I was fortunate enough to be front row for the final Maker Live Session of the year on the 2nd December at the Random Arms & Energy Room at Maker Heights on the Rame Peninsula. It is truly the most beautifully bonkers venue in the southwest. It's located in some outbuildings on part of a former Napoleonic Barracks built around 1780. It is dilapidated and perfectly so. There’s no heating, but is one of the hottest venues around. It truly is a venue without equal. It's a jewel in the crown of the music scene in the Southwest. It is home to the finest campsite in the whole of Christendom and the campsite was well used by those revellers who planned to party on through the night, once Land of The Giants finished their set.
This is the spiritual home of Land of the Giants, there is a Gallery bearing the family name of the Ogilvies, the son of whom, Tom, plays bass in the band.
Maker Heights has been a maelstrom of creative energy for artists and musicians for decades if not centuries. Unfortunately the future of Maker Music and Arts, the hosts of Maker Sessions have been told that their licence will not be renewed for 2018, meaning that the final Maker Session - the New Year’s Eve End of the World Extravaganza may be the final event of all time! It's no surprise that it is completely sold out, I expect that the party field on the campsite will be fully utilised to party on beyond the dawn.
The Barefoot Bandit took to the stage, and performed a set that was full of original tunes and as tight as I have ever seen them perform. Land of the Giants took the stage, barefoot as always, with lead singer Andy Quick on awesome form, sporting stripey socks with a hole in the toe. A few songs in, a member of the crowd was press-ganged into restringing Andy’s guitar, Andy ended up finishing the set on vocals because he broke even more strings, not only on his main, long suffering, preferred guitar, but also his back up, such was the energy and passion with which the band played.
The highlight of the set was the performance of their new track "Shine On", which can be downloaded in all the usual places, and they posted a video of it on Christmas Day to further improve your already splendid festive indulgences, it can be found on their Facebook page.
Shine On is the first single from their much anticipated debut album and was recorded at Momentum Studios by the venerable Josiah J Manning and shot and edited by Benjamin and Billy of Instant Light as part of the Maker Memories project to capture the essence of Maker Heights over the ages.
Maker has touched the lives of generations of artists, musicians and the patrons of their work and those of us who have attended, camped and partied there hold golden memories of that site. The ongoing campaign to save the Random Arms & Energy Room is close to the band’s hearts. The video is a montage of footage from the recording at Momentum Studios, a performance which perfectly demonstrates the beauty of the Officer’s Mess (run by the Rame Conservation Trust) in the Napoleonic Barracks at Maker Heights and their live set in the Energy Room on the 2nd December. It truly encapsulates the beauty and raw energy present in that special place. It is a venue that will continue to Shine On in our memories and hopefully on into our futures.
I’ve listened to "Shine On" repeatedly since getting a preview from the guys earlier this month and I can assure fans that this is as funk filled as their earlier work. The brass fuelled riff is cemented in my subconscious and was all consuming in the live set, Andy’s steamy lyrics truly the capture the mystery and majesty of falling for the one, comparing it to the fury of a massive wave breaking over your head without warning. It is cleverly observed and more subtle than some of their earlier work. It’s beguiling and deserves to be listened to repeatedly.
You should buy, download and enjoy, but remember that the pound you spend is a pound that pays for the boys to eat, there’s no record label executive creaming off profits here, just a group of guys making excellent music and trying to do it right. Your financial support matters. If you are still to firm up your plans for New Year’s Eve, then I suggest you do everything you can to get hold of a ticket to see Land of the Giants at Annabel’s in Plymouth, for what will surely be the best party in the Southwest.
Review by Pete Yeomans