Friday, 31 March 2017

BBC 6 Music Festival - Friday Night, Barrowlands, Glasgow

BBC 6 Music Festival. Barrowlands, Glasgow. March 24th 2017

Sleaford Mods, Warpaint, Ride, The Jesus and Mary Chain. Live review. 

The BBC 6 Music Festival is not a festival that many people have got marked out on their calendar to look out for. Like Radio 1's Big Weekend it gets bands publicity and provides the BBC with hours of material to screen across their digital services. If it lands in your town you get the chance to join in the fun. Moving from city to city each year it also provides publicity for a local music scene and gives you the chance to see a pile of bands in a single evening. Living in Glasgow you always feel that you are in a city with a varied and vibrant music scene, so it gives you a satisfied feeling to hear a week of interviews on the radio telling you that you were right. However, like any other arts scene, without support Glasgow musicians cannot thrive and in an age where it is increasingly impossible to earn a living from recorded music, Glasgow city needs to remember to nurture its live music venues and performers.

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival 2017, Glasgow

Like most people I was unable to get tickets for Depeche Mode at the Barrowlands, so I settled for the Barrowlands on a Friday night instead. First up were Nottingham's own Sleaford Mods. First time I saw them in Glasgow was in the attic space at The Old Hairdresser's, supported by Hector Bizerk they were by far the more hectoring act that night. Spitting out his angry complaints against the world to a room of a dozen people in was very entertaining but hard to see that there would be any mileage in it. A few years on and despite being first on stage tonight at 5.30pm on a Friday night, an almost full hall of people had made the effort to get down early to catch them. Jason Williamson still shouts and spits his wry, abrasive lyrics over minimalist looping beats in the style of a cheap Casio organ from Andrew Fearn. Continuing to plough their own furrow, they are now promoting their seventh album, English Tapas to bigger and bigger audiences. Good luck to them, still entertaining, still humorous and still angry.
Sleaford Mods at BBC Radio 6 Music Festival
A hard act to follow, Warpaint were a bit of a wet blanket after such a lively opener. The Los Angeles four piece play a spangly, floaty indie rock, which never quite manages to rock, despite the best efforts of spirited drummer Stella Mozgawa. Whenever a band spends their whole set telling the sound tech people to adjust the sound of that mic or this guitar up and down, endlessly, you know they are trying to avoid taking responsibility for sounding a bit flat. Also they adopted the demeanour of four people determinedly trying not to enjoy themselves. Maybe playing their own concerts they kick back a bit more and relax, but I can't really remember any of their songs which all washed over me. 
Ride on the other hand blew me away. I remember their t-shirts more than I remember their music from the shoegazing end of the 1990s. They kicked off with two songs from their soon to be released new album, Weather Diaries before going through a back catalogue of songs that transported me to Level 8 at Strathclyde Uni. "Leave Them All Behind" was a stand out performance, heading in Mogwai's post-rock direction. Could easily have had more of Ride, whose music had so much more to it heard live. 
Ride at Glasgow Barrowlands
Another blast from the past that this Glasgow audience of mainly 40-50 year olds had come to see was a re-union of The Jesus and Mary Chain. East Kilbride brothers Jim and William Reid were fighting on stage with each other when Liam and Noel Gallagher were still in primary school. After several years apart they have managed to get together to record a new album, Damage and Joy and were on stage here for an hour without coming to blows. Their set covered everything from Psychocandy to new material, all delivered in a suitably disdainful manner. Not exactly setting the heather alight, but definitely enough to give you a warm glow, like a hamburger from the Barrowlands food counter. Satisfying.

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