Scottish indie pop band, the Trashcan Sinatras, visited the Magic Bag in Ferndale, Mich. on Oct. 21 as a part of their “One Night, Two Albums” tour. The members of the group include Francis Reader as vocals, John Douglas as lead guitarist and Paul Livingston as drums.
The two albums were “A Happy Pocket’ and “Weightlifting.” Both were played in order and in full-length.
During the set, the three-piece band shared multiple, candid stories about their experiences as a group for the last 33 years. Some of these were backstories behind the meaning of their songs.
“Make Yourself At Home” is the title of one of the most interesting songs I’ve heard from the group’s discography. Frank Reader shared how inspiration for lyrics came about when the band was walking on a beach and noticed a figure under a lamp post that was difficult to identify until walking closer.
“When we got really close, it turned out to be a naked man laying spread-eagle,” Reader said. “He then just jumped up, like in a cartoon, and then dashed away looking for… underpants? We don’t know why, but it was then, at that time, that he found his way into this song.”
The lyrics to the tune include “An un-sober hippy/ Lying naked on his back/ Says he plays/ For cardboard city.”
Other than the quirky moments that Reader shared throughout the set, John Douglas shared a few words before the show about some of the behind-the-scenes of the making of the Trashcan Sinatras.
“We’re all kind of children of the punk rock movement,” Douglas said.
He discussed how that type of environment molded the group into having a “make something out of nothing” mentality.
The name of the group almost sounds like it came from a random word generator, but it actually stems from something that has to do with this attitude toward music.
It all started with a music class for the unemployed where the members used various objects to make sounds. When someone brought up Frank Sinatra, the name was decided and has been an intriguing trademark of the group for decades.
A witty name and an intricately clever and unique backstory truly speaks to the nature of the lyrical style of the group. The Sinatras are known for having remarkable word-play in their lyrics and have often been compared to The Smiths.
The sound of the band has been as steady as their lyrics have been enthralling. Harmonies encompass melodic lines in almost all of their songs, and this makes the albums flow like molasses — soft, thick and mildly sweet.
An intimate crowd of devoted fans and families made the Trashcan trio feel comfortable throughout the show at the Magic Bag. This was evident in their relaxed performance, quirky stories and the way each member took their time on every sound they produced that night.
To take a listen to the guys, you can visit their website or check them out on most streaming sites.