Woodenbox, Mitchell Museum at Tut’s, 19/12/15

Rounding out a hell of a year for live music in Glasgow, where better to finish up than King Tut’s and a duo of bands that bring together some of the most interesting and eclectic sounds on the Scottish music scene.

The weird and wonderful Mitchell Museum owe a debt to a who’s who of modern indie rock – Built to Spill’s emotive vocals, Modest Mouse’s stomp; the Flaming Lips’ leftfield ambition and Animal Collective’s psychedelic inflections.

Returning from a period of dormancy they’re not quite at the top of their game, but there’s plenty of intensity to their set and with a set of songs that seem to delight in unexpected left turns they’re certainly not short of interesting directions to take.

Even better though, is tonight’s headliners.

With their second record Foreign Organ, Woodenbox transcended their folk-ska roots to release one of the year’s best albums and their live show more than lives up to the promise, taking in upbeat horns, driving indie rock and melodic folk-flecked instrumentals.

Opening with ‘Somewhere New’, the two-minute instrumental that opens Foreign Organ, the stage is packed with musicians and by the end of the show they’ve expanded to include four brass players and a backing singer alongside the core group.

Frontman Ali Downer is an energetic presence, passing the crowd whisky and bounding along to his own songs.


When the band burst into a chorus reminiscent of REM circa Out of Time on the brilliant ‘Life Decays’, his throaty voice threatens to lift the roof off.

‘A9 North’ perfectly evokes rain soaked motorway miserabilism, but on the eve of the Christmas holidays everyone is here for a party so it’s the upbeat tracks that drive the show forward, from a dramatic ‘Rust’, which takes on the heft of Arcade Fire, to a pulsating version of ‘Everyone Has a Price’ from their debut album.

Returning to the stage for the encore, the decet don Santa gear for a seasonal singalong of their own Christmas song as shouts of “pass the whisky” ring out and Downer dives into the crowd to dance with several enthusiastic audience members.

Woodenbox give everyone in the crowd an early Christmas present.

More Photos

Words: Max Sefton
Photos: Stewart Fullerton


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