While the influence of EDM and synth-driven beats seems the order of the day for contemporary indie, tonight’s gig at The Hug and Pint proves that you can do a lot with a guitar, bass and drums and still sound fresh.
First up is Chris Greig, who takes to the stage with an acoustic guitar and a passionate, warming voice that easily fits the venue’s cosy basement atmosphere.
A couple of songs in and Greig’s performance builds in confidence; despite having only been gigging for a year, Greig knows how to hold an audience and delights with some upbeat acoustic indie-pop which includes a melancholy cover of Charlie Simpson’s ‘Winter Hymns’ and a subtly delivered ‘Dakota’ by The Stereophonics.
The room fills up with its sold-out crowd as next act Delphi appear in an eclectic mix of artfully ripped jumpers and jeans, plaid shirts and a black trilby, nodding to their New Romantic roots among the usual grunge and indie.
Despite having only released one single thus far, Delphi are already experts at their craft of indie rock, opening strongly with ‘Learn to Swim’.
The five-piece sound consistently tight throughout the set and treat the audience to a cleverly layered and striking cover of Adele’s ‘Hello’, as well as Britney Spears’ ‘…Baby One More Time’.
Instead of simply cashing into nineties nostalgia, the Spears cover succeeds in artfully exposing the song’s darker undertones, with throbbing guitar work, achingly-delivered vocals and heavy drums.
The band’s fervent energy reaches a peak with ‘Ecstasy’, and as they launch into another spiraling, satisfying guitar solo, it’s easy to see that Delphi are destined for great things, with a winning combination of liveliness (despite the smallness of the stage, they bounce around dancing eagerly throughout) and musical maturity – sometimes danceable and upbeat, sometimes darkly inflected with a post-rock sensibility that is well suited to the fleshed-out sound of a five-piece.
Indigo Velvet launch straight into their bright, percussive, self-proclaimed brand of tropical pop with a confidence built upon a successful summer of touring.
Despite the crisp chill of Bonfire Night outside, Indigo Velvet maintain sunny vibes throughout, with lead singer Darren Barclay, clad in Breton stripes and dungarees, delivering sweetly-voiced indie pop woven with shimmery guitars, harmonies and syncopating, pulsing drums.
Indeed, the band’s summery lushness isn’t just expressed in their hairstyles.
While they are often compared to Dundee’s Model Aeroplanes, Indigo Velvet exude something unique in their similar brand of sunshine indie: the band’s catchy hooks are always backed up by sumptuous cross rhythms and a sound that is both practiced and taut but also elastic enough to keep things fresh.
New single ‘Sunrise’ might be about adultery, but the darker subject is drawn out with a constant bubbly cadence, building up from its neat, sparkly guitar licks and percussion to a heavier, heartfelt cry: “hello / it’s not like we are identical”.
Reminiscent of the likes of Peace and Hippo Campus, Indigo Velvet’s alt-pop is distinguished by its sugary melodies, groovy basslines and sometimes calypso-inspired percussion, which has the crowd constantly absorbed.
The buoyant summertime feel of the songs is balanced with a stream of onstage patter between the band and members of the audience, as they joke about doing a ‘Wonderwall’ cover and Barclay’s merchandise pitch is jeered at by his bandmates as shameless marketing.
Their audience rapport is evident throughout, as they draw handclaps and sing-alongs from the crowd on songs like ‘Blue’ and penultimate track ‘City Boys’.
It’s clear that while Indigo Velvet are from Edinburgh, they’ve won over a fair few hearts in Glasgow too, and certainly bring some tropical love to a dark, dreich November night.
Words: Maria Sledmere
Photos: Aimee Boyle