Scottish quartet give one grumpy old critic reason to like music again
You see them sloping around in the early evening, displaced figures who no longer belong, their old haunts boarded up or turned into lap dancing clubs. Nowhere to go and nobody to go there with. Back in their prime they were boulevardiers who flowed in and out of what passed for a scene. These are Men of a Certain Age – a cohort corralled off to wither on the vine.
It used to be so easy: you could hear, taste, feel and touch real music by real people. Not this nonsense you get today – angsty young men crying into their acoustic guitars; shouty females caterwauling their banal doggerel; music that calls itself r’n’b but is a disgrace to the genre; designer indie bands from the suburbs on a gap year before their international law degree. And where once the only ancillary service was the odd crappy fanzine or Fanning or Peel, now it’s the music bloggers with their vanity publishing – like indie taxi drivers with a broadband connection.
There’s nothing in the charts for Men of a Certain Age, nothing on at the O2 for them. They don’t jump up and down with every mention of Dan bloody Deacon or Animal Collective, or almost spontaneously combust with excitement every time Electric Picnic rolls around the way the bloggers and their “great post, I love your blog” mindless sycophants do.
It’s a wilderness out there for them. So much vacuous and inane background static now from the self-appointed commentariat and celebrity bloggers. So many little people with such big opinions.
There was a time when music mattered to Men of a Certain Age. When Paul Cleary and Stephen Ryan were on active service. When a Paddy McAloon or a Teenage Fanclub would pass by. Now it’s some dickhead from Minnesota with a keyboard and “quirky beats”.
Well, prepare to fall in love all over again with a new old band who might have been created under test tube conditions for Men of a Certain Age.
The first thing you’ll notice about Kassidy is that there are four of them and that they line up in a row at the front of the stage with just acoustic guitars (not even a bass). They resemble Kings of Leon after a three-month Jack Daniels binge; you’d be tempted to call them “hippy looking” until you find out they’re all from Glasgow.
Kassidy have taken nothing from the last three and a half decades of music. They sound like an acoustic Allman Brothers blended with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and there’s more than a bit of The Mamas and Papas in there as well. It’s all four-part harmonies-a-go-go down Kassidy way.
I came across Kassidy unexpectedly at a recent showcase. Within 30 seconds I was sold. They look a bit ravaged, but are probably still in their early 20s. They began as a 12-bar blues band but quickly decided all they ever wanted to be was a harmony band. And they are very, very, very good – and not just because they’re such a palate cleanser from all the overprocessed flotsam and jetsam around today.
There’s an EP, The Rubbergum, which is as good a place to start as any. They’ve just scored a major label deal with Vertigo, and the guy who produced the first Arctic Monkeys album is on board for their debut, which will be released later this year.
Up until now it’s just been the four of them standing in a line with their acoustic guitars for the whole show, but at a recent Glasgow gig they had a rock’n’roll rush of blood to the head and drafted in a bass player and a drummer. They loved what they heard but are still undecided. Anything that threatens to drown out the fourpart harmonies live just isn’t a goer.
Long hair, flared jeans and no “beats” – quirky or otherwise. I think I’m in love.
Break out the Jack: Kassidy have a scored a big label deal