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Sandi Thom

News, etc: The Scottish New Music Awards

Words: Elaine Liddle

Good day to you. Have you recovered from the weekend yet? I've had a busy one; yesterday involved being trapped behind thousands of annoyingly fit looking people in my car, having forgotten that the Great Scottish Run was on a street away from me. Woops.

• Last night, having finally made it through the crowd, we went off to the Scottish New Music Awards at the Classic Grand, so the first part of this week's 'News, etc' will be more of an 'etc' as we try to digest the evening.

Unfortunately when I arrived (shortly after doors opened) the first ten awards had already been read, so I have no idea who is the instrument retailer of the year or, more importantly, best online publication (for which we were nominated) - later confirmed winner as The Skinny. I also couldn't find anyone who would give me a full list of winners despite blatant flashing of the press card. So we will update you on those ten at a later date.

I was in time to see the following list crowned winners in their categories:

Sound Engineer of the Year: Sandy Jones (Foundry Music Lab)
Live Sound Engineer of the Year: Brendan O'Hare (13th Note)
Producer of the Year: Iain McPherson
Rehearsal Studio of the Year: Berkeley 2 (Glasgow)
Recording Studio of the Year: Green Door Studio (Glasgow)
Event Photographer of the Year: Euan Robertson

There was a brief interlude where I cheered Euan then went to the bar and accidentally missed two categories.

Live Club of the Year: ABC (Glasgow)
Major Concert Venue of the Year: Barrowlands
Artist Manager of the Year: Dee Bahl (Biffy Clyro)
Music Director (Radio) of the Year: Ross Macfadyen (Celtic Music Radio)
Radio Station of the Year: Fresh Air Student Radio (Edinburgh)
Radio Show of the Year: The Friday Night Rock Show with Tom Russell (Rock Radio)
Media Person of the Year: Tom Russell (This is definitely my favourite category name. "What was your award for?" "Oh, you know... being a Media Person.")
Frankie Miller Songwriter of the Year: Alec Dalgleish (Skerryvore)
Record Label of the Year: Chemikal Underground Records
Cover/Function band of the Year: The Michael Buble Show
Jazz/Blues Recording of the Year: Sandi Thom - The Merchants and Thieves
Roots Recording of the Year: Joy Dunlop - Dusgadh Awakening
Folk/Traditional Recording of the Year: Eilidh Grant - Masks and Smiles
Urban Recording of the Year: Werd & Wardie Burns (they were my favourite award acceptees as they swore a lot. Childish, yes)
Punk Recording of the Year: Bombskare (Who disputed whether they should be under punk but happily took it away anyway)
Loud/Metal Band of the Year: Firebrand Super Rock
Rock Recording of the Year: I apparently forgot to make a note of this, which is a shame.
Alternative/Indie Record of the Year: Suspire - Salvation Sister (which, as the band reminded the crowd, is out today.
Lifetime Achievement Award: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (who made a speech about how music has never been so good since the 70s, which might not be quite the right message for an event like this... but still)
Musical Event of the Year: Celtic Connections
Artist of the Year: Sandi Thom (pictured above)
Group of the Year: The Amorettes
Recording of the Year: Skerryvore - Skerryvore

And that, dear readers, was that.

Now if you will bear with me, a few words on the whole evening.

First things first - I think the idea of the awards is probably a good thing. It's really nice to see people get recognition in Scotland, in an industry that so many put their heart and soul into. If we didn't believe this, we wouldn't have organised the Scotsman Radar prize last year.

And we are absolutely delighted with the news that Euan Robertson, who shares much of his fantastic work right here on Radar (including his pics from T in the Park and single-handed coverage of RockNess and Wickerman) won best event photographer. It was also nice to see gongs going to the likes of the Green Door Studio and Fresh Air Radio.

However, the actual execution of the night wasn't quite what I would feel was a celebration of the best new music in Scotland. While I bear neither any ill, I'm not sure why Leon Jackson and Sandi Thom should be given a platform as relevant "new" artists; or why we had a random karaoke version of Lady Gaga to fill some time (no offence to host Edward Reid, who actually had a fairly decent voice); or why there was an opera singer covering 'Many of Horror'.

None of these things display the vast array of talent which exists in Scotland and which, frankly, Radar exists for. None of them is why I ever get excited about going to a gig, listening to a new release for the first time or writing about a band.

Perhaps it's a question of taste? We obviously can't, and don't, cover everything that's going on; that's a given. But if our tastes are really so far out (so far that only three or four of the bands nominated have been featured here); how can it be that the artists Radar and countless other sites and blogs continuously bang on about are playing nearly every single night? Are we all in a little niche of our own, simply shouting into an echo box?

I've got to believe that's not the case. In fact, looking at the nominations for the industry side, I know that it can't be, because here's where I see a better representation of what I see going on. Let's take the Record Label of the Year award as an example: while Chemikal are worthy winners, it was also nice to see the likes of Armellodie, Eli and Oz, Fence, Optimo, Song by Toad and Olive Grove make it on to the nominations.

I hope the awards still exist in some form next year; but I hope that there's something I can do to make them more representative of the 'Scottish New Music' I know.

ANYWAY. That was some tangent. Let's get back to business as there's plenty of other news going on.

• The organisers of A Quiet Night In have been in touch to tell us about their celebration of music in Ayrshire. The mini music festival will be launched at the Monkey Club, Kilmarnock on Friday, September 23 and includes sets from the likes of Fatherson, This Familiar Smile, Athos, Bellow Below, Fires Attract, Juan Pablo, Tragic O’Hara, Brown Bear & the Bandits, Logan & the La La Liars and John Condron. Which is quite a lot!

Promoter David Bell explained: "I love gigs, but music festivals and all-dayers usually tend to be a lot more ‘eventful’ than normal shows - AQNI sort of meets somewhere in the middle. "Ultimately I just want to create an atmosphere where people can have fun, perhaps discover a new favourite artist and have a bit of a party in the process."

You can't argue with that - especially for only £6.

• More festival news now (see, you thought it was all over being that summer is officially done. Well you were WRONG).

The line-up for this year's Glasgow Popfest - which will be held in the Captain's Rest on December 9, 10 and 11 and also include a welcome night on the 8th as well as screenings at the Glasgow Film Theatre - is shaping up very nicely indeed.

Scots included on the bill are The Amphetameanies, BMX Bandits, Bubblegum Lemonade, Edinburgh School for the Deaf, Lenzie Moss, Maple Leaves, Nico's Bike, Spook School, The Hardy Boys, and The Starlets. Joining them are international acts like Asleep (Norway), Baffin Island (USA), Cineplexx (London), Cola Jet Set (Spain), Park (Germany), Standard Fare (Sheffield), Tender Trap (London), The Electric Pop Group (Sweden), The Hobbes Fanclub (Bradford/Brazil), Westfield Mining Disaster (Bristol) and Zipper (Spain).

The GFT arm will include a premiere screening of 'Serious Drugs - the Film about BMX Bandits' and a specially-commissioned edit of old BBC Scotland series 'The Beat Room'.

Check out the Bubblegum Records website for yet more information.

• A quick reminder that the final release by The Whisky Works, 'In Fiction', was released at the weekend, and you can download it from their Bandcamp page.

• Another upcoming festival is this year's N_ilk at the Botanics, in Dundee on Saturday September 17. Its line-up includes Lukid, Architeq, Aerials Up, Jonnie Common, I Build Collapsible Mountains, Vasquez, Esperi, Julia and the Doogans and my new favourite act, Chaka Can't. For more, check out the Facebook Event page.

Meanwhile the lovely Pelmet Nights have also put together a stage at the festival which will include performances from LightGuides, Finn LeMarinel (Trapped in Kansas) and PartWindPartWolf. They're also putting on a bus from Glasgow for anyone who wants to travel up. The whole thing costs only £6. Holy moly.

Remember Remember have announced a launch night for their second (pretty spectacular) album, The Quickening. It's just before the album's official release (on Rock Action on September 26), at Stereo on Saturday, September 24. Support comes from London's Clorinde and locals Ben Butler and Mousepad.

• Also not-quite-a-festival but on a special gig vein is Interesting Music Promotions' SSSSSSHHHHHHH event at the Tunnels, Aberdeen on November 13. The policy is, if you're not listening to the bands and want to chat, you should shut the heck up and go away to the bar. Good policy. The music to be enjoyed silently includes Amber Wilson, Amy Sawers, Panda Su, Kerry Fowler, and Sarah J Stanley.

Cancel the Astronauts launch their new single, 'Seven Vices', this Friday at the Captain's Rest in Glasgow. Joining the band are Over the Wall and Poor Things and it will set you back a mere £5.

• Finally, I leave you with an exciting tweet from the lovely @weareerrors (that's Errors, then) - "Our new record is finished!” You can catch them live at Electric Frog this Sunday - remember, only one day left to enter our ticket competition!

Til next week...

Got a news tip? Get in touch via email / Facebook / Twitter

Posted by Elaine O'Connor

Radar Comments

Sandi Thom? Really? Artist of the year? Who decides these prizes?

Comment left by Andy on 5th of September 2011 at 14:30

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What a fair review. And as the first post stated, who decides these things?

Comment left by PK on 5th of September 2011 at 15:56

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I believe it was a public vote. Quite surprising Sandi Thom has that much public support, in all honesty.

Comment left by Billy Hamilton on 5th of September 2011 at 15:57

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weird, where did my comment go? Anyway, as I said... Adam Stafford won Best Video for directing 7 Years of Letters for The Twilight Sad, but that was probably all you missed - have put my blather up online now at

Comment left by Stuart on 5th of September 2011 at 16:27

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weird, where did my comment go? Anyway, as I said... Adam Stafford won Best Video for directing 7 Years of Letters for The Twilight Sad, but that was probably all you missed - have put my blather up online now at

Comment left by Stuart on 5th of September 2011 at 16:27

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The Industry Awards side of things was a public vote. The Music Awards had a judging panel.

Comment left by Jim on 6th of September 2011 at 2:11

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I'm not sure that this was entirely representative of the Scottish music scene but at least it recognizes that quiet often, the main stream media are being led around by their pals and promoting a lot of music which is frankly rubbish, there must be a balance between the two....a man can dream. I completely agree about your comment regarding the opera singer and her choice of song...bizzare. and a metal band without a drummer is NOT a metal band it's a bedroom band with a sequencer.

Comment left by Matthew fae Bombskare on 6th of September 2011 at 12:50

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