THE ‘January blues’ are a mythical concept around King Tut’s at this time of year. A festival that has continued to blossom since its inception, the 2018 edition of King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution ensured that our musical calendar got off to a flying start; securing its position as the ultimate showcase of Scottish grassroots music by opening its doors to another fresh batch of young, ambitious bands hoping to make their mark on the prestigious venue.
Kicking off in the first back-to-work week of the year, when most people are keen to stay indoors after the excesses of the festive period, this year’s annual run of dates saw local music fans turn out in their droves in spite of the treacherous weather conditions and quiet time of year. A busy music venue in January may be rare in some parts, but it is undoubtedly a healthy sign for Glasgow’s continuously thriving scene that this year’s line-up was not only able to attract impressive crowds each and every night, but it also covered a wealth of talent from various genres; whether effortlessly cool contemporary folk and Americana, thrashing alt-rock or dramatic goth-pop this year’s carefully curated bill did its best to cater to all needs.
From the opening weekend to hosting our very own special afterparty on the closing night, Team TTV was on hand to catch many of the festival’s highlights. Awkward Family Portraits opened proceedings with a performance that oozed sincerity and enthusiasm. Utterly compelling in their wonderful harmonies and shuffling beats, their meticulously crafted arrangements and upbeat contemporary folk tunes were a pleasure to witness and duly received a buoyant response.
Currently receiving airplay on Radio 1, The Dunts propelled their fast-growing momentum even further with an incendiary sold-out show at the start of the month. In a fast-paced onslaught of punk-rock, the four-piece were confident without being cocky; showing all the signs of a band who are becoming increasingly self-assured in their craft. Delivering the highlights of their debut EP Not Working Is Class at lightning-quick pace, the Glasgow-based outfit quite literally held the jubilant crowd in their collective palm from the opening note to its thunderous closing salvo.
Elsewhere, BooHooHoo offered something entirely different the following week. Proponents of a kaleidoscopic sound that brims with the untapered exuberance of 80’s pops heyday, this Glasgow-based four piece proved more than capable of whipping the crowd up into a frenzy over the course of a whirlwind half an hour set. Sharing auditory common ground with artists such as Classix, Chromeo and Holy Ghost! albeit with a uniquely self-effacing, tongue-in-cheek approach, their performance was defined by an enveloping fusion of vibrant synths, three-part vocals and funk-laden guitars that incited quite the commotion ont the floor. Although the biggest reactions of the night were reserved for the riotous ‘Fire’ and the eccentric, jazz-flute tinged ‘Mould Me’, their versatility was brought to the forefront when they decided to turn in a near-note perfect cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ that garnered a massive response from the crowd.
Meanwhile, Paisley band SWAY attracted a notably impressive crowd for a dreary Sunday night. The audience may have been more subdued than the band have become used to in recent months but they fired through a seven-song set that displayed their knack for catchy songwriting and melodic fuzz-pop. Having had us enthralled with a series of impressive tracks in 2017, the new material on show was enough to suggest that some of the band’s best work is still to be unleashed to the world in full recorded form.
Perhaps the most eclectic four-act bill of the month was reserved for the final Friday night. Yet another sold-out occasion, the venue was already packed by the time Snack Villain took to the stage with their warm and dream-like creations. Walt Disco, an act we are keen to see more of throughout 2018, came next. Effortlessly cool yet bursting with an infectious grandiosity, intricate and delicate yet packed with volume, it was a dynamic performance that has us looking forward to their upcoming single launch in a couple of weeks time.
Following this, The Vignettes made a dazzling first impression; singer Hamish Swanson controlled the stage from start to finish with bags of personality and showmanship. With interesting interplay between guitarist and bass, it was a tight, upbeat performance that peaked with recent single ‘Young Bohemian’. Glasgow band Fauves went onto fulfil their billing as headliners with much aplomb. Fresh from the release of their debut EP Les Fauves that very same week, the enigmatic five-piece arrived on the stage accompanied by two masked dancers, sporting white boiler suits and KISS-like make-up. Shrugging aside some early technical difficulties, they powered through one of their most memorable performances to date, throwing in a cover of George Benson’s ‘Give Me The Night’ to reinforce the party atmosphere. From delicate loungey vibes to vibrant indie-pop, it was a performance that displayed the band’s increasing willingness to push their creative boundaries with joyous results.
Sold out well ahead of schedule, there was perhaps no better way to end this year’s King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution than with a headline show from The Ninth Wave; a band who are on the verge of breaking out of the Glasgow sphere into the eyes and ears of an even bigger audience down south. Now sporting a slightly revised line-up, the fiercely talented four-piece were bold in style as they were in sound; leaving the room entranced by their compelling combination of glistening synths and dark, brooding melodies. Perhaps most intriguing was the appearance of a dustbin as a rhythm accompaniment as we were given an exclusive insight into their upcoming EP. Continuing to forge their dark gothic sound with increasing confidence, it was a self-assured showing from a band on the verge of very big things indeed.
Following on from their storming set, those that stuck around in the King Tut’s bar were treated to a ferocious, star-making turn from a band that seem utterly ear-marked for greatness. Having sprang into our radars through hushed whispers of them being among the hottest new indie-rock prospects in Scotland before our suspicions were confirmed on debut single ‘Concrete Lips’, Falkirk’s Pleasure Heads‘ undeterred barrage of guitars and menacing, wizened vocals practically engulfed the compact space in a wall of sound. Imbued with a malovelent and volatile energy whilst remaining distinctly immediate and catchy, it is safe to say that their next move is one that’s being watched with anticipation.
As the curtain is drawn on another New Year’s Revolution, the overarching vitality of the platform that Tut’s provide is seen with increased clarity than at any other time of the year. Providing burgeoning talent with the opportunity to get 2018 off to a flying start, we can but hope that it remains a bastion of inspiration and much-needed exposure for the nation’s aspiring artists for years to come.