RATHER than basking in the unfamiliar Glasgow sunshine, music fans descended upon Saint Luke’s last week, the east-end venue and bar that lies in the shadow of the world-famous Barrowlands. With a diverse and unique lineup on display, showcasing some of Scotland’s most promising new artists, the gig was the perfect exemplification of the strong and vibrant beating heart of Scottish music.
First on the bill was Anna Sweeney. This singer-songwriter has a unique flare for drifting between genres, demonstrated well on her debut album ‘Game Face’, released earlier this year, and in a similar way, was able to deliver this diversity live. With her songwriting drifting from synth-pop to country-influenced piano ballads, her live performance did not leave any stone unturned. Whether she was belting the huge, pop chorus of ‘Jealous’, or channelling the sombre, country sound of ‘You Knew It’, Anna delivered the songs ideally and conducted herself, and her talented band in the manner of a true professional. Despite taking a break from music until last year, Anna’s live ability has not been hampered and is sure to become a regular, vibrant component of the live scene throughout 2018.
Continuing on from the laid back, atmospheric mood instigated by Anna was Edinburgh singer-songwriter Gus Harrower. Boasting a rather remarkable ability to play piano, Gus’ music is centred around his versatile approach to playing. Similarly, to Anna Sweeney, Gus Harrower is able to shift his style from genre to genre throughout his set. With his setlist drifting from the euphoric highs of his synth-pop sound to the sombre, reflective moods of his strong ballads, his set proved that he is a diverse musician and songwriter who is unlikely to ever bore an audience. Throughout his set, Gus gave a nod to the amount of music we can expect to hear from him throughout the remainder of 2018. With a stream of a singles planned and a full-length debut record on the horizon, we are sure that he will undoubtedly continue to rise and win over audiences for a while to come.
From the reserved to the in your face, Glasgow’s Freakwave provided a shock as the atmosphere in the venue shifted as they brought their punk-influenced indie sound to Saint Luke’s. Their set provided an insight into the music and writing of one of the scene’s most promising alternative bands. By drawing influence from the various alternative scenes that have peppered the indie music map of the world of the last twenty to thirty years, Freakwave have built a sound that is unlike many other bands currently on the live circuit. They drifted from faster, punk-inspired sounds to the more subdued elements of early 90s American indie and shoegaze. One of the undeniable highlights of their set was their single ‘Fool’, a track that shows that they are not only good at writing music that shows a flare for individuality but also channels pop-style writing in the jumpy, infectious chorus. ‘Prick’ however showed that this band are not only catchy, but raucous, as this undeniably punk track shows an attitude that some may deem missing from music right now.
Finally, it was the turn of The Dunts, one of Scotland’s favourite new bands to take to the stage, with their own brand of alternative music. Those who have seen The Dunts before will know what to expect, a set that is crammed with a stream of strong, crowd-raising indie punk tunes, and while the idealistic, church setting with the fading Glasgow sunlight flowing through the glass windows was not the setting The Dunts were used to bringing their indie punk sound to, this more subdued atmosphere did not hinder their energy in the slightest. As explosive as ever. For me, an undeniable highlight of their set was their latest single ‘Birds and the Beez’. I had earmarked this tune ahead of the gig as I have found myself humming it walking it to work every day, and the boys certainly delivered. I was struck by just how much energy the band poured into this performance, having played to a sold-out Stereo, this huge room and the calm atmosphere within it may have seemed far-removed for them, but they delivered an intense performance that left no doubt that very soon, venues that size will be crammed with sweaty kids throwing themselves around and on top of each other, all there for The Dunts. DO NOT pass up the chance to see this band.
The third instalment of the Ignite showcases, partnered with PRS and Help Musicians proved successfully in assembling a bill that showed the diverse nature of Scottish music and we cannot wait for the next one.