Tag Archives: ST.MARTiiNS

ST.MARTiiNs – ‘do ur words’

‘do ur words’ is the new self-released track from the incredible pop sensations ST.MARTiiNs, who have evolved a sound that is unique and stands out amongst the crowd.

The Dundonian duo have started off 2018 with their best foot forward, creating an upbeat song with downbeat lyrics, which perfectly encapsulates how difficult it can be to navigate hidden meanings behind other people’s words.

The lead singer has stunning vocals which have mystic, charming qualities that add to the already unique and incomparable sound the duo have.

‘do ur words’ is very cleverly crafted dark pop with intriguing lyrical and rhythmical hooks that keep your attention focused.

The track could easily be an instant hit as its catchy and relatable; it’s fun and energetic with hints of dark tones throughout, a contrast that adds to the mystique of the song and the duo themselves.

ST.MARTiiNs are continuing to show themselves to be real contenders in the music scene with their style and refreshingly unique sound.

Words: Shannon Cullen

ST.MARTiiNS – ‘othr grls’

‘othr grls’ by ST.MARTiiNS, taken from their debut EP, bad w/ her, is a fantastic and fun track.

With lots of funky guitar and rhythmical hooks, this infectious song instantly gets under your skin and you find yourself drawn in by the upbeat liveliness.

You could sit with this song on my headphones for hours and never get bored.

Katie Lynch has a beautifully elegant voice, which keeps the listener intrigued.

From start to finish ‘othr grls’ is a complete masterpiece, an excellently crafted song structured to perfection.

Words: Shannon Cullen

Catholic Action and Friends Takeover at Tut’s, 24/3/18

Tonight looks a fantastic evening filled with lots of great new up and coming bands, both the bar and the venue spaces of King Tut’s are used all night to bring the audience eight bands in total.

Kicking off the night is Herbert Powell with punchy songs and big guitar sounds; the audience start to trickle in in dribs and drabs as the band play out their set.

The sound this band had is quite unique at times, which makes them very interesting and helped them stand out from the numerous other artists on the bill, along with an energetic frontman who gives a brilliant performance.

The audience usher themselves down stairs to catch Ewan Cruickshanks (Crooky) who plays a nice set of soft rock song as the bar starts to get very busy with more people coming out.

Next up is dream pop band Life Model with their lovely well-structured songs; their set is lots of fun and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

The band look to have an amazing time on stage dancing about and showing themselves to be a band with real chemistry and the lead singers vocals were stunning.

West Princes took to the bar stage next, they’re a great lively fun band who really got everyone moving about and enjoying themselves.

They filled the small stage with an energetic upbeat set; this band is a fantastic band with amazing dynamics and a fantastic grasp on song writing.

Shredd are next up and with their fiery energy they explode on to the stage with an amazing set that the crowd really loved.

They have an amazing vibe about them and bring to the stage a massive full on sound with their relentless guitars and drums.

By the time The Bellybuttons and ST.MARTiiNs take to the stage the crowd are full psyched.

Both bands gave an incredible performance with ST.MARTiiNs warming up the main stage for Catholic Action.

They are a highly charismatic band with a sensational vibe to them and are clearly masters at what they do.

The dynamics and song structures throughout are astounding and they have the audience eating out the palm of their hands the entire set.

It is fast paced and high energy and absolutely epic.

‘Black and White’, from their debut album In Memory Of, goes down an absolute storm with the audience who are joining in and having a great time.

We are also treated to some new music with the promise of a second album in the works.

Lead singer, Chris McCrory gives an incredible vocal performance, while maintaining his witty lines between songs.

On a whole, the gig and all the bands were incredible and showed how versatile and fresh Glasgow’s music scene is.

Singing along to the songs, the audience are given a night to remember by Catholic Action and all their friends who perform too.

More Photos

Words: Shannon Cullen
Photos: Brendan Waters

Tracks of 2017 (10-1)

10. TeenCanteen – ‘Millions’ [Last Night From Glasgow]

‘Millions’, and the Sirens EP that contained it, was an unexpected deep and emotional turn from TeenCanteen, but this track is quite possibly their strongest work to date. This very personal number cover reflects on singer Carla J Easton’s feelings on her dad’s passing some time after the fact, but counteracts the subject matter with irresistibly sweet melodies and pop drenched harmonies.

9. Catholic Action ‘Propaganda’ [Modern Sky]

Catholic Action marked the announcement of their upcoming debut album In Memory Of, with the release of new single ‘Propaganda’ – a tirade against club nights which only play landfill indie, it is no coincidence that the track is named after a Glaswegian club night which specialises in exactly the same thing it berates. ‘Propaganda’ is frantic glam rock banger as lead singer Chris McCrory repeatedly snarls “I will never be like you” over a wall of guitars and a melodic synth hook. This is glamorous indie rock and roll done exactly the way it should be; don’t bet against them being the saviours of the great British guitar group.

8. Breakfast MUFF – ‘Babyboomers/R U A Feminist’ [Armour Foo]

In double A-side Babyboomers/R U A Feminist’ Breakfast MUFF present a very cogent, energetic, exciting and interesting single that captures well their on-stage unpredictability, style and dynamicity. ‘Babyboomers’ employs a more traditional structure, but toys with it and messes it around; this effort is mirrored in the intergenerationally disparaging lyrics, while ‘R U A Feminist’ generalises less and is more of a personal tale. Both songs are replete with well-placed and tonally appropriate punk-rock sensibilities, fine music and wonderfully unique vocal harmonies.

7. Sacred Paws – ‘Strike A Match’ [Rock Action]

‘Strike a Match’ is a perfect distillation of Sacred Paws’ similarly titled album with its infectious, intricate and squeaky-clean indie. Inflected with warm, Afrobeat guitar, playful handclaps and tropical percussion, this track is definitely a belter for those precious afternoons spent down the park in the sun. Eilidh Rodgers’ backing vocals interweave sweetly intriguing echoes around Rachel Aggs’ effortless new wave delivery, while subtle brass brightens those addictive melodies.

6. KAPUTT – ‘Feed My Son’ [Fuzzkill]

‘Feed My Son’ is just a crackingly poetic track about ownership of far more than one needs encapsulated in a super addictive guitar pop shell. The energetic track uses catchy guitar and skull embedding saxophone riffs to accompany the social commentary.

5. Marnie – ‘Lost Maps’ [Disco Pinata]

If ever a record managed to be exactly on point, tick all the correct boxes and yet still be utterly thrilling, ‘Lost Maps’ by Marnie is it; it’s an absolute belter. A growling, electronic, thuggishly sleek beast of a tune by the frontwoman of Ladytron, ‘Lost Maps’ transcends its elements and delivers heavy, processed beats, a dark bassline but with the sort of dreamy top end and vocal to drag things from the gutter into the stars: a little excitable that description, perhaps, but, tracks that manage to appeal to the most tedious of disco-bores – me – yet also be dripping in pop are all too rare.

4. Bossy Love – ‘Body’

Yet another dose of dance-floor inducing brilliance Bossy Love, ‘Body’ is a high octane, pulsing bit of soulful pop that should be a smash hit. This duo are destined for something very big very soon and they fully deserve it.

3. ST.MARTiiNs – ‘othr grls’

Dundee’s ST.MARTiiNs have a real knack for a glimmering pop noir number and ‘othr grls’ is probably their best work to date. The track is a sleek, vibrant pop number that utilises a strong dream-like vocal performance that embeds into your psyche and doesn’t let go. Despite its message about disillusionment with the people around you ‘othr grls’ feels upbeat, however it never gives in to full on sugar-coated pop, providing all the hooky goodness with a hazy ethereal majesty.

2. HOME$LICE – ‘Come Up To Fade’

‘Come Up To Fade’ thrashes the Young Creatives EP into life in proper old-school garage rock fashion; lead vocalist Josh McDowall howling like a youthful Julian Casablancas as melodic guitars and urgent drums race each other behind him as HOME$LICE gave an early contender for song of the year.

1. LYLO – ‘Your Father’s Eyes’ [El Rancho]

Already an oddity unto themselves by the fact that they are one of the only bands around who have a saxophonist amongst their members, LYLO have garnered an ever growing reputation as a formidable live act. ‘You Have Your Father’s Eyes’ is a work of beauty – from the moment the atmospheric intro leads into the jazz funk of the verses, LYLO have you hooked. Mitch Flynn’s dreamy, reverb-drenched vocals on the chorus gently chime “you know it gets me every time” benefitting from their own idyllic production. By the time Iain McCall’s sax solo draws the track to a close amongst a cacophony of noise, an almost spiritual journey is complete.

Tenement Trail 2017

Down early for 2017’s edition of Tenement Trail and Edinburgh’s CHEAP TEETH play to a busy but relatively relaxed Broadcast basement.

At points their music lends itself to the restrained atmosphere with subdued alt rock vibes, at others they move to gruffly sneered indie chant alongs.

There’s glimpses of the band blowing you away with powerful flourishes, however for the most part it’s lackadaisical, stoner tinged rock with a hint of lad generation about it, nice start to what promises to be a busy day.

Tenement Trail is synonymous with mad dashes to get to see as much as possible and with the forewarning that entry will depend on capacity of venues and with fifteen minute walks between some venues you have to time your journeys accordingly.

Early in the day the mad dashes aren’t so much of a problem, but the basements of Broadcast and Sleazy’s do reach capacity a few times before the bigger venues open their doors.

Fauves are next door and keep the chilled vibes to a packed basement theme going, but add a touch more sunshine to proceedings with their warming dream pop back drops, casual presence and off kilter charismatic vocal delivery.

It’s a set full of charming passages and uplifting highs, as the keys force you into a woozy sway, the guitar licks some tropical heat in and the vocals range, from high hooky sections to soulful dream filled beauty, has you engrossed.

In Broadcast Savage Mansion take the stage to Kurt Angle’s theme music, and before the urge to chant “you suck” becomes unmanageable they are off, upping the ante with their churning pop sound.

At points it’s proper hooky power pop as Craig Angus’ drawl journalistic lyrics sets them apart from their peers.

The delivery may be thick and fast, but Savage Mansion deliver the kind of set you can easily imagine crowds bigger than this chanting along to before losing it to super fun chorus hooks.

The first major movement of the day finds us down in Flat 0/1, and the tight squeeze of a venue hosts Tamzene, whose haunting vocals are backed only by gentle piano chords and a touch of backing vocal creating a mesmerising misery that entrances the crowd.

The Highlander, now based in Leeds, has the kind of voice that could pack a real punch and blast an arena, but here she uses it to caress and distil that power and deliver some truly beautiful ballads and lullabies that leaves the room silenced.

Sam Fender has a cheeky lad Geordie presence about him and as he croons “I’m a millennial” over an overly prominent bass drum, you get the impression he could be playing to packed venues bigger than Sleazy’s basement before long, the fact last time he was in Glasgow someone said he looked like Justin Bieber is enlightening, as it’s pretty difficult to make him out in the rammed pub, but gives the impression he has the image to go with tunes.

His vocal range is displayed emphatically here, even touching on his lookalike’s pop chops at points, while he can do edgy indie rock blasts and huge festival sing-alongs too; musically there’s an overriding glitchy electronic vibe that carries Fender’s sound further than your average rock band, while they are perfectly capable of going full on rock band or stripping it back too.

Three spaces of The Garage are used today, and each one of their spaces, while ideal for viewing the stage, sound a bit sparse and baron, while their policy of pat downs at 5pm at a communal fun festival is a bit intrusive.

Regardless this doesn’t deter Van Ives, who we forgo the temptations of Stevie Parker for as more the festival starts to spread out a bit; the duo fronted by former Bella and the Bear man Stuart Ramage, who were formed out of playing around with old video tapes, utilise clever samples, keys ranging from gentle to twinkling with a heavy hit of bass, all topped by passionate soulful vocal delivery and subtle guitars.

Ranging from grand, orchestral sounds to glitchy experimental organic beauty, with the occasional soaring section of pure pounding glory, the band do plenty to keep us excited.

As they close on ‘Pyramid’ with just a soft rhythm behind Ramage’s vocal it’s enough to have you shivering, before a soaring scape comes in the bass shudders the room and you’re left with a sense of something special just round the corner.

Wuh Oh is a different vibe completely as the whole set, minus a minor sound mix up, has a fluidity the emits through the man onstage; shimmering funk pop samples move freely into seemingly improvised key movements before the samples kick back in.

This is the kind of music that could so easily be played straight through a laptop, after the painstaking crafting process that is, however its credit to Pete Ferguson that he’s introduced his own live elements and all the while remaining an endless focal point of hyperactive sleaze filled dance moves.

The music hits apocalyptic heights, introducing elements of hip hop and a shuddering bass, all the while keeping a haunting refrain and of course never losing that level of liquid flow that emanates through the whole set.

After a break that unfortunately means missing Tongues and Emme Woods, we find ourselves back on it for the end of Anteros’ energetic pop rock set in a busy ABC2.

From the short burst we get a hit of high octane pop fun and a singer that possess an old school punk presence, strutting about the stage sneering and purring out tracks that emit as much attitude as they do pop chops.

ST.MARTiiNS start off on a quiet haunting number before upping the pace with warm soaring guitar lines; the vocal delivery exudes a dark pop glory, hooky yet shrouded in a sultry gothic shadow that lingers throughout their sound.

Still despite this dark element, their sound is full of bouncy rhythms and shimmery licks that are a lot of fun creating an almost oxymoronic feeling to their sound, it’s like being out in the sunshine but without the daylight and they’re all the more intriguing for it.

As they grow into their set they engulf the basement, and while we may try to categorise their sound they’re just bloody good.

As I arrive upstairs in The Garage’s Attic Bar, minus any pat downs this time, I find a whispering, shuddering wonky sound hit me as Edwin Organ’s soulful delivery comes backed by a cacophony of electronic touches and emerges basked in quality.

This is the kind of act that you can never predict and as he runs off stage to find his Mac charger mid set he hits us with surprising bravado before slipping back into a luscious maximal beauty of another track, the set continues with some trippy lounge feels, more dance floor teasing flurries and that smooth vocal; this deserves more than just the smattering of people gathered in this small room.

To my surprise/disappointment I get into The Priory’s tiny space for Calva Louise (disappointment as this place should be overflowing), but even with the small amount of people gathered in front me catching a glimpse of the band proves a task.

Sadly the volume levels in the basement aren’t up to full so the band’s hooky gothic garage pop isn’t as powerful sounding as it should, this is in no way down to the band who play through bouncing pop tracks and haunting fast screeching numbers with much more confidence than most bands would with only one track in the public domain.

With an addictive singer who delivers on chirpy pop to gritty garage delivery just as well, and a sound that just transmits energy into their audience, Calva Louise is a band that will make packed out basement shows their irresistible staple.

The Big Moon take the honour of being the biggest acts I see today, well in the biggest space anyway, and play to a sizeable crowd in The Garage’s main venue, and grasp people in with an attitude drenched pop rock sound that, woos with a charming presence and holds on with some finely crafted, bombastic tracks.

I only catch the last few numbers, but as the singer prowls the front of the crowd on ‘Bonfire’ you can see why they have gathered such a crowd – delightful sun touched stuff.

Arriving in Broadcast for The Great Albatross you’re hit by how sparse the basement is, but as the set progresses a few more filter in.

Unfortunately you can’t talk about this set without mentioning the outright disrespect for both band and audience from those gathered on the side bench, who shout over the band and drunkenly chant football songs when asked to quieten down, the band try their best to ignore this but it leaves a lingering awkwardness that’s hard to ignore.

That aside when the band are in full stride they produce tracks of unabashed beauty that are drowned in the sadness their recorded work possess in abundance, their live sound feels just as special, as once those causing the noise are dispensed the tracks soar through the basement like a cosy alt rock cushion, melting you down and charming you back to life.

Next door there’s a bigger crowd, but it’s saddening to see Sleazy’s not packed to the brim for Spinning Coin, who ounce for ounce are one of the best bands on the bill.

They’re one of those bands the just exude warm fussy vibes, it’s all lo-if pop sunshine, whether sneered and fast or slow jangly and sun kissed its all just coated in an addictive drizzle that keeps you swaying and hooked in for more.

They’re such a joy that whoever takes the lead vocal duties, whether it be Sean Armstrong’s dulcet indie pop tones, Jack Mellin’s gravely garagey pop delivery or Cal Donnely’s shouty attitude drenched vocals, it’s all got the same pull.

The band go past their allotted time slot, but after a chant of “one more tune” and them closing the venue for the night they get the go ahead for one more and recent single ‘Raining on Hope Street’ makes for a more than welcome encore.

Following that we’re left with a small gap as the venues start closing their doors meaning getting into the final few places becomes more and more difficult, but the time we get to Tut’s there’s already one-in-one-out for Catholic Action’s set, which is still more than 10-minutes off starting.

Still, it’s no surprise as this is a band that have been slowly garnering attention and acclaim for a while now, and with their debut album just a around the corner what better way to introduce it than a closing slot at Tenement Trail.

The four-piece take the stage to Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ and from then on it seems like single after single as the band roll through glammed up indie rock tracks that prove bigger earworms that we expected from a few recorded listens.

We have said in the past that Catholic Action are “the only guitar band in Glasgow who are doing anything at the moment” and more recently suggested they may be the saviours of the British guitar group, and while the former was 18-months ago, and bit of a knowing extreme, with the later they may well still be – they have all the pop chops to be huge, while lack all the dross laddish vibes that have dominated the mainstream guitar band for too long.

Catholic Action produce fun, well crafted tracks that have everything right, with a bit of luck for them and some for ourselves this will just be the end the beginning and the start of something big.

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

Ten acts to check out at Tenement Trail 2017

Tenement Trail is back for another year and as they spread a ridiculous amount of bands over 10 venues and over nine hours we made some hard choices for who we think you should go see:

Catholic Action
King Tut’s, 11.15-11.45

This one promises to be a packed one so get yourself along early, not only cos Catholic Action are the last band at the whole festival and have a whole time slot to themselves, but also cos they’re one of the hottest property’s in the UK just now. The Glasgow four-piece are less than a month away from releasing their debut album and from the exuberant, glam tinged guitar pop the have unleashed to date the full could be the thing that ushers them to the huge audiences that have been edging to for a while.

Flat 0/1, 9.45-10.15

With a live set that goes from Ty Seagall channeling garage pop to full on heavy riffage Shredd have carved out a reputation for themselves as one of the best live acts in Scotland just now. Expect to see the band being surfed over your head at some point; expect to have the time of your life.

Spinning Coin
Nice N Sleazy, 9.30-10

Spinning Coin’s DIY pop aesthetic has you falling in love with it from the instant you hear it. From luscious melodies to hazy garage, the somewhat Glasgow indie supergroup adds to the right amount of nostalgia and nods to their home town to have you flustered and the lovingly crafted songwriting does the rest.

The Great Albatross
Broadcast, 9-9.30

Wesley Chung’s subtle and beautiful acoustic tracks have been brought to real life as a full five-piece band now puts together The Great Albatross. His recorded material is a transfixing road trip of coherent splendor, however live there’s something vital about the tracks that give them a true glory.

Calva Louise
The Priory, 8.15-8.45

Based in London, but hailing from France, Venezuela and New Zealand, Calva Louise is a band with a high octane, punk attitude of a live show. They may only have a limited amount of music available online, however their surfy shredding, garage rock riffs and squealing guitars make them a live prospect not to be missed.

Edwin Organ
The Garage Attic Bar, 7.45-8.15

Variation is key to Edwin Organ’s sound, still everything he touches comes out golden, his slick, but not unbearably polished production gives his head nodding organic left-field electronica a real desirable sheen. At points it’s super catchy at others a welcoming hug that fuses soul and jazz elements with obvious dance knowledge.

Nice N Sleazy, 7.30-8

I’ve not had the opportunity to see ST. MARTiiNS in a live setting as of yet, but their luscious dreamy pop sound has me more than looking to change this this weekend. From our previous reports you could see a set of tropical sunshine or sultry wonder, but either way this duo are definitely ones to keep your eyes peeled for.

Emme Woods
The Garage, 6.30-7

Emme Woods is a talented and witty songwriter with an addictively gruff vocal that transforms her live show from a punk show to a pink swilling blues-rock powerhouse. She also has her wee dog on stage with at all times, you had us at Bubbles!

Wuh Oh
Nice N Sleazy, 5.30-6

While Pete Ferguson aka Wuh Oh’s recorded material is a headily eclectic array of catchy samples, glitchy synths and a peculiar yet entrancing set of time signatures, his live performance takes up a notch both musically and in his bewitching presence; it’s playful, infectious and will get you dancing well worth catching.

Stevie Parker
Broadcast, 5-5.30

Reports would suggest that Stevie Parker’s live show is an immersive, mesmeric experience and that’s what we fully expect from her recorded material, a delicately crafted emotional repertoire powered by Parker’s rich haunted tones that soar with enviable ethereal qualities.

Pronto Mama, Declan Welsh and the Decadent West, ST MARTiiNS at The Art School, 26/5/17

It’s been a long hot day in May and frankly the atmosphere in tonight’s gig is flustered, intense; like any minute you could light up the audience with one choice spark.

Luckily, the bands on show all know how to work that magic.

First up is Dundee’s ST MARTiiNS, a band who usually sound pretty tropical, a bit sunshine pop, but tonight Mark Johnstone, Katie Lynch and co evoke a certain sultry, zealous atmosphere; maybe it’s just The Art School’s violet-flushed and noirish interiors, but there’s a streak of darkness to their live show that adds its frisson to what shows on record.

Lyrics like “If I could throw away the guilt I feel inside / If I could count the ways / you make me wanna cry” (‘About U’) acquire a heightened fury when performed onstage, owing to Lynch’s impressive vocal delivery, which ranges from the shrill-sweet tones of CHVRCHES’ Lauren Mayberry to undulate low notes that truly mesmerise in a manner not all too dissimilar to Bat for Lashes’ billowing trills.

There’s a level of reverb and volume to ST MARTiiNS’s live-show which allows the jazzier rhythms and lacings of electronica to gain extra prescience, Lynch’s voice weaving a sometimes incomprehensible but always melodic thread through the pulsing and often off-kilter beats.

With catchy winners like ‘Bad Art’ under their belt, those showers of sparkling guitar, Lynch’s almost theatrical voice and the general enthusiasm of every band member’s performance, ST MARTiiNS are certainly ones to watch on the summer circuit.

Their energy offers a necessary warm-up to what comes next, Declan Welsh and the Decadent West; Welsh has been cutting his teeth awhile now in both gig and spoken word environments, and that loquaciously confident, cutting voice brings a grittier edge to the evening.

Musically, Welsh and his band recall early Arctic Monkeys, nailing the sweet spot between melodic guitars, thrashing drums and a vocal delivery that veers between harsh croon and somewhat guttural moments of spoken word, spitting vitriol on the social and political conditions of the times.

Welsh is no mere provocateur, however; he’s a genuinely pissed-off millennial, unafraid to supply a damning commentary on modern life.

An early song in the set references the side-effects of the internet, the hypnotic vacuity of Reddit and meme-culture; lyrics twisted with the biting satire of a Father John Misty song, though without Misty’s honey-drenched vocals to soften the blow.

Songs such as ‘Will’ and ‘Useless’ get the crowd invested and the shadowy venue is almost full already, despite the good weather outside.

Throughout the set, you’re never allowed to forget that Welsh is a Man Who Reads The News, and while the overt political posturing might seem contrived in other situations, you can tell that Welsh means every word he says and frankly, in times like these, the more young people voicing their political frustrations the better–especially when Welsh’s message is one of empathy over division.

Indeed, he precedes his anti-fascist epic, ‘No Pasaran’, with a speech about the need to overcome the scare-mongering tactics of hate coming from both the far-right and the political establishment, his impassioned tones made all the more ominous by a dark under-groan of bass.

When someone in the audience shouts “Theresa May is a cow”, Welsh asks if we can find a less gender-specific insult for the prime minister, before admitting his general agreeance with the man’s opinion; you can tell he thinks his words through thoroughly—in fact, he uses the word ‘deconstruct’ at least twice in the set.

Welsh’s lyrical intelligence doesn’t overshadow the music but rather complements the band’s tight performance and vivid delivery; he gives it his all with a rollicking solo on the penultimate song and the sweat drips off everyone’s face in the room.

While their set has been fraught, angsty and heavy, the Decadent West close on a slower, sexier jam, ‘Do What You Want’, which Welsh admits is all about sexual fluidity; again, politics mixes with the personal and here he does his best Alex Turner impersonation, swaying those snake hips in time to sultry lilts of guitar and lusty croons.

By the time Pronto Mama take to the stage, the crowd are certainly ready for something lively and the whole set is peppered with here we fucking go and Pronto fucking Mama chants.

This isn’t just the woozy enthusiasm of Glaswegians sloshed from a rare day of drinking in the sun, but genuine appreciation for a band whose energised, complex vigour encourages spirited reaction from the audience.

Tonight is the official launch of their debut LP, Any Joy, and as such the majority of the set draws from the lush expanse of this record, opening with the introspective and angst-ridden ‘Bottom Feeder’.

Lyrics like “do you know that nothing’s really real” seduce with their weird hypnosis, before a wall of heavy guitar and drums shock the crowd into roaring shouts, drawing back into quiet with a rhythmic tightness that indicates the band’s five year build to this kind of platform.

With vocals swapped between Marc Rooney and Ciaran McEneny, backed by an impressive flank of synths, brass, percussion, bass, guitar, keys and drums, there’s something of There Will Be Fireworks’ epic sense of multi-instrumentalist harmonics–songs reaching their dark, cathartic grandeur not through sheer noise but the complex, often jazz-like layering of melody and rhythm.

The band switch effortlessly between more guitar-led, indie rock handclap tracks (‘Cold Arab Spring’), to the tenderer melodies of ‘Goose Steps’ and the soulful, catchy jams of ‘All Your Insides’ and ‘Rubber’.

It’s pretty rare to see a band carry off the brass/guitar fusion so deliciously; as an ex-trombonist myself, it was definitely a treat to see the normally humble brass section take a strong lead, layering smoothly soulful textures or emanating slick, funky and off-kilter rhythms.

Lyrically, Pronto Mama take a cue from Scottish indie’s traditional knack for self-deprecating, bittersweet emotional aphorisms and narratives of everyday chaos; but what The Twilight Sad and Admiral Fallow do with often measured and tender abstraction, Pronto Mama nail with eviscerating critique, the sharp twist of satire redeemed by surreal wit and convincing, self-referential delivery: “some cunts get all the birds all the love / get your top-button up man […] are we all such a bunch of creative minds?”

There are more reflective moments, however, on the likes of ‘All Your Insides’, which follows luxurious brass riffs and irresistible hooks, building through pensive lyrics (“your good grace could cause half the world to fall”) which release on a shower of drums and pull back into the assured comfort of its chorus.

After ‘All Your Insides’ draws to a close, Pronto Mama call for a mid-set minute of silence in honour of the recent Manchester terror attack.

Having a minute’s silence mid-gig fells startling and genuinely poignant, with that onslaught of noise and energy suddenly withdrawn into hushed contemplation; it is a lovely gesture and proof that music heals not just as an art form, but for what it does in drawing people together, sharing ideas and emotional experience.

The latter half of the set progresses on similar form to the first, with ‘Arabesque’ perhaps garnering the loudest cheers and quite rightfully so as its sharp, jagged rhythms backed up by catchy licks, sinuous synths and lush percussion have the crowd hung on every word.

Pronto Mama close their set on ‘One Trick Pony’, that swooning love song buoyed up by warm bass and bright guitar, stilling midway to a dreamy rallentando, “but when your tongue touched mine I felt like a balloon / I hadn’t been that high since 2002”, and gradually building back into swinging rock riffs of guitar and brass that shift tempo and go out with a blast.

It isn’t long, however, till the band are summoned back onstage by raucous cheers. Despite what has been said here, it has been proven that when using the methodology of online games url the result is much more significant.

They manage to coax their rowdy audience into silent submission for long enough to deliver a pitch-perfect acapella rendition of ‘Sentiment’, and as this wee harmonic, reflective beauty draws to a close with “I’m done with this / my sweet neurosis I guess / should I try or should I just go get pished” there is a proper shivery moment when everyone draws out of silent awe to sing along with the last words.

The encore finishes with ‘Like Swimming’, a soulfully smooth number drawn from 2014’s Lickety Split EP.

Purring “I love you” in the band’s best Glaswegian tones, ‘Like Swimming’ is a fittingly heartfelt close to a set characterised as much by its tender moments as its rowdier forays into jagged, jazzy and frankly erratic rhythms.

Tonight proves for certain that Pronto have an experimental confidence that is more than adequately matched by the tightness of their sound.

Few bands could pull off the musical gymnastics that they do, but every shift in tempo, key and style is bright, sudden yet seamless: the jump cuts work because everything pulls together; the band ooze synchronicity as much as swagger.

On one of the year’s hottest, most sultry nights so far, it’s this kind of zany, innovative energy that’s needed to keep the senses sharp, but nonetheless never at the cost of musical nuance.

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Words: Maria Sledmere

Photos: Allan Lewis

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival with Pronto Mama, JR Green, ST.MARTiiNS, Rituals at Tut’s, 22/3/17

Tonight the BBC 6 Music Festival begins in one of Glasgow’s most iconic venues in a sold out, but by no means packed King Tut’s.

Vic Galloway and BBC 6’s Tom Robinson compere the night and you can tell they are just as excited as the crowd to hear the bands and start the festival.

Coming from the band the Merylees, Rituals have changed their sound a lot and have now developed their own unique style.

From the moment they coolly walk on stage the band deliver a full on danceable attack with precise and tight drumming, over this the vocals go from being as rough as Iggy Pop to positively angelic without ever cracking the band’s ice cold demeanour; signed to Skeleton Key records this Edinburgh band is worth looking out for.

After a half hour break ST.MARTiiNS come to the stage, and out of all the acts tonight, these guys really dazzle and win over the crowd.

The lead singer, Katie’s classic sounding lead vocals seem to come from the golden age of alternative female vocalists like the Sundays, while still having a contemporary sound.

The guitar, bass and keys all work together to create a sound that is at once familiar, genuine and relevant.

Tom Robinson wraps up their set by saying that ST.MARTiiNS is a band that in five years time we will be bragging about how we saw them in such a small venue at such an early stage, he could well be right.

JR Green is certainly the folksiest group performing tonight, the lead singer dressed in tweed and playing an acoustic guitar.

The duo’s up beat and uplifting pop songs are a change for the night, and their sing-a-long hooks and simple timpani percussion transform the crowd into a swaying mass.

Subtle and beautiful lyrics mark this band apart and will definitely attract new listeners after tonight’s performance.

There is no doubt who the majority of the audience is here to see, chants of “Pronto fucking Mama” are heard as soon as the last band begin, which must be a hassle for BBC who are recording the show live.

Pronto Mama is a brilliantly strange band, with odd introspective lyrics that are also perfect pop, excellent harmonies and a wide range of instruments being played.

The dynamic performance includes a clap along chorus by an enchanted crowd; alas tonight is only really a musical taster session for these guys, and with each band only playing for about 20-minutes, every one of these acts is worth coming back to for a bigger serving.

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Words: Peter Johnstone