I Can’t Dance To This Music 4 (featuring Randolph’s Leap, Ette, James Yorkston, Spare Snare, Kathryn Joseph, Book Group and Life Model) – Maryhill Community Hall Centre, Glasgow- Saturday 8th October 2016
It had been so long since we’d seen Randolph’s Leap in person that we bought tickets for the fourth instalment of ICDTTM before we knew anyone else on the bill. That it turned out to be the best one so far in terms of the a really varied line-up was a nice surprise.
What wasn’t such a surprise was that the sound was a little short of perfection. That’s always the risk when you play more unusual venues and the echoey nature of the room probably didn’t help.
The impact was probably more pronounced on same bands compared to others but it didn’t really detract from the event so let’s say no more on the subject.
Unfortunately we missed Adam Ross’s opening solo slot and, in fact, also the start of the first band Life Model too.
For some reason the name had some connotations of Britpop for me which turned out to be well off the mark. I’ve seen dream-pop and noise pop applied to the four piece and on the evidence of Saturday’s performance I’d say they’re pitched somewhere between the two.
But they were really enjoyable and I’m off to explore their releases to date. Undoubtedly the surprise package of the day.
Very much NOT the surprise package of the day were Book Group who sprinted through a set built up principally from the ‘hits’. They were clearly not as well known to everyone in the audience but I know for a fact that they made new friends.
The only full set I’d previously seen from Kathryn Joseph before had been a spellbinding, solo performance as regular percussionist Marcus Mackay was unable to play. I was really surprised just what a difference Marcus makes to the live set and this was definitely a performance elevated from last year’s Baubles set.
Although Agnes Obel would be a natural comparison I was very much reminded of Kristin Hersh, if she only played piano rather more often than guitar. And ‘The Bird’ has got to be one of the best, if not THE best, Scottish songs of the last couple of years.
One tea break later and it was time for Spare Snare. The Snare took a similar approach to Book Group by fitting as many songs as they could into their allotted time. So there was no room for ‘Spot The Difference’ but regulars such as ‘Stop Complaining’, ‘Super Slinky’ and ‘A Matter of Fact’ were present and correct.
As established on their recent joint tour of the Highlands, the set was brought to a conclusion with a version of ‘Bugs’ which included backing vocals from assorted Leapers. And here’s the video to prove it!
Curiously it was my first time seeing James Yorkston perform and he illustrated the eclectic nature of the bill perfectly by following on from the far rowdier Spare Snare. As much raconteur as singer in person his sad songs were to the taste of most present and definitely found a new fan in the shape of Mrs MPT.
Ette were another band I knew little about and after they opened with the one song I had heard (‘Attack of the Glam Cheerleaders Parts 1 & 2’) I was into completely uncharted territory. What we got was an energetic set of electronic rock’n’roll with lots of good vibes. Didn’t like them quite enough to buy the vinyl but will definitely be investigating the download.
It would be wrong to forget the various comedians dotted throughout the event with Richard Brown perhaps the stand out performer. However it would be wrong to ignore Niall from Spook School’s remarkable feat of setting an unofficial world record for catching a wildberry Skittle in his mouth in one of the most dangerous stunts you’re ever likely to see at an indoor mini-festival!
With the show (inevitably) running late, they played at a ferocious pace with a couple of older tracks (‘Real Anymore’ and ‘Nature’) making returns. I confess that I’d thought that they’d dropped ‘Real Anymore’ because they simply couldn’t play it any faster but with new(ish) drummer Adam on board they seem to have found an extra gear for that one. Ramones-esque..
If the opener was the fastest tune of the night it was still a while before they slowed things down even a little with ‘Weatherman’ and ‘I Can’#t Dance …’. So in common with the other sets it was something of a greatest hits set with fewer tunes from the new record than I might have expected (although that could of course be down to the rapidly approaching curfew.)
Regardless I’m going to do my best to make sure that it’s not 18 months before we see the Leap play again and whenever it is, we’ll certainly look forward to the next ICDTTM.