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Evan Dando and Julianna Hatfield – SWG3, Glasgow

Dando and HatfieldIf you were alt in the 90s, it wasn’t Ross and Rachel that was the big love story of the day; it was the first couple of bubblegum grunge who we all wondered about. 20 years later, Gail Richardson sees a reconciliation.

Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield can take a whole generation of people back to 1992 in the blink of an eye.   On Saturday night they attempted to do so at SWG3 in Glasgow.  It was the first time I had visited the venue and I really liked the industrial warehouse setup .

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Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard – Glasgow, Oran Mor

Jeffrey‘Eclectic’ is a cliché in modern music. Journalists pen it about acts for simply speeding up the drum beat, and herald the addition of a string section to an average rock record as if Wheel 2.0 has arrived. Bands strive for it, everyone falling over themselves in the rush to show hitherto-undreamed levels of depth to their work. It never works, merely confirming their status as one-trick ponies trying to master the hula-hoop.

Occasionally, quietly, someone does deserve the epithet though. Jeff Lewis is certainly one of those.

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Stag and Dagger Festival, Glasgow – Various Venues 23rd May

stag-and-daggerFollowing hot on the heels of Hinterland is another boutique festival, the rather interestingly titled Stag and Dagger at the end of this month. Last years event was London-based – snarl, boo, hiss say the regional types – but this year they are taking it on the road, first to Leeds and then to Glasgow. Which sort of pisses on any moaning chips, in our humble opinon.

The line-up looks very interesting indeed – ELM faves Cold War Kids, The Phantom Band, White Denim and Black Lips headline, but there is a lot of strong support on the undercard too, with bands such as Aliens, Cursive and the local legend that is Duglas Stewart and the BMX Bandits. Oh yes.

Throw in The Joy Formidable, Hot Club and our recent hot tips Meursalt and you have a strong reason to go right away, but trust us; if Hinterland taught us anything, it’s that belting at high-speed in a City Centre is a lot more fun than belting at high speed through muddy fields. This is the way the modern festival is going.

Tickets are £16.50, which strike even tight-fisted old us as very reasonable, and are available from here

Brilliantly, it’s a wholly over-18’s event, which is good as I don’t like children. Ah come on, I wouldn’t go to a swing park, they shouldn’t come to pubs. A deal’s a deal.

As usual, we’ll be bringing you exclusive interviews, reviews and photographs from the event. Hope to see you there. Mine’s a large lager.

Happy Birthday to Us! – Extreme Listening Mode is 1

Doesn’t time fly? The world was a very different place 12 months ago when what would soon be the recognisably scary orange and black colour scheme loaded up and Extreme Listening Mode came into being. Since then we’ve seen a lot of changes but what has been undeniable is that ELM has continued to exist. Hey, baby steps and all that.

We came into being after much prodding by the Wookie, our creator and general driving force. The initial name was going to be ‘Left of the Dial’ after the Replacements song, but was deemed to be a bit too archaic to anyone under 30, which was true. If you’ve ever wondered where the phrase ‘extreme listening mode’ came from, it’s in reference to my habit of wanting to play my entire record collection in about 20 minutes. Why listen to songs the whole way through? That’s for girls, frankly.

We initially planned to do album reviews, but that was sort of abandoned as the site developed. The rationale was simply that you could get those reviews elsewhere and quicker. Instead the development was more organic, with the site becoming one of Scotland’s premier sites for live reviews. We’ve reviewed over 100 bands in the last year. Also, the news, rants and pisstakes seemed to go down well and we are great believers in giving the public – the great, unwashed, demanding public – what they want. We’re those type of guys. We’ve also been delighted by the amount of great music that we’ve turned people on to and that they’ve turned us on to in return.

In an Oscars stylee, I’d like to thank our plethora of talented guest writers, and also ScantRegard, Vespertine, Chenks, E-Streeter, Salamander and Mrs. Morrissey. I kid! I kid because I love! Their contributions add another dimension to the place and all of them hate David Gray. That alone marks them out as stellar humans.

Thanks also to our regular commentators such as Whippet, Longman, Bertrand, Dusty, Adrian Mole, Suedehead, Swineshead and the eviscerating wit that is Good God Man, all of who’s splendidly abusive posts make me feel less guilty every time I write something a bit naughty about our bête noir du jour.

Most of all, thanks to the Wookie, without his drive I’d still be talking about maybe sorta kinda possibly doing something, if I could be arsed.

So we’ll keep writing this crap so long as you keep reading it. The plan is as it has always been – we write about what interests us, what excites us, what abhors us. We still tend to go out on gig manoeuvres, so we’ll still be bringing you the quickest and best reviews. And yes, geography limits us, but the fact is if the band sucked in our town, they probably sucked in yours too.

And remember, every time someone buys an Amy MacDonald record, a kitten dies. Just remember that.

ELM

Low – Glasgow Oran Mor

by Vespertine

This was advertised as ‘the Christmas show’ due to the promise to play their new Christmas single and the now legendary Christmas EP first championed by John Peel many years ago. ‘Little Drummer Boy’ even got used in a Gap advert. But…it is November and it is a Monday. Can the Glaswegian audience close its eyes and pretend? The band won’t care I suppose: Mormons don’t celebrate Christmas….

The hall was packed (and decked?) and the reception for the band was warm. The first 35 minutes saw a more or less standard Low set: simple songs that rise above their basic structure and instrumentation and become things of startling beauty. Highlights were ‘Murderer’, ‘Sandinista’ and the awesome ‘When I Go Deaf’. Then came the heckle: “Play the Christmas stuff; that was on the advert, play it.” After being told to f*** off (by me) the girl in question was announced as a ‘prophetess’ by Alan Sparhawk who then brought support act Ida (excellent) back to the stage to augment the sound. I felt both proud of my sterling defence of the band’s artistic expression and yet alos mildly stupid.

The Christmas EP is a thing of great beauty, warmth and humour. It is all great but highlights for me were ‘Take The Long Way Round’ and the lyrically profound ‘If You Were Born Today’:

“If you were born today
We’d kill you by age eight
Never get the chance to say:

Joy to the world and Peace on the earth
Forgive them for they know not what they do,
Blessed are the meek”

Then came the new single, a reggae (yes, honestly) hymn ‘The Coming of Jah’ which skanked in a way I had assumed I’d never see Low skank. Then the awesome, terrifying and wonderful ‘Santa’s Coming’ which works in a way it shouldn’t. A slab of noisy, sparse rock which hopes that Santa doesn’t miss any little children this Christmas. Oh yes.

The band was dragged out for a last encore which was a ramshackle and oddly moving cover of ‘Merry Christmas, War Is Over’ by John Lennon. With events round the world being as they are it worked, replete with sleigh-bells and glorious backing vocals. “War is over, if you want it” is a thought and a half for us all.

I left feeling uplifted and with thoughts of peace and goodwill to all men. Except hecklers and c***s who talk through gigs.

Connect 2008 Special

How do ELMers. The ELM team has just returned home from festive Inverary, where we witnessed a myriad of acts and will praise and sneer at them in equal measure over the week. We can say, with all certainty, that it was incredibly muddy and that Carling really is the devil’s piss.

One little story to whet your appetite; ELM is in the toilet queue when a girl who looked somewhat merry turned to us and said –

Drunk Girl – Who’s that on?

ELM – Spiritualized.

DG – Are they big?

ELM – Reasonably.

DG – Who’s on next?

ELM – Grinderman (recieves blank look) It’s Nick Cave.

DG – Who’s Nick Cave?

ELM – If you don’t mind me asking, why did you come here?

DG – I love Paolo Nutino (sic). That song is magic (starts singing) ‘I’ve had the same jeans on for four days now’.

ELM – That’s The View.

DG – Is it? Do you think he’ll play it anyway?

So there you go. We’ve suffered for this week’s art…..

(We Are) Performance – King Tut’s Glasgow

There’s a great story about R.E.M. when they first started. They literally drove round America, taking any gigs they could. Didn’t matter where, didn’t matter who, just anywhere that would give them petrol money and an audience. And, as Bill Berry said ‘if we played to six people the first time, there would be twenty there the next. And the third time there would be a hundred.’ The point being that if they went, rocked it, and came back then word of mouth would bring in a bigger crowd. A great philosophy. If there is one person out there who paid to see you, give them a show.

So, to (We Are) Performance. They walk onstage to a place about, with a generous estimate, a fifth full. there are mitigating reasons; It’s a Tuesday, there is Champions League football on (indeed the barman tells me there at least 50 sold tickets not picked up.) You could go two ways. You could give the hardy souls who ARE there one hell of a show. Or it could be a bit dispiriting. Credit to (WA)P though – they decide it’s going to be a BIG bit dispiriting.

They kick off with ‘Surrender’ and sound great – all Human League synths and rampaging guitars – before deciding that, if no-one else wants to be here, they don’t either. The singer complains of feeling ill, and copiously vomits on-stage during one of the songs. This is enough for a good section of the small audience, who sensing the enveloping ennui, wisely fuck off to the downstairs bar. The band grow visibly less interested with each number, and then head off ten minutes before the scheduled end, cutting three songs from the set list. If you boast that you are Performance, you better be able to mach schau better than this.

So, teething problems for a young band? Possibly. I don’t want to sound like a rusty ol’ blues man, but son, you gotta pay your dues. it wasn’t about the people who didn’t turn up; it should have been about the ones who did. (We Are) Performance didn’t make any new friends last night, but they lost a few old ones.