Quite a tasty prospect, BM thought to herself as she tottered on 10-inch stacks into the Bandstand area. A fairly high-profile series of gigs, although the weather was a bit threatening and the following night’s gig had already been postponed due to impending wind gust issues – well it was Currie/Cole and no one would want Lloyd’s quiff ruined or Justin being carried offstage by the wind due to a twister-related sideburn blowout situation, would we readers?
So the compact and bijoux bandstand was heavily rule-restricted tonight, with a lepers, sorry, smokers area right at the back, with no view of the stage. To be frank it was a bit galling given SFA’s past anarchic history that one could not have a smoke and enjoy the band at the same time, not sure who was being protected from what, or whom, or whatever – anyway there was plenty of opportunity to moan about it! Drinks tokens and a fairly strict “don’t stand there” policy by quite zealous stewards contributed to a rather overpoliced atmosphere but one would not want the captains of industry, QCs and high court judges of the leafy West End to be troubled by any rowdiness, they have important stuff to do… In any case the stage with the clouds and the trees did make for a dramatic backdrop even if all of BM’s pictures turned out pretty rubbishly.
First up were Welsh pop-punkers Y Ffug who gave a good account of themselves, bit like Sleaford Mods with guitars, okay but for BM’s money the promoters could have shoehorned at least one other decent act the audience might have heard of into the evening, there was plenty of time… There were rumours that Bis had been booked, well some of them were in the audience. How about Ette, Errors or C Duncan, all washing their hair, or beards, that night?
SFA appeared to great cheers and a bit of a surge from the previously sedentary audience, a very varied bunch from the Barbour and deckchairs mob to the mad stoner team – suffice to say that BM is neither but has been a long term fan, still remember them at O2 Academy around ten years ago, maybe more. So not much has changed in the SFA camp, still no new album, still a largely greatest hits set, mainly the poppier stuff, a few gimmicks like the crash helmets etc. Soundmix was good but BM had the impression it was a bit “phoned in”, the band having played Belladrum the previous night and having returned recently from a US jaunt were maybe just a bit knackered. Down the front it was quite lively but the fixed seating means that any crowd surge at Kelvingrove can result in very painful shins and BM ditched the heels pretty quickish… sorry for anyone at the back who got stabbed by a flying stiletto, you were marked by my madness… and can return said shoes for a few favours in return, naw £5 actually, BM has left these days, ok years, behind her now…
The usual “Juxtaposed With You’, ‘Golden Retriever’ and ‘Ice Hockey Hair’ showed off Gryff’s amazingly plaintive baritone and the Beatles-ish nature of the songwriting, absolutely wonderful, but what was missing was a bit of edge. Welsh unofficial footy anthem ‘Bing Bong’, very electronic and washy, even wishywashy, made a mid-gig appearance, one better than the Manics not even mentioning their official one at the Hydro back in May! It is a bit of a silly tune but fun, ok you Welsh footy boys you did pretty well, eh?
Not much repartee was had with the audience save for a bit of banter about orifices, you kinda had to be there, and the atmosphere did build a bit, one crowd-surfer/shoulder-sitter was swiftly dealt with as an example to the rest of us. So when ‘Don’t Give A Flip’ came around we sort of knew that that was it, still good though, and BM was reminded of the trivia fact that the song builds from a Steely Dan (ask your gran, actually don’t… she may still own one) sample which Donald Fagen held SFA to ransom for 95% of royalties, or so the urban myth goes…
After the first run through of ‘Man’ they went off to a bubbling techno interlude (as the Beta Band also sometimes did, must be getting nostalgic…) and came back for some final attack in the fabled Yeti costumes, it did look and sound pretty good, and then that was it, no encore, and back we went into the night, some enlightened, but this reviewer feeling just a bit respectable and a tiny bit short-changed.