Still, from what I see she comes across comfortable bantering with the crowd before closing on a mandolin only track, that’s leagues better than the last act I saw just toting said instrument.
The track is stripped back from her darkly melancholic, yet at times jaunty pop tinged folk recordings, and comes across honest and delighting with a clear, angelic vocal that soothes a healthily full basement.
Glasgow four-piece pop merchants The Pooches are up next and they instantly endear themselves to you with short, sharp indie pop ditties that expel as much c86 glory as they do the charmingly, possibly intentionally, naïve vibes of Daniel Johnston.
The Pooches draw on a scene that Glasgow holds so dear and they pull it off successfully, enchanting the gathered crowd with relaxing and cheeky songs that are full of warmth and honesty, and just make you feel right at home.
Bizarrely enough it is during this set that I, and no doubt everyone else in the basement, witness someone being ushered out of a gig of this size of venue for the first time; apparently a fiver was too much to part with for some.
This doesn’t seem to affect the guys on stage though as they cruise through an ever-charming set, which includes a cover of The Cascades 60s pop classic ‘Rhythm of the Rain’.
Then it’s the turn of tonight’s headliner, my only time witnessing Martha Ffion previously had been during a support slot before the bewitching Jessica Pratt, where she more than did herself justice with just a guitar as support.
Tonight she has a full band in tow, featuring members of some of Glasgow’s top live acts, and after we covered them at Wickerman and supporting Colleen Green a couple of weeks back, the verdict has been more than favourable.
What instantly strikes from that stripped back set is the much rockier vibe given to Ffion’s retro pop sound; perhaps there are points where a pounding rhythm out shadows her vocal intricacies, but on the whole it makes for a much more engrossing end product.
Still, Ffion’s ethereal 60s pop sound shines through with plenty of surf grunge 90s energy bubbling its way to the surface, as the endearing singer grasps the rooms attention with immaculate ease.
During a gap in songs the bassline of Sugarhill Gang classic ‘Rapper’s Delight’ forms an intro to what fast appears to be one of the acts favourite stories, and quite rightly so as Ffion tells of them filling in for the hip-hop legends at this year’s Wickerman.
The A-side to their recent Lost Map single ‘No Applause’ follows, and it simply oozes 60s pop influences, delivered with sparkling vocals that lift to the forefront of a track that would put a spring in anyone’s step.
It’s quite clear that Ffion and co.’s set is going down well and as the vocalist announces their last song she’s met with groans from a conquered audience; closer and new track ‘School Nurse’ ends the set with an focused vocal and building rhythm that powers forward before exploding in full on pop glory; reckon we’ve got a lot to look forward to with these guys
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Sophie Morrison