“I’m the mini beast from the North East” jokes frontman Peter Brewis to a packed-out Saint Luke’s, it might be snowing outside but a faithful crowd have gathered diligently in front the alter (literally) to witness their idols.
With seven studio albums under their belt and a back catalogue that dates to early 2000, Field Music have amassed a dedicated fanbase made of sturdier stuff that won’t be deterred by inclement weather.
The band is currently touring their latest album, Open Here, across the country and have conveniently landed in Glasgow on St. Patrick’s Day.
Playing a venue situated across the road from the Irish pubs that line the Gallowgate, none the less… “thank you for coming here tonight, especially when there is so much on in Glasgow, especially when it’s St. Patrick’s Day and you are in this part of the town…” witticisms aplenty from David Brewis set the tone for the evening.
The two brothers have been tinkering with the quintessential Field Music sound, it’s more layered, less indie-guitar pop and more art-jazz maelstrom; it’s possibly the love child of David Byrne meets Michael Jackson; it’s less formulaic and freer spirited than their previous work.
So, what has been the catalyst for such a change? The brothers are now fathers and have drawn on the everyday experience of child rearing to imbue their new material with purpose, poise and shared vision, making it instantly relatable and endearing.
‘Time in Joy’ opens the set with Sarah Hayes of Admiral Fallow fame, almost hypnotising the crowd with a dream like flute arrangement; it’s a song that starts off with a vocal harmony reminiscent of ‘Hello, Goodbye’ of The Beatles, before quickly changing into a disco stomper.
Next track sees the siblings swap places, with David coming out from behind the drum kit to play guitar and take the vocals on ‘Count It Up’; the song instantly sets toes tapping and the crowd begin a steady shoe shuffle of a dance.
With a super synth sound straight out of Talking Heads camp, a steady belch from the drums and a highly satirised look at privilege it’s easily one of the most momentous tracks of the evening.
There is much chatter between the band and the crowd, which makes the band seem genuinely at ease and happy to be on the road; sharing anecdotes and side remarks between songs goes far to warm hearts on a frost-bitten eve such as this.
They are a band who are down to earth and a far cry from the style conscious art pop of their music, literally wearing their influences on their sleeves – or in this case on their t-shirts (David is wearing a Police t-shirt).
‘Let’s Write a Book’ from 2010’s Measure is an angular post-punk riot, the stomping bass and pounding synth sound like a drunk Godzilla moonwalking through lower Manhattan – possibly with a fruity rum punch in hand.
This is not the only visit to older material, ‘Just Like Everyone Else’ is given a new lease of life with Liz Corney on keys and vocals, lending the tune a more dreamlike outlook, with its calypso guitars and sweetheart lyrics.
‘A House is not a Home’ and ‘Them That Do Nothing’ also get an airing.
‘No King No Princess’ is introduced by David, who explains that it is about his 18-month-old daughter and how he wants her to grow up and be herself and not be swayed by societal gender tropes; it’s at once beautiful and relevant and delivered with a wry appraisal of modern life.
‘It’s Not the Only Way to Feel Happy’ is admittedly a bit of a wild card to close the set with, but it’s an oldie and the crowd seemingly enjoy reminiscing, leaving them with a warm glow in their hearts to battle the chill in the air outside.
Words/Photos: Ang Canavan