These Immersive TV gigs are getting better and better!
Ok, we all want real gigs but in the meantime this is about as good the virtual experience can get, both for audience and performer. For those not familiar, Room 2 in central Glasgow currently includes a “virtual wall” of screens which punters can log into, giving the performers a live onscreen audience to react and applaud their work. Fair play to all the people who made this happen – 23 Promotions (David Blair) technicians, sound and lighting and the artists themselves.
First up was The Girl Who Cried Wolf, aka Lauren on vocals and Audrey on drums, playing to a backing track of synths and bass sounds. They played some tracks from recent EPs, including ‘Oops’ and ‘Out Of It’. There was perhaps more attack in the sound than when BM has previously heard them live, Lauren’s vocals quite scabrous, railing against the haters at times, and Audrey’s drums fairly kicking up a racket. Impressive, and the band clearly enjoyed the “Immersive” experience after no live gigs for over a year.
Next on was Jackal Trades, appearing live for the first time a couple of years. Performing as a trio tonight, with MC Mark McGhee (in full camo gear!) on vocals, Martin Windebank on guitar and Dr Jess on keyboards and beats, they played new and old tracks, starting off with ‘Charlie Brooker Sketch’, more relevant than ever… Mark tried a bit of audience participation (which went pretty well!) as he railed against ‘Robots Taking Our Jobs’… He gave it shout out to his mum – this is more like a real gig! It is by turns uncomfortable and hilarious (“Computers get better job offers, the rest of us left to rot”) – Mark’s infectious stream of allusions and references complimented by Martin’s growling guitar and Dr Jess keeping it all together with the beats. We also got new track ‘March To March’ (reviewed elsewhere by BM) and a very affecting “Multiverse of Sleep’, dedicated to the memory of those loved but lost. ‘Special guest” Jo D’Arc joined them for a great version of ‘Setting The Scene On Fire’, another dark series of lines which fairly drips with memories. ‘No shortcut to longevity” railed against the lot of the struggling artist, the venues, the haters etc. A very angry “Bill Hicks” ended the set – this was a masterful performance by one of Scottish music’s most talented characters.
Dopesickfly then gave us a set of upbeat soul, very funky – BM is not so familiar with all the tracks but this four-piece can sure play and their infectious cocktail is great party music, and went down very well with the online audience, no doubt reminding them of festivals past, where BM has seen them getting people very fired up on their feet!
We then got some Becky and Loki, backed by Steg G. Rebecca Wallace started with her current haunting single ‘Focus‘, (see BM review). Darren takes over with a midlife crisis number, set in a hipster coffee shop, with a great chorus from Becki – the banter between them is hilarious… Next one up, a great one from Darren “I’ll piss on your poetry slam”, and pretty much everyone gets it in the neck… Another track almost feels like ‘Mr and Mrs’ – lol, as they say… and several more, a Becky solo track and another Darren self-deprecation track – great and natural performance.
Last up was a playthrough of the recent Steg G album ‘Live Today’ with all artists present – Steg on the decks, Freestyle Master, Solareye, Empress and CCTV. If you have not heard it, it is well worth a listen, and this was a furiously good rendition of the recording. Everybody was on top form, and the collective feel of the album was broadcast in full effect, everybody supporting everybody else. If the album has any theme it is probably regret and redemption, so it is not always pretty but it is scarily real, and is a remarkable piece of work.
Overall this gig (and yes it was an actual gig!) amassed a serious arsenal of Scottish talent aimed squarely at a good cause, using collaboration and technology to smash the Covid barriers and break down the digital wall – probably the most important live event for Scottish music since the LNFG live gigs back in September 2020.