Review by Chris Wienk
Photographs by Jason Spiro
“I never meant to say you were a thorn in either side,
It was a side effect from the scars on the forty-fives.
And as the vital mistakes, it reminds me of what we have,
Despite the things you do, you know I’m a fool for you…”
And so begins the delightfully mournful song “Change My Needs” by Scars on 45. I remember the first time I heard them play that song. It was in WEXT’s radio studios on November 11, 2010. We were missing a couple people at the time, Stuart Nichols (the bass player) was still at home in Bradford, England, and they hadn’t picked up the touring electric guitarist Matt Baxter yet.
Before I go any further, in the event that you don’t know who I am, I am the afternoon guy, the program director for WEXT (aka Exit 97.7). WEXT was the very first station in the country to play Scars on 45. The band has since gone on to play Red Rocks, and numerous other incredible venues; they’ve done sessions with Billboard Magazine, VH1 and even played on Jay Leno’s show. This is just to point out that there probably is a little bias in my accounting of their show at The Linda back on July 6. It was WEXT’s birthday (7/7/2007 was our first day) concert.
We’ve had Scars on 45 play in town before. We tend to find out that they’re going to be in the neighborhood of Albany at the last minute, and they always offer to play something. So, we’ve had them play a few house parties, they’ve played a very last minute show at Valentine’s, and this show at The Linda was drawn up from nothing within a week of July 6, as the band was traveling from Baltimore to
This band quickly jumped into the space of being my favorite band. It could be that we share a love of great chocolate (it doesn’t come from this country) and Pakistani curry. They’ve been searching for good curry since leaving their hometown of Bradford, England on tour. They do love the U.S., but the quest for good curry has had them in a quandry.
So, this band got its start when lead singer and song-writer, Danny Bemrose had his budding soccer (er… football) career ended by an injury to his ankle. His convalescence was spent with an old family guitar. The songs that would become Scars on 45’s songs began to form.
This show was their fifth visit to Nippertown, and it occurred just a couple months after they opened for Ingrid Michaelson at The Egg in May. They have played many shows together and feel so at home here in Albany. Their on-stage banter – both with themselves and with members of the audience – was familiar and jovial. Even when technical issues plagued Danny and his guitar, things kept rolling along as if we were all a part of the band.
They love to point out that nobody can understand them. It’s true. I have interviewed them a few times, and I still have problems understanding their answers. I’m sure they have no clue what I’m saying, either.
But when you strip away all the funny moments and the goofing around, and the songs begin, the audience can’t help but feel itself being sucked into the moment, the heartache, the painful and yet cathartic songs of Scars on 45. From “Change My Needs,” “Tomorrow Won’t Die Too Soon” (a B-side from their second EP) to their hits “Heart on Fire” and “Give Me Something” to covers of songs by the Cure and Fleetwood Mac, they draw us into their world – and it is a sweet, sweet world. Now we know why they feel the best chocolate is British chocolate. How can we argue when our heart is actually on fire?
Thankfully, Scars on 45 have given us something to hold on to with their delightfully sad pop songs. Check out their EPs, and their self-titled debut. You won’t be sorry you did. Oh, and the next time they come to town, we hope you’ll be there – even if it isn’t WEXT’s birthday.