Under the Radar: VanIves

Growing up in the small Galloway town of Castle Douglas, Roan Ballantyne and Stuart Ramage were ten when they first bonded over a mutual love of skateboarding. Four years later the fully fledged lords of the boards had expanded their talents to setting up a drum’n’bass sound system, and this in turn has developed into the beguilingly gentle music of VanIves.

Ben Howard

Music review: Ben Howard, Hydro, Glasgow

For all his considerable commercial success since 2011 breakthrough debut Every Kingdom, Ben Howard remains a musician on the fringes of fashion. It’s hard to get a fix on his schtick – this modest, introverted performer was literally a shadowy figure, rarely directly lit and mostly to be found hunched over his guitar. Yet his coy voice and soothing reveries often left him musically exposed before his sonorous playing kicked in to fill the vast space of the Hydro.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Music review: SCO & Daniele Rustioni, City Halls, Glasgow

On paper, this Scottish Chamber Orchestra programme was a little lacking in meat. Apart from Rossini’s overture, The Italian Girl in Algiers, the ensuing cocktail of Respighi and Mendelssohn leaned towards the lightweight, which possibly explained the thin audience for Friday’s Glasgow performance.

Damon Albarn and co put on a spirited performance

Music review: The Good, the Bad & the Queen, SWG3, Glasgow

IT WAS inevitable that Damon Albarn would eventually write a concept album inspired by Brexit. He’s been chronicling the vicissitudes of The British Experience since Blur’s Modern Life is Rubbish album in 1993, so he was never going to ignore such a calamitously nation-changing event.

James frontman Tim Booth was happy hugging, head-rubbing and  crowd-surfing

Music review: James/The Charlatans, Hydro, Glasgow

THIS smart double bill of Mancunian indie veterans comprised one band who pre-date the Madchester scene of the early 90s and another who outlived it, the former in their comfort zone and the latter in a supporting role which didn’t suit them.

BBC SSO guest conductor James Feddeck

Music review: BBC SSO, City Halls, Glasgow

IN HIS debut with the BBC SSO, the young American conductor James Feddeck effected a dynamic influence on the orchestra. His programme complemented the tip-toeing 1940s modernism of Barber and Britten with the bombastic might of Holst’s suite The Planets, eliciting rich and rousing results.


Under the Radar: Barrie-James

Barrie-James O’Neill (simply using Barrie-James at present) was the frontman for the hugely successful Kassidy, and co-wrote Lana Del Rey’s hit song Brooklyn Baby when he was living in Los Angeles. Now back in his native Glasgow, he returns with his second solo album, Psychedelic Soup, which will be released via Glasgow imprint Holy Smokes Records early next year.

Anne-Sophie Mutter PIC: Gavin Evans

Music review: RSNO, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

The intention here was to have the composer conduct his own violin concerto, played by the soloist for whom it was written, Anne-Sophie Mutter. But with 85-year-old Polish legend Krzysztof Penderecki unable to be in Scotland over the weekend to direct the RSNO, the task fell to music director Thomas Søndergård. In the end, no one was complaining.

Andy Cato of Groove Armada PIC: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

Music review: Groove Armada, SWG3, Glasgow

These monsters of late 90s and early 2000s big beat, whose trademark number At the River launched a thousand chill-out albums, had been on a break from live touring for five years until their impending 21st anniversary convinced them it was time to dust off the old instruments. Dance music has moved on a fair bit since Groove Armada’s heyday, yet for ravers of a certain generation they will always be synonymous with the good times.

Young Fathers

Music review: Young Fathers, Glasgow Academy

This year, it feels, has been Young Fathers’ year; which seems unusual to say about a band withy multiple breakthroughs in their history, including a Scottish Album of the Year Award for Tape Two in 2014 and a Mercury Prize for Dead the same year. In 2018 they’ve become the first artist to win the SAY Award for the second time – for their third album Cocoa Sugar – but it’s the public response to that record which has been truly telling.

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