Veteran ex-Pretenders guitarist Billy Bremner is set to play an exclusive double-header in Kinross.
The fretboard maestro will be appearing with his band Rockfiles at the Green Hotel both on Monday week (January 21) and the following night in the first gigs put together for 2019 by the venue’s regular promoters Mundell Music.
They’re the only Scottish shows on an extensive UK and Scandinavian tour being undertaken by Billy that starts tomorrow in Gävle, Sweden, and also takes in a date immediately after his Kinross shows at London’s legendary 100 Club on January 23.
Cult label Cherry Red Records recently issued Singled Out, a definitive compilation of Aberdeen-born Billy’s career-spanning solo singles, but it’s his work as the go-to sideman for some of the biggest names in rock during the ’70s and ’80s that he remains best known for. Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe-led power-popsters Rockpile, The Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Carlene Carter and Shakin’ Stevens were among those who benefited from his distinctive six-string stylings.
Now 72, the songsmith earned his big break in the ’60s playing with Lulu’s backing band The Luvvers before joining Fatso, an offshoot of Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band led by japester Neil Innes.
Billy teamed up with Rockpile in 1976 and as well as playing guitar he sang lead vocals on the tracks Heart and You Ain’t Nothing But Fine on the band’s 1980 album Seconds Of Pleasure. He also penned Edmunds’ 1978 single Trouble Boys — also a hit for Thin Lizzy in 1981 — using his alias Billy Murray on the writing credits to avoid confusion with the Leeds and Scotland footballer of the same name.
He went solo after Rockpile parted ways, releasing the singles Loud Music In Cars and Laughter Turns To Tears on Stiff Records, before playing on The Pretenders’ epic 1982 hit Back On The Chain Gang. It wasn’t to be Billy’s last collaboration with Chrissie Hynde, as he went on to provide lead guitar for her band’s 1990 album Packed!
He later moved to Sweden and focused on work with Grammy Award-nominated The Refreshments plus solo material until forming the supergroup The Trouble Boys in 2011 with Ducks Deluxe legend Sean Tyla. Tickets for Billy’s Kinross gigs, which will pay tribute to his work with Rockpile, are £26.75 from ticketweb.uk.
*** Live music returns after a short break at Conroy’s Basement on Wednesday with Glasgow-based newcomers Lo Rays the main attraction.
The promising five-piece — who were formed in 2017 by Finnish guitarist/vocalist Laura Takala — will be marking the release of their debut EP Unstable Air with a show at the Meadowside live music mecca. Punters can expect a contrasting set, with Lo Rays as capable of turning their collective hand to soft and sweet introspection as to crunching uptempo anthems.
Supporting on the night will be Leven five-piece Waid Anchors. It’s £5 for advance tickets £5 via loraysmusic.bandcamp.com or £6 on the door.
*** York-based hopefuls The Howl And The Hum make the journey north to Clarks On Lindsay Street on Thursday.
After releasing their debut EP Godmanchester Chinese Bridge in 2017, the expansive four-piece completed their first headline tour of England early last year to promote follow-up single Portrait I, and went on to appear at a host of summer festivals including Latitude, Live at Leeds and the BBC Biggest Weekend.
Known for combining dark, hypnotic pop in the vein of Massive Attack with post-punk influences, HATH’s latest offering Don’t Shoot The Storm looks at gun control. Champions of the band’s epic melancholy include BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson.
Tickets £7 from beyondhighlands.com.
*** Kirkcaldy-based indie rockers Double Denim take a short hop to play in Dunfermline tomorrow.
The young four-piece are being joined on the bill at PJ Molloys by fellow Fife acts Murray Torrance — who’s supported the likes of Gerry Cinnamon, Kyle Falconer and Big Country — and Citrus Circus.
Ticket details are available by calling the Canmore Street venue on 01383 729790.
*** Number 57 rolls back the years tomorrow evening when it welcomes covers exponents The Sixties.
The Dundee outfit, who play material by greats such as The Beatles, The Who, The Monkees, Cream and The Hollies, are on from 5.30pm, with Dock Street regulars Bedrock in the spotlight on Sunday from 7pm.
*** Pub favourites Cherry Bombz are back on home turf tonight at The Tavern (9pm) and also play The Glens on Sunday (6pm).