The chronicles of Scottish Heroes.

Since the start of the year up until now, I have been involved with putting on my own show as part of the Behind The Noise Trainee scheme, which I have touched on before. Now the gig is over, I’m taking a look back at the whole experience overall to evaluate my time and how I felt the project went.

Cochlea. Credit: Tom Howe
First off, this is the first time that Behind The Noise has ran it’s trainee scheme, and I was lucky enough to be one of the guinea pigs along side three other former participants of the school project. With myself, Michaela McElroy, Ibriham Dikko and Kieran Howe in tow, with a watchful eye of Sean Kerwin – one of the senior members of the Behind The Noise team – helping us along the way, we got to work cultivating our own gig. The first training workshop we had was on the 15th of January of this year, and has lasted up until the 23th of April – the night of the gig itself.

In the beginning, we did  hit a snag in the road because the original plan was to be that the four of us would organise and put on a E.P. launch for a band who had also came from Behind The Noise, but things didn’t work out. Instead, we came up with the idea for a night to celebrate all that’s great about Scottish culture, and to that, we called it Scottish Heroes. I know, on the surface, it might sound a bit much – but hear me out.

Pulling from the recent events of the Scottish Independence referendum, as the four trainees involved are teenagers living in Glasgow, we were able to see how passionate people our age were able to get about the politics of our country. I know, for me at least, that there were many people my age that were engaging with the idea that Scotland could potentially exist on it’s own. So what is it that makes Scotland so great? It’s people. It’s culture. It’s music.

That’s what we wanted to celebrate.

So we got to work.

We made the Facebook event page, booked the venue, which was Stereo – thanks goes to their lovely booker Ian for taking a chance on us, letting us bring together all the creative elements and have them on show under one roof. We sourced photography of Scottish bands taken by Scottish photographers through the help of Ravechild, and we commissioned paintings by the exceptionally talented Antonis Kassiotis.

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We were in good company with the photography on show.  

We as trainees had also been working in conjunction with the Gig At The Grand gigs that took place at the start of the April in the Classic Grand. Even though we had previously been able to get a hand at being behind the scenes – this time we could do so without feeling the pressure of being in one of the bands who were performing. I think doing that put it into perspective how much work the Behind The Noise team put into the Gig At The Grand shows. Putting on three shows over three nights with multiple bands – I’m talking 6 or 7 a night – playing – it seemed extremely stressful. If they could pull together shows like those though, then we should be able to successfully pull together at least 4 bands to play for one night.

Obviously, we had to start promotion somehow. On one of the nights while we were at the Classic Grand, Jim Gellatly gave us a shout out on XFM. That was such a boost for us. Our gig was being plugged on the radio! We also plastered up some posters around the city centre.

We had a change in line up due to unforeseen circumstances, but as they say, they show must go on. The final bands that we played at the gig – The TutorsWeatherston and Cochlea – have all been past participants of the school project. The Lapelles were another young band that we discovered and they got on board with the gig. The idea behind having younger bands on was that we wanted to give them a platform to not only perform their own material, but to do covers of whoever they felt were their influential Scottish artists. 
The final poster.

Each of the trainees involved brought their own core strengths to the project. Kieran is a film maker, so that’s where we brought the element of film into our event. We interviewed John Paul Mason, one of the members of the Events department at DF Concerts and spoke with him about the importance of the Scottish music scene as a whole – which was a humbling experience to hear the stories and thoughts from someone who is so passionate about it. We also thought that a non-cringy X Factor styled introduction should be filmed for each of the bands that could been shown on the night before they went on stage. In the introductory videos, the bands would talk about what songs they had chosen and a little bit about themselves. Here’s an example of the one that Kieran made for the Lapelles: 

Leading up to the gig, in order to get myself in the patriotic way of thinking and feeling, I made up a Scottish Heroes playlist. Didn’t realise before how many great bands actually came from here until I started this project. Michaela, being the business brains of the operation, handled the actual playlist on the night and the band settlements like a champ.

The night loomed ever closer. Soon enough, it was upon us. 

The night exceeded my expectations tenfold. Ibrahim handled the technical side of things on the night and helped handled the short time slots we had allotted for the changeovers – and he also helped to control the lights. Rico – one of the other senior members of Behind The Noise – commended him on his hard work saying that he thought it was handled a lot better than any local band gig he’d been to. I helped to handle the door, along with some assistance from Yvonne Morrison and Libby Urvois from Ticketmaster and Ticketweb respectively. They were also a massive, massive help to us throughout and especially on the night.  I didn’t expect as many people to turn up that actually did. So many people came down and helped to support our show and for that I am so grateful. All in all, it was a fantastic night.

To anyone reading this who might be in school who cares about music in any capacity and that is interested in taking part in Behind The Noise, or the trainee scheme – I say do it. It’s afforded me with experience that I’m going to able to utilise from years to come. I’ve been able to work with like minded people to create something that I am still really proud of.

I even feel a bit like a Scottish Hero myself.

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