Festival review: Glorious Traces, Glasgow Glad Café, Glasgow

Playing the blues  Ela Orleans performing at Glorious Traces. Picture: Contributed
Playing the blues  Ela Orleans performing at Glorious Traces. Picture: Contributed
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Bringing a cultural breath of fresh air to the south side of Glasgow for four years now, in which time it has become one of Shawlands’ most treasured community and social hubs, The Glad Café celebrated its jubilee in style with the inaugural Glorious Traces – an eclectic weekend of live music which offered a timely snapshot of just how rich in talent, not to mention wildly diverse, the Glasgow independent music scene remains.

Glorious Traces | Rating: **** | Glasgow Glad Café

Fanning out across several partner venues including the Rum Shack and Langside ­Parish Church, the bill spanned all from RM ­Hubbert and Kathryn Joseph to Ela Orleans, Alasdair ­Roberts and many more.

Friday’s bill – which incorporated a sold-out sister strand of outsider sounds curated by Glasgow experimental ­promoters Counterflows at Pollok Ex-Servicemen’s Club – got off to a boomy start with post-modernist electro-rap duo CARBS and anthemic indie ensemble Kid Canaveral at The Shed, each of whom were dealt a tough hand in an echo chamber room.

The main focus was at the Glad, starting with Honey and The Herbs, four chaps in Mondrian-coloured shirts mixing barber shop harmonies, jazz chords, prog song structures and space rock synthesisers.

With numbers like psychedelic swing opus Croona Lumbago and Tchaikovsky-inspired cosmic surf assault The Nutf****r, they’re liable to leave you with sore smile muscles.

Featuring Alasdair Roberts on “punk hurdy-gurdy”, Sound of Yell are a folk-jazz improvisational ensemble led by Stevie Jones – RM Hubbert’s former El Hombre Trajeado bandmate and an erstwhile Arab Strap collaborator.

He led a beguiling and beautiful instrumental set that – like much of the evening’s music – happily defied categorisation. Lastly, headliners Trembling Bells again reminded everyone why they’re one of Scotland’s most chronically-underappreciated bands, with a stunning set which finds unlikely ­common ground between Pentangle and Black Sabbath, from familial alt-folk odyssey My Father Was A ­Collapsing Star to pastoral headbanger Killing Time In London Fields.