Band: The Black Tartan Clan

Venue: River Nightclub, Glasgow

Date: 24 August 2014



For the past three years we’ve been privileged to attend and review the monumental PPM Fest in Mons, Belgium, and every year the festival puts us in contact with some bands we would have other wised missed, this year being no exception.


As late additions to this years festival Celtic Punk Rockers The Black Tartan Clan only were asked on the Tuesday prior to weekend of the festival, if they would like to be on the bill replacing Equilibrium who had had to pull out at the eleventh hour. 


On that day the band absolutely rocked Mons to its very foundations, with the salute to all things Scottish and Celtic.  So when we heard the band were invading the UK shores, it was with great joy that we headed up the Glasgow to see these crazy Belgians perform again.


This was are first visit to the River Nightclub since its reopening in February, (originally the Glasgow Barfly).  This intimate venue has seen some great bands over the years and tonight these Belgians were about to unleash pure Celtic mayhem upon us all.  Imagine if you mixed Hogmanay with Burns Night and you’ll not be far short of the show these guys put on.


Opening up the evenings events we had two support acts who can only be described as "Buskers" and totally not the sort of acts to open a Punk show, but who knows what goes through the minds of venue promoters these days.


So with bated breath we waited in anticipation for the band to hit the stage and hit it they did with all the subtlety of a Claymore in the back, as MacTouche, Mac Pie, Mac March, Mac Hoze, Mac Ael and Mac Hoze Jnr, kicked off the set with the anthem ‘Toora Loora’ and the party really kicked off.  It was straight into ‘Here We Go’, before Mac Touche got up close and personal with the audience for ‘Belgian Tartan Army’, which saw the crowd's fist-pumping begin in full flow as by this time the party was already in full swing.


There was no time to catch your breath with these guys as it was time for some ‘Beer and Women’, before the band saluted tribute to Bill Millin, more commonly known as ‘Piper Bill’, who is remembered as playing the pipes whilst under fire during the D-Day landings and the only man to wear a kilt that day, with Mac Hoze making the bagpipes sing like never before.  Truly the ceòl mór of the bagpipe. 


The melodic punk anthems kept coming as Mac Hoze continued to show his pipe prowess on the storming ‘We Are The Clan’  


The band's mix of traditional punk and the traditional Celtic vibe really makes this band unique, as they showed with the thumping ‘Don’t Walk Alone’, then it was time to bring a little of the traditional Punk to the mix with a blistering version of Sham 69’s 'If The Kids Are United’, which had us all singing along and even saw a few pogoing along down the front too!


The tongue and cheek ‘Maggots In My Haggis’ was next, as the pogoing continued well into ‘All For One’, before Mac Touche joined the party dancing along on ‘Friend Until The End’.  From start to finish I don't think there was a static body in the whole of the venue, everyone was up dancing, jumping about and generally just having one hell of a good time.  One lucky punter even assisted Mac Touche on the mike at one point too!


The Punk anthems never stopped as the set continued with the storming ‘Standing Strong’ and the rocking ‘Ye De La Hey’, before rocking out the set in style with what else but ‘Black Tartan Clan’.  With screams of delight and shouts for more, the band were soon back on stage as the ended the night in style with the Ramones classic ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, as chants of "Hey Ho, Let's Go!" fill the venue.  The set closer saw Mac Hoze and Mac Touche on stage and the crowd singing along to the Scottish National anthem ‘Flower of Scotland’, which was the perfect end to a perfect night.  Long Live The Clan – FREEDOM!  


The only qualm I have about this venue is their total lack of promotion.  There is no website for the venue, only the usual Facebook page.  There were no posters up on the walls to show up-and-coming shows, I couldn’t even see a poster to advertise tonight's show up anywhere.  These things were pointed out to me verbally several times both before and after the show as a spoke to other people at the bar who'd come along for the show.  It's a real shame because with a bit more advertising, this place could become a little gold mine, and can once again be regarded as one of the premier music venues in Glasgow.  A mention should be made also for the very welcoming staff on the box office and behind the bar who made everyone feel most welcome.  



As for The Black Tartan Clan, if you haven't had a chance to check them out live yet then be sure to keep an eye out on their website for more tour (and festival) dates.  I promise you, you won't be disappointed.


Review by: Barry McMinn




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