Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 – Interview and review

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As I waited alongside 2,100 people on the sticky floor of the dusty old 1960s ballroom dancefloor in the Barrowlands, Glasgow, for Colonel Mustard and the Dijon Five I was unsure of what to expect from the penultimate act of the Yellowlands gig.

In Youtube videos it was clear the band loved to perform and didn’t take themselves too seriously with songs titled To Party To Make Music To Party To Make Music To Party To 1 but I struggled to imagine how a 15-piece band, each member with different tastes, ideas and opinions, ever agreed on anything let alone found time to rehearse that would suit them all.

John Thomas, aka Colonel Mustard and the lead singer of the band explained that having such variety of opinions only benefits their unique sound.


Colonel Mustard takes centre-stage

He said: “Everybody in the band has different musical tastes. We have all been in lots of bands and probably stuck with one genre in the other band and with this band we want to be completely free to play whatever genre of music we want.

“We’ll play a tune and however it comes out, it comes out. We’ve not got the same inhibitions and I suppose we’re not chained to the same kind of rules of how other people play the game.

“We just want to do our own thing.”

He added: “Somebody will maybe play a wee reggae beat and I’ll sing on top of that. DJ 5 in the band is a house music DJ on Groove City Radio so he brings that kind of influence to the band.”

The videos of their songs including International Sex Hero and Bouncy Ball show hundreds of people at festivals and indoor gigs singing along and doing “driving in the car” actions to their catchy, rhyming tunes.”

How can this crazy, different and flamboyant band have the crowd in the palm of their hand? Don’t worry, I was wondering the same thing when I was dancing along to their actions.

Colonel Mustard said: “When you watch things online I don’t think you’re ever going to get that true experience and it’s a community when you come together so you do get caught up in that.

“People want to have fun on a night out and maybe people would go to a gig and think ‘oh I’m not going to dance’ but in our gigs we don’t allow that to happen, it’s just not part of it.

“We just push for as many people in the crowd to get as involved as possible, even if that’s just for a wee bit of the night or making them laugh.”

The fundraising gig for The Clutha Trust and Sarcoma UK was slow to start with only a few hundred people in the ballroom and people gathering at the bar, face painting and merchandise stalls when The Twistettes, an alternative punk duo played their set.

Other acts performing in support of the “Yellow Movement” included; Have Mercy Las Vegas, The Girobabies and Jamie and Shoony.

Undeniably this is a party band interested in getting as much audience participation as possible and spreading positivity which is part of the “Yellow Movement” the band promote.

Colonel Mustard, aged 38, said: “It’s different for everybody but for me the Yellow Movement is a collective of bands and people who come together and try bring about a bit of positivity.

“It has become more about the people that come along now. There were a lot of activists and charities like guys that had just arrived from Syria and Greenpeace. It’s about positivity and people coming together and there not being that barrier between band and crowd.

“Because we play a lot of the wee festivals and play a lot in Glasgow we end up becoming pals with lots of people in the audience.

“Yellow’s the colour of positivity so that’s my take on it but I suppose everyone’s take on it is different.”

When the Colonel and his band weren’t on stage they were in the crowd chatting, shaking hands with people and thanking people for coming along which shows just how level-headed they are.

“We’re not up ourselves and we’re about connecting with people and meeting new friends and having a good time.

“I was down and watched every single band last night. I’m not the kind to go about backstage waiting for my moment it’s about embracing it, talking to people and being a part of something.”

It was a memorable night not only for the bands performing that but also for fans of the music legend David Bowie who was inducted into the Barrowlands Hall of Fame.

Still Game star Gavin Mitchell, who saw the Starman singer perform in the iconic venue, accepted the award on behalf of the singer who died 10 January.

Prior to the Yellowlands gig it seemed everyone had been to the Barrowlands except me.

Many of my friends have said it is undoubtedly the best venue they have been to for atmosphere, drink prices and to see good acts for fair prices. Bands that have played there include; Iron Maiden, Oasis, Radiohead and The Smith’s.

They were right and I was not disappointed. The atmosphere was electric and there was rarely a queue at the bar which was also reasonable priced.

However, the variety of drinks available was mediocre for someone as fussy as myself – there was no fresh lime, no cranberry juice and then to top it off the bar staff used fizzy limeade for the lime in my vodka and lemonade.

There are plenty of other drink options available if you are not as fussy as me including soft drinks and a bar in the far corner which only has beer.

The Colonel himself is no stranger to the venue and spoke about his very first gig there as a teenager.

“The first gig I seen there was my very first gig and it was Oasis in 1994. That was the moment I thought that’s what I want to do.

“I’ve seen so many amazing bands in there. That venue is so special to us. It was the dream and to have sold it out is just unbelievable.

“We used to rehearse downstairs in there through lots of different bands and we were rubbish for years but we kept at it and always believed we would get better with perseverance and hard work and just starting to believe in yourself.”

As I and 2,100 other people left the venue going passed the merchandise stall, down the stairs with Biffy Clyro Lyrics on them and out onto the street where people where separating in different directions, I considered how wrong my original impression of this band had been.

Laying in bed the next morning with a slightly sore head and unmistakable lack of sleep I received a text from my sister, who also came along to the gig, informing me that Colonel Mustard and his amazing band are playing in East Kilbride on 15 April, that we need to be there and that the drinks are on her after I dragged her along at the weekend. I’d highly recommend you go too.

*All photo credits David Muir.

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