An XpoNorth 2015 preview.
Next week, the city centre sparks to life thanks to the irresistible buzz of Xpo North. In previous years, it has been so buzzy that I have ended up running around with a healthy dose of pixel fever, desperately trying to photograph everything and ending up missing too much. This year I plan to take more time to listen, there were several sets from 2014 that people were talking about for months, Silver Coast, Our Future Glory and Siobhan Wilson to name but three, and all of those acts kicked on to have quite a year.
At one point last year I thought I’d cracked it by settling into The Phoenix for the evening and most certainly wasn’t disappointed with a stellar line-up featuring Eleanor Nicolson, Charlotte Brimner and Dr Wook.
That’s the template I aim to repeat this year, that and tuning into one of the finest aspects of the event, that there really is something out there for everyone; I’m looking to take in acts absolutely new to me, some that I will be seeing for the first time but have been hearing a lot of and, of course, a few that I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen already this year and that I simply can’t resist.
Wednesday evening kicks off for me with a visit to The Great Albatross at Madhatters. I am utterly intrigued to see precisely who is on stage – described as ‘A. Wesley Chung with a revolving door of collaborators and contributors’ the snippets I have heard ranging from orchestral oriented instrumentals to stripped back lyrically rich one man and an acoustic have really caught my attention.
Closely followed by Glasgow based ‘post-pop’ band Monogram, I think the ‘post’ bit is an attempt at misdirection; from the little I’ve heard they sound poppy enough to me. But, I have liked what I’ve heard and I’m willing to be introduced to post-pop. The final two acts of the evening follow each other at The Phoenix and I genuinely have no idea what to expect. First up JR Green who as far as I can tell was an English historian who died in 1883 and to finish off it’s a recommendation from a friend, Declan Welsh. What can possibly go wrong.
On to Thursday evening and my favourite three piece punktastic band of the moment, Garden of Elks who appear on stage at The Ironworks just before the extremely talented Hector Bizerk. Lucky enough to have caught both at Brew at the Bog, and even luckier to be catching them again so soon. Thursday is shaping up to be one helluva night; I’m seriously pleased to have the opportunity to see and hear We came from the north again. This will be a third encounter for me, and this time of the close kind at Madhatters; the previous two shows stayed with me for some time, compelling full immersion instrumental rock of the shoe gazing variety.
Now that will be in complete contrast (from the little I’ve heard) of Finn LeMarinel; really fascinated about the prospect of hearing how compositions I’ve heard on his fb page and elsewhere translate to a live performance. However, prior to that I’ll be downstairs at Hootenannys with a do not disturb t-shirt on for Kathryn Joseph. Her album “Bones you have thrown me and blood I’ve spilled” has just been shortlisted for this years Scottish Album of the Year Award, and it’s an album that has been haunting me for a few weeks now: loving it. I’m prepared to bet that this gig will be one of those we’ll be talking about for a very long time.
After all that, if I still have the energy then it simply has to be The Ironworks for a young woman who is attracting rave reviews and is most folks top tip for stardom in the near future, Kloe. What a way to round of a fabulous programme of events.
Feet don’t fail me now.