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Live Review: Ignite #004 starring Cara Rose, BETA WAVES, November Lights and Walt Disco at Glasgow St. Luke’s Church – 27th of November 2018

 
By on Monday, 10th December 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

In the ‘dear green place’ live some very dear friends, so it’s no surprise I found myself the day after my birthday at a gig in a church. A “delightful church renovation habit” seems to be a ‘thing’ in Glasgow (see Oran Mor for probably the most feted). St. Luke’s in particular is pretty cool, as it’s adjacent to the Winged Ox bar, named for the fanciful creature the saint has been portrayed as in art. I’d been in here once before, its American feel oddly welcoming. This show was particularly special as it was the fourth in a series of them put on by the artist development project Ignite Scotland funded by Help Musicians UK and PRS Foundation. It was explained to me that acts chosen for these shows are some of Scotland’s best up-and-comers.

In Buchanan yellow tartan, Glaswegian blonde chanteuse Cara Rose (surname Dickson) opened the night with her soulful vocals. Her voice only accompanied by keyboard, the performance recalled the poppier vibes of Adele and the late Amy Winehouse. Turns out that Winehouse, along with Lianne La Havas and Lauryn Hill, are named on her Facebook as her primary influences. ‘No Safe Place’ is “an older song” Rose wrote about the plight of Syrian refugees. As Dickson notes in a sad tone, the sentiment is still as apt as when she first wrote it. Below is an amateur-shot video of the song being performed at St. Luke’s back in August.

‘Ready to Fall’ was a set standout, the staccatoing notes on the keyboard adding a touch of the dramatic while she showed off her impressive vocal range and control. Still, every young girl aspiring to be a singer wants to be the next Adele. Can she set herself apart from the rest of the pack? I’ll be keen on hearing more from her as she progresses.

Cara Rose IGNITE 004 2018

On paper and if judged solely by their stage setup alone, Dundonian duo (say that five times fast) BETA WAVES seemed made for me. Don’t get me wrong: the programmed beats and those played were indeed catchy, providing a needed energetic boost after Cara Rose’s set. I found their New Wave-leaning backing mesmerising. However, I felt the singer/guitarist’s vocals weren’t forceful or bright enough to stand up to the instrumentation.

‘Another Mad Crab’ (DIY promo video above) is their latest and final single to be released this year, and I wish it just had a bit more oomph both live and on recording. Previous single ‘Love Love Love’ fares better live, with a disco beat that’s head-bop worthy and a bit more life vocally. Soldiering on after a delay in start due to a wonky second-hand Macbook, I admire how they didn’t let the technical difficulties faze them.

Beta Waves IGNITE 004 2018

Glasgow via Ayrshire duo November Lights, augmented live by two additional band members, appear to be fully formed. I’m sure it must have taken a lot of time and effort to get to this place, but I had to admit I stood there wondering to myself why they haven’t been featured on BBC Radio 1 yet. The story goes that frontman and keyboardist James Hopkins was a solo artist initially, then tapped friends to put together a band to move forward with his musical vision. The American pop influence is palpable, with Hopkins having a Brandon Flowers’ like presence and charisma.

November Lights IGNITE 004 2018

The anthemic feel of their music bears striking resemblance to the TGTF-tipped Kodaline (check out ‘Talk’ below) and The 1975. Hopkins’ energy as he busted out the dance moves on ‘Pray’ and their other uptempo tunes kept things lively; he looks remarkably like a young Ed Macfarlane from Friendly Fires. I’m expecting to wake up tomorrow and find out they’ve been signed to a major. I guess you gotta just watch this space.

The band chosen to close the Ignite Scotland show were Glasgow via Perth band Walt Disco, whose name I’m assuming is a Scottish pun on the Mickey Mouse creator. Lead singer James Potter has a theatrical, at times yelpy, at times warbly voice like David Bowie’s (see ‘Sling’ below). Bowie’s influence seems to have seeped into the band’s stage attire, which is proudly androgynous and eclectic. Seriously, how many musicians have you seen walking around with a crushed velvet shirt and golfing trousers?

With squealing guitars and a rhythm section much more muscular than that of the preceding acts, they were a welcome kick in the arse ending. While their off-kilter jangly guitar rock weren’t my cup of tea, I can totally see those looking for something different and willing to break out of the usual genre boxes to enjoy them. I went to a similar kind of young emerging acts’ night this time last year in York and in comparison, this night in Glasgow felt far more electric and better organised. I reckon it speaks to the level of talent and quality of acts that Ignite Scotland can put together a weeknight show like this and have a good turnout.

Walt Disco IGNITE 004 2018

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: Scottish artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Thursday, 9th March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

In past years, we have gone through peaks and troughs with respect to the number of Scottish acts who come out to showcase at SXSW. I’m pleased to announce that as of the time of this posting, 13 acts are scheduled to appear at SXSW 2017, the largest number in recent memory. The summaries of acts below were written by Steven Loftin, except where noted. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Be Charlotte – pop / Dundee
What pop music sounds like when it comes from Dundee: that’s Be Charlotte. You find yourself drawn in by the obviously melodic, yet also cacophonous music, and you stay for the vocals that cut through and have an incredibly strong Scottish accent that for reason enthralls you. Or maybe that’s just me.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoCMTVDW04k[/youtube]

Catholic Action – pop / Glasgow
Catchy indie pop that has an alluring rawness, as if you’re listening to a band in a bedroom rather than a reasonably established DIY band. Their track ‘Rita Ora’ – yep, an ode to Rita Ora – is catchy, swift and poppy. What more could you want?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86kSAB23nDY[/youtube]

C. Macleod – singer/songwriter / Stornoway
If I had to fathom a guess, someone with name C. Macleod isn’t looking to make a big splash. Instead, this Stornoway native is all about careful, thoughtful songcraft. A driving, Springsteen-esque feel pervades his debut single ‘Dream’, feeling less loner and more expansive than you’d expect from a native of the Isle of Lewis. FFO: Bruce Springsteen, The National, The War on Drugs (Mary Chang)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2c7UiN8-5E[/youtube]

Elle Exxe – pop / London via Edinburgh
Listed as ‘dirty pop’, that’s definitely the best way to describe Elle Exxe (pictured at top). There’s a distinct edge to her music that doesn’t fall in line with your ‘paint-by-numbers’ pop formula. An attitude that is where Charli XCX should’ve been heading toward, she’ll be a household name by 2018. We called it first. Check out Rebecca’s review of Elle’s debut album ‘Love Fuelled Hate’ from last autumn through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd9si_HbBtI[/youtube]

Happy Meals – synthpop / Glasgow
Lewis Cook and Suzanne Rodden comprise Happy Meals, a disco-leaning synthpop band based in Glasgow. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t disco in the style of Donna Summer or other tunes spun at Studio 54. Their minimalist yet space age-y style of dance, accompanied by Rodden’s vocals sometimes in English, sometimes French, adds to the eclectism. I will bet you that you will hear no-one else like Happy Meals in Austin in March. (Mary Chang)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7tHtbaQN7s[/youtube]

PAWS – punk / Glasgow
Some more of that home bred punk rock. PAWS are another band who are going from strength to strength with a raw, melodic sound. SXSW should see them take Texas by storm, especially after the release of their third full length last year.

Pinact – punk / Glasgow
Back with even more punk for SXSW, Pinact are on the louder and harsher side of the spectrum. Pleasing but still with an edge that means your parents won’t like it, they’re another Scottish band who take the angst that is apparently rife there and execute it like all your favourites do.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSfC_9HrhxQ[/youtube]

The Pooches – pop / Glasgow
Glasgow’s Pooches create some beautiful guitar pop that never fails to leave you satisfied. Releasing their self-titled debut late last year, the band aren’t afraid of sticking out of the crowd with their wry yet upbeat pop sound.

Sam Gellaitry – electronic / Stirling
Already signed to XL Records, a powerhouse of a label in the indie world, Sam Gellaitry knows his way around a beat or two. He takes that urban London feeling, which you may or may not be familiar with, and crafts it into easy listening electronic tracks.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7W4t0ClwDg[/youtube]

Spinning Coin – psych rock / Glasgow
You guessed it, another Glaswegian band. They do it well up in Scotland, birthing bands that craft sounds that somehow give none of the fucks while simultaneously giving them all. Keeping it DIY, they released their debut 7″ last year and have no intentions of stopping there. Not to mention their apparently visceral live show, what’s not to love?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLanmgLzEno[/youtube]

The Spook School – pop / Edinburgh
The kind of band to not take themselves too seriously while ensuring they keep a solid message in their tunes (see: ‘Burn Masculinity’). With a sound that’s a mixture between indie and DIY punk, there’s no bells and whistles, which completely suits their styling down to the ground. [Having appeared at SXSW last year, we sincerely hope this time they bring suncream. -Ed.]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGGj5_7dx0o[/youtube]

The Van T’s – surf rock / Glasgow
Cleverly made up of two twins, Charlotte and Hannah Van Thompson, along with Joanne Forbes and Shaun Hood, The Van T’s are a part of Glasgow’s burgeoning and bustling rock scene. Surf pop/rock ‘n’ roll might not be game changing but it sure is fun. [Sadly, we’ve received word that The Van T’s will not be showcasing in Austin this year. – Ed.]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAe7wJK_SXQ[/youtube]

 

T in the Park 2016: Saturday Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 27th July 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Following the festival’s disastrous relocation to Strathallan Castle last year, the organisers of T in the Park were keen to reassure fans that this year’s event on the castle grounds would be different. However, by Friday morning, news had surfaced of two deaths and the theft of a cash machine from the main arena, so I was feeling apprehensive before I even arrived. While I was not present in 2015 to comment on how much the layout or travel to and from the festival has been improved, I felt there was still issues. The unnecessary walk from where we arrived to the actual entrance was lengthy and needless, as I was not searched once on the way. However, I was excited to have finally arrived to see what Tin the Park was really all about.

I headed straight towards the BBC Introducing stage. I have always found that despite their boasting of a huge array of global stars, it is often the smaller tents that contain the hidden gems of festivals. I spent quite a lot of my day going in and out of this tent, discovering a few acts that I can imagine will be huge in the coming months.

Scottish native singer/songwriter and lead singer Charlotte Brimner of Be Charlotte, exhibited a captivating combination of raw hip-hop talent, combined with a beautiful and enthralling singing voice. Probably the heaviest band of the festival, Northern Ireland-based four-piece Making Monsters gave an exhilarating performance. Lead singer Emma Gallagher’s explosive vocal and presence onstage is something to be marvelled at, as she moves with ease from deep guttural growls to soaring melodies.

Winner of the illustrious Brits Critics’ Choice and BBC Sound of 2016 polls Jack Garratt has had an impressive year. Taking to the main stage at T in the Park, his mash-up version of Justin Timberlake and Craig David’s ‘Senorita / 7 Days’ was a highlight of his set, making both songs his own while also showing his endless flair for crafting songs. His performance was impeccable, a faultless act by a raw troubadour talent and an electronic magician. Moving around the stage with vigour, he moves with ease from each instrument including drums and guitar as he has evidently mastered more than one craft.

Rapper Tinie Tempah pulled what seemed to be the largest crowd daytime on Saturday, playing smash hits such as ‘Pass Out’ to a very excitable crowd. Having previously seen Tinie perform with a full band, I found it disappointing that the rapper was only backed by a DJ for his performance at T in the Park. While it was an extremely enjoyable performance, I felt something was lacking in the form of a band accompaniment which could have added to his performance. Despite this, the audience hung on the rapper’s every word, proving he’s the perfect midday act to set the tone for Day 2 at the festival.

It was about half way through the day that Biblical-style rain descended upon the festival, making this year’s T in the Park one of the muddiest festivals I have ever attended. The grounds became so bad that it was difficult to make my way across to other stages and at one point, I even wrapped my feet in plastic bags. After hiding from the rain for what seemed forever, underneath anything that would cover me, I made my way towards the other side of festival. Playing the Radio 1 stage ahead of the release of their sixth album were the Kaiser Chiefs, who proved that they are still able to pull a huge crowd. After the last few weeks of political unrest and in the wake of Brexit, the band’s song ‘Angry Mob’ gave fresh resonance to the lyrics, the crowd singing along ecstatically.

I decided to stay around the Radio 1 stage for the rest of the night, as the thought of wading through the now knee-deep mud to see someone press play on the decks was unappealing. The mesmerising set of Manchester alt-rockers The 1975 (pictured at top) made for a superior alternative headline set. Lead singer Matt Healy tells the crowd that this is the first time the group have ever been asked to headline a stage at a festival, so this is a special event.

Their hit ‘Love Me’, the song that launched their new record, erupts with its smooth and Prince-esque funk. You get a real sense of a band who have fully bloomed from pop obscurity into arguably the biggest band of the year, something which is magnified by the audience’s reaction of seeing it live. The hypnotic staging with its colourful light show, alongside Healy’s undeniable presence, makes for the perfect combination. Drawing their set to a close with an encore of ‘Chocolate’, ‘The Sound’ and ‘Girls’, the band finished their set – and Saturday at T in the Park – on a high.

 

Video of the Moment #1009: Tim Burgess

 
By on Wednesday, 17th October 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

Tim Burgess, frontman of the Charlatans, released a new solo album, ‘Oh No I Love You’, earlier this month on O Genesis. Now he’s released the artsy video for ‘A Case for Vinyl’.

Burgess begins a tour of the UK tonight, starting in York. All the details of the tour are below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8puI1qsYJC8[/youtube]

Wednesday 17th October 2012 – York Duchess
Thursday 18th October 2012 – Aberdeen Lemon Tree
Friday 19th October 2012 – Glasgow Oran Mor (sold out)
Saturday 20th October 2012 – Manchester Deaf Institute matinee show (sold out)
Monday 22nd October 2012 – Manchester Deaf Institute (sold out)
Monday 22nd October 2012 – Birmingham Glee Club
Tuesday 23rd October 2012 – Bristol Thekla
Wednesday 24th October 2012 – London Union Chapel
Friday 26th October 2012 – Dublin Workman’s Club
Saturday 27th October 2012 – Belfast Stiff Kitten
Monday 29th October 2012 – Liverpool Magnet
Tuesday 30th October 2012 – Hull Tower Ballroom
Wednesday 31st October 2012 – Newcastle University
Thursday 1st November 2012 – Scotland Dunfermline
Saturday 3rd November 2012 – Brighton Coalition
Sunday 4th November 2012 – Reading Sub 89
Thursday 15th November 2012 – Manchester Cathedral (Music for Cities charity gig with Peter Hook and the Light and others)

 

Preview: T in the Park 2010

 
By on Tuesday, 4th May 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Even with many acts still to be revealed, the lineup for Scottish festival T in the Park is looking pretty impressive.  From 9th to 11th July, 2010, thousands of punters will descend upon a disused airfield in Balado, Kinross-shire for a weekend of camping, shopping, carnival attractions and music across 7 stages.

Friday night see’s live favourite Muse headline the main stage, which will also be graced by Paloma Faith, Faithless and other artists yet to be announced. Rather disappointingly, the Radio 1/NME Stage will be headlined by American pop group Black Eyed Peas, who are, in this humble blogger’s opinion, an incredibly obnoxious band. They’ll be playing after TGTF favourites Florence and the Machine and The Temper Trap, as well as Jamie T. Another questionable choice is 3Oh!3 in King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent, though they’ll share the stage with great bands like Calvin Harris, Hot Chip, La Roux and Dirty Projectors. And finally, the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Futures Stage will see Echo and the Bunnymen and TGTF favourite Delphic on Friday.

It’s a toss-up between Saturday and Sunday for which day has the best lineup this year. Rapper Eminem will make his debut T in the Park appearance as Saturday’s Main Stage headliner, marking his first festival performance since 2001. The Main Stage will also see performances by Paolo Nutini, Stereophonics, Vampire Weekend and the Proclaimers. The Radio 1/NME Stage is pretty amazing on Saturday night, with a lineup including The Prodigy, The Courteeners and Wolfmother, and King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent is looking equally fantastic. It’ll see the likes of Mumford and Sons, Rodrigo y Gabriela, We Are Scientists and Kate Nash. Other notable artists like Julian Casablancas, Laura Marling and the Middle East will be gracing the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Futures Stage on Saturday.

Rockers Kasabian headline the Main Stage on Sunday, playing along with other massively popular artists like Jay-Z, Biffy Clyro, John Mayer and Dizzee Rascal. The Radio 1/NME Stage is looking good, too, with performances by Groove Armada, the Cribs, Babyshambles and Rise Against throughout the day. Some of the best up-and-coming bands of the festivals can be seen Sunday on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Futures Stage, including Bombay Bicycle Club, the Drums, Yeasayer and Two Door Cinema Club.

The festival sold out within 90 minutes,  so if you don’t already have tickets, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Let us know what you think of the lineup!

Full lineup after the jump…

Continue reading Preview: T in the Park 2010

 

The Xcerts / March 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 25th February 2009 at 2:09 pm
 

The Xcerts (side)The Xcerts have announced a four date Scottish trek to compliment their February exploits that we’ve already written about.

Their debut album is released on 30th March, at which point expect them to go pretty massive – with support from Kerrang and Steve Lamacq, things are looking up.

Catch the lads at:

Thrusday 5th March 2009 – Stirling University
Friday 6th March 2009 – Inverness Madhatters
Saturday 7th March 2009 – Thurso Sinkandis
Sunday 8th March 2009 – Glasgow King Tut’s

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We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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