ON A RARE showing of glorious sunshine for the West End Festival, it was a testament to the esteem in which the members of Fife’s DIY label Fence Records are held, that so many ignored sunstroke and alcohol-induced exhaustion to cram into Oran Mor’s basement for this seven-hour showcase.
Fence Records Showcase - Oran Mor, Glasgow
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Recently returned to the Fence fold, Pip Dylan offered one of the quieter, contemplative sets of the evening, with only an acoustic guitar to counter the hubbub from the bar. Regardless, his measured play and plaintive, staccato vocal wrested all the attention with the skewered, heartfelt folk of Splinter, the woozy Lazy Boy and the delicate, otherworldly Lavender Moon. Fence’s latest signings Monoganon had opened the gig, with their new single Wasted Teens a dreamy, melodic introduction, while the darker Anatomy managed to be both sombre and uplifting, driven by effect-laden guitar.
Next came the downbeat eagleowl, a string-laden, six-piece ensemble with a sweeping, post-folk, wall of sound setup. Not Over is typically sparse and restrained but Summerschool expanded into an alt-country vibe, and the expletive-laden chorus of It’s So Funny conjures up the unlikely spirit of Cliff Richard.
Label boss The Pictish Trail proved the night’s standout, the ambient insecurity of Sequels followed by the feelgood, rhythmic Winter Home Disco, with further new tracks The Handstand Crowd and the demented Michael Rocket ranking alongside his best work. Eight-piece Randolph’s Leap seemed to command the biggest crowd, mixing up lively, brass-led numbers with quieter sequences of singer Adam Ross playing solo, the chirpy News reflective of a band that doesn’t take itself too seriously but which embraces twee at every opportunity.
Finally, Kid Canaveral showed why their star is firmly in the ascendant, David MacGregor’s affecting vocal and intricate songwriting on So Sad, So Young matched by Kate Lazda’s fizzing lead on Without A Backing Track.