It all started with a mysterious Facebook message "My name is Lizard McGee. I play in the American band Earwig. I'll be on tour in the UK and playing solo shows to support my new solo album. Could you help me out?"
Naturally, Lizard's message had me really intrigued, even more so when I listened to the Earwig single Bring Yrself 2 Me on YouTube. It had cool vocals, a great growling synth part, choppy guitars and a melody that brought to mind Reveal ear R.E.M. I messaged Lizard back with the names and numbers of all the venues in Perth and was really pleased when he managed to get a gig playing one of my favourite Perth venues The Green Room. A couple of days later I got another message from my friend Ali Pibworth who runs Perths DIY Rockshop. It read simply "Are going to see Lizard McGee". Hell yeah I'm going to see Lizard McGee!
I arrived with my photographer Scott in tow just in time for a quick conversation before Lizard and his daughter James (also a member of Earwig) began their support slot. We were lucky enough to get chat with the pair and also Lizards wife and Jame's mother Michelle. I think it is fair to see that the family was having a blast on their UK tour. "It's partly to celebrate our wedding anniversay" Michelle tells me. "Plus all three of us are huge Maccabees fans and we had the opportunity to see them in Manchester". That gig must seem all the more special now as it turned out to be one of the Maccabees very last shows.
Earwig had never gigged outside the states before so James and Lizard were getting a kick out of visiting and playing places that are part of UK music history. "We've played these great places like Soho and Sheffied, it's amazing." I wondered if they struggled at all with the English and Scottish accents. "Not really although we do find ourselves wanting to adopt peoples accents and we've all become a bit obsessed with saying cheers instead of thank you."
One thing I was a little bit curious about was why they had picked Perth as their only Scottish date. Don't get me wrong I'm a huge advocate for Perth. I write excusively about the Perthshire music scene and we are lucky to have great gigs both by local talent and World class acts on tour. However Lizard and his family had come all the way from America and were visiting big cities like London, Manchester and Sheffield and I wondered how our wee city had got on his radar. "We've always wanted to visit Perthshire, we love Dougie MacLean, we've heard him sing about the Tay our whole lives and we wanted to see it." It made me feel proud to hear that my home town has such a positive musical reputation.
Anyway, enough chat, it's time for the pair to take to the stage. As the first song strike up it quickly becomes clear that Lizard has an assured stage presence and although his band has more of a reputation for garage style rock he is equally at home with a stripped back performance. He brings a coffee shop vibe to The Green Room, think Mark Eitzel from American Music Club’s Song’s of Love Live. Second song Silverheels from latest album Pause For The Jets translates perfectly as an acoustic number with James heartfelt co-vocals really fleshing out the sound. Wasted on You is another album track that really benefits from James voice, originally a duet with Lydia Loveless, this version is easily its equal. After a couple of couple of crowd pleasing covers including Human League’s Don’t You Want Me comes my favourite song of the evening, Wisdom Teeth. Something about the lyric “There’s a little man, he live’s inside my mouth, everything he says he blames it on me” just tickles me, and Lizard is jumping and windmilling like an unplugged Pete Townsend.
After their performance we exchange gifts, Cd’s for Scott and I, a pint of Ossian for James and Lizard and we all braced ourselves for rest of the nights entertainment. We were treated to an incendiary performance from young up and coming Los Angeles band The Euphoria who already have songs and harmonies to die for. This is followed by Bread over Bombs an activist non-profit band, also from L.A., who have the chops and melody’s to back up their convictions. What's more any profit they make goes to food banks and they have recently set up a Glasgow division. Ending the night was Stereo Grand a truly international affair with members from Belgium and Glasgow and a really great, pumping live sound. By the end of the evening I’m pleased to see that Lizard seems to have acquired a Teenage Fanclub t-shirt that he was sporting proudly. Teenage Fanclub are still the best band in the World but Earwig aren't too far behind.
Check out Earwig's latest album Pause For The Jets on Itunes
Find out more about Bread Over Bombs here
Our live music reviewer Colin often signs off with the phrase "chips then home" but this week we've sent him along to an altogether different experience at Provender Browns Wine & Cicchetti evening as part of the Great Perthshire Picnic.
I have a bit of a love hate relationship with music festivals. I went to Glastonbury in 2000 with my cousins and although I loved the music, sunshine and banter I had such a pathological fear of camping that i had to practically drink myself unconscious before I could get any sleep. By early on Sunday afternoon I had a hangover nearly as big as Glastonbury causing us to leave early and miss the headliner David Bowie. I hang my head in shame.
August 27th Sunday 2017
Three powerful pieces of American orchestral music performed by NYOS's. Ranging from the enduringly popular American in Paris to Andrew Norman's 2014 technology inspired Switch.
August 23rd Wednesday 2017
A hilarious and captivating bike powered performance of one of Shakespeare's best and most enduring comedies at the beautiful Burmieston Farm and Steading.
August 21st Monday 2017