Archive for the ‘Jen Stevens & The Hiccups’ Category

Friday 8th August – The Beresford Lounge, Glasgow
There were a few negative issues that surrounded this event but I’m going to start with the positives; all the acts were amazing. Chrissy Barnacle opened the show and having only listened to her music online I was really looking forward to her live set. She has a wonderful storytelling manner and made the intimate crowd feel at ease instantly. Chrissy has an amazing guitar style, picking her way through beautiful melodic sections and adding bass and percussion parts periodically, it was quite mesmerising. Her voice is stunning! So pure and honest, she glides through her range with ease and even delighted the crowd with her lupine howl. I loved every song in her set and found it difficult to pick out a favourite but I’ve gone for ‘Sandstone’ because I love the lyrics so much,
“I’ve boiled a million kettles, to fill all of my water bottles
This wont be easy or quick, but it is what we need
I’m sweating you out of me”

I urge you all to download her FREE ‘Hazelnuts EP’ from BandCamp, which includes ‘Sandstone’ and 5 other fantastic tracks.

Chrissy Barnacle live at The Beresford Lounge

Chrissy Barnacle live at The Beresford Lounge


Next up were Made Of Glass, my new favourite Edinburgh based band and I was really looking forward to seeing them live for the first time – they did not disappoint. Despite the issues with sound (live music vs Glasgow City Council) and cheap in-ear headphones, their set was really cool. I loved the production of the backing sounds / vocals and although I was longing for the addition of a bass sub, I thought they played a great set. Their track ‘The Night’ was the stand out track of the night for me, however this is as yet unreleased, so instead I’ve chosen ‘Labyrinth’ for it’s pure electro/acoustic goodness.
Draped in black, Duncan’s energy is amazing, Nicky’s delivery has a distinctive celtic twang and their face-paint is intriguing. They are definitely a band to watch out for in the future.
Made Of Glass live at The Beresford Lounge

Made Of Glass live at The Beresford Lounge


We played next and it was fantastic to have Phil back with us on guitar after so many shows away without him. Due to the sound (volume) issues, we played what should have been a fairly high-energy set with slight reservation. The venue was not really suitable for a band like us; they seem to have a lot of problems with Environmental Health (residential neighbours complain about the sound pollution on a regular basis) and already have a “no acoustic drum kits” rule in place, which we managed to get around by borrowing an electric kit for the evening from The Academy of Music & Sound. After sound checks were completed there was a “no amps” announcement, which was just not possible for either Sacre Noir or Jen Stevens & The Hiccups, so we’d arranged to turn everything down as much as possible. In complete contrast to the phenomenal bass sound we’d had at the last gig with Phil (Bannerman’s 17th July 2014), this performance was controlled but well received. The people we spoke to afterwards seemed to get where we were coming from musically and we’re positive about the front of house sound, so maybe it was lacking on stage due to the small monitor that the room had.
Sacre Noir live at The Beresford Lounge

Sacre Noir live at The Beresford Lounge


Last up were the fantastic Jen Stevens & The Hiccups. Having travelled over two hours to get here, and on the back of my comments to them about how great the music scene is in Glasgow and what a cool place it is in general, I was really disappointed for them… this was not the introduction I’d hoped we could provide. They played for a good 40 minutes and included my favourite track ‘Middle of the Road’. Everyone in the room was blown away by their set and they have definitely left a lasting impression on those who were seeing them live for the first time.
Jen Stevens & The Hiccups live at The Beresford Lounge

Jen Stevens & The Hiccups live at The Beresford Lounge


I’d really hoped for a better night for their introduction to Scotland, but at one point just before the end of Jen Steven’s & The Hiccups set, a member of staff from the venue came barging into the venue space shouting “turn it down”. When the repost from a lively audience member came “turn it up”, his response was “no, turn it down, the council are in”. I was genuinely embarrassed by this episode. Apparently the DJ downstairs, who we could hear above the band already, was not causing a problem, but because our space was closer to the residents it was us that needed to turn down again. I have never been so disappointed by a venue and their ability to book appropriate events for their space or their ability to communicate in a professional manner. There are another dozen (at least) issues that plagued this even but I feel enough space has been given to the negatives and overall, despite everything, I did really enjoy all the music on the night and that’s a huge positive. Another positive is that our sound engineer for the evening, David, was great. He stayed calm throughout all the ups and downs, and managed to get a really great sound for all the acts. These two points have definitely been consistent traits of this year’s tour; we have played with some amazing acts and have met some really talented people, who we’ll definitely keep in touch with.
We managed to miss the last train home by just a second or two, but thankfully Phil was able to give us a lift home. An hour or so later, soothed by the sounds of Tool and The Prodigy we were back home in Edinburgh and ready for a little break from live gigs for a week or two. We have a couple of shows at the end of the month where we look forward to welcoming Michelle Blades to Scotland. We also have the video launch for “It’s Too Late Now” to look forward to as well as some rehearsals and interviews to complete – there really is no rest for the wicked.

NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 11 Thursday 21st August @ Box (Glasgow)
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 12 Friday 22nd August @ Elvis Shakespeare (Edinburgh)
Video Launch Night: Thursday 28th August @ Moriarty Bar (Edinburgh)

Wednesday 6th August – The Central Bar, Gateshead
After a couple of eventful days off back in Scotland (being stung on the neck by a wasp and the shock of returning to work) it was time to get our selves together again for the next show… our first ever show in Gateshead.
We are really excited to have arranged a couple of dates with Jen Stevens & The Hiccups this summer and this is the first of those (not including The Corbridge Festival) on their home turf; the North East of England. We chose The Central Bar as it’s a lovely venue close to the Metro station and it has a good reputation for live music. The first act on this evening was Ben aka Felix Police; a one man band with his guitar and a bunch of pedals providing bass, beats, harmonies and other cool sounds. I’ve seen loads of acts like this over the years (KT Tunstall and Ed Sheeran do it well), and sometimes the sound can be limited / lacking but not tonight. I really liked his style especially the vocal harmonies and the fullness of his arrangements. Felix Police is a new act (this was the 3rd live outing) but I expect we’ll be hearing more from this fine young man in the future. The overall sound was like a mix between Tenacious D & Beck with a little Pixies thrown in for good measure. You can check out my favourite track from tonight’s set “The Ants & the Elephants” on SoundCloud.

Felix Police live at The Central Bar, Gateshead

Felix Police live at The Central Bar, Gateshead


Next up we played a 30 minutes set which included all 3 singles feature on the current LP (She Can’t Take It, Rue Crimée and the forthcoming release It’s Too Late Now) plus the two new unreleased tracks that have gone down so well with audiences this tour (Heartache and Rebels & Loners). We had no sound problems this evening in fact everything was perfect (thanks to Tony for sorting everything out for us) and no sooner had we started playing when the set was over. The audience in Gateshead was very polite and reserved in comparison to the crowds in London and Paris; very attentive and seemingly enjoying our material but as it was a sit-down show it was hard to tell just how “into it” they really were, however I got the feeling if they didn’t like us we’d soon have heard about it.
Sacre Noir live at The Central Bar, Gateshead (photo by S. Gray)

Sacre Noir live at The Central Bar, Gateshead (photo by S. Gray)


Again it was lovely to see some familiar faces in the audience tonight. Special thanks to Sarah & Marie for coming out to support original music (always a pleasure ladies).
The final act of the evening was Jen Stevens & The Hiccups; I had forgotten just how tight this band are live! Fabulously catchy tunes, lushous harmonies, fantastic musicianship, big smiles (Adam) and great hair (Jen) – they’ve got it all. I truly love Jen’s voice; like a cross between Stevie Nicks and Gwen Stefani, it’s rocky and soulful with lovely technical moments to catch out the vocal geeks like myself. We can’t wait to introduce them to a Scottish audience this weekend, I’m sure they’ll have a ball. They’ve got a really commercial sound and their songs wouldn’t sound out of place on Radio One: check out their track “The Sound” on SoundCloud.
Jen Stevens & The Hiccups live at The Central Bar, Gateshead

Jen Stevens & The Hiccups live at The Central Bar, Gateshead


Sorry to have missed the second half of their set tonight, but as the last train back to Edinburgh leaves Newcastle before 10pm, we headed off into the night to the sounds of the Hiccups and made our way back to bonnie Scotland once more.

Our next show is in Glasgow and again we’ve been working with House Cat Promotions to arrange this event. It’s a great line up – not to be missed!
I discovered Made Of Glass thanks to local Edinburgh musician Steve Heron (best recommendation of the year – thanks Mr H) and they have become a firm favourite on my current playlist. A new(ish) duo based in Edinburgh, Nikki & Duncan are about to set the scene alight! As soon as I heard them I knew they were the kind of band I’d love & set about arranging a show together pretty much straight away. I was super pleased when they agreed to play this show with us in Glasgow as I think they’ll make a great addition to the night. Also on the bill for this show is Chrissy Barnacle – new to me but I’m loving the material online and again can’t wait to see the live show. I hate it when I discover a new act I love, then have to wait ages for their live show to come to Scotland. This way I get to see two great new acts in one night (and we’re sharing the stage) – bonus.
Check out the links above for all bands, then come along to the live show… when it’s done it’s done!

House Cat Promotions poster

House Cat Promotions poster

NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 10 Friday 8th August @ The Beresford Lounge (Glasgow)
House Cat Promotions Presents Chrissey Barnacel / Made Of Glass / Sacre Noir / Jen Steven & The Hiccups