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Return of, er, Return of the Goat

Monica Queen (w/Johnny Smillie) / Invisible Republic / Ulric Kennedy / Ally Kerr (DJ) (Sun 25th January)

By • Jan 19th, 2009 • Category: Feature

Following the success of December’s show we’re pleased to announce the second in what will be a series of monthly shows, at The Goat on Glasgow’s Argyle Street in the West End.

And we are delighted to present a set by much admired chanteuse Monica Queen and her partner Johnny Smillie who have quietly carved out an enviable reputation, managing to straddle the indie and alt.country oeuvres with ease. Monica’s collaborators include the American legend Jim White and she has been invited to perform with the Jayhawks, Grant Lee Buffalo and Shane MacGowan amongst many others. She has of course also famously joined forces with Glasgow’s own indie legends Belle and Sebastian. It would be hard to forget her outstanding vocal performance on the seminal ‘Lazy Line Painter Jane’. Monica has been hailed as many things including “Glasgow’s very own Queen of country soul” (Paul Whitelaw in Metro) who also described album Ten Sorrowful Mysteries as “One of the most heart-heart-rendingly powerful records you will hear all year. A work touched with genius”.
The Scotsman’s Fiona Sheppard gets just as excited about it all: “Suffused with beautifully judged tender melancholy, John Smillie’s plangent, aching guitar and Queen’s lovelorn voice make a spine tingling combination”. Monica and Johnny’s previous band Thrum were an influential part of the underground indie scene in the 1990s and signed to Fire Records as label mates of Teenage Fanclub, Pulp and The Pastels. The Nougties have so far produced two highly acclaimed albums, Ten Sorrowful Mysteries and Return of the Sacred Heart (Released by Creeping Bent/Sanctuary). They are planning to incorporate their interpretation of one or two Burns songs into this gig in honour of the occasion, which will be a rare treat.

On the bill with Monica and Johnny are Invisible Republic, a new and exiting young band formed around singer songwriter JC Hamilton. The sound that’s evolved from JC’s collaboration with musicians Gavin, Andy, Nick and Eamonn is unashamedly jangly folk/country-tinged pop with an infectious upbeat dynamic. We may even get to listen a lovely bit of Eamonn’s of pedal steel guitar. You can’t argue with that.

Sharing a birthday with our national bard is Ulric Kennedy who is celebrating the event by showering us with song. Ulric is perhaps best known these days as guitarist with Janis Murray’s wonderful Parsonage Choir. He has however a seasoned pedigree encompassing underground independent bands such as The Mixers, The Golden Dawn and The Catalysts. Ulric’s inspiration from the timeless greats of the sixties and seventies such as Dovovan, Bob Dylan and Neil Young shines through his carefully-crafted solo set where he is known to play both plucky steel string acoustic and rhythmic electric guitar, though not at the same time.

We are also very happy to have Ally Kerr as this month’s DJ. He has a growing reputation for finely honed predominantly ‘indie’ sets created from a vast catalogue built up over many years. Ally’s own music has acquired something of a cult following in Japan where one of his songs has been used in a well known animation. Although he has yet to attain the same level of recognition back home, his latest album Off the Radar found a big fan in the BBC’s ‘whispering’ Bob Harris who described him as “a great songwriting talent from Scotland”. Ally was equally delighted when Uncut Magazine said the album “jangles with all the rainy loveliness of Belle and Sebastian”. He has one or two unreleased gems up his sleeve and we hope to give them an airing soon.

We hope you enjoy the show – live music from 9 – 11pm. DJ sets from 7.30 – 9.00 and then again from 11pm – midnight. And in honour of Burns’ Night, all single malt whiskies £1 a shot, plus free neeps and haggis!

As for last month’s show…

Last month’s inaugural ‘Return of the Goat’ gig thankfully seemed to go down well. We had a great crowd and their loyalty was repaid by strong performances. Brand spanking new Parsonage Choir spin off ‘The Cinnamon Girls’ treated us to their second ever gig and won over everyone in the room with their beautifully arranged four way harmonies and inspired song choices. There was a visceral sense of surprise and awe at the sound they produced, followed by raucous applause, whoops and cheers. Quite right too. Dave Dixon and Johnny Wolfe played a blinder with typically melodic and intelligent original material which included acoustic versions of great new songs from their latest explosive supergroup The Hidden Masters (“One of the best new bands in Scotland” – is this music). Blueflint crossed the great divide and travelled from Edinburgh to give us humble Weegies a taste of their bluegrass infused set. They came armed with duelling banjos and delicious harmonies inspired from places much further west and some say even stranger than our Capital. A wonderfully uplifting sound (too rarely heard live in this neck of the woods) with just the right hint of melancholy. Biff Smith manned the decks and gave us an inspired and eclectic DJ set which glided seamlessly before, between and after the live music.

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