Theatre of Hate and Southern Approach – Live at The Bungalow, Paisley

Theatre of Hate October 2017

Three firsts for me tonight.

First time in The Bungalow, first time I’ve seen Southern Approach live & first time I’ve see Theatre of Hate live.

The Bungalow, Paisley

The Bungalow didn’t let me down.

Unassuming from the outside, but a perfect intimate venue for a gig inside. The venue has loads of great vantage points to watch the bands and with a great line up of acts due to visit, I’m sure I’ll be back

Southern Approach

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Southern Approach didn’t let me down.

The Kilmarnock band had formed over 30 years ago but split up before they released an album, due to public demand according to frontman Munro. They reformed last year, recorded and released their debut album “Restitution”. The album is packed full of epic songs which we were treated to tonight.

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The band ripped through their 10 tracks, kicking things off with album opener “Break in The Circle”. Munro has a commanding voice complemented by luscious harmonies from Shirley Guthrie. The band were tight through their set and treated us to one hook laden track after another. Songs like “Shake” & “Killing Fields” & “The Traveller” are titanic soundscapes with instantly memorable refrains.

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Judging by the number of CDs they shifted on the night, I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed their set. This was great for the band as tonight’s gig was a big deal for them having originally been called Legion after the Theatre of Hate song of the same name.

Theatre of Hate

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live in The Bungalow

And to complete the set, Theatre of Hate didn’t let me down either. I’d seen Kirk Brandon live before in various guises, but this was the first time I’d seen Theatre of Hate.

It was a different story for the majority of tonight’s packed out crowd. Bass legend Stan Stammers mentioning having played the original incarnation of the Bungalow 30+ years ago. From the reaction of the gathered masses, there were a fair number present who had been at that gig.

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live

The band of Kirk Brandon. Stan Stammers, Adrian Portas and Chris Bell with Clive filling John “Boy” Lennard’s shoes were on prime form. The 18 tracks played at the gig borrowed from the entire back catalogue of the band, including 5 tracks from 2016’s Kinshi. The newer songs sat perfectly alongside the old Theatre of Hate favourites.

Classic tracks

Right from the off the intensity was pronounced. The opening trio of classics, “Rebel Without a Brain” and debut single “Original Sin” sandwiching “Black Irony” from Kinshi, set out the bands manifesto for the rest of the gig.

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live

The sax is a fantastic instrument when played well, and tonight was a great example. There was no John “Boy” Lennard tonight due to family circumstances (thoughts are with John) but Clive ably filled his shoes. Not many alternative/rock bands can get away with a sax player. With Theatre of Hate, it is vital part of their sound. A perfect foil to the power of the bands lyrics and crashing guitars.

Tongue firmly in cheek, Kirk introduced “My Own Invention” as “a tender song about mass murderers”. The band followed it up with “The Maintenance Man” a song about “the ones who clean up after them” complete with a nod to Harvey Keitel’s roles in Point of No Return and Pulp Fiction.

Kirk Brandon live
Kirk Brandon

Brandon alternated between playing guitar and dancing in his unique style when not playing. Taking to the side of the stage at times to give the rest of the band their place, he was evidently lost in the music. At one point I did think that he and Richard Jobson could challenge each other to a dad dance-off.

Unfortunately for him, no-one took him up on his request for ice cream at the start of “Triumph” which he introduced as “(sounding) like ice cream music to me”.

Energy

One of my own personal favourites, “Judgement Hymn” notched the atmosphere up a level. There was a discernible increase in the energy and exuberance from much of the assembled hoard.

As the band reached the climax of their set with “Poppies”, “Solution” and “Legion” there was an outbreak of vigorous dancing in the “pit”. This initially created a bit of tension which threatened to spill over, this was picked up by Kirk who urged the crowd not to “hurt each other”.

In the main though, the atmosphere was good natured. Everyone finding their place and enjoying the gig in their own way. As the band returned for the brace of “Do You Believe in the Westworld?” and “Propaganda”, I turned round and saw a sea of people with huge smiles on their faces. Energetic dancing and singing continued right to the end with a rush of people looking to shake the bands hands before they exited.

A great night’s entertainment. As I said hello to a few folk before I left, I heard a number uttering phrases like “gig of the year”. Proof if needed that the auld yins can still show the youth how to do things right.

Southern Approach – Interview with David Munro Orr – Kilmarnock “legend”

So, when I decided I was going to start a blog, I knew I wanted to share my love for music and I wanted to shout about some of the bands that (in my opinion) deserve to get more recognition and exposure. (Not that this blog is going to get them that but hey, I can try!) So how would I get them on board and involved?

I thought, maybe I could approach someone I know that has been in bands all his life and has released some great tunes? But failing that maybe Munro would help (I jest Davy!)

So, here it is – my first blog and I’ve roped in David Munro Orr (Davy, Munro….. whatever you want to call him) to talk about Southern Approach.

For anyone that doesn’t know, Davy, among other things, is the singer from Ayrshire (Kilmarnock to be precise) legends, Southern Approach.

Munro, for anyone that hasn’t heard you or your music, tell me more about Southern Approach.

“Southern Approach are basically an 80’s inspired Goth/Rock band. Melodic, harmonic vocals with a driving rhythm section and riff driven guitars.”

And who is in the band?

“The band consists of Davy Orr and Shirley Guthrie on vocals, Barry Lewis on guitar, Neill Ramsay on drums and Philip Harkness on bass. We also have Sandy Doherty on guitar     who writes and records with us.”

You’ve recently recorded and released your debut album Restitution, this album has been 30 years in the making – why the long delay?

“It took us 30 years as basically we split up in 1989. And in the years we were together we just didn’t have the cash, technology or indeed the breaks to record an album. Remember this was the mid 80’s, we did record several demos though.”

Southern Approach in the 80s – photo courtesy of David Munro Orr

How does it feel to be back together as a band after that length of time?

“A couple of years ago after hearing that a couple of the band had been through some tough times, I asked the guys if they fancied reforming. Barry and myself had kept playing together anyway in Straw Dogs and Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers and we were all still in touch. It feels fantastic to be together again as life is way too short. It feels like the time is right now and probably wouldn’t have worked in the past. I reckon we had to have a bit of distance to fully appreciate what we have now.”

Southern Approach 2017 – photo courtesy of David Munro Orr

You are in, or have been in, several bands over the years. What first got you into music?

“I was 12 in 1977 and just getting into music. So I was drawn to bands like The Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash, The Ruts etc. Then bands like The Cult, Sisters of Mercy & New Model Army. As for getting into a band I think I was 16 or 17 and just an incredible show off, still am. I started on guitar but realised that I really didn’t have the patience or indeed talent so moved to vocals.”

You’re supporting Theatre of Hate in Paisley in October – how did that gig come about?

“The Theatre of Hate gig is incredibly exciting for us as we’re all massive fans. Basically the promoter is a mate of mine who heard the album, liked it and asked us to support knowing we were fans.”

I’m looking forward to that gig! I might even buy you a vodka. Maybe….

Anyway, whats next for Southern Approach?

“Next for Southern Approach is some more writing, videos and recording. We’ll play a few gigs every year especially interesting ones like TOH but we won’t be touring as the old bones wouldn’t take it, or my liver.”

Southern Approach – still from “Shake” video – photo courtesy of David Munro Orr

I’m sure there will be loads of people wanting to get hold of your album, where can they get it?

“People can download the album at Southern Approach – CD Baby or if they’d prefer a CD at Bellfield Tavern – Store

Musically, who inspires you Munro?

“Personally the people that inspire me are John Lydon, Malcolm Owen of The Ruts and Ian Astbury of The Cult vocally and as frontmen. I also admire people like Charlie Harper and Dave Vanian for their longevity and of course talent.”

Things are a lot different now than they were 30 years ago, what are the biggest challenges you see now and what advice would you give anyone starting a band in this day and age?

“I think young bands are far more clued up than us oldies as regards technology. Is it easier or harder with the Internet? I really can’t decide. What I would say is stop banging on about selling “merch” when you’ve played 3 fuckin’ gigs! Get rehearsing, writing, gigging and hone your talent. Play outside your comfort zone and not just to friends and family as you’ll get a better perspective from strangers and don’t give up too soon as we did in the 80’s. That’s my one regret we expected things to come to us and it just doesn’t happen like that.”

You mentioned earlier Straw Dogs and Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers (Box was a brilliant album by the way) I know you have “retired” from Straw Dogs, but what are the plans for Outstandifold?

“Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers will hopefully be writing, recording and gigging again very soon. We’re trying to get things sorted just now but it’s been difficult due to everyone’s other commitments but it will happen.”

What was the last album you listened to?

“I listened to Never Mind the Bollocks tonight on the drive home from work. My favourite album ever.”

What current band(s) would you recommend?

“I think Heavy Drapes are an excellent band. Real energy and attitude about them and great tunes as well. There are also some great young bands in Ayrshire like Huxtable who are a drummer and guitarist/vocalist who make some incredible sounds. And bands like Sonic Templars and Skaghoors who are both excellent. I must mention our old pals In the Plughole who gigged with us in the 80’s and have reformed and playing with us again.”

Well, thanks to Davy for his time. If all goes to plan, I’m sure we will hear more from Heavy Drapes on this very blog at some point….

I’ll leave you with a couple of snippets of info…….Someone reviewed the Southern Approach album and posted it on Amazon a while back – no idea who that might have been!

“What can I say about Restitution? As one of the tracks on the album says it’s been a “Long Time Coming”. 30 years in fact, but the result is worth it. From the opening of “Break in the Circle” through to “Waterfalls” the album is full of hook laden songs. I defy you not to sing along to songs like “Shake”, “Killing Fields” and “The Traveller” as if you’d known them for years. If you like your rock with a goth leaning, treat yourself to this full assault on your ear drums. Mike Scott once coined the phrase “Big Music” to describe some of his epic albums in the 80s. That phrase could easily be used to describe Restitution with its epic, soaring bombastic tunes. Buy now and PLAY LOUD!”

Southern Approach live dates:

Saturday 21st October 2017 – Bungalow Bar, Paisley (supporting Theatre of Hate) Tickets £15 from Theatre of Hate – Bungalow Bar, Paisley

Saturday 5th May 2018 – Bellfield Tavern, Kilmarnock with In The Plughole, Nyah Fearties and Skaghoors. Tickets – TBC Bellfield Tavern – Tickets

Please find links to Southern Approach Facebook page and Youtube channel in the sidebar under “Things Thegingerquiff likes” (also to Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers)