The Pictish Trail / Haystack Monolith – Clark’s, Dundee – Wednesday 12th April 2017

I’ve always enjoyed the Pictish Trail live so, even though it was another gig on another school night, I made the short hop over to Clark’s to see Johnny play with a full band for the first time in Dundee, having missed his two previous shows.

And it turned out to be a very good decision indeed. It was a fun show from start to finish.

Whilst Pictish seems to get a lot of the indie folk label I wouldn’t say there was too much folk on display at this show. Instead there was a mix of chilled beats, the odd trancey section with a dash of rawk thrown in.

Yep. Rawk. If you’ve got Joe Cormack, Suse Bear and Iain Stewart in your band they’re going to cut loose at some point. So the likes of ‘Lionhead’ from ‘Future Echoes’ had a real kick to it whilst ‘Easy With Either’ also found a new energy live.

Even the quieter songs didn’t always stay quiet – the likes of ‘Michael Rocket’ was typical in that there was an extended dance groove tacked onto the back end of the song.

Highlights? The great ‘Dead Connection’ was dispensed with early on but there was still the likes of ‘Winter Home Disco’ and ‘The Handstand Crowd’ to come.

Johnny was in fine form too – culminating in a spectacular knee slide in the gap between the crowd and the stage.

Pictish preparing to knee-slide in Dundee

Rather than leave the stage at the end of the set, the band prepared for the encore with, frankly, the most pathetic attempt to “hide” on stage I’ve ever seen. But, after they stood up again to play,  there was no hiding the groove as the band went on full-on disco to back Johnny’s falsetto vocal on a version of the Silver Columns song ‘Brow Beaten’.

So, as suggested above,  this really was a fun show, but there was something else which was good about it too – it was a long one.

Pictish has so much material to chose from he comfortably managed to fill a 90 minute set with quality material. When many of his contemporaries often choose to play no more than an hour, it was refreshing to get that sort of set. I mean, if you’ve got the songs then why not go for it?

Support came from Newport’s Haystack Monolith.

For the uninitiated, Haystack is Mark-from-St-Kilda-Mailboat’s solo guise. The set was along similar lines to that at the Rio Centre a few months back although the final Haystack Monolith theme seemed to have been transformed into a rap.

It was thoroughly entertaining and the perfect warm-up for the main act.

The photos with this review are out-takes from the main set of photos, the best of which can be found here.

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