Thursday 29 April 2010

LCD Soundsystem @ Glasgow Barrowlands, 29th April 2010

This was a gig to savour.

The night started in one of my favourite Glasgow bars - McChuills on High Street. I don't go in nearly as often as I used to but some things never change and that is a good thing. Martin from Figure 5 working behind the bar, old Ted wandering around, good music, Barca v Inter on the TV and a nice couple of pints.

As the second half was kicking off we wandered around to the Barrowlands. Why bands play the soul-less O2 Academy over the Barras I will never know. The Barras combined with an up for it Glasgow crowd make an unrivalled combination.

We'd just got a beer from the can stall (Carlsberg unfortunately) and went down stage right when the lights dimmed and the band walked on stage shortly after 9pm.

The band launched into the funk disco groove of 'Get Innocuous' with James Murphy's cowbells taking an early battering. The line-up consisted of Murphy on vocals (with a nice 1920'2/30's style mic), bass, guitar, drums and keys/synths. With occasional assistance for Murphy on percussion.

Murphy then warmed the Barrowlands audience by saying 'tonight and tomorrows show is dedicated to Optimo' the legendary club night that has just finished at the equally legendary SubClub.

'Us v Them' was next up and the band turned things up a notch. Dry ice filled the stage and there was minimal lighting, the sole light bouncing off the classic Barras disco ball, creating just the right 'warehouse party' vibe. The groove developed into something quite special with Murphy calling out the repetitive 'Us....and them' vocal line as if he was making a political statement.

A fast version of 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House' followed before 'Yr City's A Sucker' went back into classic LCD disco funk groove territory. Two new songs followed including current single 'Drunk Girls' that sees the band come across like a 60's garage band.

Next up was a real highlight and one of my favourite songs from recent years 'All My Friends'. The crowd responded to this excellent song that dips, flows and soars with an infectious guitar line, and when Murphy sang 'if i could see all my friends tonight, if I could see all my friends tonight' he was quite literally singing to the crowd.

Another new song 'I Can Change' highlighted Murphy's talent for melody and harmony and there was almost a Beach Boys type vibe at times to the song. 'Tribulations' and 'Movement' followed before a ferocious 'Yeah' enveloped the crowd with it's funky groove. Growing and flowing with the crowd bouncing along. This was an epic and we were watching and listening to something truly special.

The cheer and applause afterwards rang out heartily and it wasn't long before the band came back on, Murphy coming on a couple of minutes after them to take the deserved acclaim. 'Someone Great' got the band and crowd quickly back into the swing of things before the outstanding 'Losing My Edge' sent the crowd wild.

Murphy looked visibly moved and said that 'this is the best venue in the world and we'll always play here when we come to Glasgow. It's the right size for a party and if we have to play 3 or 4 nights we will.'

'All I Want' brought the crowd down gently before a gorgeous 'New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down' showed that Murphy could right ballads for Sinatra.

A truly special gig.

Set list at

Friday 23 April 2010

Miaoux Miaoux, 13th Note, Glasgow

Glasgow Podcart Session, 22nd April 2010

There is nothing like discovering new music that inspires and makes you smile. In March I saw a poster advertising a gig by an act called Miaoux Miaoux and I immediately thought that was a cool band name, checked them out on MySpace and bought the EP 'Blooms' off his bandcamp page. I also discovered that Miaoux Miaoux had released an album entitled 'Rainbow Bubbles' 2-years ago, before moving down south the very next day and then returning back to Glasgow last year.

The album and EP are excellent examples of creative electronica, at times with an electro edge, others with a twinge of pop, always with sprinkling of melodies to bring a smile to your face. So  I was quite excited about going to see Miaoux Miaoux live at the 13th Note as part of a Glasgow Podcart Session.

Dead Boy Robotics were on first. Two guys, a number of keyboards, synths and laptops, 3 mics, bass, guitar and each with a drum that they occassionally pounded. They were a curious couple, the guy on the left seemed quite 'EMO' (without wanting to put a label on him) with shrieks and screams, while the guy on the left seemed more intent on finding melody and harmony. At times it worked and their second last song flowed into a lovely electronic instrumental, with the guy on the right conjuring up a gorgeous gentle vocal melody. At other times they were lacking a chorus or tune. The drums at the front of the stage seemed more for visual effect, rather than actually serving a musical purpose, with the same beats played several times over a few songs. To end on a positive note they are still a relatively young band and they are not lacking in ideas. From my own personal point of view I'd be curious to see what the guy on the right could do solo, but that is purely in relation to my own taste.

And so on to Miaoux Miaoux, essentially Julian Corrie. Taking to the stage (actually the floor) armed with a guitar, a few pedals, synth and a couple of interesting looking things that provided beats and samples, Miaoux Miaoux had the crowd smiling before he played a note when he realised that a battery had gone flat on his effects pedal. With help from Dead Boy Robotics he was soon creating an elctronic landscape in front of our very eyes and to the pleasure of our ears.

The first song in was the instrumental 'The Colours of Glass' and the melodies, beats and feeling from the song set heads nodding and feet tapping. The size of the crowd (only around 30) and the relaxed environment created by the Podcart team meant that there was no dancing, however I can imagine a packed club dancing away to this tune and others. 'Rainbow Bubbles' was an instrumental album, yet the 3-tracks on the 'Blooms' EP indicate that Miaoux Miaoux is indeed blossoming (pardon the pun) with vocals and a poppier edge (particularly on 'Snow' that features New Order-esque guitar).

'Pixellated' off the album feels it's way, layers are added throughout the song to create something quite special, 'Dream On' continues in a similar vein, while the aforementioned 'Snow' builds from a guitar riff that Bernard Sumner would be proud of into an epic song with the refrain/chorus 'I don't wanna be my own best friend, I don't wanna be my own best friend'.

On stage (the floor) it all looks so easy but the talent and vision required to layer melodies on melodies, change beats and introduce soaring moments that lift you higher in such a natural fashion is immense. Mylo sprung to mind a couple of times during the set, but I don't want to make lazy comparisons.

With another couple of songs from 'Rainbow Bubbles' and a free track 'Hrvatski' (available from ) it's all over too soon and I'm already looking forward to the next time, just like an early romance, when one date ends you look forward to the next one.

For the record, Miaoux Miaoux will be playing Heavylight Darkbright at Captains Rest on May 8th where there may well be some dancing. And more romancing…

Wednesday 21 April 2010

April musings

Well it is 21st April and I've not been to a gig in Glasgow yet this month.

I have ventured to Bathgate and Edinburgh, but finances, work and other mundane things have meant that I haven't been out and about much.

That is about to change, starting with a trip to the good old 13th Note this week to catch Miaoux Miaoux and Dead Boy Robotics as part of a Glasgow Podcart night.

One of the great things about the 13th Note (and there are many) is that it is cheap to hire. If you make a certain amount at the bar then the venue hire (including soundperson) is free. So that allows new bands coming through the chance to put on their own night and either make some money, or not lose that much! The booker (ex-Teenage Fanclub drummer Brendan O'Hare) is also very reliable.

The Glasgow Podcart have been a welcome addition to the Glasgow music scene. Their enthusiasm and knowledge of music is infectious and who knows where their little venture could take them.

Next week I will be heading to Glasgow Barrowlands to see one of my favourite bands/acts of current times - the majestic LCD Soundsystem. I was lucky enough to catch them at the Barras several years ago when Too Many DJ's/Soulwax were supporting. My memories of that night are a little hazy as it was a messy affair, I just remember dancing my socks off!

In other news I'm excited by the prospect of seeing Martha Reeves & The Vandellas perform Motown classics like 'Heatwave', 'Nowhere To Run', 'Jimmy Mack' and 'Dancing In The Streets' at The Arches in the summer. Although I am sure the £26 ticket will be well worth it, I am having to wait until payday to buy one.