So, in a bit of a trip from the usual review filled generalities I decided I would put up a bit of round up post Primavera of my musical adventures, of which there have been a few, all coming in a ridiculous haze that hasn’t faded two weeks later (me and Nick are going to piece together some memories of that too for your pleasure, but that’ll come later).
Arriving back to all the glory of the cold of Partick, via Prestwick, in the early hours of Wednesday morning it took a good deal of time before I was prepared to leave the comfort of the flat, eventually emerging for work and then making it along to the Detour event with Errors at the Science Centre as part of the BBC at the Quay proceedings.
Errors have consistently been one of the best acts in Glasgow for a good time now, 11-years they’ve been going, with five highly impressive albums under their belt; so understandably it was pretty exciting having the prospect of seeing them in a unique and potentially awe inspiring setting.
Sadly there’s no science tonight, we turn up to the Science Centre to find it’s all set up for them to play in the foyer; slight disappointment, maybe this won’t live up to the ear splitting show they played at the Opry at few years back.
Still, it’s pretty brilliant, but when are they not, they submerge us in tunes from their brilliant floaty new record, Lease of Life, as well as treating us to an array older numbers by the mid point of the set there’s not a single person without a bounce in their step.
Some immersive visuals project cleanly onto both the side walls, but they are most impressive when directed onto the band making the boys seem like they’re playing in some kind dream-scene wash of colour.
Indeed the high point of the set comes when the band are joined by the Glad Community Choir, who add a whole new dimension to the typical Errors set in a unique and truly beautiful moment.
By the time the band finish up they’ve got everyone’s toes tapping, and foyer or no foyer they’ve produced something, yet again, that reminds us why these guys are so good; well worthy of their SAY Award nomination.
Still, recovering we skip ahead to Sunday, potentially even more recovering after a messy Saturday, but it’s lovely outside the West End Festival is starting and stuff seems to be happen all over the city – odd day to fire a full day worth of live music at the BBC when the West End’s biggest party of the year is happening just half-an-hour’s walk away.
I do make the track over the river, however fail abysmally to get there in any reminisce of time and from word around miss a few belting sets.
Just after I arrive uncle Vic is up on stage introducing Kobi Onyame, an act I’ve been aware of but never really had the chance to check out properly.
One thing that can’t be said is the Ghanaian, Scotland based, MC is that he doesn’t put his all into stirring up a reaction from the pretty sparse audience, we do see lingers of dancing here and there, but it doesn’t quite wash as those in attendance switch from shades and no jacket to jacket and no shades as Glasgow’s nice weather draws to a close.
United Fruit take it up a notch; it’s been a while since I’ve seen these guys but frontman Iskander Stewart seems in fair spirit, talking jovially with the crowd before exploding into another track.
There’s been a few new tracks kicking about by these guys in recent months, but those tracks don’t quite give the impression of their live show.
It’s powerful, loud, life affirming stuff and if they can translate this live feel into their new record they’ll be a formidable force to deal with.
It’s pretty chilly by the time one of last year’s bands of the last year, Honeyblood, take the stage, but the duo do their upmost to maintain that sunny feel with the sundrenched melodies of last year’s self titled debut album.
It’s a nice way to spend the early part of a Sunday evening as Stina Tweedale’s bittersweet lyrics drift addictively over the Quay, while the band’s 90s alternative sound gives enough of an illusion of warmth to keep the shivers away before we all have to make that trek home.
Next up is an odd one, well it isn’t, it’s one me and my flatmate talked forever about needing to go to, but also one that has drawn questionable looks from most when I do talk about it.
It indeed is glossy pop Princess Ariana Grande at The Hydro; we’re running late by the time we get to Glasgow’s state of the art arena, missing yesteryear’s Nickelodeon star’s entrance, but only missing ‘Bang Bang’ in terms of tracks, which as her material goes is pretty mince.
The set itself is the spectacle you’d expect from a pop show of this magnitude, as Grande draws on material from her two album to date, 2013’s Yours Truly and last year’s fantastic My Everything, she floats above the stage on a cloud, gets lowered down on a chandelier, has as many costume changes as humanly possible and has a host of collaborators (Mac Miller, Childish Gambino et al.) show up on custom video to piece together the set.
None of that is the most outstanding factor though, it’s that this girl can sing and I mean really sing! She doesn’t seem to ooze the charm of Katy Perry or the charisma of Beyoncé, but if it came down to chops alone wee Ariana would be well up there.
That tag of the next Maria Carey isn’t a bad one to hold, but this girl shows all signs of potentially passing that and if album number three keeps up the trajectory there won’t be a single person that doesn’t know her name.
So onto Tuesday and it goes from pop princess to lo-fi pop… princess? Nah we can’t quite go there, Kyle Wood aka Lovers Turn To Monsters plays his cassette launch with full band at Bloc and out of all the times I’ve seen this boy, whose garden I can see from the bedroom window of my parent’s house, this is potentially the best.
Support comes from the acoustic punk of Roscoe Vacant, whose sometimes poignant, sometimes heartfelt, generally amusing words warm the Bloc audience before Calum West’s project Young Skulls takes us down a much more fuzzy and indulgent path to make way for the tonight’s headliner.
Like I was saying, I’m no stranger to a Lovers Turn To Monsters set, he usually emits a shambolic charm, as his quirkly tales, that he seems to have no end of, never fail to amuse and warm any crowd.
Tonight it’s a bit different though, he tells me he’s “no steamin’”, something he’s not done on stage in a while, still he goes some way to sorting this before and during the set, sending drummer Barry Carty to get shots mid set while he plays while he plays an acoustic number.
That said, tonight Kyle has his game face on, the tunes seem more refined with the full band, and although he still seems produce the most prolific amount of material around, he’s definitely got better at channeling the gems in that selection.
His banter tonight is top notch too, maybe it’s luck or maybe it’s that he’s playing to a room here to see him, but every word he utters between songs seems like gold, where before it might have been awkward drunken observation, tonight it’s poignant, comical sentiment.
The set blasts through those lo-fi vibes, but gets beefed up without losing that shambolic charm, indeed as he stands in the audience screaming “you’re a rain cloud” during ‘Me; Crying As A Kid’ it seems he’s in his element; impressive stuff.
Hard to be Around by Lovers Turn to Monsters
Words: Iain Dawson