To launch "Smoke", there were three gigs, each featuring bands from the CD. The gigs took place at The 13th Note Cafe/Bar on King Street, Glasgow on the 13-15 of July 2001. See below for reviews.
Ronnie from Nibushi Shang Hong and Caireen from Slowloris both designed posters advertising the Smoke launch weekend. Click on the links below to see the full size images.
Featuring some of the most interesting bands of the Scottish underground, the Smoke: New Sounds From Scotland CD is launched this weekend with a well-stocked trio of gigs. Instigated by Paul McGazz, chief whip in quirky Glasgow pop-doctors My Legendary Girlfriend, the CD was organised to help fiscally challenged unsigned bands gain more widespread exposure. As McGazz explains: "I thought that if we get a bunch of bands together and they put in a little money each, we could put something out on a bigger scale than they could maybe manage on their own."
Although quick to point out that the CD is very much a team effort, the concept was instigated by a suggestion from McGazz on an Internet messageboard. A year later, 19 bands had been collated, including Glasgow post-rockers Aethur Flux, the excellent Late Night Foreign Radio and twinkling Dundee wallflowers Yessa De Paso.
Responsible for shoosing the CD's eclectic line-up, McGazz was keen to ensure strict quality control. "We didn't want to use any Oasis-style bands", he explains. "If you have people like that involved it really makes it look like an ordinary local band thing. We wanted to get the most interesting, worthwhile bands, which I think we've done."
Tonight's show features the manic, near-indescribable Lapsus Linguae and intense rock-boffins Single Point Of Light, while Squander Pilots - who are currently offering aspiring DJs the chance to remix a forthcoming B-Side - roll out their electronica carpets tomorrow night. Sunday's gig, meanwhile, plays host to Late Night Foreign Radio and techno-rockers Transaudio.
Gig 1, on July 13th 2001, featured Lapsus Linguae, Single Point Of Light, My Legendary Girlfriend, Pentothal and Ives.
Some ambient electronica from two guys called Ives. Laid back drum loops, low bases and delayed pianos set the mood nicely to be later increased in size by Kraftwerk style percussion and some 808 State chord structures thrown in for good measure. Smashing!
You wouldn`t expect a band called Pentothal to be so nice and melodic with soft vocals and cut straight laced rhythms, but they are. Some very well arranged and played songs here. Very Nice!
My Legendary Girlfriend are the epitome of the 80`s all meshed together with a dash of BMX Bandits silliness on top. The B52`s and The Human League spring to mind on a few occassions. This band should be the new sensation of our time as they have something for everyone and they play well too! Operation London had that old punk feel to it which had me seeing The Clash dressed up in wild gear (oh isn`t that Sigue Sigue Sputnik). Visually entertaining as well as musically with crazy jokes and dance routines. Fabulous!
A very energetic performancefrom Single Point Of Light. Hard cutting rhythmic rock. Very tight fast drums and guitars, powerful vocals with some synthy cheese on top. Go see them they`ll blow you away!
Lapsus Linguae are wild, wild men! Rhythmic, dischordant, loud, ambient, all in one.Never have I heard such a cocophony of sound since Brian Eno went solo. Robert Fripp would love this band (is he still alive?). It`s crazy but this stuff gets you shaking right to your toes. Marvelous!
Friday saw Midweeker cruise up to the sunny confines of Glasgow for a spot of post-everything bodypopping with your friends and ours LAPSUS LINGUAE. Playing at the 13th Note for the launch of the local 'Smoke' compilation CD alongside the likes of SINGLE POINT OF LIGHT (bold, slashing indie rockers) and MY LEGENDARY GIRLFRIEND (chirpy old school indie tuneage from the bloke who put the whole 'Smoke' caboodle together), Lapsus Linguae remain the same devilishly debonair quartet who rocked Midweeker's world so vehemently a couple of months back. Think Godspeed...! Think Bad Seeds. Think Muse being tortured by sexy punk rock elves. Then put yourself in a steaming Hope & Anchor-style basement in Scotland with a bunch of braying lunatics and wait for the fireworks to start spinning.
Gig 2, on July 14th 2001, had Squander Pilots, Mercury Tilt Switch, Cayto, Greebo and Slowloris.
Gig 3 took place on July 15th 2001 and featured Troika, Kasino, Nibushi Shang Hong and Pulsar.
Best laid plans and all that, but after 2 (apparently) storming launch gigs for this compilation album - with punters turned away at the door such was the appeal of the event - that something just had to give on the closing Sunday show. Fortunately, less by luck and more hard work of the participants, the potentially disastrous problem of a band pulling out FIVE MINUTES before they were due on was duly coped with.
First out of the hat for the random running order was Pulsar - less a band, more one man and his magic piano. Pulsar's track on the Smoke compilation is more of a (big)band thing, featuring the mystery guest of a pub singer from Birmingam and leading to some ill-founded speculation that the silver-throated lothario might well be Vic Reeves. Sadly we shall never know but the gaps are ably filled with an engaging set of piano-vocal pieces - though we'e not talking Elton John here. Songs about Terry Thomas are typical of the set, though a electronic-backed frenzy about "people with computers in their brains" certainly isn't.
Nibushi Shang Hong have enough to cope with given that they are without their regular drummer (Rowan from Nova Express filling in admirably even on the unrehearsed 'encores') but after 20 minutes or so of simply top pop tunes the crowd are more than happy for them to return. Somehow taking all sorts of 'new wave' influences - ranging from Elvis Costello to the Wonderstuff - putting them in a big blender and distilling the brew till the best stuff is left might not be a new approach to music-making, but Nibushi simply create a great feel-good atmosphere which has the now-packed Note dancing now and undoubtedly whistling next day. 'Aqualung' and 'Song in Three Parts' are only part of their armoury of tunes.
Kasino are another band that know a thing or 2 about songwriting and despite having an (almost) all-new lineup they've come back if anything stronger than ever. It's effortless for them to insert the odd acoustic number to the set such is their skill but it's the remodelled stuff like 'You Don't Have To Be Alone' which with its Edgy guitar and stadium-filling sound which turns the Note's tiny basement, for a short time, into Wembley. Goal!
Which leads us to Troika who in a different way are also able to cope with extra time. Not for them building to a climax, the set is turned on its head with an opening number that descends into an orgy of feedback and guitar abuse after a couple of minutes. From then on it's squalls of noise with pop undertones lurking beneath (pop being a common factor in Smoke). 'Insane' is almost an odd contrast with its (comparatively) chilled feel and moody slide guitar, but in this sweaty basement Troika's pounding rhythms march on, the closing 'Camera Track' showing that, pretty much in common with the other 18 bands on the compilation, that the Scottish music underground is as lively as ever. Smokin' in fact. Note: remove last sentence if NME don't take it.