BBC Radio 6 Music Festival Fringe presents Le Thug, Arm Watches Fingers, MC Almond Milk at The Glad Cafe, 22/3/17

Save As Collective – Glasgow’s premier alternative electronic label – showcase some tremendous local talent as part of the Fringe of the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival at The Glad Cafe.

The place begins to fill up as James Scott aka. MC Almond Milk – one of the head gentlemen of Save As – takes to the stage.

Despite Scott not being assisted as he was previously by Jay Rolex – he manages to combine well-produced and offbeat music with his own brand of technically impressive, clear, funny and well-written lyrics.

A lot of the music is pre-recorded and triggered where necessary, but some is produced live; it is quite rare to see a rapper make music whilst “spitting”, as they say; it is quite impressive.

Between songs, Scott is coy about his previous album – also launched from The Glad Cafe – and seems to wish to distance himself from it; referring to some of his newer songs as “more real”.

This, I would be inclined to agree with; his track “1995” is an intense, gripping and – to the majority of the audience – inherently relevant track.

“Wet Wednesday Part II” is a good example of an MC Almond Milk song underlined by beats that would stand-alone without rapping.

It is clear that this individual has a good command over the sounds he employs; his rap style errs on the side of melody – if you are looking for fast-paced, tempo defying rap, look elsewhere, if you’re looking for intelligent, entertaining, off-beat and poetic hip-hop, look no further.

Arm Watches Fingers stands amongst the crowd like a normie whilst a haunting and frankly bizarre female monolog plays over a broad ambient track.

Casually and methodically he walks up onto the stage in time to pick up and plug in his bass, adding more to the sound already in motion.

He grabs two drumsticks to rattle off of a presumably expensive piece of hardware.

It is when we watch Arm Watches Fingers use his arms to move his fingers towards his bass, drum pad, mad… synthesiser… thing or laptop that we are made abundantly aware that we are in the presence of a talented artist.

AWF’s music is dense, complex and oceanic in depth and scope, the music twists and turns through myriad themes and approaches – all whilst carrying expertly executed electronic production.

Music such as his is seldom consistently outstanding from start to finish; it relies on moments rather than entireties.

AWF perpetually builds towards subtle changes that are seriously affective; he knows his sound inside out.

When headliners Le Thug take the stage the venue fills up and sparse electronic with warped, ambient and heavily reverberated instrumentals, undercut the enchanting vocals which enter the fray to enact the full complement.

The creative use of the musical elements and raw talent go a long way to mask the band’s lack of stage presence or inter-song interaction, with the veil is only slightly lifted when technical issues hold things up.

Le Thug’s music is rich, ambient and pleasant and they are original, distinctive and emotive; the mix is not ideal, but the band can hardly be decried for that.

Despite a few technical issues, the overall impression left is that they are a talented band with a collection of impressive and enjoyable songs.

The band does well to manage the extraneous volume from a reverb heavy set and it never clashes between the elements.

A bizarre video serves as the sets backdrop, including – amongst other things – a flaming Vitruvian Man and footage of an El Classico showdown; like I said, bizarre.

Le Thug deliver a profoundly appreciable set, their work falls into the realm of post-rock shoegaze, it is relaxing, powerful, dynamic and well-balanced with vocal work that is very soft and works well with the surrounding instruments.

The Glad Cafe – as always – serves as an excellent backdrop to this showcase of Save As Collectives finest, keep your eyes peeled for anything coming from any of these acts and from the Save As Collective, they are truly in the business of diverse and unique new music.

Words: Paul Aitken
Photos: Jonnie Common


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