Tag Archives: Martha Ffion

Martha Ffion – ‘Take Your Name’ [Turnstile]

‘Take Your Name’ is the latest single to be announced from Martha Ffion’s debut LP, Sunday Best.

Beautifully triggered and charmingly executed, capturing a nostalgic and freeing sense of melody – this skilfully catchy track is the epitome of excellence.

A silky-smooth vocal, weaving flawlessly throughout the track – the thin and airy guitars provide depth alongside a gracefully produced bassline, layered with expressive drums.

The simplistic and endearing lyrics captivate the imagination, creating a gentle backdrop of anxious affection and valued hope.

There’s an honest and sentimental importance; a feared desperation – coercing love.

Enticingly indulgent – ‘Take Your Name’ is one for the playlist.

Words: John Houston

Martha Ffion – ‘We Make Do’ [Turnstile]

I fully expected this to be a singer-songwriter standard of “me and my piano” when this track first opened, which I’d have had no issue with in the least.

A warm toned and instantly engaging voice soon compliments a sort of 19th century western style tack piano with a syncopation that feeds into a melody that feels sombre but hopeful at the same time.

Martha Ffion uses a vulnerability to pass emotion over a sweeping melody, but at no point has any weakness in her voice itself.

It’s more of an opening up of the self to the listener than a shying behind the music.

Running at only two-and-a-half-minutes, ‘We Make Do’ is perfect in its form, from the hook laden chorus, to the timely middle-8 and its radio-talk vocal treatment, it sits perfectly ready for me to press play once more, which I will do repeatedly.

I’ve a feeling that Martha Ffion knows exactly what she is doing, and I’m ok with it.

Words:Krist McKenna

Tracks of 2017 (20-11)

20. Golden Teacher – ’Spiritron’

‘Spiritron’ was the standout in an unexpected joyous surprise of a Golden Teacher full-length, No Luscious Life. The track captures the band’s effervescent live sound with an addictive mess of punk energy, otherworldly synths and Detroit funk, dancefloor hitting beats.

19. Shredd – ‘Flight of Stairs’ [Fuzzkill]

‘Flight Of Stairs’ begins with a thundering bass, and little time is wasted before the riffs are brought out backed by powerful, crashing drums. It’s Shredd by name, shred by nature as lead vocalist as guitarist Chris Harvie unleashes a relentless assault on his instrument and his distorted howls carry throughout, with a style reminiscent of Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer. The end product sounds absolutely massive, benefitting massively from the production of Bruce Rintoul, who has encapsulated the intensity of their riotous live performances.

18. Be Charlotte – ‘One Drop’ [AWAL/Kobalt]

The industrious trio Be Charlotte, fronted by hyper-talented vocalist Charlotte Brimner brought some damn good vibes early in the the year with ‘One Drop’, a glorious mashup, encompassing indie pop, slick beat boxing and electro. Delivered in an unmistakably Scottish accent, which, refreshingly, Brimner makes no attempts to minimise, with lyrics “filling me with doubt, that I can’t compete with the rest” are surely redundant given this band’s inevitable future success.

17. Martha Ffion – ‘We Make Do’ [Turnstile]

Running at only two and a half minutes, ‘We Make Do’ is perfect in its form, from the hook laden chorus, to the timely middle-8 and its radio-talk vocal treatment, it sits perfectly ready for you to press play once more.

16. Monoganon – ‘Black Hole’ [Lost Map]

Comparable to the all-encompassing black holes drifting through our solar systems, the five-and-a-half-minute track is an immersive experience, holding its listener in one place while dreamy synths and scattered drum beats unravel over introspective lyrical refrains of: “Crush me, I am nothing.” As ‘Black Hole’ culminates into a haunting piano and vocal ending, there is time for reflection of Monoganon’s interstellar journey through galaxies of wonder, psych-pop and gender contemplation.

15. Spinning Coin – ‘Raining On Hope Street’ [Geographic]

There’s something out of time about ‘Raining On Hope Street’, a sense of being suspended in a fleeting, wistful dream. This paean to the simple joys of friendship, collaboration and time spent just hanging out in the country and city tugs the heartstrings in all the right places, reminding us that solidarity in any form should be cherished especially in today’s volatile, isolating times.

14. FOREIGNFOX – ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ [Scottish Fiction]

Dunfermline five-piece FOREIGNFOX used an intersection of opposing genres to make ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ a captivating culmination of despair, hope and optimism. You can hear Jonny Watt’s pain in the track, released as a double A side split with Mt. Doubt; it’s beyond sadness and feels like there’s a need for respite, a desire to return home. ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ is a climatic force in the face of dismay, building to a brutal honesty finale.

13. AMOR – ‘Paradise’ [Night School]

Inspired by the disco sounds of 70s-era Philadelphia International Records, AMOR bring their avant-garde disco sensibilities to life through epic soundscapes. The debut single from the supergroup featuring Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand fame, Richard Youngs, Luke Fowler and Michael Francis Duch, begins with a Blue Monday-style thumping kick drum, before a light funk instrumental gives way to a full-on funk stomp with Richard Youngs’ Bowie-esque vocal refrain of “calling from paradise/can you get through?” piercing through the heavily-layered synths. Pushing the 15-minute mark this is never going to be considered radio-friendly hit, however, there is enough here to suggest that AMOR will continue to be an ongoing concern amongst the members’ other projects.

12. Babe – ‘Wisteria’ [Kartel]

Sheer twinkling beauty in an addictive pop shell, ‘Wisteria’ was our pick of Babe’s Kiss & Tell album, however it could have been any number of tracks from that release. This slice of buoyant electronic bliss is special in it’s own right and shows Babe at thieir glimmering best.

11. The Spook School   ‘Still Alive’ [Alcopop!]

The infectious indie pop delivered by Edinburgh four-piece The Spook School has all the honest charm of previous efforts with a punchy joyfulness that has become synonymous with the group.  On ‘Still Alive’ dreamy vocals soar over traditionally catchy riffs, perfectly sound-tracking the nostalgia and hope of today’s twenty-somethings. 2017 Spook School ooze confidence, displaying the features of a band ready to emerge from the Glasgow winter gloom with self-assured melodic indie that could warm the coldest punks looking for a new contemporary musical home.

Doune the Rabbit Hole, Day 3, 20/8/17

During yesterday’s write up I failed to mention that one of my boots struck a leak.

so, I spend the early portion of Sunday waiting for Allan, our photographer for the weekend arrival, who is kindly bringing some wellies for me, unfortunately this means missing Ultras, but I do get on site in time catch Hairband whose fun noisy pop, with three way soft yet high vocal harmonies, have a real endearing lo-fi charm.

Lazy chilled out building numbers and chirpy garage pop, they’re a band we look forward to hearing some recorded material from.

Over at Baino Martha Ffion is simply delightful as ever, timeless sun kissed melancholy pop, her voice just caresses the crowd, it’s hard not to like and with a solid band behind her it’s the kind of stuff you could chill out and listen to all day.

Still this is a festival and clashes need to be accommodated for and Towel, just round the corner, brings a synthy punk energy that would be a shame to miss out on.

They’re a total not for everyone affair and nowhere near as comforting as Martha and co., but the trio are intense and fun, loud and aggressive, during their short set.

Indeed such a short set that Martha’s still on when I get back, and as ‘Lead Balloon’ ends the band explode into a pacey punchy rock section for ‘No Applause’, which closes things out beautifully.

Talking of timeless Jessica Pratt is the soothing experience sat on the grass that the entire weekend has been waiting for, she looks tiny sat herself on the Jabberwocky stage, but her voice has that perfect warmth to it; add over that her soft finger picked guitar than lingers over the field in a calming fashion hushing everyone to a chilled awe.

Pratt is joined on keys later on in the set, but this doesn’t change anything of the vibe, nor would you want it too.

Back at Baino Laura Gibson gives another calm chilled vibe, delivering soft folk tinged acoustic tunes, with a warm American accent.

Yet more gentle finger picked guitars create a delicate backdrop and a vocal delivery that brings to mind the gentler end Regina Spector catalogue with a slight twang, Gibson ends the chill out portion of the day.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen The Lovely Eggs and damn I forgot how good they are, their indie pop enthused punk with a comical edge and a proper northern accents changes the pace of the day nicely as we ease into evening.

The duo give out a confident presence and have enough surreal humour in their songs to keep everyone entertained, while maintaining a sound that at times build to a engulfing post punk display that gets you caught up in by itself; throw in songs about magical onions and sausage roll thumbs and you’re onto a winner.

Over at the Jabberwocky stage Pronto Mama deliver another solid familiarity with their brass touched poetic pop; they’re another act that it’s tough to tie down to a genre, but one with irresistibly crafted songs and catchy vocal hooks that stay in your head for days.

The Evil Usses bring back the psych tones of yesterday with a set that sways from soft jazzy vibes to cheeky 90s video game touching flourishes to trippy funk filled passages.

The band never quite get to the overpowering psych of the likes of Kikagaku Moyo yesterday, but it’s a teaser and a small reminder of the revelry on what so far has been a pretty chill Sunday.

Big Thief seem to deter the cultural appropriating portion of the festival crowd, which is a nice relief, as their delightful set of dreamy beauty with sad overtones goes undisturbed, well despite the unrelenting repetitive bass from the Decade of Dub stage.

They’re real, very real; Adrianne Lenker putting herself emotionally on the line with a backdrop that just quivers and haunts in the best way possible.

She comments ever so politely about the awkwardness about playing the set on the bass drowned backdrop, a feeling that is echoed by pretty much everyone in the tent, regardless their set garners such a delicate splendour that you can’t help leaving mesmerised by them.

Next it’s the turn of Start To End to close the main stage for the weekend, covering Daft Punk’s Discovery start to end would you believe, and they manage to attract the largest crowd of the weekend, despite lots of people having to leave early for work/school commitments the next morning.

Musically the band are on point, the Glasgow super group of sorts are unquestionably very talented musicians, but somehow the set feels a little flat, and while Pronto Mama’s Ciaran McEneny’s vocals are usually hooky and addictive, his Scottish twang doesn’t quite lend itself to Discovery’s electronic vocals, still despite this the crowd seem to lap it up and that’s ultimately a success for the festival.

There’s a little bit of time before we have to dash to see a bit of the much hyped Ho99o9, who in the short burst we see of them more than live up to it with an explosive live show that encapsulates as much the experimental harsh hip hop of Death Grips as it does the hardcore punk of Bad Brains.

The duo’s volatile presence is difficult to draw yourself away from and their sound is so powerful that I doubt you’d want to, sadly we have to get leave but have these guys noted to see again as soon as possible.

All in all 2017’s Doune the Rabbit Hole has done itself proud considering, what can be only described as a promoters nightmare, two headlines ultimately unable to play and the festival site being drowned in mud from before the festival’s start.

Maybe there’s a bit too much going on for a small festival, eight stages was always a bit optimistic, and while a festival can never chose its audience, losing 16 hours a day of dub and a few less ‘new age’ stores may go some way to not encouraging the more offence causing audience members.

Regardless, the bands that do play are of a consistently high calibre and the food and most of the atmosphere is to match; all of which make for a great festival, we hope the low turnout this year doesn’t effect it returning stronger than ever.

More Photos

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Allan Lewis / Harrison Reid

Preview: Doune The Rabbit Hole (Sunday)

With Doune the Rabbit Hole coming up next weekend we thought we’d give you a run down of some of the acts to check out, problem was we felt the line up so strong that we couldn’t limit it down to a certain number, here’s a wee day by day effort to keep you occupied:


After two late night affairs Sunday’s festival rounding up treads familiar waters with a cover act closing the main Jabberwocky Stage, this year it’s Glasgow supergroup Start To End performing Daft Punk’s Discovery live, which by all account should be fun, but their certainly promises to be a lot less carnage as the festival draws to a close, here’s some acts to look out for.

JESSICA PRATT (16.45, Jabberwocky)

A lovely late afternoon slot gives way for the warm dream pop acoustic psychedelia of Jessica Pratt, with distinctive 90s hisses and therapeutic harmonies this will act as the perfect calm after last night’s late night dancing.

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BIG THIEF (21.00, Baino)

On the surface charming, intricate and fragile folk rock with a soothing vocal performance, the Adrianne Lenker led Big Thief explore dark themes of childhood trauma in the most stunning way possible.

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PRONTO MAMA (18.15, Jabberwocky)

With a sharp, bold lyrics are bold, and a concoction of sounds Pronto Mama are a band that are difficult to pin down, but one thing they are as a band is intoxicating. From solemn and sincere tracks to ones that bounce along and make your feet want to move, Pronto Mama don’t follow convention in any way and this is what makes them genuinely unique.

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MARTHA FFION (16.00, Baino)

Martha Ffion has a distinctive knack for combining loose, 1960s guitar rock—all bouncing bass and flourishing licks— underneath the winning charm of Ffion’s sugary melodies. Ffion does sultry like no-one else, lingering over lines as if coyly aware she’s dripping musical honey over every word making her a set not to be missed in a day full of chilled out beauties.

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ULTRAS (13.00, Baino)

Solid rhythmic ability and technically Over The Wall’s Gav Prentice’s latest project, ULTRAS now have a full album under their belt. Expect some sincere and grounded tracks, that make up for for what they lack in cool with an infectious attitude and plenty of energy for those that make in up for the early afternoon set.

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HAIRBAND (14.30, The Lodge)

All girl five-piece Hairband are relatively newbies to the scene, well in this band at least, making their debut just in March, but the excitement around what they do and the other bands they share member of has heralded us enough to go catch them for the first time. Expect some fun, weird pop and not to be let down.

Withered Hand, a Singer of Songs, Martha Ffion at The Hug and Pint, 7/5/17

Dan Wilson of Withered Hand is absolutely one of the most interesting songwriters around; he recently collaborated to write and record with Barcelona-based a Singer of Songs during a week at an organic farm ‘in the middle of nowhere’ near Barcelona.

Over three dates in Edinburgh, Crail and Glasgow, the two launched the resulting EP Among Horses, which was released via Spanish label Son Canciones on May 5.

Martha Ffion opens the gig with a wonderful solo set; without a band, the bones of her songs and especially her lyrics, seem to stand out a little bit more.

There’s a bitter sweetness in her words and the way they’re sung that gives Ffion’s songwriting this mournfully sarcastic bite beneath her soothing, sugary melodies.

Her set was kind of unflinching, while singing about feelings being consequential, and with lyrics like, “it must have been so hard for you with all the growing up you had to do” and “missing you, like I’m supposed to,” this element of directness in Ffion’s music along with the cushioning of her gently lilting vocals and almost doo-wop style, is an intriguing combination, and it was cool to see her playing her songs solo.

A Singer of Songs then plays a set of songs that are thoughtful and raw; his music mixes nostalgia and honesty with slow Americana-type melodies.

In between songs he makes jokes and shares intimate stories about his songwriting experiences, which the crowd seem to enjoy.

At the end of the set Withered Hand and he play two songs that feature on their collaborative EP, which goes down well, it is evident that a Singer of Songs is an very able guitar player, and his voice is strong over inventive songs about disappointing relationships.

The fact he’s found a way to make music from some of these situations is laudable, I would be curious to hear him again with a full band.

Withered Hand headlines the show and also plays solo, until the last few songs where Leven of a Singer of Songs joins in for some older material as well as for the new material from the Among Horses EP.

There is something affecting in Withered Hand songs that seems undemanding but intricate in its expression; his guitar work is excellent, the talent Wilson has in his voice and lyrics gives the heavyhearted topics he writes about some kind of grace, as he handles metaphors alongside frank, emotive statements in an insightful way.

At one point in the set he mentions having a sore throat, but what was unfortunate for his throat and health turned out to be quite fortunate in the manner that songs like ‘California’, with its desperate sounding chorus “I keep sippin’ on the tussin like I’m sick again” and ‘Horseshoe’, from last album New Gods, which seem to gain something from his strained vocals – not to mention it results in some really lovely moments of audience participation.

The set includes songs like ‘No Cigarettes’ and ‘Religious Songs’, a crowd favourite, which Wilson jokes to only be using a setlist so he wouldn’t forget to play.

It is an exceptional gig. If you haven’t heard Withered Hand before, please do look him up, have a listen or go to a show.

Words: Jason Riddell
Photos: Claire Heimlich

Celtic Connections: Martha Ffion, Dave Frazer, Ruth Finegold at The Hug and Pint, 24/1/17

You can really hurt someone when you love them like that,Martha Ffion, aka Claire M. F. McKay croons on new track ‘Record Sleeves’, slotted neatly in the middle of tonight’s headline set.

If love can be painful, then Ffion and her band The Homemakers have certainly left their adoring crowd with a bout of heartbreak.

Despite these turbulent emotions, the overall mood of the evening is laidback and pensive, beginning with Ruth Finegold, who spins her solitary songs from a delicate web of crystalline vocals and pretty fingerpicking.

There’s a hint of Rachel Sermanni to Finegold’s often pastoral themes and her vocal delivery, which transitions smoothly between silvery lilt and haunting depth, making use of the audience’s respectful silence to fill the room with a lovely, minimalist cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hunter’s Lullaby’.

Suitably eased in, we’re now treated to New Zealand-born Dave Frazer and his band, The Slave Labourers.

Frazer’s moody, bluesy alt-rock well suits the venue, with its blue lights and bare bricks adding to the ambience of Frazer’s voice, which can be both satisfyingly gravelly and caramel-smooth, with romantic and often quirky lyrics that keep things safe from genre clichés: “hovered like a UFO”.

Frazer plays a range of original tunes, from “the dark and broody number” to “the light trivial twee number”; highlights including the plaintive ‘Old Souls’ and the languid and sexy ‘Specific Kind of Love’ which has the shadowy, velveteen jazz feel of a soundtrack to some classy saloon.

The room is packed full by the time Martha Ffion takes to the stage in black velvet, bathed in light behind a microphone entwined with white glowing roses.

Ffion and her band open with a couple of new songs which showcase their distinctive knack for combining loose, 1960s guitar rock—all bouncing bass and flourishing licks— underneath the winning charm of Ffion’s sugary melodies.

Ffion does sultry like no-one else, maintaining perfect poise throughout, lingering over lines as if coyly aware she’s dripping musical honey over every word: “they won’t touch your sugar skin”.

Third song ‘Wallflower’ whips up a livelier atmosphere, with its edgier rhythms and a doleful maturity, as Ffion assures “there’s no need to worry / we’re all waiting here for you” over lightly crunching guitar.

An old favourite, ‘Punch Drunk Love’, becomes a set standout, with its wistful lyrics intensified by subtle harmonies from Savage Mansion’s Craig Angus.

After Angus’ restrained yet passionate guitar solo, Ffion’s voice effortlessly climbs the octaves to reach a climax, before pulling back tenderly to reflect the song’s melancholy tone and sense of an ending: “I’ll carry you home one more time / and then it’s over”.

Throughout the gig, Ffion mesmerises with pastel-hued schoolyard nostalgia and lyrics glazed with dreamy imagery, as on ‘So Long’: “once we flew through clouds / miles above those sequin towns”.

However, such lyrical lushness is always accompanied by a sense of reflective wisdom, as songs like ‘So Long’ feels like a 1950s ballad, melding folky storytelling with the beauty of a bittersweet pop hook.

While most of the set has a lively, almost grungy vibe to counterbalance Ffion’s ethereal delivery, she admits with a twist of sass that one of the new tracks, ‘Baltimore’, is “the seediest song [she’s] ever written”, proceeding with a country-inspired pastoral number about a young girl in her pleated skirt, striving to navigate her way around the more sinister obstacles of small-town farm life and its leering eyes.

Still, Ffion pulls the country ballad style off well with both emotional conviction and a twinge of humour; reminding us, perhaps, that despite living in Glasgow her own rural heritage isn’t completely behind her.

As Ffion puts down her guitar and dances around dreamily with a tambourine, the set closes with surf-rock number, ‘No Applause’, where the audience applauds (with absolutely no title-related irony) as gritty guitars stitch their way through glittering lyrics: “but you feel significant / like a grain of diamond dust in your eyelids”.

It’s a short (half hour) set but a sweet one indeed.

Though busy mid-recording for the new album, Martha Ffion has clearly been honing her formula for cooking up pitch-perfect garage pop hazed with fairy tale vocals, and whether live or on vinyl, so far it tastes (heartbreakingly) good.

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Words: Maria Sledmere

Margaret Glaspy, Martha Ffion at Stereo, 7/11/16

Margaret Glaspy’s debut album, Emotions and Math, was a long time in coming, but, some four years after her debut EP, it is a truly encapsulating record that courses with a humble appeal and touches of grunge attitude.

Tonight Glaspy delivers all this and more putting in a startlingly cool and powerful performance that makes the uncomfortably warm and sticky floored Stereo more than bearable.

Opening tonight is a somewhat nervous looking Martha Ffion, who plays without a band for the first time in a good while; regardless Ffion’s sweet vocals and gently warming 60s-inspired tracks quickly settle her in front of an appreciative crowd.

‘We Disappear’ opens things up and the gently strummed number, from her debut EP Trip, quickly has the crowd charmed.

This stripped back performance does detract some of the rockier edge that her set usually carries, but what it doesn’t lack is that sugarcoated beauty that is at the centre of all of her material.

Newer tracks get an airing tonight and give more of a country twinge in Ffion’s vocal delivery, but again that sweet innocence of her vocal remains front and centre and with an album in the pipeline we can’t help but be exciting for what’s next.

Margaret Glaspy’s arrival onstage, with her two band members, is slightly understated, but when she opens with the title track of her debut album she’s anything but, there’s a real confidence that emits from her and as she huskily growls lines from the opening number she seems to be beaming at the healthy crowd in front of her.

Decked in a snazzy silver jacket she cuts a real focal point that’s only further emphasised by her charismatic delivery, which sees her switch from guttural snarls to sweetly delivered vocals, that becomes a feature of the set.

As she moves into ‘Pins and Needles’ there’s an animated feel to the whole of her delivery that gives the set a real swaggering authority to her set that you simply can’t turn away from.

A cover if Lucinda Williams’ ‘Fruits of My Labor’ oozes character and power, while Glaspy’s husky tones manage to elevate the track to stand out as much more than a cover, a feat she repeats in a completely different way on a mesmerising rendition of Lauryn Hill’s ‘Ex Factor’.

Everything just seems so effortlessly cool, her stage chat is humbled but never awkward, and in a few solo moments on stage she seems just as at home, and is just and enthralling, as when she’s with her band, as she heaves out notes that leave the crowd stunned.

There is certainly something special about Glaspy’s set that lifts in levels above what has already been achieved by a pretty accomplished release, whether it’ll take her four years for another record remains to be seen, but in this moment she’s one of the best performers you’re going to see.

More Photos

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Claire Maxwell

Martha Ffion – Trip [Turnstile]

With the perfect pop record from a blossoming pop pixie, Martha Ffion has delivered on the promise she more than hinted at in her 2015 single ‘No Applause’.

Pleasingly different with a span of styles Trip introduces a tousled, tangled side to Ffion with new tracks ‘Red Letter Day’ and ‘School Nurse’ edging towards grungey garage pop.

The former though retains some of the sweet sixties-esque sound we have become accustomed to with the rushed and distorted guitar having a real summer time vibe

‘School Nurse,’ starts with Ffion’s velvet voice mocking and hinting that a typical candy edged track is forthcoming, however a caustic jagged guitar kicks in forming a scabrous sound that bristles along in perfect opposition to the mellow tones of the vocal; charming yet serrated it’s like grunge with hues of sweetness laced throughout.

Previous single, ‘Wallflower’ still sounds as fresh as the day it bloomed and along with ‘So Long’ they highlight Ffion’s paradisiacal talent of delivering doleful, saccharine lyrics over laid on lazy loose guitar riffs.

Juxtaposition is a recurring theme on this record with ‘We Disappear’, the centrepiece of the EP, the perfect example.

Three-minutes-and-six-seconds of lo-fi stalling and grating guitar intertwining with Ffion’s simply stunning honey dripped voice, it shouldn’t work but it beats any lingering doubts about why it does into utter submission.

Ffion is producing something no one else is and personally I love it.

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Words: Peter Dorrington

West End Festival All Dayer at Oran Mor, 19/6/16

So it’s another dad day and another all dayer at Oran Mor as part of the West End Festival, and while the line up today may not be quite as dad friendly as last year’s fare there is a host of local talent at various stages of their musical development on offer.

Lewis Capaldi

Arriving early we manage to catch Lewis Capaldi opening at the Whisky Bar and the gruff voiced singer-songwriter, who recently sold out his debut headline show at The Garage Attic, portrays plenty of attention grabbing presence.

The load bar is full of bustling punters out for lunch or beers with their dads, but it’s huge credit to Capaldi that he manages to hold his own in loud bar that many would fade away into.

Three Blind Wolves

In the Venue we pop down for the start of local folk rock favourites Three Blind Wolves, whose recent EP The Bridge ranks among the best things they’ve done yet, deliver their ever impressive live set as their rousing musicianship coupled with Ross Clark’s booming vocals is a great way to kick things off downstairs.

Martha Ffion

Alas this can only be a brief visit for the Wolves as the wonderful Martha Ffion is started upstairs in the gorgeous Auditorium.

As Ffion takes the stage early on in the day the beautiful venue is sadly a bit towards the empty side.

Nevertheless Ffion and her band make the most of the stunning venue, performing like the room is full and receiving loud cheers at the end of each song for her charming sugarcoated vocals.

Having built up a large repertoire of 60s fuzzy pop peppered singles it is clear the Irish-born songstress’ confidence and stage presence has grown since I saw her last allowing her to grip her audience’s attention throughout her set closing on the wonderfully touching ‘We Disappear’.

Be Charlotte

We arrive early to catch Withered Hand’s set but are disappointed to find out he is stuck in traffic so we make the decision to head back upstairs to catch the wonderful Be Charlotte.

Having seen young Charlotte Brimner perform multiple time in the last year, the latest being just yesterday for Detour’s Hug and Pint Birthday party, her set comes as no real surprise, but it’s huge credit to the sparkling Dundonian that her set remains as impressive as the first time I witnessed it.

From the beginning of single and opener ‘Discover’ to the end of the set Brimner possess an addictive quality that bursts with an innovative take on pop music that could and should see her to the very top.

Whether hitting out a potential chart banger, chanting almost spoken word eloquence or delivering gob smacking acapella in her unique yet completely stunning tones, it’s hard not to enjoy and become engulfed in her set.

As we cannot possibly drag ourselves away from Be Charlotte, when we manage to head back downstairs for a second attempt at Withered Hand, he’s just finishing his set, however personal favourite, ‘Religious Songs’ allows us a short yet excellent taster of exactly what Dan Wilson’s solo set has to offer.

Catholic Action

Up next are fuzzy-rockers Catholic Action who treat the crowd to a number of new tracks during their set.

Between tracks the band’s on stage repartee is extremely entertaining as frontman Chris McCrory half-joking states “this is a slow song so shut up” in a deadpan manner.

It doesn’t take long for the to band speed things up with a song about pop diva Rita Ora before finishing their set by giving it their all.

With a set that showcases Catholic Action’s musical ability as well diversity, it’s no surprise that their captivating laid back melodies, angsty lyrics and jangly guitar noise create one of the day’s most memorable sets.

De Rosa

In the Venue a wonderful twinkling misery hangs in the air, but despite the glum demeanor De Rosa are mesmerising, Martin John Henry’s heartfelt vocals are believable and hit just the right side of charming, while musically they deliver enough bounce to put a string in your step without becoming jolly.

De Rosa returned at last year’s all dayer with a long awaited bang and while new album Weem didn’t quite drown them in accolades in was a slow burner that cemented their place as a vital part of the scene in Scotland and this set only confirms that.

Pronto Mama

It’s withdrawn but encapsulating, cold yet welcoming; a delightful touch between the fun romps of Catholic Action and next up, upstairs Pronto Mama.

The best set of the day goes to the effortlessly cool Pronto Mama, who from the moment they take the stage grasp of the crowd’s attention.

Their catchy upbeat tracks make it hard to stop everyone from having a little dance, even the band themselves join in and it’s not long until bassist Michael Griffin’s glasses go flying off his face.

The highlight of their set however has to be the courageous acapella ‘Sentiment’, which gives the crowd the opportunity to catch their breath as the whole band come together to deliver the track in beautiful harmony.


Due to the early start we have to choose a moment to pop out for food, which unfortunately sees us missing all of Crash Club and the vast majority of the heavenly vocaled Rachel Sermanni’s set, however we are back well in time for downstairs’ headliners Errors.

There’s a wee “hello” for Steev Livingstone and we’re off into a haze of fazer ridden, building beats that layers up to points of pounding bass and huge euphoric rises.

The sparse reverb ridden vocals on the tracks from one last year’s stand out albums, Lease of Life, give a live feel not to far removed from the better end of Animal Collective’s solo material, i.e. Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, and as this melds into a cacophony of organic synth and bass from their familiar beat ridden post rock sound.

Tracks from last year’s more dreamy release seem at ease side by side with the driven guitars of their older material and it’s a pleasure to delve into; everything Errors seem to do seems to come off perfectly and as Livingstone dryly asks “have you enjoyed it?” the crowd respond unanimously only for him to come back in the same deadpan tone “good, we’ll play again… some other time”.

Let’s hope it’s not too far off.

So another successful day of music from the centre piece, musically at least, of the West End Festival and the perfect way to spend a Sunday with or without your dad.

More Photos

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Words: Iain Dawson/Jess Lavin
Photos: Aimee Boyle/Stewart Fullerton