THE team from Tenement TV have been filming informal, mini-gigs in the front room of a Glasgow tenement for some years now; from that original idea has sprung Tenement Trail, an all-day urban festival staggering bite-sized sets by 30 local bands across five (conventional) venues all within convenient walking distance of each other.
Various Venues, Glasgow
Star rating: * * * *
Sauchiehall Street basements Broadcast and Nice’n’Sleazy were rocking from mid-afternoon onwards. Others came slightly later to the party.
The somewhat under used Flat 0/1 is a cosy place, kitted out to look like a kitsch 1970s living room and kitchen, complete with embossed wallpaper and Formica units. Dirty Diamond & the Gunslinger were retro too, but took creative inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s for their lusty authentic-sounding garage rhythm’n’blues, gospel and skiffle numbers on timeless subjects such as booze binges and troublesome ex-partners. Have Mercy Las Vegas followed up with a Mumfords/Lumineers-style folky hoedown on banjos, fiddles and ukuleles but with added value stomping spirit and tight harmonies to give their sound a more robust finish.
Over in ABC2, the keen young Model Aeroplanes lived up to their possible contender status with an assured take on mode-ish collegiate indie pop which made persistent use of choppy Afrobeat guitar, reedy vocals and busy momentum with the occasional strong, catchy tune. The teenage girls have their eye on this lot. The grizzlier Tijuana Bibles, in contrast, kicked up a right rocking racket with ample fuzz guitar distortion, serious bass vibrations, stealthy, steely moments which elicited some testifying howls from the crowd and a touch of Arctic Monkeys swagger.
To Nice’n’Sleazy next, for the melodic mod and indie pop of Medicine Men, whose roots in the “baggy” sound of the early 1990s was made explicit by the blatant Stone Roses steal which rounded off their accessible set.
Presumably by complete coincidence, that Roses reference was also acknowledged next door in Broadcast by ska big band Bombskare, who also turned in an unexpected reggaefied cover of Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage during an energetic knees-up set which they pledged to play at double speed to make up for the brevity of their slot. Then it was swiftly back to Sleazy’s, where the dancing continued to a different groove, as Crash Club beefed up their serious rave and electro-rock set with the addition of occasional guest vocalists and a modest laser show.
King Tut’s was the last venue to pitch in to the party, but could it maintain the dependable musical standards of the day? Randolph’s Leap’s winsome and witty indie folk act was almost derailed by an inopportune bass guitar breakdown. However, with so many bands in the vicinity, supporting and enjoying each other’s performances, a replacement was quickly procured and the remainder of the set was attacked with renewed vigour to ensure this tightly organised and consistently enjoyable gig crawl wrapped up with no weak links.
Seen on 04.10.14