Saturday, February 19, 2022

Bears in Trees - King Tut's - 2/17/2022

I was happy to have a ticket become available for this gig, sold out as evidenced by the kids (some chaperoned by their parents) lined around the block at 8pm doors. Lucy Blue made the early arrival worthwhile as the Irish songstress played her piano keyboard, and only minor pre-recorded accompaniment otherwise. Mostly literal songs, like the one about The Postman hoping for love in a Valentine's Day sack of mail. She was engaging, had a nice voice, and was very complimentary thereby winning us over and enjoying a mostly quiet room for her mostly quiet songs.

Before the Bears arrived to the neon stage trees, there was a palpable energy in the room which I suppose is what happens with teenage excitement. The side door opened, offering a glimpse of one of the members, thus eliciting a squeal from three fans stood on the side bench. The TikTok generation had their phones aloft as the foursome appeared on stage with plenty of pizzazz and smiles. The crowd roared throughout and it was genuinely deserved as they laid down a sizeable chunk of their catalogue across an hour an a bit, including the encore. Existing personal favourite, I'm Doing Push Ups, hit well especially after the heartfelt introduction from my preferred member, the curly haired guitarist who smiled and sang along for the entire show (although rarely into the mic). That said, new-to-me songs such as Good Rhymes for Bad Times were also fun to see live. The made-up bassist was de facto ringleader although the uke and keyboard player was happy to be his right hand man for the silly, pre-rehearsed banter before Sun Machine or the piano tinkling dance for Keep It Easy (an above average live tune). The crowd ate this up, belting along on choruses such as Cut Corners on Short Walks, and they delivered on their emo, twee, indie pop playing so I was content to go along for the ride, such as on the buoyant Heaven Sent is a Coffee Cup. Even when they slowed it down for Little Cellist it continued to be entertaining.

As expected, a solid "one more tune" chant echoed through Tut's until they returned and actually played two, the first reaching Great Heights. All in all it was an upbeat gig, affirming their rightful place as the continuation of the twee core genre passed on by their Welsh brethren, Los Campesinos!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Team Picture - Broadcast - 9/30/21

Team Picture

What this gig lacked in openers and audience it made up for in pure aural pleasure. I wasn't familiar with this band beforehand, attending because a couple different groups of concert friends had said they were going, but came away a fan. They're a five-piece with the synth and lead singer sounding a little like Austra without going so high or classically trained. Broadcast has apparently undergone pandemic renovation so the band was three layers deep but they still managed to make a great connection with the audience with their loud and smart rock music. The closer was a particular standout, a new song called Big Tree, Little Tree but Phantom Limb and Handsome Machine were also great. Again, even though it was a small show they really made connections as just about everyone in the crowd stuck around afterwards for a chat or to buy some merch, until the musicians got called away for load out.

Here it is - Team Picture:

Squid & Kaputt - SWG3 - 9/28/21


Local band, Kaputt (rhymes with moot) came out half an hour after advertised to a warm reception from some friends and some folks looking for a warm up. Off the jump I was intrigued by their seven person setup, with a couple of sax, a key and bodyless violin player, in addition to your standard four piece: dual guitar, bass, and drum lineup. Playing perky, mostly upbeat and somewhat complex songs with a fair amount of tempo shifts and key changes, it was hard to categorize their music. Tempted to say post ska only because of the brass. Without demeaning them in any way, maybe it was so complicated to keep all the different members busy keeping up. It was a truly enjoyable set and I'm excited that they are Glasgow locals so I can catch them again.


Having caught them twice before (I know... *brushes shoulder off*) at End of the Road Festival 2019, I was eager to see how they've grown up in the past couple years, as well as to see Bright Green Field material played live. Firstly the stage setup was unique, as the charismatic lead singer/drummer was set centre stage, flanked by two bandmates on either side. Behind him was a bank of dials and pads which were used for the mid-set, multiple minute, electro-noise breakdown, as well as the intro and outro to a few tunes. Furthermore there were two gongs strung up which were used sparingly but still made an impact. 

Sat in the centre, Ollie was less flambouyant during the main set than he had been at the raucous,  over-capacity, ad-libbed, "secret" midnight set in the EotR tent, while still charismatically holding the focus of the crowd and attention of his bandmates. The set was very entertaining, with fan favourites and extended cuts, but no matter what they were playing everyone seemed to be into it. Particular stand-outs were G.S.K.,Cleaner and Boy Racers. As a finale they rocked out to Narrator (unfortunately there was no guest singer). 

In seemingly an odd move they returned from the dark after a few moments with Documentary Filmmaker - which did cut the intensity to begin with but this version managed to build energy back before a crashing closing of Pamphlets. The moshers were happy throughout.

I walked by both bands going into The 78 after the gig finished but didn't get a chance to tell either how great the show was.

Monday, September 27, 2021

black midi - QMU 9/27/21

Black Midi

Foregoing an opener, apparently because they couldn't organize it after rescheduling from the start of the month, it was just bm bm bm (they did not play the song bmbmbm) from 9pm although they promised the QMU crowd an extended set. Primarily composed of freshers (well, students, at least) it was packed and hot in the venue before the quartet came out on stage to a bit of a prerecorded skit, wearing terrible, dated, old man clothing and sunglasses, while most of them were sporting unfashionable mustaches too. The meaning behind all of this, including a staged fight and card came later on, was lost as the words were mostly lost in the fracas, much like their music itself, in part due to muddy sound. To an unfamiliar ear, black midi could sound like chaos but fortunately there were hundreds of familiar ears all lapping it up as they let loose in the pit. To me the drumming, and the drummer, are the focal point of the live set and, as they had done at End of the Road '19, he was stationed at the end of the line of musicians, facing the rest of the band, rather than the standard tucking of the drummer at the back facing the crowd. He immediately took off his shirt and began bashing away. The bass and electric guitar alternated between the two vocalists - the one with the signature and seemingly faked baritone can still actually sing with it. On one song the other singer played a bashed up, amplified acoustic with the hole mostly duct taped over. They leaned on this year's Cavalcade release but did dip back into Schlagenheim [2019] as well. It was not all bangers which was probably for the best considering how rowdy the crowd was getting but no matter what they were playing they were doing it very well. Not note perfect, they did build around each other and hit their complex math rock time signatures along the way. To this layperson music lover, it was all quite impressive. The trifecta that they closed with was a build, build, build that absolutely nailed all the greatness about a live performance from a band like black midi, culminating with John L. The seated keyboardist and drummer even broke character to exchange a smile during one of the more frantic sequences that had him playing most of the keys with his entire forearm. An encore was not to be, as they left the way they had entered - with a flying kick from the drummer, and a "Go to bed" instruction from the singer. Excellent show.

Dream Nails @ Hug & Pint 9/3/21

Dream Nails
Their first visit to Glasgow and only the beginning of their long-delayed tour (COVID, like everyone else) all four of them seemed genuinely pleased to be here. Introducing their new lead singer, who as I understand took over after the recording of the album and seems to have been chosen more for matching morals than vocals. Either way they picked right up and carried on, tot that they really had a choice considering they only have one record's worth of tracks to choose from. They worked through a well-planned set of it, plus their new track Take Up Space. It did feel a little boxy, although that may be because I caught glimpse of the setlist that even had the "buy our merch" banter pre-choreographed. The drummer did show genuine care when she gave away a pair of sticks to someone in hopes of them learning the kit and starting their own. Anyhow, the music was solid - catchy and what you'd expect. Personal fave was the shout along to D.I.Y. It wasn't a life-altering gig but it was certainly enjoyable. And my first time in the small basement space of the Hug and Pint that definitely had its charms (and lovely food upstairs).

​​Brat Coven
A four-pack young punk band with modern feminine anthems, taking on the patriarchy and state of affairs for women. While some lyrics batted you over the head, others were important and definitely worth repeating - repeating fast and loud and over punk rock. Speaking of fast, the whole thing was over in 15 minutes flat.

Count Florida
A three piece that didn't have very much overly standout about them. Not too fast, not that catchy or specifically interesting lyrics. Could tap your foot along and they seemed to be enjoying themselves so not all was lost.

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Lottery Winners - Castle & Falcon 9/3/2021

Lottery Winners 

They assumed the same four instruments (and genders) in the same stage positions, if we're playing Mastermind, as the openers. The Lottery Winners had obviously already won over the surprisingly mature audience (I was below median age). Their charismatic ringleader and lead singer yucked it up all night long, the faux glory-hog act seeming more realistic by the end.

He did share the limelight when the bassist sang lead on Sunshine, instead of her normal co-backup vocals with Rob, the guitarist, but then the singer pulled all the glory back at the end of the tune by jokingly/seriously reminding us that he wrote it. It was all in good spirit and fun though, and the crowd got into the act shouting out what could have been heckles but we were getting it right back in return. Promising early not to do their sea shanty version of Nickelback’s Rockstar, they played only a couple tunes from this year’s EP, the only album I know by them. It didn’t really matter what they played though since the energy and atmosphere more than made up for a lack of familiarity. People were more than happy to sing and dance along, especially during the forthcoming single for which we “shot a music video” on a cell phone. I was honestly shocked when they introduced Frank Turner to the stage for the song Start Again that they did with him. I was then embarrassed (and a little disappointed) when they revealed that that too was a joke. We, the audience sang Frank’s part instead and it was still great. There was a Coldplay into Robbie Williams singalong (don’t ask) and even an on-stage magic trick that turned out to be a surprise wedding proposal (she said yes). As an encore, all but the drummer returned to sing a round with just guitar; apparently the first song they ever wrote together (in a pub). Finally, the drummer returned for one more and sent the happy crowd buzzing off into their weekend. High marks for entertainment!


Overpass took to the stage with the chanting of their mates in the crowd and proceeded to impress friends and strangers alike. The singer was strong throated and reasonably confident for a young band, albeit playing on home turf of Birmingham. As a four-piece, everyone played their part, the female bassist holding it down, the drummer unflashy but solid (both of whom were in suits), and lead guitar being the least noticeable on stage but very skilled at his instrument. Playing their few released songs off the pop, I wondered what else they would have in the tank and it included a Joy Division cover that got everyone singing along and a soon to be released new single. Definitely a feel good set from the band that had noticeable Arctic Monkeys vibe on the vocals, and according to my mate, Phil, Catfish & the Bottlemen otherwise. I'd be happy to catch them opening again soon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Another Sky, Ailsa Tully - King Tut's - 8/11/21

The main event and reason I was there was for Another Sky who were likened to Radiohead or Everything Everything, comparisons that aren't wrong but don't accurately describe their sound. It starts with the deep, yet feminine singing vocals from their lead - a voice like none that I can place, it is very strong and as good as it sounds on record, it blew me away live. In fact, the entire band matched or beat the album (and I really like 'I Slept On The Floor.') The drumming is so much more interesting than straight keeping time which kept me on my toes, and the stocking foot drummer on his. Not to be outdone the lead guitarist was completely barefoot (with long hair and a beard I was happy he didn't have hobbit feet.) The bassist was wearing shoes as was her lead vocalist counterpart, who also doubled on the keys and guitar depending on the song. Last year I fell in love with Fell In Love With The City and it was great as the opener. Other standouts were the one-two of Riverbed into All Ends and the singalong of Only Rain, though the highlight may have been set finale, Brave Face. Everyone seemed enamoured in the perfect-sized nearly-full King Tuts so it wasn't hard to get them to return for the encore (that was already on the set-list - chilled Tree into powerful Avalanche). I'm convinced, and others agreed, that it wasn't just the excitement of a real live gig but that this would be a cut above anytime.

Ailsa Tully was bubbly between songs but along with her other guitarist and drummer they played a rather samey set. Considering I didn't find the first song all that engaging by the end of 8 of the same I was ready to move along, though one in the middle did have the drums hit a little harder so it was slightly better. The crowd seemed to enjoy it - or maybe they were all just happy to be back seeing live music for the first time in a year and a half.