Live review: Jo Mango, Body Parts, Adam Stafford at Mono, 5/7/12

There’s so many options in tonight, Glasgow’s new hype band Churches are playing their first gig down at the Art School and American noise purveyors Unsane and Big Business are tearing Sleazy’s a new one, oh and the Katy Perry film has opened at the cinema!

Myself, I’ve opted for the much more quaint option of Mono for an array of whimsical and impressive music talent from three of Scotland’s most interesting musicial acts.

“I’ve heard this is a chatty crowd, so do the decent thing and shut the fuck up for all the acts,” spits Adam Stafford as he takes the stage, a bit blunt maybe but something needed to be said, maybe put a bit more politely would have won more of those chatting over their meals.

Stafford’s music isn’t really for everyone but there is no denying the talent the man has, if you are engrossed by his multi-layered mastery or not.

‘Step-up, Raise Hands’ from last year’s Build A Harbour Immediately provides a engaging early highlight as Stafford seems engrossed in his music and demonstrates his song writing abilities, before reading some “Falkirk stories” from Twitter and commenting “you wouldn’t get Aidan Moffat doing that, no fucking way.”

Harbour’s stand out track, the completely accapella, looped and entrancing ‘Shot-down You Summer Wannabes’ demonstrates Stafford’s talents further before closing on ‘Ask Adam’ a song of a similar mould but not quite as settling.

Stafford occasionally lashing at his guitar and creating an impressive yet unsettling wall of sound, as if he hadn’t pissed the vegan masses off enough by telling them to “shut the fuck up”.

What followed though it is hard not to stay quiet for, Body Parts are a wee delight, the all girl, two-guitar duo made up of Sparrow and the Workshop’s Jill O’Sullivan and Strikes The Colours’ Jenny Reeve, as the twinkling guitar and O’Sullivan’s distinctive, addictive vocal hooks the crowd in.

“We are a combination of… four arms and four legs… not quite a centipede,” the girls add before Reeve joins the vocal duties and her impressive yet not quite as smooth vocal combines with O’Sullivan to create some beautiful harmonies.

Amusing chats about gambling addicts, being in Gala til 5am – “that just makes us alcoholics!” – just go on to make them more endearing.

Body Parts are quirky and funny and their music just as charming as they are, they are actually a joy to watch.

Jo Mango is up next, and the singer-songwriter, now playing with a full band, who’s been kicking about Glasgow for a fair while now brings things down a little starting with dainty little number backed by her thumb piano with her band a few extra little sparkles through an array of charmingly twee instruments.

Mango describes her music as “music to go to sleep to” in comparison with tonight’s other acts, that’s not to say her music is dull it’s soft and soothing and everyone in the room is latched onto her voice with her accompanying band acting as a refreshing addition as she adds touches of humour to her delicate sound.

It may be a touch obvious and has surely happened before but it’s hard not to draw comparisons, through the delightful music and quirky personality, to Regina Spektor.

Mango shares quirky little stories through her song’s slightly odd subject matters but all are delivered with such delicate beauty, it’s no wonder she is so well liked and quite baffling she isn’t as a big a draw as some of the other acts in town tonight.

No glockenspiel solo though, gutted!


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