Music review: Lost Map Christmas Humbug, Mono, Glasgow

Never your typical Christmas shindig, this year’s seasonal celebration from Lost Map Records featured tribal war cries from Mystic Business, garage rock from Savage Mansion and a taut, angular set from Herbert Powell, writes Fiona Shepherd

SavageMansion PIC: Audrey Bizouerne
SavageMansion PIC: Audrey Bizouerne

Lost Map Christmas Humbug, Mono, Glasgow ****

The Lost Map Christmas Party is as fine a festive tradition as they come, showcasing the wares of the small but mighty independent record label run by the irrepressible Johnny Lynch (aka Pictish Trail) from the island of Eigg. This year’s edition, Lost Map’s Christmas Humbug!, ran over two nights, with different line-ups at either end of the M8.

London visitors Jenny Moore's Mystic Business played the double, beginning their Glasgow debut out in the crowd, holding an otherwise lively audience rapt with a capella harmonies as they promenaded to the stage while wielding large coloured rods. That’s the DIY spirit for you, with a bit of festive sparkle on its cheeks.

For all the homemade aesthetic, this quintet were a tight vocal ensemble, embellishing their wordless harmonies, tribal war cries and soulful unison singing with percussion and electronics to create a mixed backdrop of loose-limbed punk funk, lean R&B and celebratory pop, while drawing on a variety of choral traditions. Hark these inventive angels.

There were zero concessions to Christmas from Savage Mansion, fronted by Perth-bred singer/songwriter Craig Angus. His Glasgow-based indie rock associates were all turned out in utilitarian brown shirts and adopted a suitably heads-down, on-with-the-work-at-hand performance style.

Musically at least, there was a degree of swagger and stomp to their melodic, garage rock, underlaid with infectious, springy basslines, reflecting the impish influence of US alternative rock acts such as Pavement and, in turn, the freewheeling tunefulness of new wave pop/rock.


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Headliners Herbert Powell – not the Simpsons character, but a pleasingly motley crew of a band – harked back to the taut, angular rhythms of British post-punk throughout their intense, propulsive set which was about as heart-warmingly seasonal as family tensions. But with a DJ set from Free Love still to come, there was still a slim window for a twinkling Christmas tune, or none.

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