Live Reviews

  The Brutes, Reverse Cowgirls and Charles Randolph Rivers live at The Wise Monkey in Glasgow

The train was just pulling out of the logical station when it got derailed by a barmaid in a black dress.  Escaping from the carnage that caused in my brain led me all the way out to the west end of Glasgow. Perhaps I’d find common sense in the Wise Monkey with a few acoustic acts to cool my fevered brow?  Perhaps not.

Acoustic acts do anguish but they certainly don’t do scratchy reverb and passion. So and verily, I encountered Charles Randolph Rivers doing a one man band with a plan kind of thing. Not content with time travelling his guitar back to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, he hollered a homage to the likes of Hank Williams and Slim Whitman – he asks at one point if we knew who Slim Whitman was and if you didn’t, you’d want to after hearing this man play – and kicked a tiny little kick drum until it begged for mercy.  I’d like to put Charles Randolph Rivers in the ring with any of your sensitive Glasgow singer songwriters and see who gets the girl.

Oh yes, the logic thing. I should have guessed that logic might be in short supply at the Wise Monkey too for there is a flyer on the table that says that the night is presented by Eruption Records and those boys like their sleaze.  Then there was “The Carver” - a strange looking old guy who randomly popped up on stage to blow his blues harp in a wild and random selection of keys and tunings. Barking mad but somehow it worked. Now that I think of it and it might just be a side effect of the Guinness but “The Carver” might well be the coolest guy in Glasgow.

Reverse Cowgirls. Reverse cowgirls into what? Into the Kilburn High Road in 1977 it would seem as their angry proto punk sounds filled the room.  I’m not sure you can be proto punk this far after the event but keeping it simple was what they did spitting out urban anger into the faces of the discontented. Even with Mescalero style forages into Midwestern American, they seemed solid enough to have been hewn from best Glasgow granite.  Bands like this make you thirsty and, joyously, I finally feel the need for more beer.

Talking of women (I was, wasn’t I?), the Reverse Cowgirls managed to attract, persuade or otherwise entrance a statuesque brunette in an orange dress to strut her stuff front stage.  In these politically correct times I would call that a valid artistic statement.

Last on were the Brutes. Loud they were but unpleasant they were not with good natured banter filling the gaps between their lo-fi grungy rock ‘n’ roll sound. It’s the kind of sound that makes you realise how influential The Pretty Things and MC5 have been in shaping bands thousands of miles away in space and time. I was about to further describe them as primitive but the word I am actually looking for is raw. The Brutes played too well to be primitive but those rough edges that were deliberately left in gave life to their music. A standout turn from their guitarist too (even if he was hiding behind a speaker) .  Punch your fists in the air!

What else? What else? Ran into Craig from The Viragoes and Eve from HippyKiller and that, folks, is all I recall.

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