Hitting the trail once more

It takes a lot of hard work and effort to put together and promote one night with a couple of bands so you have to be mad to arrange an all-day event across 5 venues and more than 30 acts. Then again, when you have enjoyed the sort of run that TenementTV has in 2014, you probably think that you can turn your hand to anything.

The latest Tenement Trail was a resounding success and the fact that the reviews that are tumbling forward of the event are showcasing so many different acts indicates the strength in depth of the line-up. Some people will have been unhappy about some of the clashes over the course of the day, which is unavoidable for any music event of this nature, but it’s far better to focus on the qualities and positive elements of the event, of which there were many.

Vladimir
It wasn’t even 4pm and Vladimir produced a dark and atmospheric show that was almost a set of two halfs. The first half of the set featured a number of slow builds but the cover of Born Slippy was the turning point with the second half of the set being faster and, if possible, louder. I’d caught Vladimir in the same venue back in the Spring and the band seemed a lot more confident and on form at this point. The early start didn’t spook them and the venue was far busier for this show than their previous Glasgow performance, which probably pushed them to a higher level.

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Deathcats
With songs about poppers and feelings of tiredness from being up about silly o’clock to Skype your girlfriend in New Zealand, Deathcats certainly have a rather unique feel about them. Musically, they were excellent, delivering the sort of deliberate chaos that would be horrific in the wrong hands but comes across as fresh and daring here. As the band stated themselves, it was an early stage time, but there was a big crowd and it was a set that would have graced any evening down in Sleazys.

You’ll also find that the Deathcats deliver quite enjoyable chat from the stage so if you are looking for a chaotic and enjoyable evening out, looking out for this name of the gig listings will provide you with plenty to look forward to. When you have the guitarist jumping into the crowd before 5pm, you know that you’re watching a band that doesn’t bother with conforming to the standard rules and expectations.

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Blood Indians
Three bands in and two of them were hailing from Dundee, the East Coast was threatening to take over the West. As you would expect, a lot of the same faces from the Vladimir gig, on and off stage, were present in Flat 0/1 for the show and with the greyness of the day rolling in through the window, the Blood Indians set was good, although perhaps a little bit subdued.

The band were hampered with a sound that didn’t quite seem cut out for them, although the last song of the set was treated to a lush production which managed to work quite well. Even from a set that didn’t seem to have the best sound on offer, it was fairly obvious that Blood Indians have got a number of good songs in their arsenal, which means that they’ll be worth returning to at a later date.

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Whether that is in Flat 0/1 remains to be seen though! In fairness to the venue, they had Joker IPA on tap, which is always a welcome sight but upon asking for a cider for one of our party, seeing a pint being poured from a 3 litre bottle of Frosty Jacks was a bit unsettling! I think it’s been at least half my lifetime since I had gotten that close to a Frosty Jack and even at that it was never explored without the addition of some blackcurrant. Still, it wasn’t for me, I had my Joker so I was alright (Frosty) Jack, which meant I simply passed over the pint tumbler to the cider drinker and let the scene unfold. I believe the recipient got their revenge on me later on in the same venue when they bought me a sambucca. I also ordered a round of Mad Dog but that was just for fun.

TeenCanteen
After what had been a pretty raucous afternoon and early evening so far, it was good to take things a little bit easier with TeenCanteen in Broadcast. The girls have been quietly developing a positive buzz in recent times and their short set suggested that they have a lot in their favour.
Honey remains as fresh and as exciting (while still feeling like a song you have known for years) as it did on first listen and the set closer, Sirens, could quite possibly have been the strongest song of the set, which was promising since it was billed as a new track.

There is probably something to be said for some of the songs having stronger lyrics but then again, with the melodies and harmonies offering a sweet girl-group vibe, it may be that the lyrics blend in perfectly well with the overall mood and feel of the songs. That will be something for individuals to make their mind up on but if you’re looking for a band that will offer you plenty of reasons to smile and be carried away with their music, TeenCanteen are an excellent choice.

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Tijuana Bibles
Switching to the ABC2, while the Buzzcocks were limbering up upstairs in the main venue, certainly took the event to a higher level. From the minute the Tijuana Bibles walked on stage, there was a notable step-up with respect to stage presence and professionalism. Not to say that the previous bands were poor, but they were all acts that felt like they were on the way up and still looking to make their mark. The Tijuana Bibles walked on stage as if they were ready to play in a stadium.

I personally would have liked a few more choruses and a bit more substance from the group but with others in our circle proclaiming them to be the act of the day (by a good distance), they clearly did something right. A well-populated ABC2 agreed with that opinion and there is no doubt that Tijuana Bibles have the swagger and power to reach out to a much larger audience so you’ll likely hear a lot more from them.

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Vukovi
With Hella Good by No Doubt blaring out over the PA before the band took to the stage, you probably had an inkling of what was about to occur. Vukovi delivered an all-out assault with plenty of energy and excitement and if there was one complaint about the set, it was the fact that it flew by too quickly. Not saying that this style of music was completely my thing, but I’d have liked to have heard a good bit more of it to make up my mind about it all.

After having seen a lot of straightforward rock and roll bands during the day, it was good to see someone mixing it up a bit and the energy shown on stage was a big side-step from some of the bands that had been on earlier. Not in any better or worse way, just different. It wasn’t all rock and roll though because in between lead singer’s Janine Shilstone breathless performance, she did ask for permission before clambering up on amps at the side of the stage. Sometimes rock n roll is missing a bit of politeness so that was good to see in amongst the madness of the rest of the gig.

Vukovi aren’t a band that have had to seek out their troubles but it looks as though they’re on a bit of a roll now and they’ve definitely got the sort of sound and style that could take them over the top with a big audience. The thing is, if the music goes over the top, the band members will likely be right behind them, jumping in for a bit of a crowd surf!

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After all that energy, we took a brief detour via Palomino on Bath Street to say hi to some birthday revellers. They had Williams Bros. on draught and they had the Beach Boys and Teenage Fanclub on the stereo, I was fairly happy about that! There wasn’t much time to linger though and it was back into the flat…

Campfires In Winter
At this point of the evening, you are looking for something to shake you up a little bit to keep you going through to the end of the evening and Campfires in Winter certainly delivered. They may look like quiet and unassuming lads but by god they can make a racket. Recent single We’ll Exist was casually placed into the early run of the set but the whole show was strong and my ears are still ringing from it all.

The contrast between themselves and Vukovi couldn’t have been starker but both were great in their own way. The Campfires lads showed that you don’t need to bounce around to create a level of energy and the intensity was slightly at odds with the laidback and cosy surroundings that Flat 0/1 suggests. With a touch of red lighting there was a suitable tint of menace applied to the venue and as we raced to the end of Saturday, the best set of the day, on a day of excellent sets, was put together. If you haven’t checked them out, you should get on board with their post-rocking ways.

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Atom Tree
The night was going to roll on for a few hours more in Flat 0/1 with Atom Tree technically being the start of after-party before the DJs got a hold of things. The venue was starting to get quite crammed and a delay to the start time meant that I never really caught much of Atom Tree as we were moving on to meet up with other folk. The two songs I did catch sounded good, and from what I heard of them beforehand meant that I’m sure the set would have carried on in the same vein but sadly that will have to wait until another time.

And the same can be said for the Tenement Trail but from the feedback on the day and on social media since then, there is certainly going to be the demand for another one. That was 7 full sets I caught over the day and enjoyed every one of them. Everyone has their own approach for these sort of events and while some folk prefer to jump in and out seeing as many snippets of acts as possible, I prefer full sets and just having to accept the fact that you miss some brilliant bands. I even missed out on one of the venues, not making it to Tuts, meaning that my bingo card wasn’t complete…but not to worry, there’s always the Tenement Trail 2015 to give it another go.

All the pics on here are credited to Craig Mathison who still hasn’t got around to setting up that website of his but he can be followed on social media…and on the streets if you time it right.

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