Sunday, April 16, 2017

Logan's Close

Lights down, and Logan’s Close stroll on stage to the strains of Ennio Morricone’s theme for A Fist Full Of Dollars.  It may only be the Voodoo Rooms with the tickets costing a fiver, but the boys from Dunbar believe in putting on a show.  A rumble of jungle drums from Mike Reilly, and they’re off.  If you don’t like rock’n’roll, it’s too late now folks.
Logan’s Close specialise in recreating the spirit of Beat Boom rhythm’n’blues, and they do it with style – check out the haircuts, skinny ties and winklepickers – a devil may care attitude,
Carl Marah of Logan's Close - stubbed toe, perhaps?
and a determination that all present are going to have fun, fun, fun.
When I say they’re out to recreate the spirit of the Beat Boom, I don’t mean that they slavishly churn out covers.  Sure, they do turn out versions of ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ and Ray Charles’ ‘What’d I Say’, but they do it with a shed-load of brio, stimulating a psychotic reaction from the young folk down the front.  Yep, you read that right - youngsters going nuts over ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’.  I wonder if they know how old it is?
What’s even more impressive though, is that their own songs fit in so well beside those classics that you can scarcely see the join.  On ‘Work’ (as in ‘don’t wanna work no more’) they capture right away that scratchy 60s sound, with bonkers rock’n’roll guitar fills from Carl Marah and clever vocal harmonies.  ‘Vision Of Beauty’ is funkier, but still expertly arranged, with a terrific middle 8, and they even essay a latin vibe on ‘Dance In The Dark’.
In the midst of all this Marah combines well with Scott Rough on front man duties, the latter conveying a laid back, tongue in cheek charisma in addition to his rhythm guitar and spot on lead vocals.  Meanwhile Reilly’s drumming is sharp as well as energetic – and his eight bars of silent drum solo is typically knowing - while 18-year old Ollie Turbitt on bass now seems much more confident than when I last saw them.
The constant stream of songs pitched right at the bullseye gets everyone’s feet moving.  ‘Ticket Man’ celebrates the fare-dodging habits of Dunbar youngsters visiting Edinburgh, with Marah weighing in with some wild harp.  ‘Come On Pretty Lady’ is summed up by its bop-shoo-wop vocal interjections, and Marah snapping a string because, as Rough says, “he rocked too bloody hard!”  The launch of the single ‘Listen To Your Mother’ - watch the video, it's a hoot! - is the pretext for this bash, and it lives up to the moment, and they make a damn good danceable job of ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’ as a first encore to boot.
Scott Rough - how come I'm in black and white?
In support, Ayrshire band Soldier On are well summed up by the lady I met in the queue at the bar, who reckoned they were like Sweet meets Oasis.  She’d rather enjoyed them – but admitted to having been a Bay City Rollers fan in her youth.  Lead singer Jordan Bastock is a character – if you can imagine an amalgam of Rod the Mod, Jagger, and Alex Harvey getting a bit carried away and impersonating Chandler Bing on the dance floor.  Their material had some good moments, from the opening ‘No Man’s Land’, to the lascivious ‘Eggs For Breakfast’ and closing ‘Shake It Up’.  But the fact that a raucous rendering of ‘Roadhouse Blues’ overshadowed everything that went before tells a story.
In an opening acoustic spot William Douglas from Miracle Glass Company came across as a confident and assertive performer.  His voice may have wandered now and then, but his guitar playing was solid, and if some of the songs sounded like exercises in different styles, he was still witty along the way.
But ultimately the night belonged to Logan’s Close.  Fun fun fun.  Bop-shoo-wop.  And for that matter plenty of a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boo.

'Listen To Your Mother' and 'Ticket Man' are available now on iTunes and other digital platforms.

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