Mono

Sacred Paws, Ela Orleans and Current Affairs at Mono, Glasgow, 27 January 2017

Summer comes to Glasgow on a chilly January night. Mono's packed and there's a buzz in the air. Current Affairs (formerly Seconds) have a touch of the goff about them, in look and sound (think Banshees, The Cure, Joy Division, The Smiths, Magazine) but the determined grind of their rhythm section gets the blood going and they've melodies in spades. It's a compelling start to a flawless evening of live music.

Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Instead of taking us down the infernal paths she has followed of late, Ela Orleans opts to take a detour through especially hypnotic deep cuts from her back catalogue, bringing to mind a more ethereal Suicide and hints of later Coil at points. It's no mystery why Orleans has become a key figure in the Glasgow scene in recent years, the journeys she takes you on are never anything less than transportive, even when the set is deliberately more low-key than usual.

Ela Orleans

Ela Orleans

Ela Orleans

They crowd are really raring to go now and they aren't disappointed. Two versions of Sacred Paws play tonight, alternately -the core guitar, drums and dual vocals of Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers, and a special five-piece version with additional guitar, bass and keyboards (provided by Lewis Cook of Happy Meals). Both are brilliant. You can hear their previous band Golden Grrrls in the sound, with a heavy dash of The Raincoats (who they played a few gigs with last year) and West African highlife. It's a heady mix, and just what we all need right now. What happens in Mono tonight is a coming together of people, and their respective genders, sexualities, colours, ages and countries of origin are inconsequential. They're together, in this amazingly uplifting music. This gig is the anti-Trump, the anti-May, the anti-Brexit. There's no anger in it, grins abound. It's how things should be all the time. And it proves it's possible. And it's pretty easy, at that. A night worth remembering, in more ways than one.

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws' debut album Strike a Match is out now on Rock Action.

Photos by Erika Sella. Text by Andrew R. Hill.

Dispatch: Ultimate Painting, The Bellybuttons and Vital Idles at Mono

Mono is barely at half capacity when Vital Idles take to the stage at Mono on Friday night, and more's the pity - they steal the show. Featuring former Golden Grrrl Ruari MacLean on bass, Vital Idles have a scratchy, garage-y vibe (some kind of loose triangulation of Flying Nun, Slumberland and 53 & 3rd), a droll coolness, an understated intensity.

 Not many bands can pull off a Smiths cover, but they make 'Jeane' their own and it isn't even the best song in the set, not by a long shot. They're into the music, and they don't give a fuck if you're even listening - you should, of course, because 'vital' is an entirely apposite descriptor.

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The Bellybuttons have a tough act to follow, but they have a certain free-and easy swagger about them that makes them easy to like (they also appear to have the happiest bass player in the world). They sound a lot like Pavement, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but a relatively long set renders proceedings more samey than they ought to be.

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By the time Ultimate Painting take to the stage, the venue is rammed. They are the obvious professionals of the night, everything is very together, and that's understandable given Jack Cooper and James Hoare have toured so much over the last few years with their different bands (Mazes and Veronica Falls/Proper Ornaments respectively). It's frustrating to listen to a set where all the songs are the same speed (mid-tempo), especially when they have so much potential. They have a great sound and melodies in spades - how couldn't they given their pedigree? - but there's a lack of dynamic variation and a certain spark, an energy, that they could do with carrying across from their other bands. Their potential is massive, but they need to remember to shift gear every now and then.

Photos by Erika Sella. Words by Andrew R. Hill.

Record Store Day: Vic Godard & Subway Sect’s ‘Caught in Midstream’ 7” and Vic Godard & The Sexual Objects live in Mono, Edwyn Collins, and more…

20 April is this year’s Record Store Day, the day of the year that music fans and musicians celebrate their love of those most wondrous spaces – independent record shops. Since 2007 the event has grown and grown, with record shops across the world opening their doors (often early) to incredibly lengthy queues, hosting in-store performance and offering exclusive releases.

This year’s exclusive releases are of a particularly high standard (a full list can be found on the RSD website)  but one that has particularly caught our ear is Vic Godard’s Caught in Midstream 7”, produced at West Heath Yard by Edwyn Collins compatriot Seb Lewsley, and released on Collins’ label AED Records. Both sides of the 45 come from the sessions for the follow up to 1979 Now (the follow up to 1978 Now) a future release of another ‘lost’ Subway Sect album that saw them in their influential (but largely undocumented) Northern Soul phase.

Godard will also be playing a special set of Velvet Underground songs for RSD at Mono in Glasgow with the inimitable Sexual Objects. World Peace and Ela Orleans are also playing and Deena E. Jacobs, David Barbarossa, Jenny Rollo and The Brogues will be DJ-ing throughout the day.

On a related note, Edwyn Collins will also be releasing a 7” with The Heartbreaks for RSD, and all of Orange Juice’s wonderful LPs are to be re-released on vinyl for this celebratory day. Collins is currently on tour and is in fine fettle, as we can attest to, having seen him at Glasgow’s ABC last night. Tears may have been shed.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re into, independent record shops are important for so many reasons, get along to your local (or locals) tomorrow if you can, even if it’s just to get reacquainted with that smell (you know what we’re talking about).