Colleen Green, Martha Ffion at The Glad Cafe, 27/7/15

This is my first encounter with Martha Ffion, and their second gig as a five-piece.

They play in a 60s surf rock style that instantly calls to mind Best Coast and all those indebted to the Beach Boys.


Ffion tells us of their eventful playing at Wickerman, where The Sugarhill Gang unexpectantly had to cancel, which meant they were asked last minute to cover their slot on the main stage.

“It’s nice to play to people not expecting them to be someone else!” she calls out to many amused laughs.

This comment lingers for the set as Ffion and her band prove they are effortlessly skilled at crafting sweet retro songs with heavier moments.

It is clear, Martha Ffion can adopt the garage sound without having to pretend to be anyone else.

There are similarities to other retro-delivery bands like Veronica Falls and Honeyblood, but this only lends an immediate sun-soaked feeling that, alongside empathetic lyrics, makes them my new favourite Glasgow band.

Colleen Green is awesome; she enters the back room of The Glad Cafe as a unicorn-like apparition, beautiful and elegant and awkward.

With a manoeuvre of slowing polishing her shades, which have became emblematic of her stage persona, she begins a performance full of attention to detail and care for her output (levels are changed consistently throughout the gig, which brings some laughs and warmth into the room).

Expectantly so, as she writes, mixes and records all on her own until this latest album where she enlisted a full band (consisting of JEFF the Brotherhood’s Jake Orrall and Diarrhea Planet’s Casey Weissbuch).

Tonight, she is completely alone on stage; the record captures all that fans of Colleen Green are drawn to; 90’s indie grunge packed with heavy riffs, noticeably more intricate and detailed on this record.

An iPad provides pre-programmed drums while Colleen shreds through the catchiest of songs about alienation, anxiety, and love-interest indecision.

The robotic drums feel like the perfect accompaniment to such subject matter, but a few people mention a desire to see her alongside a fuller sounding band. Only to hear her play even louder I’m sure.

Mostly, there are songs about growing up, or trying to grow up, or getting so fed up with the whole process you just get high and watch TV.

Colleen’s also a quirky and warm comic artist, with drawings charting her celebrity encounters in LA through playful mocking for sale (Adam Brody snapping up Death Cab CDs in a record store being my favourite).

This records whole existence is told as her navigation of turning 30 and its struggles, yet it only proves that age parameters have shifted, and as we live longer, there is still a lot of fun to be had before any ‘growing up’ should take place.

Ultimately, the creative process should never end as we age, and if you can’t find the band that agrees with you, then you always have your iPad.

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Words: Heather O’Donnell
Photos: Sophie Morrison


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