The all dayer at Oran Mor is shaping up to be a highlight of the West End Festival, with 14 acts on three stages in one building the event boasts something for everyone.
Starting in the Whiskey Bar Gav Prentice plays a set accompanied by a lone electric guitar, an assortment of drum machines, keyboards and gaffer tape; influenced by traditional Scottish folk music, charmingly awkward, Prentice delivers a quirky and at some points touching set.
The Burns inspired ‘John Barleycorn’ recounts the agony of alcohol addiction with a catchy drum beat and the assistance of a digitally reanimated Richard Burton.
Following Prentice, the folk two piece Reilly and Boyle and they take turns at the mic, the difference in the two singers voices go well together especially in exceptional harmonies throughout.
A Milk Carton Kids cover fits well among original material in particular ‘Heart Break Song’ with its immediately memorable melody and bitter sweet lyrics.
Venturing upstairs to the Auditorium to find now converted (or unconverted?) church, softer folk acts are in residence; initially, only Siobhan Wilson’s Spanish guitar is audible.
As soon as this is fixed a blast of Wilson’s voice is like a light coming on, strong but with a powerfully delicate nature Wilson’s style harks back to Carol King and the early seventies singer songwriters boom, as well as having a distinctly country flavour, original songs, ‘Cowboy’ and ‘White Robe’ shine with quality.
Turning Plates bring a grown up instrumental side to the evening, ghostly violin and cello working created flourishes of discord, raspy trombone and interesting lyrics made for an atmospheric but otherwise dull performance.
Meanwhile in the bowels of the Oran Mor harder rock acts gather; mixing ska, rock and rap Hector Bizerk are a colourful addition to the subterranean venue stage with calypso percussion and a hard rock edge the group create a party atmosphere.
Enigmatic frontman Louie provides rapid fire rhymes attempting (though admittedly unsuccessfully) to bring an 8 Mile level of audience participation to the indie crowd, undaunted Hector Bizerk play a set of uniquely Scottish rap songs and one of the most memorable performances of the day.
With so much on offer on different locations, it is frustrating to decide which bands to choose especially when it comes time for the headline slots, however The Vaselines make it an easy choice.
Famously dear to a certain Seattle group of the 90s, The Vaselines formed in Glasgow in the mid 80s at a time when alternative music was a real alternative to a bland, sanitised MTV driven music industry.
Recruiting a band of “Vaselines virgins”, Frances and Eugene are back with their pure guitar powered indie rock presented with their own brand of “how’s your father” humour.
Squeezing hit after hit into their set The Vaselines have a way of making a long set short, with familiar tracks and a performance of their new single ‘One Lost Year’ they triumphantly return and bring the evening to a satisfying close.
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Words: Peter Johnstone
Photos: Stewart Fullerton