Gig review: Define Pop Festival 2


Want all your Define Pop Fest 2 review action in one place? Here you go then.

Oh, and didn’t I tell you the football would be rubbish?

Day One – Saturday

Due to a couple of line up changes the running times I posted the other day pretty much went out the window early on. They were later picked up off the street outside the window and torn into little bits when Environmental Health shut down one of the stages for being too loud, meaning everyone had to be crammed into the Living Room stage. I’ve tried to remember the order I saw folk in, but it’ll no doubt go awry at some point. It doesn’t really matter anyway.

First band I caught were Little Yellow Ukuleles, although I missed the start of their set due to thinking they were still soundchecking, not actually playing… Good start to the weekend with this band. Good set of indie rock, not exactly reinventing the wheel or anything but still plenty entertaining.

Off to the other stage to catch esperi next, who was a late addition to Saturday. I could pretty much copy and paste my review of esperi from the Classic Grand in here, as it was once again entertaining, mesmerising and all kinds of brilliant. It did however suffer from being up against a loud band next door. It’s quite distracting during those quiet moments when a door opens and all you can hear are the band in the other room. Esperi played again on Sunday, so he’ll get another mention in the Day 2 review later.

Briefly caught a bit of Make Sparks, sounded really good. Sorry I didn’t stick around for the whole set. Skipped next door to see Miniature Dinosaurs instead who I was very impressed with. Had heard a couple of songs before and dug them, but the band performing live exceeded expectations. I had a feeling that I’d either enjoy them, or they’d really annoy me. Thankfully I enjoyed them. Very good stuff.

The Morgue Party Candidate were good again, still somewhat chaotic but endearingly so. My only quibble was that the vocals got a bit lost in the mix. Other than that I enjoyed them.

Macabre Scene were a late addition to the bill. Saw them a wee while ago in Stereo and thought they had a lot of potential, on Saturday I was even more impressed. It hasn’t been that long since I saw them, but they’d already improved a lot. Really like this band, and they do a killer Smiths cover. Get along to Pivo Pivo on Thursday to see them with The Morgue Party Candidate if you can, and swing by their MySpace, where they’ve just added a couple of new songs for download.

I didn’t see enough of Other People to form an opinion. First sound sounded good though. Despite my efforts to see at least a little bit of everyone playing I somehow completely missed Pacific Theatre. Sorry guys.

Mickey 9s I’d barely heard before seeing, so they were a bit of a surprise package for me. Again, I missed the start of their set. Wandered in while they were covering Daft Punk’s Da Funk and was hooked from there on. Massively entertaining and also really quite scary too. To say their frontman is interesting would be an understatement. He’s certainly not shy… Anyway, really good stuff from them, and I’ll pay more attention to them in future.

It’s round about this time that we lost a stage and my brain started to get overloaded, so it’ll be even briefer from here on in.

Gdansk were completely different from what I expected, reckon I had them confused with someone else. I really should pay more attention I know. They were much better than whatever band I thought I was going to see, which worked out nicely. Really good set from them.

Vendor Defender made me dance a bit. Excellent. I’m sorry i tried to say hello afterwards and called you totally the wrong band name, I’m an idiot…

Young Aviators are another band I’d only heard a little of before seeing, but was dead impressed with. I missed out on CDs and a cheap t-shirt, so if any of you happen to read this give me a wee shout.

Kid Canaveral were fantastic, and made me dance more. Had to risk death by stabbing on the night bus to Paisley to stick around for them, but it was worth it. As a bonus, I got home alive. Obviously.

Also, if anyone went home with a snare drum that wasn’t actually theirs can they let me or Kid Canaveral know please? Their snare went missing on Saturday.

Day 2 – Sunday

Day two was a bit of a more sedate affair than day one, we can probably put that down to everyone nursing hangovers from the previous day and a general quieter line up. That being said, it wasn’t exactly a quiet chat round the campfire. Due to issues the previous day stage times were rejigged again, with some bands switching stages. My brain had pretty much given up trying to process information, so it became a bit of a lucky dip when it came to seeing people. As a result the reviews might be a bit random again.

Lovers Turned To Monsters kicked off the day in the open again Kitchen Stage. Unfortunately Kyle was on before most people had arrived, so played to quite a small audience. Those of us there early enough to see him enjoyed it though. I sometimes feel like I should be too old for Lovers Turn To Monsters, but Kyle does the acoustic lo-fi emo type thing really well. Glad I finally got round to seeing him.
Esperi played again on Sunday and this time there was no distractions from the other room. Once again I’m going to fall over myself praising Chris, simply because I find his live show both brilliant and utterly fascinating. I hope I’m not putting too much expectation on Chris now! Rather than me try to sum up the esperi set thanks to Sean from Glasgow Podcart you can go see some of it for yourself. Even when Chris steps away from the loop pedal he’s still an excellent musician though, as he showed at the end of the set by finishing sat out in front of the stage, relying just on his guitar and voice, and held the crowd in silence listening.
Lad Lazarus was a band I didn’t know much about beforehand, and only caught a bit of their set (my quest to try and see a bit of everyone backfired on me a few times). What I saw was really good, and left me kicking myself a bit that I hadn’t seen more. I’ll be keeping an eye out for another gig by them.
Little Eskimos I almost completely missed. Think i only caught about half a song. Shame, I’d quite fancied seeing them! Ah well, yet another band I’ll need to catch another time.
Dead Boy Robotics – hey guess what? Yeah, missed most of their set too. The couple of songs I caught? Brilliant.
Diamond Sea – even though my by this point overfull brain kept trying to tell me were King Diamond – did what they did very well. On most days I’d have really enjoyed them too, but on Sunday I just couldn’t get into it. That’s entirely my fault, not a slant on them by the way. I’ll make a point of checking them out further, Sunday evening was just a bad time for me to see them.
Julia and the Doogans I’ve seen a few times now, and never get bored of. They were a pretty much perfect pick me up on Sunday night when energy levels were running low. As I’m sure I’ve said other times I’ve reviewed them they write great songs and Julia has one of the most gorgeous voices I think I’ve ever heard.
The Second Hand Marching Band played with a stripped back line-up. I think I counted only 14 of them. I was a little concerned actually, they played in the Kitchen and I was right next to the stage, got a little bit worried I might get absorbed into the band. They were excellent though, as they have been previous times I’ve seen them. There’s something about them makes me grin like a loon. Oh, and go check out a wee video of them here, which is just adorable.
The Lava Experiments ended up closing the weekend for me, and did so really well. They mix electronica with a sort of shoegazy sound, and are really good at it too. again, my enjoyment of them suffered from a combination of being knackered, wondering how to get home, and having seen so many bands. When I managed to get myself to pay attention they were magic though. The Release was a real highlight for me, it’s a fantastic song.
Nevada Base were on last, things over running so much that sadly Yahweh’s set was scrapped. Due to a desire to actually get home from Glasgow I opted to miss Nevada Base entirely. Sorry folks, hope it went well.
Err, sorry to everyone else too. Reading this back I realise that I’ve spent more time talking about missing your sets and my head being screwed than about how good you all were.

All in all it was an excellent weekend with a ton of excellent bands. I saw some full sets and a load of bits & pieces, I’ve ended up with a lengthy list of acts I need to go see again. I don’t think I saw one duff act, and that’s quite a result. It’s a bit of a shame I never get to see Kochka, who had to pull out through illness, and Yahweh, who time ran out on, but stuff like that happens. (Oh, and I hope Sheryll from Kochka, as well as the ill Poochette, are both feeling better soon.)

Massive thanks have to go to Wull Swales for putting the event on and for seemingly keeping his calm throughout. I’m fairly sure if I’d been him I’d have exploded from stress at some point. I probably wouldn’t even have made it through Saturday in fact.


  1. Jim says:

    The good folk at Glasgow Podcart recorded a ton of stuff over the weekend. Keep an eye on their YouTube page for it all, but here’s kid Canaveral on Saturday night –
    Pay close attention and you can spot a certain other Scottish blogger, and a certain Manky Bastard.