Tag Archives: Declan Welsh

T in the Park, 10/7/16

Day three arrives and there’s no reprieve on the weather, meaning not only is the arena the muddiest I can remember attending, but that we’re a good half hour late on the gates as flooding has caused health and safety concerns.

These precautions seem more than granted, but unfortunately it does mean I only get to catch a small portion of Tongues.’s set, and hold ups do sadly affect the size of crowd the Glasgow four-piece could potentially have pulled

Still, what I do catch of their set is the band’s now familiar huge, bursting synth sound; singles ‘Religion’ and ‘Heartbeat’ sound like they would be equally at home on the bigger stages with thousands dancing along, while the rest of the set touches on Hot Chip tinged twinkling synth ballads that move into sky soaring electronics.

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Following Tongues. on T Break is Glasgow based producer Edwin Organ and he keeps up the electronic vibe, with an array of head nodding organic synth sounding synth tones.

Playing as a trio the set comes as a welcoming hug for you to pick yourself up to for the final day of music, the band combine elements of soul and jazz with the singer’s melodic warbled tones; this is a set you can really get lost in, there’s certainly something special on the horizon.

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Edinburgh ‘tropical pop’ foursome Indigo Velvet continue my streak at T Break and they’ve amassed quite a following; their sunshine kissed indie rock is a real foot stomping fare that more than leaves the large turnout happy.

The band possess a real confident swagger and a more than unique look, two of them have the hair of lions for god sake, and this along with some solid, fun filled tunes sets them apart comfortably from a lot of their contemporaries.

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The fourth band I catch are at T Break again, and it’s at this stage that I should note there are a number of acts I would have liked to have caught at other stages; FIDLAR, John Grant, Maximo Park etc., however conditions under feet have quadrupled the time it takes to get from A to B so I’m back at the festival’s local act showcasing tent for one of Scotland’s most hyped up and comers, The Lapelles.

The East Kilbride five-piece are baby-faced to say the least, but woah does their live set pack a punch, these are indie rock anthems that really could hit the stratosphere.

On the road these guys are on they appear to have been earmarked to make it to the top, and judging by the crowd reaction they could be well on their way; they’re young, enthusiastic and have enough potential to see it through too, all the best to them.

A quick jaunt over to BBC Introducing and WOMPS are midway through single ‘Live A Little Less’ and are pounding out their lo-fi grunge tinged sound with a knowing presence.

Ewan Grant’s engaging songwriting sits at the centre of their sound, and while his material as Algernon Doll is still missed, WOMPS more than pack enough energy and craft into their set to keep your eyes peeled for; dingy the hair though… and maybe the shout outs to Bathgate too (it appears all drummer Owen Wicksted’s school pals have made it along).

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Dunfermline’s FOREIGNFOX keep everyone partying back at T Break as the five-piece is perfecting the soaring, post rock indie anthem a la Jetpacks, and seem to be pretty much hitting the nail on the head.

Jonny Watt’s heavily Scottish tones are emphatic and the band’s soundscape filled sound is engulfing; it’s easy to see them emulating their heroes pretty soon.

ISLE, grown out of the ashes of Monogram, are an alt pop duo with a real punch of a sound; a pounding array of effects, welcoming twinkled samples and a whole cacophony of other things going on are all placed into a remarkably catchy composition that settles into simple but effective sections before letting go once more.

Musically it’s a real master class from the Borders duo, with this kind of sound it’s easy to go over the top, but what ISLE do produce is slick and hugely entertaining.

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Declan Welsh has drawn a solid crowd at T Break and the young man seems to be revelling in it.

His spoken word/poetry sections are enchanting and the songs come with plenty of attitude as Welsh delivers with a real conviction; the sound and overall message in his music is emphatic and well worth believing in, this boy deserves to have more folk listening to him and he will have very soon.

Waiting it out at T Break for the last band of the night we see a big criticism of the stage; the band that plays last very rarely plays to anyone at all due to clashes with the festival headliners.

This is true for Sweaty Palms as the Glasgow five-piece fight for prominence with Jeff Mills, LCD Soundsystem and the Chilli Peppers; perhaps you would have thought T in the Park would take a lesson from the BBC Introducing showcase stage, which finishes much earlier in the night.

Still there’s no humour lost in the situation from the Palms with singer Robbie Houston snidely thanking DF Concerts for putting them on, who seem in no way deluded that this set is a big deal for the band in any way at all.

Their set is the same all encompassing dark, sneery post punk frenzy that you get from these guys every day of the week, but this could well be one of the smallest audiences they’ve played to this year.

Sweaty Palms may be the best act on the T Break list, but you can’t blame the punters for catching the some of the biggest names in music just ten minutes away.

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Following this I head over to catch all but the first few songs of LCD Soundsystem’s set and despite nearly everyone I’ve spoken to today saying they’re going to end their night here, we find a crowd smaller that you could fit in the Barrowlands for what is for me the only big big draw of this year’s line up.

Whether the band care is questionable, but what they do deliver is a set full of forward thinking, encapsulating disco tinged anthems that get the hairs on the back of your neck standing up and you belting the lyrics back out to your pals.

By the time the set ends on one of the most defining songs of recent times, ‘All My Friends’, you’ve forgotten how quiet the sound is or how few people are actually here, you’re stuck in the moment celebrating that the band’s short-lived hiatus has ended.

More Photos

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Cameron Brisbane

XpoNorth Showcases, Inverness, 8/6/16

Lot’s of things have been said posted about XpoNorth, displaying different sides of the conference, from huge praise to scathing criticism; I have my own opinions on what is right and wrong about the music conference, but this is not the time for that, this is an opportunity to talk about all the wonderful acts witnessed during the showcase events in the evening.

My evening starts at the Ironworks for the opening party and fashion show and after a few beverages I’m in good spirits to catch the music on offer and head over to Hootenanny’s to see Posable Action Figures in action.

The groove laden Edinburgh duo don’t let down with a perfectly danceable set that keeps you nodding along as Gareth Goodlad’s vocals engage on pop-tinged rock edge without becoming too cheesy or glossy; these guys are well worth checking out.

Over at Deeno’s we witness the familiar sounds of WOMPS, to my surprise the sports bar turned venue is up there with the best sounding of the weekend as the band deliver their usual set of high octane, grunge tinged gems.

Their debut album, Our Fertile Forever, may not quite be my personal favourite of Ewan Grant’s back catalogue, but this trio more than pack a punch live as their experience as live act shines through above other acts at these showcases; it’s Ewan worst hair cut yet though.

Following WOMPS are Stornoway rockers The Broken Ravens, and sadly the five-piece play to a somewhat dispersing crowd.

In all honesty these guys are a few feet wide of what I’d usually go for, but their set tonight hits all the right buttons; there’s a refreshing lack of pretense to their rollicking classic metal sound, and further to that it’s fun and pretty good too.

The Broken Ravens are a solid band that doesn’t seem to take themselves too serious, they won’t be best band you’ll see this weekend, either creatively or technically, but they might just be the most entertaining.

Over at the Market Bar I meet a packed attic and my knee immediately smashes off a bench, leaving me hopping in excruciating pain while FOREIGNFOX’s Jonny Watt is right there in my face as the band deliver a rousing set in the tight, but probably best venue of the showcase.

These guys are always a solid proposition live and deliver an emotional roller coast of a set of heartfelt lyrics sung in Watt’s addictive Scottish tones, all set to indie-tinged post rock soundscapes that cry Jetpacks at their most fluent.

A wee dash over for my first visit to Blackfriars allows me to catch the end of Declan Welsh’s set for some well thought out tracks with plenty of indie rock oomph and flowing banter; tonight is probably not the best introduction to Welsh’s set, but It does more than enough to keep me enticed to hear more.

Back over at Deeno’s is possibly the surprise of the night as Elle Exxe’s set is stripped back to just her and her drummer; gone is the big hair and diva misnomer leaving an undeniable punk attitude that feels much more genuine, yet maintains all the irresistible pop undertones; this is second time we’ve caught Exxe at showcase shows this year, hopefully a homecoming tour will be on the cards soon.

The last set of the night may possibly be the best, or maybe the drink is starting to kick in, as upstairs at Madhatters Catholic Action deliver exactly what is expected of them, a highly infectious set of glam enthused indie rock hits that’re just what you need from a post midnight set, these guys are going places and rightfully so.

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Words: Iain Dawson

Declan Welsh, Josephine Sillars at The Glad Cafe, 18/5/16

Two young talents and prolific performers on the Glasgow scene appear on the Southside Fringe Festival bill in The Glad Cafe.

Josephine Sillars plays a set of familiar songs from the Ripped from the Wire Spine EP, but with a heavier edge that brings the music out of its shell.

Her enchanting voice and piano parts are turned up to 11 tonight, less folk-pop and more alt-rock.

At one point the band slides into a cover of ‘You’ve Got to Show Me Love’, showing off Sillars’ vocal range.

New song ‘The Sun and the Moon’ heralds a quieter moment, a heart-breaking ode to a faltering relationship told through cosmic metaphors.

Samuel Barnfather on drums and Seaton Mepham on bass have been playing with Sillars since the beginning of the year and the trio have fallen into step with each other with incredible musical synergy.

Sillars decides on stage that they need a name for this new communal carnation, asking the audience to submit their band name suggestions, so watch this space for announcements of their new moniker.

Then headliner, Declan Welsh storms on stage and straight into the poem ‘Lads’, featured on the Alright EP, a tirade against arrogant misogynist culture.

When a technical hitch occurs and stalls the beginning of the first song, Welsh segways seamlessly into two more brilliant poems: ‘Fuck Cameron and Osborne’, perhaps the least alluring poem ever written about sex with lines like, “everyone’s a communist when they truly cum”; and one about being chucked out of Bamboo, noting how he may be the only person to have ever subsequently written a poem about such an incident.

His poetic skill transfers directly into his song lyrics, which pick up on similar themes with witty and critical takes on familiar cultural tropes like bad after-parties, putting the world to rights with pals in the early hours, and platonic and romantic love.

Welsh has the voice and swagger of Alex Turner combined with a Scottish accent and good politics.

A new protest song starts off the musical section of the show, with a rowdy Spanish chorus about fascism.

The frontman’s energy matches his tight backing band of guitars and drum-kit and he bounds out into the audience to get the keen members dancing during interludes.

The recently recorded ‘Do What You Want’ is a highlight, a seductive song about sexual fluidity with slow offbeat rhythms and reverbed guitars.

The last tune ‘Just Get Along’ is a pacifist anthem to match the happy atmosphere in the room.

The audience are completely won over, singing along to the chorus of “every cunt’s a good cunt/why can’t all we just get along?

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Words: Ellen MacAskill