Declan Welsh, Josephine Sillars at The Glad Cafe, 18/5/16

Two young talents and prolific performers on the Glasgow scene appear on the Southside Fringe Festival bill in The Glad Cafe.

Josephine Sillars plays a set of familiar songs from the Ripped from the Wire Spine EP, but with a heavier edge that brings the music out of its shell.

Her enchanting voice and piano parts are turned up to 11 tonight, less folk-pop and more alt-rock.

At one point the band slides into a cover of ‘You’ve Got to Show Me Love’, showing off Sillars’ vocal range.

New song ‘The Sun and the Moon’ heralds a quieter moment, a heart-breaking ode to a faltering relationship told through cosmic metaphors.

Samuel Barnfather on drums and Seaton Mepham on bass have been playing with Sillars since the beginning of the year and the trio have fallen into step with each other with incredible musical synergy.

Sillars decides on stage that they need a name for this new communal carnation, asking the audience to submit their band name suggestions, so watch this space for announcements of their new moniker.

Then headliner, Declan Welsh storms on stage and straight into the poem ‘Lads’, featured on the Alright EP, a tirade against arrogant misogynist culture.

When a technical hitch occurs and stalls the beginning of the first song, Welsh segways seamlessly into two more brilliant poems: ‘Fuck Cameron and Osborne’, perhaps the least alluring poem ever written about sex with lines like, “everyone’s a communist when they truly cum”; and one about being chucked out of Bamboo, noting how he may be the only person to have ever subsequently written a poem about such an incident.

His poetic skill transfers directly into his song lyrics, which pick up on similar themes with witty and critical takes on familiar cultural tropes like bad after-parties, putting the world to rights with pals in the early hours, and platonic and romantic love.

Welsh has the voice and swagger of Alex Turner combined with a Scottish accent and good politics.

A new protest song starts off the musical section of the show, with a rowdy Spanish chorus about fascism.

The frontman’s energy matches his tight backing band of guitars and drum-kit and he bounds out into the audience to get the keen members dancing during interludes.

The recently recorded ‘Do What You Want’ is a highlight, a seductive song about sexual fluidity with slow offbeat rhythms and reverbed guitars.

The last tune ‘Just Get Along’ is a pacifist anthem to match the happy atmosphere in the room.

The audience are completely won over, singing along to the chorus of “every cunt’s a good cunt/why can’t all we just get along?

Words: Ellen MacAskill


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