Tag Archives: Acting Strange

BABY STRANGE, The Lapelles, Halfrican at Saint Luke’s, 9/10/15

Newly opened St. Luke’s in Glasgow’s east end has almost instantly become one of the most popular venues in the city right now.

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Tonight it hosts the long awaited home city headline for BABY STRANGE and a considerable amount of people have turned up for the first support and after some great tunes, matching t-shirt and short wearing Halfrican take to the stage.

There has been a bit of a line up change with these guys recently, with two new members and it only adds to the wild and savage way they carry themselves on stage.

Their set is energetic and lively; musically they have a great sound, playing some new songs, but also the rather excellent ‘Cocksucker’ and ‘Down To Fuck’.

Halfrican are incredibly likeable, with their unashamed fun loving attitude on stage, every show is a good one.

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The Lapelles really fill up the venue with a dedicated crowd assembling right in front of the stage.

That crowd sets the standard for the rest of the audience as they consistently jump about singing along.

With synth in the line up it changes the vibe of the night, a bit more edgy but both acts have some great basslines.

A young band, The Lapelles are now getting some brilliant support slots and polishing their sound.

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They put on a great set which really sets the crowd up for BABY STRANGE.

As expected this room is packed and spirits are high as the band start their set.

The crowd is frenzied as soon as they start to play; with a grungy punk vibe, heavy drums and strident and striking guitars they completely own the moment and everyone wants to have as much fun as they are.

The audience is filled with a considerable amount of younger people and where the lyrics of the songs are concerned they totally get it.

BABY STRANGE are the band of the moment and with a good few headlines now have created a fantastic and loyal fan base that only add to the enthusiasm of their live gigs.

Personal taste but Halfrican were absolutely incredible tonight and killed it; hopefully some bigger things are round the corner.

A great line up all round and of course a shout out to Acting Strange who did a small set at the after party in The Priory- having seen them four times in the last month alone they have formed a solid and meticulous affliction with each other on stage and the rising confidence and connexion has completely complimented their live sound.

More Photos

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Words: Olivia Campbell
Photos: Daphne Michalaki

Tenement Trail, 3/10/15

Sauchiehall Street on the day of Tenement TV’s annual Tenement Trail is always packed with musicians and gig goers alike, with an unashamed buzz in the atmosphere.

Often regarded as Glasgow’s best music festival, I start a promising day at Broadcast to see the bluesy folk styling’s of Dundonian band Sinderins.

They kick their set off to a packed venue and without any doubt they deliver a superb and transcendent performance with a certain jazz feel to it.

Having seen them play King Tut’s only a few weeks ago, they are on an even better form, with of course David Webster holding a note to an impressive amount of time much to the crowd’s delight.

The guys definitely set me up for the day and with much optimism the next stop is The Art School to see Be Charlotte, another Dundonian who has had quite an impressive year so far.

This is my second time seeing Charlotte; the first was with her laptop, but today she has her band with her, and by the end of her performance I don’t think much can top today.

Her vocals are splendidly executed with her band creating a buoyant and upbeat vibe that Charlotte can jump about the stage to.

With dignified spoken words and a hip hop and pop feel, Be Charlotte can hold a crowd and make it her own; she’s entirely authentic and shows the crowd exactly what music has been missing.

The band has excellent musicianship and we are consistently blown away when both band mates are on percussion.

Like I said Be Charlotte is hands down my favourite of the day, and later we get to hear some damn good vibes yet again when she collaborates with Crash Club.

The Art School’s line up is incredible; it only seems right to stay here for the next couple of acts.

Pronto Mama take to the stage with a dedicated swarm of fans moving right to the front with a completely full room behind them.
Pronto Mama never fails and is considered one of the best live acts in the country with their unique and enthralling sound.

With songs from their EPs, Lickety Split and Niche Market, played they introduce us to a new one, giving the demand for new material from fans and with an album hopefully to be released soon this goes down greatly.

A Big crowd turn up to see Holy Esque, they have established themselves well and were recently Radio 1 play listed and after this performance it’s easy to see why there star is rising.

They blast through tracks from their Submission EP and the crowd favourite ‘Rose’.

Broadcast seems rather quiet as Other Humans begin their set, but with some classy vocals and synth their sound soon draws people from upstairs to witness something entirely new and fresh.

The band as a whole is solid and has fantastic stage presence, the kind where you are completely in tune with them, while the songs are well written and refined; expect big things from these guys!

Acting Strange take to the stage at King Tut’s too Little Richard’s ‘Keep On Knocking’ and kick things of with the lead single ‘RUMBLE’, from their recently released EP Night On The Tiles, followed by the Dylan esc ‘Oh No’.

With just two guitars, vocals and a stomp box it’s easy to see why these two have created such a buzz in a short space of time.

They power through the rest of the set fusing the best of 60’s pop with a rock ‘n’ roll bluesy swagger; the futures bright, or should I say Strange.

I manage to catch the start of Atom Tree and then am just in time for the end of Young Aviators set – both bands have been gaining a lot of attention lately and Young Aviators in particular put on a good show before the last band of the day take the stage.

As Flat 0/1 fills up you can feel something special is about to happen and Crash Club don’t disappoint.

The place erupts as they begin their set, a mix of euphoria and adrenaline; sweat and bodies are flying everywhere, and the atmosphere can only be described as “pure mental”.

They are joined on the stage by Medicine Men’s Ian Mackinnon to perform the anthemic ‘Recondition’; Mackinnon has the crowd in the palm of his hand and again the place just explodes.

Crash Club also show off new tracks featuring Be Charlotte and storm through the rest of the set showing why they are the band to close the festival.

With Scotland in the bag the sky’s limits for Scotland’s (not for much longer) best kept secret.

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Words: Olivia Campbell

Blank Realm, MONICA, Acting Strange at The Hug and Pint, 28/9/15

Opening act Acting Strange, who happen to share a name with headline act Blank Realm’s opening track to their third album, Go Easy, are the first of two excellent support acts, who both draw upon the subversive aesthetic of, but both in an entirely different manner from tonight’s headliners

The band’s set fully embraces out-of-tune guitars, a minimal drum kit, and (as Billy, one of the two Strange cousins apologises) non-virtuosic slide guitar playing, but there’s something defiant and commendable about this aversion to polish, and there’s a real reminder of such warbling, untrained voices as Lou Reed, Jonathan Richman or Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano to lead singer Ali Strange’s voice.

Second on the bill is MONICA, a six-piece centred on Glasgow singer-songwriter Andrea Marini.

The band follow in the vein of Destroyer’s turn, with 2011’s Kaputt, towards a style that appropriates the worst clichés of 70s and 80s late night radio, unclear whether it is with a knowing smirk, or is an unapologetic homage.

Marini’s voice is reminiscent of the powerful holler of Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis, and the melancholic reinterpretation of such pop genres as funk and free jazz recalls Talk Talk’s turn from commercial pop to post-rock on their later albums.

When Marini sings theres a foregone conclusion to how we spend our time/ baby with you, there’s a hint of wider politics incorporated into the politics of relationships, much in the manner of such literate popstars of the 80s as Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside.

It’s an impressive feat to practice such impressive deconstruction of pop as these masters of the art.

There appears to be some level of critical consensus with regards to Blank Realm that they consistently tread a line between, on the one hand, obscurity, improvisation, chaos, noise and disorder, and on the other fine song craft, melody, structure and impressive hooks.

At their best tonight, Blank Realm achieve all of this, with Dan Spencer and Sarah Spencer (two of three siblings in the band, along with other brother Luke Spencer, and Luke Walsh) practicing a glorious approximation of melody, always near enough to a tune, the two siblings’ voices only a pitch or so apart.

There’s some sense of having a frontman as drummer that brings a sense of democracy to Blank Realm, Dan Spencer’s face just visible above the toms, and when the band enter the stage, instead it’s bassist Luke Spencer’s striking features that are illuminated.

When Sarah Spencer takes the drums for Illegals in Heaven highlight ‘Dream Date’, Dan Spencer comes forward to take the mic, but he’s almost a false frontman, shrouded in darkness at the front of the stage.

While an early broken string and extended improvised section to opener ‘No Views’ suggest a slack approach, the night’s setlist draws on the more polished pop sensibilities of the band, drawing on the more danceable tracks from this year’s Illegals in Heaven, alongside such older fan favourites as ‘Back to the Flood’, ‘Falling Down the Stairs’ and ‘Reach You on the Phone’.

But a frustrating problem throughout the set (that should not reflect too badly on the band) is that the levels are set so that the drums tend to drown out some of the nuances of the band, and the vocals are obscured to a level that they’re hard to be made out with any clarity.

The nature of the standard Blank Realm song is that it develops from an intricate guitar riff into a sprawling and messy, often improvised outro, and the effect of this is diminished when all the sound is a little muddy and unclear, and it’s an unfortunate representation of an exciting and complex band, and for The Hug and Pint’s sound which has been otherwise excellent for the rest of the night.

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Words: Tony Boardman

Mark McGowan (single launch), Acting Strange, Piranhas and Sharks at The Hug and Pint, 11/9/15

The Hug and Pint tonight hosts the single launch to man of the moment Mark McGowan, not long after he recently signed to In Black records, and as usual I’m way to early to even consider getting a drink

Time passes and the venue fills up and soon enough we have Scott Bonnyman, one half of Piranhas and Sharks with a stripped back acoustic set.

He jokes that he doesn’t know if he’s piranha or shark, and keeps up a good interaction with his audience, adding to the laidback and mellow vibe implemented as the warm up.

It’s Piranhas and Sharks’ first gig and having already listened to their stuff, it could be said that, without the drummer and stripped down, their songs are missing some of the creative originality and vitality that they are becoming recognised for online.

However, Bonnyman performing himself draws attention to his lyrics and vocals; there’s definitely a nostalgic feel to his sound, he has a great voice with a slight Glasgow twang and it compliments the songs well.

Standout of the set is ‘Red Road’, an ode to the famous red road flats in Springburn with the incredibly catchy line: “no windows, no doorways, no sign of life not these days/you don’t see what I’m seeing, red road your hearts stopped beating”.

With every song Bonnyman’s confidence grows until he finally finishes the set sounding more optimistic and assured.

I’m ever more curious to see them again (as a full band) and see some of that eccentricity their tracks have, but judging by the exceptionally well written, recorded songs they have, they have the potential to blow up fast with an album due 2016.

McGowan’s fellow In Black label mates Acting Strange take the stage in their third live gig, much like Piranhas and Sharks, they are experienced musicians still in the early days of a new endeavour, which has been getting some favourable support online.

From Glasgow’s east end, Ali and Billy Strange are cousins who have been able to take much influence from greats of the past and fuse it to create their own carefree 60’s sound.

With every song their set moves in different directions; from a melancholy reminiscent to folk to wild classic rock and blues, giving them the edginess they have on record

Despite telling us that they always make an arse of next song, ‘Oh No’, with the added harmonica it livens up the whole set; (“have you tried just having fun?/after all you are pretty young”), there is a breeziness to Al’s voice with powerful musicianship, this is their best song and with a great hook the audience love it.

Acting Strange piece together well and there is a slickness that adds to the light-hearted feel that they give.

They have humour, nostalgia and some good honest truth in their lyrics and it’s definitely worth seeing these guys live; they have a great appeal and undeniable charisma, they are doing something that not many are right now and with some noteworthy gigs lined-up they have made a promising start to an optimistic career.

In the tiny basement there is hardly anywhere to move with the amount of people who has come out to support Mark McGowan and he takes to the stage to epic applause, this single launch is just the very start for McGowan with a great run in hindsight, but this seems long over due to not only himself, but his dedicated fans.

The same fans that all bring along toy guns just for his performance of popular new single ‘Bonnie and Clyde’.

His music aside, McGowan’s voice is distinctive with an inimitability that mesmerizes the crowd.

It may be incredibly pretentious to say that you believe his performance, but its very much true, it’s real and his lyrics know how to captivate an audience.

It goes without saying that most people in the room knew all the words to ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, (“…you’re so Bonnie, I always wanted to be Clyde”), there is an irrefutable buzz and with everyone singing along to a favourite lyric “bang bang”.

It is the night’s most significant performance, along with ‘Colour of Surrender’, joyful and jaunty, it brings a great close to the night.

McGowan himself looks over come with emotion after a meaningful set seen as the next chapter as he takes on the music world.

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Words: Olivia Campbell