A few months ago someone asked me (on twitter) what my favourite live even had been so far this year. It made me think for a moment. Gosh ..I thought….I have been to plays, films, gigs all kinds of things but i couldn’t really say I’d loved any of them enough to remember, less to rave about.

In the context of the AC I have, in truth, seen a number of very fine gigs which have carried me away so much that i have gone on about it for weeks on end. These shows however have been from newer acts whose live show I may well have never seen before…..and I’ve usually been on the guest lis…and critically…its been on a week night when I can slip in and out at my conveniece and not annoy Mrs R by taking up a precious weekend night.

Then something strange happened. We were at a lovely event in George Square where we were to welcome and support the idea of new refugees coming to Scotland. There, in a quiet moment, my good pal Craig Smillie revealed to me his new role as the new man about town. In his role as one of THE people behind the fab Glad Cafe, Craig is now in the box seat to see every new and up and coming band on the west coast of Scotland. He reeled off name after name as I stood in jaw dropping amazement. I reminded him he was now of official retirement age and should really be settling down to some cocoa and a Shadows Boxed Set of an evening but to no avail. There was one more name he had to tell me about. ‘They are called A New International,’ he intoned confidentially. The next day a message arrives via messenger….’Re: A new International. Listen to Under The Candle Window…the major groove is Jaques Brel meets Ennio Morriocone in Barcelona in 1937, lyrics by George Orwell.’


Let’s face it if that was your band’s PR statement in the 80’s you’d have been on the cover of the NME before you’d even rehearsed. Fortunately for us this band have done way more than rehearse. After I’d listened to the track and album that Craig recommended I was so enthusiastic I declared…take me to a gig. He’d already though of that. We would go with our respective wives to see ‘ANI’ live on a forthcoming Saturday to the CCA to see them. A Saturday? I was nervous….would Mrs Ross accept the potential of a busman’s holiday on a precious weekend night?

As it turned out it was one of the best nights of the year. The band were gloriously wonderful and the gig was the most dangerous, strange and heartbreakingly beautiful event I have seen all year. It started and ended with a monologue by lead singer Biff…..need you hear more? If you do they are our special BBC introducing guests this Tuesday on Another Country. It will be unmissable…so please don’t!

Another Country will be live from 9 pm on BBC Radio Scotland.