Tag Archives: Forever

XpoNorth Showcases, Inverness, 9/6/16

The showcases for day two start once again in the Ironworks and this time the free drinks are coupled with music; firstly The Pictish Trail and as Johnny Lynch enters the stage air boxing you know you’re in for a treat.

This is first time I’ve managed to witness Johnny Lynch playing in a non solo capacity, tonight he’s joined by Tuff Love’s Suse Bear on synth and bass duties and it adds a real lift in Lynch’s musician offerings.

Gone is the 30-second song hilarity, but the same mid song banter keeps things light hearted amidst the uplifting but full on dream-ridden tracks that are delivered.

There’s a new album on the horizon and you get the impression this could be something really special with a full band behind it.

By the time tonight’s special guest, Rachel Sermanni, is introduced the networking event has become just that, and it’s difficult to hear most of Sermanni’s delicate, hypnotic and dreamy laments.

Sermanni nonetheless is an impressive artist, and while this isn’t the perfect setting we know all too well what she’s capable of.

Forever is a band that we thought had gone, well forever, and despite being booked on a few festival lineups I was still unconvinced as their online presence was still nil, but turns out they’re back and with a rather new direction.

The now trio have switched up to an enjoyably glitchy electronic sound, which flows nicely, however one thing is a constant and it’s something I’m still on the fence with and that’s the vocal

Thing is though, it’s one thing that is going to win or lose Forever fans, there’s no doubting the twitchy accented delivery is unique, but as I said of them in their previous incarnation, there’s a real touch of Marmite about it; I can’t decide where I love it or hate it, guess I’m waiting for new recorded material then…

The biggest clash of the showcases comes next and I find myself in a mad dash, attempting to visit three venues in 30 minutes to hopefully catch 15-minute bursts of three artists.

The first of these acts is also my first visit to cocktail bar come temporary acoustic venue Scotch and Rye for beautifully intricacies of Chrissy Barnacle.

Sadly most of Barnacle’s delightfully intricate guitars, Joanna Newsome touching extravagances and generally hilarious mid song banter is lost in the cacophony of the noisy cocktail bar, which seems to have become the go to venue for those not interested in the live music on offer.

Over at the Market Bar is a different matter, as everyone is crammed in to the tiny space solely to hear the music as Mt. Doubt delivers a set that’s warm and captivating, while also managing to grasp the hugeness of The National’s live set and somehow squeeze it in a cosy living room; these guys seem to be doing everything right just now and this set only cements that notion further.

Sadly my mad dash mission fails slightly as when I arrive at Hootenanny’s The Youth and Young have nearly finished.

It’s a slower number that the band haves chosen to close their generally rambunctious set, however this short glimpse they manage to maintain that high octane energy that their set has become renowned for; these guys are one of the best folk rock acts in Scotland right now and their live show is one of the main aspects in that.

Following this I decide to give Scotch and Rye another go, sadly this proves a larger futile trip as Laurence Made Me Cry suffers the same fate Chrissy Barnacle and no doubt everyone else in this venue had before her.

I do manage to squeeze close enough to the front to hear a little bit of her set over the mire and what I get a hint of Jo Whitby’s hypnotising array of soothing electronics and smooth, enchanting vocals, well worth seeing at a venue where you don’t have to make a concerted effort to hear her.

Following this I was initially torn on whether to catch Breakfast Muff or not having seen them a couple of times in the past week, however a combination of the drink taking effect and just the fact that they are bloody brilliant makes up my mind and they don’t let down pulling out what might just be the set of the weekend.

The trio’s instruments swapping high-energy riot pop is a joy to behold, and new track, sporting the repeated line of “you’re not a feminist”, stands out as a future mainstay in a set that’s just bags of punk tinged fun.

Upstairs at Madhatters and Halfrican keep that same high-octane punk touching energy running as their reverby pop ticks all the right, riotous boxes for this time of the evening.

Halfrican is fun, addictive and make you want to fucking move; they’ve been promising bigger things for some time now, hopefully that elusive album will appear soon.

Popping downstairs for The Van T’s and I’m greeted by a mobbed venue, so there’s absolutely no chance of the seeing the four-piece surf rockers, but they are rightfully the reason why this place is so packed as they quash the venue’s questionable sound to irrelevance with their fuzzy guitar sound that oozes as much rock ‘n’ roll attitude as it does pop chops; we can’t recommend these guys highly enough.

Back over at the Ironworks I find myself bewildered that the bar staff have deemed tins not allowed and decant their cans of Red Stripe into a plastic cup. I. Only. Bought. It. So. I. Could. Have. A. Can… Raging.

Still, that coupled with a rather underwhelming set from reformed 90s Glasgow guitar pop act Astrid are soon forgotten amidst a night crammed with some brilliant acts and plenty of great people.

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Words: Iain Dawson

Detour and DICE presents Admiral Fallow, The Pictish Trail, Forever, Supermoon at The Hug and Pint, 29/7/15

First admission for this review is that I shouldn’t really be here; I’m suffering from a pretty nasty throat infection that has me struggling to swallow anything, but that doesn’t stop me giving a few of The Hug and Pint’s lovely selection of beers a go; bad idea it turns out.

Anyway the reason I struggled down this evening is that Detour, along with London based forward thinking ticket company DICE, are putting on yet another gig with a difference; this time that difference being the line up is completely secret.

Well a few people knew, including myself, which is again part of the reason why I made the effort, but in hindsight a look at the Detour Twitter feed seems it wasn’t that difficult to figure out, although bumping into Tom from GoldFlakePaint, who ran a competition where the person who guessed closest to the actual line up won tickets, reveals that no one guessed a single act correctly.

Secret line up, it’s been done before, what’s special about that? What’s special is the sheer pull that Detour seems to have, the show sold out well in advance with the appeal of seeing acts out of their natural habitat and indeed most aren’t let down.

Tonight’s headliners, Admiral Fallow, are more accustomed to playing venues the size of the Barras these days than tiny basements, and the Pint’s basement is tinier than most; that’s not to say they’re out of place, Louis Abbott and co. worked their way up through smaller venues to where they are now, indeed I recall seeing him somewhat bizarrely opening a show featuring Holy Mountain and the now defunct Glasgow hardcore act Prolife in Variety’s cramped bar space some years ago.

First up tonight though is Supermoon and I was particularly excited to see Neil Pennycook under his new alias, indeed he addresses this early in the set quipping “I used to play in a band called Meursault… Who I killed,” before launching into a stripped back version of the ethereal yet powerful sound he has become renowned for.

Meursault was always a powerhouse prospect live with Pennycook’s strong, distinctive, clean vocal and clever emotive lyrics always hanging over woozy soundscapes, Supermoon isn’t much different, so there’s no need to worry on that count.

The only thing to worry about is sound problems in the venue as after a couple of ear splitting booms the mic stops working, but Pennycook is a seasoned enough performer to keep everyone entertained with some bad jokes, while is the issue gets resolved.

There’s still that dry humour hanging around his lyrics too and this flows into his banter as he invites Liam Chapman (“who you might recognise from… every other band in Scotland”) on stage to take on drum duties, before the show almost evolves into a full on comedy set with Pennycook’s mock bullying of the ever-likeable drummer.

The addition of percussion to the set only goes to enhance an already stellar performance; this act may have changed in name but the quality is definitely still there in abundance.

Next act, Forever are somewhat of a wildcard, but apparently Detour’s David Weaver has been banging on about then for some time now, and indeed from this outing musically they show plenty of promise.

Clicking percussion and a rather minimalist sound that’s topped of with sunny riffs, give an impression of dream pop with the sun shining on it (daydream pop if you will), however the vocals seem somewhat of acquired taste.

There’s a weird eccentricity about the almost spoken word vocals that are delivered with a touch of manic joy, but could easily have Forever forever in the Marmite camp.

The Pictish Trail follow upstairs and surrounded by an array of electronic equipment Johnny Lynch seems filled with crazy delight as he delivers a thoroughly engrossing set, which begins on soothing beats and twinkles with mumbled heartfelt loveliness and casually progresses into chaos.

Whether delivering adorable ballads of over charming lo-fi soundscapes or shouting “yeeeeah” and “oh shit” over brash dirty electro beats his set never gives and is relentlessly entertaining.

“I don’t have any songs to go with that” he quips during the latter track, before launching into a hilarious rap bit as the set continues with much bravado and constant ridiculousness.

Then we move into the 30-second song section of the set, which sees the harsh nonsense of ‘Sweating Battery Acid’ played twice and the “longest 30 second of your life” ‘Birds’ finishing the set before Lynch introduces tonight’s headliners with the line “downstairs Admiral Fallow are going to strip naked and reveal their admirable phallus’.”

By the time Admiral Fallow do take the stage I’m struggling somewhat, those couple of beers have taken full effect on my throat and I’m really feeling the heat in the packed sweaty basement, still I manage to hang around for the first few songs of what appears an assured and confident set from a band that I admittedly haven’t really given much time to since their 2010 debut Boots Met My Face eventually lifted them to the masses.

From what I manage to stay for they project an assured impression crammed onto the tiny stage, and even off to the side of it, sounding as tight and big as I remember them from years previous.

I even get a wee feeling of reminiscence as Abbott announces they’re going to play and old one before ‘Squealing Pigs’ engages the audience with as much sing-along glory as it had in venues like this five years ago; doubt you’ll get many opportunities to see it in one again.

I sadly can’t make it to the end and have to leave before my throat totally shuts up and leaves the night in tragedy, but from what I see it’s another extremely successful evening from one of Scotland’s most cherished promotion duos.

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Words: Iain Dawson