Gig Review & Interview: Psyche Launch 2018 Album ‘POSITIVE’ at Ayr’s T-Bar 21.06.18


T-Bar, Ayr

Album Launch



with support from Johnny Smillie & Monica Queen from 90s indie band Thrum

Ayrshire’s newest music venue, T-Bar, played host to the launch of Ayr rock band Psyche’s 2018 album release – ‘Positive’. Recording of this album was delayed for one year due to ill health but now the band are back on form and ready to rock.

Psyche are lead vocalist and guitarist Jim MacDonald, drummer Brian Mckinlay, bassist Alan Berry aka Stoker, key master Arnie Burgoyne, and guest vocalist Ellie McMahon.

Supporting Psyche were their good friends Glasgow folk duo Johnny Smillie & Monica Queen of popular 90s indie band Thrum. Beautifully complimenting each other, my favourites were incredible renditions of  A Ripa and Blue Moon. Performing under the name of Tenement and Temple, Johnny and Monica’s dreamy melodic vocals and soulful acoustic guitar notes were captivating and intense. Rocking his sunburst Epiphone Olympic Masterbilt with a vintage charm, Johnny’s clarity and style perfectly matched Monica’s sensitive and emotional performance.

Monica has collaborated with Belle & Sebastian (check out her guest vocals on Lazy Line Painter Jane), and also with other notable acts such as Snow Patrol (singing Set the Fire to the Third Bar at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, 2010) and James Grant.

Johnny Smillie of Tenement and Temple playing T-Bar, Ayr _ Psyche album launch 21.06.18 Photocredit: Kerrin Carr

Departing from the Americana genre of Tenement and Temple, main act Psyche played a fast paced, high energy set. Ripping through each song with a punch, Psyche’s songs tell local and personal stories with a blues punk accent. Joining Psyche on a few tracks including Vince Taylor Blues was vocalist Ellie McMahon. Ellie’s higher range worked well with Jim and Stoker’s deep brash tones. Visually Psyche look great; with maturity and character, Psyche are experienced and have stories to tell. I couldn’t take my eyes off Stoker’s boots- Ayr’s shiniest pair of bright red Docs! Moving and grooving with his industrial heartland bass guitar, Stoker’s steely self-assurance commanded the stage. Jim is a spirited frontman; energetically belting out great tracks from albums Twisted Blues (2015) and Positive (2018). Adding a psychedelic vibe on keys was the awesome Arnie, backed by Brian McKinley boldly banging out on the drums.

I managed to catch up with Pysche’s Mij aka Jim MacDonald

Where, when and how did Psyche form?

Psyche formed in 1983 from the ashes of All the Rage & The Urgent Crunch Band. We gigged on the college – uni circuit till ’86. We reformed in 2015 & recorded Twisted Blues in 2016. We became a 4 piece in late 2016 with the addition of Arnie Burgoyne.

So what’s the difference between the ‘past and present’ Psyche?

The difference from Psyche ’83 till now is the new found bluesy sound, the song content & no desire to jump on any bandwagon.

Why name the band ‘Psyche’?

We took the name Psyche from a Killing Joke track of the same name.

Who are Psyche’s influences?

Our influences are manifold but Alex Harvey , Mose Allison, punk rock , Gene Vincent & Capt Beefheart are right up there.

2018 sees Psyche releasing the album “Positive”, what’s your creative process?

The album is named POSITIVE because in 2017 the band ground to a halt due to ill health so it was important for us to be positive in 2018. Our tracks are mainly about real life experiences, people & situations…. see Belmont Vendetta, Trevor French, Meadowpark Drive.

What song does the band enjoy performing the most?

Fave live tracks include Mary Jane, Vince Taylor Blues & Coochie Hoochie Man.

What’s coming up next for Psyche?

Next up is the Strathaven Beer Festival on Aug 4th followed by gigs in Notting Hill & Shepherds Bush on 9th & 10th Aug. We also have a track on a compilation album from NHC Records out soon.



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