Scotland Gig Highlights – November 2013

A varied month in gigs sees the return of titans Queens of the Stone Age and Nick Cave's Bad Seeds, post-punk mob Savages, synth-heads Ubre Blanca, and a sublime double-header from Mount Kimbie and oOoOO

Preview by Illya Kuryakin | 30 Oct 2013

Forget April, November is the cruellest month. The encroaching consumerist spend-fest that is Xmas approaches (we refuse to call it Christmas, not this month... Carcass are playing), looming over the horizon, "slouching towards Bethlehem" as the poet Yeats might have it. The weather descends into an apocalyptic blend of torrential rain and winds that could cut steel. You may as well stay indoors, right? Wrong! Because November has more awesome gigs crammed into it than Santa's bulging sack. You'd better believe it.

On 1 Nov, miserablists supreme Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds come to Edinburgh's Usher Hall, to play tracks from the deliriously well-received Push The Sky Away, and a few classics from their voluminous back catalogue. Cave is one of the few giants of modern music whose shoulders could bear the weight of the title 'greatest living songwriter'  – from his early start in The Birthday Party, through the PJ Harvey and Kylie-courting Murder Ballads, to the feral intensity of Grinderman, his work is truly deserving of legendary status. 

Staying in Edinburgh, the Queens Hall gets a visit from gravel-voiced ex-Screaming Trees/QOTSA bellower and occasional Soulsaver Mark Lanegan on 4 November. With two albums out this year to draw on – covers collection Imitations, and Black Pudding, his collaboration with Duke Garwood – Lanegan, like Cave, will be spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a few classics. 

On 5 November, veteran hardcore and math-rock titans Dillinger Escape Plan are set to blow up the Garage in Glasgow. Latest album One Of Us Is The Killer garnered some serious praise on its release this year, but it's their frantic live shows that really impress. 

On 10 November, justly-hyped post-punk art-rockers Savages return to Glasgow to play the Classic Grand, still touting the delectable wares from their striking debut Silence Yourself. With tasteful nods to the likes of Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees, this mob are as punishingly upfront as they are politically astute.

On 8 November, the Glasgow institution that is Stereo celebrates its 6th birthday – home to top-notch vegan nosh, excellent beer, and a bewildering array of punters with trendy beards and Skrillex-a-like haircuts, Stereo has become a mainstay of the bustling Glasgow live scene. They celebrate in style with live sets from a huge bill of local faces, including Duncan Harvey, The Yawns, Julia Scott, and a DJ set from Cry Parrot.

Deap Vally's two-woman, guitar, drums and vox setup does recall the White Stripes, but their DNA is also infected with a healthy dose of epic, Led Zeppelin-esque classic rock, and front-woman Lindsey Troy has both the lung capacity and attitude of a young Janis Joplin. They'll be playing the hits from debut album Sistronix at The Liquid Room, Edinburgh, on 11 November, and Glasgow's Òran Mór the following night. 

When it comes to death metal, there is perhaps no band more feted in the current crop of doom-merchants than Sweden's Amon Amarth. Touring this year's well-received Deceiver of the Gods at maximum volume, they are joined by another veteran band – Liverpudlian extreme metallers Carcass, whose album Surgical Steel dropped in early 2013. Their Defenders of the Faith co-headline tour rolls through Glasgow's Barrowland on 14 November. 

Unarguably the greatest modern rock band in existence (cue, we imagine, a great many arguments), Josh Homme's current lineup for Queens of the Stone Age includes shit-mental drummer Jon Theodore of The Mars Volta. As a result, their live sound has been considerably beefed up, with fans comparing Theodore's reign on the skins to Dave Grohl's storied run. Latest album ...Like Clockwork was a blinder as well – don't miss them as they blow through town on 16 November, playing the SECC in Glasgow.

Our featured New Blood band Ubre Blanca release their debut EP Polygon Mountain on 16 November. To celebrate, the duo, comprised of Andy Brown (ex-Divorce) and Joel Stone (ex-Shitdisco) will be joined by Sheffield's Unmade Bed and doomy Glaswegian synth-pop chanteuse Hausfrau. Catch them at the Old Hairdressers – this one will be unmissable for fans of classic synth scores by Carpenter, Goblin and Vangelis.

Sigur Rós bring their magisterial post-rock to Edinburgh's Usher Hall on 18 November, focusing on the sounds of latest album Kveikur. The same night, over at Electric Circus in Edinburgh, singer, songwriter and composer Gary Lucas plays a rare gig – the man behind the band Gods and Monsters, which featured a young Jeff Buckley for a spell, he is a prolific collaborator, with a list of musical allies too long to mention, but including names like Captain Beefheart, Lou Reed and John Cale, Nick Cave, John Zorn and a host of others. To see him perform in such an intimate setting will be a rare treat.

The Pixies, sans Kim Deal, roll through the Barrowlands on 22 November. Despite Deal's departure, the band have been garnering rave reviews for their recent live gigs, and new singles have provided a taste of the old magic. A setlist packed with classics, and, reports suggest, a cover of The Fall's New Big Prinz, can be expected. The same night, their Surfer Rosa producer Steve Albini's respected post-hardcore band Shellac play Edinburgh's Liquid Room, heading through to SWG3 in Glasgow on 23 Nov. Always a visceral experience live, our Music Ed reports that they were on career-best form at Primavera this past spring.

On 24 November, London-born electronic whizzkid Gold Panda tours his stonking sophomore album Half Of Where You Live, coming to the Arches in Glasgow. Expect a thrilling mixture of techno, house, glitched beats and sublime electronic experimentation from this Ghostly International mainstay. The same night, opt for the feral intensity of post-industrial noiseniks Wolf Eyes at Glasgow's Nice 'N' Sleazy's. 

To finish up, two gigs taking place on 25 November, which have more in common than might first appear. At the Arches in Glasgow, seminal 1980s synth-pop duo Sparks bring their tour – The Revenge of Two Hands, One Mouth – back to the UK, taking us on a journey through their enigmatic, deeply experimental back catalogue. If all you know are This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us and No. 1 Song In Heaven, prepare to marvel at their jaw-dropping, theatrical live performance. Another master of experimental, angular, piano-driven electronic pop is LA beatmaker and songwriter Baths, whose fantastic Obsidian was one of this year's quirkiest and most moving albums. He plays Edinburgh's Sneaky Pete's on 25 November, following an appearance at Glasgow's CCA the previous night with local hero Dam Mantle.

DO NOT MISS: Mount kimbie, swg3, 8 november

Our cover stars back in May, Mount Kimbie, aka Kai Campos and Dominic Maker, emerged from the fertile breeding ground of post-dubstep, bursting onto the scene in 2009 with a series of gorgeous EPs on Hotflush, following it up with their classic debut Crooks & Lovers in 2011. Initially occupying similar territory to the likes of James Blake (who was a touring member of the band, and a childhood friend), they made real steps forward this year on the excellent and deeply experimental Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, straying into territories as diverse as micro-house, krautrock-influenced motorik rhythms and shoegaze-y neo-soul. They are currently on the form of their lives as a band, and will no doubt set the cavernous space of SWG3 alight with fragile melodies, washed-out synths and complex beats.

They are joined for the night by another artist recently featured in these here pages – San Francisco-based producer oOoOO, making his first Scottish appearance. Initially associated with the 'witch house' sound, his acclaimed debut album Without Your Love explored a twilit fusion of ethereal R 'n' B, introverted hip-hop rhythms and crepuscular dub techno atmospherics. As double-headers go, this one's an absolute must.