The Stag and Dagger Festival still keeps the indie music lovers entertained for a day of up and coming as well as established music, and the main stretch of Sauchiehall St in Glasgow busy on a May Sunday, now in it’s tenth year. There was enough going on throughout the eclectic line up to keep most interested or enthused by music, and clearly by the time we turned up everyone had indulged a little too much in the alcohol and the responses to the music from the crowd had a slight twist.
First to witness were Mancunian band, The Slow Readers Club, with recent album release, Build A Tower, and songs like You Opened Up My Heart on the set, they were all geared up to promote the new record. Classically Mancunian with at times an Ian Curtis vocal and Joy Division sound, it was obvious that it was no Hacienda that was their stage. Unfortunately the poor sound of the ABC venue dominates the gig and although tight it was almost unbearable to witness a band with the talent and the rehearsal time lose out to a disappointing old cinema hall.
Next on the bill was a confident and captivating performance from the Sheffield based four-piece Bang Bang Romeo in the O2 ABC2, headed by lead singer Anastasia Walker whose fantastic vocals suited the epic songs, which had references to Adele. The funky rock n roll was enough to hold the audience’s gaze. A surely much-anticipated debut album is expected soon.
We were then on to the Art School where Protomartyr were mid-set. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, the band have been together since 2008 and have released four studio albums, their latest Relatives in Descent was out in September 2017 after the group signed to Domino Records. Post punk-rock with touches of the Fall and Joy Division, not least due to Joe Casey’s at times angry vocals, they were not a band to jive to, that was for sure. They were, however, a perfect warm up for Wire, who headlined the Art School albeit to a half full room (possibly as Glasvegas were down the road at the O2 ABC?). These punk rock legends who’ve been together forty-odd years still entertain and influence. Their loyal fan base bring in the performance with a drink or two whilst the new attendees wowed at their control and lasting ability.
Solareye, over at the CCA, was a prime example of some intellectual Scottish hip hop, with enough comic references to please the crowd, concluding his set with Raindrops Brainbox. With lyrics like “as predictable as a Vince Vaughn ROM com” there is a contemporary edge to this set, refreshing in it’s style and many stuck about until the end.
The Vegan Leather also entertained the arts venue and their fellow VLs, with a vibrant and electro set that played witness to lead singer Gian boogie over and smash up his own glasses as well as percussionist and singer Marie Collins be cheered on by the fans, “Marie, Marie, Marie f**k”ng Collins.” Energetic, punchy and talented there is room for this band on the Scottish music scene, albeit moments when the vocals could do with strengthening from both.
A late-night show in a packed basement in Broadcast followed where former Amazing Snakehead Dale Barclay and Laura St Jude came together to create a wonderful sound of sleazy rock and roll. Dale’s powerful vocals and Laura’s more ethereal voice combine fantastically to provide a bluesy punk style and a surprise appearance from Lias of Fat White Family on vocals rounded up a raucous finish to Stag and Dagger 2018.