Gig Highlights – July 2013

As festival madness descends, we present some picks from T in the Park, Wickerman and Kelburn Garden Party, plus very special gigs from Mogwai, Adam Stafford, Ghostpoet, My Jerusalem, Stefan Blomeier and many more

Preview by Illya Kuryakin | 27 Jun 2013

The idea that former Y'All Is Fantasy Island front-man Adam Stafford considered giving up music after the release of his 2011 album Build A Harbour Immediately is upsetting – proof that sometimes, our most talented and original musicians aren't given enough support. Thankfully, he's back this month with the excellent Imaginary Walls Collapse. He'll be showcasing his intricate blend of leftfield folk rock, replete with live looping, beatboxing and unpredictability, with support from Scottish Album of the Year Award winner RM Hubbert on 4 July at Edinburgh's Wee Red Bar.

Here come the Scottish summer festivals! Kelburn Garden Party (6-7 Jul) offers an embarrassment of riches. The headline slot comes from madcap multi-deck beatsmith Mr Scruff. Other must-sees include the arthouse electronica of Conquering Animal Sound, psych-rockers Woven Tents, and the electronic post-rock of Machines In Heaven, plus hip-hop from the likes of Hector Bizerk. Packed with good vibes, Kelburn's the more comfortable choice for those put off by the sheer scale of T in the Park.

Nazoranai are a noise-rock supergroup comprising Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley, Oren Ambarchi of Gravetemple, and revered Japanese experimental drummer Keiji Haino. Together, they make doom-laden, propulsive drone rock with motorik rhythms underpinning shimmering walls of brutal, psychedelic noise. Cry Parrot bring them to Stereo in Glasgow on 10 July.

On 12-14 July, lo and behold, T in the Park is upon us. Scotland's largest festival celebrates two decades of lager-fuelled musical hedonism with a packed bill which, while it brooks a somehwat dubious popularism with the likes of Jake Bugg and the effing Mumfords heading up the bill, also offers a wealth of up-and-coming talent. The urgent, epic math-rock of Vasa and masked electronic terrorists Roman Nose represent but a few of our brightest hopes, while epic indie rock is well represented with sets from Foals, Frightened Rabbit and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And then there's Kraftwerk, in the (robotic) flesh. 

On 14 July, John Lemke and Poppy Ackroyd take the stage at Mono in Glasgow, in support of their new albums – Lemke's debut album People Do occupies the middle ground between experimental jazz and the washed-out, stately electronics of Boards of Canada. Poppy Ackroyd, a long-term collaborator with Hidden Orchestra's Joe Acheson, brings her neo-classical piano compositions, showcased on debut release Escapement, to the live arena, gilding them with found sounds and washes of heavenly static. Just one word to describe the music made by these two – exquisite.

On 20 July, one of the highlights of the King Tut's Summer Nights programme takes place as rising dubstep star Teklo heads up a bill including Roman Nose, fellow bass warrior The Mighty Cream, and much-touted electro/rock/dubstep fusionistas DARC. Wear comfortable shoes, you're going to be dancing. A lot. On the same night, you can catch visual maestro and electronic experimentalist Stefan Blomeier showcasing tracks from his recent album Unexpected Journey at Nice 'n' Sleazy, under the banner of Black Tent, the club night run by Skinny favourites Errors, who offer DJ support. 

21 July sees Mogwai return to the live arena for a very special one-off concert at 220 Broomielaw. Having debuted their live score for the documentary about French football legend Zinedine Zidane at Manchester International Festival, Braithwaite and head home for its Glasgow premiere, twinning their magisterial post-rock with the visual poetry of one of The Beautiful Game's most revered practititioners. 

As the Edinburgh Jazz Festival rumbles and parps along, one unmissable highlight will be Haftor Medbøe and friends, performing at Bristo Place on 25 July. Medbøe's band combine lush jazz textures and excursions into improvised melody with hints of ethereal electronica and experimental rock. There's a vital immediacy to his playing, so no need to grow a beard to stroke just for the occasion.

On 26 July Wickerman kicks off: new wave party-starters Vukovi and the balls-to-the-wall indie rock of Casual Sex are particular up-and-coming highlights, while main stage action is led by Primal Scream and Nile Rodgers and CHIC. Elsewhere you can catch indie giants Admiral Fallow, and the expansive, proto-gothic rock of Holy Esque.

27 July brings Ghostpoet back to Edinburgh to play the Liquid Rooms – his Mercury-nominated debut Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam was a strong first outing, but his new album, Some Say I So I Say Light offers a darker, more introspective, bass-led sound which deserves just as much attention, if not more. One of the most interesting artists bridging the UK indie and hip-hop / electronic scenes.

Edinburgh's Electric Circus continue to smash it – on 29 July they welcome Texan gothic soul ensemble My Jerusalem, featuring sometime Twilight Singer Jeff Klein at the helm, playing tracks from last year's pitch black sophomore album Preachers, defined by country leanings and Klein's gravel-scarred vocals.

Do Not Miss: SAVE Sighthill Stones CONCERT
Platform, 27 July

The Sighthill Stone Circle, erected in 1979, is the first authentic stone circle built in Scotland for 3000 years. Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai, who headlines this benefit concert, got involved in the campaign to save the stones from demolition because his father was one of the main organisers behind its creation. He recently explained to us why it's so important to keep the monument, which is currently scheduled to be destroyed to make way for facilities intended to host the 2018 Youth Olympics, should Glasgow's bid be successful. 

"The Sighthill Stone Circle was the first astronomically aligned one built in Britain for thousands of years. Its story is fantastic, and was only halted by the Thatcher government," Braithwaite commented. Heavily involved in the ongoing campaign to secure the future of the stone circle, Braithwaite was inspired by the Scottish artistic community's response: "I've been taken aback by how into helping everyone has been. It's been a really heartening experience seeing people from all strands of the community come together."

Support comes from an all-star cast of players from the Chemikal Underground and Rock Action rosters, including Aidan Moffat, RM Hubbert, Emma Pollock, Remember Remember and more. A memorable gig is in store, and it's all for a good cause, too.

See listings for times and prices