Stag & Dagger @ Various Venues (Glasgow), 21 May

From its origins in Hoxton’s pokiest sweatboxes, the export of the <b>Stag & Dagger</b> festival to Glasgow has proven to be so successful that it’s back for a third consecutive year. As before it’s a mixture of big international names, hyped acts from down south and the cream of local talent.

Article by PJ Meiklem | 25 May 2011

Falling into the third category are Blue Sky Archives who take advantage of there being little else on (bar a cup final) to pack out the Captain’s Rest in the late afternoon and their brand of anthemic post rock-influenced guitar styling goes down rather well in the wee box under the pub. Singer Lauren Mayberry’s easy charm certainly helps, accusing their drummer of almost delaying the gig due to watching Lady Gaga on T4 and admitting that one song is based on a disgusting tale about anal sex. [SL]

Scotland is establishing a firm reputation for producing literate, folk-referencing indie pop and you wouldn’t bet against French Wives being the next band to be packed, bar-coded and posted off down south for wider consumption. Songs like Covered in Grace and Hallowe’en boast layered vocals and guitars that are a lot noisier than we expect, and the Captain’s Rest – again full to the brim – shows them a lot of love. An album’s due to be recorded in the summer, and with a number of plaudits already having been foisted upon them, French Wives are really looking like a band to watch. [SL]

Given Colourmusic’s frequent dalliance with artistic gimmickry in their live shows, the prospect of a no-frills set could be a prelude to disappointment but instead it just encourages them to rock their twin-bass groove that little bit harder than they usually might. They deliver a performance that provides food for both the mind and the body, the former being taken care of by a harmonic bass rumble that resonates somewhere in the sternum, and Ryan Hendrix’s scattershot vocals and deft manipulation of psychedelic fuzz covers the rest with hirsute flair. [DB]

Clinic are in a rush. The Liverpudlian veterans bound on stage wearing the trademark surgical masks that tonight protect them not only from the driving Glasgow rain, but from looking as weathered as some of their 90s contemporaries (see blasted Suede man Bret Anderson for evidence…). Playing a mix of old songs and new, their cut-and-paste sound isn’t well suited to their sober 7pm set time, and the band seem keener to get the job done and than to entertain the ABC’s steadily amassing crowd. The old organs and that they play are cool though. [PJM]

Toro y Moi seem to be suffering from the Art School’s less than impressive PA system, and despite a valiant amount of arm waving in the sound engineers direction the band’s set is cloudy and indistinct from start to finish. Main man Chazwick Bundick no doubt intends for his floaty vocals to wash out across the crowd over the lush keyboards and the disco bass, but the end result in more garbage than groovy, although it doesn’t stop some eager punters from doing what they can to get their freak on. [PJM]

Like an infernal union between Bettie Page and Norman Bates, there’s something innately disturbing and yet faintly erotic about DeSalvo’s depraved performances. Arch terror-meister p6 is on alarmingly good form this evening, joining a bewildered crowd for some face-to-face intimidation, indulging in acts of energetic frottage with inanimate objects and culminating in a shaving-foam lathered session of auto-erotic display, his vile utterances given apt soundtracking by Allan Stewart’s technical yet concussion-inducing blasts of six-stringed fury. It’s like a childhood trauma given a voice, and it’s using that voice to seduce you into performing unimaginable acts. [DB]

It speaks volumes about Warpaint’s rise over the last year that they can top the bill at the ABC, effectively making them the big ticket headliners for the whole event. There’s a sense of tingling anticipation in the heaving venue and the band effortlessly demonstrate why they’re worthy of the acclaim and the slot. Holding it all together is imperious bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg who ensures songs like Bees shake the entire building. The biggest cheer is reserved for Undertow and when they finish on a pounding, rhythmic jam, the only disappointment is that they didn’t play for longer.  [SL]

Anglo-Japanese noiseniks Bo Ningen may have released an album that seeped spiritual fervour, but in these tiny confines they resemble nothing less than a band of oni, gaunt and ragged spectres that jerk across the stage with the abrupt movements of marionettes. Their acid-soaked meanderings have been largely eliminated and replaced with hyperactive garage-rock, Koroshitai Kimochi painting a deliriously demented picture thanks to Kaigen’s frantically yelped vocals and wide-eyed exuberance. Closing with the sublimely unbalanced Triangle, they summon their final reserves of energy for fifteen minutes of thrashy, unpredictable instrumentalism and free-form nuttiness that mark them as an endlessly inventive live act. [DB]

After a two and half year absence, curiosity about Glasgow’s Sons and Daughters is running high. Where have they been? What’s been keeping them? Can they still cut it? The four-piece choose to answer the questions with a barrage of new songs from forthcoming record Mirror, Mirror. The result is lukewarm at best, many onlookers standing stock still as Adele and Scott duet over the minimal electronic drums and sample swirl of Silver Spell. Other new material is met with the same questioning response, and it’s only when the band revert to the ‘hits’ – such as they were –  like Dance Me In or Rama Lama that the crowd start to easy up. Though in truth even those old tunes are ring rusty, the band needing to sharpen up some to truly reclaim the live glories of old. [PJM]

After their recent support slot with The View, Jack Townes may now be getting used to bigger and brighter things but in the dim confines of Captain’s Rest they seem perfectly at home, plying their audience with a vigorously upbeat take on punk that tamps down the excess with a base of mod-lite rock’n’roll and stylish guitarwork. Though not helped by a crowd that fills and thins out seemingly at random, they deal with it with a skill and maturity that belies their novice nature, delivering half an hour of quality entertainment. [DB]

DELS aka rapper Kieren Dickins is another man who looks like he’d rather be somewhere else, or maybe that’s just part of the big lad’s non-committal stage shtick. His music is a mixture between post-Justice synth squelch, intelligent rhymes and beats delivered with pin point accuracy from best drummer to grace the art school stage that night. DELS is at his best when he closes his eyes, more like a folk singer of old than a big boy rapper, and lets the flow of the words unfold into something that owes as much to beat poetry as to hip-hop. The message behind the words, as in standout track Shapeshifter, is playful and clever.  [PJM]