Feature : Now that's what i call Rock!
The Irvine, Ayrshire, Scottish based 5-piece; Who i first became away of was way back at the start of the year when they were up for best ROCK act at this years SAMA awards in Glasgow. And they WON!
I got a small interview on the back of the win: Speaking to front man P.J Kelly and Guitarist Greg Irish I ask what doors have opened for them since winning the SAMA? : PJ: “ More managers and promoters have come forward wanting to get on the bandwagon. We started with a headline show at King Tuts for the album launch. Since then it has snowballed for us and I speak for all the band that we were all genuinely surprised with the award” The van door opens and we are joined by Drummer and brother of PJ; Sean Kelly. He continues “ We concentrated and worked hard on putting together an album which we believed should be heard in it's entirety, no fillers! “ Sean comments “Aye, every song was slaved over” Greg “I think now having an album we are being taken more serious since getting together nearly 6 years ago” PJ “We decided to do the album ourselves with John Astley from Close to the Edge in London who's previous work included Abba and Led Zeppelin.” We talk about the tour being a double header not a support slot. PJ “I approached Dawn from Mechanical Smile with the idea which we believed would be a bigger draw for promoters and us living in a similar area it made sense” They played all over the summer taking in some festivals around Scotland.
Then i caught them live in Edinburgh at The Electric Circus a short while later. Here is my review:
The SAMA Best Rock winners take the stage to a very poor turn out (must be due to bad promotion) though the band seem undeterred as they storm into Opening track 'Jerusalem' from their self titled debut album. Singer PJ Kelly taking a stance like James Hetfield from Metallica, legs apart and head nodding frantically. I witness a huge urgency and power coming from the stage, stripping the venue's paintwork dry, me thinking this band mean business. Keyboardist Ross McCluskie flying across the keys like the ghost of Jon Lord. Lead guitarist Greg Irish in beanie hat churning out riffs, reminding me of Focus. It's Prog Jim, but not as we know it! Bassist 'Callum Davis' and 'Sean Kelly' driving the rhythm section . We get stop start chorus, time signature changes and high vocals. Next we go all chunky riff-age intro into uplifting key melodies on 'Beat my chest' The verse's all shout from the rooftops and anthem like ; Imagine Big Country jamming with Thin Lizzy and Yes.
In to track 3 : PJ Mumbles “Where's all the people gone?” and urges the remaining punters to the front. 'The Lowlands great Hatred' follows with it's more folk feel and shout from the rooftops chorus ( the title) I can see why they won the Best rock accolade with PJ screaming into the mic like Dave Grohl's younger brother. A bit of early Brian May- Queen guitar fret work. The solo all in your face, the band playing hard like it's their last gig on earth.
We move into Deep Purple territory with 'I am the red' a touch of The Darkness in the high falsetto vocal style and verse melodies, Just as you feel you know where the songs going the audience are thrown into the eye of the storm, twisting us around in a different direction, total early Prog key's work like Rick Wakeman on Monster energy, progressing forward into a frantic finish. Next up Epic 'Brain Canyon' weighing in at just under 9 minutes. We get a slow start, a classical keyboard piece like Muse before all in for another shout chorus like an army on a hill rushing into battle. Operatic vocals ,pulsating and hypnotic guitar picking, a bit Fish period Marillion overture finish. A true Celtic epic in the highest order.
Photo's Courtesy of Bill Gray & David Scott
They finish with 'Salvation' a false start, then getting it right; a touch of country folk feel , reminding me of early Springsteen/e-street band, moving along into full falsetto chorus, "What a voice this young man has", a comment a lady behind me makes afterwards. More time signatures and changes take us to a big rock finish bringing it down singing the line 'My new found world, never forgets me' well your right, we won't! You try and stop this reviewer going over to see them again headlining in Glasgow.
Their Self titled album is still one of my favorite of the year with it's tight, melodic folk/Prog tinged rock and i urge you to check it out, you can still purchase it here http://culann.bigcartel.com/product/culann-album
The band ; one of the hardest working live acts on the circuit will be topping off their exciting and successful year with a return to the legendary Glasgow King Tuts ( which i'll be at ).
If you can make the gig https://www.facebook.com/culannband/events and have enjoyed what you've read and heard , then get in touch with the friendly and approachable lead man P.J Kelly @Culann (Twitter ) or https://www.facebook.com/culannband for tickets. He'll be pleased to hear from you ( Tell him i sent u )
A band who's been on my radar for a while now, I've enjoyed seeing them grow from strength to strength and look forward to see what the new year brings for them. They deserve it.