The Real McKenzies – Glasgow, Scotland (FEBRUARY 17, 2004)

We got there to see the band still unloading the merch and various swag from the back of the usual old beat up, manky tour van. All resplendent in stinky lookin kilts as ever, they seemed oblivious to the Glasgow chill us lesser mortals felt.

Theres sumthin about Barfly that annoys me, but i still cant put my finger on it. Maybe its the fact that they completely pointlessly give you a paper wristband thing to put on, AND stamp your hand with a stupid ink thing too. Or maybe its that fact that some idiot has decided NOT to allow us adults to buy anything but soft drinks in the bar downstairs where the bands play. Hmm, i wonder eh? Anyway,,,we got a drink upstairs then headed down to see what was what.

On came the first support of the evening, Scottish band The Alpacinos. Saw them support the McKenzies last year,and didn’t like them at all. They were much better this time,,,better sound too,but i just don’t get it at all.It just not for me. Why sound SO American? Some embarrassing onstage comments didn’t help i must say. They were quite well received all the same, although we went back upstairs before they finished.

By the time we got back downstairs, The Cherrykicks were halfway through their last song. I saw them support the Wildhearts in E’Burgh a while back, and thought they were ok. I described them to a friend as “The WIldhearts” without the tunes. I got an ep of theirs too,,which confirmed that thought. They ended their set by throwing the guitars down in a rock n roll fashion,and wandered off. Seemed to go down pretty well too.

The place was really pretty packed by this time, and before too long the McKenzies appeared onstage one by one. It seemed to take ages for them to get everything on the go,,as the singer walked around with various mike stands and stuff for some reason.

Then they were off!

Straight from the start,,,,,all 5 of them lined up on the wee stage, side by side, kilts and sporrans a swinging the drummer at the back. If I’d been a sad journo type id have written down the set list, but I’, not. So bite me! Suffice to say,,,it was first class from start to finish. These boys work hard let me tell you. And DRINK HARD TOO! Some of it (well,,,a LOT of it) is very silly indeed, but great fun. Its particularly funny to an ACTUAL Scotsman who plays in a Celtic rock/punk band (that’s me by the way) watching a bunch of Canadians giving it all things homage to Scotland. I love it all the same!

Songs about whiskey,,,Nessie,,,er,,whiskey,,,,,The Queen(Bitch Of The Money),,,er,,,,whiskey again,,,,

and rather controversially

“This song is dedicated to our favorite Scottish football team,,THE GLASGOW CELTICS”! (aye,,not CELTIC as it should be,,,but CELTIC’S, like the basketball team.) I heard a few groans from non Celtic fans,,,but that just made it all the more enjoyable in fact!

They battered through the songs at a fair old pace, and did quite a bit of their latest (and best I think) CD,,,”OOT AND ABOOT”! they featured their new drummer (Ike Ikelson I think?) who looked remarkably out of place,,in his wee national health rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Vic Reeves (UK Comedian) in fact! Seemed to be a very good drummer indeed though,,and even had a wee solo spot for a coupla minutes, Jeeez,,,a drum solo at a punk gig eh? Whatever next!

Well,,that would be the bagpipe solo in fact! Yep,,,the big piper had a couple of solo spots,and really is a very good piper indeed. In fact,,singer Paul proclaimed him as “probably the finest punk rock piper in the world”! High praise indeed, since there are er,,so MANY OF THEM?

Both guitarist were very good too, but the taller skinny one pulls more faces than Michael Jackson in a primary school cloakroom,,,and is tremendous to watch. The bass player is still the one who we always think looks like a wee boy in amongst men for some reason. He is perfectly capable but just looks”wrong”somehow.

We heard a few tirades against the Queen “and her fuckin useless jug eared son” (hehee,,,that one made me laugh actually) as well as some family memories and talk of how proud they were to be”home”! (Canada?) We also had the dubious pleasure of seeing his arse and male goods on numerous occasions too. Or “some cack ‘n balls” as he would say.

We managed to pass on a copy of some of our bands (The Electrics- http://www.theelectrics.com ) new album tracks to singer Paul before the show,, as well as a belt with a “Scottish And Proud” buckle, and a half bottle of “Real McKenzie” whiskey too! No,,really! He was VERY pleased with these things,and insisted on giving my mate Sammy a t-shirt, which he tried to refuse but eventually accepted in return.

We also got a 3 or 4 song encore,,including another pipe solo. They were about to play on,,but were told they were over the curfew time and had to go off. So,,not a very in depth gig review,,,but I’m already looking forward to next time! “SCOTS WHA HAE”!


Review by Jim Devlin

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