Busting baws for the Citadel cause

Posted by in July's Magazine

In the dim and distant 1960’s it might have been called ‘a happening’; a fund raising gig for Citadel Youth Centre at the impressive Voodoo Rooms that raised £1500 for a centre which provides a service for people at the sharpest end of life in Leith (and beyond too as their reputation attests). Music was provided by Boots for Dancing – who had been auctioned as a prize in a raffle to raise funds for Citadel – and their pals Buckley’s Chance, both providing their services free to maximise funds for the charity, as did DJs Grandmother Flash, Euan Fryer and the Voodoo Rooms. Good generous people doing a good deed for a good cause. And what was it like you ask? Barry. As they say down here.

When I mentioned that Buckley’s Chance would be playing on the night three different women said, “They played at my wedding!” The self-styled ‘laziest band in Leith’ belied that moniker, turning up with an eight piece line up, including some post punk luminaries, and playing a set that warmed the ears as well as the heart and went down a storm making a big noise that never overwhelmed. My partner whispered, “That was not what I expected” and later pronounced them her highlight of the night. When you can groove, play guitar and add a large bit of sass on vocals and brass – Have Mercy rocked – it makes one wonder what they could do if they could be bothered. A 12-song set slipped by too quickly but for me the highlight was Mike Nesmith’s Little Red Rider. I’m told they don’t just play weddings and you really should make the effort to catch them.


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Once the applause died down the decks started spinning and folk who hadn’t seen each other for ages, some since last century, talked and even grooved a bit in between drinks. It was like the old Tollcross favourite Valentino’s had been catapulted into the 21st century, giving some of the younger audience members an idea of what the older folk meant when they repeated their own old folks saying: “Things urnae the same these days.”

In due course the ubiquitous Tam Dean Burn took to the stage to introduce the headline band. The former Dirty Red claimed this was the first time he had seen Boots for Dancing live and was very much looking forward to it. A matter of seconds found him in his usual vantage point, front and centre in the mosh pit. The band attacked new song Ah’m Goin’ Tae Leith, a great take on life in the metropolis – “let’s raise a glass to the underclass” – and we did. Ripping through a set that included their own Parachute, South Pacific and Lets all Hesitate they even had the old school hipsters shifting their (somewhat larger) arses.

They were having fun as they dipped into some timely covers, Crawfish in its Johnny Thunders and Patti Paladin incarnation and a bullish romp through Alex Harvey’s Midnight Moses. The musos in attendance (all hogging the entrance nearest to the bar) remarked on how funky Coco Whitson’s bass stylings were. The band were clearly enjoying themselves, added guitar from Gavin Fraser, to compliment Michael Barclay, worked to great effect as did Russell Burn who kept the whole juggernaut on track, giving his ‘Undisco Kit’ laldy.

Going for the big finish they played Repo Man in honour of its septuagenarian author, Jim Osterberg (aka Iggy Pop), whose birthday it was. Going straight from that into Ooh Bop Sh’bam/Boots for Dancing before finishing with a bruising Losing my Edge, which left the audience baying for more but the band with nothing left in the tank. Leading from the front, singer ‘Dancing’ Dave Carson pushed and pushed taking the band that bit further, proving they could still make a room sweat even in, ahem, early middle age. Busting balls for the Citadel if you like.

As Malcolm Ross put it in the hit documentary on the post punk scene Big Gold Dream: “This was art not commerce,” in this instance in service of the people. What more do you want? Well Boots were due to play The Mekons song Where Were You but, you know, bust balls ‘n’ all…

As mentioned in the last issue, if you missed the shenanigans ‘Bootleg Al’ is rumoured to have been in the building with a 32 channel mixing desk stuffed down the front of his Y-fronts. A judicious google, perhaps not mentioning Y-fronts, might snare you ‘a right good deal’ on a CD of a fine evening all round.

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One response to “Busting baws for the Citadel cause”

  1. Thank you for sharing the post and speak what I want to tell.

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