I was just trying to figure out when the last Shoeshine Records showcase for Celtic Connections was. I think it was 2000 but I don’t altogether trust anything I think anymore. So something like 9 years down the ‘pike, it was time to do it all again. The ABC in Glasgow is a great venue, the sightlines are excellent I don’t think I’ve ever been at a show there with bad sound. Seeing an act on a proper stage makes all the difference. For everybody.
Boa Morte (from Cork in Ireland) kicked things off with their soundtratmospheric mood music. Lost a wee bit in translation and even in direction in places for me but they have their moments. The fact that they were playing as people were coming in was a distraction and what they do requires some concentration. And silence, because some of it is very quiet. I guess you could call it post rock with an organic twist.
BMX Bandits set only just seemed to begin when it was done. With most of the songs coming from “Bee Stings”, the eight piece line up literally soared. I heard some people in the lavvies complaining that they should have closed the evening. That kind of controversy is what makes the world go around. “Witchi-Tai-To” was equal parts stunning and mesmerising. It left a massive jag of positive energy in the room. Update - bandits interview here.
It was a surprise to learn that Norman Blake and Euros Child hadn’t done the duo thing in public before. This bodes well for the eventual album that will be delivered from the two, possibly later in the year. Their Simon and Garfunkel vs McGuinness Flint stylings were just the ticket for an inclement January nicht. Closing with a song called (I think) “Cave Dance”, this is a real shapeshifter that goes from being Rockpile via The Beach Boys into a Ron Mael staccato prog via Suicide conclusion. They could fashion a whole EP out of this one alone. The have another show, at the CCA next Saturday (24th). Update - I forgot, the did a great version of "Love Is In Motion" by Michael Brown and Ian Lloyd's Stories.
I hadn’t seen Attic Lights since the opened for the Hacienda Brothers many moons ago. That was the last time I was able to spend time with the great Chris Gaffney so the memory is inseparable. They’ve come a long, long way and the Americana-esque tendencies have given way to distinct west coast (of Scotland) pop. It’s a pretty confident crew that kicks off with their “hits”. Delivering most of their recently release debut album, the presence of a string section (The Cairn String Quartet) really upped the ante. The Lights also performed their take on the Minder theme, “I Could Be So Good For You”, which will grace the new version of the TV show that is about to appear on Channel 5 shortly.
Can’t remember when the last time I saw a four band bill where at least two of them didn’t blow but this thankfully bucked that trend. The icing on the cake was the dj antics of Camera Obscura’s Traceyanne and Carey. Proving that slapping a cd into a desk between sets is an outmoded concept and I know the audience appreciated the human touch. I’d like to go on record at this point to say that I was sold way before they played Arthur Alexander. Andy Dunkley would be proud of you ladies.
You can find photos of all the bands here.