“Sauchiehall Street is open for business,” reads the bus shelter advert you see when you step out of Charing Cross low-level station. Yet Glasgow’s most formerly bustling road still looks like it’s hurting, from the sadly still-shuttered CCA and other much-missed businesses in enforced hibernation, to the grim shadow of the wrecked Mackintosh building towering in darkness.
Tenement Trail, various venues, Glasgow ****
In which case, it feels like a congratulations are necessary for the organisers of the annual multi-venue, one-day city festival the Tenement Trail, for absorbing the loss of both rooms in the out-of-commission ABC (and the loss of Flat 0/1’s smaller space on the day of the event), and ploughing on with bringing some musical vibrancy back to the place. Across nine stages, roughly 65 artists played in a musical relay race which could have kept the most dedicated of timetable-watchers going from 2pm until shortly after midnight.
Of course, there are still music venues on this street whose reputation and activity is going strong despite the chaos further along the road, and Nice ‘n’ Sleazy (whose highlights included the elegiac synth-rock of Low Island and the folksy indie of Wojtek the Bear) and Broadcast (headlined by the impossibly upbeat guitar-pop of Marsicans) were as busy as any Saturday night might demand. Further along the street, basement jazz bar Blue Arrow’s bill was topped by the indie-folk Harry and the Hendersons, and the Priory was a proper dark, atmospheric little cave, well-suited to Glassmasterer’s raw electronics.
Psych-rockers Man of Moon headlined King Tut’s bill, while Flat 0/1’s artists decamped to the bar there.
The Garage showed its full, rarely seen versatility with three stages on three levels, although anyone who nipped out from sold-out headliners (and by far the event’s biggest name) the Cribs to take in the glistening synthpop of Holy Esque downstairs might have been disappointed that the stairway was closed before either had finished, to prepare for the club night happening soon after; further evidence that Sauchiehall Street is down but not out. - DAVID POLLOCK