The Wakes are the un-official musical wing of Glasgow Celtic FC – for American readers Celtic are a Glasgow, Scotland based soccer team with strong Irish roots and one of the biggest sports brands in the world.
The music of The Wakes clearly reflects the team they support – pub rock meets the Irish ballad tradition – sort of somewhere between The BibleCodeSundays meets The Wolftones -and though the rebel songs are toned down, scratch below the surface of football and drinking and Irish songs and it’s there.
While all Celtic and Irish sports fans will love this you don’t have to know the first thing about soccer to get carried away in the roar of the crowd (though Huns and Hearts fans will loathe).
Must hears include Drinkin’ Song, Pirates of the League and the cover of David Rovics St. Patrick’s Battalion
Clan London is the up-coming independent movie written and produced by Andy Nolan, accordion player for the BibleCodeSundays. For the last couple of years, Andy has been hosting Clan London fund raising parties at the Claddagh Ring pub in Hendon, north London. This weekend was the 2013 Summer Sesh and a showcase of, in my humble opinion, the two finest Celtic punk/rock bands currently active in the UK.
The evening’s music was kicked off by politico-metal band 44 Fires. Loud, fast, technically very competent, dressed in Anonymous-style Guy Fawkes masks, not Celtic and, in the words of my dear old mother, “not my sort of film”. No criticisms here, this is a solid band that will appeal to the metal crowd (reminded me of Lard), who were giving of their services for free in support of the Clan London project so good on them.
BiblecodeSundays were up next. Now anyone who has read my reviews before will know that I make no secret of the fact that this is my favourite Celtic band. Opening with The Pittsburgh Kid, a tale of champion boxer Billy Conn, the Biblecodes provided substantial proof that their third album is going to be a stunner. Stand out tracks from last night included ‘When Will the Road Rise’ and ‘Count Your Blessings’ (see the video here…..). I teased the band on Twitter about this gig being the first time I had ever seen them have a set list. In reply Enda Mulloy commented that it “went out of the window after the second song and we went to default”. Well lads, no-one would know. The set was tight, energetic and certainly got a very mixed crowd up on their feet and dancing.
The final act of the night were Glasgow’s finest, the Wakes; fresh from six hours on the motorway from Scotland. Once again, I am in fanboy territory. Opening with ‘No Irish Need Apply’, the Wakes proceeded to fill the next ninety minutes with standout tracks from their debut album (including anti-fascist standard and love letter to FC San Pauli, ‘Pirates of the League’). Augmenting the album tracks were covers of traditional classics such as ‘Galtee Mountain Boy’ and folk classics like ‘Viva La Quita Brigada’. Honourable mention must go to new lad on the whistles, Daniel, who played up a storm and survived the advances of a very drunken blonde!
All in all, we had a great night. Both bands give us song dedications; we won a prize in the raffle, got to hang out with good people and great friends. Keep an eye out for albums coming soon from both bands, a German tour from the Wakes and the commencement of filming on Andy’s Clan London movie.