Festival review: Restless Natives, Glasgow

Ghostface Killah broke down the barrier between stage and crowd. Picture: Contributed
Ghostface Killah broke down the barrier between stage and crowd. Picture: Contributed
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RESTLESS Natives, named after the cult Scottish comedy film, is a keen new addition to the urban festival landscape, a week-long fiesta of film, music, food and drink, based predominantly in the Barras Calton area of Glasgow’s east end, with a few honorary happenings in the Merchant City, and events priced modestly to encourage the participation of the local community.

Restless Natives | Ratings: **** | Various venues, Glasgow

As the festival drew to a close at the weekend, a varied musical line-up drew the city’s gig-goers eastwards. Hardcore punk/metal fans who might normally populate the basement of the 13th Note relocated to Collective Studios on Friday night for an ear-bleeding triple bill, headlined by Ghold, a heavy and hirsute trio from London whose aural assault involved spooky monastic vocals, looped animalist howls and punishingly loud outbursts of guitar noise.

The walls of St Luke’s also shook to the contrasting quaking bassy backing of Edinburgh vocalist Law, a friend of Young Fathers who has the imperious presence without their hypnotic melodic touch.

This converted church was the pulsing hub of the festival and, as it transpired, a great choice of venue for hip-hop star Ghostface Killah, one of ten founding members of Staten Island’s Wu Tang Clan, who presided over a ramshackle block party which effectively broke down the barrier between stage and crowd – while audience and entourage members hung out on the stage, aspiring local rappers were invited to rhyme.

Apart from a temperamental keyboard, proceedings were much tighter the following evening for a bill topped by Cardiff-based funky punk agitators Future of the Left and hard-gigging hardcore outfit Rolo Tomassi, who were equally well-drilled in taut dynamics, with convulsing frontwoman Eva Spence alternating between baying demonically on the furiously-paced punk numbers and singing sweetly on the atmospheric post-rock passages.

Back over the road, Collective Studios hosted an electro pop art happening, featuring solo sound manipulator Pentecostal Party, the more industrial theatrics of The Modern Institute and the enigmatic duo Happy Meals who played most of their shrewdly paced set behind a silver curtain shrouded in dry ice.

In the absence of a conventional performance, the bare stage area gradually filled up with ecstatic dancing audience members before singer Suzanne Roden revealed herself in the latter stages and communed with the cognoscenti. The combination of austere drum machine, irresistible electro and Rodden’s sweet, seductive vocals demanded submission.