West End Festival All Dayer at Oran Mor, 21/6/15

After worrying about whether or not I would be able to see the majority of the great bands playing across Oran Mor’s three stages, I was extremely pleased to see that the running order would allow me to move almost effortlessly between stages, hardly missing a second of each set.

My early arrival gives me plenty of time to soak up the breath-taking interior of the venue’s main auditorium before finding a decent spot in the already packed out room to watch the incredible Kathryn Joseph.

 

I am lucky enough to have seen Joseph perform two amazing sets at this year’s Wide Days and Xpo North and therefore already know I am in for a treat.

The crowd eagerly await the arrival of this year’s Scottish Album of the Year award winner, who captivates everyone in the room from the moment she steps on stage.

Joseph’s stage presence and musical style fits the venue perfectly, creating a truly enchanting performance.

Hanging on upstairs the hotly anticipated return of De Rosa is next, and after six years absence the return of Martin Henry and co. is one that’s more than welcome and a massive coup for Oran Mor to pull off, on a Father’s Day that sees a heavy amount of dads along for what we have to say is a very ‘dad friendly’ line up.

Still, while the audience makes me feel young I am still old enough to remember De Rosa first time round (unlike my fellow reviewer), their two, Chemy released, albums Mend and Prevention are among the highest regarded by the label and rightfully so as their highly intelligent brand of genre bending indie rock is still as fresh sounding as ever near a decade on.

Today they may be on early on in the day, but the hefty crowd lap up material from their two albums to date and while the band start to hit their, seemingly more refined than ever, stride it becomes clear that we may well be in for a treat with album number three, which is promised later this year.

It is then time to move downstairs to catch Man Of Moon; having heard so much about this band over the last few months I was eager to see them live.

The basement venue is packed and makes me question whether such a new band has ever played to a crowd of this size before, however the size of the crowd doesn’t seem to effect them as they showcase their unique sound and tight live set, making it clear they’re one to watch over the next couple of months.

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Back upstairs there’s a sense of a spark in the air, this is the moment the a lot of today’s crowd are here for; just this moment – the last Remember Remember show, and the mix of joy, filled with loss is quickly turned on its head by the band’s shimmering performance.

Graeme Ronald has been a hive of activity in Glasgow’s music scene for years, flitting between bands honing his trade, but RR always seems to be the culmination of that; their expansive arrangements don’t have you shoegazing like so many instrumental Glasgow bands would, instead they have you looking to the skies, or in this case the beautiful Alasdair Gray mural, as they twinkle and spark with unletting joy.

There’s a knowing smile on the band’s faces too, Ronald is entering a different chapter of his life; recently married, child on the way and a move to America imminent, so perhaps this is the best time to call it a day.

Whether it’s failing to bust a glitter gun of flinging cardboard boxes that spell out the band’s name into the audience, they seem at a real ease and as the crowd collect the boxes and spell out the name back to them it’s just a sheer delight to be here; Remember Remeember it’s been a please to have you.

Moving downstairs again we move ever so slightly away from the dad heavy set, although it can’t be argued that the charms of Tuff Love don’t extend over multiple age brackets.

I’ve made it consistently well known that I think these guys are great, their warm, fussy 90s vibing indie pop is a joy to behold both live and on record; the sweet harmonies and cheerful bounce of their tunes never fails to drag a smile onto your face.

Today is maybe lost a bit in downstairs chatter, but as Suse attempts to construct the most pathetic wall of death ever seen, it appears they’re taking everything in good heart; these guys’ trajectory is only elevating, we can only wait in anticipation of what they do next, I’m sure it’ll be a joy.

After both of us sadly failing to catch Hubby, next up is Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd, who make sure everyone in the room is having fun from the off.

They treat the crowd to a number of both old and new tracks including the upbeat ‘Chase Yirself’ and slower new single ‘Monsoon Season’ before ending with crowd pleaser ‘Son, I Voted Yes’.

The band are keen to get everyone moving, cheering and singing along and the crowd are more than happy to oblige making Stanley Odd’s set extremely entertaining to watch; made only better by Solareye’s fantastically chirpy stage presence and Veronika Electonika’s stunning vocals.

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I head back upstairs to catch We Were Promised Jetpacks’ ‘relaxed’ set, featuring a number of less often played live tracks including a number of b-sides.

Even though it is nice to see another side to Jetpacks, tonight doesn’t seem to quite work when compared to their normally riotous live set; they seem to be lacking the energy they usually possess and are a sobering come down after Stanley Odd’s adrenaline filled sing-along.

By this point in the day things seem to be lingering, a huge crowd is gathered downstairs for Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, but finding a comfortable spot to watch Moffat’s legendary tales becomes difficult and the beauty of Wells’ arrangements become somewhat lost at the back of the room.

Upstairs it’s a similar scenario for The Phantom Band, the band who are generally a formidable and inspiring live experience seem to be grasping at nothing when trying to draw a reaction from a beer weary Sunday evening crowd, and despite Rick Anthony’s best efforts their set fades somewhat in comparison to those earlier performances.

All in all though another successful West End Festival All Dayer from Oran Mor cementing itself as one of the centrepieces of the whole festival.

More Photos

Words: Jess Lavin/Iain Dawson
Photos: Euan Robertson/Stewart Fullerton

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