Scottish Gig Highlights – November 2015

Defy the dark days to take in the likes of Deerhunter, Slayer, Ibeyi, Zu and a double-whammy from Public Enemy and The Prodigy this November

Preview by Claire Francis | 02 Nov 2015

Complaining may well be a national pastime, but let’s face it, by November, there are only so many more times we can go on about crappy weather, dark days and bone-aching cold. So let us instead focus our energies on the task at hand – taking in as many stellar gigs as the coming winter can offer.

Playing it safe this November would be a crime with so many up-and-comers just waiting to be your new favourite band. Start by checking out surf-psych trio The Wytches (Sneaky Pete's, 10 Nov). They’ve been kicking about since 2011, and with a well-received debut released last year, their star is on the up. Also setting foot on the Sneaky Pete’s stage later in the month and continuing in the psych vein, albeit with a dash more garage-grunge, are dapper London three-piece YAK (26 Nov). The frenetic rock'n'rollers dropped overlooked gem Hungry Heart earlier this year and with support from the equally rakish Hidden Charms, you’ll be bragging to your mates that you saw them here first.

Let’s not forget our homegrown talent either – Glaswegian post-electro masters and Mogwai stable mates Errors will be one to watch at La Belle Angele (28 Nov). The local stalwarts hinted at a slight evolution with this year’s Lease Of Life, their fourth record to date. Vocals are at the forefront of the mix and the subsequent clarity of sound promises a dynamic live show. Quirky duo Bdy_Prts, whose lush vocal harmonies and arty stageplay are winning them a growing wave of admirers, play Bloc on 24 Nov as part of a fifth anniversary shindig by Detour, and Scottish indie-trailblazers Idlewild keep up their indefatigable touring schedule with a spot at the beloved Barrowlands (27 Nov).

If you’re after something completely different, November’s got that too. Ibeyi are twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz (who sing in both English and Yoruba, a language spoken in West Africa) and you can marvel at their jazz-soul fusion and traditional percussive beats at King Tut’s (10 Nov). Meanwhile, down in the snug subterranean surrounds of The Hug and Pint, experimental Atlanta, Georgia outfit Algiers will run the sonic gamut with everything from gospel, post-punk, industrial noise rock and soul (6 Nov).

The brilliantly oddball beats of Public Service Broadcasting, a London duo who have produced two entirely unique albums by repurposing archived news footage and propaganda films, will make for a fun concept-art romp at The Queen’s Hall (17 Nov) [Since we went to print, Public Service Broadcasting's Queen's Hall show has been postponed to 8 February 2016 – original tickets still valid]. Come the end of the month, definitely don’t miss the uniquely talented Willis Earl Beal when he brings his stark, emotive techno-soul hybrid to Broadcast (30 Nov). 

As the days are getting shorter and darkness abounds, it’s only fitting that November should be a month of hard-hitting noise. If you like some gloom with your tunes, Italian noise-metal legends Zu – who have teamed up with such notables as The Melvins and Mike Patton – will shred the stage at Bloc on 23 Nov, with support from local duo Cutty’s Gym. A reputation for loud, abrasive noise rock almost precedes Bristol newcomers Spectres – bring your earplugs when they blow apart Sneaky Pete’s (20 Nov). METZ (with Protomartyr in tow) deliver a hit of Canadian noise rock to Stereo on 5 Nov, and brace yourself for the godfather of alt metal, Mr Marilyn Manson himself, who is still satisfyingly shocking some twenty years on from the seminal Antichrist Superstar (O2 Academy, 22 Nov). If all that cacophony isn’t enough (you masochist, you!) then steel your nerves for the ultimate in thrash metal – it’s a colossal double act when breakneck rockers Slayer and Anthrax hit town on 25 Nov. How the O2 Academy will contain these two giants remains to be seen – thrash metal aficionados, rejoice.

We don’t like to play favourites, but it certainly has been Julia Holter’s year. The LA native has reached new heights with her fourth full-length release, Have You In My Wilderness – the album earned a rare five-star review in these very pages. Holter brings her ethereal vocals and blossoming melodies to an intimate show at The Hug and Pint (13 Nov) – get in quick for this one.

Still want more? Fear not, for November is the month that keeps on giving. There’s a serving of classic hip-hop when Talib Kweli, a long-time Mos Def collaborator, plays Glasgow’s Audio on 13 Nov, and it will no doubt be a raucous evening when Sheffield rockers Rolo Tomassi, known for their haphazard live performances, launch their experimental math rock at Stereo (10 Nov) with support duties from Dutch punk rockers John Coffey and hardcore outfit Employed To Serve.The brilliantly idiosyncratic indie darlings Deerhunter play SWG3 on the back of this year’s consummate Fading Frontier – Brandon Cox’s volatile yet charismatic stage ensures that no two Deerhunter gigs are the same. North America is further represented by the king of lo-key slacker rock icon Kurt Vile (16 Nov, O2 ABC)  whose b’lieve I’m goin’ down is a sure album of the year contender, and by 90s indie rock powerhouse Built To Spill (if you haven’t heard their cover of Neil Young’s Cortez The Killer, head to YouTube right now). They play The Art School on 27 Nov with support from Swiss group Disco Doom. In addition, there’s the delightful psych pop of Wavves to brighten The Bongo Club on 14 Nov, plus Daughter’s winsome, ambient neo-folk is sure to charm The Art School crowd on 16 Nov.

Finally, the award for revivalist act of the year surely goes to… no, it’s not dreamy alt champions Mercury Rev, although you can catch them at The Art School on 20 Nov; nor is it veteran rockers Killing Joke (3 Nov, O2 ABC Glasgow) who after nearly four decades and a blistering new album Pylon are as tenacious as ever. Our comeback heroes are the one and only New Order; their latest incarnation sees the return of Gillian Gilbert and continued absence of yer man Hooky. Music Complete could nevertheless be the most accurate album title of the year, with production from Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands, and guest vocals from the likes of Elly Jackson and Iggy Pop. New Order are back, in a bigger way than perhaps any of us could have predicted (O2 Academy, 19 Nov).  


The Prodigy are arguably the progenitors of modern electronic dance music, coming to prominence in the early 90s with Music For The Jilted Generation, which debuted at number one in the UK album charts. Public Enemy are arguably the world’s most influential hip-hop act, known for their innovative scratching techniques and furious, politically charged lyrics. To see either one of these monoliths in the flesh is a bragging right indeed – to witness both in the one evening is a music lover’s coup.

This is no nostalgia trip, either – both groups have proven their relevance and staying power in recent years. The Day Is My Enemy ranks amongst The Prodigy’s most aggressive work to date, and at their electric T in The Park slot in July, Keith Flint and co left no doubt that they remain the godfathers of rave. Likewise, Chuck D's men have kept up a steady stream of tour dates and now, in support of their latest album Man Plans God Laughs and in the context of the ongoing racial tension and police brutality in the States, their message is as relevant now as ever.

You may be old enough to remember the day that Public Enemy released 1990's Fear of a Black Planet, or you may have been born in the same year that The Prodigy graced us with 1997's The Fat of The Land – in either event, consider this show an essential musical education.