The night opens with The Yawns, a band who have seen a lot of recognition and admiration in their short time together.
They play blissful stoned-sounding guitar driven pop songs, catchy hooks floundering under waves of feedback.
Their frontman Sean Armstrong, slightly-awkward-slacker archetype, quite literally yawns his way through the set as a perfect accompaniment to these shimmering laid-back sounds.
Eugene Tombs follow, and kick off straight away with a hypnotising opening song—a free-clarinet exploration, like a junky klezmer band in an old New York speakeasy, the reeds squeaking and honking like hawked-up phlegm, broken dreams and regurgitated booze.
The rest of the set is no less enjoyable, but is more well-trodden territory—the kind of dark surf and 60s garage influenced rock which has a healthy presence in Glasgow’s music scene (see Rosy Crucifixion and Los Tentakills for two fine examples).
Our headliners, The Wave Pictures, are also working with familiar material in a lot of ways.
They don’t try and reinvent the wheel, but instead rely on sheer talent, skill and creativity to reinvigorate the classic rock band format.
David Tattersal’s unique lyrics spin intimate semi-surreal yarns, conjure vivid images; the fever-dreams of ‘New Skin’, the prophetic revelations of ‘The Woods’ and the “love song to motels and beer bellies” that is their new single, ‘Missoula’.
This is real poetry—words that drag you out of yourself and into a shared experience, making you grin, laugh and nod in acknowledgement, even when (or especially when) you can’t rationally explain why; forget extended jams and avant-garde experiments, this is psychedelic in the true sense of the word.
His guitar playing is incredible too, and manages (much like the songwriting) to recall familiar styles while still staying utterly unique.
There are nods to Dick Dale, Neil Young, Cuban rumba and African soukous guitar licks, Chuck Berry in their cover of Daniel Johnston’s ‘My Life is Starting Over Again’, and the Velvet Underground in the vaguely Sister Ray-sounding ‘The Woods’.
This level of skill is held up by every member of the band, making them a power trio truly deserving of the description.
Words: Calum Calderwood
Photos: Gordon Ballantyne