In this world of immediate musical gratification, instant single track downloads, radio banality and dumbed down, disposable pop, it’s worth remembering that not all music has to be easy access, mainstream and spoon-feedable for mass consumption.
In fact, music often moves forward because of, rather than in spite of, the likes of Schoenberg, The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, Can, Cale or Zappa. And if you want a night that largely challenges the concept of music as an easy ride, that is both provoking and ultimately rewarding, then tonight’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria is the place to be.
Mortdelamer headline with a luscious mix of dark alt-rock and slightly prog-stained flights of fancy, and openers IX manage to take slow-burning, heavy, instrumentals and turn them into sweeping cinematic sonic architecture.
But these bands seem to act as a buffer zone to contain the madness of the middle act, Mr Hello and His Honesty Club ft. Kid Jamaica. Think Kyuss playing with The Birthday Party, Jesus Lizard jamming Black Sabbath, The Fall in a fist fight with Zappa… just don’t think about it late a night else you probably won’t sleep.
Something a bit more sane can be found at The Beehive. Matt Woosey plays blues exploring all the usual themes – hardship, alcohol, women – but does so in a uniquely British fashion. The Red, White and Blues perhaps? Okay, perhaps not.
Back up the hill on Friday and a night of alt-folk, anti-folk, agit-folk… call it what you will... at The Victoria. Gaz Brookfield is the main draw playing songs from his new album, Tell It To The Beer, as well as old favourites, and with Marky Thatcher on the bill as well I’m sure there will be some of the usual end of show shennanigans. But it’s not all about the local lads, as Glasgow’s Lonely Tourist throw in blends of rockabilly driven acoustica.
More singer songwriter types at The 12 Bar on Saturday courtesy of Daylight Promotions, in the shape of the contemporary acoustic meets 60s folk revival sound of Ali Finneran and Racket front man Plummie, plus acoustic duo Talking Timber and, adding a somewhat eclectic quality to the night, the lush, atmospheric synth driven indie of With Felix.
If you are a fan of all things big, brash and brutal, Riffs Bar has a Heavy Metal all-dayer. A host of serenely named bands make up the bill, including Acts of Brutality, Suicide Watch, Blood of Ash and Fluffy Bunny Slippers. Okay, I made one of those up but it does definitely feature an appearance by the legendary Vynal Matt.
You can also get a good dose of quality rock music with the incendiary blues of Innes Sibun at the Rolleston. And if after that you still have the energy to party, Reboot Club Night at The Furnace is hosting a collection of Indie, New Wave and Electronica into the wee small hours.
Another does of exquisite blues at The Beehive Sunday afternoon, this time from extremely young and extremely talented Anglo-Norwegian six stringer Krissy Matthews. The evening gives you the option of virtuosic lap guitar playing from Hip Route’s Jim Blair at The Rolleston or head down the 12 Bar to be part of powerful alt-rockers, Beyond The Break’s EP launch.
The middle of the working week is nicely broken up with two great shows for Wednesday, or Swindependance Day if you like.
If you fancy something to smooth the week through it’s The Running Horse for you, where Sam Eden and Dylan Qioniwasa will be laying down some wonderfully original and chilled music.
For a more charged experience catch Young Blood at The Victoria and expose yourself to some great, of-the-moment indie, the soaring, My Bloody Valentine-esque sonic dream sequences of Archimedes plus a band that I have already gushed far too much about recently, Old Colours.
And if you think that my columns have been getting much less controversial of late, I have been saving it all up for this, a final paragraph of home truths and no holds barred opinion… that’s if it gets past the editor’s exacting standards.