Galoshins / Mr Peppermint / The Cosmic Dead / Battery Face @ 13th Note, 18 December
Thank goodness for The 13th Note. In the last decade this ragged, unpretentious little bar has been an enduring champion of the Scottish underground as other venues buckled and fell around it. Even in difficult times, the 'Note has given shelter to the kind of true underground sounds hipper establishments refused to take a chance on, aided in no small way by now-sadly-outgoing promoter Brendan O'Hare. Tonight is a perfect example of why Glasgow can count itself very lucky to have this creative hub.
Openers Battery Face, heftily comprised of ex-Project: Venhell members, are an energetic fusion of acerbic art-punk and dense synth pop. Their ability to slide from water-tight, turn-on-a-dime riffs into frenzied free noise is remarkable and their performance tonight is quite brilliant.
Their successors, The Cosmic Dead, initially seem like the odd man out on an otherwise upbeat bill, having mutated from one incarnation to another in the last few years and armed with a reputation for dense, esoteric improvisational doom. What transpires however is quite exceptional. A half hour of uninterrupted, free-flowing stoner majesty with four band members so involved in their art that they might well have been playing in outer space for all they notice the open-mouthed cluster of spectators blown like trees in a gale before some utterly huge riffs. It would appear TCD have finally found their formula.
With no small shoes to fill, art-punk duo Mr Peppermint take the stage and waste no time smashing equal measures of Sonic Youth and Lightning Bolt into the faces of tonight's eager audience. Numerous new tracks appear amidst familiar numbers from their excellent debut album and the quality of both is intimidating. It's no small ask to follow the bands that went before but Mr Peppermint are every bit the match for it.
Finally the hotly-tipped Galoshins arrive to throw a lighter (though no less energetic) sound into the mix. Whilst they generally dwell in the realms of synth-led art-pop, some healthy electronic augmentations and memorable drum-flurries see them swing to encompass comparisons as varied as Eagles Of Death Metal and Cardiacs. It makes for a fittingly strong ending to a stellar collection of native talent. Proof positive that, out-with the hype and the press-releases and the who-knows-who of Scotland's more obvious “alternatives” lurks a truly vibrant generation of free-thinking artists.