Gig review: The Duke Street Expo, Glasgow

Admiral Fallow brought their talents to the streets of Glasgow, both collectively and in smaller, more intimate, units

Admiral Fallow brought their talents to the streets of Glasgow, both collectively and in smaller, more intimate, units

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The Commonwealth-funded East End Social continued to shine a light on a neglected area of Glasgow with its most ambitious and community-spirited event to date – a seamless (and sunny) all-day festival of live music, comprising two ticketed gigs in churches plus a steady stream of free pop-up performances in unlikely venues along a bustling strip of Duke Street.

The Duke Street Expo - Duke Street, Glasgow

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Roll up for acoustic troubadours in ladies’ boutiques, easy jazz listening in charity shops and shape note singing, guitar and vocal loops and complimentary pakora on the patio of an Indian restaurant. “I’ve never seen the street this busy,” commented one impressed local.

Rapper Kobi Onyame channelled the good feeling through his set at the Everlasting Arms Church, while Rick Redbeard, aka Phantom Band frontman Rick Anthony, provided a healing listening experience.

Admiral Fallow were the headline draw here, but frontman Louis Abbott and co-vocalist Sarah Hayes also performed more intimate solo shows, the latter delivering a suitably fragrant set of folk covers in the local florists – with a single red rose across her keyboard.

As the afternoon wore on, the music got louder and the bijou venues got busier and sweatier. There was risk of a spritz or even a close shave when David McGregor of Kid Canaveral packed them in around the customers at Urban Funk gentleman’s barber shop. Meals were passed over the heads of the crowd at Dennistoun Bar-B-Que as hip-hoppers Hector Bizerk drummed up some festival spirit. Thankfully, the tattooists at Electric Artz were safely wielding their needles in the back room while punk power trio Ex-Wives played the most thunderous set of the day.

The evening concert at Dennistoun New Parish Church was a gentler affair, featuring three sublime voices. Siobhan Wilson, backed by instrumentalist Tommy Reilly, tempered the purity of her vocals with a kittenish edge and deceptive charisma. Like Wilson, Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor favoured a mostly sparing backing of beats, effects and guitar for his solo material, allowing his reedy, plaintive voice to work its understated magic.

King Cresote had all but knackered his vocal cords singing in the pub earlier, but with a bit of echo applied to the upper 
notes, he sounded his usual affecting self, rounding off this grand day out with a ramshackle, but lovable, set encompassing old and new songs, some mischievous baiting of the Yes vote and a self-styled cabaret foray into the crowd.

Seen on 31.05.14

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