My Tenement Trail starts in the Sleazy’s basement, following a visit to Love Music for a caringly delivered in-store from Edinburgh’s booming charmer Mt. Doubt, who airs a few new tracks which sound as cosy as any of his previous material despite singer Leo Bargery forgetting the words of one of said songs.
Still, his disgusted glances at every would be record shopper who opens the door, only to change their mind at the notion of actual live music, and not venture in make this set a memorable one.
We arrive at Sleazy’s just as Glasgow four-piece American Clay are getting started and the band fronted by Pronto Mama drummer Martin Johnston, sound more refined than they have done in previous promising airings.
Their set emits a clear 90s US alternative indie rock vibe that protrudes from a wall of never giving fuzz; American Clay seem to be making steps with every performance and as their jarring, grunge tinged guitars and snarled nasal vocals erupt into huge pounding intersections they more than have the busy basement warmed to them.
A quick dash next door and Sweaty Palms are on in Broadcast again, you’d think seeing these guys in the same venue would get old but such is the attitude of their set that it’s hard to not get engulfed once more.
They deliver their usual goth-tinged garage sound with Robbie Houston’s familiar cathartic sneer and while their 5pm set doesn’t quite reach the levels of anarchy their 2am Stag and Dagger slot did it’s safe to say they’ve done themselves no harm.
Over at The Art School and we luckily arrive early to find Louie and the Lochbacks in an earlier than originally scheduled slot, and the gorgeous three way harmonies from Be Charlotte’s Charlotte Brimner and Pronto Mama’s Marc Rooney and Ciaran McEneny topped off with Hector Bizerk’s Louie’s heavy hitting poetry is a captivating experience.
Louie, on the verge of tying off his hugely important Hector Bizerk project, needed an outlet to air his rhymes to a larger audience and takes full advantage of the talented acts at his managerial disposal to create a set that is as much full of head nodding musings to full on hilarity all culminating in a particularly amusing track dedicated to every band playing this festival that sees Louie spouting off everything in the music world he doesn’t want to be.
A quick dash upstairs and we’re in pure sugar coated indie pop bliss sing-along land as TeenCanteen pour pure honey directly out of the speakers and have the crowd giddy and addicted in no time.
There’s a real hook to these girl’s songs that have them stuck in your head within a few listens and with their debut album only recently on the shelves it’s lovely to see them on one of the festival’s biggest stages.
Following TeenCanteen is another act we never tire of and Be Charlotte is on top form, with a new hairstyle, new dancing, new songs, but the same brilliant performance.
We’ve seen Be Charlotte countless times in the past year and it’s testament to just how talented this girl is that we never tire of it; she’s now off on a full tour of Asia, expect this is explode in a very short space of time now.
A trip down to The Priory’s dingy basement and we’re hypnotised by The Bellybuttons set that simply sweats the best of American indie rock; croaked lyrics, entrancing rhythms and tunes that leave a warm feeling inside that only the likes of Pavement could match.
It’s a shame this basement isn’t crammed, but those who are here more than make up for it as we witness the most buoyant crowd yet.
Counterfeit crisps, ghosts… you can’t really make out what the majority of Breakfast Muff’s songs are about, but the beauty is you don’t really care; they’re fast, aggressive, punchy and super fun and despite the relatively small audience (perhaps The Rebel’s gig down at The Old Hairdressers is starting to take its toll) they still manage to smash to out the park and whip up those who have made the right choice, in terms of the festival at least, into a frenzy with their off-kilter punk energy.
They close on an as yet released track, which is fast becoming a live favourite, that sees Eilidh Mcmillan screaming “you’re not a fucking feminist” with a feeling of pure fury aimed at a particularly horrible ex.
Back over at The Art School and Pronto Mama pull off another set of unabashed brass tinged joy, with immaculately crafted songs delivered in an addictive Glasgow tilt that leaves you craning for more.
It’s great to see these guys on a big stage following a year that saw them successfully pull of their monthly showcase Beatnik Retreat at Mono that culminated with a headline slot at Oran Mor, hopefully there’s new material in the pipeline and if it’s as good as what they’ve got they’ll be gracing this big a stage on a more permanent basis very soon.
It is completely disgusting that this is the very first time I have seen The Spook School in a live setting, they’re one of the most infectious, endearing and interesting bands from Scotland just now and tonight they tear through set of punk touched indie pop tracks that engulf you in as much lovability as they do aggression.
These guys have always been known for having their finger on the pulse on social matters, but live it’s not the lyrical content that shines through, it’s their sheer passion and fun mentality, with added ridiculous banter, and quality songs to boot that makes their set irresistible start to finish.
Words: Iain Dawson