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Pale Angels, The Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live


Gigs where you feel you're amongst a privileged few to have witnessed something special, rather than part of a well entertained mass, are few and far between. Seeing Pale Angels play to a criminally small audience earlier this week was though one of those times.

As power trio performances go this was surely up there with the best that Bob Mould et al have pulled off in their time. Racing through a set of tunes from current album Daydreaming Blues as well as its predecessors Imaginary People & Primal Play, this was a tight and visceral show from a band clearly happy to be on the road whether filling halls or playing to a man and his dog.

The trio barely drew breath between numbers, other than to thank folk for turning out on a Sunday in December, battering along as if their lives depended on it (or at least because some heat was needed on stage). In the meaner margins of the indie scene it's the likes of Pale Angels who're slogging away so that you can get the buzz of a life-affirming show in your veins - keep an eye peeled for when they return and get your fix.

In support tonight there was the opportunity to see Lachance play a more compact space than afforded them when in Dundee on the BYAF bills. Not that they don't do the Buskers' stage justice but seeing them in a smaller & more intimate space, allowing for roaming amongst the crowd, along with the bonus of a longer set time, seemed to show them in their most natural light. Tight as ever you'd not have thought they were easing in a temporary drummer.

Having missed new act Bright Notes at the very start of the night things had been kicked off for me by a third viewing of the Joyce Delaney show in 2016. This year's been a bad one in many ways but the Glasgow trio certainly let you know all about how they personally have been messed about by the passing of the last 12 months, all the time laughing it off and being certain that 2017 will be better as they'll make it so. Yet again it proved impossible to disagree with them.


Book Yer Ane Fest X, Buskers/The Firefly, Dundee

  • Published in Live


Apologies in advance as this year's experience of BYAF was truncated due to football rescheduling, meaning none of Friday night's acts were seen - sorry about that.

When it comes to writing about the rest of the event, the tenth of its ilk, one's kind of scuppered to begin with as, having read MTAT leading light Derrick Johnston's history of & thoughts on the festival in the accompanying pamphlet (along with contributions from associated folk from across the Ecossemo & punk scene) it's hard to better what those so intimately & emotionally involved with it over the years have to say. As you've not got access to their heartfelt words though I'll do my best.

This year’s weekender saw the downstairs shows in The Firefly including full bands in the proceedings, rather than just solo acts so the air there was rent by some of the heaviest acts of Saturday’s bill – Carson Wells, The Burnt Tapes, Mug and Aberdoom’s mighty BOAK. Earplugs a must for every set but all to the good as you can’t play that sort of stuff quietly. At other times during the day Canada’s Chris Snelgrove was a good draw down here, as were Glasgow’s Brian Curran whilst Joyce Delaney were as enjoyable as when last seen at Pop South! In January.

Upstairs in Buskers, whilst the insanity of Get It Together’s performance was missed (but easily imagined from the debris), Sink Alaska pulled it out of the bag despite the need for a short notice drummer, Bratakus were an enjoyably cheerful new discovery (along with sporting the finest headgear of the weekend) and Elk Gang, PMX, Bed Of Wasps, Lachance, The Kimberley Steaks and The Cut Ups all turned in absorbing sets. Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man were probably one of the most engaging acts of the event (& certainly the most rubberfaced) with one of the widest ranges in subject matter – Dadaism to Corbyn via Space & good old booze, whilst Billy Liar was an undisputed highlight, especially for the all-star line-up of Paper Rifles, Chrissy Barnacle & Freddy Fudd Pucker which joined him for his final track.  

Closing things out on Saturday came the reunion of ska punkers Joey Terrifying and the ever entertaining old guard of Oi Polloi.

Sunday, as was the case last year, for some reason saw a smaller crowd throughout the bulk of the day but the bands were undaunted. Emo’s usually a description that sets me heading for the door but the Dundeemo of The Barents Sea (reformed just for today & sporting two stand-ins) proved to be one of today’s highlights, the others being Chrissy Barnacle’s full set in The Firefly and yet more emo-tinged stuff from Terrafraid. Bulking things out for me before the last two late nights and another day on my feet took their toll were Salem Street & their Clash/’50s influenced punk, intense sets from Clearer The Sky and XharoldshitmanX, The Sparrowhawk Orkestrel & the brazen cheek of Torturo Nervosa (making it a family show with the drummer’s 15 year old daughter joining on guitar for a number).

Another cracking weekend of punk and more from the MTAT team, amply upholding all they hold dear and benefiting Tayside Mountain Rescue, Insight Counselling and The Royal Life Saving Society in the process.

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