Gig review gig reviews (Scottish)

The Gracious Losers / Broken Chanter / Martha Ffion / Annie Booth / L-space / Domiciles

This was probably Last Night From Glasgow’s most ambitious event yet. A good few acts from the label’s roster convened at Oran Mor to play for a good 8 or 9 hours in total, for a mere few quid to the general public…and they came in numbers, a few hundred anyway – the atmosphere was convivial, friendly and BM caught up with a few old flames as well…

Due to other commitments BM missed the first couple of acts but feedback from fellow punters was that the opening acts (Lemon Drink, Plastic Youth and Slime City) had been great.

The first band BM saw tonight were Domiciles, and they were marvellous, slightly different set to the one they played in September at Outwith Festival but these Fife boys know what they are doing alright. A keyboard-led intro track, then it was down to the guitars. They play some heavy post-shoegaze riffs but BM is also reminded of early Primal Scream, the JAMC and Ride, with tropes of MBV. They are scarily young but my god they are good! Closing track (and also closer of their LNFG self-titled album) ‘The Drug Is Not Enough’ gave them a chance to really wig out, with an extended squall of self-inflicted feedback ending the performance. Despite feeling ‘”fairly ropey” after a long drive from London today, they really put their stamp on this event (and may have sent a few punters home as well, but if ye cannae hack a bit of noise…).

BM faves L-space were next, playing as a three piece without Stephen Solo – there were a couple of technical issues but nothing serious. There were several new tracks from a yet to be released, and Lily proposed that they be put to a LNFG fan vote, which will be interesting. We also got staples (and that is not to diss them, they sound better every time) ‘Tigers in the Street’ and ‘Space Junk’ – but the last song sounded the best tonight, a song from their first release which is being retooled for the next album, sounds like the best prospect for a single if you’re asking BM!

Next up was Annie Booth, who was in total contrast, just with guitar and voice. And thank Christ, the punters stuck to the order from label boss Ian Smith of ‘nae chat’ and we could hear the four or five songs she played, starting with the evergreen ‘Magic 8’. She apologised for not playing new songs (“they are not quite ready”) – BM thinks she could follow the likes of Siobhan Wilson and play them to an invited audience who could pay a donation, if she wants to road test them, but of course it is up to her. For the time being though, this was a great set from a really talented artist who can evoke complex emotions and layers just with that voice and a guitar – wonderful, again!

Martha Ffion was next, playing with a full band (BM has only ever seen her acoustic) and she made quite an impression, with a couple of really strong songs. ‘Kennedy Hair’ is a classic Americana, with all the requisite riffs, chords, like something you might have heard before, but actually BM has not… ‘Real Love’ is another standout, maybe doesn’t have the edge that BM sometimes looks for but this a class songwriting and presentation – nuff said…

Broken Chanter appeared on this occasion with Pedro aka Man of the Minch subbing on fiddle for Jill Lorean, otherwise it was business as usual – in other words some of the best songs you are going to hear this side of every side. Things started quite low key but soon built up into a frenzy of the big music 2.0 (is that ok David?). ‘Wholesale’ and ‘Don’t Move…’ are massive songs, with the widescreen feel of (ok let’s just say) Simple Minds, Runrig and even U2, and why the fuck not aim for these heights, all of these bands may sound like cliches now but are well due for reappraisal… There were other moments, like a version of Kid Canaveral classic ‘First We Take Dumbarton’ which started a cappella. Another wonderful performance, propelled by the alchemy that McG has somehow wrought with this deadly combination of musicians… Band of 2019 for BM, words fail when music is that good, dancing about architecture, sometimes these reviews seem pointless – just listen to the tracks.

So it was only for The Gracious Losers to close this event – appearing tonight as an 8 or maybe 9 piece, this lot raised the roof! Country-tinged and fronted by Jonathan, but with the ever-amazing Johnny Smillie putting massive Neil Young-esque riffs all around the place, the mixture of rock, gospel and pure noise is a truly winning combination. They also had Heather Starry Sky on fiddle, who complements and adds to the general din tonight. And there are three backing singers, including Amanda from Sister John and Monica Queen, who needs no introduction. Most of these tracks were from the now classic LNFG album ‘Last of the Gracious Losers’ – by the time they closed the set the audience were completely knackered, in a good way – one of the best sets BM has seen at this venue, they completely made it their own tonight!