PR hyperbole is all-too-common when music promoters attempt to make their events stand out among what seems like – despite these cash-strapped times – a busier-than-ever live calendar.
But when organisers of all-dayer The Great Western describe their festival as “Musical exploration and discovery” it’s hard to argue.
Taking place across Glasgow on Saturday 12th November, in “various spaces” – a bit of understatement there* – more than 50 acts will perform, ranging from the big-hitters such as Russian feminist art/protest collective Pussy Riot, via Bristolian soundscapers Scalping and UK festival favourite BC Camplight, all the way to choice local talent including Glasgow-based Irish dream-pop songwriter Martha Ffion, and Edinburgh legend Withered Hand.
Much of the lineup will be very familiar to listeners of indie music radio and podcasts; in particular there are names aplenty featured on BBC 6music’s playlists – take multinational exponents of Cumbia (Colombian pop), Los Bitchos, the quartet also big favourites of Franz Ferdinand.
There’s also The Bug Club, much-touted by Fall bassist-turned-DJ Marc Riley, and Dan Mangan, a big favourite of fellow presenters Radcliffe and Maconie.
And as you might expect, heroes from the previous incarnations of the event will return. It’a also worth remembering that aside from the likes of Arab Strap, David Pajo and Anna Meredith, the previous three East and Wests have welcomed the likes of Sound of Young Scotland LVRA and the all-over-the-radio South London-via-Yorkshire post-punkers Deadletter.
And if you’re thinking, aside from headliners better known to the man on the street for their non-musical activities, that there’s a lack of ‘name’ acts there – “where’s the Coldplays and Noel Gallaghers?” – you may be looking in the wrong place for your musical inspiration.
More likely you have been looking in the wrong place. In which case this may be time to put that right.
And you know what they say about the man on the street.
5 of the best in the West(ern)
Bikini Body – Edinburgh-based “angry, angsty post-punks” – “Explosive – a delirious high”.
Anna B Savage – “eloquent and passionate” songwriter – one of a host of acts familiar to listeners of 6 music, and one who, having played at the previous Western and Eastern ‘Greats’, will be familiar to many, and who will doubtless be lured back again.
BC Camplight – Genius songwriter and adversary of Theresa May, Brian Christanzio is the definition of a slow-burning success. “Adult pop this good doesn’t come along very often” (from 2007 (!) review of ‘Blink of a Nihilist’).
Raveloe – Glasgow-based Kim Grant singer-songwriter resides on the Olive Grove label, a mark of quality. “Passive-aggressive in the sweetest possible way”
Flinch. – New-ish four-piece sporting “angular guitar lines and great solos” with “some dreampop thrown in… a lot of promise… well worth checking out.” Which is what this ‘musical discovery lark is all about, after all…
The Great Western takes place on Saturday November 12th, across (broadly) Glasgow’s West End. Hence the name. *Venues include Maryhill Community Central Halls, The Hug and Pint, The Piping Centre, Webster’s Theatre, Webster’s Playhouse, Mackintosh Queen’s Cross Church, The Doublet, and Stereo. Tickets available now – at tgwfest.com.