Gig review gig reviews (Scottish)

Adam Stafford / Lomond Campbell

This evening was the last night of Modern Studies’ six-day artist residency at The Glad, comprising collaborations and experimental performances. BM was not able to get along to several interesting dates during the week, including Dave McGregor (from Kid Canaveral), modular synths and some strings work but did fetch up a this closing night. As usual The Glad is a welcoming place with friendly staff and Joe from Modern Studies manning the door.

It was not too well attended, lack of promo and the holiday period probably not in their favour, so it was a select audience of around 25, at mainly around tables when things kicked off with a Q&A with Ziggy and Adam, hardly probing (and BM tends to think such sessions are better during and after the music rather than before, but maybe just me…)

So the glue which bound this evening together was in fact Modern Studies instrumentalist (and playing the cello for both acts tonight) Pete Harvey, variously described as “a genius” and “expensive to hire”. We also got the further revelation that he owns a theremin but dries his underwear on it… nice!

So Ziggy / Lomond Campbell started things with some tracks from his ‘Black River Promise’ album, some lyrical but dark tracks featuring his lilting voice, Harvey’s weaving cello and Ziggy’s highly original guitar, used for melodic lines but also for percussion as well. The words are intriguing, especially on ‘Every Florist In Every Town’, and on the instrumental ‘Acharacle’ only music is needed to conjure up a bleak Highland landscape with possibilities but also shadows… After summoning Pete back onto the stage for this, we also got a couple of “heritage” tracks from Ziggy’s former band FOUND – ‘Anti-Climb Paint’ was especially good…

So for part two Adam Stafford took the stage, with Pete on cello for the first three tracks – all the music bar the last track was from Stafford’s recent album ‘Fire Behind the Curtain’, lauded by critics as some of his best work. He really does not get the audiences he deserves, his mainly guitar-loop driven songs now mainly instrumental and reminding BM by their minimalism now of something like Falkirk’s answer to The Durutti Column in their minimalism and intricacy. We got ‘An Abacus Designed…’ and BM thinks ‘Zero Disruption’ (which does involves some vocal noises, put live into the loops) and ‘The Witch Hunt’, among others. These are complex, cerebral but also extremely emotional tracks, but played very low key, the Glad’s sound system perfect for them despite the searing heat (Glasgow in July 2018, a cauldron!)

The evening ended with an older song from 2010 or so, which Adam said that Emily (from Modern Studies, in the audience, and who, had introduced the evening) had played on… he did it solo anyway, but couldn’t remember the name of the song… No one minded, it was that kind of evening, musical ideas shared between friends, and BM feels very privileged to have been party to it…