Rock is back, and it’s right here at Stirling! Actually, we argue it has never been gone, or as Dave Davies from the Kinks so adequately put it “good rock music always tends to be around”. The UK has a rich history in alternative music, playing a major role in the punk movement of the 1970’s. From classic rock to Scottish Gaelic punk, from Anthrax to Weezer, the University of Stirling Rock & Metal Society is here for all lovers of alternative music.
Close enough for Rock ‘n’ Roll
Tucked away up north, a bit secluded from the rest of Europe, Scotland might not have been quite the front runner like England when it comes to UK rock history, but there are still many bands and artists that have significantly shaped the local alternative music scene. Although initially off to a rather slow start the 1950s and ’60s, folk-rock artist Donovan from Glasgow took to the international stage touring with Beatles. As the ’70s rolled around, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Nazareth established themselves as bands of first generation hard-rock, alongside iconic British groups like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. They would later go on to form the foundation for the rise of heavy metal. When punk finally arrived all the way up north, it did catch on, warily at first, with internationally known bands like The Exploited or The Skids. While British punk rock bands like The Sex Pistols or The Clash had already been playing an important role in the punk outbreak of 1977, it wasn’t until the early ’80s post-punk era that Scottish punk really found its own sound. With the emergence of artists like Annie Lennox of Eurythmics, The Associates, Orange Juice or the Simple Minds, Scotland had properly joined the punk movement. Since then the Scottish have fortunately been more active in the alternative music scene, with well-known bands like Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand and Biffy Clyro conquering the concert halls around the world.
This is just a Tribute…
… to some of the greatest moments of Scottish music history! As we want to find out as much as we can about those who shred the sweet notes hitting our eardrums, we took a trip to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. From June until November they’re hosting the Rip It Up exhibition on Scottish music over the past six decades. We curiously embarked on this journey through time and found that there is loads to discover. What defines music made in Scotland and how did it progress through the years? The organisers created an exciting narrative, paying special attention to the story behind the items on display, thereby creating a comprehensive timeline. The exhibits act as visual aids to transport one back in time and those pictures, instruments, props and concert-worn clothes definitely to the trick! We closely inspected original sheet music written by the Average White Band in the late ’70s, bowed to the charred remains of Simon Neil’s axe from Reading Festival and admired the guitar the Proclaimers took on their legendary 500 mile walk. Archived and new interviews with several artists, as well as the “Soundtrack of Scotland” add fascinating background to the story of Scottish music.
Although this exhibition was not exclusively dedicated to alternative music, it has opened our eyes to the origins of today’s music landscape in Scotland. We saw and heard much about our artists we already know and love, as well as some whom we had never heard of before. It has reminded us how many local rock bands and musical influences are still unknown to us, and it has left us wondering what else Scotland has to offer in terms of Rock…
Taking back Thursday
Next to our excursions into rock’n’roll history, we also want to help grow today’s local scene. At Stirling’s beloved Dusk Nightclub, we started regularly hosting our event Taking back Thursday to put Rock and Metal back on the club set lists and possibly inspire some accidental walk-ins to broaden their rock’n’roll horizon. For those who enjoy a more grungy “pints and rustic wooden interior” atmosphere, we also host Settle Inn for the Night at Stirling’s oldest pub. While these events definitely make a great night out for anyone who can’t quite keep their head from bobbing along when AC/DC comes on (what do you mean “they’re not Scottish”?), they also aim to offer musical diversity in the nightlife landscape of Stirling.
We want to relive the golden times of punk, as well as find out about recent newcomers from the UK and all around the globe. That’s why we try to make each Thursday night a whole new show. Concerts and other rock events all over Scotland are a great way of getting to know the local culture and nightlife, while discovering more about those tunes we love. Getting to know alternative music from all over the world, discovering new songs, genres and sub-genres together is what Taking back Thursday is all about!
If we made you feel like rocking along to Dio on the air guitar, headbanging at local gigs or finding like-minded fanatics to start your own band. Come as you are and take back Thursday with us! You can find more information and contact details on Facebook and Instagram or feel free to just shoot us an email.
In the meantime, stay tuned and rock on!