Archive for April, 2010

Live review: The Futureheads, Admiral Fallow @ Oran Mor, Glasgow

Friday, April 30th, 2010

So gone are the free Mill gigs and in its places comes the awkwardly-named Miller Filtered Music with its mission to “filter out the unnecessary noise around the live experience to focus on the true sound of great bands”.

In normalspeak, the promoters are going to make sure punters get change from a tenner to see established acts that would normally charge a bit more than that. A ticket for last night’s teaser event headlined by The Futureheads, for example, cost £7.85 (including fees), so it was no surprise Oran Mor was sold out.

However, there was a much greater bargain to be had this week: £6.99 gets you a copy of ADMIRAL FALLOW’S stunning debut album Boots Met My Face, and as last night’s support slot proved, the Glasgow band are an exceptionally talented proposition.

At times you can hear bits of Elbow (Dead Against Smoking) and even Deacon Blue (These Barren Years), but frontman Louis Abbott clearly comes from the Frightened Rabbit school of songwriting, recounting tales of a troubled adolescence that are both brutal and honest. He even has the same world-weary demeanour as Scott Hutchison, playing guitar with shut eyes and raised shoulders.

The crack of emotion in acoustic ballad Four Bulbs (like Poke from The Midnight Organ Fight, but better) is an undoubted high point of their set, before the tempo-shifting Old Balloons makes for an upbeat finale.

THE FUTUREHEADS boast to the crowd that they’ve been together for 10 years, so credit to them for sticking around when many of their peers in the post-Franz Ferdinand landscape they entered have long since found other jobs.

But just how significant are The Futureheads in 2010? Perhaps more than a lot of people might have imagined. The jubilant reception that welcomes new songs such as Struck Dumb and Heartbeat Song suggests they’ve remembered what it was that made their first album so appealing (the second and third ones were mostly dire).

To be frank, their raw, post-punk guitar sound is probably a bit immature for four grown-up men in their late 20s, with their goofy harmonies and almost comical preemptive lyrics of “faster, faster!” and “stop!”. However, the fact there’s not a hint of apathy or ‘going through the motions’ ensures The Futureheads remain loveable rather than irrelevant.

The Futureheads – Struck Dumb
July 23, Wickerman Festival, Dumfriesshire (tickets)

Admiral Fallow – Four Bulbs

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Go get ’em, Tigerfest

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

What actually constitutes a music festival these days? At first glance TIGERFEST seems to tick the usual boxes, being an annual event (this is its seventh year) that plays host to a variety of acts for the summer crowds. However, the shows that come under its banner are not only individually ticketed, but spread out over 17 days, six indoor venues and three cities that are a mere 130 miles apart.

Perhaps it would be helpful if we look at Tigerfest less as a festival and more of a statement about the acts contained within. It is very much an exercise of collective strength, with several independent promoters, record labels and online media all coming together to ensure their assembled roll call of talented musicians is in fact a national celebration.

The most popular draws this year will most likely be King Creosote and Malcolm Middleton, while Music Alliance Pact graduates There Will Be Fireworks (April 2009), Boycotts (May 2009) and The Unwinding Hours (November 2009) are also making welcome appearances. It’s good to know at least one Tiger can enhance its reputation by playing the field.

May 5: Blueflint, Andi Neate, Andy Tucker & The Scattered Family, Electric Circus
May 6:
Phoebe Kreutz, Casey, Emily Scott, The Stantons, Wee Red Bar (tickets)
May 9: X-Lion Tamer, The Wildhouse, Roxy Art House (tickets)
May 11: TV21, Boycotts, Midas Fall, Cabaret Voltaire (tickets)
May 12: Jesus H. Foxx, There Will Be Fireworks, Electric Circus
May 13:
Chris Bradley, The Dirty Cuts, The Last Battle, Roxy Art House (tickets)
May 14: Martin Stephenson, Fourteenhours, Blind Assassins, Wee Red Bar (tickets)

May 20: Ambulances, Vertis, Crayons, Carnegie Hall (tickets)
May 21: King Creosote, Withered Hand, Rozi Plain, Carnegie Hall (tickets)
May 22: Malcolm Middleton, Spare Snare, Carnegie Hall (tickets)

May 21: The Unwinding Hours, Katerwaul, Tunnels (tickets)

The Unwinding Hours – Tightrope


Ambulances – Cease To Exist (Steve Mason mix)


The Last Battle – Oh Best Beloved


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Wish you were here?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The scene above shouldn’t look unfamiliar if you’ve been to a music festival at least once in your life. The photo was taken at Russian festival Nashestvie, which attracts 100,000 visitors every year, and proves that you don’t have to be stuck in a Scottish summer to know that mud + music = merriment.

With the cost of going to a large-scale domestic festival now equivalent to a five-day package holiday in the Canaries, foreign festivals have become a realistic alternative for punters, and not just for financial reasons.

For starters, there’s often very little to differentiate between the line-ups. Do a bit of digging and you’ll discover that most of your favourite bands who are bound for T in the Park or RockNess are also playing up to a dozen other festivals this summer. It takes an extraordinary amount of persuading (money) for an organiser to get a major act to give an exclusive performance at just one location.

If you do opt to go down the overseas festival route (and haven’t been put off by the possibility of being marooned in Leipzig by volcanic ash) but are concerned about missing out on “the banter” then you’ll be relieved to know that plenty of peely-wally Scottish musicians will also be clutching their passports this summer. Most of them are hitting continental Europe but a few are going long-haul, so whether it’s Slovakia or Seoul, some home comforts could await. And best of all, there’ll be no Tennent’s on draught.

Here is The Pop Cop’s exclusive guide to who’s going where…

SOS 4.8 – Murcia, Spain
Franz Ferdinand (April 30)

Walk The Line Festival – Den Haag, Netherlands
Meursault (May 14), Zoey Van Goey (May 14)

Primavera Sound – Barcelona, Spain
Bis (May 27), Roddy Frame (May 29)

Rock In Rio – Lisbon, Portugal
Snow Patrol (May 27), Amy Macdonald (May 29)

Pinkpop – Limburg, Netherlands
Paolo Nutini (May 28), Biffy Clyro (May 29)

Selector Festival – Krakow, Poland
Calvin Harris (June 4)

Rock In Rio – Madrid, Spain
Amy Macdonald (June 6)

Caribana Festival – Nyon, Switzerland
Kassidy (June 9)

Hurricane Festival – Rotenburg, Germany
Biffy Clyro (June 18)

Isle of Man Bay Festival – Douglas, Isle of Man
Calvin Harris (June 19)

Southside Festival – Tuttlingen, Germany
Biffy Clyro (June 20)

Fusion Festival – Neustrelitz, Germany
Meursault (June 24-27)

OpenAir St Gallen – St Gallen, Switzerland
Frightened Rabbit (June 24), Biffy Clyro (June 25)

Rockin’ Park – Nijmegen, Netherlands
Amy Macdonald (June 27)

Hove Festival – Arendal, Norway
Biffy Clyro (June 30)

Rheinkultur – Bonn, Germany
We Were Promised Jetpacks (July 3)

Pohoda – Trencin, Slovakia
Sparrow And The Workshop (July 8)

Optimus Alive! – Lisbon, Portugal
Biffy Clyro (July 8), Calvin Harris (July 8)

Oxygen – County Kildare, Ireland
Calvin Harris (July 9), Kassidy (July 9), Paolo Nutini (July 11)

Ruisrock – Turku, Finland
Belle & Sebastian (July 11)

Pistoia Blues Festival – Pistoia, Italy
North Atlantic Oscillation (July 14)

Slottsfjell – Tonsberg, Norway
Belle & Sebastian (July 15), Twin Atlantic (July 15)

Benicassim – Valencia, Spain
Calvin Harris (July 15-17)

Dour Festival – Hainaut, Belgium
Calvin Harris (July 18)

Gurtenfestival – Bern, Switzerland
Amy Macdonald (July 18)

Ilosaarirock – Joensuu, Finland
Biffy Clyro (July 18)

Paleo Festival – Nyon, Switzerland
Paolo Nutini (July 24)

Jisan Valley Rock Festival – Seoul, South Korea
Belle & Sebastian (July 30)

Fuji Rock Festival – Niigata, Japan
Codeine Velvet Club (July 30–August 1), Mylo (July 30–August 1), Belle & Sebastian (August 1)

Splendour In The Grass – Queensland, Australia
Frightened Rabbit (August 1)

Lollapalooza – Chicago, United States
Frightened Rabbit (August 6-8)

Summer Sonic – Tokyo, Japan
Biffy Clyro (August 7), Calvin Harris (August 8)

Summer Sonic – Osaka, Japan
Calvin Harris (August 7), Biffy Clyro (August 8)

Sziget Festival – Budapest, Hungary
Calvin Harris (August 11-16)

FM4 Frequency – St Polten, Austria
Kassidy (August 19-21)

Highfield Festival – Leipzig, Germany
Biffy Clyro (August 20-22)

Electric Elephant – Petrcane, Croatia
The Phantom Band (August 27)

Rock en Seine – Paris, France
Paolo Nutini (August 28)

Electric Picnic – County Laois, Ireland
Steve Mason (September 3-5)

Jersey Live Festival – Jersey, The Channel Islands
Calvin Harris (September 4)

A = Amy Macdonald
B = Bis
C = Biffy Clyro
F = Franz Ferdinand
G = Frightened Rabbit
H = Calvin Harris
I = Snow Patrol
J = We Were Promised Jetpacks
K = Kassidy
L = Belle & Sebastian
M = Meursault
N = Paolo Nutini
O = North Atlantic Oscillation
P = The Phantom Band
R = Roddy Frame
S = Steve Mason
T = Twin Atlantic
V = Codeine Velvet Club
W = Sparrow And The Workshop
Y = Mylo
Z = Zoey Van Goey



Frightened Rabbit – The Loneliness And The Scream


We Were Promised Jetpacks – A Far Cry


Steve Mason – All Come Down


Meursault – Another


North Atlantic Oscillation – Cell Count


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Hey girls, hey boys

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Radiohead once declared Anyone Can Play Guitar. Foolishly, I actually believed them.

But a dozen or so wannabe rock star tantrums, several bruised and bleeding fingers, and the fact that the only function of my disowned acoustic instrument is to provide shelter for Horace (The Pop Cop’s rent-dodging spider) is proof that their message was utter bollocks.

Now, if Radiohead had called that song Anyone Can Be A DJ it would have made a whole lot more sense. I mean, what could be easier than playing other people’s records? Pick a tune. Press play. Line up the next one.

Bands are primarily judged on the quality of their songs, so surely it’s not over-simplistic to say that DJs are only as good as the selection of records they play.

Well, it’s time to put this theory to the test.

On Friday, April 30, I’ll be making my DJing debut at The Flying Duck nightclub in Glasgow as part of their monthly Pin Up Nights. The organisers have branded the event Bloggers Delight as they have also invited representatives from RadarPeenko17 Seconds and Glasgow PodcART to strut their stuff on the decks.

I think we’re each getting an hour-long slot so until then I’ll be blitzing my record collection in preparation for the most important playlist of my part-time pop career.

Any requests?

April 30, The Flying Duck, Glasgow (also features local bands Louise Against The Elements, Kung Fu and Carmine playing live)

The Chemical BrothersHey Boy Hey Girl


RadioheadAnyone Can Play Guitar


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Music Alliance Pact – April 2010

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

In case you missed it, last month The Guardian published a feature on this thing we do called the Music Alliance Pact, which is well worth a read.

Here’s how they explained the concept of MAP (for anyone who doesn’t already know what it is): “On the 15th day of each month, [the MAP bloggers] cross post an identical list of every member’s local band of the moment, accompanied by a description and sample mp3. MAP is a monthly global compilation tape from a not-for-profit musical cartel, one that exposes the bands (most untouched by A&R or PR people) to new audiences.”

This month we’ve recruited another new international blog, 78s, so if you’ve ever wondered what music from Switzerland sounds like then wonder no more.

The Pop Cop’s handpicked Scottish choice for the April 2010 edition is the excitable WASHINGTON IRVING, so scroll down and treat yourself to a free download of their song The Magician. You can also watch a high-quality live video of the band playing another of their excellent songs here.

Washington IrvingThe Magician
Named after the American author who wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, the music of this Glasgow-based group isn’t as bookish as their moniker might suggest. Instead, they deliver irrepressibly wild, rambunctious folk-rock that taps into the raw energy of The Pogues, which explains why Washington Irving’s live shows never fail to win them new fans. The band have just finished recording a new EP which will be released this summer.


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All over the shop

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

I feel a bit hypocritical extolling the virtues of Record Store Day – the annual, global celebration of independent music shops which takes places this Saturday for the third year running.

Most music lovers treat vinyl as hallowed slabs of black magic, yet I regard them as impractical eyesores; while hardcore fans spend their savings accumulating every morsel of their favourite band’s back catalogue, I’m down to my last crate (of seven) in a decade-long mission to offload every CD in my possession. Indeed, the last time I felt any inclination to buy anything in a record shop was five years ago, and even then it was while flicking through the DVD section.

This, incidentally, is coming from a person who worked in HMV for the best part of two years, and loved every minute of it. You can’t beat the adrenaline rush of haring down Union Street on a crisp Sunday afternoon chasing a Reebok-clad shoplifter clutching a handful of Now 57s.

But despite my current indifference to record shops, I do appreciate their place in society as a focal point for like-minded music obsessives who feel songs ought to exist in a form other than binary code.

Such are the challenging conditions that record shops now find themselves in, they have had to adapt just to survive. Stores such as Avalanche sell a significant portion of their stock via Amazon Marketplace (which, funnily enough, makes them my competition) and they are increasingly encouraging bands to play instore sessions to help bring in the punters.

It should therefore come as no surprise that free live performances are a big feature of the day-long events going on all over Scotland to mark Record Store Day, so we’ve rounded up some listings for April 17 to get your Saturday sizzling:

MONORAIL (Glasgow)
14.30 RM Hubbert
15.15 Make Love
16.00 Ripley (Wooden Shjips) DJ set
17.15 Moon Unit
18.00 Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai) DJ set
– also: home baking, a quiz, and kids stuff.

10.00 The Sundancer
13.00 Fran Schoppler
15.00 Super Adventure Club
17.00 You Already Know
– customers are encouraged to bring a percussive instrument to jam with You Already Know; also: Subcity Radio DJ sets, ‘rock icon’ face-painting (so you can look like Kiss, David Bowie or Panda Su) and album artwork cakes.

AVALANCHE (Edinburgh)
12.00 The Sundancer
15.00 TV21
17.30 DesertersDeservedeath

CODA (Edinburgh)
12.00 Salsa Celtica
12.45 Steve Byrne & Mark Dunlop
13.15 Dean Owens
14.30 Catriona McKay & Chris Stout
15.15 Jenna Reid & Kevin Mackenzie
15.45 Inge Thomson & Martin Green

14.00 The Sundancer
15.00 The Stark Palace

11.30 Marshall Chipped
12.30 Craig Hughes
13.30 The MixUps
14.30 The Hype
15.30 The Radiation Line

RM Hubbert – For Maria


Super Adventure Club – Hip Hop Hot Pot Pot Noodle


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What becomes of the broken-hearted?

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Once upon a time there was a man by the name of Finley Quaye, born in Edinburgh. His heyday came in 1997 and 1998 when he sold copies of his reggae-tinged album Maverick A Strike by the truckload and won a BRIT Award for Best Male Solo Artist.

Such was his level of popularity, that when visiting Glasgow on tour he would play the Barrowland Ballroom, capacity 1,900. He’ll be returning to Scotland in June, only this time he’s trying to shift tickets for King Tut’s, capacity 300, and Cabaret Voltaire, capacity 450.

Another act who hit their peak in the 90s, The Bluetones, used to make an annual pilgrimage to the Barras. But for the next three nights, you can find them in Edinburgh’s Bongo Club (450 capacity), Aberdeen’s Warehouse (650), and Dundee’s Doghouse (350).

A quick look at the forthcoming gig listings for Glagow’s ABC 1 (capacity 1,300) throws up bands such as AshIdlewild and The Magic Numbers, all of whom have also previously headlined larger venues but now find their careers on a downward trajectory. Two years ago Travis also opted to play one night at the ABC, a world away from their sell-out run of four shows at the SECC arena in March 2002.

Or how about the riches to rags story of The Futureheads, who are going from the Glasgow Academy in 2006 (capacity 2,500) to Oran Mor (500) later this month.

Music artists are notoriously ego-sensitive creatures, so it must take some amount of pride-swallowing to handle such a visible reminder of their flagging popularity. Sailing on when others view you as a sinking ship is no easy feat.

But where did all the fans go? What makes an artist suddenly become irrelevant? Is it really fair to say it is a direct result of their music output deteriorating or are more complicated factors at work? How significant is it that all of the acts mentioned above no longer have the backing of the major labels that used to support them?

The answer, I feel, is in the hands of Davis Marlon. Who is Davis Marlon? He is 29, he did his time at university, got a job in sales and lives in the West End of Glasgow; Davis enjoys prime-time TV, rarely goes to gigs and most certainly doesn’t read blogs, so I can say pretty much anything I want about him without fear of retribution.

The most important thing about Davis Marlon, though, is that he is one of the one million people who bought Maverick A Strike. So we brought him in for questioning.

Why did you buy Maverick A Strike?
“Maverick A Strike? Ah, that takes me back. For a time it felt like if Finley Quaye was everywhere. You couldn’t escape Sunday Shining, I really liked that song – I still do, now that I think about it. It was different, his style was unique and not something you heard in the charts every week. But I think it was when Even After All was released that I bought the album in HMV.”

Did you purchase any other Finley Quaye albums after that? If not, why?
“I didn’t. His sound was a novelty at the time but after a while it started to get a bit repetitive. I think that put me off buying any of his other records.”

Would you be interested in checking out his new material or seeing him live again?
“Not in the slightest, to be honest. I mean, it’s not like he’s just going to play the first album in full.”

Do you feel guilty that you have neglected his career?
“Guilty?! I don’t owe the guy a living!”

The Bluetones
April 10, Bongo Club, Edinburgh (tickets)
April 11, Warehouse, Aberdeen (tickets)
April 12, Doghouse, Dundee (tickets)

April 27, ABC, Glasgow (tickets)


The Futureheads

April 29, Oran Mor, Glasgow (sold out)

April 30, ABC, Glasgow (tickets)
May 1, Velocity, Dunfermline (tickets)

The Magic Numbers
June 5, ABC, Glasgow (tickets)

Finley Quaye
June 18, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
June 19, King Tut’s, Glasgow
It’s Great When We’re Together


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Live review: James @ Corn Exchange, Edinburgh

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed an entire audience instantly turn 180 degrees but that’s precisely what happened at JAMES’ gig at the Corn Exchange when the band emerged at the rear of the venue (see bottom picture), before Tim Booth walks through the crowd Moses-like with an acoustic rendition of Sit Down, backed by the fevered chants of their disciples on a wild and windy Easter Monday night in Edinburgh.

When they finally make their way onto the stage, James go down the risky route of devoting much of their set to new material and less obvious moments from their weighty history. The next 14 songs, for instance, yields just three singles from their back catalogue – Hymn From A Village, Seven and Destiny’s Calling – while five unreleased songs from their new mini-album are aired including It’s Hot, which Booth implores the audience to “make this a hit… even if it’s only in your mind”.

Unlike other bands who reunited in the Noughties (The Verve and Pixies spring to mind), you can’t get away from the sense of camaraderie that exists between all of the members. There’s a touch of the Arcade Fires in the way that Saul Davies, Andy Diagram and Larry Gott mouth the words to the songs, microphone in front of them or not. If the joy they seem to get from playing live isn’t genuine then they are very fine actors indeed.

At one point, Booth asks the crowd if they would prefer to hear new material or the greatest hits, and he’s left in little doubt that the overwhelming majority have come to see the songs that made the Mancunians famous.

They are handsomely rewarded in a gripping final flourish that begins with the epic sweep of Tomorrow and Sound. The encore is even grander. Booth sings Say Something from the front row after dedicating it to a fan who had the title written on a handmade poster, before leaping back to the stage for Getting Away With It, remarkably their most well-known song from the last decade.

The best is still to come, though. For the ever-perfect Sometimes, one fan with energy to burn is plucked from the moshpit by Booth to act as a Bez-like backing dancer (see top picture), and the band barely pause to catch breath before bowing out with a typically storming version of Laid.

James – Crash


James – Who Are You?


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Belle of the Bowlie

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

If any band defined my student days it was BELLE & SEBASTIAN. Back then, one of my best mates was a Welsh chap called Daniel and at the root of our friendship was a shared appreciation of these mysterious local heroes who had a canny way with a pop melody.

Since Daniel and I both spent time editing the music section of the Glasgow University Guardian, the opportunity to take advantage of our positions to infiltrate the secret world of B&S was impossible to resist…

In 1999, we persuaded the band to write a diary column for the student paper, which they did without fail every fortnight for a year.

In 2000, we were invited down to London to attend a press conference held by Belle & Sebastian to promote their fourth album, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant. Both of us ended up making a brief cameo appearance in the band’s official DVD, Fans Only.

In 2001, we nominated Stuart Murdoch to stand for the position of Glasgow University rector. To help promote his campaign, we dragged the poor guy around campus to meet and greet students and take part in open mic and quiz nights at the Union. The highlight of his ultimately unsuccessful bid, though, was putting on an unorthodox Belle & Sebastian gig at the John McIntyre Hall, which was written about in The Pop Cop a couple of years ago.
So when the band announced last week that they were to headline and curate Bowlie 2 in December, revisiting the spirit of the legendary 1999 festival that spawned the hugely successful All Tomorrow’s Parties, there was only one man I could approach to take a trip down memory lane.

Take it away, Daniel…

The original Bowlie Weekender took place at the end of April 1999, and now, just over 10 years later, the event’s organisers, Belle & Sebastian, are attempting to pull off the same trick again. A lot has changed in the intervening decade – iPods, the war on terror, the rise and fall of a Labour government and the ability to buy a train ticket on the day without being bankrupted.

Therefore, when asked to write a piece on the original event, I was filled with trepidation. Reviewing a gig the day after can be a tricky task but to trying to remember the events of a weekend over a decade ago seemed pushing it a bit.

I was a 21-year-old student at Glasgow University in 1999, in thrall to much of the city’s music scene, in particular Belle & Sebastian, so when word got around that they had commandeered a Pontin’s holiday camp somewhere down south, we prepared to follow them, along with what seemed like the rest of the Glasgow indie fraternity.

Getting there seemed straightforward enough. Tam Coyle had put on a bus that was leaving from Sleazy’s, and for a few quid a seat was mine. Of course, being a foolish student, I had gone out for a few shandies the night before and woke up rather late. So, with my friends heading down to Camber Sands on a bus that would eventually be diverted so as to not get caught up in a high-speed police chase, I ambled down to Central Station to try my luck.

I’d done plenty of train travel on my own but I remember feeling distinctly jittery about the prospect of making it all the way to Rye (through the Big Smoke!) and meeting up with my friends, all without the aid of a mobile phone.

Once I got on to the local train that would take me to Rye, the atmosphere changed distinctly. Possibly Murdoch had been able to pull some strings with the local railway, but on our way from London we seemed to be travelling on a train reminiscent of the golden age of steam, peopled with a strange mix of Glasgow indie kids, the great and good of Sussex, and Sinister people with their upside down B&S badges.

I somehow managed to find my way to the camp – although let’s be honest, following the trail of corduroy and synthetic knitwear helped – and met up with the rest of the gang.

Once I arrived, we joined a queue for our chalet keys. It seems that this queue has left a distinct impression on most people who attended Bowlie, perhaps due to its length but mostly due to the friendliness of the folk in it and the impromptu busking set by our hosts.

From here on in things become a little hazy. The one crystal clear memory I have is of playing football between the chalets and letting fly with a ferocious effort which managed to find a home in an innocent bystander’s face. Had this been a festival of a less friendly nature then I don’t doubt that this would have led to blows, but, this being Bowlie, there were a few tears and then I scampered off to procure some kind of peace offering. I’m not sure if the Belle & Sebastian badges really helped, but she seemed to take it with good grace.

As for the bands, I must admit that I had to look up a full line-up before writing this and was rather surprised by the variety of musical offerings. Glasgow’s scene was well represented by the likes of Teenage Fanclub, The Pastels, Mogwai, The Delgados, Camera Obscura, Looper, V-Twin and Bill Wells, but I had forgotten completely that Sleater-Kinney and The John Spencer Blues Explosion had been on the bill.

The 31-year-old me wishes that he’d bothered to see Sleater-Kinney, however the 21-year-old would perhaps have found them a little abrasive.

How Godspeed You Black Emperor ended up on the bill I could not say, although I do remember much of Glasgow being enamoured with them, myself included. Therefore, when it turned out that they were due to clash with Belle & Sebastian, I was left with something of a quandary. And, of course, I made what in hindsight seems the wrong decision.

I think the logic went something like this: I live in Glasgow, so do Belle & Sebastian; I see them walking around all the time, so obviously I’ll see them play soon. Besides, some of us have seen them in the last year and they can be a bit ropey live, and it’ll be mobbed, and Godspeed came all the way from Canada, and they’re the future, and they’ll not be playing in Glasgow anytime soon.

So I went to see Godspeed and they were awesome. And then I saw Godspeed in Glasgow later that year. And then at All Tomorrow’s Parties the following year. And Belle & Sebastian didn’t play live again until February 28, 2001, at a gig I put on. Lesson learned.

Bowlie also taught us other lessons – that festivals need not be akin to bootcamp, that having access to an actual bed at night need not only be the preserve of VIPs, and that forward-thinking festival line-ups can actually yield some profit as we can witness through the spread of ATP across the globe.

How Bowlie 2 will compare remains to be seen but I shall be there, older and a little wiser. Just don’t let me near a football.

Daniel Quipp.

Belle & Sebastian – The Bowlie Weekender (1999)
01 Slow Graffiti


02 Seeing Other People


03 Dog On Wheels


04 The Wrong Girl


05 Winter Wooskie


06 If You’re Feeling Sinister


07 I Don’t Love Anyone


08 The Boy With The Arab Strap


09 Photo Jenny


10 Lazy Line Painter Jane


Click here to download full album.

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Live review: Galleries @ Captain’s Rest, Glasgow

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Why is duck served with pancakes? Or who took one look at their sweet and sour and declared: “I know what’s missing… pineapple.”

Whatever the origins, we’re stuck with these odd combinations and GALLERIES continue in this fine tradition, looking less like the future of music and more like a bunch of science geeks, with their combination of spectacles, unruly hair and laptop, which is used to give their songs an electronic intro.

But while this unassuming lot may not exactly look like guitar heroes, they don’t half sound like them.

“Don’t look so scared,” sings David McAdam during mini-epic opener Danger, arguably one of the two strongest tracks from their excellent Galleries EP (free to download here), the other being the next song in their set, Underground Overground.

The execution of both in the awkward, cramped surroundings of the Captain’s Rest impresses for the simple fact they manage to capture all of the melodic intricacies that make their studio versions such a continually rewarding listen.

However, the band’s greatest asset, by some considerable distance it has to be said, is McAdam’s vocals. They are quite stunning, particularly when he drifts into falsetto range, which he wisely resists the urge to overdo, perhaps realising its impact is maximised by a less-is-more approach.

Indeed, it is this sense of restraint which helps make Galleries stand head and shoulders above their peers in Glasgow’s crowded guitar-band scene. I’ll take substance over style every time.

Galleries – Underground Overground


Galleries – Clive Wearing


April 22, Bloc, Glasgow (free)
May 15, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Glasgow (tickets)
July 23, Wickerman Festival, Dumfriesshire (tickets)

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