Small Town Sounds at DMC: A Review
Dumfries High Street was buzzing with the sound of live local music recently as the Dumfries Music Conference (DMC) arrived into town for its fourth year.
I’ve attended every DMC since it started, and this year I was very pleased to be asked back again to broadcast Radio DMC live from The Stove café. Much like my appearance last year, I asked some fabulous local musicians to join me for an interview and to play live.
On the Friday, I was lucky enough to have Cammy and Ross from 13 Crowes, Alex Maxwell, Gracefell and Eddie from The Abstracts booked to appear on my show. Due to a very last minute panic due to a potential cancellation, I was joined by Italian band Fall Has Come and Michael Grant of Golden Ratio too, which was very nice of them indeed.
My highlights of Friday’s Radio DMC:
• Cammy’s chat about intelligent crows and his desire to bring back the art of letter-writing
• Alex’s comparison of the Dumfries music scene vs that of Edinburgh. He’s also a lot taller than I expected and made me feel like a hobbit…
• Gracefell’s live performance of ‘Alexandra’
• Eddie’s magnificent beard and his attempts at remembering when the next Abstracts gig is
• The happy faces of Fall Has Come who were pleased to get the very unexpected airtime
• Michael Grant’s explanation of why he is NOT related to McKie from Barstow Bats, despite looking exactly like him.
I didn’t attend the evening events on the Friday due to the fact I was feeling very sorry for myself as I’d caught the cold, and had croaked my way through Friday’s Radio DMC show. However, all the events drew quite a crowd, particularly the talk and Q&A from Brian Cannon who has been responsible for some pretty iconic album covers throughout the years.
Radio DMC was back on the Saturday and it was again pretty packed with local musicians which included Novantae, Stoney Broke, The Lutras and Newton’s First Law.
Here are my highlights of Saturday’s Radio DMC:
• The very descriptive explanations as to why the Novante merchandise features penguins. It was quite graphic, I have to say…
• Jake from Stoney Broke’s gig schedule and his definite need for a PA – that guy is crazy busy, someone help him out!
• The Lutras suffering through their hangovers and performing a few live tracks which left everyone in the audience in awe
• Newton’s First Law’s cover of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s song ‘Under The Bridge’, and that they looked like they were straight out of Kerrang!
I want to say a massive thanks to all of the musicians who took the time to chat and perform on the show, and to Dave Miller and Matthew Mcilorum for the fantastic sound engineering. You can listen to Friday’s show here. I haven’t yet been sent Saturday’s show, but I’ll put up a link when I get it.
DMC Live has been a tradition over the 4 years of the Dumfries Music Conference and takes the form of a live gig features a mix of bands from D&G and beyond. It takes place in The Stove (conveniently rearranged to feature a bar instead of a cafe) and this year it took place in front of a wonderful backdrop in the form of Neil Paterson’s beautifully designed gig posters. Zoe Bestel started the evening very gently – if anyone had a pin and they happened to drop it then I’m sure the audience would have heard. Everyone was thoroughly captivated and I spent a lot of time trying not to disturb anyone by coughing loudly (which led to a lot of manic coughing when there was crowd applause. The joys.). Edinburgh band Indigo Velvet were next up and they are described as ‘tropical pop’ – and never a truer description could have been chosen. They were upbeat and fun to watch, placing smiles on the faces of all present.
The bands featuring on the line up were in such a stark contrast to each other that it was genuinely like the different seasons of the year. Zoe Bestel was Autumn-esque – quiet and gentle. Indigo Velvet were clearly Summer – I wanted to have a cocktail in my hand and one of those tiny umbrellas behind my ear.
Brat and the Bonemen would have been Winter – they were fierce, pretty shocking and you didn’t really know what to expect next. They were loud and punky and clearly didn’t care a single bit. I loved them, and I wasn’t the only one. For many there, this would have been the first time they had watched them live as they are quite new onto the local music scene. It was great to see everyone edge a little bit closer to get a better look and to be completely immersed in what was unfolding in front of their eyes. Brat and the Bonemen are only young but already they are offering something so much different compared to what we already have here, and I can’t wait to see what happens next for them.
Closing DMC Live was 13 Crowes – so I guess they are my Spring in this whole imaginative scene-setting-reviewing that I appear to be doing here. They’re professional, strong as a band and they’re the complete package. They have exciting times ahead of them, including a tour of Germany starting at the end of November 2016.
And with that, the Dumfries Music Conference drew to a close and I couldn’t help but feel it had only just begun. The organisers have plans to make it a year-round offering, so keep an eye out for more events in the future.
Thanks also to Jim Gellatly who introduced the bands on stage at DMC Live, and said lovely things about what I do for the local music scene. Cheers man!
Photo credit for featured photo: Galina Walls Photography