Saturday, 15 December 2012

Slow Club, Oran Mor and Reviews of Other Festive Glasgow Happenings

Glasgow Santa Dash

Partick Thistle Christmas Party

Handel's Messiah, Dunedin Consort

Valtari Mystery Film Experiment

Slow Club, Oran Mor

Time for my kids to dig out the Playmobile Nativity Set, plus their own additions
An old pal has returned to Glasgow for a couple of weeks after meandering around India for the past 18 months. They've been keeping a blog of their exploits, although having to censor it to keep it suitable for a PG audience as a nephew shows it in primary school from time to time. I also suspect collusion with the Indian Tourist Board, by making no mention of hospitalisations with Dengue Fever, etc. Before going back next week he has been craving two things from Scotland - meat (in large quantities) and live music. So the pressure was on to try to take in a couple of gigs whilst he was here. As I was introduced to the likes of Gavin Bryars and Otomo Yoshihide by him, the suitable Glasgow Christmas live music offerings along the lines of Lionel Ritchie and Stooshe has presented slim pickings.

Dunedin Consort's Harpsichord. (Black Keys
were also playing in Glasgow this night) 
I decided not to get him a ticket for The Dunedin Consort doing Handel's Messiah in the main hall at Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Performing the 1742 Dublin Version on authentic instruments was very evocative in the gallery surroundings. The singing was outstanding also, but I did find the seats here a little uncomfortable once I'd been sat there over 2 hours. It left me urging Handel to spice up the story a little, you know, make it a bit more pacy.

I did get tickets for us to see Sigur Ros's "Valtari Mystery Film Experiment" which was shown in various cinemas around the world on its day of release, including the GFT. The films are all available online I think at the band's website. The idea was that the band gave a dozen filmmakers the same budget to do whatever they wanted to do with music from the latest album, Valtari. The end results had the same problem as the album itself when it was released, interesting rather than exciting. Too many times the same music was used, and not enough imagination was deployed. The films which worked best were the choreographed ones with dancers. There was also a strange appearance from actor Aidan Gillen in one, which involved a decomposing fox. One problem I think is that their music is now so widely used in TV that subconsciously we expect soaring nature footage and David Attenburgh's hushed tones. Again I'm afraid I was checking my watch near the end of this.
Getting ready at the start for the Santa Dash
Earlier that day I had run 5km through the streets of Glasgow taking part in the Santa Dash with my 10 year old son. It is a surreal sight, hundreds of people dressed in Santa costumes acting as if this is perfectly normal. I think anything after this was going to seem a bit mundane, so maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind to appreciate the Sigur Ros film makers' visions (or maybe they were all just a wee bit bland).

Partick Thistle players at the children's party
Another Christmas-y event earlier this week was the Partick Thistle children's Christmas Party at Firhill. Ian Maxwell was the genial host and almost all the first team and youth players pitched up, alongside manager Jackie McNamara. They were all very happy to be pestered all night by excited children (and more excited parents), signing calenders and joining in the kids' games. Best of all it didn't knock them off their stride and the players came from behind to beat Raith Rovers today 3-2 and go 2 points clear at the top, with a game in hand. If you haven't been to Firhill in a while, get yourself along. It is great stuff this year. Even David Shrigley has now got himself a season ticket.

Slow Club
Most successful event of the week was last night's jaunt to Oran Mor to see Slow Club play the first date of their short Christmas tour. The audience and most people on stage were kitted out in comfy jumpers and beards were very much the order of the day too, so it was no surprise to see Aidan Moffat turn up to see them play. Because this Sheffield duo consists of a man and a woman, and she plays the drums occasionally, they are oft compared to The White Stripes. However their musical influences seem to be from all over the place. When alone on stage singing with guitars there were hints of Tammy Wynette and when the band and excellent saxophonist were playing along to the rockier numbers touches of ska were coming in. I do like a band where two sets of drums are being banged. Always makes me think of Adam and the Ants, made my pal think of The Grateful Dead (guess which one of us stayed in Glasgow and which one floats about India). They finished with a festive encore of their own Christmas TV and then a rousing rendition of Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". Rebecca Taylor's vocals are spectacular and they put on a great show. Their latest album, Paradise, is available here.

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