Tired of the 601? Been to every ball? Looking for something different? The Saint brings you the highlights from St Andrews' weirdest and most wonderful events.
Sounds of Sandy’s has been a pillar of the St Andrews live music scene since its establishment in 2019. For those better acquainted with the glamour of the Friday night Bop however, Sandy’s might not be something that you’ve encountered before. An event that’s steadily rising towards more mainstream popularity, I headed down to the Union last Saturday night to see what the thriving student-run event is all about.
Timing my 10:28 arrival to perfection, I avoided the Union’s much-feared Saturday night entrance fee – a demoralising start to any evening. The alluring sight of a brown-sunburst Fender Stratocaster, a glistening Pearl drum kit and a wall of sturdy amplifiers greeted me in the Main Bar – a first-time host of Sounds of Sandy’s – this was promising to be a ‘tasty’ affair. With the soundcheck complete and a crisp pint of Madri in hand, this was no night for ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’ remixes. The anticipation of live music was palpable.
Applaud the Jellyfish were the first act of the night. The student outfit made up of first and second years kicked off the evening’s entertainment in style with an impressive rendition of The Animals’ iconic ‘House of the Rising Sun’. The band’s set contained a satisfying assortment of original songs and covers. Their black midi-inspired track ‘Common Ground’ was a particular highlight and has the makings of a promising lead single.
Edinburgh-based indie quartet Dazed & Confused followed, launching into a tight set of punchy material. The band is well-established and has spent much of 2022 touring Scotland with stops at venues across the country, including Edinburgh’s notable indie-haunt ‘Sneaky Pete’s’. They made the perfect headliner, offering a slightly more traditional take on the rock genre than the marine-invertebrate-acclaiming opener.
This fortnightly Saturday night event is run by St Andrews Radio (STAR), providing student bands with a platform to showcase their music and connect with an audience, often for the first time. As well as homegrown talents, more established outfits from further afield are invited to play in Sandy’s Bar. Alongside Dazed & Confused, notable local bands Bikini Body, Pocket Knife and Post Ironic State have travelled from as far as Glasgow to play memorable, intimate gigs.
I spoke to Pearce Hopkins, the Co-Head of Events at STAR and organiser of Sounds of Sandy’s. He emphasised the importance of a varied line-up in maintaining the event's vibrancy and appeal. This semester has seen acts from across the St. Andrews music scene grace the stage. Student bands Downstem, Fidel Castrated, Raincheck and The Slick have all made appearances, bringing everything from experimental postpunk to shoegaze indie to the Union. The event has begun to garner such popularity that it is upscaling to 601 for select events. Pearce has big plans for the future of Sounds of Sandy’s with the aim of promoting burgeoning musicians and keeping live music at the forefront of the St. Andrews event scene.
As enjoyable as a sweaty, alcohol-fuelled techno event can be, there is nothing quite like live music. Whether you’re a budding musician or just a fan of a good old sing-along, a trip to Sounds of Sandy’s is well worth your time.