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‘Play It Like A Woman’ album launch

Glasgow Glad Cafe (Saturday March 9th 2019)

By • Mar 14th, 2019 • Category: Gig review

This was a cracking event with eight excellent acts, each having contributed a track (among 3 others, total of 11 tracks) to the Double A (“AA”) Records compilation ‘Play It Like a Woman’.

This was released the previous day to celebrate International Women’s Day (and yes for those moaning at the back, there is an International Men’s Day, November 21st, or maybe it is just the other 364 days of the year – discuss later but shut up for now). Proceeds of the record and gig are going to Rape Crisis so all in all a very good event, made even better better by the always friendly vibe of the Glad and the extremely high quality of the acts playing.

Billed as an “all dayer”, it started with the first act on at 3.30pm and must have ended somewhere around 11pm so a certain amount of staying power was required, but well worth!

So first up was Mona Soft, on acoustic guitar, with her sweet and also quite weird songs, along with a couple of covers of her female heroes. Highlights were Dusty’s ‘I Only Wanna be with You’ and Mona’s own ‘Cotton Tale’, (on the compilation) an extensive rabbit story which sounds a bit like Belle and Sebastian vs Half Man Half Biscuit(!). Very talented, quirky and entertaining overall.

Next was Lou Mclean from Edinburgh, who said she hadn’t been gigging much recently as she has had to rewrite her post-apocalyptic fictional novel because similar real life events kept happening. Her songs (again on acoustic/electric guitar) have a slightly barbed edge, and (on the compilation) ‘Play Dead’ tells a darkening tale of abuse. ‘Poets and Flatcaps’ gives the male-dominated Edinburgh music scene a good bashing for patronising her, ‘Empty Cans’ is a powerful breakup song while last song ‘All Talk No Action’ is about a work romance in (“the artist formerly known as Saughton”) HMP Edinburgh. Lou is a class act and hope to see her over in the West again once that pesky novel is done…

Martha Ffion is quite well known around these parts but was a first sighting for BM. Playing guitar along with a keyboardist and drummer, she began quite understated but the melodious songs had the audience (by now filling up quite a bit) rapt. Recent single ‘Kennedy Hair’ is possibly her best yet, with a full throated chorus and builtup instrumentation. ‘Fall Apart’ is the song on the compilation and is a slow heartbreaker, very atmospheric.

Last on before the break, Jo Foster charmed everyone with her boundless enthusiasm and highly individual and extraordinary piano playing. Appearing with drummer Nick (who also played some flugelhorn) she came across like the unholy daughter of Joni Mitchel and Billy Joel. On starting set highlight ‘Rain From The East’ she was heard to say, on looking at the piano, “I hope there are enough keys”, which cracked BM up considerably… “Thinking Of You Al The Time’ which was released on a single by Triassic Tusk last year was also glorious. Don’t remember playing the track on the compilation ‘Sometimes You Get Stronger’ but she may well have done – either way, definitely an artist to look out for…

After a short break (the catering at the Glad was mobbed, BM popped back home for some pasta) it was time for Curdle, who were a revelation. BM has heard some good things about this lot but was a bit unprepared for the sonic assault which followed. A four girl combo, heavy on the guitars and dishing out lyrics like they are threats – next band on Life Model’s singer Sophie described them as Sleater Kinney versus The Shangri Las which pretty much nails it. Comprising Clare (drums), Lucy (guitar), Wiggy (guitar/vocals) and Hoggers (bass/backing vocals) they are Glasgow-based. The track on the compilation ‘Give Me Your Phone Number’ is a thrashy, foul-mouthed entreaty to do just that, or else! The sound and vocals owe a wee bit also to Bis, and the bass is quite Peter Hooky-esque at times, especially during set highlight “Flies on the Ceiling” which also carries the menace of a Black Sabbath track, along a guitar solo! Their own description is “trippy riot pop” so let’s stick with that – they certainly made an impression on BM tonight.

Life Model are also from Glasgow and are a “dreampop” four-piece with quite a shoegaze sound. Among tracks they played was “‘Long Way Round’ which gave them a chance to go full tilt with the guitars. Their track on the compilation, ‘The Truth’, has got a Ride tinge to it. The band were debuting a new bass player tonight and he seemed to fit in fine – again a band with a lot of promise and presence onstage, in particular the lead guitarist and drummer Chris and Michael’s close proximity riffing and pummelling on the elevated drum platform.

BM had recently seen L-Space supporting Bis at this very venue and was keen for some more. They did not disappoint, with a seven song set mainly pulled from debut album ‘Kipple Arcadia’, plus a cover and the compilation track (also on the album). This track ‘Cafe Electric’ was introduced by singer Lily as “Bladerunner-esque” and there followed a band argument about whether said film featured flying cars… ‘Suneaters’ and ‘Backup Baby’ were quite incredible, glassy and silky by turns, closest comparison (not really about comparisons!) is Julee Cruise. They also played a Bjork cover (‘All Is Full Of Love’) and last track ‘Space Junk’ was just sublime.

So it comes to headliners Lunir, and they do not disappoint. From Germany/UK they have been building a reputation for unusual and exciting music. Becky (vocals/guitar) and David (one-handed drum/keyboard/effects) have a pretty eccentric stage setup but it certainly works. Their cover of ‘Seven Nation Army’ stands out in a packed field of SNA covers (everyone and his dog seems to have done one!) and their 2018 track on the compilation ‘Wadidi’ is bluesy and sparse. It is with some trepidation that BM makes this comparison because of all the tragedy and aftermath but can’t help thinking that Becky’s recall some Amy Winehouse moments, so LUNIR would you take Winehouse vs The Pet Shop Boys as a headline? Anyway this was quite some showstopping performance and rounded off the event very well indeed.

So thanks must go to The Glad for hosting, the artists for playing, soundman for the day Jer Reid for doing eight live soundchecks and working a long shift to get everything sounding great, and Alicia and Angus of AA Records for the concept and the organisation. They should all be very pleased with themselves!

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