Scottish Gig Highlights – February 2015

Preview by Will Fitzpatrick | 30 Jan 2015
  • TV On The Radio

We made it! Flush from the most joyous payday of the year, and released from January’s usual bout of forced frugality, we’re now free to irresponsibly waste our cash once more. But wait – before you start lighting handmade Cuban cigars with flaming fifties, check out February’s list of unmissable gigs. Your yearning ears might just need you to put some cash to one side…

The month starts promisingly in Edinburgh with Greg Dulli’s mighty Afghan Whigs at The Liquid Room (3 Feb), going head to head with Mariachi El Bronx on the same date. The LA hardcore types bring their Mexicana alter-ego to Electric Circus, before nipping over to Glasgow’s King Tut’s the following day. Speaking of reconfigurations, long term indie heroes The Starlets play The Bongo Club under their new guise as A New International (Edinburgh, 6 Feb), but not before Captured Tracks noisemakers Naomi Punk show off their thoroughly idiosyncratic racket at The Glad Café (Glasgow, 5 Feb). That’s a treat, alright.

Things get a little busier on 7 Feb, as Forres’ own Be Like Pablo do their powerpop thing (Electric Circus, Edinburgh), and experimental noise label Opal Tapes host at The Mash House (Edinburgh) featuring the likes of Basic House and Wanda Group. If that wasn’t enough, arch-drude Julian Cope takes that night off from his busy schedule of extra-curricular activities to play some actual songs (King Tut’s). Expect serious lunacy from a master at work – terms which should very much suit The Phantom Band’s self-described 'proto-robofolk' when they hit Dundee’s Buskers on 8 Feb in support of surprise fourth LP Fears Trending.

Anyone up for something a little rootsier might want to check out North Carolina duo Hiss Golden Messenger at Stereo (Glasgow, 9 Feb), although that very evening also sees David Tattersall’s Wave Pictures combine bookish indie lyricism with nimble guitar heroics (CCA, Glasgow, also at Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s, 10 Feb). Glasgow folks who prefer things to be a tad spikier needn’t worry, however: returning emo demigods Mineral hit Stereo on 11 Feb, with Mary Timony’s bubblegum-glam trio Ex Hex achieving pop perfection at Broadcast two days later.

Washington DC’s Spoonboy heads from one capital to another on 13 Feb, playing Edinburgh’s Teviot Underground as he joins forces with hyper-literate folk-punkers ONSIND and Fortuna Pop!’s own The Spook School – a formidable line-up of DIY pop royalty. Be sure not to forget about Sheffield’s very lovely Slow Club at the same city’s Pleasance venue on Valentine’s Day, mind, or you’ll never forgive yourself.

Sorry, did we not mention that things get hella busy from hereon in? Aye, probably should’ve done. Diaries out in the meantime: TV On The Radio (Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 16 Feb) and Trust Fund (Nice ‘N’ Sleazy, Glasgow, 17 Feb) are more than worth parting with your hard-earned dough for, while it’s a tricky choice on 19 Feb between LA’s hotly-tipped femme-punkers Girlpool (Broacast, Glasgow) and bona fide legends The Jesus And Mary Chain (Corn Exchange, Edinburgh). Might be worth bearing in mind that the latter will be playing their mighty debut Psychocandy in full, following November’s rapturously received tour in anticipation of that album’s impending 30th anniversary this month.

Inner ear not taken enough of a pounding following the Reid brothers’ glorious assault? It’s all in hand. Just head down to the Sonic Mass weekender at Edinburgh’s Bannermans Bar (20-21 Feb), which promises two rifftastic days’ worth of space rock, sludge and noise. With a line-up including voluminous veterans Hey Colossus and Stoke doom-mongers Space Witch, you’d be daft to miss out. Glasgow, meanwhile, offers three different sides of soothing psych melodicism in quick succession: Gruff Rhys (The Art School, 20 Feb), Pond (Òran Mór, 23 Feb) and Blossoms (King Tut’s, 27 Feb, also at Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s, 24 Feb) will sort that blown mind of yours right out.

Another sterling album in the form of 2014’s La Isla Bonita is just one of the many reasons you should really be making plans to catch Deerhoof at Stereo (24 Feb), while youthful ones-to-watch Darlia have surely garnered sufficient Nirvana references for you to wonder what the fuss is all about by now – find out at King Tut’s (25 Feb). That Neu! Reekie! lot curate another dazzlingly eclectic lineup at Pilrig St Paul’s Church on 27 Feb, featuring west coast hip-hoppers Hector Bizerk amidst their standard smörgasbård of local wonders. That date also sees Glasgow’s Broadcast playing hot to Bostonian newcomers Krill – a treat for anyone who enjoys seeing their guitar rock described as ‘angular’.

For the month’s final difficult decision, two of the most universally-acclaimed rock bands of recent times head up this way on 28 Feb: The War On Drugs drape their narcotic fug over Edinburgh’s Usher Hall just as Leeds quintet Hookworms melt minds over at Stereo. Hmm, maybe hold back on the reckless splurges; this could well be another expensive month after all.


Pop!South Weekender, The Glad Café, GLASGOW, 13-15 Feb

Having warmed the cockles of Glasgow’s indiepop hearts this time last year, the Pop!South Weekender returns with another invitingly cosy line-up. Now expanded, the new-look three-day event brings together Fence-associate favourites (super-spry melodicists Kid Canaveral; the indefatigable Withered Hand) alongside newer heroes from the more sensitive end of the pop-punk spectrum (Fortuna Pop! sensations Martha; pepped-up lyricism from DC’s Spoonboy).

There’s plenty more for your buck, of course, with highlights including Motherwell’s Just Joans pitting endearingly  wry observations against doomed romance, and Nottingham newcomers Lost Pets supplying more than your fair share of smartly wistful charm. With a bill high on sumptuous hooks and low on squalling feedback, noise is something of a relative matter – still, Friday and Saturday take care of the louder side of things, with an acoustic Sunday on hand to nurse your inevitable hangover. Where better to make your jangly dreams come true than Glasgow? Nowhere, that’s where.