THE WAY I SEE IT #29 : By Darren Murphy

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MUSIC is important to me, it’s an art form I admire and appreciate a huge amount. In fact, I attended an Iron Maiden concert while still in my mother’s womb (That woman has a lot to answer for!) I grew up listening to Rock and Roll, Punk, grunge, anything with a guitar and drums really. A summer holiday to me isn’t lying on a beach somewhere getting a nice tan. Far from it, I’d much rather be in a muddy field somewhere near Leeds, with thousands of other music lovers. I’ve never settled on a specific genre, instead I’ve kept an open mind about whom and what I listen to. Generally my mood will determine which CD I play at any specific time. I’m a music fan, plain and simple.

Now I’m not talking about the music you hear on mainstream radio, where 15-year-old girls sing about everlasting love, relationship breakdowns and how it makes them stronger. Nor am I talking about the Boyzones or Westlifes that are played in supermarkets to keep you calm when you can’t find the cheese you want. I like to call this shopping trolley music.

I’m talking about real music, music you can feel. Music that ignites something inside you and makes the hair stand upright on the back of your neck. Music that initiates your limbs to move in sequences so bizarre that you start to wonder if you’ve been possessed (or if you maybe should have given that last drink a miss!)

If Rylan from X-Factor provides you with these feelings . . . well let’s just say I know a good doctor

who can possibly help. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to witness some of the world’s biggest bands and best musicians, in some legendary music venues. However, sometimes all you have to do to witness an energetic and inspiring band is visit the local boozer.

On Sunday I was at the Station Bar with the intention of watching some live music. Two bands were advertised, punk and ska outfit The Hostiles and a five-piece ska/reggae band called Too Spicy, from the north east of England. I knew nothing about either of these groups, other than the fact they are managed by Hawick man Chay Hobson, and I had no expectations.

Low and behold I am now the newest Spice Cadet in town. (That’s what Too Spicy call their fans). The small crowd may have been disheartening for the group, but it certainly didn’t show and the few who did make the trip to the Station were treated to a funk-tastic performance by a talented up-and-coming band.

Relatively young in terms of band age, there were no signs that this group, 4 lads and one girl, were inexperienced. All were extremely tight and masterful of their chosen instruments and the frontman had a captivating presence worthy of a larger crowd and venue. Anyone familiar with Ska could see Too Spicy may have been influenced a little by the Specials and they also reminded me of punk band, Rancid slightly. However, it is unfair to compare them with anyone because they had a unique sound of their own and their music was accompanied by extremely intelligent, expressive, political and thought-provoking lyrics.

This gig cost me nothing, although I don’t expect to see them again for free. Nor would I mind paying an admission fee to see this band. My only concern was the lack of local people who turned up for the show, although the 60-something anarchist, who jumped around energetically, slightly made up for this. Here’s hoping Too Spicy visit Hawick again and a larger crowd get to witness this gem of a band. It was more than apparent they had a genuine love for music and were more than willing to share their talents with the rest of us.

When I spoke to the band they said how it was rewarding to find people who appreciated what they did in some of the unlikeliest places. I predict in years to come a pub gig will be an unlikely event for Too spicy. Much bigger awaits them. You heard it here first.