Oscar, GIRLI at The Hug and Pint, 27/9/16

There’s a nagging obligation to discuss the “lovely Scottish weather” when it turns into something stereotypically vile over the course of a day or two, but if a basement gig line-up ever existed with the sole purpose of making someone oblivious to the gloomy mood cast by gales and sheet rain in Glasgow, Oscar and GIRLI are that gig line-up.

Is it a cliché to say how at odds the shit weather is with a couple of enviably cheery artists? Yes, it is, but there’s so many bright jackets, high-top sneakers, and streaky hair dyes around that it’s like every cool teenager from the last 30 years is being ruthlessly parodied and fanatically worshipped at the same time, and I can’t help but be totally enthralled.

The second GIRLI start is the second she hits top speed, and with the help of her DJ/sidekick, she doesn’t slow down once.

Her set is the term “millennial” in musical form – full of references to the internet, cunty boys at parties and her mobile.

GIRLI is intense hyperactivity, and her performance is bafflingly great.

Oscar Scheller’s star is fast on the rise, having released his debut album Cut and Paste in May of this year and subsequently toured through the States and the UK, also gaining radio exposure courtesy of Annie Mac on Radio1.

There isn’t a secret to his success though, he’s just magnetically cool and good at what he does – which is writing good-vibes guitar pop, and then crooning them with his deep North London voice.

His stage is (as mentioned before) a catwalk for the cool kids, but his band are also practiced and really quite tight; not one beat is dropped by the drummer, and the overall sound seems to be perfect for Oscar’s sultry baritone, which sits perfectly above every other instrument.

His t-shirt merchandise in the corner by the stage is adorned by a drawing of a pocket piano (a small synthesiser), and so is his music; among the breezy guitars of set opener ‘Beautiful Words’ is the warbling cry of that particular synth and again, it sits in the mix in such an expert way that would be the separation between an amateur band and a professional one.

They swirl through their set, pausing for the occasional brief anecdote (that song is about my mum smoking too much weed) or question (“has anyone here ever broke their phone?” – before the aptly titled grungy number ‘Breaking My Phone’) and once or twice the thought of music ever being used for compartmentalising sad feelings seems an absurd notion.

Some might say that Oscar’s performance lacks levels or doesn’t plumb to enough emotional depth, but he doesn’t fail at this because he doesn’t even try to do it, he just has a load of fun singing about his friends and all the other stuff in his life, and this positivity is infectious because I don’t even give a shit that it’s raining when I leave to go outside.

Words: Greg Murray


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