Tag Archives: The Twilight Sad

CHVRCHES, The Twilight Sad at The Hydro, 2/4/16

Anyone presuming CHVRCHES have experienced something akin to overnight success is likely unfamiliar with the list of bands Lauren Mayberry rattles through, which the trio had a hand in during previous lives prior to CHVRCHES formation.

She talks of the significance of playing such a venue tonight, a place not many homegrown acts will ever experience, yet tonight we have not just one, but two of the finest Scottish acts around.

One of those bands reeled off by the CHVRCHES frontwoman is support act The Twilight Sad, who seem rather comfortable in what James Graham playfully refers to as “this big spaceship”.

Not so long ago them Kilsyth types considered calling it a day, but that must have seemed like a distant memory for Graham as he karts his mic stand forcefully across the stage.

Instead of bowing out of the game Graham and co are currently riding high on the back of Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave, so much so they are about to be kidnapped by The Cure to open shows both stateside and across Europe.

While the band have always enjoyed an impressive level of critical acclaim, it was perhaps felt they’d hit something of a brick wall with regards to them cold hard numbers.

Following a box office error I manage to miss out on the first song and half of a short yet crushing support set featuring pieces from all four LPs.

Introducing the unsettling moody brilliance of ‘I Became A Prostitute’ the frontman jokes he’ll be available at the merchandise stand later on before screaming “bleed you dry” into the poor unsuspecting microphone.

Intense doesn’t really do it justice as the dark aggression of ‘Nil’ impressively filters through this entire arena; as the venue fills up a euphoric sonic wall of noise envelopes a Glasgow crowd entertained with their squalling beautiful wreckage.

Deep shimmering swirls of melancholy created by Andy MacFarlane on guitar, augmented by the dark feral power of Graham and his rants on new album standout ‘It Never Was The Same’.

Appropriately The Twilight Sad wrap their set up on that old favourite ‘And She Would Darken The Memory’, where Graham is again outstretched writhing around the floor following conclusion of yet another mic stand fight.

One can only hope these boys stick around long enough for another wee shot at the Glasgow spaceship.

CHVRCHES3

With the masses having been suitably charged up courtesy of the overwhelming racket provided in the support slot it is time to dial it down a tad as the more pop oriented CHVRCHES take centre stage.

Which is not to say we aren’t on a similarly breathless journey as previously, just watching Mayberry whizz around this large stage cascading from monitor to monitor requires a level of stamina.

Whereas The Twilight Sad excel within a dark untamed bombast of noise CHVRCHES possess more of a synth pop sensibility which translates fantastically well in this vast arena.

It does however take a couple of numbers to properly get the audience rocking, with it all a bit big arena sterile until ‘Keep You On My Side’ kicks in.

Hooks and stripped synths take over proceedings while soothing sugary sweet chirps executed by Mayberry bounce over each corner of the venue.

‘Tether’ racks things up a notch, its outro turning The Hydro into the biggest and best disco in town this Saturday night; bouncing from side to side a Glasgow crowd lap up the fizzing high octane electro on show.

Iain Cook and Martin Doherty set up the beaming melodies with aplomb, but it is Mayberry’s irresistible charm and charisma that melds the show together, whether its chatting about House Of Cards or battering synthdrums she displays an infectious enthusiasm, which can be difficult to resist.

The restless spirit of Mayberry takes a backseat briefly as Doherty steps up for a couple of numbers with the “taps aff” anthem ‘Under The Tide’ that sees Doherty manically prowl the stage as those in attendance raise their hands and just about hit the roof.

Suitably re-energised Mayberry returns as the focal point with an astonishing vocal delivery on the masterful combo of ‘Recover’ and ‘Leave A Trace’, in between times there is even confessions relating to a certain Ms. Swift.

Breathy soaring ethereal vocals again “I know I need relief” ring around this big bowl as the LED rig goes into overdrive; Doherty is back to his head banging on the spot while Mayberry sprawls and jumps as if her life depended on it.

‘Afterglow’ provides a magical interlude prior to regular set closer ‘The Mother We Share’, with most of the crowd engaging in some pre performance chorus singing of the single along with Mayberry, which no doubt sent the trio off stage beaming with pride.

Needless to say, these guys are going from strength to strength and a packed Hydro are left wanting more, which suggests this may not be the last time CHVRCHES grace this place.

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Words: Andy Quigley
Photos: Tim Gray

The Twilight Sad at Barrowlands, 12/12/15

Two years ago, James Graham spoke of how close he had been to giving up.

Three acclaimed, but low selling records and a reputation for grandiose miserableness had given his band a much admired place in the Scottish indie pantheon, but personal struggles and the pressures of being in a hard touring rock band were grinding.

Two years on The Twilight Sad return to the Barrowlands for their first ever sell out show and it’s clear that Graham is quite overwhelmed by the journey.

Opening with the enormous drums of ‘There’s A Girl In The Corner’, over the course of 17 songs (no encore – as with tour buddies Manic Street Preachers there’s no such indulgence here), they demonstrate why they’re one of Scotland’s best-loved acts.

‘Last January’ is a streamlined rocker and sounds fabulous as bright lights burst and glow overhead; ‘Dead City’ is clanging and moody and the title track of Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave is a dark, outsiders anthem refashioned as an emotional audience-band communion.

And in the centre of all this is James Graham, having the time of his life.

If we’re being harsh, the setlist is almost identical to last year’s show at the O2 ABC (the culmination of a tour that helped to save the band), but after touring their last record for over a year plus support slots with everyone from Editors to We Were Promised Jetpacks, who’s to begrudge such a hardworking band their victory lap?

After half a dozen Twilight Sad shows I still have no idea what all the lyrics to ‘Cold Days from the Birdhouse’ are, but when Graham screams into the microphone as his bandmates hit the crescendo it’s one of the most emotional pieces of music I’ve ever seen.

Twilight Sad

There’s a touch of Joy Division on ‘Drown So I Can Watch’, while ‘I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want’ and ‘It Never Was the Same’ have become cavernous sing-alongs, their refrains bursting from a thousand lips.

Thwarted romance has never seemed so desperate as on the ‘The Wrong Car’, before the band explode into a final rendition of ‘And She Would Darken the Memory’ with strobes ablaze.

This is a band who deserves to be seen in the dark; smoke wreathed and ear scorching, but possessed of a pounding human heart as Graham falls writhing to the floor, only to rise triumphant.

As always the singer’s stage patter is, in his own words, “pretty shite”, but as he gazes out in awe over the crowd or struggles to put the experience into words, a wave of good will crashes forth from the audience.

This is our band and they’re bigger, better and stronger than ever.

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Words: Max Sefton
Photos: Beth Chalmers

Electric Fields, 29/8/15

The journey down to Electric Fields begins post 9am and a ‘Happy Bus’ from Buchanan Bus Station; how anyone can muster up the energy to be “happy” at this time in the morning is beyond me and the atmosphere on the bus is as you’d expect from bed missing music lovers with not to many getting mad for it from the off.

Arriving a good portion of time before the gates are officially opened, even after a lengthy toilet stop, you can’t help but feeling an extra hour in bed could have happened and with the promise of showers and the potential of thunder and lightning forecast it’s going to take that first beer to get things into gear.

Once in the queue things start to spark up, as the guys on the gates seem full of optimism and banter and waste no time jumping up the line to check bags in advance, speeding up entry.

Once we’re in a look at the fact that tokens that need to be purchased separately to exchange for drinks brings back horrific memories of queuing all day; but a cheeky six tokens for £20 offer, the beer being Innes & Gunn by the (cold) can and not the usual warm watered down piss you’d find at any other festival offering a similar policy, a lanyard for a sole quid and that the festival isn’t quite large enough, or it’s prepared well enough, to not have any queues of note leaves these initial quibbles at the gate.

The set up of Electric Fields is intriguing with the two main stages titled Carse Valley, a bizarre blow up effort, and The Arc sitting right next to each other in order maximise the amount of bands that can play, while the smaller To Lose La Trek uses the same music friendly set up of the larger ones in system used at a bigger scale in forward thinking international festivals like Primavera Sound.

FOREIGNFOX

I begin my day down at The Arc for Dunfermline’s brilliant FOREIGNFOX, who deliver a set full of storming indie rock with soaring hooks fronted by Jonny Watt’s distinctive Scottish twang that powers above the bold instrumentals.

Watt could be found later wandering around steaming firing a ravechild tote bag over folk’s head and other things, but more on that later; his band touch on the poppier side of post rock and the indulgent side of indie, but the crowd that have arrived on site early are won over confidently down at a side of the field that could have done with a few less tractors running over it, something I’ll learn more first hand later on (yeah I decked it!).

On the other side of the field is The Skinny Tent, and here we find the stage that boasts the best sound of the day, as the tent seems set up to perfection to host an array of loud, danceable and fun acts from Scotland and afar.

My first venture here is for Glasgow krautrock touting psycsters OUTBLINKER, who look a much more conventional band on a large stage than when they were crammed into The Hug and Pint’s tiny basement a few months ago, and it seems they take to the bigger space with ease despite its light and airy feel and green house-like qualities.

OUTBLINKER do generally need time to grow into a set and with only half an hour to play with they have to speed up this process; they do this to perfection building from swirling noise before a monster riff kicks in and they smash the possibilities wide open.

Technically this band is gobsmacking, and they’re driven by tight and emphatic rhythms from a drummer who delivers with real attention grabbing purpose.

They do enter a heavily distorted mid section that seems to build for a bit too long, but OUTBLINKER are still maybe a bit short on material, give then time and this could be one of the best live experiences you’ll get.

Randolphs Leap

Back over at The Arc we get our twee dose of the day (sorry guys), and the sun is out as Randolph’s Leap produce a set of infectious, brass enthused indie pop joy.

It’s endearing, uplifting stuff full of charming rhymes that really shouldn’t work; it’s the ideal sound to take a seat and relax to, shame the floor’s too wet.

Early afternoon and those promised showers seem an age away, and as singer Adam Ross expresses his regret for wearing a jacket someone for the audience shouts “take it off”, to which he obliges as the brass section provide obligatory strip tease music and the quip of the day comes in the form of “look out ladies he’s down to his woolly jumper”.

Pronto Mama

The big clash of the day comes at 2pm as enchanting indie rockers Catholic Action take to The Skinny Tent at the same time as the pop filled fun of Pronto Mama take to the inflatable Carse Valley stage; I go for the later due to the sunshine and an impatience waiting for The Skinny tent to get set up and I’m not let down as I’m met with a live sound that is just as engrossing as their records.

Pronto Mama’s sound is full of soul and comes with an enabling touch of brass and plenty of cheeky funk that sets a grove while withstanding becoming cheesy.

Pronto Mama impressively walk a slippery path with a sound that could so easily fall into the pitfalls of becoming like so many bland Scottish folk acts or go the other way turn into unabashed naff ska, instead they come out with something truly infectious and original in the early afternoon sun.

Their set is warm and engaging and as Hector Bizerk’s Louie stresses to me “they’re the most underrated band in Scotland,” I’m inclined to agree.

The Van Ts

A late addition to the line up in replacement for the ill KLOE, The Van T’s get the opportunity to thrive in the sunshine and thrive they do; their set is full of pure good times surf enthused garage rock that oozes rock’n’roll energy in a truly infectious manner.

The Thompson twin’s harmonies sparkle in the open air and there’s no denying they look cool as anyone on today’s bill; a more than adequate replacement for KLOE’s soaring pop.

Fat Goth

As The Van T’s finish you can hear the sheer power of Fat Goth from across the field as they take to The Skinny Tent and once I arrive in the tent they capture me instantly with their sneery, distressed and devastatingly loud performance.

It’s impressive stuff from the Dundee trio who produce a frantic display that acts as welcome escape from the sunshine soaked pop vibes outside.

They tear through classic metal sounding riffs with pounding rhythms and an addictive quality that is difficult to match.

Another blinding set from one of the best named bands in Scotland; throw in a bottle of Buckie and some incredible drummer faces and you’ve got one of the most emphatic sets of the day.

United Fruit

Following Fat Goth at The Skinny Tent isn’t an enviable task, but United Fruit are more than equipped to do so and release another ball of fury into the immaculate sounding tent.

United Fruit unleash another powerful set that has become typical of their intense live show; on record Iskandar Stewart’s occasionally touch on whiney, but live they’re strong, sneered chants that drive impressively over a pulverising instrumental assault.

Following them, on the same stage, I get to cover Happy Meals for the second time in just over a week and the duo produce a set that blows away their understated late afternoon appearance at Doune the Rabbit Hole the week before.

Shrouded in smoke they produce an indulgent set of lush organic synths that cruise beautifully into a tent that’s just starting to get its feet moving.

Towards the end of the set Suzi Rodden jumps into the crowd and prances about while partaking in some crazed dancing, all while delivering her endlessly adorable French vocals, while Lewis Cook adds the synths from the stage, creating a tent filling brilliance.

It’s pure indulgent fun from a band that seem to be pulling it all out the bag, except the compulsory toy you get with their namesake of course.

Indeed, the one let down of the festival is you struggle to find anything better than a Happy Meal to eat; the four vans only seem to cater for mediocre fast foods and veggie options which don’t expand much further than toasties, but still this is a festival in its infancy, the good food will come; next year please!

Miaoux Miaoux

Bumping into a few folk I only manage to catch Miaoux Miaoux from afar, still their infectious synth tones and stick in your head vocal hooks seem to spark through the festival site contagiously and start the evening portion of the festival with a dance as the potential for beer weariness rears its ugly head.

The Twilight Sad

Over at The Skinny Tent and it’s the turn of the secret guests, who the festival had revealed to anyone who had guessed from a rather creative image as The Twilight Sad earlier in the week.

In fact it’s just James and Andy producing a stripped back set, which on paper should showcase the raw emotion that comes across in James Graham’s powerful delivery; sadly although captivating in moments, it doesn’t quite hold the same effect without a blasting wall of sound behind it.

Still, for some ultra fans, including FOREIGNFOX’s Jonny Watt who exclaims he would “suck everyone of their dicks”, the set goes down a storm and there’s a humour rarely seen on stage from Graham stating “I wish Erasure were playing, it’d be much better than this miserable shit,” while exchanging chat with the crowd.

Over at Carse Valley Golden Teacher suffer an out of place set in early evening daylight; last week at Doune they set the place alight in the early hours of the morning, but playing a more restrained set at a more restrained hour doesn’t seem to suit them.

Although musically they are solid as ever, with on touch disco tingling beats, plenty of experimental flourishes and quirky dance moves that keep things interesting, it never really lifts beyond that; if this is your first experience of GT live don’t take it by the book, go check them out when they hit their stride best; in a post midnight slot when everyone has their dancing shoes on.

PAWS

Following the festival I had a slight misunderstanding with PAWS regarding a word being taken out of context, still that was quickly ironed out and their set begins over at The Arc with drummer, Josh’s stool breaking and what appears to be some jovial chat about it.

I later learn this to be more dangerous than I’d imaged and in hindsight it seems to take some of the drive out of a band that is usually a formidable live prospect, regardless they deliver the same infectious pop punk glory as ever, but seem to take a while to settle, while the sound being a touch quieter than you’d expect and the rather static audience do them no favours.

PAWS are best enjoyed at full pace and full volume, with that full on urgency that the trio have come to embody and install in their crowds; still, regardless of any grievances the set is still plenty of fun and a great way to spend the remainder of the disappearing daylight.

Hector Bizerk1

Back over at Carse Valley it’s the turn of potentially the most exciting act on the bill; Hector Bizerk start on a somewhat sombre tone, not that that’s a bad thing, still it’s one of those calm before storm things as before long, Louie, hood up and unphased, blasts into an all out lyrical assault.

This is a band at the top of their game, as Louie takes the crowd under his command and the band plough forward with precision and impressive zeal.

There’s another airing of their ‘Song 2’ cover, which Louie adds a touch of freestyle brilliance to before tracks like ‘Rust Cohle’ and ‘Columbus’ blow everything out the water; extraordinary stuff that only seems to be getting better.

Hearing The Xcerts from afar is more than enough, but thankfully Jonnie Common is taking the stage just over at the smaller To Lose La Trek, a stage I have wandered over to a couple of times, but have not had the chance to see a full set at due to distractions elsewhere.

Common is a far fly away from the painful sound at the main stage, and delivers a brilliantly cheeky performance in his own addictive sort of way.

His set is full of dry humour, clever synths and plenty of ‘give a fuck’ attitude and the healthy crowd seem to give his set that extra kick.

Common’s CARBS bandmate Jamie, aka MC ALMOND MILK, joins him for a few songs later on, showcasing some of his solo material in Common produced ‘How2B Cool in 2014’ as well as CARBS standout ‘Stick A Flake In Me (I’m Done)’, and it’s more addictive stuff, in a very geeky Scottish sort of way; this could be the most fun set of the day.

The Phantom Band

Back over at Carse Valley and The Phantom Band produce a barnstorming performance full of shiver inducing builds and Rick Anthony’s deep, velvety delivery; I’ve jokingly labelled these guys The Phantom Bland before now, but on this showing that label can go in the bin, The Phantom Grand it is then!

King Creosote

The beers have kicked and the long day is taking effect by the time headliner King Creosote takes to The Arc stage, but the singer seems to be in joyous spirits delivering a set choked with a warming beauty that emulates most of his back catalogue and more specifically last year’s standalone From Scotland With Love LP.

There’s no doubting he’s the stand out name on a bill crammed with emerging Scottish talent, the line up is nearly all Scottish barring a few exceptions in The Skinny Tent, but maybe seeing him in the sobering daylight might have been a more uplifting experience, but for those with more stamina, or maybe more time in their bed, than myself this should feel like the perfect end to one of Scotland’s most exciting upcoming festivals.

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

T in the Park 2015 (Friday)

Leaving perhaps too early, in an eager attempt not to miss some of the sparkling bands that are opening stages, we find ourselves at the site a good two hours before anyone is set to take any stage.

The drive up is fairly comfortable, taking no longer than a straight 75-minutes, after the daily Greggs breakfast stop off.

However, actually finding the entrance to the site once parked up wasn’t so easy; a lack of signs pointing to day entrance and camping entrance have a host of people confused, and while there are three people telling you how to park your car, the closer you get to the festival site the rarer the people to acquire directions; regardless, after a few misdirections, we find the media accreditation tent, get our passes and are escorted by a few familiar faces across the festival site to the media area.

Walking through the site, it’s noticeably smaller than before; obviously a pleasure for our legs, but would this cause potential sound overflows or a lot of congestion? We wouldn’t know til later.

After a glance at the full bill I had myself penciled in for never visiting the Main Stage during the entire festival, however after chatting at the media bit, I bump into a few folk am taken there first thing for the first band to grace T in the Park at Strathallan – Prides.

Admittedly I’ve never been a fan; their mainstream teasing brand of electronic indie always felt a touch of beige side, regardless the band pour a lot of energy into their set and please a lot of early comers.

Leaving a couple of songs in I wander over to the King Tut’s Tent to catch a bit of darling indie folk singer-songwriter Lucy Rose and am charmed to drift in to cover of Taylor Swift belter ‘Bad Blood’.

Rose’s sweet sound is a nice way to start proceedings, the set is filled with hovering synths, clap-along intros and sultry vocals and acts as a delightful start to a festival, which would see some soaring highs and some major lulls.

Opening up Transmission (which would become BBC Introducing for the other two days) are The Beaches, and after and after a quick glance at their stuff prior to the festival they were definitely one’s I had pegged to see.

The Toronto girls draw a reasonable crowd for their early slot, admittedly there are a few sneery looking guys seemingly only here to ogle the girls, but that aside the four-piece blast through a fun filled set of fem rock dressed like they’re just heading on court at Wimbledon.

Dirty synths and pop hooks combine at great volume and are delivered with a real swagger, which surely means these girls have more balls than the barrage of soppy indie boy bands that feature on this stage for the most of the day.

Back at Tut’s and The Twilight Sad are about to come on; I’d gone through a phase where they ceased to excite me, but after a return to form with last year’s album and the memories of some truly engrossing and emphatic live shows I’m encouraged that they might be able to blast our ears off early doors at T.

However, despite James Graham’s lost in the moment, gesturing and their powerful atmospherics, there’s something missing from there set; volume.

Yes, this is potentially the quietest set The Twilight Sad have ever played, and you get the feeling it’s not by choice; still a show at the Barras later in the year should draw both a bigger crowd and more of a return to form.

Another act scheduled to play the Barras later in the year is over at the Radio 1 Stage, but Fuse ODG is a different prospect altogether and it seems fitting that the sun rises over T in the Park for the first time during his fun-filled, Afro enthused pop set.

Yeah it’s chart friendly stuff, but it’s filled with joy, addictiveness and good (terrible) banter, as the chirpy singer revels in leading the biggest crowd I’ve witnessed yet in massive sing-alongs of tracks like ‘Million Pound Girl’ and ‘Antenna’.

It’s all positive vibes in these early days, before the more rowdy acts come on and the alcohol starts to take full effect, so Fuse goes down a treat; a massive dance-along to ‘Dangerous Love’ is enough to plaster a smile on your face as the sun retreats behind the clouds again.

The centre piece of the day comes back in the Tut’s tent and starts with the enthralling Jessie Ware, the sound is blasting to much higher level than it was earlier in the day as the bass reverberates through the huge tent to the sonic daze of ‘Champagne Kisses’.

Ware’s soulful hooks come across clear as she struts the stage commanding the growing crowd with her engulfing presence.

Indeed after going a while without listening to Ware’s music I’m pleasantly surprised how familiar and fresh it all sounds; the lush vibes of ‘Tough Love’ wash over the crowd, while the powerful and pounding ballad ‘Wildest Moments’ brings to an end potentially the most sonically impressive show of the entire weekend.

A wee catch up with some friends finds me, to my dismay, back at the Main Stage where Hozier are being incredibly dull and seem to be stealing Proclaimers intros; whether Gorgon City or Duke Dumont would have been better choices is questionable, still the latter has managed to fill the 20 000 capacity Tut’s Tent as I wander back to the media arena to get a wee beverage in before Hot Chip.

They bring a power of a crowd too, and deservedly so, they’re one of the most consistently good bands of the last decade and delivery another fun filled set, which unfortunately for the second time in this year doesn’t feature standout ‘Boy From School’.

Still, the set is wall-to-wall classics and full of fun sing-alongs and plenty of cowbell, more than keeping the beat flowing, after Duke Dumont had the tent in an almost sauna like sweat box state.

Regardless of how great the set is the crowd, who have come in there masses, never seem to hit their stride, indeed I overhear a punter behind me state: “Am I missing something? This is bangin’, why’s it not mental?”

This comes immediately before the moment most of the crowd are waiting for, ‘Over and Over’, indeed their most popular track goes down a treat as the crowd give their first attempt at that hideous chant (you know the one) that has become synonymous with this festival.

One of the highlights of the festival comes at the end of their set as they cruise into their wondrously ceiling gazing, sing-along cover of Springsteen classic ‘Dancing In The Dark’, which has the group I’m with buzzing; however a glance round the tent shows a lot of blank faces, and as the band move into a bit of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’ it becomes increasingly apparent how young and lacking a musical education most the crowd here actually are.

Back over at Radio 1 and The War On Drugs is about take the stage, somewhat bizarrely sandwiched between Afrojack and David Guetta and the crowd is pretty sparse for an act going on second last at the festival’s second stage.

Regardless Adam Granduciel and co. manage to captivate the small crowd for an extended period with, despite a battered looking jacket and seemingly having ages ten years since the last time I saw him; it’s hard to describe Granduciel’s voice without the obvious Dylan reference, but so intense and formidable are his songs that this isn’t their defining feature.

Still, this is in no way the best place to see this band; the masses at T don’t seem to know who Springsteen is, so why would they come see a former member of Kurt Vile’s band play when they have Fat Boy Slim, being old in a completely different way, or the world’s most depressing pop star… ever, Sam Smith, to chose from; even if their last album was one of the best of last year.

People just don’t seem to be interested, and Granduciel seems either oblivious to or completely ignoring the fact that his band stick out something awful on this bill, and as the set gets closer to the end the crowd starts to fill up with those awaiting Guetta, who seem frustrated by the lack of generic start/stop chart wielding dance tunes; Sia’s not even going to be there… Jeez!

I end my day back at the Transmission Stage and for what has the potential to be one of the best sets of the weekend and Hector Bizerk don’t let down.

Louie struts the stage like a man possessed, spilling out non giving rhymes before sneering “Scotland how’re you doin’?” to a crowd that is on every beat; it’s not totally rammed and the sound could be a whole lot better, but that’s what we’ve come to expect when good band’s play T.

Indeed, there’s a casual cheeky swagger in the bucket hat sporting MC as he cuts up the stage giving it a confident “ready T?” before bursting into old number ‘Bury The Hatchet’.

Hector have become a full blown experience since the duo seemingly blew Scottish hip-hop wide open with a huge amount of hard work and 2012’s excellent Drums. Rap. Yes..

Now they play with a full band, yet Audrey Tait’s ever present drumming still stands out as the driving force of the full on Hector assault, except when she takes acoustic guitar duties later on sporting one of the most amusing t-shirt’s you’ll see all weekend.

‘Festival Boy’ predictably goes down a treat, as does much of the set, which includes a rousing chant along to ‘Rust Cohle’, some powerful freesystling that references choosing them before Kasabian and Guetta and all out fun cover of Blur’s ‘Song 2’.

Tonight Hector absolutely killed it; they’ve gone and booted in out the park; ladies and gentlemen the T is o’er the fence!

SaturdaySunday

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Bill Gray

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Fat-Suit – Jugaad17 Fat-Suit – Jugaad [Equinox]

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The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads17 The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads [Domino]

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[review]

Andrew Montgomery – Ruled By Dreams15 Andrew Montgomery – Ruled By Dreams

Former Geneva vocalist Andrew Montgomery went solo with Ruled By Dreams, and has successfully created an album that showcases his writing strengths, both musically and lyrically.

[review]

Thin Privilege - Thin Privilege12 Thin Privilege – Thin Privilege [Struggletown]

For me, Thin Privilege is the band of 2014. With their intense live show alienating crowds’ left, right and centre, I had very high hopes for this record and was not disappointed. This noisy, duel bass assault of an album really grasps the energy of what this very short-lived band was. (Iain Gillon)

[review]

Jonnie Common – Trapped In Amber12 Jonnie Common – Trapped In Amber [Song, by Toad]

Bizarre in all the right places, in all the right ways, Trapped In Amber is perhaps best described as “bizarre pop” as a direct consequence. Pleasingly simple soundscapes provide the backdrop to lyrics that span the board from drama to comedy, with hints of balladry (‘Fractal’), hip-hop (‘Crumbs’) and amazement (‘Binary 101’) all contributing to a record of abundant imagination. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

Young Fathers – Dead12 Young Fathers – Dead [Anticon/Big Dada]

2014 was Young Fathers’ year, taking home award after award with critical acclaim following them at every turn. Dead was the centre piece of it all, an intoxicating multicultural record that took elements of hip-hop, electronica and pop and put Scottish music firmly back on the musical map.

Rustie – Green Language11 Rustie – Green Language [Warp]

Rustie deserves every single bit of credit that comes his way, while fellow Glaswegian label mate Hudson Mohawke jets off with the glamorous names, Rustie has stuck to his guns and make a record that feels like natural progression. Green Language has all of Rustie’s punch and some very special moments, still we can’t help feel his best is yet to come and we can’t wait.

Beerjacket – Darling Darkness10 Beerjacket – Darling Darkness

Darling Darkness makes for a relaxing listen, but there’s more to it. There’s a depth and texture that goes beyond your ordinary singer songwriter. To mark 10 years of Beerjacket, Peter Kelly has released a beautiful, cosy, folk masterpiece. (Alisa Wylie)

The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave8 The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave [FatCat]

One of the years later releases but well worth the wait, aside from their debut it could be their best yet. The production values like always are superb and the songs reek of melancholic angst and pain just what you’d expect from Scotland’s gloomiest export. The album deserves all the praise it gets. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Mogwai – Rave Tapes8 Mogwai – Rave Tapes [Rock Action]

A lush set of songs that breathe a warm melancholia; flourishes of ambient and electro sounds underpinned by one of the great guitar arsenals in all of music. (Brendan Sloan)

[review]

Stanley Odd – A Thing Brand New7 Stanley Odd – A Thing Brand New [A Modern Way]

The Edinburgh sextet’s third album sees them at their creative best, with their usual concoctions of politics, pop culture and poetry shifted into the next razor sharp gear. Tackling issues of parenthood and imperialism, likely catalysed by recent arrivals and national political awakenings, among other things, A Thing Brand New is thought-provoking and head-nodding perfection. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

Fatherson – I Am An Island6 Fatherson – I Am An Island [A Modern Way]

Incredible, conceptual debut from a band that looks set to take off in a big way in 2015. Sounds absolutely massive. (Alisa Wylie)

[review]

PAWS – Youth Culture Forever4 PAWS – Youth Culture Forever [FatCat]

Youth Culture Forever might be the perfect follow up to Cokefloat! It takes its predecessors themes and then follows up on them, while also covering some new ground; plus the production is a serious step up and it shows. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Deathcats – All Hail Deathcats4 Deathcats– All Hail Deathcats [Fuzzkill]

I never thought Deathcats would get a full LP release, 2014 truly was a brilliant year for Scottish music. From the get go Deathcats display a penchant for crafting some of the most infuriatingly brilliant melodies in recent memory. Aside from this it’s great to see the band really test their limits and put some of their live show into the record with the great linking sections between songs. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Algernon Doll – Omphalic3 Algernon Doll – Omphalic [Struggletown]

Emo/alt-rock is a genre I that I don’t often indulge in anymore but every so often something pops up which shakes me from that angsty slumber and reminds me that it’s still possible to create original and awesome sounding music in that style. Ewan Grant’s Algernon Doll and their album Omphalic is the perfect example of this, and legendary producer Steve Albini will no doubt help them carry their momentum into next year, with their fourth release in as many years. (Greg Murray)

[review]

King Creosote – From Scotland With Love2 King Creosote – From Scotland With Love [Domino]

A stirring celebration of Scottish pride and resolve; a profoundly evocative album, which handles its subject matter with gentle reverence. This record is nothing less than a masterpiece, and its release saw it receive the critical acclaim that it rightly deserves. The album provided an evocative accompaniment to Virginia Heath’s documentary of the same title, although despite its status as a soundtrack, it is a piece of art in its own right (Brendan Sloan/Ellen Renton)

[review]

Honeyblood – Honeyblood1 Honeyblood – Honeyblood [FatCat]

Glaswegian duo Honeyblood’s self-titled debut unleashes a wave of emotionally aggressive lyrics mixed with sweet melodies and harmonies reminiscent 90s grunge and fitting to their name. The band’s stripped back and minimal setup is compelling, allowing vocalist Stina Tweeddale to showcase her enchanting voice. (Jess Lavin)

[review]

Tracks of 2014

Atom Tree – ‘Sinner’19 Atom Tree – ‘Sinner’ [Hotgem]

The opening track of the Glasgow electronic trio’s latest EP, Clouds, introduced us to vocalist Julie Knox, who’s powerful and emotive voice slides brilliantly into Atom Tree’s deep synthpop, alerting people the trio on a much bigger scale than before, and rightfully so.

Call To Mind – ‘Breathe’19 Call To Mind – ‘Breathe’ [Olive Grove]

Beautiful and euphoric, Call To Mind’s musical masterpiece is the crowning jewel of their debut album, and with accenting piano and sultry vocals, it is everything that Coldplay think they are, but infinitely better. (Kyle McCormick)

The Duke, Detriot – ‘Accerate’19 The Duke, Detroit – ‘Accelerate’ [Deaf By Stereo]

The Duke, Detroit’s sleek and stylish single threw us, spinning and stumbling back in time to the mid-80s, but they managed to bring it back to life without sounding like poor mimics of the past.

[review]

Owl John__Frightened_Rabbit_Side__Project-750x018 Owl John – ‘Los Angeles, Be Kind’ [Atlantic]

Drawing from Scott Hutchison’s emigration to California, the video starts with footage of Scotland, which slowly blends into the bright, optimistic lights of L.A, and probably says more of this achingly melancholy song than a simple review could. (Greg Murray)

Hudson Mohawke – ‘Chimes’16 Hudson Mohawke – ‘Chimes’ [Warp]

HuMo keeps getting bigger and bigger and with a glorious homecoming at East End Social’s Last Big Weekend and this release on Warp it seems his momentum is still building.

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Mogwai-Rave-Tapes-608x60816 Mogwai – ‘Remurdered’ [Rock Action]

2014 saw Glasgow’s post rock behemoths shift away their meatier riffage of recent years and move towards a chilling atmospheric vive, they’re still loud though and the asphyxiating ‘Remurdered’ is one of the best examples of their recent work.

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Vasa – ‘Not A Cop’13 Vasa – ‘Not A Cop’

Intricate and captivating, Vasa’s stand-alone single has an unrelenting urgency at its core, but with layers of percussion and masterful guitars cleverly bolted on, ‘Not A Cop’ shines a light on a promising future. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

The Twilight Sad – ‘Last January’13 The Twilight Sad – ‘Last January’ [FatCat]

Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave was heralded as a return to form for one of Scotland’s most powerful yet emotionally draining live acts and ‘Last January’ was the pick of bunch.

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Jonnie Common – ‘Shark’13 Jonnie Common – ‘Shark’ [Song, By Toad]

Burning slowly, ‘Shark’ sees Jonnie Common’s songwriting at a conversational high, built on a foundation of electronics and ingenuity, the canned laughter at the end knows how good it is. (Kyle McCormick)

PAWS – ‘Owl Talons Clenching My Heart’12 PAWS – ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’ [FatCat]

A prime example of PAWS expanded song writing, the cello-laced ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’ pulses solidly along on to Phillip Taylor’s stories of heartache. (Greg Murray)

King Creosote – ‘Something To Believe In’10 King Creosote – ‘Something To Believe In’ [Domino]

The pinnacle of the From Scotland with Love record (no mean feat), ‘Something To Believe In’ combines true and traditional folk with honest lyrics and a painful poignancy. (Ellen Renton)

Skinny Dipper – ‘Hospital Bed’10 Skinny Dipper – ‘Hospital Bed’ [Olive Grove]

Haunting and heart breaking, ‘Hospital Bed’ might just be one of the most beautiful vocals of the year, never mind just in Scotland. (Ellen Renton)

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TeenCanteen – ‘You’re Still Mine’9 TeenCanteen – ‘You’re Still Mine’ [S.W.A.L.K]

Sickly sweet vocals and throbbing synths add playful finger-clicking and loving harmonies to make TeenCanteen’s single a loveable release and introduction to the gifted quartet. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

Owl John__Frightened_Rabbit_Side__Project-750x08 Owl John – ‘Hate Music’ [Atlantic]

‘Hate Music’ is a cathartic, slide-guitar-and-overdrive pedaled song, which Scott Hutchison claims Frightened Rabbit wouldn’t get away with, about the strains and the bitter tastes left by his revered band and the industry they operated in consistently for ten years. (Greg Murray)

John Knox Sex Club – ‘Minotaur’7 John Knox Sex Club – ‘Minotaur’ [Instinctive Racoon]

Primal and raucous, John Knox Sex Club captures everything they are infamous for in this track, with measured execution descending into enjoyable chaos. (Kyle McCormick)

Tijuana Bibles-500x3726 Tijuana Bibles – ‘Crucifixion’ [Dead Beet]

Tijuana Bibles continue to prove that few bands can write snarling rock classics as well as them. ‘Crucifixion’ has a southern rock swagger that you can’t help bob your head along to, the chorus hook is sublime and the guitar solo is a piece of melodic genius. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Tuff Love – ‘Sweet Discontent’5 Tuff Love – ‘Sweet Discontent’ [Lost Map]

This track was almost everyone’s first introduction to Tuff Love and we immediately fell for the vocal harmonies and that breakneck drumming. It’s no wonder this track garnered them a lot of attention it sounds like effortless genius in the form of a song. (Phil Allen)

Deathcats – ‘Saturday Night Golden Retriever’4 Deathcats – ‘Saturday Night Golden Retriever’ [Fuzzkill]

Sure the bassline sounds like Black Flag but what an intro. Taken from the bands only debut, and looking likely to be only, length album this cut is perhaps one of their most exciting punk throw downs, however it’s given Deathcats patented surf rock treatment with plenty of great backing vocals. (Phil Allen)

Stanley Odd – ‘Son, I Voted Yes’3 Stanley Odd – ‘Son, I Voted Yes’ [A Modern Way]

Stanley Odd’s endearing referendum anthem is made bittersweet given the eventual outcome, but its message of hope and positivity still rings true in a country forging towards a better future. (Kyle McCormick)

unknown2 APACHE DARLING – ‘More Than Me’

The comparisons to CHVRCHES must get tiresome, but one thing that APACHE DARLING does share with the band is their potential for success. ‘More Than Me’ is cool, catchy and clever, and undoubtedly one of Glasgow’s best exports of 2014. (Ellen Renton)

[review]

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Honeyblood – ‘Killer Bangs’1 Honeyblood – ‘Killer Bangs’ [FatCat]

Sweet melodies and some of the crunchiest guitars recorded are staples of ‘Killer Bangs’. It’s hard to believe a two-piece can sound this massive even if it is a studio recording. (Phil Allen)

[review]

The Twilight Sad, Hidden Orchestra at Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, 9/10/14

After getting on the wrong train and a slight detour via Stirling I arrive in Edinburgh after the gig officially opens, however I still manage to catch half of Hidden Orchestra’s set.

Entering the venue all that can be heard from downstairs is a mad cacophony of noise, but heading upstairs and listening to The Orchestra start their next piece is beautiful.

The five-piece including; two drummers, a bassist, a violinist and a trumpeter, with a large collection of synthesisers, noise makers and other sonic sculpting tools carefully hidden from view but scattered around the members, create simply astounding textures and layers.

The few songs I do catch are beautifully arranged and orchestrated, featuring all the articulation of a big bang performance yet all the subtlety, intricacy and experimentation of seeing a small jazz group not content with playing standard pieces.

Truly a master class in the use of technology, but also in the ways it can be used with classical instruments, the highlight of the set comes from watching both drummers interact, they possess incredible skill, but they also tastefully play together creating incredibly complex yet strangely catchy rhythms with a mixture of different techniques and equipment to create a sophisticated and powerful rhythm section.

After a brief interval we are introduced to The Twilight Sad by Matthew (Song by Toad) who after a justified rant about the lack of music venues in Edinburgh talks about how much he enjoys the band, he also briefly thanks the venue, which is simply stunning, why it is not being used more often I will never understand.

The set tonight is stripped down but not quite unplugged, with the core of the band featured, although throughout the band’s past, during their noisier, full band sets, other members are often added but tonight, the three members prove to be all that is needed.

The set pulls from the band’s entire catalogue and features classics such as ‘That Summer, At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy’, ‘The Wrong Car’, ‘Alphabet’ and ‘Walking for Two Hours’.

The band also give some tracks from their forthcoming LP some stage time, the highlight of these being ‘Last January’, this seems to cause a slight lapse in the audience attention but it’s generally been the case that Twilight Sad albums take a while to grow on you, still it’s also nice to hear the new tracks in a stripped back setting before we hear a different approach to them on the imminent album.

The Twilight Sad seem to possess a ridiculously rare quality to keep an audience silent throughout their performance, well aside from some laughter during ‘Cold Days from the Birdhouse’, which James Graham lets slide coupled with a few witty remarks.

Despite this interruption the performance is stellar and it’s a toss-up between ‘Cold Days…’ and ‘And She Would Darken the Memory’ for the best performance of the night, Graham thanks the crowd for coming ending the night with massive applause and giving the audience an idea as to what the new album may sound like.

Words: Phil Allen

The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave [FatCat] 

“Scottish band who enjoy drinking and making miserable music” reads the twitter bio The Twilight Sad, and it must be said that their fourth studio album Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave perfectly compliments the description that the band provides for themselves.

Loss and heartbreak are just some of the themes explored through the lyrics and also the music, which set the scene of a come-down from a drunken night, when emotions are at their height.

Opening track ‘There’s A Girl in the Corner’ does not hold back with introducing these themes, as it commences with the lyricsyoure not coming backrepeated several times, heavy, heartbeat-like drums are prominent adding intensity and ensuring a striking opening to the record.

Glancing at the track titles, it is clear to see the dark twist is carried throughout; ‘Pills I Swallow’, ‘Drown So I Can Watch’, ‘It Was Never The Same’, but what else would be expected from The Twilight Sad other than the shockingly gloomy.

Listening to this album is like being provided an in depth look in frontman James Graham’s diary, while the music enhances the depth and power of the words.

Like previous releases there are tracks that will be stunning performed live, for example ‘Leave the House’ and ‘I Could Give You All You Want’ demonstrate the band’s ability to transition between quiet, delicate sounds to forceful, loud ones that has always been enhanced live by The Twilight Sad.

Concluding the album is ‘Sometimes I Wished I Could Sleep’ and quite an ending it provides, it is in contrast to the rest of the album musically, as it includes minimal musical accompaniment, with piano being the only instrument alongside the soft, tranquil and echoing vocals.

The track is haunting, with lyrics “you dont want me anymore’” repeated throughout, and perfectly portrays the loneliness of the aftermath of love following and ended relationship, demonstrating that The Twilight Sad have no limits when it comes to exposing raw and deep emotions through their songs.

There is an important distinction which must be made however, and that is; although the general theme of the album may be perceived as ‘miserable’, the tracks do not pass on this feeling to the listener, instead, it is a thought-provoking album which explores complex and difficult emotions and it is rare that modern bands can pull off ‘miserable music’ without it coming across as forced and pretentious, or are brave enough to delve as deeply into these emotions as The Twilight Sad do so successfully and powerfully.

Words: Orla Brady

The East End Social presents The Last Big Weekend at Richmond Park, 30/8/14

Putting on a festival where 60% of the music is largely instrumental takes a great deal of ingenuity, daring and perhaps even a little bit of insanity, a festival of this stature was never going to be easy to pull off, nor would it be a hit with the mainstream populace of the city of Glasgow.

However the people over at Chemikal Underground, had exactly what was required; good taste, willpower and a healthy respect for fostering local brands (in both brewing and live music) and a sense of community spirit.

The East End Social have been largely responsible for taking over cafes, church halls and local boozers, largely in the Dennistoun area, in order to host a string of art installations and live musical performances.

All have been greatly received, and The Last Big Weekend was to be the pinnacle of EES’s efforts, however overcrowding at the bar and grumblings about there being not enough food, hampers the day.

The venue itself, Richmond Park isn’t the easiest to find, especially if you are Sat Nav reliant, this reviewer was taken away to a housing estate on the opposite end where, after a short encounter with a local ‘hard guy’ type, who happened to be out walking his Pomeranian, kindly directed me to follow a dirt path through some shrubbery and over a wee bridge, I finally managed to come out near the small box office and official entrance.

Once inside I am greeted with a fantastic mixture of people, there are the old East End boys out and about, proudly pea-cocking around the arena sporting The Wedding Present t-shirts that hadn’t been taken out of the drawer since 1991, there are fresh faced fan boys here to catch their local heroes – Mogwai and The Twilight Sad, there is an influx of trendy beards clad with drainpipe jeans and brogues and lastly, there is a bunch of shoe gazing kids wearing parkers – all of which are here for a good time.

The jovial atmosphere is palpable from the start, with most people sitting outside on the green grass absorbing what I’m almost sure would be the last of the summer sun that Glasgow is likely to see this year.

Young Fathers are the first band ravechild was able to catch playing live and they play a high energy set consisting of songs largely from album Dead, which was released earlier this year, the band hop around energetically and take it in turns to jump on to the bass speakers on front of the stage as if to get closer to their audience.

It’s hard to pigeonhole a band like Young Fathers, instantly electronic laced, soul tinged, hip-hop strewn pop comes into mind but the band seem so much more, being a fan of 2013’s Tape Two, after today I can say I’m honestly ashamed that I had never seen them play live before.

The vibrant bounce of ‘Get Up’ has the crowd swaying their arms in the air while, the more lo-fi  gentle thrum of ‘I Heard’ offers an insight into a more sombre side of the band.

It is only, after the last Young Fathers song that I realise my companion had not returned from his venture to the bar in order to retrieve libations, I venture out to find him ‘almost’ at the front of the queue.

West Bar brewery where in charge of proceedings here and I wasn’t disappointed with the range of drinks on offer – excellent craft beer, malt whiskey, the most crisp apple cider I have had the pleasure to enjoy, alas, it was the rate at which the bar staff where being able to dispense drinks, a secondary tent really was called for.

After retrieving our first round we decided that we ought to queue up again for secondary drinks and by the time we had waited in the line we missed the start of The Twilight Sad‘s set, which is an absolute shame because by the time we get into the big top tent, they are absolutely ‘smashing it out the park’.

Again, being a fan ever since 2007’s Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, it really is criminal that this was the first time I’ve been able to catch this band live, exactly why Glasgow needs a festival, that celebrates great local acts and serves them up, fresh to you, packed away neatly and tidy – lunch box style.

James Graham’s gutteral wail and convalescent, Iain Curtis style dancing during ‘And She Would Darken The Memory’ serves to encapsulate exactly what the bad are great at; Scottish accented vocals, fussy reverberating guitars and mesmerising synths, a dark and beautiful song somehow made hopeful in its live embodiment.

Another stark, yet stand out track is 2012’s ‘Nil’, however it is the final song, ‘3 Seconds of Dead Air’, to which lead singer Graham states: “this is a song we never play”, that seems to be the most dreamlike and romantic of them all, a rousing live performance that seems to be enjoyed by both hipster and shoegazer alike.

The Wedding Present come onstage to rapturous applause, and by now the tent is filled with a lot more men wearing black; David Gedge (also wearing head to toe black), who the late John Peel would site as having written some of the best love songs ever, took no time at all striking up a jovial rapport with crowd, making in-between song quips and jokes.

The band race through a set of indie, punk-rock songs reminiscent of Gang of Four and The Jesus and Mary Chain, with stand out tracks being ‘Brassneck’ and ‘My Favourite Dress’, the band even dof their caps to their live predecessors, The Twilight Sad, by playing a cover of ‘Suck’.

James Holden comes on stage to a flurry of strobe lighting and fog machines, although the tent seems to be half full at this point – as everyone else was waiting in line for a pint, he also becomes the harbinger of the lyric free portion of the festival.

Playing a live set, for anyone more akin to playing in clubs behind a series of turntables, would be daunting, but for James Holden all he seems to need is what appears to be a telephone operating system  (you know the one in old movies that looks like a big board of wires that get connected every time a call is placed), he is also accompanied by live drums and a gentleman on saxophone, who seems to enjoy sitting down among all the equipment every time his services are not needed.

There is a problem earlier with the live visual projections, but this seems to be remedied by the time Bristol based Fuck Buttons waltz on stage, drenched in green light, hammering away on a range of keyboards, synths, effects pedals and other indistinguishable electronics, the duo release a volley of scuzzy noise during ‘Brainfreeze’.

It isn’t until ‘Sweet Love For Planet Earth’ that the set seem to down its tempo, to a more tranquil, xylophone filled lullaby, an excellent prelude to headliners; Mogwai.

Having recently re-released (in deluxe edition albeit) seminal album; Come On Die Young, the Glaswegian, post-rock masters seemed to play tracks mainly from this and also Rave Tapes, there is a nod to the more melancholy soundtrack they released as part of, creepy French TV drama Les Revenants in the echoing disembodiment of ‘Hungry Face’

‘Heard About You Last Night’ continues in the sombre line of beauty, until ‘Remurdered’ brings with it a more dance enabling crescendo, at which point most of the crowd start to move around in a more lively fashion, there is even an all instrumental (obviously) version of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’, given the odd Mogwai makeover in parts.

All in all, the EES has been successful in providing Glasgow with an eclectic line up of home grown talent and utterly perfect mind bending progressive rock, a few teething problems are bound to seep through considering the size of the project, here’s looking to a fresh deluge of great live music in the East End of Glasgow – ‘for the times, they are a changing’.

Words/photos: Angela Canavan

T in the Park, Sunday, 13/7/14

It’s only fitting that the last day of live music in Balado in bathed in sunshine and a total relief after yesterday’s torrential downpours threatened the ground’s integrity and surely left a few with puddles in their tents.

Starting the day at the King Tut’s Tent where a mixed crowd gather to see two very different acts, the act that actually arrives are Glasgow rockers Tijuana Bibles and not the billed Earl Sweatshirt, as the Odd Future rapper had cancelled before the weekend started but not before the lanyards went to print, so there’s some slightly baffled faces when the beard heavy four-piece arrive on stage all be to the sound of Earl Sweatshirt, as if giving a swift kick in the balls to his fans – it’s also worth noting that Chance the Rapper had also cancelled, leaving T clearly void of any big stage hip-hop, that’s unless Tinie float your boat or if Example goes back to his breakthrough days.

The Bibles are clearly not phased by the crowd or the bump up in stage from their billed BBC Introducing slot and drill out a set of confidence filled hard rock as Tony Costello quips “how’s the hangovers?” to a lacklustre response before returning “that bad?”.

Stopping mid set to announce “we are all Earl Sweatshirt,” they are clearly revelling in the situation as their rollicking sneered effects bring to mind Queens of the Stone Age with their thumping, driving vibes.

Over at BBC Introducing there’s a secret act about to come on, to those at the tent for The Amazing Snakeheads last night it was already revealed as uncle Vic unleashed the news that CHVRCHES would be doing an intimate gig in one of the festival’s smaller stages.

Billed as Star Writer the Glasgow trio are clearly buzzing to get up and do this, and the packed tent goes to show how popular these guys are – on Friday’s review I had noted at being slightly bored with the same live material from CHVRCHES, but the opportunity to see them in the smallest space you’re ever likely to see them again is too much to pass up on.

It’s more of the same soaring electronic and sweet vocals as Lauren Mayberry reveals she “applied for T Break five times,” clearly overjoyed at finally getting to play one of T’s smaller stages.

There’s no Mitre logos in the back this afternoon and as Martin Doherty takes centre stage for ‘Under the Tide’ we get a closer look at his twitchy energetic performance as he really loses himself in the track, looking like man trying to exorcise himself, it is a belter of a tune though and no CHVRCHES set would be right without it.

As Mayberry announces that they’re on a mad dash over to catch The Twilight Sad over at King Tut’s I exit on the same pilgrimage and arrive for the last couple as their familiar, ultra loud  soundscapes are accented by James Graham rolling r’s, as he maintains his usual trance-like performance that has made these guys such a live experience over the years.

As they close the set with debut album classic ‘And She Would Darken The Memory’ there is a feeling of something lost in the huge tent as the typical clear vocals aren’t quite as crisp as they have been in previous outings, still worth the trek over though.

Over at T Break London chart-topper Jess Glynne is delivering some soaring vocals of her own over some soulful, harmonious backing vocals.

At points the music does comes across as too brash and drown out Gylnne’s strong vocal talents, but the sets is saved by a few infectious flourishes and well known tracks like Clean Bandit number one ‘Rather Be’.

Over at the Main Stage Bastille’s entrance to the Twin Peak theme creates some intrigue but 30-seconds into their set that is destroyed as their cringeworthy indie rock takes hold.

At T Break Blackpool rockers Darlia take to the stage and deliver a grunge tinted set with a frontman with plenty of attitude, coming across as a slightly less quirky, more lad-like Ariel Pink.

Still, the songs themselves  have enough punch and sneer to entertain while outside CHRVCHES blast into their third set of the festival, surely some kind of record, filling in after London Grammar’s late pull out.

At the Tut’s Tent Tame Impala have the misfortune of playing inside when their set is perfectly suited  to today’s sunny outdoor conditions, still there’s a hefty crowd turned up to see the Aussie’s psychedelic indie rock vibes.

Their set is typically subdued with rasps of energy ensuing sporadically as the music flows  gloriously over a crowd seemingly in the mood for a final hurrah before the end of the festival.

Playing tracks from their two studio albums to date the crowd lap up every number with 2012 single ‘Elephant’ going down particularly well, if there’s any criticism to be had the set could have done with being a touch louder.

Following that the Tut’s Tent seems set for a singalong and everyone’s in the right place for it as T favourites Franz Ferdinand take to the stage and totally smash it out the park, how bands like the Kaiser Chiefs managed to get Main Stage slots and Franz don’t is a total mystery, they may not have released anything of note in recent years, but neither have Ricky Wilson’s mob, and Alex Kapranos and co. are almost universally loved by this Balado crowd as ‘The Dark of the Matinee’ gives us an early highlight.

Kapranos quips “it’s good to be home” with a boyish grin as the band revel to playing to possibly the biggest crowd they’ve had to in a good while, before You Could Have It So Much Better  singles ‘The Fallen’ and ‘Walk Away’ ring round the tent.

I take the opportunity to try and catch a bit of Secret Motorbikes, unfortunately I don’t get as far as T Break and am soon dragged back down to Tut’s for the rest of big Alex and co. where they close the set in rip roaring fashion with debut album hits ‘Michael’, ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘This Fire’; glorious stuff.

This time I actually make it to T Break just as Glasgow darlings Blood Relatives start their set, and it’s a charming one at that, filled with joyous dancing from the crowd and pop ditties from the stage.

Their tunes put as smile on your face as Anna Meldrum’s distinctly Scottish yet perfectly addictive voice leads the fray and gives us that perfect piece of sunshine before the sun sets on Balado and you pick your headliner; even Jesus has turned up to see them as Meldrum apologises for ruining Christmas by telling her mum she didn’t believe in him before allowing the enthusiastic crowd to get back into their dancing.

It’s a difficult choice for headliners as Sheffield latest sons of indie rock, yet tax dodging traitors Arctic Monkeys take the Main Stage and London’s young dance pioneers Disclosure close things out on the Radio One Stage.

I decide to go for the former, having seen Disclosure perform full sets previously and while being mighty impressed by them I have always felt they suit a cavernous club setting rather than a massive Balado field in the twilight, that and of course T in the Park is first and foremost a rock festival and for that the Monkeys are the band of the moment.

Tax dodging aside Alex Turner and co. have done some fantastic things in their relatively short lifespan and that doesn’t appear to be slowing down, yes Turner, who now look the total rock star if a little Joe Strummer wannabe, has come along way since their humble “don’t believe the hype” beginnings, but they’re pulling it off.

Many had gone off the Monkeys but I didn’t mind Turner’s of his tits Brits ridiculously-ness, but this tax dodgy malarky is unforgivable for a band of their roots, still their music has to appreciated and tonight it packs a punch as they play a very bare stage in comparison to what Biffy had last night, maybe they’re feeling guilty and saving to pay the money back.

The sets comes in flows, at times it’s ridiculously good and at other it verges on dull, while the crowd at points don’t seem to get into it, yes they have five number one albums but these guys haven’t topped the singles chart since ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ blasted them into our awareness some nine years ago, the latter of which doesn’t get an airing but the former gets possibly the most energetic response a crowd have given all weekend.

But as we wave goodbye to Balado for the final time time each and everyone of the people here will have their own personal highlight from their years in these fields and I’m sure they’ll be up at Strathallan Castle next years as that becomes the new venue for the biggest dates in many people’s calendars.

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Bill Gray