Sunday night saw Fife-based indie label, Fence Records, showcase a selection of their acts in the atmospheric setting of Glasgow’s West End venue, Oran Mor.
First up was Dan Lyth, who is currently in the process of recording an album entirely outdoors. No mean feat given the weather Scotland’s been experiencing recently! He performed with a band that included his wife, and accompanied his dreamy folk tunes on both keyboard and acoustic guitar. Between songs, Dan let the audience in on the stories behind them, such as the recent track he’d written inspired by seeing a scan of his unborn child. He nicely avoided sentimentality by peppering his chat with jokes “my wife’s pregnant, which is good, and it’s mine, which is even better”. My favourite of Dan’s tracks was the last he played, which he told us had been recorded in a garden in Aberfeldy.
Withered Hand’s Dan Willson was up next, with a solo acoustic set that had funny banter, and often funny lyrics. My favourite of these was Inbetweens, written after a European tour, whilst the crowd reaction to the opening bars of his final song, Religious Songs, singled it out as the most popular. A combination of clever tracks and a likeable stage persona (laughing off mistakes and recovering well always scores extra points with me), made Dan my personal highlight of the evening, someone I’d definitely be up for seeing again. Possibly in the sunshine with a beer in hand, please.
There was a total change of pace with Rob St John, who played us a selection of much slower songs. They got a great reception from the crowd, though it was fairly distracting being in the audience, as, at the quieter moments, the chatter of the crowd created a wall of noise at the back of the room. The friend I was with described the music as being “great to fall asleep to” which was not the best for me, as hours of standing in the same spot was starting to take its toll, and I was in dire need of something a bit livelier to follow.
Sadly, this was not to be, as up next was the soft (and beautiful) music of Rozi Plain and her backing band. Considering she had just met the rest of the band that day, and had only had three hours to rehearse with them, they pulled off an impressive performance, with Stolen Shark, and its somewhat grisly lyrics, and cover of Francois and the Atlas Mountain’s Hold on Twice, being the standout tracks of the set.
King Creosote and The Pictish Trail were the penultimate act on stage, but the last I saw before I had to give in to exhaustion from a long day at work. It was clear that seeing these guys was one of the main reasons most of the audience was there. There was no chatter to be heard in the quieter moments of their set, just a roomful of people facing the stage, laughing along to the dialogue between two guys that are clearly good friends, and singing along to songs they know well. Marguerita Red, which saw the stage bathed in crimson light, was my favourite track, and one that proved popular with the crowd too.
Having to cut out early meant that I missed Kid Canaveral, an indie pop band that I was rather looking forward to seeing. They will soon be re-releasing their debut album, Shouting at Wildlife, and I have my fingers crossed that I will have a chance to catch them at a local gig in the near future.