Live Review – Tenement Trail 2016

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The temptation with these one ticket multi-venue events is to race around Glasgow trying to catch as many bands as possible. If we catch the first ten minutes of band X we can run down Sauchiehall Street and catch the last ten minutes of band Y. Well not today my friends. We’ve got our plan in place and we’re sticking to it and it allows plenty time between bands for a drink or two. What we love about days like this is the massive variety on offer, the experiences of each gig-goer likely to be different to the next. The whole event appears to be extremely well attended, the atmosphere is lovely in every venue. The whole thing is testament to how strong Glasgow is as a musical city, something that event organisers Tenement TV do a wonderful job of supporting and the Tenement Trail is their flagship event. So let’s get involved.

It’s early, 2:30 pm but it might as well be midnight in the basement of Nice n’ Sleazy where Emme Woods is kicking things off in fine form. Emme and her band produce music with an alluring sway to it. Sultry guitar tones brilliantly backed with trumpets, double bass and piano but it’s Emme’s voice that stands out. It’s a burning, soulful voice and her songs show it off in some style. Recent single ‘I Don’t Drink to Forget’ is a highlight as is a gorgeous flowing cover of ‘God Only Knows’. In her closing song Emme sings ‘it’s my party and you’re not fucking invited’ but she’s only kidding you know, the room is packed for Emme’s party and everyone seems suitably smitten.

Emme Woods
Emme Woods

Up next in the same venue are American Clay and in stark contrast to Emme Woods, volume is the winner here. American Clay play intricate indie rock and they do so with an expertise that’s mind boggling. The quieter parts of their loud-quiet-loud dynamic are slightly overpowered by the sheer noise today but melodies sometimes can’t be bogged down and they fight their way to the front. Half a dozen or so songs fly by before they close with the brilliant ‘Talk’ from their recent Happenstance EP. If you’re a fan of 90’s US alternative rock American Clay are essential, they do it better than anyone else.

American Clay
American Clay

For something completely different we head to the Art School to catch Teen Canteen who are riding the success of their recent debut album on local label Last Night From Glasgow. Tonight they sparkle, their gleaming pop songs pack more hooks and melodies than most bands of this ilk could ever dream of. Lead singer Carla has a gift of a voice, she seems born to perform perfect pop songs and she’s supported by melting harmonies from her bandmates. Whilst it’s not the kind of music that would often feature in the pages of Overblown it’s impossible to deny the magic touch these girls have at their fingertips.

Teen Canteen
Teen Canteen

Similarly Be Charlotte may struggle to find her way on to my turntable but she’s certainly going to be on many, many others. The much hyped local act draws a big crowd to the Art School and she’s clearly got bags of talent to spare. I’m completely distracted during her first track by some quite jaw-dropping robotic dancing from her stage guest. Charlotte proudly shows off her new pink 7″ single (LNFG strike again) from the stage and the song from that single ‘Machines That Breathe’ is a set highlight along with the closing track, the name of which I’ve completely forgotten. Be Charlotte sounds at her most vital during the upbeat tracks where the beats and her rapping / singing stand out the most. Not quite my thing but her success seems inevitable and good luck to her.

Be Charlotte
Be Charlotte

If I have a ‘thing’ then that thing is the Breakfast Muff who are playing at Broadcast to a much smaller crowd than they deserve. They sweep through a set of twisting, grinning, screaming punk that’s so good I feel completely overwhelmed and quite frankly could just burst into tears of joy. Glasgow’s had many similar bands over the years but Breakfast Muff have something special which I can’t quite put my finger on. The three beings who make up the band swap instruments constantly and all share vocal duties but no matter what shape they mutate into between songs it’s always just about perfect. They gurn and scream through a set of sublime off’-kilter punk songs and make it look easy. Sometimes it’s throwaway fun but in the closing track the pain is clear to see on Eilidh’s face and the disgust in her voice is obvious as she yells through an attack on what sounds like a scumbag ex. She’s hopping up and down as though she’s literally trying to throw her voice out of her body and smack the crowd in the face with it. I could watch this band forever.

Breakfast Muff
Breakfast Muff

Following that set with The Spook School just makes us feel completely spoiled. They rip their way through a raucous set of great punk pop songs, every one of which is just sensationally brilliant fun. Their guitars are screamingly loud tonight and they seem to have distortion pedals that cause instant satisfaction as soon as they’re stamped on. Songs like ‘Binary’ and ‘Burn Masculinity’ make you want to punch the air in celebration but these songs don’t stand out, every song is equally as good. They’re thrilling, the perfect end to our day.

The Spook School
The Spook School

All that’s left is to congratulate Tenement TV on a brilliant day and we’ve only made it along to six bands across about 9 hours. It’s been six bands of radically contrasting styles and it’s just a tiny taste of what’s been going on across so many of this city’s great venues. It’s been thrilling and exhausting but hey, there’s always time for another drink. Until next year then…

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