“Did anyone used to go to Rev?” “Is Cheesy Pop still a thing?”
You can tell what bands went to Glasgow uni tonight!
Let’s be honest, it’s totally weird being back at the QMU, this was a regular daytime haunt in my early uni days and seven years on a lot has changed, but yet nothing has changed.
Coffee shops and stationary shops have swapped places and Jim’s Bar has lost its legendary booths, but the same aura of cheap food lingers, the pints are still very affordable and it still very much feels like a student union (good or bad thing you decide), whether you can still get a shot of giant Jenga I don’t know, but after it fell on my ankle and left me limping for a week I wasn’t going to try.
There is some confusion as we arrive to catch favourites Mt. Doubt, only to find an empty stage.
After some aimless wandering we bump into the remaining members of the band, who had travelled from Edinburgh for today’s performance, but had to pull out at last minute due their keyboardist suffering from unanticipated illness.
Even though no fault of their own I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that I’ll have to wait for their next Glasgow date to catch their incredible live show again.
After this confusion we able upstairs to Jim’s Bar and The Insomniac Project are just finishing their of pop tinged electronic set, which although a little rough in the vocal department has the potential to be huge.
Following this I get my first opportunity to witness LYLO in a live setting, albeit a rather questionable one; the bar isn’t the greatest space with the sound being lost in certain portions of the room and sounding pretty mucky in others, it has to be said that only a single door between two stages of live music does not do either area any favours.
Still, LYLO’s combination of reverb laden vocals, hints of saxophone and a strong rhythm section hold the performance together admirably.
There’s plenty of presence and attitude coming from their engaging frontman, who even pulls a touch of Samuel Herring-esque dad dancing at one point, as lengthy instrumental sections wash over the crowd in a settling fashion, until the band push things up a gear with a powerful dream pop tinged post punk sound; this certainly won’t be the last time I try and catch these guys.
Being a fan of Josephine Sillars I was excited to finally have the chance to see her live and she doesn’t disappoint.
Sillars is joined by her band and the three-piece treat the audience to a number of gentle pop tinged tunes, which do more than enough to cement a smile on your face, including a creative cover of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrops’.
Downstairs The Youth and Young keep me grinning from ear to ear as they showcase their brand of folk, with plenty of upbeat melodies and complimenting harmonies thrown in.
The band’s stunning dual vocals are even more impressive live than on record and their sprightly stage presence creates an extremely memorable performance.
Since the venue stopped serving food earlier on we decided to run out to grab a quick bite, making it back just in time to catch the end of the Perth’s GoodCopGreatCop energetic set.
The band’s combination of catchy riffs and upbeat melodies revitalises the crowd leaving them in high sprits before Copper Lungs take the stage.
Copper Lungs who hail from just further north than GoodCopGreatCop do there best to get sparse crowd moving, their anthemic alt-rock sound and heartfelt vocals fill up the venue and would be suited to a much bigger stage.
There is a surprisingly large amount of late arrivals to the venue who fill up main hall in time for Tijuana Bibles’ set, which is packed full of heavy guitars and pounding riffs topped off with some soaring vocals from frontman Tony Costello.
Back upstairs and there’s an air of awkwardness hovering as it seems The Rockalls have riled up a few members of staff and student volunteers alike, still they know how to perk up an audience as they seemingly shun the awkwardness and simultaneously kill it by getting the crowd on their feet and down the front.
They certainly possess a punchy live show and frontman Dominic Orr possesses more than enough attitude and presence to keep them interesting, as waves of garage rock riffs spark an energy in the room before asking the crowd onto their knees proves a step too much and their set gets cut mid song for curfew related reasons, or maybe something they did pre-set.
Before Tuff Love take to the main stage we have the small confusion of someone jumping off the balcony, collapsing to the floor and then limping away as fast as he could, but this one remains a mystery for the time being and it’s all pretty much forgotten as tonight’s headlines deliver what is by far the standout set of the day.
‘Poncho’ gives way to ‘Sweet Discontent’ and their infectious fuzzy pop sound never fails to leave a smile plastered across your face.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Tuff Love live, but their set hasn’t dipped at all in quality, in fact they have only grown in confidence and presence since they merged their three previous EPs into one album, for release earlier this year.
Tuff Love are quite rightly one of the jewels in Scotland’s crown rightly so, we’ve covered them so often in the past it’s barely worth repeating ourselves, but yeah, these guys are great and the sound in the venue is greatly improved by the band’s finishing upstairs.
The front duo’s nonchalant stage presence is an ever present, but so are the glowing harmonies and sugar coated delights that are their songs, the crowd may be slightly reduced from the Bibles set, yet it’s still a healthier crowd than the rest of the day, and those who have stayed are rewarded with a sheer feel good set full or quirky moments, like Julie cracking up to ‘Carbon’ or Suse enquiring about Cheesy Pop.
Well worth the wait, a lovely end to a long, but rewarding day.
Words/Photos: Iain Dawson/Jess Lavin
Photos: Cameron Brisbane