A full gallery of Julia Stryj’s photos of the show can be found here
Working in the financial world has many drawbacks. One of them is never finishing on time, especially at the beginning of the month, so I expect to barely make Sons & Daughters‘ gig in Glasgow. Luckily fate shines kindly on me and I make Glasgow in good time even though I finish work late. Pity the venue itself is hidden in a side street in the west of the city resulting in me missing opener Beerjacket.
Once I find the bar and meet up with Muso’s photographer Julia, I find a nice spot at the side of the stage and get comfortable for support band She’s Hit. The five piece from Glasgow shamble onto stage, with the drummer remaining standing in Glasvegas fashion. That worries me right off as I’m not a fan of Glasvegas. Seconds into their first song though, my fears are allayed. They sound great. To my ear there are hints of Iggy Pop, The Dandy Warhols and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Singer David Wilson hides behind his fringe and belts out his lyrics. The sound doesn’t really do him justice as subsequent listens to their album have shown. It doesn’t stop them though, quite literally at times. I think it’s three songs before they actually stop the music in-between and only once or twice they actually stop the music between tracks. It really is an impressive set and the crowd seem to enjoy it.
The venue is beginning to fill up by the time She’s Hit leave the stage and become part of the audience themselves. The hardcore fans squeeze themselves against the barrier about two feet from the front of the stage as Sons & Daughters emerge from a small door set in the side of the stage. They are about ten minutes later than the stage times posted throughout the venue, making a mockery of my speedy trip along the M8 from work, but once opener ‘Silver Spell’ has come to its conclusion I’ve forgiven them. I’m even willing to forgive Scott Paterson his jacket with dead fox attachment.
As the band progress through their set, I stand guard over photographer Julia’s bag while she braves the front of the stage to get some shots of the band. The packed audience are something of an enigma. As I reflect on the pounding drums and screeching guitars of ‘Gilt Complex’, I’m a bit confused as to the lack of emotion from the crowd. Sons & Daughters are no shrinking violets when it comes to music and the audience on the whole are polite but restrained. The band do elicit a laugh from the audience though, displaying a sense of humour by making a quip about needing Google Maps to find the elusive venue. They aren’t far wrong…
Back to the business of music though and ‘Breaking Fun’ sounds immense in the tight space of SWG3. The bass guitar and drums of Ailidh Lennon and David Gow are fantastic, while the vocals from Scott and Adele are excellent too. This is one tight band. The dead fox is discarded, which doesn’t surprise me as it’s getting warm and I’m not jumping around like Scott. Adele, resplendent in a silver cape, red feather boa and snazzy hat is strutting around the stage as the band launched into ‘Orion’. The bass thrums in my chest and the guitar shimmers delightfully before the song goes into a prolonged instrumental passage that ends abruptly. Fantastic stuff and the crowd appear to be waking up. Especially the energetic drunk down at the front pumping his fist to every song who amuses me in that disturbing way drunks at gigs do, while I ponder where in the set ‘Rose Red’ will come.
I’m hearing the latest album Mirror Mirror in a whole new light tonight. Not every band manages it, but when you hear the bulk of an album live and you think it sounds better, that album is changed forever on subsequent listens. Sons & Daughters manage this with room to spare. All the new material sounds great and they even manage to wheel out the typewriter for ‘Ink Free’, which Adele plays (can you play a typewriter?) expertly. The crowd are still in a strange mood, with an overheard “She’s really like Stevie Nicks” being one of the more amusing comments. If being a female singer wearing a hat is enough to be likened to Stevie Nicks then she’s her absolute double. While I’m on the subject of overhearing things at gigs, in the latter stages of the show I overhear the band now and again. Why do people have to hold conversations at ear splitting volume three feet from me? Can’t it wait? Why did you pay to see a band if you’re just going to shout at each other? Anyway, I digress.
As the gig progresses everyone is beginning to sway more and heads are nodding. Even the sound engineer at stage left appears to be dancing along behind his desk. The band are that good. Special praise has to go to Adele as she has to keep swallowing a throat remedy. Rather than being some hopeless addict she does explain that dust has affected her throat, hence the antibiotics between songs. You wouldn’t know though as her voice is sounding great. Mention must also go to Scott’s vocal performance too. He may be slight of build but he has the voice of a mountain. It’s big and bold and fills the venue very well. Penultimate song ‘Johnny Cash’ fairly rattles along, with the band giving it everything. Bassist Ailidh even manages a splendid little shuffle back and forth on the stage. The conclusion of the song is met with screams of joy from the audience, myself included but I’m worried. The standout track of the latest album hasn’t been aired yet and while it seems a no-brainer that it will be played I’m still worried. I’ve been let down by bands before (looking at you New Order – still waiting to hear ‘Blue Monday’ from that gig in 1990).
A one man riot is narrowly avoided as the thumping beat of ‘Rose Red’ kicks in. Adele prowls the stage and the song sounds spectacular. The bass guitar and drums are truly wonderful and impossible not to nod a head or tap a foot to. A great gig is ending with a great song. Only downside is there’s no encore from the band but after a pretty flawless set it’s hard to complain. As an added bonus the photographer’s bag is still beside me, which is just as well as a Pavement CD I loaned her is in there. The night has been a roaring success all round and to celebrate I buy myself a copy of She’s Hit’s album on the way out. A good night all round if I can only navigate my way through the back streets again to find the M8.