The Grim Northern Social

The Grim Northern Social


The Grim Northern Social is a classic British Rock band that doesn't shy away from the revered territories of Bowie, Jagger and Townsend, while retaining their own inspirational trademarks and originality. They are a truly vibrant live band and have to be seen to be appreciated.


The Grim Northern Social existed in Ewan MacFarlane’s head long before they existed in our lacklustre computerised post-modern world. He saw this band as an ideal, an archetype, an essential solution. It could be the perfect machine for expressing his hopes and fears as he moved away from London, when he came close to becoming another victim of rock’n’roll excess.

Back home in Scotland, he got a band together that could sustain his vision and The Grim Northern Social was born. The band’s first album, with its tales of inner-city tension to pledges of eternal love, was ultimately one of hope, made big and bold by Ewan MacFarlane’s personally-charged classic style of songwriting. The self titled album was lauded by many and first single “Honey” was named as one of the songs of the year in Rolling Stone Magazine, while closer to home, the band gained loyal support from several radio stations and made many friends in the press.

The band has appeared as special guests of artists including Elvis Costello and Simple Minds. Other live highlights included T In the Park appearances and two mind-blowing sets at the South-By-Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. This busy live schedule earned the GNS a faithful, and rather obsessive fanbase.

Unfortunately, the band’s progress was halted subsequent to the tour in support of their debut album, when Ewan’s wife and then manager broke her back in an almost fatal car accident. This near tragedy was likened to the de-railing a runaway train by many and, understandably broke the focus of Ewan, leaving him terrified at the thought of losing the woman that had brought him back from the brink and had become his muse and the fuel that drove him.

Happily The GNS are back on track and stronger than ever. With songs influenced by bad and good experiences that arose from personal misfortune, Ewan showcases his complete disregard for the convention and stereotypes that go with having a wife and family. His star continues to shine with dazzling brilliance on the new album “Watch Out for the Spies”.

The forthcoming album exemplifies the band’s commitment to a vision, and their steps towards becoming a genuinely expressive force. This time around, emphasis was placed on the in-yer-face live aspect of the Grim Northern Social. From the Jagger swagger and stomp of “Connected” to the almost spiritual power of “Save Your Skin”, the album is truly a celebration of love and rock’n’roll. And after all, what else really matters?

The full high-energy live experience of the Grim Northern Social was brought to this year’s Glastonbury Festival where The Grims graced the John Peel Stage. The band appeared on BBC and Sky News, where they were lauded as the band that Mr Glastonbury himself, Michael Eavis, proclaimed as “the band we have been waiting for”. The band’s extraordinary live power has always been indisputable. Music Week has proclaimed the band “a fine live act and decidedly the best the country has to offer.” Ross Baxter, the slinky brooding lead guitarist, is the perfect onstage balance to Ewan MacFarlane, the magnetic, strutting showman. Paul Crawford’s powerful and exciting drumming style drives the band’s energy to exhilarating heights, while the whole sound is coiled together with Pete Cowan’s driving basslines.

Now, brimming with an impatient energy, the Grim Northern Social, with the forthcoming new album Watch Out For The Spies, are ready to prove their true worth. To prove that they have that thing, that un-nameable thing that all great bands have; the thing that gives you that shiver when you know you’re watching something truly special; the quality that separates the good, from the stars. The band’s reputation in Scotland is undeniable, exemplified by the GNS’ selling out Glasgow’s celebrated King Tuts Wah-Wah Hut on consecutive nights, for two years running, simply through word-of-mouth. No one has any reason to believe that the rest of the world won’t soon follow suit. So come on. KEEP IT GRIM

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Music Week
“The Grim Northern Social are a fine live act and decidedly the best the country has to offer…”
Zane Lowe, Radio 1
“The Grim Northern Social are definitely a band to watch out for this year.”
The Fly
“One of the most inspiring bands seen this year”
The Independent
“Simply irresistible **** “
The Sunday Mail
“The Grim Northern Social is more than just another UK band. It is THE UK BAND!”
The Sunday Times
“With the best rock voice this side of the Atlantic, it surely can’t be long before The GNS follow Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol to success.”
The Herald
“The Grim Northern Social have the charisma, the energy, the talent and the tunes to be the modern day answer to both The Who and The Rolling Stones.”
News of the World
“A Sound falling somewhere between the Sex Pistols and Mansun.”
“…a terrific Scottish band…”



Released: 5th May 2003
Tracks: Honey, Nobody Wants To Be Real, The Grim Northern Social
Label: One Little Indian
Catalogue No: 328TP7CD
Release Formats: CD & 7" Vinyl


Released: 25th August 2003
Tracks: Urban Pressure, The Kinky Telephone Song (Demo), Honey (Video)
Label: One Little Indian
Catalogue No: 353TP7CD
Release Formats: CD & 7" Vinyl

The Grim Northern Social
Debut Album

Urban Pressure
The Changes
Maybe It's Time
Snap The Imposters
New Rage Hope Song
Clash Of The Social Titans
Gasoline Queen
Favourite Girl
Released: 8th September 2003
Catalogue No: TPLP373CD
Label: One Little Indian

Break in productivity due to car crash.


Released: 26th February 2007
Tracks: Connected, Strange Advice For Babies
Label: Indie - Grimaphone
Release Formats: Download/Limited Edition CD
Charted at No. 10 in UK Indie chart.

Watch Out For The Spies

Released: 25th June 2007
Tracks: Watch Out For The Spies, Urban Pressure (2007)
Label: Indie - Grimaphone
Release Formats: Download/Limited Edition CD
Charted at No. 23 in UK Indie chart.


Release date due

Set List

Typical set list lasts for about 1 1/4 hours and comprises the following.

White Feathers
Goin on Again
Watch Out For The Spies
Save Your Skin
Strange Advice For Babies
All You Want
Pretty Little Thing
Urban Pressure
Favourite Girl
New Rage Hope Song