Sunday, 15 November 2015

Julia Holter. Gig review, Glasgow November 2015

Julia Holter at the Hug and Pint, Glasgow. Nov 2015

Julia Holter is a musician, composer, singer from Los Angeles who I first started following as her first album, Tragedy, appealed to me by being unfashionably inspired by Euripides play Hippolytus. The music was as interesting as the concept, full of breathy voices, field recordings, drones mixed with a medieval dreamy atmosphere. Next album had more pop overtones, but in the manner of Laurie Anderson or David Sylvian. A concept album inspired by Collette's novel Gigi (Loud City Song) and now her latest album Have You In My Wilderness have followed. 

She arrived tonight in Glasgow to tour her latest album, as part of a four piece band made up of herself on keyboards and vocals, Dina Maccabee (viola, vocals), Devin Hoff (double bass), and Corey Fogel (drums, vocals).

For me it was also my first chance to take in a gig at The Hug and Pint. I lived around the corner from here for about ten years, when the pub sported a picture of an old car wheel outside and was called The Hub. It then became The Liquid Ship, using the basement for live music several days a week. They now use the same downstairs space that hosted gigs in its former guise as The Liquid Ship, but with some internal walls knocked down to open up the space a bit. It can accommodate 100 people apparently, and tonight's gig was sold out, making it a cosy affair. Upstairs the large kitchen area leaves a small bar squished into one corner. The food is described as "vegan Far Eastern" and if that is the cuisine that you have been waiting for, then this is the place for you.

First up was Danish singer-songwriter SΓΈren Juul, an indie Jean Michel Jarre. When Julia Holter arrived on stage the start of her set was disrupted a bit by a dodgy microphone and she appeared a bit frazzled, bemoaning being cooped up in a van for 9 hours today, and not being able to get into the toilet to get herslf ready. This is the second time that I have seen her play in Glasgow, she played the CCA a couple of years ago. On both occasions she completed the venue on their LA-style food (or maybe LA on its Glasgow-style food?) Once she warmed up the show ticked along nicely, jazz-tinged electronic pop introduced with a smirk and some droll comments. With a 50:50 mixture of tracks from the new album and some older material the songs varied from baroque harmonies to ones with jaunty whistling. Finishing the main set with a quiet ending and bowed head, someone's perfectly timed phone gave us a Dom Joly ringtone, and raised another smirk.

It was a great show, and surely merited a bigger venue than the cramped basement here. She has definitely outgrown this type of space. With the likes of Ela Orleans, Joanna Newsom, Holly Herndon, Grimes, Zola Jesus, FKA twigs, Lykke Li, etc. it is clear that women are currently making some of the most interesting and cerebral music around.

1 comment:

  1. The food at this venue was excellent, as was the service, many of our friends and family still rave about it. My wife and I highly recommend this venue Houston. We came here again for dinner and everything was again good and the service was extremely fast.


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