Tag Archives: Man Of Moon

Man Of Moon, Beta Waves at Broadcast, 8/2/18

Whoever is looking after Man Of Moon is sitting on a goldmine: on the basis of tonight and previous live outings, they are poised and ready to blow up; they are very special indeed.

An initially reluctant compadre this evening sums it up by leaning in to say, “Whatever ‘it’ is, this band have it. In fucking spades” – that occurs roughly 60 seconds in.

Before we get to the really quite delirious hour of jollies, Beta Waves play a short support set.

Their take on ’80s synth-pop is fine enough and they seem very personable but it’s largely quite anonymous: when the highlight by far is a cover – a chugging Balearic take on ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High’ by Arctic Monkeys – you possibly need to take a look at your own material.

All that is thrown into sharp relief when the duo of Mikey Reid on drums and Chris Bainbridge on guitar and lead vocals take the stage.

From the get-go, they exude confidence and utter self-belief as they thunder into each track.

And a thunderous noise it is: heavy, thumping, hypnotic…but also at times the most delicate of dreamy melodies drifting along the top: the stage takes note of the banging percussion and the backdrop swiftly collapses in the psychedelic lights.

This merely adds to the air of excitement in the busy basement venue: gifting us this performance ahead of setting off on tour with Django Django, the twosome create a real atmosphere; it’s impossible not to be impressed by the total and well-placed belief in their own talent – a real fizz permeates the venue.

Like Beta Waves before, there is a nod to the 1980s – in this case, a slight touch of juddering new wave about some songs – but Man Of Moon really are quite unique: they have a volume and bang that utterly belies the fact there are only two of them, yet a gift for melody that just slides across songs like ‘Sign’.

Swaggering grooves give way to real beauty and as a frontman, Bainbridge knows exactly what he’s doing.

For such a young band, Man Of Moon have mastered the art of space in their music and the gaps when the trippy, repetitive guitar drops out to leave a thumping 4/4 kick drum give us pause for breath

That those gaps also get the arses waggling to the simple joy of someone hitting something with sticks betrays an instinctive understanding of what works: this is highly sophisticated songwriting, solid, muscular and fits their stage presence perfectly.

In some ways, despite being Edinburgh-based, the band onstage personify Glasgow.

There is a dreichness about their music: minor keys with impassive, bruised melodies redolent of a rainy, overcast day, but also a big fat groove underneath, daring you to dance; it’s as if put together to sum up a city in music; emotive, impressive, miserable yet joyous, vicious yet hedonistic.

This band will go very far indeed, they are the real deal.

Words: Vosne Malconsorts
Photos: Brendan Waters

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival Fringe with Man of Moon, Catholic Action, LUCIA, American Clay at Oran Mor, 23/3/17

Ahead of the BBC 6 Music Festival proper, assorted smaller venues play host to some of Glasgow’s most venerable musical talents; tonight is the turn of Man of Moon, Catholic Action, LUCIA and American Clay.

First to perform is American Clay, in which vocalist/guitarist Martin Johnston – erstwhile drummer for Pronto Mama and Emma Pollock, among others – finds himself in front of the kit, rather than behind it.

American Clay demonstrate great aptitude for unexpected dynamic shifts: scratchy, Blackened Sky-era Biffy Clyro chord wonk abruptly gives way to shimmering, Loveless-esque fuzz on ‘Gutted’, in a way which feels fluid, not forced.

And while they would certainly benefit from laying a more confident claim to their own sonic identity (they do, at times, come across like a du jour cluster of 90s alt-rock reference points), American Clay are nonetheless a very promising prospect – especially given songwriter Johnston’s tender age of 23.

LUCIA (stage name of singer Lucia Fontaine and band), on the other hand, are no shoegazers – their dirty, direct punk-pop shoots a beeline straight from guitars to feet, and they look cool as hell doing it.

Fontaine is a born performer, her unique vocal inflections breathing a real originality into her surgically precise pop songs.

With a bit of Pixies here, and a bit of BIS there, there’s a lot to love, and LUCIA certainly whip the crowd up into livelier spirits.

Hot on their heels – and fresh from the searing Texas sun of SXSW – are Catholic Action, who are almost impossibly tight as a live band; testament to their jam-packed touring and rehearsal schedule.

They rip through all the hits – ‘Rita Ora’, ‘Breakfast’ – and find time for a few new ones too (one mellower track in particular is announced as “the next single…maybe,” and from where I stand it sounds ebullient).

By the time they close with a turbocharged rendition of ‘L.U.V.’, one is left wondering why Catholic Action aren’t yet scaling the giddy heights of Franz Ferdinand and CHVRCHES before them – they certainly deserve to, as they’re easily the catchiest guitar band in the city.

Edinburgh’s Man of Moon headline, making an impressively moody entrance to the foreboding tones of Suicide’s classic ‘Ghost Rider’.

Unfortunately, that sets the bar a little too high for them to reach.

Man of Moon’s dirgier, meandering tunes and more muted stage presence feel like a bit of a dial-down in comparison with the acts preceding them.

Their set ticks all the boxes for fans of Chemikal Underground’s back catalogue – they have a clear affinity with Mogwai, while the spoken word intro to their set is a beard and a beanie away from a tribute to Aidan Moffatt.

So it’s not to say they’re a bad band at all – they’re just not on quite the right bill here, and are overshadowed by the more energetic acts before them.

Nonetheless, I leave the Oran Mor feeling extremely positive about the future of Glaswegian music, which seems now to be entering an especially exciting and audacious period.

More Photos

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Words: Graham Neil Gillespie
Photos: Allan Lewis

Celtic Connections: C Duncan, Man of Moon at Saint Luke’s, 26/1/17

An object lesson tonight – always choose your support acts carefully: whether by design, accident, or simply the vagaries of playing at a festival – for that is what Celtic Connections is – C Duncan, all-conquering hometown hero he may be, is nonetheless utterly blown off the stage by the previous set from Man Of Moon.

It’s a curious performance from the Mercury Prize-nominee all in – the gig is paced more like an early set from a DJ in a house club; gentle, wafting, polite beginnings only really getting going half way through: when put against the staccato, almost brutal brilliance of the duo just left the stage, it’s all… it’s all… just a little underwhelming.

And that ‘p’ word – polite – springs up time and time again; he’s never going to be Motorhead – nor should he be when he has brilliance such as the bucolic beauty that is ‘Say’ in the locker, but, the exceedingly mixed crowd – telling in itself – is perhaps treated to music that currently seems like it is trying to be all things to all people; a dangerous game… the dangers of being insipid lurk around the edges of that one.

Man Of Moon have the sound, the look and sheer stage presence of real contenders: for such a young band, they have an understated confidence that is truly impressive; mixed drum kit, guitar, away we go.

It’s dark and brooding but with a thump that totally belies their minimal setup; a band to keep a very close eye on; check the Medicine EP on Melodic records for an insight into a very exciting and loud proposition.

The headliner, on the other hand, whilst still being a relative ingenue, has enough experience to tighten things up: the beauty of the pastoral chords and drifting melodies are all there but, whether or not tonight’s gig is essentially a family affair – and the clan are in tonight – there’s a looseness around the performance and the in between song ‘banter’ that grates a little.

When things hit such as on the aforementioned and majestic ‘Say’ or the excellent ‘Architect’, it’s transcendent: you totally get why he garners so much attention, rightly, but then we meander about a bit, enlivened by some occasionally quite thrilling and jazzy drums from the five piece band but, and this seems quite harsh, it can come across as quite amateurish – a curious state of affairs.

C Duncan no longer has the shock of the new, is no longer a curio; we know the schtick now – and, when applied properly, it is a glorious and beguiling USP, but, despite us being in a converted church tonight, the quasi-choirboy vibe cannot succeed on sporadic spikes and charm alone.

At a crossroads now: tighten up, exploit that undoubted talent, drop the appealing to your gran attitude… above all, get some oomph in there; the music stands it, the crowd will appreciate it.

Conservatoire gig, this should not be.

One band member nearly doesn’t make tonight on account of smashing into a door with no little force the day before: (musically) more of that please, C Duncan, more of that…

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Words: Vosne Malconsorts

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, 6/8/16

It’s déjà vu on the final day of Belladrum, as I find myself once again in the XpoNorth Seedlings tent at the crack of dawn (in festival terms anyway).

We Came From Wolves (2)

This time however it’s with far higher hopes, as Herald Unsigned winners We Came From Wolves are up to kick things off, a band whose moody alt rock has been on my radar since their first demo release in early 2013.

They’ve considerably improved in their craft since then, with far more compelling lyrics deeply rooted not only in strong Glaswegian identity, but also a longing to hit the road, as well as in their stage presence; frontman Kyle Burgess holds the attention of the small crowd with ease despite the early hour.

The highlight of the set comes in the form of new single ‘Ruiner’ (which Burgess self-deprecatingly describes as “about being a wee rat bastart”), a crashing storm of pop punk fury reminiscent of the best of early Twin Atlantic.

I realise I’ve neglected the Grassroots Folk heart of the festival and so spend my next few hours comfortably nestled among the elderly camping chair crew.

Tamzene (3)

It’s not quite my scene, but even then a number of acts stand out: the first, a singer-songwriter by the name of Tamzene appears to have walked straight out of an album cover, and puts on a performance that oozes professionalism.

Despite a powerful voice which could easily impress the likes of industry demon Simon Cowell, she’s instead taken the far more traditional route of recording her own music and building a fan base organically, and judging by the strength of the audience it already appears to be paying off.

Tweed (3)

Ceildh rock band Tweed also catches my attention with their raring traditional music.

Composed of a fiddler, accordionist and drummer, the trio whips the large tent into a frenzy with original compositions and even the odd cover such as Survivor’s ‘Eye Of The Tiger’, which, under the circumstances, actually sounds surprisingly good.

Admittedly, the gimmick of launching small packets of peanuts into the crowd goes somewhat over my head (literally) but you can’t argue with free snacks.

Man Of Moon (5)

Man Of Moon are the last band I catch before the mysterious main stage secret set, and it’s something of a change of pace; the sudden downpour has sent people flooding into the Hothouse Tent for shelter turning it into less of a ‘hot house’ and more an ‘uncomfortably roasting house’.

It proves to be perfect timing though as the Edinburgh two-piece’s dark and dreamlike sound goes hand in hand with the grey sky just meters away.

The brooding depth they produce within complex riff structures and simmering drums is incredible considering their tiny footprint on the stage, and just as the atmosphere builds to breaking point in Django Django cover ‘Waveforms’, guitarist Chris Bainbridge slices straight through it with a Showbiz era Matt Bellamy-esque guitar scream.

Elsewhere, a similar tension is rising as we wait to see who will take the empty afternoon Garden Stage slot.

Fatherson (16)

The answer, rising Scottish stars Fatherson, is hardly a surprising one: their name seems to appear almost every time the festival encounters a drop-out on its lineup.

The failure to amend the programs however sees the band playing to a crowd, which is initially one-third fans and two-thirds confused Bwani Junction seekers, who are now two to three hours off their initial time slot.

Friday’s sound problems continue to plague the set also as Fatherson enter the stage late and with massively under-mixed vocals, altogether making the decision to shoot a video for their new single then and there a curious one.

Still they deliver a set of their usual caliber to the rain drenched field, one which is nothing exceptional but provides just enough in the way of light rock to cry to, making donning your poncho worthwhile.

Indigo Velvet (13)

In the hunt for something to dry off to I discover Indigo Velvet, the perfect pick-me-up.

Their tropical bubble-gum indie pop is nothing short of addictive and I’m baffled by their low positioning on the Seedlings stage when similar bands such as the 1975 have enjoyed such a meteoric rise to fame with far less charming members; guitarist Jason Tucker in particular is a real pleasure to watch.

Bwani Junction (7)

The feel-good mood continues with Bwani Junction on the main stage performing Paul Simon’s classic album Graceland in its entirety, alongside original vocalist Diane Garisto.

There’s no shortage of smiles in the crowd as a conga line is orchestrated within the short space between opener ‘The Boy In The Bubble’ and ‘I Know What I Know’, rapidly followed up by a couple’s engagement just before ‘You Can Call Me Al’, which is announced onstage by a delighted Dan Muir and only serves to heighten the atmosphere for what is undoubtedly Graceland’s best known track.

It’s a shame to hear that the sound tech is still struggling and Garisto’s stunning vocals are only barely audible throughout, including during duet ‘Crazy Love, Vol. II’.

Still, Muir’s voice triumphs over the incredibly large backing band (featuring a full horn section and bongos) and does justice to Simon’s original.

Public Service Broadcasting (8)

Acknowledging that the festival is almost over with this next set is bitter sweet, and with Public Service Broadcasting’s absurdly long set-up process there’s plenty of downtime to think about it.

Thankfully their novel sample-filled electronica is worth waiting for.

Entirely instrumental, tweed clad keyboardist J. Willgoose, Esq. doesn’t open his mouth once throughout the set, choosing instead to communicate through a text to speech program and add vocal depth to the music using clips from propaganda material and old public information announcements.

It’s bizarre, and hopefully not stagnant on repeat viewings, but they don’t rely on this gimmick to carry them instead crafting genuinely atmospheric and powerful tracks about everything from the space program to airplanes.

I leave early to catch the headliners, but as the band are introduced one by one, the strains of a trumpet cover and deafening sing-along to ‘Flower Of Scotland’ follow me out.

Madness (29)

Said headliners are, of course, Madness, much talked about by almost everyone I’ve spoken to since the site opened.

They pull the biggest crowd of the entire weekend by far, stretching all the way from the stage and up the hills towards the massive glowing metal heart erected at the back of the Garden arena, and I reckon about eighty percent of those people have had a little too much to drink.

Despite lacking the nostalgia factor and not really understanding the hype around Madness, I’m determined to give them the best shot I can.

And it starts off relatively well with almost exactly the same setlist I saw back at Glastonbury: ‘The Prince’ in all its saxophone solo glory and ‘My Girl’ with its cresendo-ing intro go down a treat, as do the bits and pieces of London banter peppered in from frontman Suggs.

However, I seem to have chosen the worst place possible to view the rest of the set from, and once I get there I’m stuck: security are trying to avoid a full-scale riot on the stairs by insisting on a one-way system in which you can come down, but you can’t get back up.

Perched on the steep hill, slick from the day’s rain, I enjoy what I can of the tracks I recognise: ‘Baggy Trousers’, ‘House Of Fun’ and ‘Our House’ are as foot-tappingly infectious as ever, but encourage a more active crowd, leading not only to multiple trips down the slopes but also a loud argument between staff on the stairs and irritated patrons.

This continues for most of the rest of the show and by time I’ve escaped, the band have been replaced by a piper who plays, what do you know, ‘Flower Of Scotland’ for the second time that night.

Madness eventually return and finish up with a grand display of fireworks and light, but through no fault of their own the mood has been ruined somewhat.

I wander back to my tent in the rain, for the last time, with an overall positive impression of the weekend but a slightly sour taste in my mouth.

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Words/Photos: Aimee Boyle

Man of Moon at Tut’s, 6/5/16

Man of Moon has had so much press and radio coverage recently that it’s difficult to find complements for them without inadvertently quoting someone.

Celebrating the launch of their new EP, The Medicine, tonight they are on fantastic form.

Through a very thick fog and blue lights they perform signature track ‘Sign’ to open, a song which has received a lot of well-justified attention and is the highlight of the high-aiming EP.

The blue fog gives the band an edge that I’ve never seen at Tut’s before, maybe because they are a two-piece and have plenty of space on stage, but I feel as if I’m observing two solid pillars of stone being battered by the sea.

The music has that kind of effect; some kind of harnessed force of nature.

The crowd drawing tighter I recognise a few faces from home in Edinburgh, having played on the Edinburgh scene for a short while, I have been aware of Man of Moon for a few years and actually remember watching lead singer and guitarist Chris Bainbridge record with another project in a studio next to us at Jewel & Esk College back in the day.

I remember thinking he was capable of making big, imaginative sounds with a look of calm on his face, a look he’s wearing on-stage now.

It’s a great privilege to have the chance to watch the development of artists from the off-set, and looking around me I can see there is a set of us who have had that chance and are here tonight, all, I think, having come out of the various Edinburgh secondary schools; Broughton; Holyrood; Porty; St. Tam’s.

These long-standers are in a minority however, the place being completely packed, I’ve no doubt, with ever-growing fan-base they are acquiring.

The set runs so forcefully, conducted by sensational drummer Mikey Reid, a man possessive of drive like the hooves of a Berber stallion, with a strict (almost uncompromising) and trance-inducing 4:4 time signature.

Allusions are being conjured of musical epochs past, a cover of Django Django’s ‘Waveforms’ shows us the band’s ability to interpret complicated music of a different genre.

I should quickly mention that in a number of reviewers’ haste to categorise Man of Moon’s music they have come to some strange conclusions.

Man of Moon are not playing krautrock, though there are some similarities in the song structures they are using, their effect lies in the use of powerful chords, loops and melodic vocal lines, which, while influenced by that genre are in a new line of thought and distinct in these circles to this Edinburgh duo.

As the end of the set approaches, I feel as if these two guys are playing for their lives, a sense of world-weariness lingers round the edges of their concluding track ‘The Road’.

Stepping out onto St. Vincent Street the breeze smacks of a biting drum-line but gives way to gentle, lilting two-part harmonies.

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Words: Patrick McCafferty

Tracks of 2015 (20-11)

30-21  –  20-11  –  10-1  –  EPs & albums

20 Tuff Love - Duke20 Tuff Love – Duke [Lost Map]

Eerie harmonic vocals combine with jangling rhythmic guitar to produce elusive lo-fi sounds in ‘Duke’, arguably the pick of the tracks featured on two wondrous EPs fro Tuff Love in 2015. The lyrics are meshed in amongst distorted melodies, the chorus is catchy, but not so infectious that you won’t want to set your player to repeat. What’s most impressive with Tuff Love is their ability to craft expert musicality and sophistication while sounding like a comforting dream-cloud and ‘Duke’ is prime example of this. (Rachel Cunningham)

19 SACRED PAWS - Vince19 SACRED PAWS – Vince [Rock Action]

SACRED PAWS deliver short, sharp blows in the offbeat ‘Vince’, which feels a little raw, but this only adds to the band’s charm and personality. The girls mix cross-rhythms and shimmering guitar to create an energetic melody, which they impressively manage to not only keep up with, but also delicately arrange, multi-layered vocals that end in superb harmonies. The track’s post-punk, poly-rhythmic approach to percussion really packs a punch! (Jess Lavin)

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18 Reverieme - Plankton18 Reverieme – Plankton [9th Story]

The dreamy passages of Louise Connell aka Reverieme’s Or Else The Light EP was a hauntingly wonderful depiction of love and loss and the strummed ukulele of ‘Plankton’ shone out at the release’s standout. You can’t help but be arrested by the expression in Connell’s voice, a heart wrenching juxtaposition of defeat and hope. Her declaration that the song’s afflatus is “…so much like a planktonic woman” is a devastating indictment aimed to show how passivity can be as damaging as jealousy and similar emotions within any relationship.

17 Adam Stafford - Atheist Money17 Adam Stafford – Atheist Money [Song, by Toad]

It may have came out early in 2015, but as with the majority of Adam Stafford’s releases ‘Atheist Money’ stayed in the memory well up to the end of the year and will continue this with its feature on 2016 full length Taser Revelations. Stafford is always one for the finer details and this is no different, ‘Atheist Money’ is full of the all the wonder and beauty you’d expect as churning loops build up to spectacular heights and soar back down; powerful, powerful stuff.

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16 Youngstrr Joey - Michael16 Youngstrr Joey – Michael [Number4Door]

The opener and stand out track on Cal Donelly aka Youngstrr Joey’s Cheerleader, release earlier in the year, ‘Michael’ possesses rumbling lo-fi guitars and a chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. It’s not entirely clear who exactly Donelly’s Michael is, but that’s the beauty of it – everyone has their own version of Michael who they want to show them “how to be cool”.

15 Hudson Mohawke - Ryderz15 Hudson Mohawke – Ryderz [Warp]

It’s no surprise that HudMo’s ended up with two tracks in this list, Lantern was positively hoatching with potential bangers and ‘Ryderz’ could easily be the pick of the bunch, as Birchard builds on a D.J. Rogers soul cut and lets it be, well for a minute or so, before he demonstrates just why he’s one of the best maximalist producers out there right now, bringing out every tool in his electronic box to produce a piece of wonder that drops perfectly out of nowhere and has you screaming “watch out for the ryderz” at the top of your lungs.

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14 CARBS - Stick A Flake In Me (I’m Done)14 CARBS – Stick A Flake In Me (I’m Done) [Save As]

Never would I have thought “Mr. Whippy” and “Margaret Thatcher” be paired in a sentence. This is just one of the many elegantly constructed lines in ‘Stick a Flake in Me (I’m Done)’ that has been cased in a re-worked version of an old ice cream van theme tune. The child-like perspective pairs well with the Gameboy-style melody, which is magically presented in a series of syncopated beats and pleasing harmonies. CARBS’ single is a playful gem that will take the edge of any bad day and give you a wee education in ice cream to boot. (Rachel Cunningham)

13 BDY_PRTS - Cold Shoulder13 BDY_PRTS – Cold Shoulder

‘Cold Shoulder’ presents a sleek, fresh and futuristic pop sound; essentially the antithesis of most things Scottish. Regardless, Jill and Jenny sing with their accents proudly on show like weird, Caledonian android sisters (despite one of them having a noticeable, yet beautiful American twang). It begins with minimal percussive drum machine elements bouncing around under crunchy power chords before sprawling into a distant and expansive chorus section that conjures the imagine of Neo-Glasgow invented in the mind of a manga artist. While the vocal harmonies are notably affecting and effective, the single’s standout feature is its marriage of raw analog guitars with clean and clinical digital production; this painterly sound choice creates interesting dynamics above the simple song form. BDY_PRTS have a sound unlike any other band this year and ‘Cold Shoulder’ exemplifies this achievement. (Liam Gingell)

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12 Man of Moon - The Road12 Man of Moon – The Road [Melodic]

At the tail end of 2014 we caught Man of Moon for the first time, playing to a smattering of people as the opening act for Merchandise at Stereo, even then their intelligent slow burning grooves and guarded yet gritty vocals were impressive. This year they seem to have come on leaps and bounds and debut single ‘The Road’ is the jewel in the band’s year, the building instrumentals crash into huge noise, in as catchy and addictive a way as possible and has us eagerly waiting for more in 2016.

11 Dune Witch Trails - Goldenrod Cigar11 Dune Witch Trails – Goldenrod Cigar

‘Goldenrod Cigar’ is completely symbolic of what Dune Witch Trails do so well. The loose off kilter guitars lay the foundation for the equally as slack vocal delivery. Clocking in at just over two minutes, it captivates you in its organised mayhem and simplicity. Dune Witch Trails are one of the most exciting guitar bands out at the moment and ‘Goldenrod Cigar’ is the perfect introduction.

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30-21  –  20-11  –  10-1  –  EPs & albums

Man of Moon, ULTRAS, Marc Rooney at The Hug and Pint, 31/7/15

Messrs Chris Bainbridge and Mikey Reid are no strangers to a Glasgow crowd, and if the enthusiasm and general mood permeating The Hug and Pint on this particular Friday night is anything to go by, the Glasgow crowd are evidently at least somewhat familiar with the duo more commonly referred to as Man of Moon.

Providing the musical introduction to the evening, Marc Rooney (of Pronto Mama) fulfils his role as warm-up with incredible aplomb.

A tuner may have added to the fluidity of the performance, given the number of different tunings utilised, however, the scathing wit, infectious humour and palpable sincerity in his performance puts the audience both at ease and firmly on his side, in what must be one of the most pleasantly surprising and entertaining opening sets I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing in recent memory.

Needless to say I feel I now more fully and profoundly comprehend what it means to “retire a boomerang tycoon”, and am all the better for it.

ULTRAS contribution is delivered rather more aggressively, taking us from Rooney’s whimsical storytelling with an acoustic guitar to utterly unapologetic iPad-infused rock tunes about Winston Churchill, extreme violence and hating the Conservative Party.

With controlled, almost militaristic precision ULTRAS’ set is an energetic affair that leaves the listener imagining a future dystopia, perhaps invoking a faint hint of Muse, albeit with the addition of cheesy matching t-shirts.

Man of Moon, the evening’s main attraction, is a band on the up-and-up-and-up.

Generally speaking it seems to be a mixture of public opinion, past exploits and industry whispering that constructs what is uncreatively albeit accurately referred to as a ‘buzz’ around a particular act, but what is always concrete in this unquantifiable metric is that with it comes the weight of expectation.

It’s encouraging then that while there is most certainly an undeniable buzz about Man of Moon, the expectation that accompanies said buzz doesn’t seem to be an issue.

In a tight 40-minute set filled with songs as hypnotically metronomic as they are fascinatingly unpredictable, Bainbridge and Reid deliver a measured, but accomplished live performance that reeks with confidence and possesses a visceral, brooding intensity that pushes the crowd into a head-bobbing trance only briefly interrupted by emphatic applause.

The intimacy of the setting only serves to amplify this and while there are rough edges in the performance, particularly around moments where the attention of certain audience members is lost during less engaging sections of the set, such issues are of little consequence.

The minimalist setup of ‘one guitar, one drummer’ is in vogue and comparisons will forever be drawn, but what Man of Moon have forged from that template is nothing short of a triumph.

Bainbridge’s voice is used sparingly, but chills and haunts in equal measure as it morphs between a sorrowful wail and a threatening growl; all while mesmerising, understated rhythms sit effortlessly alongside a deep, melodious guitar that immediately brings to mind a lyric borne of one of New Jersey’s favourite sons: “Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk.

And talk it does.

If you ever wanted to see two old souls in youthful disguises turn some metal strings and a drum kit into a religious experience without breaking a sweat, Man of Moon won’t disappoint.

Words: Michael Mavor

West End Festival All Dayer at Oran Mor, 21/6/15

After worrying about whether or not I would be able to see the majority of the great bands playing across Oran Mor’s three stages, I was extremely pleased to see that the running order would allow me to move almost effortlessly between stages, hardly missing a second of each set.

My early arrival gives me plenty of time to soak up the breath-taking interior of the venue’s main auditorium before finding a decent spot in the already packed out room to watch the incredible Kathryn Joseph.

I am lucky enough to have seen Joseph perform two amazing sets at this year’s Wide Days and Xpo North and therefore already know I am in for a treat.

The crowd eagerly await the arrival of this year’s Scottish Album of the Year award winner, who captivates everyone in the room from the moment she steps on stage.

Joseph’s stage presence and musical style fits the venue perfectly, creating a truly enchanting performance.

Hanging on upstairs the hotly anticipated return of De Rosa is next, and after six years absence the return of Martin Henry and co. is one that’s more than welcome and a massive coup for Oran Mor to pull off, on a Father’s Day that sees a heavy amount of dads along for what we have to say is a very ‘dad friendly’ line up.

Still, while the audience makes me feel young I am still old enough to remember De Rosa first time round (unlike my fellow reviewer), their two, Chemy released, albums Mend and Prevention are among the highest regarded by the label and rightfully so as their highly intelligent brand of genre bending indie rock is still as fresh sounding as ever near a decade on.

Today they may be on early on in the day, but the hefty crowd lap up material from their two albums to date and while the band start to hit their, seemingly more refined than ever, stride it becomes clear that we may well be in for a treat with album number three, which is promised later this year.

It is then time to move downstairs to catch Man Of Moon; having heard so much about this band over the last few months I was eager to see them live.

The basement venue is packed and makes me question whether such a new band has ever played to a crowd of this size before, however the size of the crowd doesn’t seem to effect them as they showcase their unique sound and tight live set, making it clear they’re one to watch over the next couple of months.

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Back upstairs there’s a sense of a spark in the air, this is the moment the a lot of today’s crowd are here for; just this moment – the last Remember Remember show, and the mix of joy, filled with loss is quickly turned on its head by the band’s shimmering performance.

Graeme Ronald has been a hive of activity in Glasgow’s music scene for years, flitting between bands honing his trade, but RR always seems to be the culmination of that; their expansive arrangements don’t have you shoegazing like so many instrumental Glasgow bands would, instead they have you looking to the skies, or in this case the beautiful Alasdair Gray mural, as they twinkle and spark with unletting joy.

There’s a knowing smile on the band’s faces too, Ronald is entering a different chapter of his life; recently married, child on the way and a move to America imminent, so perhaps this is the best time to call it a day.

Whether it’s failing to bust a glitter gun of flinging cardboard boxes that spell out the band’s name into the audience, they seem at a real ease and as the crowd collect the boxes and spell out the name back to them it’s just a sheer delight to be here; Remember Remeember it’s been a please to have you.

Moving downstairs again we move ever so slightly away from the dad heavy set, although it can’t be argued that the charms of Tuff Love don’t extend over multiple age brackets.

I’ve made it consistently well known that I think these guys are great, their warm, fussy 90s vibing indie pop is a joy to behold both live and on record; the sweet harmonies and cheerful bounce of their tunes never fails to drag a smile onto your face.

Today is maybe lost a bit in downstairs chatter, but as Suse attempts to construct the most pathetic wall of death ever seen, it appears they’re taking everything in good heart; these guys’ trajectory is only elevating, we can only wait in anticipation of what they do next, I’m sure it’ll be a joy.

After both of us sadly failing to catch Hubby, next up is Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd, who make sure everyone in the room is having fun from the off.

They treat the crowd to a number of both old and new tracks including the upbeat ‘Chase Yirself’ and slower new single ‘Monsoon Season’ before ending with crowd pleaser ‘Son, I Voted Yes’.

The band are keen to get everyone moving, cheering and singing along and the crowd are more than happy to oblige making Stanley Odd’s set extremely entertaining to watch; made only better by Solareye’s fantastically chirpy stage presence and Veronika Electonika’s stunning vocals.

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I head back upstairs to catch We Were Promised Jetpacks’ ‘relaxed’ set, featuring a number of less often played live tracks including a number of b-sides.

Even though it is nice to see another side to Jetpacks, tonight doesn’t seem to quite work when compared to their normally riotous live set; they seem to be lacking the energy they usually possess and are a sobering come down after Stanley Odd’s adrenaline filled sing-along.

By this point in the day things seem to be lingering, a huge crowd is gathered downstairs for Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, but finding a comfortable spot to watch Moffat’s legendary tales becomes difficult and the beauty of Wells’ arrangements become somewhat lost at the back of the room.

Upstairs it’s a similar scenario for The Phantom Band, the band who are generally a formidable and inspiring live experience seem to be grasping at nothing when trying to draw a reaction from a beer weary Sunday evening crowd, and despite Rick Anthony’s best efforts their set fades somewhat in comparison to those earlier performances.

All in all though another successful West End Festival All Dayer from Oran Mor cementing itself as one of the centrepieces of the whole festival.

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Words: Jess Lavin/Iain Dawson
Photos: Euan Robertson/Stewart Fullerton

Admiral Fallow, C Duncan, Man Of Moon at The Art School, 10/6/15

A sold out Art School for Admiral Fallow’s return to Glasgow is filling up quickly, and I overhear a conversation on my way in that there are a few big local music industry names in to take a closer look at tonight’s opener, Man Of Moon.

The atmospheric two-piece appear to be one to watch; their spacey, reverberated psychedelic tunes are well written and well practiced, whilst the booming drums help add to the huge sound that this band (already with a lot of summer festival slots lined up) have.

Next up is C Duncan, who begins with the uplifting ‘Architect’, reminiscent of the uncharacteristic summer’s day we’ve had in Glasgow.

Duncan is accompanied by two other musicians, whose instrumentation and harmonies really fill out the sound.

The band play through their set with confidence and really take it up a notch with ‘Silence & Air’, the highlight of their half hour set.

Duncan’s nylon-strung classical has a mesmerising tone to it, none more so than in ‘Say’, which was released earlier this year and completes this assured set.

Admiral Fallow come on at 9pm and open with ‘Liquor and Milk’, from new album Tiny Rewards, which has seen the band travel in a slightly different direction, with a more spacey and less acoustic-orientated sound.

It takes only nine-minutes for clean shaven frontman Louis Abbott to deal with his first heckler about a lack of a beard, which he jokes about before they play ‘Evangeline’, the first song released prior to the album coming out.

The first dabble into the band’s back catalogue is ‘Squealing Pigs’ from the five piece’s debut Boots Met My Face, with Abbott playing electric guitar instead of the acoustic it was recorded on, before ‘The Paper Trench’ keeps the crowd going and both are welcomed by the audience with huge cheers.

This is the band’s biggest show since they played the Barrowlands in 2012, and their first headline gig in the city since they took a long break between second album Boots Met My Face and their recently released third, from which they then play ‘Building As Foreign’, in which multi-instrumentalist and singer Sarah Hayes’ voice combines perfectly with Abbott’s, which is typical of many of these well-crafted songs.

Even with a different vibe on the newer tracks, the band still keep woodwind instruments and their clever lyrics as central parts of the set; they seem to enjoy themselves throughout, while the crowd really enjoy singing ‘Subbuteo’ back to them.

An acapella version of ‘Four Bulbs’, ‘Brother’ and ‘Old Balloons’ all feature towards the end of this set, which marks Admiral Fallow’s long awaited return; Abbott says that there are cogs in motion for another Glasgow show towards the end of the year, so hopefully its not three years between this show and the next one.

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Words: Neil Hayton
Photos: Elina Lin

Merchandise, Shopping, Man Of Moon at Stereo, 24/11/14

Only a smattering of people makes up the audience for tonight’s opening act, Man Of Moon but they’re lucky they came early.

They begin with a slow-burning instrumental and transition smoothly into song two, which displays Chris Bainbridge’s guarded but gritty vocals.

Though he isn’t completely comfortable on stage yet, he fronts the band with drummer Mikey Reid and they showcase very intelligent songwriting, moving between spacey, reverb and delay heavy sections into tight, powerful grooves that implement, but don’t over use unconventional timings.

Shopping, an arty three-piece from London, blast into their loose set with very lo-fi guitar, angular riffs, and yelping vocals.

In stark contrast to Man of Moon, there isn’t a pedal in sight and barely any full chords are played, so when they finally are (three songs in), it’s a strange kind of relief.

Frontwoman Rachel Aggs shares vocals with both her bandmates and they shoot back and forth amongst themselves and the audience.

Before getting on stage, I watched her sip from a Redbull and this, along with their eccentric and acute set, makes me wonder if the members of Shopping require sleep.

As the show progresses, with each band that takes the stage more instruments appear, Merchandise bring with them an acoustic guitar and a synthesizer for additional textures, which gives them the tools to be the loudest band, by far, of the evening.

Although Man of Moon and Shopping were thoroughly enjoyable, the bulk of tonight’s audience step out of the shadows for Carson Cox’s band.

The venue isn’t close to being half full, but by no means are they letting this dampen their affection for the Florida natives.

With a powerful instrumental to open their set quickly, followed by ‘Enemy’ from their latest album, Merchandise show that they are a tight unit and they get straight to the point by immediately flaunting their classic rock influences and, stylistically, their American roots.

They play anthemic driving song after anthemic driving song, and when this begins to get ever so slightly boring, they change their groove six songs in with ‘Little Killer’, which is led by a more interesting riff that allows the guitars a better chance to weave around each other and blur the line between lead and rhythm, which has been distinct so far.

With almost Joy Division style production on record, Cox swoons with unique warmth but unfortunately tonight his vocals aren’t cutting through the mix and his lyrics are totally indistinguishable.

It’s clear they would benefit from turning down even a little bit or employing the use of a vocal processor for additional presence, the instruments are overpowering to the point that they sometimes get in each other’s way, but maybe this is just the way they deliver a rock show because it’s certainly done with passion.

Cox makes clear that he is in charge and moves about the stage in a way that shows confidence in his ability to perform the songs that he’s been crafting for the last several years and his band, especially guitarist David Vassalotti, match his enthusiasm.

Given the big nature of the songs, it seems that each one could be an encore, but that comes in the form of ‘Time’, a song from their acclaimed 2012 album Children Of Desire and provides a very satisfying ending to a good set.

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Words: Greg Murray
Photos: Michael Gallacher