Tag Archives: Indie

Brian Jonestown Massacre – Barrowlands, Glasgow

A simple mathematical equation can split the world into two: those who have and those who haven’t seen the Brian Jonestown Massacre live.

The sweltering Barrowlands seemed to levitate as the group worked their way through a quite incredible mammoth 2 hour 45 minute bursting with moments of supreme musical quality.

Front man Anton Newcombe doesn’t things by half, and, sporting white mutton cop sideburns and a hippy shirt, he gave off the feel of a cult leader preaching to his followers under the iconic square tiled Barrowlands ceiling.

Who and That Girl Suicide had the crowd going as the venue started to fill following the early 7:30 start, as the band flooded the venue with jams full of distortion and reverb, reminding fans that when Jonestown, and particularly, Newcome, stay away from freak-out eccentricities or mind bending abstract ramblings, they can nail down an impressive, wide-ranging body of work that is close to psychedelic perfection.

The fantastic Jennifer was followed by rip roaring new tune Groove is in the Heart, before Whatever Hippy Bitch – coupled with a brilliant anecdote about the song’s origin – had the crowd in raptures.

It also saw Joel Gion in fine tambourine and maraca waving form as he soaked up the energy from the animated crowd, his nonchalant on stage swagger taking centre stage as Newcombe seemed content to let the music do most of his talking.

When Jokers Attack kept things moving before Pish and Leave it Alone – both songs off their most recent release Mini Album Thingy Wingy – saw the gig reach a veritable, sedated climax, especially after Pish was cut short as Newcombe berated one of the guitarists for playing the wrong chord, as the crowd were treated to a double dose of what is without doubt one of the best tracks in their extensive repertoire.

Matched only by anthems such as Anemone and Servo, which saw the pints flying as the band took the crowd with them down their own majestic psychedelic rabbit hole.

A truly memorable gig that left no fan short changed.

As the BJM motto goes, Keep music evil.

Frightened Rabbit talk new album ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’

Scotland’s finest exporters of woolly jumper wearing indie rock, Frightened Rabbit, are back after a two year hiatus to clothe us with their signature brand of charming, heart-warming and spirited anthems that keep us the right mixture of warm and emotionally delicate.

With April’s release of their fifth studio album ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ fast approaching, the band are currently knuckled down in a Glasgow studio in rehearsals ahead of a short three date UK tour and subsequent mammoth 29 date North American jaunt.

Band members Andy Monaghan (guitars/keyboards) and Simon Liddell (guitars) took a bit of time out of their schedule to talk about the new album and their readiness to return to the live scene, alongside how Simon’s addition to the band – graduating from guitar tech and live musician to replace Gordon Skeene – has changed their dynamic.

“I guess it’s a combination of looking forward to playing some shows and anxious to play some shows. I mean the set-up has changed, it’s a bit of a new set up, new sounds, new songs, you never know how its gonna go down, as Andy begins.

While Simon adds, “That’s especially true of playing the new songs as well, for me, cause they are the first ones I’ve had involvement in part of the recording of those ones, as much as its fun playing the other ones.”

With the response so far to the release of new singles ‘Death Dream’ and ‘Get Out’ reaching fever pitch, both Andy and Simon seem in high spirits, as Andy mentions:

“We have put out two very different tracks out so far, so people have been reassured hopefully by the first one (Death Dream) and then saw that things are a bit different with the second one (Get Out).

Whereas Simon, in respect to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Death Dream’, says: It was not meant to be like a proper full on single but more like a ‘can u remember us’ thing. I’m sure some people think it’s a pile of shite but if they hate it they are keeping quiet about it.”

Talk then turns to the new record, produced in both Brooklyn and Upper State New York last year during a swelteringly hot heat wave last summer, that saw the band, in between lying down on floors to escape the heat, remove themselves fully from their distinctly Scottish-tinged overcast, drizzle inspired sound and embrace the flips flops, shorts, and bucket loads of ice-cream.

“The record is the same in that (lead singer) Scott’s narrative shines through but it’s a different band. The creation of the record was very different to any of the other records we’ve made and we were trying a few new things as well. So it sounds a bit different but at the same time it is rooted in Scott’s songs. Without that we wouldn’t be Frightened Rabbit,” says Andy.

As to the new things mentioned, Simon offers more: “There is probably a bit of a dip in the tone, a more electronic approach.  I mean it’s not by any means a dance record, there’s just a few more textures in there that would take it a wee bit further away from the normal.”

The addition of a certain ‘electro’ vibe is partly down to Andy, who lists Glasgow’s very own Optimo as one of his favourite musical influences.

“It’s my scene, I’m all about that. Owl John (Scott’s solo album released in August 2014) brought Scott more in line with that sort of approach. I think he felt a bit more comfortable using some synths on some of the demos he was sending over.  I was like, this sounds mental! This is great! This sounds nothing like the old Frightened Rabbit, but it still is to an extent.”

With Scott moving over to Los Angeles in the aftermath of touring Pedestrian Verse, both the distance from the rest of the band – who remained in Glasgow – and the arrival of Simon, brought with it new obstacles and different challenges to face up with. But both Andy and Simon see that as having an ultimately positive effect on the current (new) direction of the band.

It’s totally a 5 way street now,” says Andy.

“There’s like different approaches to different songs. Cause Scott was over living in the States with some songs he would come up with the main body of it himself, while there was others that me and Andy and Billy and Grant would have worked on in Glasgow and sent to him, and then he would kind of add to it. And then there was stuff we had from the writing sessions in a couple of studios in Wales and a bunch of songs came out of that, when we were all kind of the same room, so it was kinda different approaches that all yielded diferent results,” continues Simon.

And with all members of the band keen to step outside of their comfort zones and change things around a bit instrumentally, it made for a rewarding experience, as Andy details.

“There were points like when we were getting to rehearsals and we were like ‘who is playing what here’, maybe Billy wasn’t playing bass he was playing guitar or Simon was on keys, I was on keys, Scott played all the guitars but then It’s like Scott plays the keys and I’m playing the guitars…and it’s like nobody is playing what they wrote in the studio or like live on stage and it was all just like people throwing in ideas and seeing what worked.”

Simon agrees. “Everyone felt comfortable enough when we were writing the album to say they had an idea and put it down, and not be like “you’re not the bassist so don’t touch my bass”.

With that, Simon refers back to the importance Scott’s solo record had on the new Frightened Rabbit material.

“I guess it was like, I mean it was my first time in the studio with the full band but when we did Owl John that was the approach to that was so relaxed, we’d (himself, Andy and Scott) gone into that with nothing so it was a case of having to go into the room and record something, try something.  There were no nerves, so that sort of carried through onto this record.”

He continues, “I think the touring schedule (for Pedestrian Verse) had hit everyone pretty hard so for Scott it was like, I think it was a really positive thing for him u know.  He took all the pressure out of the creative process and it was brilliant.”

Interesting to note is that although ‘Paintings of a Panic Attack’ took the best part of a year and a half to write and record, with the band writing and recording in excess of 30 demos before whittling it down to the 12 that made it on the album, they started thinking about it as soon as they played what was their last show, at Laneways Festival in Australia on the 8th February 2014.

 “The first writing session happened straight away after a festival we played in 2014. We got in a van after the festival and went straight there – to the studio and got started. At that point event Scott didn’t have anything – ‘Lump St’ came from that, ‘I Wish I Was Sober’ was born there and ‘400 Bones’ also, Simon reveals.

Having formed a close bond with The National after touring with them throughout America, it seemed a natural fit that Aaron Dessner would take up production duties, although his methods took some getting used to by the band, as Andy explains.

“He (Aaron) is a very talented guy. It was good. I guess when u put so much energy into something and someone else does the same there is going to be a little bit of friction. We wouldn’t know where he was going with something and he would never reveal his cards and then we would be like ahhh we see, we can see where it’s going. There were moments when we were like hallway through the sessions and we were questioning things, what was going on. But I think it worked out in a positive way.”

On a personal note, the move from guitar tech to fully fledged Frabbit was one Simon speaks volumes about, with a real sense of appreciation as to how things came to be.

“It’s amazing. I mean it was obvious for me as a member as I already playing as a live musician for a few years, the first show being us  playing woodpile on BBC Hogmanay a few years ago with Jackie Bird.  I always felt like part of the group on a personal level. It was always an inclusive thing and it has always been that way so that made it creatively so easy to slot in.”

To which Andy adds, “The internal vibe is different I guess with Simon being around. He is so enthusiastic and on it. It was an easy transition as no one was like ‘who is this guy’. With all the directions the others pull in, Simon pulls us in a different direction.”

With Simon finishing, “I love my reverb”.

And with a hard day’s work in the studio beginning to take its effect on their ability to keep awake, Simon and Andy ended by advising me not to make plans for Tuesday of next week, and to keep my eyes peeled for a show being staged by a band using a name of one of the songs off ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’.

I wonder how long the secret remains a secret.

Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite talks ‘Atomic’

There’s a rumour that Kurt Cobain’s footprint is locked in a safe at the QMU music venue at Glasgow University, a venue which saw Nirvana play a near mythical gig there 25 years ago in 1991.

In attendance that night was a 15 year old Stuart Braithwaite, guitarist with Scottish post-rock aficionados Mogwai. After being grounded for returning home late the previous night, he managed to somehow sweet-talk his parents into allowing him to delay the punishment so he could go see Nirvana play, a memory he recalls freshly as we meet a stone’s throw away from the venue in Glasgow’s West End, 20 years and 9 months to the day since his band, Mogwai, met for their first rehearsal as a band.

Stuart sat down with us to speak about upcoming new release ‘Atomic’, the band’s ninth album of tracks, reconfigured and reworked from the score they crafted for nuclear age documentary ‘Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise’ by Marc Cousins.

In between having to deal with the racket of what looked like the world’s biggest hen party and the close proximity of an amorous elderly couple showing us that romance isn’t dead, Stuart spoke with delight about how the album – the band’s third soundtrack – turned out, before he embarks on a hectic schedule as he prepares to mix Mogwai duties and shows and a debut album release for his new band, Minor Victories.

“I’m gonna have to get some Valium,” his response to his upcoming heavy workload calendar.

“The first Mogwai Atomic gig is two days before the first Minor Victories gig but to be honest it’s pretty good because we (himself and drummer Martin Bulloch) are gonna rehearse with Minor Victories then rehearse with Mogwai, and then I’m doing Mogwai gig in Austria and then Minor Victories is gonna rehearse the night before our London gig.”

With regards to ‘Atomic’, Stuart feels that the work put in – adding muscle and scope to the original film score – has paid off.

“I’m really happy with it, I think it worked out well. The film itself has very separate themes in it. The start of the film is really optimistic and hopeful and inspiring then with certain bits, obviously with the nuclear war stuff is just…,” he says

“We just tried to mirror the mood of the images with the music. I think that maybe helps it work more a bit more like a record”.

He is also positive with initial response tracks like ‘U-235’, ‘Biterness Centrifuge’ and ‘Ether’ have received.

“I think people will like it. I mean I guess the way records come out now I’m sure people can probably hear it before it comes out and see if it’s their cup of tea. I notice its looking like, a lot of people are saying it’s gonna be seen just as another ‘record’. In a weird way maybe like when we’ve put records out that have changed things up a bit and that probably bothers people more you know than straight instrumental music.”

This record is unique in that it was the first not to involve guitarist John Cummings, who left in November last year to pursue other interests. Although he played on the original score, he had no involvement with the record. But according to Stuart, the 4 piece continued as normal.

“We just get on with it,” says Stuart. “Alex [Mackay] who plays with Zyna Hel (the musical moniker of Stuart’s partner Elizabeth Oswell) is playing with us.”

The albums strong subject matter made the recording process a thoroughly emotive one, one that Stuart agrees fed into the record, especially with the band having visited Hiroshima on a previous visit to Japan.

“Yeh defintely that experience plus proximity to the nuclear weapons here,” he says, referring to both the band’s visit to Japan alongside the Faslane Submarine base approximately 30 miles away to the west of Glasgow.

“When we were recording for the film the scene of the bombings in japan was brutal, I mean we were just sitting watching it and it was really emotional. And one of the reasons we did it was because we’d been to Hiroshima and we’d seen like the peace park and all the letters that the mayors written to different countries begging them not to have nuclear weapons. So yeh there’s a lot of real intensity there.”

Fittingly, the band will return to Hiroshima as one of the nine dates so far scheduled for the band to play, one that Stuart feels will take on extra resonance for the band even if he doesn’t expect it to be greeted with a lot of attention by the Japanese public.

“It actually won’t be a big deal we’ll probably play to the least amount of people we’ve played to in japan ever. I think only the real obsessive Mogwai fans will be there. It’s not like the whole town of Hiroshima will come out, but that’s fine. For us I think it’s an important thing to do. It will be really emotional.”

After previously recording the soundtracks to French zombie noir TV show Les Revenants and football biopic Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, the band are well schooled in the differences involved in writing and recording to accompany a visual spectacle.

“I think getting into the studio it’s the same. It’s just to try and make it sound as good as we can. But I think when you are writing the songs it’s different. When you are writing the songs for your own album it’s just a blank canvas, you just do whatever you want. You can be as daft or serious as you want. If it’s to go with someone else’s vision then you’ve got to keep that in mind.”

“I’d say generally the film soundtrack is generally more sparse. We did a lot more for the album. I think it’s also a bit different from our records too. It’s heavy.”

The band have announced nine ‘Atomic’ dates at the moment with more no doubt to come in the following months, but Stuart doesn’t see the band touring relentlessly due to the nature of the album, with the shows ones that he says will not see them dip into any material from their extensive catalogue.

“It’s a weird thing doing a gig that’s along to a film because it’s not quite a film showing and not quite a gig. I think doing other songs would seem a bit out of place. When we did Zidane we did it I think then we were unsure if the whole thing was gonna work so it was almost a safety net. To be totally honest it’s such a specialised thing there’s only so much you can do. I’ve also got Minor Victories is taking up quite a lot of my time. I think that’s gonna be like quite a lot.”

With that our attention turned to Stuart’s new ‘supergroup’ Minor Victories, in conjunction with Slowdive vocalist Rachel Goswell and brothers Justin (Editors) and James Lockey, one which allows him to focus purely on the music and avoid some of the behind the scenes work involved in being part of Mogwai.

“I am excited aye it’s gonna be fun everyone’s been really nice and it’s gonna be a bit different. I’m kinda used to being the guy that I kind of sort a lot of the things out for Mogwai. We don’t have a manager so we all chip in but I do a lot. So it’s quite good to like ‘uh what’s happening’ and turn up and play.”

Interesting to note was that of his three fellow band members, he’d only met one, something that for him was both new and unusual.

“I knew Rachel a little bit and it was Rachel that asked me but I’d never met James or Justin.”

And, even though the four piece only actually met together in March this year, there’s talk of a second album in the pipeline ahead of the release of the debut record on the 3rd June.

“We’ve talked about another record so it’s in the lap of the gods how it goes. I’d think we’d do another one even if it died on its arse to be totally honest but I think whether it grows arms and legs isn’t really up to us. It’s up to folk if they like it. But so far people are into it,” says Stuart.

As for Mogwai, fans will be more than pleased to hear that the band are already working on new material ahead of the release and subsequent tour of Atomic.

“We are getting the studio dates to do the new record just now. It’s think it’s gonna be the end of the year, maybe into next year. And we are starting to get tunes together. Me and Barry and Dominic have been sending each other tunes. We are getting into it.”

Over twenty years since a certain Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, then booker for Glasgow’s renowned 13 Note Café, put on Mogwai’s first show, Stuart is approaching another date on his calendar in the form of the big 4-0, one he mentions in retort to questions concerning his decision to tone down the band baiting.

“I’m getting old I’m 40 in 2 months so it [baiting other bands] doesn’t really look good. I’d rather talk about stuff I liked than what I don’t like.”

But any suggestions of a big party or a one off gig to celebrate it are quickly played down by Stuart.

“I don’t know, I don’t really like a fuss.”

As for bands he likes, Stuart was especially excited about tomorrow’s upcoming gig of fellow Glaswegian’s Primal Scream, in between mentioning what other stuff is on his musical radar.

“I’m into this piano player Lubomyr Melnyk and his Erased Tapes stuff, I’ve been listening to that a lot. I really like a lot of church recordings like gospel music and like the Gaelic psalms from the Hebrides and even like – I’m totally atheist as well which is actually hilarious – but I really love sacred music,” he admits.

“Oh and that guy Mdou Moctar – that’s probably the best gig I’ve seen in a while –at the Art school. The Glasgow gig was nuts, it was sold out and like he’s probably one of these guys that feeds off the crowd.”

Since the last time we met last year, out with spending time in the studio recording ‘Atomic’, Mogwai made their first visit to India, an experience that Stuart was keen to share, alongside a chance meeting with a certain spiritual leader.

“It was a brilliant experience. It was quite humbling to see how some people live but the people were into music and everyone was so nice I met the Dalai Lama. I just said ‘It’s nice to meet you’ and shook his hand. He was like that ‘Your Stuart from Mogwai’,” he says, laughing.

“He was in town speaking at a big event. It was like The Beatles were there, there was like 1000 people outside our hotel holding cameras. I went to the lift and he was just there with two guys. He was doing stuff but I didn’t want to not say hello to someone like that. There was no big chat.”

There was no ‘Your the Pope’ statement, mirroring his infamous ‘You’re Lionel Ritchie’ comment on meeting the artist in an airport a few years back, one which provided the inspiration for the name for the track on 2011’s ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.’ And on the subject of song titles, Stuart finished up our chat with reference to the nuclear -themed song titles that populate ‘Atomic’ and how, unlike on previous albums, the band have stayed clear of their usual wit and frivolity in naming their tracks.

“We certainly didn’t want to do anything flippant when we were dealing with such a theme.”

First Gig special – Franz Ferdinand

Wednesday May 15th 2002. Glasgow. Something big happened in the city that night as the rain, characteristically, lashed down from the heavens. If you are a football fan then, as well as the rain falling, you may recall how so to did a ball from a Roberto Carlos lofted cross, onto the boot of a certain Zinedine Zidane.

In the south side of the city, Hampden Park witnessed one of the most exquisite goals in Champions League history, as the Frenchman’s volleyed strike sealed a 2-1 victory for Real Madrid against Bayern Leverkusen of Germany, and the title of European champions for the ninth time in the Spanish club’s history.

However, just over 4 miles north west of the city, in a small, two bedroom flat above Nice and Sleazy’s, one of Glasgow’s best loved and renowned bar and music venues, something other than 22 men running round a field chasing a ball was happening that was to change the face of British indie-pop music for ever.

Sauchiehall-street_995

Four young men, none of whom were actually from the city, arrived to perform together for the first time as group at a party arranged by two friends, both students at the famed Glasgow School of Art.

Their name, taken from an assassinated Archduke, was Franz Ferdinand.

The students in question were Celia Hempton, the London based artist famous for her paintings concerning the landscape of genitalia, alongside fellow artist Jo Roberston. They chose the Wednesday night to put on an exhibition to showcase their work, alongside that of fellow female students.

celia

The exhibition was entitled “Girl Art”, which, by Celia’s own omission, “was a kind of feminist joke in a way”. She continues; “The show was all female and the band all male. To be honest we didn’t think it through all that deeply. But I guess it worked though. It seemed like a fun, irreverent evening.”

My false understanding that it was only females in attendance was quickly shot down by Celia.

“It wasn’t only females, it was a mix. Although that would have been good, if we only allowed women in. Like it were a strip bar or some sort”, she says, laughing.

Jo’s bedroom was used as the exhibition space, while Celia’s bedroom used as the designated ‘performance’ space, from which Franz Ferdinand played.

“Bob (Hardy) was in our year doing the painting BA at GSA, while Manuela, Nick’s (McCarthy) girlfriend was in the year below us,” she recalls. “And we knew Paul (Thomson) from the previous band he was in, Pro Forma. And Alex (Kapranos), we would all hang out.”

Paul himself remembers the night with clarity.

Paul-Thomson-Franz-Ferdinand

“It was the Champions League final and people showed up late. Some friends of ours had organized an art showing in a flat, with the art in one bedroom and we played in the next. We only did 4 songs but because folk turned up late we played the same set twice. They all ended up on the first record. Michael, Auf Asche, Jacqueline and Tell Her Tonight.”

Before adding, “I was working in Directory Enquiries at the time so I came straight from work.”

To note, that record, 2004’s self-titled debut, sold a staggering 3.6million copies worldwide, including 1.27 million in the UK alone.

While around 50,000 people were in attendance at Hampden to witness Zidane’s moment of magic, around 50 lucky punters found themselves at the flat exhibition, with around 35 squeezing into the bedroom to see Franz take to the stage…carpet.

“We took all the furniture out and they played with their backs to the windows, which we had blacked out for the gig”, says Celia. “The vibe was very much – if you don’t have a venue for an exhibition – you find one, make one, and if you don’t have a venue for a concert, you find one, make one.”

The million dollar question was, how did the band perform?

“They were so good!”gushes Celia. “I kind of fell in love with them. It was great. All their gigs from that moment on were amazing, she finishes with a smile.

From that night forward, the band continued to put gigs on “for their pals”, without any hint or realization that they would achieve anywhere the success of which they have received since. For the band the focus was more on the day to day, as Paul confirms.

“We just knew it was a good band. I’d been doing it for years in bands like Pro Forma and The Yummy Fur. Usually what happens is you get someone to put your record out and go and tour for a week to promote it and try and get out of signing on (the dole) for that week. Go on tour and kip on floors and get drunk, and that’s your holiday basically.”

Certainly Celia could see the momentum that the band were gaining within the city, as the band went one better than play bedrooms, to play in abandoned prisons.

“The band were really instrumental in the energy that developed in both the music and art scene at that time in Glasgow, it was intertwined. There was a disused prison that we used for other art exhibitions and Franz would play with other bands and a place called ‘The Chateau’ which was a big building that the band got access to, for the same purpose.”

“I think there was something that took off in the scene that i was aware of, both in art and music in the early 2000’s in Glasgow, an energy and chemistry that happened because of various people’s drive and imagination… The band members were definitely part of that, instrumental in that i would say. Also the city itself, and the fact that it was possible to use these derelict spaces.”

With Paul adding; “I guess when people outside our social circle started coming to gigs then you’re sort of thinking that we might be onto something. With people who we don’t know hearing about us through not much effort on our part. We were just kinda doing it for our social group really because it’s what you do in Glasgow. Play shows and your friends come down.”

Paul goes on to credit Alex (Kapranos) with being the one who really motivated him and the rest of the band with the belief that something could happen.

“Alex taught IT to refugees and elderly people – teaching them how to work a computer. When we started out he had a proper job and a flat and a mortgage and all that. He had kind of given up on music because he didn’t think it was ever going to happen and then he really sort of pushed us when this came together. Whereas my life was, I was kind of living one day to the next, I was homeless and sleeping on Alex’s floor in the hall.”

“He was like, this was my last chance at this. Whereas I was so caught up in the now I didn’t have a long term plan. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for his determination and drive.”

And thanks, in no small part to Alex, Celia and Jo, and the rest of those in attendance that night, we are able to look back on a night some 14 years ago that, without doubt, ranks up there with one of the most important in the recent memory of the Glasgow music psyche.

Man of Moon reach for the sky.

Man of Moon haven’t quite got the hang of using chopsticks, as the fresh-faced two piece from Edinburgh, looking decidedly jaded after an early morning return home from opening last night for The Twilight Sad in Manchester, tuck into some Asian inspired vegan food in Glasgow’s Hug and Pint, scene of tonight’s headline show and precursor to tomorrow night’s supporting slot for the Sad at a sold out Barrowlands.

Their mannerisms tell me they are not too sure about they are eating, but it tastes bloody good. Belly’s full and a pint down Chris and Mikey, who formed the band after being paired together during their sound engineering course, are ready to take a breather and look back on quite an eventful 2015, a year that saw both of them blow out just the 20 candles on their birthday cakes.

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So how does it feel being back on the road with the Sad again? “It’s been really good, they are such sound guys. It’s the same kind of crowd we get so people that go to see them dig us I think as well”, said Chris.

“It’s good for them to have us as well because it’s small, us being only a two-piece it’s really easy for them. Its good fun and not a lot of hassle, chips in Mikey.

Has there been anything learned from The Sad that they will bring to their own shows? The answer was a resounding “Oh aye, definitely” from both.

“I guess watching their live show and just seeing the stage presence they’ve got and watching them sound check and stuff. They are such pros. Learning that kind of stuff is so useful,” says Chris, with an air of gratitude for the Sad that speaks volumes.

The band were more than buzzing about tonight’s show, as they cast their minds back to the last time they played the Hug and Pint in April earlier this year, a gig that for them ranks as their highlight for 2015.

“That was an amazing gig. One of my favourites we have played, really really proud of it. The fact that we do so many support gigs, to play a sold out show in Glasgow is such a good feeling,” said Mikey.

Chris followed that by declaring his love of the city. “The crowd was so good. We are quite used to playing loads of shows in Edinburgh and seeing so many familiar faces, but to walk out into a sold out crowd and not knowing any people that were there…that’s when we knew we were doing something right.”

“Glasgow crowds are always the best crowds, it beats Edinburgh.”

Controversial, coming from a band that hail from the capital? Not to Mikey…

“I think just overall it’s a better scene and people are more into and from that we get a better response”.

Not taking anything away from tonight’s headline slot, it was obvious the bright neon lights of the Barras were more than visible on their respective horizons.

“Tonight’s a warm up for tomorrow. That’s the reason we booked tonight in the first place”, said Mikey.

Although I’m trying not to think about it until we walk out”. I think if it was further down South somewhere not so familiar  it wouldn’t be as nerve-racking, but Glasgow, it really is one the best places around”, thought Chris.

With Mikey adding, “The Barrowlands. The biggest gig of our career. Our families and friends are all going to be there as well. It’s such a good opportunity, with the amount of people that are going to be there who haven’t seen us before”.

Are The Sad in the same boat?  Not according to Mikey. “They are playing it cool I think”.

For The Moon, having their sound play out beneath the famous blue and white tiled ceiling is as big a deal as any band could ask for. “If you look at just a list of everybody who has played there. Playing on the same stage as all these legends. It’s just crazy, it’s cool.”

Perhaps the only down point for the band was not picking up the Best newcomer Act earlier this year at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, although they felt Bella and the Bear were more than worthy winners. How they found out was a story in itself, as Chris shared.

“It would have been nice to get it. It was great to be voted though. I remember bus’ing it through from Edinburgh and the traffic was murder and I got into Glasgow late, so I had to sprint up Sauchiehall Street to try and make it to The Garage in time. When I got to the door someone just told me, ‘Aye you’ve no won’. And true enough, we went in and it turned out it had already been announced.”

What about their debut single, The Road, being heralded by one member of the music press as the best British debut since New Order released ‘Ceremony’ way back in 1981, many moons before Man of Moon came into the world.

“It was great. It’s mental. It was quite a statement. I genuinely don’t know what to take from that but it’s cool to see that someone likes it, said Chris. ”

And how did the song come about? Surprisingly easily.

“The Road was written really quickly. The basis of it anyway. We got it down in about 2 minutes. I mind doing it in Chris’s attic,” said Mikey.

With Chris adding, “I had just started using a Wah pedal that Mikey let me borrow and just switched that on and Mikey started playing along. It’s just mental the response we have had from it.”

As for 2016, the band see themselves doing at least a few festivals as they take their sound out to fans across the country.

“Really keen to do Green Man next year. It’s such a good festival and I think it would really suit us”, said Chris, with Mike adding, “I’d love to play Secret Garden Party again but like a different slot. We opened up for the festival pretty much last time and pretty much nobody was there.”

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Fans will be happy to note that the band expect to release a four track EP early next year, which they will be touring at a later date, with Mikey confirming it, “It’s completely recorded, it’s just getting mixed and mastered. I don’t think there’s a real rush to get it out but when it does I think that will give people something to listen to”.

With Andy Monaghan from Frightened Rabbit on production duties, the band felt that he got the best out of them. It was amazing, he would fire ideas at us and we would be like ‘We didn’t think of that’.  He was just really encouraging. That’s what you need,” said Chris.

And even though they have been playing together for the past three years, the band still don’t see themselves as the finished article quite yet.

“I think we are still essentially finding what we are sounding like. We still buying more pedals and expanding our sound. Even now, some of our tracks sound really different from each other, they could almost be put into two different sets,” answers Chris.

As for influences from fellow Scottish acts out with the likes of The Sad and Frightened Rabbit, the band were keen to add The Phantom Band, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Errors and Kathryn Joseph to that list, with Mikey keen to thank them for their support.

“Playing with these bands makes us feel so lucky. Its crazy as well cause a lot of these bands have been playing for years and we are just really starting. For that we are pretty grateful”.

As the band put in their pretty low key rider request with a joint “Tennents” shout, their final assertion, in response to a heady future on making more waves in the music world, was a firm “We are ready to go”.

With some bands making relatively small steps up the music ladder, Man of Moon have been leaving footprints the likes of which others could only wish for. One giant step after another it seems indeed, for a band that, with a night at the Barras soon to be under their belt, have the sky as their limit.

The Twilight Sad and a bright future ahead.

The Twilight Sad are 4 dates into a slot supporting Editors on their European tour, and basking in the fresh critical acclaim coming their way in light of the release of ‘Oran Mor Session’ – a compilation of stripped back renditions of songs that mostly made up last year’s Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.

James Graham emits a relative calm amongst the storm, as the frontman and I sat down for a chat within the not so glamorous surroundings of Glasgow’s Laureston Bar, to talk about New York posters, Glasgow crowds, and social networking.

As the pints arrived, James gave us the lowdown on the Editors tour and winning over new fans.

“It’s going really good so far, we are going to try and win new fans and make an impression on people as opposed to playing to people who know who we are.

There’s a confidence in showing these people what it means to you but at the same time there is the scary element of, thinking ‘this crowd could hate us’.

As we have been playing people have been cheering louder, so I guess it feels like we are winning them over with every song.”

The impending gig that night, however, up the road at Glasgow’s 02 Academy, may have required a different mind-set.

“I think because our other Glasgow gig is sold out, which is mental, some people are coming to see us here just to see us. Glasgow is different in that at the gigs you see the same faces you’ve seen since day 1 and the support is always amazing… I’m basically a big back of f@£$ing nerves.”

Not that he was showing any signs of it. The excitement was evident. The recent filtration of the mammoth 25 date support slot for The Cure in America – with a three night stint at both the Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden – still had the band swimming in awe and anticipation, an opportunity James described as ‘mad’, coming off the back of frontman Robert Smith’s cover of ‘Girl in the Corner’.

“I must have listened to his version around 500-1000 times, and I remember when we heard it for the first time in a van in San Francisco. We just sat there in silence and said ‘What the f£$k just happened there’. I had to stop listening to it because I was getting obsessed by it.

As for the tour, I saw a poster in NY someone tweeted us that had our name on it…I don’t think doing Madison Square Garden will sink in until we stand on the stage and start sound-checking.”

The offer to play alongside a band they consider as being one of their favourites says a lot, to James, about the kind of band The Twilight Sad they see themselves are…

“We seem to be more of a band’s band where people in other bands like us. As far as the other sh@£e is concerned we are not on their radar completely and I’m quite happy for it to stay that way.

It shows me that we are doing things in the right way as bands should do and not just be there on hype.”

To him the success hasn’t allowed them to deviate from the ideas and philosophy from which they began writing and recording songs…

“I hope we can become a band that can go and play places and has a room full of people who want to see our music. At the same time, we won’t change even if people’s perception of us change. I don’t care about anything else apart from writing music and playing gigs.

It’s the reason why we started the band in the first place, to make music that we thought kind of mattered, and that’s why we do it.”

Through the European jaunt with Editors, alongside a handful of concerts on the continent, the Barrowlands end of year gig looms as large and bright as the venue’s famous exterior…

“It feels like we have joined a club we have always wanted to be a part of, like a badge of honour or seal of approval from where we live. The gig feels like it will be the end of a chapter for us, so we can give the record (2014’s Nobody Wants To Be Here…) the send-off it deserves. We’ve got to make sure that it is the best gig we have ever played”.

With that in mind, James feels that the city itself has had, and continues to have, a definite influence on the band.

“We say we are from Glasgow and we are proud of that. That’s where our favourite music came from. Plus the fact that all those folk we listened to have taken us under their wing. To even be mentioned in the same sentence as some of our favourite bands is just as big an honour as anything.

We have always been a band that shies away from any kind of scene or group, but I’m very happy to be part of the ‘Glasgow Gang’ along with them. I’d be quite happy to be the tea boy for that group.”

Another interesting point to note, is The Twilight Sad’s use of social networks to further spread the word and maintain that very ‘real’ contact with fans and doubters alike, a role that James taken on personally.

“The first thing I do before I go to bed or when I get up is see what people have been writing or tweeting about us and I do try my best to respond to it. If someone shows an appreciation for us I like to respond and say thank you.

On the same note, if someone is being a fanny I will tell them they are a fanny, you have to take it both ways”, he says.

As for any further musical developments to look forward to come 2016, fans will be happy to know that they seem intent to keep the Sad momentum going.

“Andy and I started writing some stuff over the summer. There’s a few concrete tunes in there, in as much as I can see the (new) album opener and another two at least. All going to plan we will have the album recorded before we go away with The Cure.”

With so much on their plate for 2016, and with the enthusiasm for making records and playing live shows as strong as ever, it sure seems like it is gearing up to be the year of the Sad.

Especially if their blistering performance at the 02 Academy was to go by, it seemed that they were in full ‘Barrowlands’ mode a full two months early.