Riverside Festival, 27/5/18

It’s a beautiful sunny day by the Riverside Museum as Four Tet takes to the MasterMix stage; Electric Frog and Pressure’s Riverside Festival has become an unmissable event on the Scottish electronic scene in recent years and the blue skies and scorching heat set the tone for the sixth coming of the event to be bigger and better than ever before.

Having already seen acts such as Joy Orbison who would sell out a Glaswegian basement on his own, the party is already well underway and Four Tet continues it with a heavy start giving it some drum and bass.

A bit of oldschool funk from ‘Question’ quickly follows this and soon he is ramping it up another level with tunes such as his remix of Bicep’s ‘Opal’ building tension and really getting the crowd going.

The familiar start of ‘Lush’chimes out to a huge cheer and everyone is dancing like there is no tomorrow.

Such are Four Tet’s mixing skills that he turns Selena Gomez’s ‘Bad Liar’into an absolute banger for all to enjoy and helps close out a memorable set for a man whose reputation is only continuing to rise.

Fatima Yamaha is well known for his live sets and he doesn’t disappoint with tunes such as ‘Borderless II’ going down a hit

Undoubtedly the highlight for many is when he releases his not-so-secret weapon ‘What’s A Girl To Do’; the speakers need not be on everyone is singing along so loudly.

A new addition to the festival this year is a stage inside the actual museum, an incredibly surreal experience seeing the precious exhibitions of cars, trains and trams of Glaswegian days gone by being turned into the scene for this off the rails party.

Andrew Thomson of Huntley and Palmers, Dixon Avenue Basement Jams and Subculture’s legendary Harri & Domenic played hosts in here across the weekend.

As well as expanding the stages at the festival, the organisers have ironed out many of the logistic woes that have haunted the festival in recent years including getting rid of the frustrating drink token system which allows everyone to have a much more hitch free day.

As the sun stoops lower in the sky and evening draws in, Skream plays a Colombian infused ‘Hotline Bling’ instrumental by Quantic Y Los Míticos del Ritmoand hips are shaking.

He soon launches into some heavier dub that people are getting in the mood for at this time of night.

As always, Jackmaster closes out the festival he has helped pioneer and with his huge entourage on stage for the final ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, you can’t help but feel you’re at the best party in town.

Looking around at the thousands of slightly sunburnt faces having the time of their lives in the fading sun beneath the majestic Tall Ship, it’s clear this is a festival going from strength to strength and will be here for years to come.

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Words: Chris Cox
Photos:  Stewart Fullerton


Riverside Festival, 26-27/5/18

The river glitters and so do the arses on this most spectacular weekend in Glasgow: early summer sun competes with remarkable sparkling butts, freshly decorated at the onsite stall.

While it may not appeal to Rave Child on the ground, the young folk being basted in pounding house and techno all weekend are not so abashed; the arse-adornment stand does a roaring trade at the weekend-long shindig.

It may not be the industry celebrated within the Transport Museum or, for that matter, what this area of Glasgow is historically famed for but making yourself look like an explosion in a tinsel factory is quite the hit.

This must go down as the most successful Riverside Festival to date: there’s no point pretending, the weather doesmake a difference and it plays a blinder; gallons of sunblock instead of gallons of rain across the whole 48 hours.

The perennial bemusement as to how Electric Frog and Pressure are allowed to take over this fantastic location continues; indeed, not only are there thousands of frothing loons running about outside, they’ve only gone and let them into the museum as well.

In amongst hulking great steam trains, trams and Dickensian street scenes, a solid sound system thumps away noisily: a marvellous addition though the non-plussed staff look a little taken aback by the revellers, to say nothing of the stuffed and distinctly unimpressed-looking stuffed otter scowling down from above.

Outside across three stages, Riverside delivers serious material in 2018: a particular coup is getting Leftfield in to play live – “My God, this sounds like the end of the world“, says a reveller within earshot as they rumble on with what must be the loudest set of the whole weekend.

Another heavyweight catch is Robert Hood who delivers an utterly beautiful couple of hours by the Tall Ship as the sun descends on Saturday: to warm appreciation from a lurking Slam waiting to come on afterwards, he drops a hefty smattering of gospel and soulful vibes alongside the powerful 4/4; a Sounds of Blacknessvocal filters in through the pure Detroit vibes and, though not religious in any way, it’s hard not to be affected by the spiritual angle he takes in a quite wonderful setting; brilliant stuff.

Watching the Easyjet planes swooping down the Clyde and surrounded by a wriggling party crowd with (creosote colour #9) fake tan on and alarmingly aggressive eyebrows, the whole shebang has a touch of the Ibiza about it – in a good way: as the still futuristic-sounding ‘French Kiss’ is dropped, the throng is entirely nuts but the vibe is equally entirely positive and shiny.

There’s a markedly younger crowd this year, particularly on Sunday, possibly due to LCD Soundsystemplaying within a well-launched haddock at SWG3 around the corner – kudos to the authorities and ever cheerful police dealing with both large events and loved-up punters firing in for a hug.

Not a jot of trouble is spotted and a sort of collective delirium infests the whole postcode: the odd punter resembles a walking shower curtain in a Lady Gagakind of way but it seems entirely appropriate: the madness of crowds.

There really is the broadest of dance music offerings across the various stages: You want Sister Sledge’s ‘Lost In Music’with a gin and tonic by the waterside? You got it.

You want Rødhåd battering the shit out your ears with uncompromising but groovy techno from the main stage? All yours.

To quote somebody else, if you can’t find something to enjoy here, it’s your fault, not theirs.

We particularly enjoy a second set by Slam on Sunday: functional and hard and actually surpasses Richie Hawtin who precedes: we loll about on the sandy beach – some stuff chucked out the temporary pit presumably – and imagine we’re at some far-flung location…the crowd, needlessly to say, go mental.

Other highlights are a live set of clipped excellence by Lady Starlight – rocking the techno milkmaid look: Skream dropping the Gat Decortrack ‘Passion’ to near total delirium – luckily no one hops into the river with glee – and, perhaps greatest of all, Four Tet.

Four Tet lays out a set that is all over the place musically, but, with its chimes, faded then thunderous bass, pitter-patter drums….then frankly frightening beats…it’s just astonishing.

Kieran Hebden (for it is he) manages to get everyone from disco bunnies to tops offloons waggling their toes and dancing without being in the least compromising; or even particularly accessible.

It’s musical, it’s groovy, it’s tough as you like; perfect and the highlight of the weekend by an astonishing talent.

As we stagger towards the latter stages on Sunday, some barriers are erected to control the progressively more mental crowd as Jackmaster closes the festival around the back…and it soon becomes apparent why.

Hometown boy and hometown hero, the crowd swarm in and steam drifts off the sweaty mob: it may be crowd-pleasing, it isunashamedly party-stuff but, my is it good.

The stage looks like a crowded club itself let alone the swarm of punters below and the barriers are jumped as colossal records like ‘Age of Love’ are banged out: a fitting and barely-controlled end to a weekend of mounting mayhem: he is shoved off the decks as the plugs are pulled at 11pm on the dot.

This annual hoo-ha really does go from strength to strength: impossible always to run through all the artists but this year’s bill is the strongest yet.

We even forgive the absence of the scowling slipway swans this year: an annual presence stoically refusing to move even whilst their feathers are rattled by sub-bass, they are nowhere to be seen; we can only hope they’ve bowed to (temporary) defeat and taken the kids away for the weekend.

We froth out into the humid night with much more than a spring in our step: the departing headcases bounce around in the unseasonal warmth in shorts, t-shirts…and still just aboutglittery elbows and ears.

This may not be quite what Zaha Hadid intended when she designed the transport museum but one would hope she would appreciate a small but appropriate piece of mirroring: inside the glorious wavy building is a collection of venerable old bicycles called ‘Flying Scots’…outside there are thousands of the buggers…

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Words: Vosne Malconsorts
Photos:  Stewart Fullerton

Cutty’s Gym (EP launch), Objectified, Shredd at The Hug and Pint, 25/5/18

Contenders for hardest working band of the year, Shredd open this Cutty’s Gym EP launch at The Hug and Pint.

Shredd seem to get better every gig, what happens if you improve exponentially are these guys in danger of exploding in a puff of smoke!

Wearing their guitars higher than Simon Cowell’s trousers and with Chris Harvie pointing his like a rifle the three-piece seem ideally suited for The Hug and Pint.

The sound is great, and they take the opportunity to introduce us to a new song ‘In My Head’, which sounds a cracker and due to be launched on June 18.

With Mark McDonald a whirlwind on the bass (he makes it look so easy), Calum Wilson so strong on the drums and Harvie’s brilliant fuzzy guitar you must catch these guys live, if only to see if Harvie finally shakes his head off his shoulders.

They are one of the strongest live bands around especially if you like your garage rock fast and furious.

The small stage at The Hug and Pint is a whole new challenge for Objectifed with their seven members and their instruments of choice, however they all squeeze in and make it work.

In fact, they make the most of what seems to be a new lighting rig complete with Disco Ball and occasional smoke; seems the lighting guy might be on their payroll.

This all adds to the atmosphere of their haunting tunes.

Objectifed are a unique combination with members of various acts, drums, drum machine, trumpet, synth, guitars and various members taking up vocal duties whilst making a sound like no other.

Without a setlist, which appears to be their norm, they blast their way through the best of the tracks from their recent self-produced album, Taken.

Strong infectious rhythm, screaming guitars, diverse vocals and of course the trumpet work so well together with highlights being ‘The Slave Can Sing’; flowing straight in to ‘El Patròn’ and the strongest track from the album ‘Behave Tony’; they can do no wrong.

With a mild mannered looking (but for the Freddie Mercury moustache) Philip Differ setting up the mike on the stage you would be forgiven for believing him to be just another member of the audience.

With a familiar looking Ian Stewart taking the stage with guitarists Craig McIntyre and Marco Panagopoulos the wall of sound from Cutty’s Gym hits you square in the face like a cannonball, and well, it seems understated to say it was unexpected.

In fact, moving out of the PA’s firing line was required in order to preserve the eardrums.

What follows is a powerful, explosive, punk performance where Differ’s aggressive vocals are exhausting to watch.

Wild musicianship from this four-piece (previously a duo with Stewart and McIntyre) is full on and again energy levels are through the roof.

The big full on sound seems too big for the venue and Differ leaves the stage to strut about menacingly amongst the audience.

Cutty’s Gym, despite their loud aggressive sound, seem to have a low profile on the Glasgow scene but on this showing and the launch of their new EP, Zante, they’ve come out from under their rock and won’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored.

Words/Photos: Derek McCutcheon

Nilüfer Yanya, ALASKALASKA at Broadcast, 23/5/18

A balmy, Wednesday evening in Glasgow is a rare thing indeed; Nilüfer Yanya’s knack for writing warm, fuzzy pop songs, equally so.

The small, but respectful crowd at Broadcast seem at ease with their decision to sacrifice the warm glow of Glasgow’s early summer for the young Londoner’s soulful melodies.

While support act ALASKALASKA provided energy in their own upbeat, experimental and downright fun way, Yanya delivers more introspection with her husky tones and R&B inspired beats.

While performing live does not yet seem like a wholly comfortable experience; exemplified by her fleeting interactions with the crowd, Yanya’s effortless delivery of ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’ and ‘The Florist’ seem to justify her inclusion in multiple 2018 best newcomer lists.

The highlight however, comes mid-set, as the band of four rip into ‘Baby Luv’, her breakthrough single, a guitar-driven, lo-fi indie treat that would have King Krule reaching for his Fender.

The short, but sweet 50-minute set is Yanya’s first gig in Glasgow but she’ll no doubt be back for more Caledonian hospitality in the near future.

“We didn’t realise Glasgow was so warm and sunny” is the chosen joke of Fraser Reiley during the support slot and while we cannot guarantee the weather ever again, Yanya’s pop music will always be welcome on these shores, hopefully to many more ears.

Words: Harry Conway

FREAKENDER presents Levitation Room, Domiciles, Black Cat Revue at The Old Hairdressers, 22/5/18

Even though it’s a Tuesday, quite a few psychedelic and 60s reminiscent band lovers are gathered tonight at the The Old Hairdressers.

At first the venue is almost completely empty, but as soon as Black Cat Revue start their set, the energy and loudness of their music fills the whole room up with people in no time.

Just back from their successful first gig in London, the quartet has that confidence around them and their music, which is full of psychedelic rhythms as much as it’s full of boisterous garage rock.

Black Cat Revue really set the mood for tonight and get everyone excited with their intensity, which is then nicely contrasted with Domiciles and their different angle of psychedelic music.

Even though all three of tonight’s bands are considered psychedelic, they all sound very different due to secondary genres that they chose to explore.

It becomes obvious that Domiciles are going to deliver and entirely different vibe from the two synthesizers that are brought on the stage for their performance.

The music of this band can’t really be labelled – it’s a mix of noisy sounds, with melodies reminiscent of space, some gaze mixed up into it and, of course, psych.

The set leaves quite a crowd now fully mesmerized and serves as a brilliant transition between the raucous Black Cat Revue and the more dreamy and lo-fi Levitation Room.

Tonight’s headliners are the calmest band of the night, but also the ones with the most 60s feeling to them.

Everything from the lyrics about summer and love, to the looks and the groovy vintage-looking guitars just scream 60s.

They start their set of with a tranquil instrumental which is soon followed by an iconic guitar solo from one of their more popular songs ‘Loved’ from the absolutely brilliant debut EP Minds Of Our Ownreleased on everyone’s favourite record label – Burger Records.

Next song is dedicated to all the stoners out there (of course, hippies equals weed), but you don’t need drugs to enjoy the upbeat and exceptionally vigorous ‘Cosmic Flower’, which I guess is another code name for marijuana.

The band play a number of tracks from their 2016 first full length Ethos, including the hits ‘There Are No Words’, ‘Strangers Of Our Time’ and the catchy and dazzling ‘Crystal Ball’, which is the final song of the whole set.

Other highlights of the night include a slow, heartfelt ballad about not wanting to be just friends with someone you have feelings for called ‘Friends’.

A pleasant surprise is an unexpected Bob Dylan cover, which has some parts of it played on a harmonica with a fancy round the neck holder.

Another important tune is ‘Warmth of the Sun’ – released just this year, this sets the tone for the new album, due later in 2018.

It sounds a bit similar to ‘Shelter Song’ by Temples, but there is probably at least another ten songs that sound just the same, both from this decade and the 60s.

In fact, some people can find it quite difficult not to get mixed up between Levitation Room and contemporary bands such as Mystic Braves, Allah-Las or The Babe Rainbow, just to name a few,both in terms of their sound and their looks.

However, even though these bands are not revolutionary or extremely inventive and mostly produce music which fits a general cliché of a certain decade, they give this generation a chance to get a bit of a taste of the groovy, musically brilliant and extremely forward time that was the 60s and most importantly the way they do it is super entertaining and fun.

Words: Goda Bujaviciute

Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lockpickers (album launch) at CCA, 18/5/18

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder so a rare live appearance and some new music from Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lockpickers certainly piques the interest.

Always a visual extravaganza this album launch for The Hare, The Moon, The Droneis no different.

Jacob Yates (Jake Lovatt) takes to the stage at the CCA with the sharpest of suits and an elaborate Cobra headed walking stick against an urban backdrop of a typical housing estate.

This is where ‘Michael’ who features in the album has his bedroom below the electricity pylon, which looms large (the sun goes down on this backdrop during the course of the set).

The backdrop is all very central to the concept of the album, but not so relevant but all part of the spectacle is the artificial snow appearing thrice during the course of events; you’ve got to love the CCA as a venue.

Meaner, moodier and darker the new album is a tour de force in storytelling, but on this occasion in a more sinister folk style.

Performed here live and kicking off with ‘The Car’ there is definitely a more powerful and menacing feel in the live execution.

Writing and storytelling apart Lovatt’s dynamic vocal range is suitably matched by the incredible crooning of Cassie Ejezi.

None more so than the solo performance of Ejezi with the Gaelic rendition of ‘The Drone (part 1)’ where the strength and range of her vocals are beautifully illustrated.

With the addition of live favourite ‘Dundee’ interjecting the playout of the album, a raucous rendition of ‘The Drone’, the healing powers of ‘Mr Marouf’ or is it Professor Kajali, more snow and darkness in ‘Outside the Needle Exchange’ and the final track from the album ‘Michael’ the story of Michael and his sister Rachael and their dysfunctional family where Lovatt explains the relevance of the pylon and the backdrop this live show and the album are truly a work of art.

An unexpected finale of a full-length version (or more) of ‘Care Home’ off the previous album Goths!!!is performed and where Lovatt calls out the BBC, The Royal Family, the Security Services and where the Jimmy Saville, ‘Jim’ll Jim’ll Jim’ll Jim’ll Fix it’ chorus morphs in to Meghan, Meghan, Meghan Markle.

There’s no chance of Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gates Lockpickers avoiding the uncomfortable subject matter.

This Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lockpickers performance is the most accomplished, darkest, gloomiest and despondent I’ve seen; a masterstroke to host it at the CCA where the subjects of the performance both visually and auditory are so finely tuned.

The rarity of live performance and musical output suggests they do not clamour fame and fortune, but we should be thankful for such masterpieces when available, when they are so stunning and powerful.

Words/Photos: Derek McCutcheon

Car Seat Headrest at ABC, 18/5/18

Where should you start off with Car Seat Headrest? Should your jumping off point be 2016’s breakthrough art rock of Teens of Denial? Do you take a step back and tackle their Matador debut Teens of Style? Or does completionism demand a complete tour of the roughly a dozen albums Will Toledo recorded in his bedroom and released to Bandcamp over the past few years?

The Car Seat Headrest main man has made the choice even more difficult by choosing to follow up the acclaimed Teens of Denialwith a reissue/reimagining of Twin Fantasy, one of the aforesaid bedroom albums from 2011, now given the full band treatment.

Whatever your point of entry to the discography of Car Seat Headrest  (great band, truly atrocious name), as you walk into the ABC and see the assembled masses, it’s clear that the American’s have become a legit phenomenon.

Opening with a cover of Talking Heads’ ultra-tight ‘Cross Eyed and Painless’, it’s a completely different set up to the lo-fi gang who slayed St Luke’s a year ago, with Toledo ditching guitar duties to take centre stage.

As Talking Heads fades away, he kicks off a staggering opening run through Twin Fantasy’s ‘Bodys’ and Teens of Denial’s scene setter ‘Fill in the Blanks’.

‘Bodys’ in particular shows off Toledo’s self-aware humour, casting himself as a bemused onlooker deadpanning “Is it the Chorus yet? No, it’s just the building of the verse so when the chorus does come, it’ll be more rewarding.”

Meanwhile his bandmates are total pros, kicking their way through punchy Cheap Trick power pop and scratchy Television breakdowns.

‘Drugs with Friends’ and the scathing ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’ deliver the sing-songs while a tentative cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘White Ferrari’ offers a moment of spontaneity

Amidst all this Toledo shakes his gangly frame, unspooling his limbs like he’s not quite sure where they’re going next.

He’s a long way from your typical rock god but when he sings “I wish I had James Brown’s stage presence” he’s got the whipsmart demeanour of a young David Byrne.

A lengthy, restarted ‘Beach Life in Death’ and a jittery ‘Nervous Young Inhumans’ close the show in a slightly disjointed fashion, but it’s remarkable to see the journey that Car Seat Headrest have taken over the past few years unfolding in front of you.

With Will Toledo in the driving seat, every stop on the journey is worth the ride.

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Words: Max Sefton

Premiere: Peter Cat – ‘Hand Through Hair’

Yesterday we gave the first share to the brand new Peter Cat video for ‘Hand Through Hair’, here’s a little something the man behind the band had to say about it:

“To paraphrase Liz Lemon, we’ve been workin’ on our night cheese.

“Our new single ‘Hand Through Hair’ is a cocksure cocktail of fuzzed-out guitars and frustrated desires; equal parts glam-rock stomp, art-school pomp and egregious self-pity.

“It’ll have 90s kids digging their parents’ greasy Mud and Slade LPs out from the attic in a furtive frenzy, and thus go some small way to bridging the intergenerational divide we as a society are currently mired in.

“It was recorded at Glasgow’s all-analog Green Door Studios, and mixed by producer wunderkind Chris McCrory of Catholic Action, who’s given it as many thumbs up as he’s biologically capable of (I’ll leave you to infer the precise number).

“You can hear ‘Hand Through Hair’, and more, in an intimate (probably too intimate) live setting on the ‘PETER CAT IS RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE’ UK tour, beginning 6th June at Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh.”

Stag & Dagger Festival 2018

Stag & Dagger has been around for almost a full decade, originating in hipster central AKA London’s Shoreditch, which houses many new creatives and upcoming musicians.

The festival had only one year under its fledgling belt before bequeathing Sauchiehall Street as its sister location in early 2009.

Since then the mini-festival has grown in size and scale encapsulating every music venue of note on the street and bringing in a smorgasbord of acts from home (all over the UK) and afar (America & Japan).

Not only does it allow the skint Art School cohort to fill their boots with as many live bands as they can handle, for a mere £25, it’s also offers a good opportunity to venue hop whilst enjoying some promotional beverage prices – all under the guise of supporting live music.

With so many great acts playing and across so many venues it is always inevitable that you won’t get to see everyone on your ‘to do’ list, but that only serves as testament to the quality of the line-up.

After some disruptions to the train service the first act we catch of the day is down in the Broadcast basement, and as has become the norm in these Glasgow city festivals the bands get to enjoy playing to packed out venues as the festivals early comers take in the only music on offer before the bigger spaces open their doors.

This time it’s the turn of Guildford indie punks BlackWaters and as I watch from just in front of the stairwell behind a sea of heads the four-piece deliver a set peppered with hooky pop sensibilities and punk rock intensity that stirs up a frenzy in the sweaty space, with some down the front belting back the words.

The band has a string of singles in their name now, each combining the hectic yet accessible powerpop come punk of the late 70s mixed with coy snarl and indie swagger of early Arctic Monkeys or Blur at their most punk, it seems like recipe for success and they’re hitting the right projectory to ride it.

Next door in Sleazy’s Aussie four-piece Vacations deliver a much more dreamy affair, as the crowd get met with the dilemma of choice for the first time of the day as the other venues start opening their doors, however they manage to hold a substantial crowd as their soaring guitars whip you with a cool breeze on one of the warmest days we’ve had so far this year.

This is the last date on a full European tour and despite their understated demeanour the band seem thrilled to end things to this size of crowd in Glasgow, lulling you with their beautifully shimmering indie rock chops you can’t help be washed away by their optimistic slacker pop.

Back in Broadcast and London/Brighton dream popsters Underwater Boys are demonstrating their undoubted potential with a set of synth washed pop.

Lead vocalist Tom Klar is the focal point as his strained high yet clean vocals cut above the band’s breezy hooks that are only topped in hypnotics by his ever rhythmic bounce, as if he’s channelling his inner Bez, thankfully only in dance moves.

There’s points where the band hit more psychedelic notes and when the three vocals overlap there’s hints of a real glam energy, but it all comes with an overriding Britpop sheen that’s complimented by the fuzzy joys of contemporaries likes of Ariel Pink and Beach House.

With the sun beating down this Bank Holiday and Glasgow not being known for such weather and Glaswegians known for enjoying their time in the sun, I can honestly say I was surprised when I turned up to see Declan Welsh & the Decadent West at G2, only to be greeted at the entrance by a long snaking queue to get in.

Declan Welsh a young stalwart hailing from East Kilbride has a fire in his belly and he want you know all about.

Playing with his band The Decadent West, two of whom are sporting fantastic silk shirts play impassioned post punk, with leanings towards Nirvana and The Clash.

The lyrics are witty and unflinchingly stark that touch upon a range of topics from the Palestinian Occupation to everyday mundanity.

‘No Pasaran’, doffs its cap to the Spanish Civil War of 1930, translating literally as ‘they shall not pass’ and is delivered more as a battle cry tonight, imbuing the set with a political flair.

A song that identifies very similar to early Arctic Monkeys records, ‘Do What You Want’ takes on a much sultrier tone that sees Welsh exhibiting some fine, snake hips dance moves and wouldn’t be out of place in the background of a strip joint in The Sopranos.

Ending the set with‘Nazi Boys’, which is a fiery frenetic beast, with angry guitars and the jarring drawl of “nazi boys of the alt right on reddit in the dead of night/trolling girls and swapping memes, a master race of spotty teens”.

Serves as a song you can dance proudly to, whilst also stomping your disapproval of fascist regimes.

Over at the CCA we pop in to catch up on the joy that is an Edwin Organ set, and today just playing as a duo they seem a bit less fleshed out than previous outings, yet they still manage to capture than same sultry yet wonky vibe with impressive flair.

Edwin Organ seems to have grown in confidence over the last few years and he cuts a much more comfortable figure cracking jokes with the crowd, before delving into another maximal sample or serenading us with that gorgeous soulful, smooth deep vocal that melts you into his set.

Organ has been on the horizon for a fair while now but it now seems to be hitting a point where his unquestionable talents need the chance to mesmerise a mass audience.

On the main stage at The Art School Warm Digits open things up and the Newcastle duo immediately up the octane with a haunting drums, guitar and laptop master class in driven kraut-tinged post rock.

In a live setting they leave no room for breathe as they grasp you and wring your neck with sheer adrenaline, as a selection of vocal sample including Devon Sproule’s contribution on the disco fun of ‘The Rumble and the Tremor’ from last year’s Wireless World are allowed to shine alongside a powerhouse of musicianship.

It’s an engulfing experience that’s made even more impressive that it’s just the two of them, as Technicolor visuals add to the trance-like state that their music leaves you in.

Next we hot tail it over to Sleazy’s to catch Glasgow’s very own Medicine Men who have been gracing Glasgow’s live music scene for a number of years.

Their sound is particularly hard to pin down and seems to morph from one song to the next; yes, they have psychedelic leanings, but there is so much more going on.

Songs like ‘Bruised Peach’ are a glittering disco triumph, with vocals sounding more distorted and akin to Kasabian’s Tom Meighan.

Whilst, ‘Ceiling to the Floor’ is a beautiful love ballad that has Leftfield and Morcheeba nuances over a beautiful synth loop.

Frontman Ian Mackinnon has plenty of friendly between song banter with the crowd where he warns “don’t do what I usually do, try to take it easy, and not get too wrecked and see some bands”.

Final track ‘Out of the Light’, is a sentimental pop tune that sounds like a intriguing mash up between The Polyphonic Spree and LCD Soundsystem and provides plenty momentum to close the set.

At the sticky mess of a venue that is the G2 Edinburgh sweethearts Dama Scout play to a fairly sparse crowd, but quickly expel any indie pop clichés by delivering a set that’s as harrowing as it is sweet, yes there are moments when it’s pure whimsical C86 pop as an enchanted nod washes through the audience, but this trio have much more to them than that.

It’s the way the band constantly keep you on your toes, while still maintaining a quality sound that goes from unnerving three way vocals as a constant vibration rings through the venue to the throbbing post punk of new single ‘Milky Milk’ before hitting us with some angular guitar pop.

It’s hard to pin down what Dama Scout quite do best, but with just an EP and a handful of singles to their name, all of high quality, what direction they go in next will be well worth following them in.

America’s Protomartyr, hailing from Detroit is quite the spectacle to behold; as the crowd pour in to The Art School, it’s very clear that they are one of the most anticipated bands on the line up, with the venue filling up in a matter of minutes.

Ambling on stage, somewhat nonplussed vocalist Joe Casey, quickly instructs the sound desk for “more red and blue lights” once swathed in his chosen colours, he takes a few more sips from his paper coffee cup before breaking in to ‘My Children’, a fascinating pastiche on fading childhood innocence and growing up; it’s a good opener that allows the band to showcase a softer hue whilst building momentum.

Protomartyr are mesmerising to watch, Casey’s presence is extremely laid back, almost detached but the lyrics are delivered in an impressive baritone, almost verging on spoken word, which only seems to lend itself to the band’s, moody, atmospheric post punk vibe, drawing in even the most reluctant of audience.

‘Corpses in Regalia’ from the band’s fourth studio album Relatives in Descent, sounds like Nick Cave riding in the back of an ornate hearse on his way to one of the most opulent disco party hosted by the Nephilim; it’s gothic and it’s great.

‘Here is the Thing’ is a buzzing rush of guitars angry and defiant, with leanings towards The Fall and Casey sounding more akin to Mark E Smith; it’s an impressive symposium of layered guitars and petulant drums.

Not wanting to break character, the band finish the set on ‘Scum Rise!’, a blood curdling ode, full of spite, revenge and darkness.

It’s bleak, menacing and foreboding, which lends to its exuberance, leaving the room in no doubt of the bands impressive instrumental capabilities; easily one of the best performances of the evening.

A quick trot down the hill (somewhat to my reluctance as I was loath to miss Wire) and into the ABC2 I managed to catch a few songs by Shambolics, a four piece that hail from Fife, who had impressively managed to fill the room, even although Glasvegas where playing in the same venue right at that moment, upstairs.

“Thanks for coming Glasgow, I thought you would definitely patch us,” muses front man Lewis McDonald, sounding slightly surprised himself.

The band have been cutting their dreamy, whimsical, sweetheart indie-pop teeth supporting bands such as Cast and songs like ‘Love Collides’ are infused with a sense of seaside romance that’s at once upbeat and infectious.

With obvious leanings towards The La’s, the young band are both part Merseybeat and 90’s twee indie pop, which seems to have gathered them a committed following.

Coming out of the dark behemoth that is Protomartyr you need an escape, to follow that with the full 75-minutes of Wire seems a little excessive and unfair to some of the other acts on the bill.

The escape comes just half way down the hill as the ever animated Stanley Odd frontman Solareye delivers his lauded brand of politically savvy Scottish hip hop to a CCA crowd that lap it up.

Solareye, aka Dave Hook, is one of those frontmen that performs live with an apparent giddy glee that just infectious and his off the cuff observations demonstrate just why he’s one of the best in the game on these shores.

Hook’s solo material is in more glitchy and less rock territory than that of his band, but it’s politically astute as ever and as he bounces around with a beamer on his face you can’t help but be enchanted, he even gives us a spot of beat boxing while a technical fault gets remedied, it seems there’s no end to this guys talents and he’s loving putting it out there.

Following that I arrive at the festival’s smallest venue, and sadly The Priory seems like the forgotten venue as I arrive just before HOME$LICE take the stage on a set time shared with other local favourites West Princes along with the festival’s big hitters.

Still, the band don’t let that phase them and before long there’s a healthy enough crowd to make the tiny basement appear busy as the band sprinkle us with the sunshine that’s almost forgotten at 10pm and deliver irresistible guitar pop glory that has made them one of our favourite acts to come out of Glasgow recently.

They pour out a set built from their latest release Howdy and last year’s impressive Young Creatives; hooky guitar based glory and attitude drenched vocals that get the basement bouncing along nicely.

All that and we’re still left with enough time to see a good portion of Wire, as the legendary band close up The Art School with a behemoth of a set that shows that the post punk pioneers have what it takes more that 40-years past their original formation.

After a quick pit stop in the Saramago bar, we manage to catch the infectious, feel good disco party that is The Vegan Leather; hailing from Paisley this exotic looking, motely crew of students sound and look beautiful.

Walking into the room we are instantly met with a hot blast of damp air, which is coming from the seething mesh of bodies that are enthralled in a disco mosh pit of sorts; The Vegan Leather is a band who want your attention and they intend to get it from the onset.

The art pop quartet emit optimism and fun by the bucket load and it’s easy to see why they have been making waves on the Glasgow music scene over the past year.

Big hair and big noise, the band showcase upbeat indie- electro synths and pounding drums on ‘Shake It’, where ‘Man Dies’ is more of a whimsical sonnet, that’s still angular and edgy.

The set has moments of Metronomy, Art Brut and even Soulwax laced through it and the audience doesn’t stop dancing even for a moment.

“On this next song Marie is about to school you”, forewarns Gianluca Bernacchi and the crowd, not slow on the uptake begin to chant the usual mantra of “here we, here we…” yes you know the one, no further explanation needed I’m sure… Only to replace it with “Marie, Marie, Marie Fu**in, Collins” beaming through a flash of pink hair the guitarist quickly lunches in to singing ‘Eyes’, which she does from somewhere in the heart of the crowd.

‘I Take American’ is a fun stomp through the playground by a shiny plastic dinosaur that’s let’s face – probably pink and covered in glitter; it’s great fun and the crowd sing along in chorus.

Ones to keep a look out for in the near future and if you see them playing in town, please take the time out to catch their next show.

Broadcast was our final destination of the evening having one of the last billed guests on the latest time slot 12:30am.

Former Amazing Snakeheads frontman Dale Barclay tops the bill alongside his wife and fellow member of And Yet It Moves, Laura St. Jude.

The duo have been performing together after what Barclay would call his ‘Gift from the Reaper’, having recently been diagnosed with an invasive brain tumour, the pair have been inseparable and Barclay more focused now on artistic pursuits and creative outlets than ever before (see previous Rave Child interview) with more clarity and vision and poise.

Since returning to his hometown of Glasgow (from Berlin where And Yet it Moves were based) Barclay has wasted zero time on inaction.

He has been playing several gigs, and has even put together the Cain’s Collective comprising of; Laura St. Jude, Dale Barclay, Steven Thomas (poet) and Kelsey Black (painter) and Paul Barclay (Photographer); together the group have been putting on events and generating a creative output cohesively.

The set tonight is a stiff middle finger in the face of fear, a belly full of bile, truculent and seething with a hunger for the here and now.

Opener, ‘No Way back to Lunch’ sees Steven Thomas join the group, as he howls at the moon, a good opener to show the crowd the visceral, raw mechanics are very much part of a functioning, well-oiled machine.

Memories with the burdened howl of “take it by both hands and shake it if you need it” is a startling reminder to make the most of what you have and is at once invasive and rousing.

Closing the festival on ‘Mark Swan’, a track by And Yet It Moves, again seeing friends, companions and contemporaries grace the stage with Barclay really giving the show a sense of what is happening is very much a family affair, open to those who want to make the most of what you have and find beauty in the raw and primal of everyday life.

A gift from the Reaper indeed, at the end of a beautiful night.

More Photos

Words: Ang Canavan/Iain Dawson
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

Kamasi Washington at QMU, 5/5/18

Ever since his breakout success with 2015’s The Epic Kamasi Washington has in some regards become the de facto poster boy for modern jazz in the mainstream conscious.

That’s largely because his work with Kendrick Lamar and his Brainfeeder label mates Flying Lotus and Thundercat (all of whom have a significant cross-over appeal of their own) but it helps that his debut three-disc, three-hour “epic” is considered a modern masterpiece and achievement both within the jazz community and its more casual observers.

And it is almost immediately clear why Washington’s long-list of plaudits are queuing up amongst his fans, many of which are quite possibly new to jazz generally, as everyone in the packed and fairly diverse crowd at the QMU will attest, man is legit.

Opening with the two new tracks from his upcoming full-length Heaven and Earth – ‘Fists of Fury’ and ‘The Space Traveller’s Lullaby’ – the gathered audience are immediately floored, enamoured and dancing in one big universal grin.

Washington’s assembled band are all of course at the incredible standard one would expect, but it is quite a remarkable feat to see these incredibly complex arrangements not just performed incredibly but also to achieve their desired effect of getting to move and think simultaneously.

Take the stand-out track from last year’s Harmony of Difference EP, ‘Truth’, which Washington explains before they perform is a song with “five different melodies being played at the same time to symbolise the diversity of a major city like my home of Los Angeles”, which not only receives rapturous applause just as a concept but gives the, perhaps uneducated-in-jazz crowd the necessary context in which to be invigorated by when listening to these inspiring pieces.

By the time of the finale ‘The Rhythm Changes’, which is arguably Washington’s most accessible song anyway, the entire room is moving and seemingly in love with everything at that particular moment.

Whether some others feel a bit slighted at the attention Washington is getting from specifically who he has worked with, there is no doubting his clear technical and songwriting prowess which is just as (if not more) important.

Besides, I’m sure the jazz community is happy one of their own is making waves in the wider music community, with the potential that it will bring more eyes and ears to the often underrated genre anyway.

On the strength of this awe-inspiring set, here’s hoping this will inspire more folk to check out jazz, given the city has a dedicated venue to the genre now.

Words: Adam Turner-Heffer
Photos:Kendall Wilson