Gig review: West End Festival Closing Party, Oran Mor, Glasgow

THIS grand musical finale for the West End Festival helped show off the area’s most striking venue as much as it showcased its bands,

with 14 artists drawn from across the Central Belt returning to arguably the heart of Glasgow’s music scene. The action ran through sets over three stages by artists including Edinburgh’s lo-fi experimentalist Wounded Knee, bands like Olympic Swimmers and John Knox Sex Club, and the blues of RM Hubbert.

Nearer the top of the bill appeared a few names that can claim to be among the very best in Scotland right now. In the basement bar venue, Edinburgh’s Dan Willson, aka Withered Hand, seemed incredulous that so many people had come to his solo set. “I thought you would all be watching the football,” he said, but this show was typical of a man whose sublime lyricism and bittersweet humour deserves a wide audience. That he started a quietly transcendent show in the crypt of a former church with a track called Religious Songs was fitting. Meanwhile, Graeme Ronald and his epic post-rock outfit Remember Remember filled the hall upstairs with their sound.

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Headlining downstairs were the recent Scottish Album of the Year winners Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells, whose forlorn tales of sex and ageing (and a cover of Bananarama’s Cruel Summer) were a counterpoint to the fiery rock of We Were Promised Jetpacks upstairs. “I can tell you like the happy songs then, aye?” joked Moffat as the heart-rending The Copper Top was greeted with cheers. But of course: just look where we were.

Rating: ****