Sandy Gourlay, her team at Òran Mór and the organisers of the West End Festival 2015 are to be congratulated on what was a magnificent day of indie music on Sunday!
We were still buzzing from the Mogwai gig at Barrowlands on the previous night, but energy levels were flagging until we got to the splendid surroundings of Òran Mór, one of our favourite venues for live music in Scotland, if not the UK.
Sandy had taken great care to ensure that the running order of the bands was such that it was possible to move effortlessly between the magnificent main auditorium and the venue in the basement below, although at the end of the day choices had to be made between Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells to The Phantom Band, but we were able to catch the start of Aidan and Bill’s set before making our way upstairs for what was the finest Phantoms gig we have experienced…and this was the fifth time we have seen the Phantoms in the past twelve months.
This was the first time that we had seen Kathryn Joseph live and she captivated an audience that was girding itself for the long day of musical festivities that was about to come.
On this showing it was easy to see why Kathryn had won the recent Scottish Album of the Year award, when many music fans would not have known who she was.
We strongly recommend that you check out her album “bones you have thrown me and blood i’ve spilled” as it is excellent.
It is great to see De Rosa back together again and they were in fine form, impressing many in the auditorium who had never heard the Bellshill band before given their recent hiatus.
Having only announced last month that they were back again as the three piece which had recorded seminal albums “Mend” and “Prevention”, Martin John Henry’s vocals and guitar filled the auditorium, and along with brothers Neil (drums) and James Woodside (bass), the guys were in rocking form given it was only just after five in the afternoon.
Man of Moon
This was the second time we had caught Chris Bainbridge and Mikey Reid’s set and they continue to impress for two young Edinburgh musicians still finding their feet.
The basement Venue was well suited to the intensity of their performance and very clear that they won over a lot of new fans on Sunday.
At this point pop-pickers, we ran in to Ken McCluskey and Robert Hodgens (Bobby Bluebell) of Bluebells fame and Sandy Gourlay invited the three of us up to the VIP balcony in Òran Mór’s main auditorium where we watched an excellent set by Remember Remember, who Mogawi had given a well-deserved plug to during their Barrowlands gig the previous night.
From the balcony the view of Òran Mór’s auditorium is quite stunning, showing of the remarkable talents of artist Alasdair Gray, to whom we wish a speedy recovery from his recent fall.
We last saw Remember Remember at last year’s Pleasance Sessions supporting The Phantom Band, but in front of a Glasgow home crowd they turned in a brilliant set, complete with audience participation.
Signed to Mogwai’s Rock Action Records – and also instrumental in nature – they are a very sophisticated and talented bunch of musicians with a great sense of humour.
Our buddy Gerry Corr of STG promotions had recommended we catch Stanley Odd’s set as he reckons they are the best live act in Scotland at the moment, and we certainly enjoyed the Scottish rapping, wit and “isn’t it just great to be here” attitude on stage.
The crowd in the basement Venue certainly loved every minute of it and it’s clear this bunch are going to go far.
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat
Unfortunately the start of Bill and Aidan’s set was spoilt by very noisy drinkers at the bar in the basement Venue who appeared to be there to drink and not listen to this unique collaboration of slinky jazz and sharp, inciteful lyrics.
Aidan had made a guest appearance at the Mogwai gig the previous night, but was in his element here with percussion close at hand to complement the jazz trio playing with him.
Unfortunately the time of this set clashed with The Phantom Band who were coming on at 21:45 in the main auditorium so we could only stay for the first two numbers before heading back upstairs near the end of what had been quite a breathtaking day of Scottish indie music…and that was with missing Tuff Love, RM Hubbert and We Were Promised Jetpacks.
The Phantom Band
Every time we see the Phantoms they seem to get better and better, and this gig surpassed their recent performance at Edinburgh’s Summerhall.
It may be Scottish krautrock, but the crowd at the front of the Auditorium were soon dancing around, including a very happy Kathryn Joseph. And yes pop-pickers, the Radical Independent Music staffers were also strutting their stuff to what we would argue is the best Scottish indie band on the scene at the moment, closely followed by The Twilight Sad.
We were so close to the stage we could literally see Rick Anthony’s tonsils as he wailed and roared through “Howling”
Testament to the day as a whole, Phantom’s drummer, Iain Stewart – a powerhouse of a drummer if ever there was one – grabbed the mic at the end of their set and said this had been the best gig ever in terms of the crowd and the venue and we would certainly agree with that!
What an amazing day at Òran Mór and a fitting finale to what was a phenomenal weekend of Scottish indie film premieres and gigs.
And despite the fact that you can never have enough vinyl, we were so busy we only had a chance to browse in Love Music, Fopp and Monorail on Sunday!
Next up is our interview with Martin Metcalfe of Isa & The Filthy Tongue and Filthy Tongues fame, and of course ex-Goodbye Mr MacKenzie.