Yeah, it’s taken me a couple of days to get back round to Hinterland, but it was a busy weekend.
Sunday had a hangover that had to be shaken off, and an intimate gig by And So I Watch You From Afar to attend – curiously enough those noisy Northern Irish buggers were a better hangover cure than I ever expected – while Monday was taken up by Over The Wall’s single lunch.
Due to the number of bands seen it’ll be a quick run through, rather than anything in depth. Oh alright, it’s more down to the number of beers consumed. Incidentally, if anyone had bombed Glasgow City Centre at about half eight, nine o’clock on Saturday night they could have wiped out almost the entire roster of Glasgow area bloggers, not to mention a large amount of band members. Let’s be glad they didn’t do that then.
My evening kicked off with The Kays Lavelle in The Sub Club, due to not finishing drinks quickly enough to make it to Ivory Blacks for Make Sparks. The Kays make dark, emotional music that manages to tug at the heartstrings without being obviously or overblown about it, and on Saturday were sounding the best I’ve heard them. They won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but they do it for me, and Saturday’s performance just moved my anticipation for their soon to be released album up another gear.
A quick dash round the corner and we caught the last half of Little Yellow Ukuleles. It was pretty much business as usual from them – songs that make me want to bounce around like mad and an increasingly confident performance. Always a pleasure, and they always put a smile on my face.
Another dash back round to The Sub Club and the first let down of the night. I really wanted to like Midnight Lion, but I just didn’t. No worries, with so many bands on show there was bound to be one I was underwhelmed by, and on Saturday it was Midnight Lion that took that dubious glory. The forty billion people crammed in trying to take pictures might have enjoyed them, but for me it was an early exit and off to The Arches sooner than planned.
I’d really been looking forward to Ambulances, probably a bit too much. In the cavernous surroundings of The Arches their sound got a bit lost and muddled, and the band seemed a bit shaky. If my expectations hadn’t been set so high they would have been fine though, and hopefully they’ll come back to Glasgow and play somewhere that suits them better soon.
Making a change from running around we opted to stay in The Arches. Caught about two songs worth of British Sea Power without paying much attention to them – they’ve never been a band that have done much for me – before heading back into the other side of the venue.
French Wives also suffered a bit from the venue’s sound, but managed to battle through it well enough to be my favourite band of the day. Every time I listen to this band I fall in love with them all over again. If anyone happened to be near the wee drunk guy in a parka that sang along for a few songs, I am truly sorry you had to witness that…
After a quick jaunt to catch the end of The Boy Who Trapped The Sun, who was fine and Home sounded good, my night was over.
All in all this year’s Hinterland was a huge improvement on last year. Scaling down to just the one day might have reduced the number of bands playing, but it’s a whole lot more sensible. As is making the venues a stones throw from each other, instead of being expected to get from The Art School to Stereo in under a minute to catch someone this year you just had to go round a corner. Last year I was in a couple of frankly pitiful crowds, I’m pretty sure staff outnumbered punters when I saw Fangs (and I still rather envy the people that weren’t in the room for that one) while this year crowds seemed at least healthy, at least for the bands I saw. I’m sure not being nearly as pricey as last year helped a lot too.
I do have little complaints about it, like the lack of a big band or artist that caught my imagination, but that’s just me. Given the number of people I’ve seen talking about Jeffrey Lewis and so on others obviously thought differently than me on that one. I didn’t see everyone I’d have liked to see, but scheduling all the bands so I could get to everything would have been pretty much impossible.