Amidst the freezing cold winds, pouring rain and general miserableness on Sunday’s weather there was one huge bright spot, the gig in The Classic Grand.
If you’ve been here at all in the last week you’ll know all about it, but just in case you haven’t, Glasgow PodcART put on a gig with four pretty swell acts. I went, rubbish weather and no money is a poor excuse for missing out on a line up like this -especially since I’d seen none of the acts before, and this is what I thought of it.
Taking the stage first was Debutant, AKA Phillip Quirie. Debutant’s first song was marred by technicals issues. Fortunately that was sorted out quickly and the rest of the set, just one man, his guitar and his pedals, provided a fine start to the evening. Gentle and mellow but never becoming samey, up until King of Double Speak provides a surprisingly intense climax to the set. I think this might also have been the quietest gig audience I’ve ever come across too, as everyone stood (or sat) hushed, listening to Phillip go to work. One of the lyrics from one of the songs (sorry, the title escapes me, help very welcome!) was “You know I hang on every word you say”, which pretty much summed up what I thought of Debutant.
Panda Su was up next and after the rotten job I did on her profile piece the other day (sorry again Su) her set was always going to be bombproof review-wise. Luckily for me I don’t need to say nice things about it just to make up for being rubbish, since Panda Su were actually brilliant. Joining Su and her regular cohort Red was esperi’s Chris on drums and later Jonnie Common, hopping up on stage at Su’s invitation. Su promised to keep between song chatter was kept to a minimum, even though there was still more of than you’ll get with many bands, due to Su being a bit under the weather, but any illness doesn’t appear to have affected the performance. Panda Su’s songs have an air of melancholy and fragility to them, but are delivered in a strong, confidence voice that can alternately put a smile on your face and a crack in your heart.
Also, you can’t really complain about any band that has a front woman with panda face paint and a song about Prince Eric from the Littlest Mermaid, can you?
There’s a little sample of Panda Su’s set – Facts and Figures – recorded on the night by Glasgow Podcart here.
Tonight esperi was just Chris Lee-Marr and his selection of instruments, of which there were many. Beginning by inviting the audience in closer to the stage and assuring us he’s “not that scary” Chris then abandoned the stage for his first song opting instead to quietly sing Home from atop a table, after which he admitted that maybe he is a bit scary after all. Having never seen esperi I didn’t know what to expect from the set, but I think any expectations would have been blown anyway. It was incredibly engaging throughout, enchanting almost. On Cats And Dogs Chris went through God knows how many instruments, looping little bits as the song gradually builds. By my count Cats and Dogs clocked in at around 20 minutes long and throughout the full length never threatened to get stale or boring. It would be easy for this kind of thing to be performed too seriously, but thankfully Chris Lee-Marr isn’t just a fantastic musician, he also has a sense of humour, so things never get too earnest. Tremendous stuff.
The final act was Yahweh, playing as a full band tonight, and elevating the noise levels in all the best ways. Main man Lewis Cook is probably sick and tired of people mentioning his youth, but I’m going to do it again anyway. For one so young not only do Cook’s songs have incredible maturity, but he’s comfortable on stage too. Add into that a tight live band and Yahweh are quite special live. I mentioned in my feature last week that I’m a big fan of the album, Tug of Love, I’m possibly an even bigger fan of the way the songs sound live now. Great songs, great band, great night!
Both Yahweh and esperi are performing at Define Pop 2, I can’t wait to see them both at that.
Panda Su is back in Glasgow in December for the PodcART crew’s Christmas Party, in a night that I won’t be missing. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Debutant pays Glasgow another visit too.
Lest I forget, Waves Below did a great job keeping the ambiance going between acts from the DJ booth.