The Old Hairdresser's

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.


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.


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.

Freitags #9

Glasgow's Green Door Studios is one of the country's most exciting recording studios, and they're celebrating their 5th birthday in style at Nice'N'Sleazy tonight! The party consists of a typically eclectic line-up of bands and DJs, including the malevolent disco of Golden Teacher and the marvellously melodic (or should that be melodically marvellous?) post-punk of POST. This special event kicks off at from 20.00 and continues until the wee small hours - entry is only £1 and you get a free CD of recordings made in 2012. If you're in the area, there's no excuse.


In a city that's spoilt when it comes to art galleries, Edinburgh's Fruitmarket continues to challenge and provoke. A new exhibition of theirs is always cause for investigation (and often celebration), and Massimo Bartolini certainly looks to be no exception. The exhibition is free, running from today until 14 April, and there will be a series of talks and events relating to it, including a talk from the artist himself.


Back to Glasgow with a special event happening at The Old Hardresser's on Wednesday (6 February). Nite Flights is "An evening of video and performance curated by Glasgow based artist Michelle Hannah, taking theme from the fractured disco of Scott Walker's Nite Flights [and] features work by local and national artists". Regular readers know how much we love the artist otherwise known as Noel Scott Engel, so to say we're intrigued would be something of an understatement. It's free and runs from 20.00 'til midnight.


Blasted regulars will also know how much we love the lexically dexterous writer, filmmaker, and contrarian Jonathan Meades. So, we were understandably very happy to see him return to our TV screens this week with a new film entitled - in typically drôle manner - The Joy of Essex. It's on the iPlayer now - bear in mind there's only four days left to get your fix. His excellent collection of essays, articles and scripts, Museum Without Walls, is available on Unbound now.