Crowded House 10.06.22 // @Hydro

Going to see Crowded House play live has been a childhood dream of mine. From the opening bars of “Distant Sun” I was instantly transported back to 1993, reminiscent of warm hazy summers and stealing my older sisters copy of ‘Together Alone’ to play on my CD Walkman as I cycled about the park on my purple glittery bike.

I also remember fondly when I lived in Melbourne, how old dears on the tram into the CBD would proudly proclaim as soon as they heard my Scottish accent; ‘It’s four seasons in one day here love you need to take an umbrella with you even if you leave the house in the morning and it’s glorious sun’. The catchphrase four ‘seasons in one day’ will remain engrained in my memory as synonymous with Melbourne and good times. Crowded House playing live tonight only further cements the attachment I have in my mind as a band that deliver fun, frivolity and hilarious exchanges with their fans.

Neil Finn has after all carefully curated a line-up that includes founding members and his two sons Elroy on drums and Liam on guitar which lends the set an atmosphere of genuine gratitude, this is a band who know who they are and are confident in their ability to deliver exactly what their audience want.

To think of a Crowded House gig is to think of the set in almost two halves, the first half is comprised of old favourites like; “Nails in my Feet” and “To the Island” things really started to kick off when the band played 1991’s seminal hit “Fall at your Feet” which perfectly encapsulates what the band are known for – proper nostalgic indie guitar pop.

Bassist Nick Seymour and Neil have a fun moment with the crowd suggesting tonight’s show is a ‘warm up’ for Harry styles – who happens to be playing the following evening. They also joked with the audience about being worried that Del Amitri were also playing across town that night – but they needn’t be as the Hydro was packed to its formidable rafters.

There is a fun moment where Neil is poking fun at the security staff who are there to ‘protect than band’ which was ironic as the crowd was mainly composed of a very gentile audience who remained seated for the entire first half of the show. He then went on to improvise a song about High Vis vests which was a cheerful little ditty that pleased their audience.

‘Black and White Boy’ is another fan favourite, after which, some over excitable member of the crowd shouts ‘Lester’ which happens to also be a song that was penned about Neil’s family dog, the band oblige and play the track ‘Lester’ which is its first outing in 10 years, a real treat for the stalwart fans amongst the audience.

The second half of the set really kicks off after the band play “Private Universe” after this track the band play back to back hits, “It’s good to have you on your feet Glasgow!” announces Neil as the previously seated spectators are now galvanised into proper toe tapping action.

Four Seasons in One Day” has the gargantuan crowd singing in acapella along with chorus which seems to delight the band as much as it did the fans. This is quickly followed by, “Weather With You” which was introduced with an interesting cover of Talking Heads.

A volley of hits follows with; “Something So Strong”, “Don’t Dream it’s Over”,Whatever You Want” – which sees Neil pass the reins to his son Liam who plays virtuoso guitar impressively and in his own right is also a very capable singer. The closing song is, “It’s Only Natural” which by this point has the thousands of jubilant Glaswegian’s chanting along to.

After a brief interlude the crowd demand an encore, which the band happily provide with; “World Where You Live”, “Start of Something” and even a rendition of a track by Neil’s former band Split Enz. “I Got You” is a high paced punk number very different from what the band went on to producer as Crowded House.

The grand finale comes in the form of the romantic, 90’s dream pop of ‘Better Be Home Soon’ which confirm that Crowded House are a band that are unapologetically themselves, they love what they are doing and no matter what they guarantee a good time. Catch them on tour throughout summer for a good old dose of Australian sunshine and 90’s nostalgia.

Words: Angela Canavan

Photos: Angela Canavan

The Lovely Eggs @ STEREO // 27.05.22

Attending a Lovely Eggs concert is quite the cathartic experience, the garage rock due that consists of the married Lancashire duo, Holly Ross and David Blackwell both seem to be brimming with joy at the aspect of having so many fans together again to play live to. There are many points during the set where Holly ushers more fans top the front of the stage pointing fun at ‘those types that like to stand with their arms folded and their view interrupted’ tonight is indeed all about shared experiences and commonality. The crowd is after all composed of fans that have undoubtedly followed the band since their conception in 2006.

Opening track ‘Witchcraft’ see’s the jubilant pair exuding the same energy as a coked up whippet, this is clearly a band who love to perform. The opening track is a slice on high tempo grunge rock and roll that the bands are known for. Next up is ‘Still Second Rate’ which see’s Holly doing some impressive leg kicks whilst simultaneously playing each note at break neck speed.

David’s drumming is also commanding. For two people and a gong The Lovely Eggs sure do pack a punch. Tracks like ‘Slug Graveyard’ showcase the indie, low-fi grunge that the band are known for. ‘Magic Onion’ sees a mass singalong, with it’s easy to repeat chorus.

Other stand out tracks included, ‘Wiggy Giggy’, ‘You Can Go Now’ and ‘This Decision’. The set is perforated with lots of good-humoured, banter, there is a funny anecdote about middle aged crowd surfing and songs dedicated to fans who aren’t with us tonight. AT ONE POINT Holly spots a fan close to the back of the audience who she asks the crowd to cheer for as his dancing is spectacular, he is then ushered to the front of the stage. It really gives the performance a genuine community feel.

Ultimately the set closer of ‘Food’ an upbeat bop about chewing food serves as a reminder of what exactly it is that The Lovely Egg’s have to offer, an upbeat, not too serious reminder to enjoy the little things in life. The band perform a short encore comprised of, ‘I’m With You’ and ‘Return of the Witchcraft’ which pleases the eager crowd and ends the set on a high note.

Tropical Fuck Storm @ Stereo // 26.05.22

I can’t help but think if the B52’s were from the modern era and had an industrial punk/psych rock sound…they’d be Tropical Fuck Storm. The Australian band consisting of Garreth Liddiard, Fiona Kitchin, Lauren Hammel, and Erica Dunn produce a sound that is chaotic, loud, and feverish.

Tropical Fuck Storm’s songs are at times bizarre with satirical lyrics backed by experimental noise which oddly captures the uncertainty of the modern age and the weirdness of the fringes of society. No subject matter is off limits. The most recent album titled “Deep State” explores just that, the deep state. The music is certainly in part a commentary on how fringe beliefs or opinions are becoming mainstream with lyrics referencing topics like Q Anon, conspiracy theories, the capital riots, or state surveillance.

“G.A.F.F” or “Give A Fuck Fatigue” talks about the exhausting burnout experience of the negative news cycle that you simply stop caring. In “New Romeo Agent” Erica Dunn sings about a human spy infiltrating an alien society and falling in love with an alien. “Suburbopia” explores the experience of belonging to a suicide cult.

With Stereo packed wall-to-wall with fans and the music volume up as high as it could go, the music was immersive and larger than life. At the end we may have left the gig questioning whether the fringes of society have become the new norm and if we should join a cult because let’s be honest…we can weirdly identify with every subject Tropical Fuck Storm sings about.

Sweaty Palms @Stereo // 13.05.22

You’ll never think about a can of Lynx Africa the same again and that’s alright.

Sweaty Palms are the avant guard racketeers hailing from Glasgow’s Southside, that want you to stop in your tracks and reconsider your capitalistic ideals. They want you to howl into the abyss and confront society’s demons. But if your not quite there yet, then their music will drag you there kicking and screaming (whelps of pleasure of course, rather than disdain).

Since 2014 the band have garnered a steady following of dedicated fans, their 2018 debut album ‘Quit Now’ received critical acclaim which generated packed out crowds at shows where ever they went.

Now after a two year reprieve the band assembled with new members (Doss on bass) are back with fresh material with its own distinctive sound.

Tonight’s show as part of Pop Mutations see’s Sweaty Palms take the stage with friends that include; Laura St Jude, I Solar and Comfort as well as DJ’s and immersive visuals by Lizzie Urquhart and Time Tunnel. The show feels almost like a home coming – with friends old and new converging on the basement of Stereo for what is undoubtably one of the most unabashed shows of the year.

Opening with the pounding behemoth that is last years ‘Nice to be Nice’ single, instantly galvanises the crowd into head bopping action, there’s even a small mosh pit that ensues.

The track is a swarthy four and a half minute tirade of irate satire on the folly of being overly compassionate or well mannered and being taken advantage of. Which descends into weaponising a can of Lynx deodorant.

It’s an outstanding grungy wall of noise, that delivers a spoken word molotov cocktail, nuancing Glaswegian patter and commonalities that is both easily relatable and agreeably frustrating. At times Robbie Houston’s vocal delivery is reminiscent of Mark E Smith or Aidan Moffat yet, is distinctly itself too.

The band are daubed in green and blue tones from the visual projections which manifests an air of performative art, but also meant that Doss has to peek out, every now and then from behind a tarpaulin screen, while scudding the bass and the drummer is completely obscured for the entirety of the show.

Up next is ‘The Dance’ is a beguiling graveyard stomp that feels like Iain Curtis is having a Halloween tea party with Lux Interior, grinding baselines and irreverent guitar riffs abound.

The band play a super tight set exclusively playing new material that they have been steadily realising track by track each month since last summer. A bold move that ultimately pays off, stand out tracks include; ‘Vaseline’, and ‘FOMO’ and ‘Til The Walls Are Undone’ which offers a slower tempo reprieve from the frenetic former efforts.

After a very short interlude the audience have demanded an encore. Which the band happily provide in the form of ‘Imagination’ which encapsulates what Sweaty Palms do best – glitchy synths, loud oscillating bass and guitar combos and a guttural wail of a chorus ‘they probe my soul and suckle my thoughts’ now I f that’s not a manifesto, I don’t know what is.

Make moves and check out these purveyors of socialist goth, synth punk anarchy before it’s too late.

Pictures: Rosie Sco

Words: Ang Can

Confidence Man @ St. Luke’s // 08.05.22

Confidence Man are a glorious, technicolour cacophony of sound and visuals that aims to simultaneously empower and entertain.

The concept of the band is one that is easily bought into, you have two incredibly talented veiled instrumentalists in the form of Reggie Goodchild and Clarence McGuffie on synth and drums, then up front and centre you have the captivating Janet Planet and Sugar Bones furnishing proceedings with Ibiza podium worthy dancing and vocals. The combined effort is a dazzling, gaudy explosion of indie-sleaze electropop and acid house that would have even the most reticent of the crowd members dancing enthusiastically even on a school night like this…

Hailing from Brisbane Australia, the band exploded onto the scene in 2016 and have been entertaining festival goers on both sides of the Atlantic ever since. Tonight is no exception, in fact it feels like they have brought with them a slice of that shimmering Aussie sun, Scotland has been patiently waiting for.

The band like many, haven’t been resting on their laurels and in fact when the pandemic hit they made a leap of faith and moved in together. The created a makeshift self-titled ‘Fuck Bunker’ where the band have partied hard and pulled together their current album ‘Tilt’ which they are extensively touring across the UK.

From the opening bars of ‘Toy Boy’ the sold out Glaswegian crowd are instantly enamoured, with the jam packed dancefloor writhing and seething with every pounding electronic beat. Taking inspiration from the Talking Heads, Bones and Planet enter the stage (after a short musical interlude) with comically large suits which seem to be operated with some hidden device that makes the shoulders move comically.

It sets the tone perfectly for the remainder of the evening which is, after all, made up in equal measure of theatrics as it is in scintillating music. Think an episode of Schitt’s Creek, set to Alice Deejay. From LCD illuminated cone shaped tops, spraying the crowd with Champaign, countless costume changes to clambering up on to speakers, Confidence Man pull out all the stops to thrill and entertain their fans.

It’s fun, entertaining and guaranteed to make you feel good. The band have carefully curated not only their vivid outfits and choreography but a set list too that is studded with all the fan favourites from across both albums.

Tracks like ‘Woman’ show that the band’s sound can be like electro pioneers ESG, Massive Attack and Liquid Liquid and then on ‘Does It Make You Feel Good?’ which has proper 90’s rave leanings in the same vein as Crystal Waters.

Break It, Bought It’ is effortlessly cool, spoken word edging on disco rap, a track that wouldn’t be out of place on the sound track to Party Monster. ‘C.O.O.L Party’ sparks a massive singalong from the eager crowd.

New material ‘Loving You Is Easy’ touches on early Moby meets Everything but the Girl whereas our favourite ‘Angry Girl’ verges on Le Tigre meets CSS, proving that Confidence Man are as eclectic as their irreverent stage personas would suggest.

They close the set with ‘Holiday’ however it doesn’t take long before the floor boards are being rattled as the crowd stamp their feet and demand an encore which the band happily provide with ‘Relieve the Pressure’ and ‘Bubblegum’ the latter garners the loudest sing along and most fervent of dancing of the evening.

If you want to move and party, then do not miss Confidence Man when they roll into town.

Words: Angela Canavan

Pictures Rosie Sco

Stag & Dagger @Various Venues // 01.05.22

Kudos to the Conch

Stag & Dagger is Glasgow’s best showcase for new and upcoming artists. For many years Suchiehall St is transformed from student mecca to a hotbed of fresh new indie talent, venues are teaming with an international roster of talent that even Doctor Who would have trouble teleporting from venue to venue to catch everyone they wanted to see.

The Side F team feel we made a good attempt at flitting from site to site to catch as many new faces as we could, admittedly we didn’t manage everyone here is who we hope to catch next time we are in town; She, Prima Queen, Mollie Coddled, Liz Lawrence, Gustaf & Strawberry Guy.

Gwenno @G2

Gwenno Saunders, formerly of The Pipettes fame is a Welsh musician who has played synth for the likes PNAU and Elton John. Tonight she is playing songs from her two solo albums which are sung in the Welsh/Cornish language.

Gwenno is very relaxed on staged daubed in blue light which suits the atmospheric, almost haunting sound of her synth lead work. There is plenty of friendly on stage banter and even one point where she is teaching the Glaswegian audience some choice Cornish phrases. Stand out tracks are ‘Tir Ha Mor’ and ‘Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki’.

Bad Waitress @The Attic

Toronto based quartet Bad Waitress deliver us with ear drum piercing, glorious riot grrl energy similar to Bikini Kill with elements of very early Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. Lead singer Kali-Ann Butala has a very wholesome and fun energy as she bounces around on stage. She ushers the crowd closer to the stage while bounding through a raucous 30 minute set.

The music is a glorious blend of post punk melodies, with pounding riffs and almost jazz inspired bass notes. With appealing sing-a-long choruses and tracks like ‘Rabbit Hole’, ‘Strawberry Milkshake’ and ‘Manners’ you get the feeling that this is a bunch of girls doing what the absolutely love and doing it their way.

Protomartyr @The Garage

This is not Protomartyr’s first rodeo at Stag & Dagger having played the festival in 2018 and it’s clear to see why the Detroit based, lords of scuzzy, pounding shoegaze have been welcomed back with open arms tonight. The quasi-headliners have brought with them the biggest crowd of the evening.

With plenty of quirky between track banter the band fire through a set dotted with the hits; ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘The Devil in his Youth’.

This evening’s gig even has a guest appearance with Kelly Deal of The Breeders (who guested on 2018’s Consolation EP) whose frenetic guitar playing adds to intimidating wall of noise that defines Protomartyr’s sound.

Brontes @ The Blue Arrow

We managed to catch the last few songs from Glasgow’s very own five piece disco rockers Brontes. Signed to the city’s Last Night in Glasgow label who have garnered a small cult like following in the city, it unsurprising that the small basement venue is completely packed out. So much so that we were only able to grab some dismal shots by climbing up on to the leather couches.

The female fronted band offer quintessential indie-rock with disco undertones. Lead singer Yana’s vocal delivery has a sultry laziness in its delivery that is invocative of Mazzy Star.

Stand out tracks were ‘Down to You’ and their debut single ‘First Hand Arrogance’.

TRAAMS @G2

TRAAMS proved to be one of Side F’s favourite acts of the evening. Purveyors of glorious, post punk synth laden noise. It took a while for the crowd to gather, undoubtedly because they were hot footing it here from various venues, but by the second track the G2 was rammed.

They play hard and fast and with a vibrant energy and back bending guitar playing. They fly through a rapid set, with barely a second to breathe between tracks. Think Television meets TV on the Radio (shame their name also doesn’t have TV in it).

A House on Fire’ is such a massive FUGAZI inspired, guitar crunching beast that our ears feel like they are being rattled through our skull. Other great tracks were; ‘Intercontinental Radio Waves’ ‘Flowers’ and ‘Head Roll’.

Let’s Eat Grandma @ The Garage

Despite initial technical difficulties – which in the end cut their set short, Let’s Eat Grandma put on a headlining performance that had the crowd, albeit a smaller than expected one, bopping along like they were at a 90’s disco (which funnily enough The Garage was).

The girl band burst on to the scene way back in 2016 and generated a considerable buzz, due to the fact that they were at the time teenagers, capable of amazing output.

Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth have after all been writing and record songs in their bedrooms since they were 13 years old. Tragically the band were forced to go on hiatus for a three year period after Hollingsworth’s boyfriend passed away suddenly.

Finally they sat back down to write new material which has resulted in their latest album, ‘Two Ribbons’ which they showcase tracks from this evening.

Opening track ‘Happy New Year’ is also the opening track of the new record, it’s very 90’s, synth driven, almost Eurovision pop that packs a punch, with firework effects exploding in the background it’s certainly a track that gets everyone moving.

The girls certainly know how to entertain with theatrics abound during the course of the set, weather it was in the form of Macarena style group dance movies or more sombre grungy, heavy hair forward, zombie shuffles that seems to evoke the girl from The Ring.

At times their music touches on Crystal Castles meets proper 90’s dance, like Fragma. ‘Hot Pink’ is a more dub leaning effort from 2018’s. ‘I Gemini’ which was produced by SOPHIE and Faris Badwan from The Horrors, which ultimately gave their sound a club ready sound.

Other great tracks included, ‘I’m All Ears’ featuring impressive saxophonist skills from Hollingworth and ‘Falling into Me’

Keg @Broadcast

After a pit stop for a pint, we find ourselves in our final venue for the evening Broadcast. The tiny basement has recently been revamped so that the stage is now right at the door when you descend the venues rickety spiral staircase. What greets us is palpable sweat, grime and damp from a seething pit of Glaswegians that have made it to the end of what has been a day jam packed with raw talent.

Keg are undoubtedly our favourite act of the evening. The seven piece outfit – yeah you heard that right, are crammed on to the diminutive stage. Hailing from Brighton the band are serving up a big molten slice of demented art-rock, that will not only rattle every fibre of your being but make you want pogo yourself to death.

In today’s social media age it’s hard to find music that is truly unique, maybe the diverse sound of Keg’s music comes from the fact that there are so many band members each seemingly with their own wee nugget of wisdom to impart on their distinctive sound.

You’ve got William Wiffen, a golden locked cherubic synth player who can multi-task like a pro, singing, maraca shaking and synth playing all at once is quite impressive. Frank Lyndsey plays guitar with crunchier hooks that a Granny Smith apple, juicer too.

Joel Whitaker furnishes the sound with some original 70’s dirty disco bass and perfectly synced with Johnny Pyke’s virtuoso and pace setting drums.

Now imagine dolloping all over the top of this swarthy melting pot of sound, the high pitched, welps of frontman Albert Haddenham, marry that with the somewhat show stealing (and also a festival talking point from that point on) jazz trombone and wait for it… CONCH SHELL playing of Charlie Keen and you have ladies and gentlemen some of the finest, exploration of modern jazz and angular disco punk we’ve heard since The Rapture.

The band work immensely well together, their performance is tight and they seem completely unphased when bodies start to fly towards them scraping along the roof of the Broadcast Basement.

Think Gang of Four with elements of Dire Straight during the spoken word section of the show of the show and you have this idiosyncratic, punk funk melange that is unapologetically itself, arcane and irreverent.

We bounced along merrily to tracks such as; ‘Heyshaw’, ‘Breaking Rocks’ and our favourite ‘Presidential Walk’ – defo make moves and check these guys out when they are next in town.

Loose Articles @ Broadcast

Manchester’s feminist, political riot grrl quartet Loose Articles put on a frenzied post punk show, rattling through songs like they are front row in a socialist protest.

With bright hair and fashion choices that seek to reclaim woman’s bodies this girl group are everything you want to hear at 1am in the morning. Gratefully doing shots with audience members the girls career through their set at breakneck speed. Stand out tracks were; ‘Chaos’, ‘Orchard Lounge’ and our fav ‘Up the Disco’.

Wife Guys of Reddit @ Broadcast

After chatting about Wife Guys on the Everyone Wants to Play the Hits podcast with SNACK magazine last month we dutifully hung around to the final show of Stag & Dagger at close to 2:30am in the morning.

Despite having some technical issues with his guitar Aarion Xenon and the rest of the band put on a notable performance. The band have been steadily garnering a local following which is evident by the crowd gathered in the wee tiny hours of the morning.

They have been making a noise on the local scene with their own brand of high tempo indie rock. Stand out tracks were; ‘Drained Junior’, ‘Bacon Grease’. Closing the whole Stag and Dagger festival and fittingly so, was our absolute favourite track of the moment ‘Pig Fat’ – which even seen the appearance in the mosh pit of a dancing pig. We will definitely be seeing this band again soon hopefully when everything is working and in ship shape.

Dream Wife @ La Belle Angele // 30.04.2022

Few bands today possess the true energy of the Girl Power movement of the early 90s. Dream Wife exude Girl Power in abundance. With their feminist lyrics and punchy punk rock sound, Dream Wife empower female listeners and show them that there is a place in the music world for girls and women just like them. The band is finishing their UK tour of their second album ‘So When You Gonna..” which was released in July 2020. The tour was initially postponed due to pandemic woes, but the band’s live shows were back in full force this spring. The high- energy live show sincerely made up for the wait.

The Stag and Dagger Festival show in Edinburgh was riotous with lead singer Rakel Mjöll commanding the audience with her powerful voice whilst guitarist Alice Go and bassist Bella Podpadec bounced about the stage playing and dancing their hearts out. Rakel Mjoll at one point started a battle of the band – splitting the audience into halves and having them cheer support for either Alice Go or Bella Podpadec whilst they played their instruments and had an on-stage karate fight. Fans ate up every drop of the fun and were eager to join in or complete any command that was made of them.

Giving fans a preview of new music which is yet to be released, they played new song “Hot” where fans danced whilst being swept away by the chaos. The band reminded the crowd that being a hot bitch was about attitude rather than gender. Boys can be hot bitches too. It was clear from the preview of new material that the lyrics and sound has the potential to be more punchy and powerful than previous releases. We will be awaiting anxiously for the release of the next album.

Outside after the gig I had the opportunity to speak with Alice Go and Bella Podpadec who were extremely gracious, friendly, and kind. You can tell they love what they do as they bubbled with excitement about the live shows. They love their fans, playing music, and touring. Although tired from the night they were already ready for the next show and excited to connect with fans on the road bringing the same high-energy we experienced on the night.

Thanks girls for the fun and we will see you next time you come to Scotland!

Metronomy @Barrowlands // 22.04.22

It’s Good to be Back!

Side F have been following Metronomy since way back in 2008, when the band brought out their first studio album ‘Nights Out’ they played at King Tuts and a fire alarm was set off mid set. The full band plus 500 fans were promptly escorted out of the premises (the band sporting full coordinated outfits and flashing buttons, flickering illustriously on wet dark St. Vincent St) only to return 15mins later and absolutely kill it.

So it sure is, very good indeed, to see Metronomy once again back treading the boards in Glasgow, this time at the much loved Barrowland Ballroom and thankfully there was no fire alarm this time to interrupt proceedings… But dare I say it? The show was absolutely FIRE?

Dad jokes aside, the band are currently touring their seventh (yes that’s correct) studio album, titled ‘Small World’ and judging from the incredible diversity of songs played this evening Metronomy may very well indeed have another seven more ahead of them.

Love Factory’ kicks off this evenings show with a fun, upbeat poppy vibe proving that their new material is just as strong as the tracks we’ve always known and loved them for. Next up is ‘The Bay’, the tell-tale intro synth melody, is greeted with tumultuous cheers and applause. It’s from this point on that the ballroom is transformed into one big dancefloor that doesn’t stop it’s rapturous toe tapping, hip swinging and finger pointing boogie until lights are up and it’s time for everyone to go home.

The set is studded with gems from the new album, including; ‘It’s Good to be Back’ which is one of our new favourite tracks right now, ‘Loneliness on the Run’, ‘Things Will Be Fine’ and ‘Right on Time’.

The band seem very comfortable on stage, the set is tight and they have expertly put together a show that is littered with all the quintessential best hits including; ‘Reservoir’, ‘Everything Goes My Way’ (which drummer Anna Prior sings on, giving the song a cutesy yet sultry pop edge), and ‘Holiday’.

Instrumental tracks ‘Boy Racer’ and ‘The End of You Too’ are played back to give frontman Joseph Mount a short mid set reprieve before returning to stage and proclaiming the usual accolades aimed at Glaswegian audiences ‘It’s so good to be back playing the best city in the world’ and a song dedication to Les (I’m assuming of Bay City Rollers fame, possibly an audience member) before playing ‘Salted Caramel Ice Cream’.

Seconds after the ending bars of ‘The Upsetter’, the hungry audience are stomping their feet on the famously bouncy Barrowland floor demanding an encore. The band oblige with three final songs, ‘Old Skool’, ‘Love Letters’ and ‘You Could Easily Have Me’. It’s hard to remember a time when the Barrowland Ballroom has danced so hard especially during the final two tracks. An outstanding performance from a band that have ultimately proven that they have many more beautiful tricks hiding up their sleeve.

Words: Angela Canavan

Pictures: Angela Canavan

Khruangbin @ O2 Academy // 15.04.22

At the O2 Academy in Glasgow, the excitement is palpable. With fans packed from side to side and overflowing on the balconies, there is electricity in the air. Tonight we are seeing Khruanghbin, a phsych-rock band with a range of musical influences from middle-eastern and south american melodies.

The Texas trio is composed of three members: bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer, and percussionist DJ Johnson. Arguably one of the most unique sounds coming from any band right now, they ooze funk and style. All members of the group are truly talented, but maybe exceptionally so is the lead guitarist whose notes flow and intertwine to carry listeners on a melodic journey. Unlike most bands today, many of their songs are instrumental with lyrics few and far between. They don’t need words to connect with their audiences but rather only their distinctive sound.

Playing an assortment of tracks from their discography, fans received the greatest hits of Khruangbin. Listening to live versions of personal favorites like “Mr. White”, “Shades of Man”,  “Evan Finds the Third Room”  was truly sublime. One of many highlights was the band playing “Maria También” on bottles of Buckfast.

The building shook from constant dancing and the happiness of the crowd was self-evident. Their live show is highly recommended and one to bring the entire circle of friendsto…regardless of preferred musical genre. Khruanghbin will be loved by all.

The Psychedelic Furs @SWG3 07.04.23

Pretty in Black…

Having waited 30 years since the release of 1991’s ‘World Outside’, The Psychedelic Furs tour plans for new album ‘Made of Rain’ were shot asunder, like many bands by the pesky pandemic.

Now being 65 and clad in head to toe black, with permanent shades plastered to his face, ultimate new-romantic goth king, Richard Butler still cuts a prominent figure in the dream pop, post punk world.

But it does make you wonder, are the shades purely aesthetics or are they prescription?

Opening the set with ‘Highwire Days’ the band prove that in their long absence from touring they can still pack a mighty punch.

The crowd consists mainly of older men some of whom have brought their sons and daughters along to inspire the next generation. There are some hard core art school students and there is more than a fair share of smart phone novice photographers taking videos with full flash lighting…

Either way everyone, band included, are happy to be here and are set on having a good time.

The Psychedelic Furs new material has somewhat relied on that age old formula from the 80’s and if isn’t broke why fix it?

Some of the set highlights came from their new album – especially ‘The Boy that Invented Rock & Roll’, a mighty, post punk stomp, that showcases Butlers raspy, Marlboro drawl.

Admittedly, everyone is waiting on the hits being played, and when they do the crowd are singing along with every note.

‘Pretty in Pink’ sees the band daubed in rainbow lighting. ‘Love My Way’ has everyone dancing along with the sweet sparkling synth soundscape that it is.

‘The Ghost in You’ is swarthy art noir, meets big 80’s power pop at its core. Butler has all the mannerisms of a true icon, dips and hip shakes aplenty and even some almost hypnotic arm movements that certainly look like he’s casting a spell or summoning the devil, who knows maybe both?

His only detractor is the diminutive showboating saxophonist who keeps appearing and reappearing at different points on the stage, Mars Williams (excellent name) has toured with the likes of John Coltrane – so it’s no surprise that he is absolutely killing it this evening and ultimately gaining the most deafening round of applause at the end of the set.

Set closers are ‘Sister Europe’ which is a Kaleidoscopic prog-rock jangle, glittering with 80s synths and tambourine.

Followed swiftly by the imminent and moody ‘India’ proves that The Psychedelic Furs ( named after The Velvet Underground track Venus in Furs) have indeed, aged well like a fine whisky.