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Classic Grand, Glasgow
Saturday 9th May

Johnny Main

johnny main

bags of rock

Another Saturday night and another trip down to the Classic Grand in Glasgow city centre for me, for a trio of local bands proving that the local music scene is alive and well in the west of Scotland.

First up was Corrupt The System, a quartet that I last saw in action last December. It's always a difficult job being first band on at these type of events, but the band equipped themselves very well during their thirty minute set.

Opening with a double barrel shot of tracks that I saw them close their set with the last time around - 'Temptations Of Anarchy' and 'Clay Soldiers', it showed that the band aren't afraid to shake their set up, as opposed to just playing the same songs in the same order all the time.

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For me, it's the last two songs that go down the best as the band seem to be more comfortable as the audience begins to fill out in the hall. 'Dehumanized' had guitarist, Paul McAllister playing a good riff that really drives the song which encouraged a lone audience member near the front to break out his air guitar before the slower paced mid-section as drummer, Adam McSherry, picked up the plodding beat.

It wasn't long before the faster tempo returned, though, as the song segued straight into 'The World' - which for me is the best offering of their set. It's a fast and furious number with McAllister adding almost death Metal style vocals accentuating the more straightforward lyrics from front man, Neil Parkinson.

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Right in the middle of their set though the band launched into 'Game On', which we're told by Parkinson will be the title of their forthcoming album, which the band are due to start recording later this summer. As far as the track itself goes, it has a solid bass intro from bass player, Gary Hughes, before Parkinson adds in some flanged guitar.

McAllister joins in the action as the track builds and builds to the main guitar riff as McSherry picks to the pace as the song really gets going. A small group at the front were nodding along as Parkinson played a good but short guitar solo, whilst McSherry kept the relentless beat going and as the song climaxed, getting a good response from the audience for was certainly the heaviest band of the evening.

Maybe not an ideal band for some of the audience who aren't as used to the heavier overtones, but I, like many others there, thoroughly enjoyed their set and look forward to hearing more new tunes from them in the near future.

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Corrupt The System Setlist:
Temptations of Anarchy
Clay Soldiers
Left For Dead
Game Over
The World

Corrupt The System are:
Neil Parkinson - Vocals/Guitar
Paul McAllister - Guitar/Vocals
Gary Hughes - Bass/Vocals
Adam McSherry - Drums

After the heavy set from Corrupt The System, the mood was somewhat lightened by the gentle pace of Static Rock's set.

In stark contrast to the heavy guitars and thundering drums that went before, the audience were treated to front man Mathew MacConnell earnestly strumming along on his acoustic guitar whist a rockier guitar sound was provided by guitarist Eddie Callaghan.

'Other Side Of Me' had a funky intro from bass player Sean Patton which had the audience clapping along before drummer, Chris McMullan, and Callaghan joined in the fun. MacConnell's bluesy sounding voice came across well with Callaghan playing a great guitar solo as he took centre stage before drummer had the audience clapping along with a solid bass drum beat.

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A spirited cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Rock 'N' Roll' was less guitar orientated and more piano based and proved a popular choice judging by the reaction from the audience. Keyboard player Dennis Dignall, however, remained largely hidden throughout the bands set, seated in front of the drum riser but obscured behind Callaghan. MacConnell took an unscheduled trip into the audience midway through gathering quite a crowd round him as an audience member stole the spotlight with some spirited dancing.

MacConnell introduced new track 'Shuggin', which featured a slow and steady beat from McMullan which had the audience dancing along as Callaghan's understated guitar cames in. Patton provided some credible backing vocals whilst MacConnell gave a passionate performance as he really pushes his voice to its limit. Callaghan had a second guitar solo as the piano driven mid-section slowed the pace before McMullan built the beat back up once again.

'Save Me' was another showcase for MacConnell's bluesy voice and once again the crowd were happy to clap along without needing any encouragement from the band. As the band wound up their set, McMullan played a steady but uncomplicated beat on 'Bad As Me', whilst Patton helped keep the momentum going as he banged his head to the rhythm whilst Callaghan's guitar faded into the mix before his guitar solo near the end.

It felt like a meandering end to an otherwise enjoyable set to me, but the band still left the stage to a rousing response from the audience which was well deserved.

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Static Rock Setlist:
Once More
Other Side Of Me
Rock 'N' Roll (Zeppelin cover)
Save Me
Bad As Me
Any Bodies Someone

Static Rock are:
Mathew MacConnell - Vocals/Acoustic Guitar
Eddie Callaghan - Guitar
Sean Patton - Bass Guitar
Dennis Dignall - Keyboards
Chris McMullan - Drums

It was only left to headline act Bags Of Rock to grace the stage and with the hall close to bursting point, there was a huge roar from the audience as the house lights finally went down and the stage filled with dry ice as the final set of the evening began.

With a new album, 'Third World War', all ready to be released, the audience were promised that the album would be played in it's entirety during the band's set and they didn't hang about as they kicked off with the title track. Drummer Logan Whyte set out a furious beat whilst bass player, Ruairidh MacDougall's rhythms rattle the ribcages of everyone in the tightly packed audience.

Percussionist Stevie Shedden does his best to enthuse the crowd as he paces up and down whilst the pipers, Jonathan Graham and James Henderson, try to keep out of his way as all the band members jostle for position at the stage front.

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After the high octane start, 'Ramming Stone' slows the pace slightly as Graham and Henderson come to the fore while front man, Gregor 'G-Man' James and guitarist, Alan 'Deathface' Blair, take a back seat. There's not a lot of vocals here, and by the time they do begin, the crowd down at the barrier are dancing along just as the stop start mid-section begins which has Shedden and MacDougall leading the way.

'Be My Friend' has Blair throwing out a solid guitar riff as he nods his head rhythmically whilst James looks like he's having the time of his life judging by the huge smile on his face.

"We're getting political now" says James, as the band launch into 'Has It Come To This' which seems to be a popular number judging by the reaction at it's conclusion. Likewise, 'Sheeple' has political overtones as James tells the packed audience: "(it's) about Nigel Farage losing his job" in reference to the recent UK elections. The song itself has Whyte and Shedden working really well together as they batter out the beat before the song settles down with James rapping his way through the funky number.

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'Radioactivity', which is about "seeing nothing but 'X-Factor' people on the telly" James tells the audience, gets a huge roar of approval, and had Blair playing a great looking guitar solo but unfortunately it was lost somewhere in the mix. Graham and Henderson really had their work cut out on the bagpipes, though, as they did their best to keep pace with the fast tempo.

Sharing the writing credits about on the new album, 'This Place Is Hell' was written by Blair, who took over lead vocal duties for the number. Once again, his guitar solo looks good although it's at the mercy of the soundman once again. Following that is 'What Is This?' is "the heaviest song on the album" James explains and he's not far wrong either.

Blair again takes on the lead vocals whilst James gets the crowd whipped up. The faster mid-section sees some great twin guitar work from James and Blair as the latters guitar issues finally seem to be a thing of the past as he plays a short solo before the songs rib rattling, head banging finale.

Touted as the last song by James the crowd give it everything during 'Knights Of Cydonia'. With Graham and Henderson taking a well deserved break it was left to James to take centre stage before Blair plays one of his best solos of the night. A popular track by all accounts, the audience didn't need any encouragement to dance along and as Graham and Henderson reappear onstage once again the whole audience are happy to clap along during the long instrumental finale.

As the band leave to huge applause there's no way they can leave without an encore and as the audience shout for more, the band eventually reappeared one by one as the build up to 'Travel Through Time' began. It's James who gets the biggest reaction from the crowd as he finally appears onstage as the main guitar riff has the crowd dancing once again.

The final song of the evening is 'Jigonometry', which brings their set to a triumphant end. As the band leave the stage for the last time, it's clear the audience would be happy for the band to continue judging by the amount of noise they were making but alas it wasn't to be, but the band signed out the evening in fine style.

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Bags Of Rock Set List:
Third World War
Ramming Stone
Be My Friend
Has It Come To This
This Place Is Hell
All They Have
What Is This
Knights Of Cydonia
Travel Through Time

Bags Of Rock are:
Gregor 'G-Man' James – Vocals/Guitar
Alan 'Deathface' Blair – Guitar
Jonathan Graham – Bagpipes
James Henderson – Bagpipes
Ruairidh MacDougall – Bass Guitar
Stevie Shedden – Percussion
Logan Whyte – Drums

Bags of Rock pictures - (c) Paul Morrison Photography 2015
Static Rock picture - (c) - Static Rock/ Dave MacConnell 2015
Corrupt The System picture - (c) Ronnie Reffin of Click and Play Photography 2015



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