Review: The Van Dammage – Neon and Noisy

vandammmmLife’s all about taking on new and exciting things that make you and yer wee man aw tingly. I’ve reviewed a lot of stuff. Wrestling shows, and well…..other wrestling shows. Some wrestling shows thrown in there too, and some live events involving professional wrestling. Know what isn’t a wrestling show? A collection of music known as an “album” That’s an entirely different form of entertainment where you can’t cover up your lack of knowledge of the subject by simply knowing the name of a bunch of suplexes, much to my dismay. The Van Dammage are an 80s synthwave collective made up of magical musical magician/musician David Lo Pan, and vocalist/lyrical type person Becca Starr (totally didn’t gather this information entirely from their Facebook page which you can like right here) and in case you hadn’t gathered that means they make 80s synthwave tunes.

The album is called “Neon and Noisy” because its 80s as fuck and the 80s was about as neon and noisy as life got. Trust me mate, I lived the 80s for the 8 months of my existence I spent in them. It wis aw tassles, and taking a black-light to the dancin’ to see who was gettin a sly tug on the dancefloor. A wild time, filled with drugs, irresponsible behaviour, and and haircuts that ye know have a wee shaved bit somewhere but there’s so much other shit going on that locating the shaved bit is almost impossible. We came here to review to music, and by fuck are we going to do that. Don’t ask me how, but its happening.

Aim Right And Fire

Ever fancied filling yer bath full of Red Bull, sitting wae a gigantic straw in it and playing about 3 months worth of Space Invaders in a single day? This is the tune to be doing that to. Like the opening theme for a right good sega game, but a sexy sega game at the same time. A rousing opener to this thrill ride.

Electrifying

The most electrifying song in musical entertainment. There was definitely more potential in that patter than what I’ve made of it but listen, I’ve no got time to be sitting here chopping and changing jokes till we finally find the right fit. In the middle of reviewing a music album of music here. This is definitely more of a shagging tune than our thrill ride of an opener. A tune where gettin sweaty and gyrating isnae an option. It’s not a thing your brain tells you to do and ultimately its up to you whether you carry it out, its a necessity. You should be gyrating right now even though you’re no even listening to it because of the power of persuasive text is too much to repel. Gyrate. Get electrified. Dae it.

Back To The 80s

Back? Where were in the first two tracks like? These tunes are absolutely dripping in 80s-ness. A bit more laid back than the first two tracks. The kind of tune that could easily be the soundtrack for that post gettin yer hole glow. Which makes this the shaggin portion of the album.

Liberate

This is the boss level shit. A bit more serious as the title would suggest. If the album is its own wee story then so far we’ve had the rousing opening titles, the pumpin, the post pumpin kick back and think about all the pumpin session, and now we’re asking to be liberated of the harrowing memories (or nightmares) of that burd/boay ye pumped cause ye got all hopped up on 80s electropop and cola drinks with vodka.

Winless Game

Mainly filling this “review” with daft patter because much like the world of pro wrestling, I’m pure not coming from an informed enough position to tell you what’s up or indeed what isnae up with this album musically. However, last I checked I am indeed a human and most humans for one reason or another can recognise when someone is better at singing than other humans so I feel informed enough to be able to tell you that I heavy enjoyed the vocals on this and its probably my favourite tune of the whole experience so far. This is the part of the story where all hope is lost of ever forgetting a lost lover, but who gies a fuck if yer making or at least listening to some dope syth’ed up 80’s tuneage.

Cougar

This is plainly about a dirty auld lady getting her lady end away and it gave me a semi, so I guess this is the part of the story where everyone gets semis. I dunno. Tune but.

Darkest Night

Any tune that reminds you of Jake The Snake’s theme music is the kind of tune ye need to be listening to frequently. For nostalgia purposes but also for the handy bonus of having a brain that’s constantly ready to prepare you for fending off the attack of a snake. Definitely overtaking Winless Game as my favourite tune so far. Gorgeous so it is.

Thoughts Unheard

Life affirming montage music. That part of the story (aye we’re back to it being a story again, everything is a story, your life is a story, make your own ending, be your own star or suhin) where the protagonist overcomes that obstacle put in front of her/him but does it heroically with sexy upbeat music to go with the sexy upbeat life changes documented in said montage.

Golden

Ahhhh I ken this yin! Christopher Saynt’s quite brilliant ICW entrance music right here on an album of music. This is the part of the story where you’re listening to an album, writing about it, and go “ahhhh whit I know this yin!” when this very song comes on. An important part of the plot I’m sure you’ll agree. Objectively the best tune on the album so far and considering many of them have been excellent and none shite, that paints a vivid picture of just how much of a fuckin non stop, runnin amok tune this is.

Clamber

Is it possible for an 80s synthwave tune to be a bit angsty? If it is, this is what this is. A bit angsty. Like the kind of 80s synthwave tune you’d listen to if you’d just been kb’d from your favourite establishment for wearing a visor and having neon shoelaces. A good tune, gently transitioning us into the grand finale….

Two Sides

See, the whole story thing had a plan all along, because what does a story always have? That’s right, two fuckin sides. Its come full circle. An emotional, titanic ending tp the journey. Genuinely does feel like the culmination of a right good story told in tunes. Maybe I just see everything as a story. Fuckin pro wrestling, constantly influencing every thought I have and decision I’ve made since the first time I seen Earthquake sit on Hulk Hogan and I was genuinely convinced he’d died from sitting on his face. Maybe the government was right to ban it in porno eh. If Earthquake taught us anything, its that sitting on faces IS actually dangerous, and on that note, the album is over, and therefore, so is this review.

If you’re into 80s electro synthwave tunes it goes without saying that you’ll be baws oot and waving them aboot for this, but if you’re into being entertained by music in general, I enjoyed it and as you might have gathered from the thousand and a bit words above I’m not the most musically intelligent man on the planet. I like hip-hop music, the whole Mcfly back catalogue and tunes that give you at least a semi, maybe even a three quarter chub, and alas, that means I like 80s synthwave. So if you’re looking for an album that will justify your decision to rip the roof off your Ford Focus (i know less about motors than music so if that’s already a car that’s roofless, kid on I said a motor wae a roof) and drive about looking for paint that glows in the dark so ye can draw wullies on folk that they wont see till the night time, this is that album.

First time I’ve ever reviewed a music album, and will most likely be the last, but I enjoyed the shit out of this and that means I give it the maximum score that can be awarded in the musical reviewing game. A massive ONE MILLION vinyls out of a million. 

 

 

 

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Weans World (by Gary Henderson)

“See – when I was young, you used to go to the carnival in the city centre, and those were your big days out. Like that’s what you remembered growing up as these amazing experiences”- I overheard Ross Watson, PBW owner talking to a trainee as a strong crowd filtered out of the Dobbie Hall – “I want these kids to all look back and remember when the wrestling came to their town and they got to see guys like Grado and Wolfgang”. It was a pretty pertinent point. It’s dead easy to get caught up in social media and be left thinking that wrestling in this country is all adult themed, #britwres twitter, ‘workrate’ matches and all the inner politics and squabbling that comes with it. But while the violent and technical masterclasses in your ICWs and Progresses of the world are vogue – the bread and butter of this stuff is with the kids. The wee lad in the second row on Saturday night with the Rey Mysterio mask and ‘Big Bad Wolf’ t-shirt didn’t care how many stars Meltzer gave Wolfgang as he sat in total awe watching his 18 stone superhero soar high above the black canvas. Neither did the lad – Dylan I think his name is – who I’ve seen at every BCW or PBW show I’ve been to for at least five years. He’s sat there in the front row, every time, decked out head to toe in support of his favourites and savouring every high five or ‘too-sweet’ as they bounce past during their entrances.

As much as a rowdy, pissed-up, chanting bunch of grungers can add to a show – the high pitched screams of about 40 wee lassies when Stevie Xavier goes taps aff is up there. The aforementioned Wolfgang – along with his real life cousin and PBW Champion BT Gunn – stood in the venue doorway for a good half hour after the main event where they had beaten lumps out of each other. Every fan, every nervous wean scared shitless of the big man, every 20-something wrestling ‘connoisseur’ in their NAK hoodies, every dad giving the knowing wink and handshake, every one of them got a few minutes of their time. Some wanted an autograph, most just a hello, a high five and a selfie. Hundreds of them. I was on ‘security’ here and had mentioned to Wolfy that he could just give me a nudge and I would make an excuse or whatever and lead him away. He never did. He play-wrestled, bantered back and forth, lifted folk up and swung them about. As the last few filtered out, I told him that was some shift he put in there. “Aye, really enjoyed that though” he replied. “This is their WWE, they are their larger than life heroes” Ross carried on as he wandered off to oversee his merry (weary) band of trainees pull down the ring. The show itself is about 2 hours of a 12 hour day for the PBW crew. The ring gets loaded into a van, taken to the venue, sits outside the venue while we await janny approval to enter (this is important), gets put up, show time, taken down, back to its holding unit and unloaded again. It’s a long shift, and by about half past midnight I’m cursing the 16 and 17 year old wee fannies (endearingly) bouncing around with some reserves of energy I’m sure I could’ve mustered up about ten year ago.

But in among the engineering work and miles on the road (which I’ve done absolutely fuck all of by the way I’m talking more about the rest of them) there’s food and laughter and bonding and ideas aplenty. There’s flirting and silly drama, talks of goals and aspirations, nerves and trepidation. While at every turn I’m telling myself I’m too old for this and there’s something immature about me kicking about with folk half a decade my junior pretend fighting – the more I get drawn in by this daft business and all of the carry on that comes with it. On the show, there was an open challenge for Lou King Sharp (gimmick succinctly described as a 5”2 loudmouth creep) and Kriegers (taller, hairier, greasier, worse dancing loudmouth creep) PBW tag team titles. I forgot boaysiesssswrestling was fake for about five minutes and started asking LKS if he was looking forward to seeing who he was facing. After snapping out of that idiocy, I changed it to a cool, insider and trendy “Who you working sat wrestling friend Krissy (I’m using your shoot name bro)?” In-keeping with the emphasis on youth here, it would be two up and coming trainees at the PBW Academy – Darryl and Kris (not LKS confusingly). The two of them are everything I hate because I’m not. Young, athletic and ridiculously talented with the whole business in front of them. Kris has had a few matches in shows and had the mind-boggling honour of the ‘experienced’ member of his team at a ripe old 16 years. I know Kris well – started training with him on the same day about two and a half years ago in fact, but while I left he stuck with it and got very good. I remember him having a gob on him and having no lack of confidence. Thankfully, that’s not changed.

I hadn’t met Darryl before. I didn’t speak to him much during the day either. He was quiet, pretty shy and understandably nervous. This would be his main debut in front of about 400 people – on a show absolutely stacked with the best talent in the country (and Lou King Sharp too). I sat in the empty hall after set up and watched the four guys involved put their match together and work through sequences in slow motion as Darryls parents – who come up from Penrith every week to get him to training – looked on. Darryl and Kris were in the lucky position to be in there with a couple of guys who were more than happy to make them look like absolute superstars while coming across as a pair of numpties themselves.

ffffff

The open challenge gimmick is a tricky one to expose new faces to, because when the punters expect a surprise, they expect someone they know or some sort of grand return. This was partially avoided by it being made pretty clear it was an open challenge to academy trainees – but the point stands. When the two lads made their entrance after a rubbish and crap promo by Lou King Sharp the crowd were polite and gave them a warm – if unspectacular welcome. Fast forward ten minutes and the boys have been robbed of the titles by the shenanigans of Krie-King and the 400 strong in attendance were ready to set fire to shit and key some motors. Darryls mum was stood beside me, recording every moment and smiling like me every time I drive past a KFC. Most of the facebook and twitter feedback on the show had been commenting on the two youngsters and how well they done. Towards the end of the night, like many others, I made the point of shaking wee Darryls hand and telling him how brilliant I thought he had done and that he should be really proud of himself. His eyes opened wide and he beamed back “really, did you think it was good, thank you so much, did you really think it was good?” That was it right there man. It takes a lot to make me well up – usually a particularly well-acted advert, or a dog doing something that dogs don’t usually do – but I was nearly a wee blubberer then. Anyway, the next morning I went to training took a back slide and spiked my own head so that was good. Cheers

A fine read that was. Tune to mad Hendo next time he writes a thing. Also mega super thanks to Steven Mckinnon for the image.