After our struggle to find somewhere to eat in the West End on a Friday night, we arrive at The Hug and Pint slightly later than originally planned therefore sadly missing Dave Frazer and only catching the end of eagleowl’s set.
What we catch of eagleowl is extremely entertaining as the band showcase a number of tracks each as sublime and timeless as each other.
The room is packed out tonight for the launch of Prehistoric Friends’ long-awaited debut and self-titled album, which is on sale tonight as a download code placed in a handmade fossil – a lovely and unique touch.
Prehistoric Friends is the project of multi-instrumentalist Liam Chapman (Friends in America, Miaoux Miaoux, Supermoon and the rest) and Glasgow Chamber Orchestra’s Nichola Kerr.
Tonight they are joined by their live band – Julian Corrie (Miaoux Miaoux) and Joe Rattray, Louis Abbot (Admiral Fallow) and are tightly squeezed on the venue’s small stage along with a number of plants.
The lack of space doesn’t hold the band back as they deliver a set full of gliding strings, dreamy vocals and chiming synth, which create an overall atmospheric and truly captivating sound.
Highlights include first single ‘Bermuda Triangle’ and new song ‘Being Human, Human Being’ – an upbeat track that the crowd is encouraged to dance along to, but “not too much, you might fall over! As there’s so many of you!” Kerr chimes in – a comment that truly shows just how busy tonight’s venue is.
Prehistoric Friends certainly know how to put on a show and their attention to detail certainly pays off tonight – if you ever get the chance to see this band live please make the effort to.
Having the chance to grab a chat with Adam Ross, lead singer of Randolph’s Leap at their CCA “festival in a can,” event reaffirmed the amazing culture of music currently circulating in Glasgow.
Where else can you go to an all day gig crammed with great bands like Randolph’s Leap and Withered Hand amongst many others for the measly sum of fifteen quid? That doesn’t even pay a kid into a football game these days!
Ross explains that the original concept, this being the third incarnation of the gig, was developed in conjunction Lost Map Records as an opportunity to provide a cheap platform to showcase bands to the public without the expense of a promoter.
Fittingly the title track of the gig is firmly a fans favourite and has become somewhat of an anthem and the good news for Randolph’s Leap fans is that a new ten-track studio album has been recorded.
Ross tells us this will have a live energy feel to it and a recorded live mini album, Most Clunkey, will be released for record store day in April.
Anyway onto the gig; arriving at half past five I catch offensively funny comedian Richard Brown, who introduces eagleowl, a five-piece outfit boasting an impressive string section of violin, cello and double bass the Edinburgh band produce a lo-fi electric folk sound.
Beautifully layered their music is dramatic and theatrical with gentle harmonised vocals that breathe life in to melancholy lyrics.
The six song set flies by, with new song ‘Summer School’ being a highlight, this band are a delight with a down beat style and an infinite sadness about their music; perfectly suited to intimate venues and well worth searching out.
Comedian Josie Long compares the second half of the show and her well-received quirky observational humour and duo Henry and Fleetwood are next to take the stage, with an acoustic blend of guitar and, believe it or not, harp.
What follows can only be described as utterly compelling as the pair combine to produce a dream like floating sound, with gentle plucked harp providing melody and bass and clever loops giving a full band sound.
With a mixture of instrumental tracks and songs with impeccably harmonised vocals they weave a thread of flawless earthy folk that had the audience silently spell bound.
They could only improve for me by dropping the instrumentals and singing all their tracks.
Withered Hand follow and quickly and with power engage the audience; flipping between poignant and intense, while singing and comedic and irreverent between tunes, he compels the audience to drink in his performance.
And drink we do, lapping him up as we are left punch drunk at his sarcastic and wistful lyrics.
The anthemic sing-along ‘Horseshoe’ goes down a storm and other tracks from latest album New Gods further cement his growing reputation as one of the finest live folksters around.
And with that Randolph’s Leap cram their massive ensemble onto the stage with a rush of energy that can only come with a band at the top of their game.
Energy can be the only word used to describe their performance as they burst into ‘Isle of Love’ with Hammond organ, trumpet and trombone blaring and lead singer Ross dressed as a sea captain gleefully proclaiming to the audience that he looked like a, well a rude word for lady parts!
40-minutes of purposefully twee and camp Scottish front room party madness follows and it is perfectly clear who the majority of the audience are here to see.
With blaring trumpet intros providing octane like fuel to the audience and songs bubbling over with humour and charisma it is easy to slip into a few beers and loose once self in the moment.
A great combinations of bands and comedians provided a character filled cheap night entertainment and Lost Map and Randolph’s Leap should be applauded for providing it.
Tonight the Glasgow Film Festival seeks to return the O2 ABC to its cinematic heyday, when once it was known as the ABC Regal, for an evening of collaborative works between film and live music, which endeavour to explore themes such as time, tide, love and loss.
The show begins just after six as Monoganan and eagleowl, both from the impressive roster of Scottish label Lost Map, take to the stage respectively to lend their sympathetic sounds to the projected images at the back of the stage.
Both acts provide splendid accompaniments, which level a great deal of intuition and respect toward the images on screen, however as eagleowl are given more material to work with, it is their performance that carries most weight.
The seafaring scenes of John Grierson’s ‘Granton Trawler’ are vividly interpreted by the band’s oscillating grooves, which fully bring to life the heaving trawler and crashing seas, while Norman McClaren’s beautifully colourful and abstract ‘Begone Dull Care’ (originally scored by the Oscar Peterson jazz trio) is treated to a disorienting clash of sounds.
Joe McAlinden is up next to provide subtle tones to ‘EDIT’, a short film he made in collaboration with Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, which was shot on location in Scotland.
The narrative focuses on a young woman who, by her own admission, has been running away for ten years; from what we are not sure although the sparse dialogue and lonesome scenery portray a mood of regret, sorrow and longing.
McAlinden’s haunting score reinforces these sombre feelings, however at times he uses his wonderfully expressive voice to offer glimmers of hope and acceptance.
Having previously recorded and released the soundtrack for the newly restored 1934 documentary ‘Man of Aran’, British Sea Power have proved themselves to be fine interpreters of historical film: a feat they prove once again with their score to Penny Woolcock’s ‘From the Sea to the Land Beyond’.
The film itself, from its opening shots of cascading waves and hovering gulls, is a stunning collection of old BFI archive footage, which depicts the once thriving leisure and industrial pursuits that once populated Britain’s coastlines.
With its scenes of bustling beaches strewn with smiling day-trippers and shipyards churning out vessels of massive proportions, it is a romantic ode to a time that only a few remember and that fewer still will likely see in the future.
British Sea Power conger this mix of pride and melancholy beautifully with their trademark brand of powerful, swooning material.
The distinct vocals of Jan Scott Wilkinson are kept to a minimum tonight as the poetic, lyrical quality of the images on screen provide more than enough narrative, thus enabling the band to commit to the job at hand.
By the time the last image of the encroaching sea has faded from view, the respectfully muted audience let their appreciation known with rapturous applause for all tonight’s collaborators that pulled off this fine marriage of sound and vision.
Edinburgh-based sextet eagleowl‘s debut LP showcases their talent for writing and performing a unique brand of folk-tinged, melancholic, drone-pop.
Self-described as ‘slowcore,’ this eagerly anticipated eight track follows up numerous EP and 7” releases, while the band has been busy working further afield; members have collaborated nationally and internationally including work with Withered Hand and Canadian counterparts Woodpigeon.
Short, deliberate lyrics (“yeah it’s so/quiet when you’re not here”) act as motifs over which eagleowl build expansive, melancholy soundscapes.
The instantly recognisable, slow, marching format of the songs are coloured with a bass drum that kicks like distant thunder (on opening track ‘Forgetting’) and a gently lilting string section that adds a traditional sounding reel to eagleowl’s melancholy pop.
Wider influences include the soulful vocal qualities and lo-fi lyrical work of certain electronic producers (see James Blake, Alex Clare), numerous slow-moving contemporary Scottish folk acts and even further afield, while the closing minutes of third track ‘Not Over’ could easily be mistaken for film score, and a good film score at that.
Later instrumental sections of the LP (‘Soft Process’) add even more colour to eagleowl’s unique brand of soft, sweet indie rock as each song develops a melodic hook with guitar or string work that will linger in your head for weeks.
This is music intended to spark deep, reflective emotion in the listener and lyrics suggesting lost love, regret and cautious optimism are given a good home in these echoing, ambient, often downbeat compositions.
A poignant guitar lick at the beginning of ‘Summerschool’ provides some twee indie focus on the album, while the orchestral brilliance of ‘Too Late in the Day’ provides the emotional high water mark for the album as eagleowl dramatically create a wall of sound within their brand of ‘slowcore’.
this silent year is an LP that doesn’t really sound like anything else, distinctly Scottish in flavour and feeling with the help of some traditional influences, all typed in lower case; this silent year sees eagleowl at the start of an expansive, droning, echoing career peddling their own brand of melancholy pop.