By Innes MacKintosh
Despite the music course at Strathclyde being discontinued several years ago, there is still a huge number of people studying here who play an instrument as a hobby. Many of them will know the frustration of not being able to let off steam – either because they haven’t been able to take their instrument with them to halls, or because they worry that they might disturb their neighbours. Jamming is a great way to let off that steam – not to mention a chance to meet up with like-minded people. Many musicians, both famous and not, have noted how the spontaneity of jamming helps to develop and improve their skills.
Bands @ Strathclyde Society (BASS) provides an outlet for all of the above. It is one of the newest societies at Strathclyde, being “formed” in 2013 but only properly developing into its current form during the following year, under the leadership of firstly Robbie Robertson and latterly Job van der Werf. By meeting on the top floor of the Union, there is no risk of disturbance, and there are always numerous instruments on hand, shared between members. Members pay a small fee for a year’s entry to the sessions. Jams happen once a week for two hours, which provides ample time for everyone to get their fix.
The laid-back, informal nature of the society has struck a chord with newcomers (pun very much intended), with its membership rising from less than ten in 2014 to over forty in its most recent term. Joining the society is not a binding commitment to turn up each week, which means that there are always new faces and endless combinations of line-ups each session. Last year, the committee arranged the first acoustic-only nights, to huge success, which brought in a whole different selection of musicians who preferred that particular style.
This year, BASS will be overlooked by Jack Dunsmuir, who has risen through the ranks from humble “jammer” to president within two years. “I’m hoping to build on what has been started by the committee, and to add a more social aspect to the society,” he says. “I plan to get people out and into different gigs around Glasgow, both playing and listening to music. We intend to run more social nights, so we can all get to know each other and begin to work better as bands and performers.”
Look out for the BASS stall at the Fresher’s Fair for more info on how to join up, and make, in the words of the president, “sweet, sweet music”!