FCK YES is a new Glasgow based promotion group who have recently begun presenting a monthly gig with King Tut’s as the host, this evening the three acts being showcased are Bwani Junction, Ded Rabbit and Lewis Capaldi.
Capaldi sidles on stage to face a room where any substantial numbers are yet to warm the floorboards.
Armed with only an acoustic guitar, he rolls through a set of folky pop songs, seemingly unfazed by the lack of people paying attention.
Capaldi is the type of act whose bareness could be his downfall, as is the case with so many acoustic singer/songwriters, but he clearly has a knack for crafting music and his deep, gravelly voice is nothing short of impressive and spine chilling.
Ded Rabbit are second up, and the atmosphere becomes manic… Absolutely manic.
Blasting out the kind of up-tempo, simple indie that could have been featured on an episode of The Inbetweeners, the Edinburgh band career haphazardly through their set, giving quite the lesson on showmanship.
The most obvious one comes from frontman, Eugene, who seems to have mastered the art of being intensely weird and not giving a single fuck.
More than once he has sections of the now swollen crowd unsure if they should be nervously laughing or triumphantly joining hands with him to unite against the world’s forces of evil, and as he and his bandmates play on, he ramps it up further and further until he extravagantly drops his guitar from over his head and walks off the stage.
Came for the chirpy indie-rock, stayed for the brilliance in the performance.
As people mill around, waiting for Bwani Junction to get going, it seems like half the room has decided to make their way out, leaving a few nervous minutes of wondering whether they’ll come back to watch the indie quartet do their thing.
The seasoned group rip their teeth in anyway, and soon enough the space is full again, swaying to the tight lilts and grooves.
After the familiar ‘Civil War’ opener, ‘Snow’ shows strong song-writing chops, breezing around the well-known, African-inspired guitar of Dan Muir, whilst incorporating the more driven, anthemic sound of their newer work.
Based on the loneliness of cocaine, the instrumental jars against the sad subject matter and actually sounds pleasantly wintery, resonating homely vocal harmonies and the jangly-ness of great indie music.
Having recently experimented with a change of name by dropping the ‘Junction’ and becoming just BWANi, the group released a couple of new songs and played a handful of shows, but upon announcing that they’ve made the decision to re-introduce their old moniker, the shouts of joy from the audience confirms fan approval.
“Bwani, Bwani, Bwani fucking Junction” causes visible smiles on stage.
Having seen the band plenty of times before, I keep an eye on my friend next to me, interested to see what his first impression of the live band behind a record he’s very fond of (first album, Fully Cocked).
It’s mostly new songs which are showcased tonight and when a song called ‘War Cry’ is rattled out, I can imagine it becoming a fan favourite.
My friends face shows something close to awe as we watch, and once again, Muir’s guitar playing holds a special kind of attention – flying away in the corner, underpinned by the rest of the music, but transcending it at the same time.
As Rory Fairweather announces that they only have a few songs left, and that one of them will be ‘Two Bridges’, the audience become very excited and sing loudly along to the opening vocals.
It seems that the song is both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because so many people love it, and the innocent, spirited adventure it so effortlessly projects, and a curse because Bwani Junction are yet to write a new fan-favourite that can justifiably take its place at the end of the set – four years after its release.
In an attempt to phase into a new era, they lastly play new songs ‘Stay’ and (after the obligatory encore), ‘Make My Day’, with such vigour that I believe most of the room forget about ‘Two Bridges’ for a couple of minutes at least.
Words: Greg Murray