This Is Not A Toga Party is another product of Bainbridge Presents…, the music promotion arm of Great Junction Street Music Studios helmsmen Chris and Gus.
Toga Party is a monthly affair currently taking place at Maggie’s Chambers at The Three Sisters in the Cowgate. It’s aimed at students and travellers – but still with the Bainbridge boys’ quality control ensuring all the bands on the bill know their way around a tune.
Scrap Brain get things off to a smouldering start with their inspired take on post-punk / new wave rock. Frontwoman Angie has learned from the greats, with an onstage presence and vocal prowess that’s been handed down from elder stateswomen like Suzie Quatro & Chrissie Hynde, passed onto the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Karen O and then directly into Angie’s more than capable hands.
The three-piece create a satisfyingly jagged and spiky sound, complemented by guitarist Myke swapping onto the synth for a few numbers. Drummer Stew does a great job at holding the rhythm together, especially as the lad’s suffering from tonsilitis tonight.
And Angie? As well as having a voice excellently suited to this kind of stuff, this girl was born to front a rock band. She scissor kicks around the stage, hangs onto the ceiling and drops to the floor, giving herself over to the music as she poses and pouts her way through a set which ups the ante for the rest of the bands to follow.
Scrap Brain have emerged fully-formed onto the local live scene, with armfuls of attitude and tunes that are classic examples of that loud quiet loud thing. Ones to watch out for, definitely.
New Delusion feature one Angus Ross Esq on drums. One half of Bainbridge Music itself, Angus proves himself to be a Mighty Rock Drum God of Valhalla as well as an effective and enthusiastic music promoter.
The band’s sound taps into the rich vein of gargantuan rockers like Zeppelin, Guns N Roses and Wolfmother – and they create huge mountain-flattening riffs straddled with crotch-clutching vocals that soar high across airbrushed Roger Dean fantasy landscapes. Epic.
This is the kind of music that’s proudly wears its influences on its sleeves: these muthas rock, and they’re not afraid to show it. However, their onstage attitude is – together with some of their songs – shot through with a much-appreciated self-effacing and ironic streak.
This stops them from disappearing up their own mighty metal backsides and instead paints them as lovable rock rogues. Frontman Alex is largely responsible for this, with a great line in banter and song introductions, but bassist Chris and Gus also share this trait, making New Delusion a very rare thing: a heavy rock band that are a good laugh into the bargain.
The angular fast-paced indie rock of Glasgow-based band The Red Show rushes up next, immediately gripping from the outset and not letting you go until the last note.
If you can imagine a Scottish (and good…) version of The Arctic Monkeys sneaking into The Pixies basement and playing Rage Against The Machine records at full volume until The Queens of The Stone Age appear and asks them to turn it down a bit, you’re kinda close to The Red Show’s sound.
This tight and talented trio possess some quite brilliant tunes, all laced with guitarwork which makes you think frontman Gareth must have 10 fingers – on each hand.
Mike puts every ounce of effort into the drumming, producing rhythms to match the hyperactive guitar, whilst bass player Chris lays down heavy foundations for The Red Show’s set to build some pretty complex but immediately appealing structures on.
This lot are making a name for themselves through west, and it’s easy to understand why. When they make the journey along the M8 to these parts again, make the effort to check them out.
It’s hard to think of a band which wouldn’t benefit from having an insane half-naked punk trumpet player. Hagana‘s Psycho Trumpet Boy (PTB) not only adds a bit of brass to the band’s already stonking US grunge pop sound, but skipfuls of bonkers punk attitude to boot.
Hagana would be pretty much essential as a three-piece with so many great tunes it’s almost illegal. With the addition of PTB, they are an unmissable live experience.
Leaping around like a feral child raised on a diet of sherbet fountains, he jumps off stage and rushes up to the punters with a look of manic glee on his face, then rushes back again when the music calls for it, whipping out his shiny instrument to add some effective ska-tinged colour.
Hagana frontman Leo Fox possesses great big chunks of slackerness, his voice tinged with J Mascis-like cool. Drummer David Chisholm’s harmonies surf up next to Leo’s vocals in most of the songs and create something pretty special. Most of the band’s numbers are fast in tempo, with one or two slower songs bringing variety to proceedings (and letting PTB nip off to the bar for a pint). Bassist David Jack proves himself more than capable of coping with both, and the whole band create a satisfyingly full-on sound, wrapped round a set of hook-heavy songs and melodies.
When PTB lays down his trumpet and sticks copies of Hagana’s EP to his sweat-soaked chest, you realise this is a band that pretty much offer it all – great tunes, genuine talent and a live experience which – thanks to PTB’s unhinged chaos – you’re not likely to forget in a hurry.
So Hagana, we salute you. PTB, we’re slightly scared of you (but we love you really).
Those Bainbridge boys: they’ve done it again…