're here take a walk along and try and find it.

Tuesday 22 July 2014


I don't know what it is about Glasgow and synthesizers at the moment, but the city simply cannot stop producing outstanding electronic music. I must admit that today is the first time that I have heard Apache Darling but after a couple of listens to More Than Me, the lead track from the forthcoming e.p. of the same name, I'm hooked.

More Than Me is a near perfect slice of synthpop with its' classic electronic pop melodies,  a killer chorus and fantastic vocals. Any fan of electronic music should get straight onto this. Apache Darling are definitely a band to watch. If More Than Me is a taste of what's to come, then we are in for a real treat. 

The band have announced a residency at Broadcast in Glasgow with gigs on 30th July and 6th, 13th and 23rd August. Tickets available here . It goes without saying that you should should get tickets for one if not all of these shows.

Here More Than Me here
Apache Darling website
Apache Darling Facebook

Tuesday 15 July 2014


The Pictish Trail is the recording name of Johnny Lynch, the head of the superb Lost Map label, which is responsible for some of the best Scottish releases of recent times. Secret Soundz Vol 1 &2 is a compilation of  Secret Soundz Vol 1 (originally released on Fence Records) and Seecret Soundz Vol 2 (which came out on Lost Map)  and was released on 9 June via Moshi Moshi. It's a record of remarkable beauty and is one that you simply to have to get your hands on.

There is no way to accurately pigeonhole the sound of The Pictish Trail. The album at times will remind you of Kraftwerk's bleeps and beeps, Hot Chip in their Coming On Strong era and even Sebadoh in places although maybe that's just me. Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 are stuffed full of melodies and hooks that most bands would kill for and every listen to the albums reveals something new and delightful. Picking standout tracks seems unfair but if you're going to drop by for a casual listen check out All I Own and Words Fail Me Now from Vol 1 and Wait Until, Michael Rocket and Long In The Tooth from Vol 2. The latter seems to be haunted by the ghost of Vince Clarke in places and may well be one of the best electronic tracks I've heard this year.

All in all, Secret Soundz Vol 1 & 2 is a truly marvellous album. You really should hear it

Tuesday 8 July 2014


8 July 1994 is a day which may not immediately stand out to many as an important day in Depeche Mode history, however it is notable for the end of two eras in the band's life.

Firstly, it was the day of the last show of the Devotional/Exotic Tour/USA 94 near band wrecking marathon and secondly, and still much to the consternation of many Depeche fans, it was Alan Wilder's last gig with the band. The following year, Alan announced he was leaving Depeche Mode and, to some, the world has never been the same.

The gig, at the Deer Creek Music Centre, Indianapolis (full video below) was a relatively standard USA94 show as far as the setlist goes. The band played:

Rush/Halo/Behind The Wheel/Everything Counts/World In My Eyes/Walking In My Shoes/Stripped/Condemnation (Martin)/I Want You Now (Martin)/In Your Room/Never Let Me Down Again/I Feel You/Personal Jesus/Somebody (Martin)/Enjoy The Silence/A Question Of Time

As with all Exotic/USA94 shows, it's well worth listening to Martin's songs as he sings Condemnation beautifully and the remix of I Want You Now is splendid. This show, however, had a definite end of term feel to it. Andy Franks and Innes from Primal Scream danced and sang onstage during Enjoy The Silence, Daryl Bamonte's (Fletch's replacement) keyboard samples were tampered with, one of the band's assistants hid in Alan's piano and Dave threw himself into the crowd during A Question Of Time sustaining broken ribs and internal injuries. All in all, a fairly appropriate end to the band's most controversial tour.

Alan leaves the stage for the last time Indianapolis 8 July 1994 (pic courtesy of Amanda Stock)

Some people look back on that whole era as a bad time for the band, but I have to say that I love it. The live versions of the songs are outstanding and are a lasting testament to Alan's work. I'm not one to get too upset by the fact he's no longer in the band but there is no doubting the impact he had on Depeche Mode and liver versions of tracks like Rush, In Your Room and Stripped from this era prove how much of a magician he is. No-one can build atmosphere like Alan.

Mainly, I can't believe it's 20 years ago. It really doesn't seem that long at all.