I enjoyed this tribute to the brilliant band Over The Wall by my good friend Nick Lawford, co-founder of Hello Thor Records:
The train journey to Edinburgh is not a bad one. Actually, it’s a pretty good one – especially Newcastle and upwards. The rugged Northumberland coastline seems to have the perfect mixture of beauty and bleakness, of peacefulness and severity. Particularly on a spring morning, with a hangover, soundtracked by the euphoric pop music of Glaswegian duo Over The Wall. That’s where I found myself a couple of weekends ago – on my way from Nottingham to Edinburgh, on a pilgrimage, of sorts.
A good friend once described the relationship between Hello Thor and Over The Wall as “so intense it’s almost pathological”. I’m not sure I’d go that far but we do love them, it’s true. They make music which lifts spirits, pop songs which mean a lot. And they perform them with heart, with honesty and with humour. At Over The Wall shows I’m either grinning from ear to ear, dabbing the tears away or punching the air.
The first time we heard them was on Myspace, which is a thing that people did in the past. Then we went to see them at the Bodega, loved it, and got chatting to them after the show. We were pleased to find that Gav and Ben are as funny and charming and real in person as they are on stage and record. We tried to woo them by giving them each Hello Thor badges. Unfortunately, though, we only had one badge, which is a potentially divisive gesture to make to a two piece band.
Happily we made things better by posting another badge to Glasgow and we went on to put Over The Wall on at Hello Thor gigs on four occasions in Nottingham – each a totally joyous occasion. Even the one when the venue roof started leaking on Ben’s keyboards and the soundman was worried that someone might die. They also generously contributed a track to a special compilation that we put together once and along the way we became friends too.
Earlier this year Over The Wall announced that they’d be splitting up, calling it a day with two final shows in May. There was no way I was ever going to miss this, which is why I was now in Edinburgh, drinking an Irn Bru at the top of Arthur’s Seat.
The show itself – at the brilliant Limbo night at the ridiculously grand Voodoo Rooms – was as thrilling and as emotional as I could have ever hoped. Over the Wall at the top of their game. They played songs off each of their singles and EPs and plenty off their album. The reaction was as it should have been – totally celebratory from beginning to end. An hour of melancholic, magical, totally mega pop music, topped off – predictably, but comfortingly – with Thurso. From Gav’s hilarious “Eric Clapton Unplugged”-style intro to the euphoria of Ben’s trumpet solo (and the sound of a room full of people jumping up and down and singing along), this song, as it always does, summed it all up perfectly. “See how far we came”, indeed.
If you are anywhere near Glasgow this Saturday then I urge you to go along to their final show. And if you do, punch the air for me.
Thank you, Over The Wall.