08 April 2011

Scott Hutchison(Stereo), FOUND and The Seventeenth Century(Oran Mor) - 30/3/11

Those who organise the Miller Unfiltered Music/any Miller-sponsored events appear to have a knack for booking great gigs on the same night as other cracking line-ups elsewhere. This has often meant that I’ve had to leave early to get along to another venue somewhere and it happened yet again tonight. In Oran Mor, FOUND and The Seventeenth Century were supporting Bombay Bicycle Club, whilst over in Stereo, Scott Hutchison was playing a fundraiser for the Japanese earthquake/tsunami. The Peenko and myself left before Bombay Bicycle Club’s set, but having had a listen to their music since, I don’t think we missed too much.

First up in Oran Mor were The Seventeenth Century. We missed the beginning of their set due to the huge queue outside, finally getting inside just before Banks Of Home begins. The set has an persistently dark tinge, with repetitive melancholic melodies building up layer upon layer underneath soaring harmonised vocals till it all reaches a thunderous cacophony. Their sound is, and I’m sure they’ll have heard this before, reminiscent slightly of Gulag Orkestar-era Beirut which is certainly no bad thing. Young Francis, from the debut EP, is superb. The band shift effortlessly from a grandiose combination of legato violin lines, military drumbeats and lush harmonies into near silence, permeated only by Mark Farmer’s drawn out vocals and a finger-picked acoustic guitar. The closer, Notes, is similarly stunning, its frantic crescendo rounding the set off perfectly.

Up next were FOUND. There’s just something amazing about this band. They simply cannot be pigeonholed into any particular genre, appearing to have created a sound entirely of their own. The exceptional Machine Age Dancing, for example, is like The Jesus and Mary Chain and the better moments of The Big Pink crossed with The Dirty Projectors. Yet Blackette sounds a little like The Beatles fathered a child with a Different Class-era Pulp B-side and gifted him a bass fuzz pedal for his birthday. You’re No Vincent Gallo is a highlight, with its psychotic garbled guitar riffs and humorously cutting lyrics - the protagonist meets a potential lady-friend who tells him that despite being ‘no Vincent Gallo’, he’ll do. Not that her opinion of him matters however, as it turns out she’s ‘no Betty Mabry’ so it would never work anyway. Their set is a wonderfully weird half hour of mentalness, make sure you see them at some point or at least listen to their debut album, Factorycraft.

We quickly departed Oran Mor before we got trampled by the youngsters barging their way towards the front for Bombay Bicycle Club (jeez, I’m only 21 and I’m calling them ‘youngsters’…) and headed over to Stereo for Scott Hutchison. Despite it being a solo gig, he was uncharacteristically sober. The good thing about Hutchison’s solo acoustic gigs is the unstuffy, relaxed nature of it all. Where the atmosphere at some acoustic sets may seem stifled and formal due to their intimate nature, Hutchison’s sets are relaxed affairs, interspersed with humour and crowd interaction. In fact, it’s these humorous interjections which provided the most memorable moments of the evening. For example, during Nothing Like You, Scott breaks off in the middle of the song to explain to us that he has always wanted to ‘palm-mute’* the chorus, having not palm-muted since he was 15. He then proceeds to play the song again but this time palm-muting the power chords with one hand and giving the devil horns with the other.

Other highlights included a rare dusting off of Snake**, throughout with Hutchison provides a hilarious line-by-line explanation of the song. Turns out it’s not about his penis but rather about a draught excluder which is called ‘Snake’, which he and ‘midnight organ girl’ owned before she moved away to New York. A few guests join him onstage at various points, among them his bother Grant and Frightened Rabbit member Gordon Skene, as well as Twilight Sad singer James Graham - who joins in a messy but enjoyable rendition of Hall and Oates’ classic Private Eyes. Scott Hutchison is always fantastic, full band or not, and tonight is no different. And, as always, Keep Yourself Warm finishes off the night perfectly. There’s really not that much that can beat 300 people singing in unison about getting their hole, right?


* A palm-mute is a guitar technique commonly used in rock/pop-punk music that gives a sort of chugging sound. Although my favourite example of this technique is at the start of Bryan Adams’ Summer of 69.

** I’d like to apologise to any Frabbit fans I’ve annoyed in the past few years by continuously shouting out for Snake at just about every Glasgow/Edinburgh gig they’ve played. I’ve heard it now so I can die happy.

1 comment:

  1. I can confirm that by leaving before Bombay Bicycle Club you didn't miss out on anything good.