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The Garage, Glasgow
Thursday 17th September 2015

Johnny Main: Photos by Sean Cameron

johnny main

ugly kid joe

It was a damp Thursday night in Glasgow which means one thing - the weekend is nearly here! So what better way to celebrate than to kick back with a couple of beers and enjoy a night with one of the iconic bands of the 1990s, Ugly Kid Joe.

As I pulled myself out of the pub and headed into the venue, it was clear straight away that there weren’t many under thirties there, and judging by the queue at the bar either folk had decided to take the next day off work or there were going to be a lot of “in work” hangovers the following day.

As Hailmary made their way on stage, they were greeted with a huge ovation – not bad for a band playing their first gig in Scotland. The nerves of the band were showing slightly and it took a couple of numbers for the band and audience to gel.

By the time they got to ‘Monday Mundane’, the band looked much more relaxed as the drums of Vas Shevtsov cut through the guitar tone as bass player, Mick Quee head banged away. It’s a solid enough song, even though guitarist Paul Cush’s vocals are dwarfed by the rest of the sound.

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‘My Song’ had the whole band head banging during the intro before the track settled down. Cush plays a guitar solo that’s lost in the mix unfortunately, but it looks great, and to compound his issues, it doesn’t seem like his vocal mic is working properly either.

Front man Kevin Curran lets slip a smile showing how much fun he's having before the ubiquitous bottle of Buckfast is produced by Shevtsov from behind his drum kit to much laughter from the crowd.

“This stuff’s shit, isn’t it?” asks Curran seriously, before adding “No-one really drinks it right?” with a smile to much laughter and applause from the audience.

‘Control Freak’ is next up which is a heavy but slower paced number. Cush finally seems to have his vocal mike sorted and adds depth to the vocal sound and the track gets a good reception at its conclusion.

Shevtsov sets up the pace for ‘Yellow Light Of Death’ which has some of the front row of the audience bouncing up and down during the high energy number which finally sees Cush getting his guitar issues sorted out as he tackles his short but inventive solo.

With a club night later on, all the bands are on a tight schedule but it’s before their set closer, ‘Good To Go’, that Curran explains why this show in particular is important to him. Living in Australia is his life now, but he was actually born in Scotland, so to be able to play here is a huge thrill for him, he explains.

As the band launch into their final number of the evening it’s a case of leaving the heaviest number till last, and it’s a great way to end. Shevtsov really punishes the snare drum while Curran gives it everything one last time in an understandably passionate performance. The band are afforded a solid reception as they leave the stage, but not before Quee and Cush toast the crowd with bottles of Buckfast one last time.

HailMary Set List:
Liar In My Chair
Wake Up
Monday Mundane
My Song
Control Freak
Yellow Light Of Death
Good To Go

HailMary are:
Kevin Curran – Vocals/Guitar
Paul Cush – Guitar/Vocals
Mick Quee – Bass Guitar
Vas Shevtsov – Drums

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With a new album, ‘Uglier Than They Used Ta Be’, just about to drop, perennial nineties favourites Ugly Kid Joe make a welcome return to UK stages to support the upcoming release. The expectant crowd are tightly packed into the venue as the house lights go down and the bands into music blasts out of the PA.

Those who were queuing up at the bar earlier make their way to the front and it’s only a matter of minutes before the crowd get restless and begin shouting for the band. As the band finally file onstage, they’re greeted with huge applause and the crowd go wild as they launched into ‘Neighbour’.

Fists were punching the air and as front man Whitfield Crane finally comes on, the crowd go into overdrive. The singer has the audience in the palm of his hand but I'm not sure who was having more fun.

ugly kid joe

‘Jesus Rode a Harley’ had Crane and guitarist Sonny Mayo having some onstage fun as drummer, Zac Morris, punched out the beat. Mayo’s solo was momentarily lost in the mix but the sound man quickly rectified the problem before Mayo kicked off the intro to ‘ C.U.S.T. (Can't U See Them)’ with some skilled wah wah pedal work.

The song’s easy chorus gets the audience singing along before unassuming guitarist Klaus Eichstadt breaks cover from the left of the stage with a blistering solo.

‘She’s Already Gone’ is the first of two tracks for the bands new album, ‘Uglier Than They Used ta Be’ (which is reviewed by MetalTalk here). The song slows things down during the intro before it bursts into life courtesy of Morris’ drum fills.

With the album not out yet, there was a definite change in the audience from dancing and singing along to intently watching the band. There wasn’t a huge rush to the bar either, which shows this band are much more than just a novelty act and their new album is highly anticipated.

The other new album track aired, album opener, ‘Hell Ain't Hard To Find’ is added towards the end of their set and both tracks elicit a great response from the audience. Crane tells the audience that they’re trying to build the band back up to the position they were in “fifteen or twenty years ago”, and if the new record is anything to go by they're well on their way to being bigger than they've ever been before.

ugly kid joe

‘No One Survives’ is another popular number from the band’s back catalogue judging by the cheers at the top of the song, and had Mayo head banging furiously while Eichstadt and bass player, Cordell Crockett, took a much more leisurely approach to the performance.

‘Devils Paradise’ saw Crane arranging some coordinated hand waving from the audience during the intro and the audience didn’t let him down. Kudos here to Morris here for his unrelenting drum beat. I'm surprised he doesn't need to change a skin midway through their set he was hitting the drums so hard.

Crane relates a story about listening to ‘Cats In The Cradle’ when he was younger and when the band needed an extra song to record back in the day, he suggested it. It was, of course, a huge hit for the band at the time and as it’s the first real chance for the audience to sing-along they grab the opportunity with both hands.

Introducing ‘Milkman's Son’, Crane (who described it as “one of our better songs!”) gives a shout out to its writer Dave Fortman, who is currently in the US, a dedication that garners huge applause from the audience. It’s another song that has the crowd dancing along as Mayo lays down the intro guitar riff.

ugly kid joe

To me, this song’s definitely better now than the last time I heard it live, which must've been sometime around 1995/96 and you can see how much fun Crane is having as he paces the stage grinning from ear to ear and constantly making contact with those pushed against the crowd barrier.

Before ‘Goddamn Devil’, Crane requests that the lighting tech bathe the stage in a red light which is done at the flick of a switch, and as the song’s slow intro peaks and the pace picks up, it gives the audience another opportunity to show the band their singing skills. Eichstadt plays one of his best solos of the evening here, and as the song finishes it gets massive applause much to the band’s obvious delight.

There was an extended break between the main set and the encore and with time running out it was up to Crane to let the audience decide whether they wanted to hear two or three more songs - as if he needed to ask if course.

ugly kid joe

First up is ‘V.I.P.’ which had the audience dancing along once again and shouting (more than singing) the chorus as if their lives depended on it. With time fast running out, the song that needs no introduction got no introduction - ‘Everything About You’ which, of course, gets the biggest cheer of the night.

It’s a song that hasn't dated and we can all relate to the lyrics, so the audience ended up as a euphoric mass singing along to the chorus almost as loudly as the band at times, while Mayo had some fun posing with his guitar during the gaps between the riffs.

Surprisingly, there was a distinct lack of mobile phones in the audience during the song, with the audience preferring to enjoy the moment instead of looking at it through a tiny screen.

Set closer was a cover of the classic ‘Ace Of Spades’ that’s also included on the new album, incidentally. Given Crane’s history with Motörhead (they’re his favourite band and he recorded ‘Born to Raise Hell’ with the band in 1994) and the fact it’s another song that everyone knows, it gives the audience and band the chance to go wild one more time with a slightly scrappy but fun cover.

ugly kid joe

A fitting end to a very memorable gig and let’s hope it’s not too long before the band return for another show, as I get the feeling the audience are willing them to return sooner rather than later.

Ugly Kid Joe Set List:
Jesus Rode a Harley
C.U.S.T. (Can't U See Them)
Panhandlin' Prince
She's Already Gone
No One Survives
Devil's Paradise
Cat's in the Cradle
I'm Alright
Milkman's Son
Goddamn Devil
Hell Ain't Hard To Find
So Damn Cool
Everything About You
Ace of Spades

Ugly Kid Joe are:
Whitfield Crane - Vocals
Klaus Eichstadt - Guitar
Sonny Mayo - Guitars
Cordell Crockett – Bass Guitar
Zac Morris – Drums

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