Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Malcolm Middleton. Ladyhawke. Channeling '80s Synth-pop

Live Review - Malcolm Middleton. Glasgow Art School. 27 May 2016

Now 10 years after Arab Strap played their retirement gig at the Glasgow ABC, Falkirk's pop-miserablist Malcolm Middleton is touring to promote his 9th solo album, Summer of '13. A perky album of synth-pop flecked tunes, a bright album looking for a sunny Scottish summer to accompany some barbecues up and down the country.

Malcolm Middleton's Summer of '13
Ably accompanied live by Suse Bear of Tuff Love and by cheap date Johnny Lynch (he also provided the solo support act as Pictish Trail) Middleton was entertaining as usual. The new stuff held up well, but as he played old and new songs you realise what an impressive back catalogue of fabulous sing-along tunes he has now amassed. Fuck It, I Love You, Red Travelling Socks, A Brighter Beat, Blue Plastic Bags and We're All Going To Die were all performed. Each one a lovely wee nugget of observational poetry. Despite the new songs fitting him well, the best was saved for the end with the encore of solo, acoustic songs really standing out. A fantastic song writer on fine form. With Aidan Moffat among the crowd tonight there are hints that a reunion is on the cards. 

Ladyhawke. Live gig review. King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Glasgow. 14th June 2016

New Zealander, Pip Brown (Ladyhawke), has just released her third solo album Wild Things, a return to the synth-pop influenced sounds of her first album. She squeezed into a sweaty and sold out King Tut's Wah Wah Hut last night touring with it. She battered through 90 minutes of music, preferring to sing rather than chat. She gave stripped down versions of many old songs, sounding for a long period like a '90s indie-rock cover band. For me she was at her best when the new songs were given a good, proper synth-pop going over. Stand out track A Love Song deserves a wider audience, and was lapped up by an enthusiastic crowd. She gives the impression that there's a budding heavy metal lead singer hiding behind a shy pop veneer. Live she comes across as neither fish nor fowl. Go on, relax and enjoy your inner '80s synth-pop persona. 

Ladyhawke at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut

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