Glasgow Southside indie gig promoters Pop! South may only be a few months old but they’re quickly becoming known for rallying together some of the finest little-known acts from not just our own bonnie Scotland, but the world over and this gig, in particular, shows their talent for handpicking some great international and local acts to showcase to their Glasgow audience.
First up is Germany’s indie disco pop duo Woog Riots with their synth punk songs about technology, sex with astronauts and personal highlight ‘Backstage Lemonade’, a delightful account of Kimya Dawson’s decision to tour with her kid. To add to their disco element, they create a cheap and cheerful lightshow by handing out some optical illusion glasses to the audience but take things back to basics at the end by playing closer ‘Live Electric’ a second time in its original form, swapping keyboard and guitar for saw and ukulele.
On tour with tonight’s headliners, UK zine queen Karren Ablaze! takes to the stage for some readings from her book ‘The City Is Ablaze’ – a collection of interviews from her 80s/90s post-punk fanzine. Despite her laptop failing on her, Karren does well in winging it, reading some highlights from her encounters with Stone Roses, The Pastels and Inspiral Carpets among others. Her set is a short 20 minutes but she offers the small Glasgow audience something different, a moment to listen to and take in some snippets of post-punk history which perhaps even sparks a little nostalgia in some.
After being transported back to the 80s, Edinburgh’s The Spook School bring the crowd hurtling back to 2013 with their fresh-faced blend of fuzzy lo-fi indie pop (in that order). They’re going for a uniformed approach and, for a band keen on all things DIY, it’s definitely an interesting attempt. The things you can do with black t-shirts, white thermals and various coloured tape! Delivering songs such as ‘Here We Go’, ‘Cameraman’ and a selection from last year’s ‘I Don’t Know…’ EP, their set was complemented by drummer Niall McCamley’s sweaty banter between songs and very energetic guitarist Adam Todd’s attempts to pogo himself straight through the ceiling. Luckily for us and his band, he was unsuccessful and was able to complete the set at ground level. Maybe next time Adam!
Lastly, all the way from Athens, Georgia in the big US of A, the excellently named Tunabunny offer their brand of intense yet fun, aggressive yet emotional contemporary riot grrrl punk. Now I’ll be honest, if you aren’t familiar with them, then seeing them live for the first time, it would seem as though many of their songs can bleed together into one big screeching, guitar shredding mess. But there is also no denying that these four guys and gals have huge talent and passion to boot. Guitarist and singer Brigette Herron’s smart use of her microphone from various distances is so simple yet works a treat in creating a great atmosphere. Drawing heavily from new album ‘Genius Fatique’, the band’s attempts to raid the dance floor member by member as well as drummer Jesse Stinnard’s relentless efforts to storm through closer ‘Duchess For Nothing’ despite his snare stand completely giving way, shows that this band are far from conventional and are all the better for it.
If this night was anything to go by, Pop! South have a very bright future ahead of them. Their job now is to continue to give Glasgow’s avid gig goers something new and fresh to get their lugs around, whether it’s from just up the road or from across that tiny pond we call the Atlantic Ocean. Will they succeed? I think so.