‘Tartan’ and ‘Clef’
….are words many Indie Musicians’ would rarely utter in the same sentence, unless harking back to Archie Gemmell and school music lessons. However the 2007 ‘Tartan Clef Music Awards’, with Biffy Clyro, Idlewild, Gun, Franz Ferdinand and new boys The Law proved without a doubt this event is every bit as cool as a low slung Les Paul and shades indoors – yes people those are still cool if you’re rocknroll enough to pull it off…
Stamping the Tartan Clef Music Awards with their seal of Indie approval, ‘new’ acts such as Biffy Clyro, Amy MacDonald and The Law performed to an audience which included Idlewild, Franz Ferdinand, Gun, and Sharleen Spiteri. These veterans were amongst the faces comfortably mingling with equally long running acts. Acts including the still fresh faced Marti Pellow, his fellow Wet’s, 70’s punk legend Richard Jobson of Skids fame and Scotland’s grandfathers of traditional music Phil Cunningham & Ally Bain. Despite this apparent chasm of diversity, there was a palpable air of mutual respect from all camps. It was clear this was a night to revel in the successes of a deep and rich Scottish music scene.
The cynical amongst you who might simply look at the beautifully decked out Old Fruit Market venue in Glasgow, could be forgiven for scoffing that this was ‘just another corporate awards ceremony’, however with the Tartan Clef Music Awards you couldn’t be further from the truth.
The ‘Clef’s’ are held annually and in aid of Nordoff-Robbins, a charity providing music therapy to children and adults with special needs, including mental health problems, autism and dementia. Using methods developed by composer Paul Nordoff and special education teacher Clive Robbins to help people express themselves and communicate through music. The Nordoff-Robbins approach to music therapy is grounded in the belief that everyone can respond to music, no matter how ill, disabled or traumatised. This can help patients both physically and emotionally, and can enhance communication and support change. It can reach people in ways that traditional therapy sometimes cannot.
A charity auction saw “T In The Park” VIP tickets closing at around £2,800 and Led Zeppelin tickets selling at an incredible £21k. Yes, £21,000! The total raised was a staggering £144,000 – more than double the amount raised at the 2006 awards.
XFM’s Jim Gellatly had his eye on the Sex Pistols signed set list – but predicted [correctly I believe] that it would go to a rich punk… The lovable blue mohawked music guru had other plans though when he spotted the Rock Show auction item.
Gellatly joked, “I fancy having my own radio show! Get to be a celebrity for the day – I could do a rock show live from The BOX– nothing but a live set from The Down & Outs!
Eating with Gellatly, Stevie from Glasgow’s BOX venue recognises the importance of the auction, and recalls his involvement with Nordoff-Robbins. “I just love Nordoff-Robbins, I love the response from the kids. BOX raised thousands for carers and therapists at the front line. Helping kids communicate with their peers with just the vibrations of the drums, strumming the guitars – the exhilaration for the kids is just fantastic.
BREAKING: THE LAW
Dundee Indie boys “The Law”, performing on the night, had their sound check at a mind boggling 11am, but nothing dampens a Dundee spirit and later watching The Law swagger and bounce through the press kicking off their night ahead, it was clear they belong in the limelight. The Law’s rocknroll unpredictability and industry anticipation has the press on the edge of their seats, but a with a lovable charm and buckets of charisma they are also sure to be a hit with the city boys and city girls. Taking to their table, frontman Stuart Purvey was clearly excited about the prospect of performing.
“Tonight will be great, I was looking forward to performing in front of the First Minister, but sadly he couldn’t make it, maybe next time eh!”, “We’re up for an award and we’re quite close to the stage so might be in for a chance!”, drummer Marty Donald added.
How right he was, later The Law collected the XFM New Music Rising Award, and Stu thanked, on behalf of a stunned band a long list of people including:
“…everyone back home, The Doghouse, 2Thumbs, Stimulus Records and everyone that’s worked with and supported us over the last year…did I mention The Doghouse!?”.
Taking issue with the introduction of “Dundee’s Finest” the band proclaim they are actually the “Worlds Finest” – a statement delivered with such gusto, confidence and rocknroll self belief you get an undeniable sense they are right…
The curtain swept aside and to back up their proclamation The Law jumped effortlessly into ‘HOT ROD’, their first major single due for release in February 2008. On stage frontman Stu’ looked every bit as rocknroll as any of the greats of recent times. His sound, swagger, attitude and stage presence conjures vivid flashes of Ashcroft, Brown, and Gallacher, and with songs of everyday life struggles delivered with a punchy yet melodic style one can even sense the spirit of Joe Strummer creeping through.
Like Strummer did, Stu Purvey recognises the importance of how music can change peoples lives. Speaking right after the performance, Stu said of Nordoff-Robbins,
“I never knew anything about it before, but I looked up on it and I’m right into what they are doing. I love kids – kids are the future and anyone who’s willing to help kids is alright in my book. And the fact they are using music to help them is even better, it’s great. Nordoff-Robbins is definitely something The Law will support in the future!”
The Law’s debut album will be recorded early January ’08 for a May/June release, at the famous Lincolnshire Chapel Studios, where the likes of The Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Editors, Funeral for a Friend, Paul Weller, Idlewild, Little Man Tate, The Bluetones, and OCS have all laid down legendary tracks.
Biffy Clyro picked up “Ticket Master Band of the Year Award”, having kicked off their UK Tour in The Law’s home city of Dundee, a tribute to Dundee’s seismic impact on the Scottish music scene. When asked if the success of The View and The Law played a part, Biffy Clyro said;
“Yes, I think with The Law, The View and many other bands there’s incredible music coming out of there. After an amazing secret gig in Perth last year we just had to travel the 12 miles to Dundee – everyone up there was crazy and up for it on the first show of the tour.
Talk of Biffy Clyro being asked to support Linkin Park on their European tour were confirmed by the band; “Yes, we’ll be playing some dates on the tour to around 80,000 people over a few dates. We love playing shows, and to be asked by a huge band like that is a really nice feeling.”
The Awards continued to be dished out to the likes of Idlewild (VisitScotland Best Festival Act), Amy Macdonald (Glasgow: Scotland with style Best Newcomer), and Gun (96.3 Rock Radio Scottish Rock Award).
Franz Ferdinand picked up the main sponsor Optical Express’ Tartan Clef Award, and were genuinely touched to receive the Nordoff-Robbins Tartan Clef Award. Franz’s Alex Kapranos said “It’s a great charity and as musicians it’s very close to our hearts. And of course music does touch a lot of people and the therapeutic side of it is intense.”
U2, in true awards style, even dropped in via live video link from London to congratulate Richard Jobson of the Skids as he received the Reo Stakis Lifetime Achievement Award.
Make no mistake; the 2007 Tartan Clef Music Awards signals great things for Indie music recognition in Scotland. Whether you’re a fresh faced manager looking to rub shoulders with the big boys, or a band topping off a great year of hard ‘toilet gig’ touring – awards ceremonies are no longer just the reserve of the long established – they are a respectable early stepping stone on the road to world domination by your band…and a great excuse to wear shades indoors, get wrecked and give vast amounts of cash to an incredible music charity.
The event will be televised on December 18th on STV @ 19:30pm
Article & Photos: Colin ‘TwoThumbsFresh’ McQuillen