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The Wildebeests, Franklin Rock 'N' Roll Club, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live


In the latter half of this year France has been providing the cream of the garage band crop in the shape of The Missing Souls, The Arrogants & Les Gry Grys. The No Things benefit from their own French Connection in the shape of frontman Laurent Mombel and musically they rank comfortably alongside those fully French groups.

A less Francophone unit than Mombel's Les BOF! the quartet allows him possibly even greater freedom of expression than that band. Always an energetic & mobile singer with a great talent for showmanship (witness his arrival onstage via the crowd back at the first Hipsville a couple of years ago) he covers a lot of ground tonight in between shaking tambourine, maracas and blowing away on the harmonica.

'Diamond Ring' and 'Who Did You Rob, Bob?' are two of the highlights of a strongly performed set that sees the dancefloor crowded. Having one way or another managed to miss the band in various support slots this year it's great to finally have clapped eyes and ears on them. Those album recording rumours could do with being true. 

2/3s of The Wildebeests enter into the spirit of the season whilst John Gibb deigns to wear a bah, humbug Santa hat only for the duration of opening number 'Out Of My Head'. Wise man but then if this is as christmassy as it gets for me this year then I can't complain. Shouts of "ZZ Top" are met by replies of "ZZ Bottom" so you know it's going to be one of those nights.

And did we expect anything else? Of course not (& we'd be disappointed otherwise) so, digging into their back catalogue along with covers never before attempted live (The Boston Dexters' 'Nothin's Gonna Change Me Now', Motorhead's 'Motorhead') we get 'Pow Wow', 'Mongoloid', 'Comanche', 'Lucinda', 'Rowed Out', 'Cadillac' and a host more. Laurent's called upon to provide harmonica on a track or two but is unable to & so cheerleads for an encore instead. Teases of 'Public Image' are made a number of times but it's not to be.

A fun show to round off a very good year for the Franklin Rock 'N' Roll Club, the undisputed home of garage punk and related sounds in Edinburgh. It's a resource that can only get stronger in 2016, given the commitment of those involved. 

No-Things photograph by Debbie Sheringham.



Franklin Fest, Edinburgh - Saturday Afternoon

  • Published in Live


An expectant crowd await the afternoon's proceedings at The Parlour bar on Leith Links, just a short walking distance from the main venue of the Franklin Cricket Club. Compact and bijou it's both very busy and very hot. I recognise some familiar faces from last night's excellent shows, some obviously a little worse for wear, but on the whole jovial and ready to rock.  

The Reverse Cowgirls commence this afternoon's show. They competently throw out a bourbon-soaked country tinged rock 'n' roll in the order of Eddie Spaghetti, with a tinge of Southern Culture On The Skids thrown in there for good measure. They definitely brought to mind images of trailer parks in the Deep South. They did a good job of warming up the crowd, on what was already a hot day (well, by Edinburgh standards anyway).

Second up are The No-Things, a local 4 piece no nonsense '60s influenced garage rock band. Suave front man Laurent (of Les Bof) never fails to enthuse the crowd - he is a natural performer, and it's contagious. Before the set he moves around pieces of furniture in the tiny space available to make room for his big persona - and when the band get going he starts off jumping up on a chair, clapping his hands and daring the crowd to come and get some! Luckily the crowd are in a co-operative mood. The guitarist gives a bit of chat in between songs; he's quite funny in his tuxedo t-shirt and white jacket (which he makes a joke of before anyone else has a chance to get in there!) Laurent calls for audience participation with 'Who Did You Love Bob' (at least I think that's what it was called!). A short set, but none the less very sweet. They sound good, and will no doubt be as successful if not more so than Les Bof.  

Lastly Glasgow's The Bucky Rage are up, adorned in a variety of wrestling masks and capes / ladies hosiery. Not that this kind of gimmickry is anything new in the world of garage punk; and I would be very surprised if they did not have the likes of the Rip Offs / Thee Mummies / Von Zippers and many other '90s non-hit making punksters in their own record collections. They do not disappoint however, sounding for the most part as good as they look. A fast and trashy cover of 'Wildman' is thrown into the mix for posterity. When they are good they are very good, but there are a few numbers that seem to be reminiscent of a previous band, and don't quite fit. And then I see through the stocking clad head of the drummer/singer and can just about distinguish him as the lead singer of The Reverse Cowgirls - okay, now it all makes sense, or does it..?      


All in all, a fun afternoon, and if you didn't have a weekend ticket, this gig was free - you can't really ask for more.

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