Tag Archives: Laura St Jude

Stag & Dagger Festival 2018

Stag & Dagger has been around for almost a full decade, originating in hipster central AKA London’s Shoreditch, which houses many new creatives and upcoming musicians.

The festival had only one year under its fledgling belt before bequeathing Sauchiehall Street as its sister location in early 2009.

Since then the mini-festival has grown in size and scale encapsulating every music venue of note on the street and bringing in a smorgasbord of acts from home (all over the UK) and afar (America & Japan).

Not only does it allow the skint Art School cohort to fill their boots with as many live bands as they can handle, for a mere £25, it’s also offers a good opportunity to venue hop whilst enjoying some promotional beverage prices – all under the guise of supporting live music.

With so many great acts playing and across so many venues it is always inevitable that you won’t get to see everyone on your ‘to do’ list, but that only serves as testament to the quality of the line-up.

After some disruptions to the train service the first act we catch of the day is down in the Broadcast basement, and as has become the norm in these Glasgow city festivals the bands get to enjoy playing to packed out venues as the festivals early comers take in the only music on offer before the bigger spaces open their doors.

This time it’s the turn of Guildford indie punks BlackWaters and as I watch from just in front of the stairwell behind a sea of heads the four-piece deliver a set peppered with hooky pop sensibilities and punk rock intensity that stirs up a frenzy in the sweaty space, with some down the front belting back the words.

The band has a string of singles in their name now, each combining the hectic yet accessible powerpop come punk of the late 70s mixed with coy snarl and indie swagger of early Arctic Monkeys or Blur at their most punk, it seems like recipe for success and they’re hitting the right projectory to ride it.

Next door in Sleazy’s Aussie four-piece Vacations deliver a much more dreamy affair, as the crowd get met with the dilemma of choice for the first time of the day as the other venues start opening their doors, however they manage to hold a substantial crowd as their soaring guitars whip you with a cool breeze on one of the warmest days we’ve had so far this year.

This is the last date on a full European tour and despite their understated demeanour the band seem thrilled to end things to this size of crowd in Glasgow, lulling you with their beautifully shimmering indie rock chops you can’t help be washed away by their optimistic slacker pop.

Back in Broadcast and London/Brighton dream popsters Underwater Boys are demonstrating their undoubted potential with a set of synth washed pop.

Lead vocalist Tom Klar is the focal point as his strained high yet clean vocals cut above the band’s breezy hooks that are only topped in hypnotics by his ever rhythmic bounce, as if he’s channelling his inner Bez, thankfully only in dance moves.

There’s points where the band hit more psychedelic notes and when the three vocals overlap there’s hints of a real glam energy, but it all comes with an overriding Britpop sheen that’s complimented by the fuzzy joys of contemporaries likes of Ariel Pink and Beach House.

With the sun beating down this Bank Holiday and Glasgow not being known for such weather and Glaswegians known for enjoying their time in the sun, I can honestly say I was surprised when I turned up to see Declan Welsh & the Decadent West at G2, only to be greeted at the entrance by a long snaking queue to get in.

Declan Welsh a young stalwart hailing from East Kilbride has a fire in his belly and he want you know all about.

Playing with his band The Decadent West, two of whom are sporting fantastic silk shirts play impassioned post punk, with leanings towards Nirvana and The Clash.

The lyrics are witty and unflinchingly stark that touch upon a range of topics from the Palestinian Occupation to everyday mundanity.

‘No Pasaran’, doffs its cap to the Spanish Civil War of 1930, translating literally as ‘they shall not pass’ and is delivered more as a battle cry tonight, imbuing the set with a political flair.

A song that identifies very similar to early Arctic Monkeys records, ‘Do What You Want’ takes on a much sultrier tone that sees Welsh exhibiting some fine, snake hips dance moves and wouldn’t be out of place in the background of a strip joint in The Sopranos.

Ending the set with‘Nazi Boys’, which is a fiery frenetic beast, with angry guitars and the jarring drawl of “nazi boys of the alt right on reddit in the dead of night/trolling girls and swapping memes, a master race of spotty teens”.

Serves as a song you can dance proudly to, whilst also stomping your disapproval of fascist regimes.

Over at the CCA we pop in to catch up on the joy that is an Edwin Organ set, and today just playing as a duo they seem a bit less fleshed out than previous outings, yet they still manage to capture than same sultry yet wonky vibe with impressive flair.

Edwin Organ seems to have grown in confidence over the last few years and he cuts a much more comfortable figure cracking jokes with the crowd, before delving into another maximal sample or serenading us with that gorgeous soulful, smooth deep vocal that melts you into his set.

Organ has been on the horizon for a fair while now but it now seems to be hitting a point where his unquestionable talents need the chance to mesmerise a mass audience.

On the main stage at The Art School Warm Digits open things up and the Newcastle duo immediately up the octane with a haunting drums, guitar and laptop master class in driven kraut-tinged post rock.

In a live setting they leave no room for breathe as they grasp you and wring your neck with sheer adrenaline, as a selection of vocal sample including Devon Sproule’s contribution on the disco fun of ‘The Rumble and the Tremor’ from last year’s Wireless World are allowed to shine alongside a powerhouse of musicianship.

It’s an engulfing experience that’s made even more impressive that it’s just the two of them, as Technicolor visuals add to the trance-like state that their music leaves you in.

Next we hot tail it over to Sleazy’s to catch Glasgow’s very own Medicine Men who have been gracing Glasgow’s live music scene for a number of years.

Their sound is particularly hard to pin down and seems to morph from one song to the next; yes, they have psychedelic leanings, but there is so much more going on.

Songs like ‘Bruised Peach’ are a glittering disco triumph, with vocals sounding more distorted and akin to Kasabian’s Tom Meighan.

Whilst, ‘Ceiling to the Floor’ is a beautiful love ballad that has Leftfield and Morcheeba nuances over a beautiful synth loop.

Frontman Ian Mackinnon has plenty of friendly between song banter with the crowd where he warns “don’t do what I usually do, try to take it easy, and not get too wrecked and see some bands”.

Final track ‘Out of the Light’, is a sentimental pop tune that sounds like a intriguing mash up between The Polyphonic Spree and LCD Soundsystem and provides plenty momentum to close the set.

At the sticky mess of a venue that is the G2 Edinburgh sweethearts Dama Scout play to a fairly sparse crowd, but quickly expel any indie pop clichés by delivering a set that’s as harrowing as it is sweet, yes there are moments when it’s pure whimsical C86 pop as an enchanted nod washes through the audience, but this trio have much more to them than that.

It’s the way the band constantly keep you on your toes, while still maintaining a quality sound that goes from unnerving three way vocals as a constant vibration rings through the venue to the throbbing post punk of new single ‘Milky Milk’ before hitting us with some angular guitar pop.

It’s hard to pin down what Dama Scout quite do best, but with just an EP and a handful of singles to their name, all of high quality, what direction they go in next will be well worth following them in.

America’s Protomartyr, hailing from Detroit is quite the spectacle to behold; as the crowd pour in to The Art School, it’s very clear that they are one of the most anticipated bands on the line up, with the venue filling up in a matter of minutes.

Ambling on stage, somewhat nonplussed vocalist Joe Casey, quickly instructs the sound desk for “more red and blue lights” once swathed in his chosen colours, he takes a few more sips from his paper coffee cup before breaking in to ‘My Children’, a fascinating pastiche on fading childhood innocence and growing up; it’s a good opener that allows the band to showcase a softer hue whilst building momentum.

Protomartyr are mesmerising to watch, Casey’s presence is extremely laid back, almost detached but the lyrics are delivered in an impressive baritone, almost verging on spoken word, which only seems to lend itself to the band’s, moody, atmospheric post punk vibe, drawing in even the most reluctant of audience.

‘Corpses in Regalia’ from the band’s fourth studio album Relatives in Descent, sounds like Nick Cave riding in the back of an ornate hearse on his way to one of the most opulent disco party hosted by the Nephilim; it’s gothic and it’s great.

‘Here is the Thing’ is a buzzing rush of guitars angry and defiant, with leanings towards The Fall and Casey sounding more akin to Mark E Smith; it’s an impressive symposium of layered guitars and petulant drums.

Not wanting to break character, the band finish the set on ‘Scum Rise!’, a blood curdling ode, full of spite, revenge and darkness.

It’s bleak, menacing and foreboding, which lends to its exuberance, leaving the room in no doubt of the bands impressive instrumental capabilities; easily one of the best performances of the evening.

A quick trot down the hill (somewhat to my reluctance as I was loath to miss Wire) and into the ABC2 I managed to catch a few songs by Shambolics, a four piece that hail from Fife, who had impressively managed to fill the room, even although Glasvegas where playing in the same venue right at that moment, upstairs.

“Thanks for coming Glasgow, I thought you would definitely patch us,” muses front man Lewis McDonald, sounding slightly surprised himself.

The band have been cutting their dreamy, whimsical, sweetheart indie-pop teeth supporting bands such as Cast and songs like ‘Love Collides’ are infused with a sense of seaside romance that’s at once upbeat and infectious.

With obvious leanings towards The La’s, the young band are both part Merseybeat and 90’s twee indie pop, which seems to have gathered them a committed following.

Coming out of the dark behemoth that is Protomartyr you need an escape, to follow that with the full 75-minutes of Wire seems a little excessive and unfair to some of the other acts on the bill.

The escape comes just half way down the hill as the ever animated Stanley Odd frontman Solareye delivers his lauded brand of politically savvy Scottish hip hop to a CCA crowd that lap it up.

Solareye, aka Dave Hook, is one of those frontmen that performs live with an apparent giddy glee that just infectious and his off the cuff observations demonstrate just why he’s one of the best in the game on these shores.

Hook’s solo material is in more glitchy and less rock territory than that of his band, but it’s politically astute as ever and as he bounces around with a beamer on his face you can’t help but be enchanted, he even gives us a spot of beat boxing while a technical fault gets remedied, it seems there’s no end to this guys talents and he’s loving putting it out there.

Following that I arrive at the festival’s smallest venue, and sadly The Priory seems like the forgotten venue as I arrive just before HOME$LICE take the stage on a set time shared with other local favourites West Princes along with the festival’s big hitters.

Still, the band don’t let that phase them and before long there’s a healthy enough crowd to make the tiny basement appear busy as the band sprinkle us with the sunshine that’s almost forgotten at 10pm and deliver irresistible guitar pop glory that has made them one of our favourite acts to come out of Glasgow recently.

They pour out a set built from their latest release Howdy and last year’s impressive Young Creatives; hooky guitar based glory and attitude drenched vocals that get the basement bouncing along nicely.

All that and we’re still left with enough time to see a good portion of Wire, as the legendary band close up The Art School with a behemoth of a set that shows that the post punk pioneers have what it takes more that 40-years past their original formation.

After a quick pit stop in the Saramago bar, we manage to catch the infectious, feel good disco party that is The Vegan Leather; hailing from Paisley this exotic looking, motely crew of students sound and look beautiful.

Walking into the room we are instantly met with a hot blast of damp air, which is coming from the seething mesh of bodies that are enthralled in a disco mosh pit of sorts; The Vegan Leather is a band who want your attention and they intend to get it from the onset.

The art pop quartet emit optimism and fun by the bucket load and it’s easy to see why they have been making waves on the Glasgow music scene over the past year.

Big hair and big noise, the band showcase upbeat indie- electro synths and pounding drums on ‘Shake It’, where ‘Man Dies’ is more of a whimsical sonnet, that’s still angular and edgy.

The set has moments of Metronomy, Art Brut and even Soulwax laced through it and the audience doesn’t stop dancing even for a moment.

“On this next song Marie is about to school you”, forewarns Gianluca Bernacchi and the crowd, not slow on the uptake begin to chant the usual mantra of “here we, here we…” yes you know the one, no further explanation needed I’m sure… Only to replace it with “Marie, Marie, Marie Fu**in, Collins” beaming through a flash of pink hair the guitarist quickly lunches in to singing ‘Eyes’, which she does from somewhere in the heart of the crowd.

‘I Take American’ is a fun stomp through the playground by a shiny plastic dinosaur that’s let’s face – probably pink and covered in glitter; it’s great fun and the crowd sing along in chorus.

Ones to keep a look out for in the near future and if you see them playing in town, please take the time out to catch their next show.

Broadcast was our final destination of the evening having one of the last billed guests on the latest time slot 12:30am.

Former Amazing Snakeheads frontman Dale Barclay tops the bill alongside his wife and fellow member of And Yet It Moves, Laura St. Jude.

The duo have been performing together after what Barclay would call his ‘Gift from the Reaper’, having recently been diagnosed with an invasive brain tumour, the pair have been inseparable and Barclay more focused now on artistic pursuits and creative outlets than ever before (see previous Rave Child interview) with more clarity and vision and poise.

Since returning to his hometown of Glasgow (from Berlin where And Yet it Moves were based) Barclay has wasted zero time on inaction.

He has been playing several gigs, and has even put together the Cain’s Collective comprising of; Laura St. Jude, Dale Barclay, Steven Thomas (poet) and Kelsey Black (painter) and Paul Barclay (Photographer); together the group have been putting on events and generating a creative output cohesively.

The set tonight is a stiff middle finger in the face of fear, a belly full of bile, truculent and seething with a hunger for the here and now.

Opener, ‘No Way back to Lunch’ sees Steven Thomas join the group, as he howls at the moon, a good opener to show the crowd the visceral, raw mechanics are very much part of a functioning, well-oiled machine.

Memories with the burdened howl of “take it by both hands and shake it if you need it” is a startling reminder to make the most of what you have and is at once invasive and rousing.

Closing the festival on ‘Mark Swan’, a track by And Yet It Moves, again seeing friends, companions and contemporaries grace the stage with Barclay really giving the show a sense of what is happening is very much a family affair, open to those who want to make the most of what you have and find beauty in the raw and primal of everyday life.

A gift from the Reaper indeed, at the end of a beautiful night.

More Photos

Words: Ang Canavan/Iain Dawson
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

A Gift from the Reaper

The world of And Yet It Moves had fell quiet for some time, and no one despite a small group of people knew exactly what was happening, however Dale Barclay the frontman of the group contacted me wanting to shed light and share exactly the ordeal that has happened.

Cutting to the chase, at the tender age of 32 Barclay was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma brain cancer and as a result has relocated home to Glasgow from the band’s Berlin base to focus on fighting that, but from what is a quite terrifying reality has born a man more awake than ever before.

When I met up with Barclay and band mate and now wife Laura St. Jude, they came across like they had done in the past, the most welcoming enthusiastic people you could ever meet in your life; now two artists caught up in a whirlwind of a medical catastrophe are making the only choice; to face to head on, keep creating, keep fighting and enjoy everything that comes your way.

When putting together this piece I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this piece, however the best way felt to go Barclay’s raw dialogue, a stream of inspiring consciousness, about fear, life, beauty and what really matters:

Being diagnosed with cancer is potentially the scariest thing that can happen in someone’s life, can you explain what your initial reaction to finding out was? 

Exhilaration, doom, sadness for my family and Laura (St. Jude), seeing them upset was worse than being told. The fog only really clears after surgery for me. My surgeon, Mr Alakandy, telling me my adversary was turbo charged is the moment I’m recalling. Post surgery. A moment seared into me. Grade four Glioblastoma brain cancer. Unmethylated. Wild type mutation. It’s pure instinct. Run or fight. It was a morning of crystal clear clarity, every detail is there, the power of facing uncomfortable truths, it has to be faced. A lesson for some in never jumping the gun. My reaction now is rage, I’m fuckin raging and must remain so. I’m in the fight of my life. I have much to do. The stage, they say, is set. Cancer can fuck off. All barrels are loaded. Fight, fight, fight every day is the way. Music and words are the bullets. Clarity is the light.

Can you go into detail about the scenario that led to going to hospital and finding out?

I had two seizures, one in Frankfurt before a Laura St Jude gig, the second was the night before an And Yet It Moves show in Portsmouth. Laura and I had been living in Germany but after the second one returned to Glasgow. The docs were testing me for epilepsy, there’s no history of that in my family, so, there was one doctor in the RAH that flagged it and got me a scan, and by that point I was drugged up enough to forget her name. I shall be forever grateful to her. If she hadn’t taken the initiative then, the tumour may have keep growing until it was too late to rumble with it. My lady of the RAH I thank with every ounce of my being. I remember much more after surgery, waking up with a tube sticking out the side of my head, the nurses that took care of me, I remember everything, being told it was grade four, the docs faces, the tears from the people I love and who love me, my tears. I felt no fear. I feel no fear. I feel awakened. If you’ve watched the Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson then that’s it. The sky has never looked so beautiful. I feel more alive now than ever before. Cancer has brought liquid gold clarity to me, like a gift from the reaper, I am grateful. A clear mind now is paramount. I must fight and will. No mercy will be shown and none asked for. It’s war, let there be no doubt.

Without going into too much technical details can you tell us aboit the form of cancer you have?

I have grade four Glioblastoma brain cancer. All cancer is aggressive. Some more than others. Mine is primary, which means it’s contained in my brain and has not spread or migrated from anywhere else in my body. I am extremely fortunate that that is the case. Fight or flight time and it’s all on black. Run and die or fight and live. No heads in the sand here. Ever. Never. My surgeon, Mr Alakandy, his team, Wuillie and Big Chris, cut 90% of the cancer out, the remaining 10% must be burned. I’m on Chemo, Radiotherapy and a clinical trial. I attend the Beatson in Glasgow. My treatment is on going for the next six months at the very least. I would also urge anyone reading this that has cancer or if someone they love has it to Google cannabis oil and cancer.

You recently got positive news, what was that and how did that effect you?

I recently got my first MRI scan since leaving hospital and starting treatment. No growth. A smiling oncologist is worth more than heaven could hold. No doubt. A fine day. First one so it’s a gravel pit to now bounce to the future off of. And it warmed my blood to see Laura and my family and friends smiling. Good vibes all over. It’s always onwards never a backwards step. Onto the next one.

How has having cancer affected yourself and those around you, both in terms of living habits and life view?

There’s before and after no doubt. A silver edge crossed and there’s no way back even if I wanted to. And I wouldn’t if I could. Cancer can’t be ignored. Or it can but you die if you do. I refuse to die, I have too much to do and see, too much music to make, I fight with drugs and music and love and friendship, all remnants of bullshit have been flamethrowered from my being. Sugar is gone, cancer loves sugar, the solution they inject you with when you get an MRI scan has glucose in it, when it gets to the tumour it creates a creates a feeding frenzy and the fucker lights up like Christmas. If anyone reading this reckons it’s a good idea to feed your enemy I would urge them to take a permanent swim in the Clyde. Certainly trying to cut back on the smokes and the cocktails is recommended. It can be done. Put your arms around anything or anyone you love and don’t let go. Now.

You’ve kept on writing and performing since having the operation, has cancer affected your approach to this in any noticeable ways?

My love for my loves has increased more than I ever thought possible. I’m greedy for beauty and it’s everywhere. I would not go back given the choice. Music, writing, reading, friendship. I have not stopped writing since leaving hospital, I thank Steven Thomas especially for the encouragement and inspiration to not stop. I haven’t. Thank you Steven, my brother. The truth is in the book. I want more of everything I love. I want to be in good company more than ever. All doubt is gone. I have no need for it any more. It’s fuelled me up to now but cancer has cremated it. I’m grateful. My purpose is music. It’s in me. Where it goes I go. Laura and me are here for music. Music is the answer and the source of all my power. Life. Source. All of the above.

What does this all mean for And Yet It Moves?

And Yet It Moves live and create in Berlin. Laura and I have to be in Glasgow for 2018, my treatment is on going for this year, so until I’m not shackled to the hospital we can’t tour. We were just setting up album two. To be continued…

You have formed the Cain’s Collective, can you tell us more about that (who it is collectively, what they do, how you met and what is planned release/event wise for the future)?

CC is Laura St Jude, Dale Barclay, Steven Thomas (poet), Kelsey Black (painter), Paul Barclay (photographer). Paul and I met at T in the park, when the Snakeheads played there. Many miles together since. Laura and I and Steven and Kelsey got talking at a And Yet It Moves gig and haven’t stopped since. Steven’s first book will be published by Cain’s Collective. Steven will have a 7” vinyl out soon. Me and Laura are will have a split 7” out in June. Kelsey’s artwork will be landing. Steven is main support for Dale Barclay and Laura St Jude shows in June (21st, Edinburgh-Sneaky Petes, 22nd Glasgow-The Art School). Steven’s book and the vinyl will be on sale at the Cain’s Collective stall at the gigs.

Has Cain’s Collective been something you’ve thought of putting together before this happened, or is it more a case of seizing the scenario that life has thrown your way?

Cain’s Collective is most definitely seize the moment, we unexpectedly find ourselves back in Glasgow fighting brain cancer, so what can be done now we are here? That was the question. I’ve never been more sure of anything before. Magic is real and fairies exist, there will be blood.

The battle commenced. It must be fought to the death. Poetry, music, imagery from a deep dark place speaking many uncomfortable truths!  We create through the inspiration of each other as part of Cain’s Collective! Cain’s Collective is a group beyond society a family of creatives, brothers and sisters bound by blood and bone. If you lift the dirt and the gravel, you will find us there. Creation on many different platforms, from blood, from love. Darkness guides our hands and heads, our pens and paint brushes, it seeps from cracks and minds alike. In this ceaseless war of life, we are here to put forward our woes and worries, our love and hate. The truth is on every line and can be read between. In the field Cain rose against Abel his brother and killed him, what have you done? Listen! Your brothers blood cries out to us from the soil. It’s head in hands, the sweat dripping down your cheek, a clear vision. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, we confront with dilated pupils, we confront. It’s a dark night, it’s a throat cut, it’s a warm embrace here at Cain’s Collective. Welcome to ‘Cain’s Collective’, publishing, bookmaking and record company for the rebel hearted among the humans. In the great tradition of independent labels and publishers we provide cover for outsider artists that the mainstream media can neither fathom nor handle. Words, images and music from beyond the standard model. We only release work we truly love with focus on quality and clarity. Cain’s Collective; for those creative souls cursed to wander through a life of artistic exile, shunned by the ignorant and ignored by the masses. We aim to liberate those minds from the shackles of modern society through art, poetry and music. Bound together by a need to create, we are a band of brothers and sisters working collaboratively as a non-profit organisation to produce widely accessible, inclusive to all anti-authoritarian art. We believe in artistic liberty and freedom of speech for all. We denounce any use of censorship, our work is honest and must be acknowledged. Condemn those who create for profit. Art for art’s sake always. No exceptions.

Steven Thomas of Cain’s Collective

During all of this you and Laura got married, was this something that was in the pipeline for a while, it doesn’t seem to have changed anything between the pair of you, but it would be good to get your feelings on what made you take that step.

Yes, we had been engaged to be married for two years, living together for six, it was past the time to do it and there is no more waiting. When Sailor married Lula, it was no cold December, for true love and the sacred heart, a Saturday morning to remember. A moment of pure beauty in a sea of darkness. A blood red wedding. Boots size nine. A Benny Hamish special. Sailor and Lula forever and always.

Cain’s Collective established February twenty eighteen for good reasons. Based in Glasgow, Scotland. Limited run signed and numbered books, paintings, prints and vinyl releases coming soon. Dale and Laura play 6/5 Stag and Dagger, 12/5 Pie and Brew, Glasgow (acoustic)

Laura St. Jude at Broadcast, 12/8/16

It doesn’t take Laura St. Jude long to captive the audience with her enchanting vocals; silencing the room from the moment she begins her set, not the easiest for 10pm on a Friday night.

Tonight St. Jude is accompanied by her full band, whose melodies manage to pack a punch without becoming over the top allowing St. Jude’s haunting vocals to remain in the spotlight.

However Dale Barclay’s gruff snarl adds another dimension to the set, adding a post punk tinge to St. Jude’s glamorous presence.

The highlight of tonight’s set is when the two collide during ‘Your Misery’ as their contrasting vocals come together to create sublime harmonies.

Possessing a repertoire and style influenced by the golden era of Hollywood, classic rock ‘n’ roll and a certain country quality, St. Jude and her band’s unique performance is more than capable of transporting you to another era.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/89860437″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Jess Lavin

Stag and Dagger (Part Two), 1/5/16

In the previous coverage of Stag and Dagger our reviewer, Adam Turner-Heffer, spoke of the fun of people’s entirely different experiences of the festival.

Intriguingly enough mine and Adam’s days overlap in only two places, one being rejecting the daunting queue for We Were Promised Jetpacks and the other being the early in the day slot of UNDO.

Still, my day, which for a good portion is spent helping out with flyering for the exciting looking Electric Fields, who today have their own stage upstairs in The Art School, is just as engaging and while I wasn’t particularly enamored by the bigger names on the bill there is still plenty of noteworthy performances.

My day begins at 3pm in the Broadcast basement, well almost, the venue is that mobbed I only manage to catch the end of Lovesick’s from the stairs, still from what I can make out the band possess a real rock ‘n’ roll attitude and their sneery vocals provide an engaging focal point on top of plenty of psychedelic tinged indie rock vibes.

Learning my less from the previous set I get down in plenty of time to see The Ninth Wave, and find myself tightly squeezed in towards the from of the stage.

The band’s melodic guitars and synths refreshingly come off a lot more raucous live than they do on record, as clattering, yet groove infected instrumentals are given a pop edge by Hadyn Park’s distinctive pop rock vocals, which give in to some dream pop tinged harmonies courtesy of Elina Lin.

The Ninth Wave definitely come across at their best when they utilise the male-female vocal dynamic to the max, but this is something that’s an almost ever presents and although the set takes a slight lull for some slower material, they make a big impressive in front of surely the biggest crowd they’ve played to thus far.

Over at the CCA there’s a real hush surrounding Bella and the Bear’s set and the extremely talented duo use this to make their cutting edge lyrics stand out on top of their mellow folk twinkles.

They’re a band that have quite rightly had a lot of praise and I’m ashamed to say this is the very first time I have managed to catch them in a live setting, but I’m sure it won’t be the last as Lauren Gilmour’s voice oozes as much character as it does quality, and their arrangements, which occasionally break out into on the button, yet very Scottish, spoken word, leave a touch of beauty that you don’t often witness at a hectic festival.

Popping up the hill for HÆLOS I am greeted with a set full of soaring cinematic electronic pop, and for a band playing their first ever Scottish show they deliver a set that is as vivid and intriguing and it is euphoric.

The band utilise having two drummers in refreshing way; the two percussionists work off of each other to give a really big and ranged sound, rather than just elevating the volume, which seems to be the result when most acts resort to this tactic.

Still, the band delivers a set that well worth catching, full of interesting pace changes and glitches that emphasise on the soaring potential of it all.

Downstairs in The Art School I witness, what for me is, the set of the day and it comes from Laura St. Jude.

The set begins on a hauntingly powerful note, as a cacophony of sound whirlwinds up to something all the more sombre, as St. Jude’s gentle yet firm vocals possess a certain country quality that all comes with a devastating sense of foreboding that drives the set with gasps that provoke a feel of doomed misery, or even comfort in that same feeling.

The set is honest and unnerving and just draws you in for more; it’s a real testament to St. Jude that she manages to maintain the spotlight even when joined on vocals by guitarist and former Amazing Snakeheads frontman Dale Barclay, and while Barclay’s gruff snarl gives the set another post punk tinged dimension, it acts to build an irresistible chemistry and compliment St. Jude’s angelic delivery rather than outshine it, which I’m sure it would do when paired with many musicians out there.

Bumping into The Ninth Wave and their manager I end up down at the ABC for a short blast of The Lapelles, who possess just the right mix of balls out indie rock attitude and earworm worthy tunes that could see easily see them explode.

The reason it’s only a short burst is that Be Charlotte is due to start any second just round the corner, and the Dundonian youngster kicks of with the flawless accapella intro to recent single ‘Discover’, before a simple yet infectious beat adds a real blast of tantalising energy.

Charlotte is an artist it’s difficult not to pay attention to, her performance and set is so engaging and diverse that it’s hard not to be impressed as she switches from gob smacking vocals to cutting edge spoken word to triple percussion assaults that simply silence the crowd and create an awe filled atmosphere.

There’s so much to this girl’s set, just as you think she’s edged onto something that’s a bit too experimental for the masses she pulls another Radio One banger out the bag and in turn demonstrates she’s got all the chops to get to the very top, but isn’t just a straight up pop singer either.

Over at The Art School Stanley Odd are back after a wee break from gigging and they pick up where they left off with consummate ease; Stanley Odd have for a while been one of the most entertaining live acts in Scotland and tonight is no different as Solareye bops around the stage with a gleeful look on his face delivering that distinctive politically charged hip hop we have become familiar with.

The band moves from driving gltichy electronics to huge beats with soaring chorus’, executed flawlessly by Veronika Electronika, to heartfelt speeches to the most moment catching freestyles imaginable, they even manage to leave everyone talking about them despite leaving their most famous track to date, referendum anthem ‘Son, I Voted Yes’ out of the set instead finishing on a new number, which has the packed room chanting “it’s all gone tae fuck” well beyond the end of the set; only in Scotland would you get this kind of reaction to this kind of new material.

Downstairs and I catch a portion of Smash Williams’ compelling electronics that give way to a snarled yet almost folky vocal from Stuart Dougan, I don’t manage to catch much of them today but, from this glimpse, alongside the splattering of material they have available online and the strong catalogue of bands behind the duo, surely any upcoming release is one to look out for.

Over at CCA and Sheffield’s Slow Club begin on a gentle piano led track that simply allows the beauty of Rebecca Taylor’s voice to soar effortlessly over the room, before engaging with the audience in her thick Yorkshire accent with a warm humour that contrasts their beautiful emotive material refreshingly.

There are moments during the set where the crowd seems stuck to the spot, entranced by Taylor’s immaculate delivery, but it’s credit to the duo’s delightful indie pop dynamic that when Charles Taylor takes lead or indulges in harmonies with Taylor the set is just as engaging.

Slow Club are a band that know exactly how to tug on heartstrings and sound immaculate doing it, but equally know how to reign an audience in with amusing banter, keeping their set light and entertaining; they have a new album out this month and tonight along with the consistency of their last three releases suggest it’ll be one well worth checking out.

Following this set I grab a few drinks and hang around til late on to catch Sweaty Palms in action at Broadcast, no one really remembers what happened in this half an hour, but what they do remember is that it was a riot, a phenomenal riot catalyzed by a band that are destined to make waves much much further than a basement in their hometown.

More Photos

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/158622994″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Paul Storr

Tijuana Bibles, Kelvin, Laura St Jude at Oran Mor, 5/9/15

Oran Mor kicks off the start of Tijuana Bibles’ “Ghost Dance” tour- a 24-date tour around Europe, and with the release of their second EP Ghost/Dance/Movement their biggest headline in their home city has been highly awaited as these guys take on some new territories.

Laura St Jude is the opening act with her band in tow; as she starts her set the audience is really just a handful of people.

However small the crowd is, they are completely silenced by her voice, it’s quite beautifully haunting, simple, but a fine richness to it much alike the instruments accompanying her.

As a live performer she is mesmerising, and knows how to express her lyrics in a completely elegant and emotional way.

The crowd pick up a bit, but nothing near the audience she should be getting; there was definitely intensity in her performance and a lot of promise.

Four-piece indie rock band Kelvin take to the stage next and they have been getting a lot of attention recently from some big names in the industry, most notably from Simple Minds.

They recently played a stripped back set for a Scottish Alternative Music Awards showcase, being recognised for their prominence and abrupt success in the Scottish scene.

In a short while their sound has gone from strength to strength, and they have really become prominent fixtures in the scene.

The front of the stage is filled with fans; this isn’t their headline of course, but a massive turnout of people.

They have an amazing stage presence and frontman Connor interacts with the audience getting them excited for the headline.

You can definitely hear that the guys have found their way and got a signature style, it’s very rich and their songwriting is far beyond their years.

There is certain rareness to their sound and it won’t be too long before they can take on a venue this size for a headline.

DSC_3205The venue is now packed, and as the crowd wait for the headline act you can feel the hype around the room; if their psychedelic sound wasn’t enough, Tijuana Bibles have really distinguished themselves from any other band through their live performances.

They really feed off of the adrenaline of their fans and give an awestruck and ecstatic performance, notably frontman Tony Costello really knows how to connect with his audience.

The crowd erupts to a frantic hysteria as the guys take to the stage and right away they go into a totally different mode and it’s all about the music.

The atmosphere has changed from being an eager buzz to having some high tensions and spirits as everyone head bangs and bounces along.

Despite the ruggedness driving of the guitar and bass along with the snarling of the drums, they create a completely precise and on point sound.

It goes without saying that these guys have some fucking class musicianship together, but the drums carry this performance and it’s been a good few gigs since I’ve heard some tremendous playing like this.

After playing a mixture of songs from their EP’s, new and old, it comes to the last song and I think everyone is with me when I say I’ve been waiting all night for ‘Wild River’.

Everyone needs to have a listen to Tijuana Bibles, personally I think everyone need to get to a gig to see them, but when they play ‘Wild River’, like so many times before, the crowd explodes into euphoria.

Amazing headline from Tijuana Bibles, and two fantastic sets from Kelvin and Laura St Jude.

More Photos

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/88403540″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Olivia Campbell
Photos: Stewart Fullerton