As we’ve made clear over the course of reviewing the festival, the most rewarding part has been discovering a plethora of good local talent; a class that Mother Focus easily fell into.
Jamie-Leigh was a fabulous singer, and burst out with this lively, chipper enthusiasm that only got us the more engaged. Key player AJ was on the ball and animated as all hell, the dual guitars from Jake and Daniel were great, and we got spiking bass chords and popping drums from Aaron and Ally.
Their performances helped bring to life some infectiously bubbly tunes with sweet melodies and an irresistible energy, and every one without fail gave us the urge to boogie, especially Meet Me On The Dancefloor, which is still practically stuck in our head as we write this.
Now THAT is how you open a show. It was a superb display from a merry act who cared enough to put so much effort into what they did in order to make the people’s money’s worth. It certainly was worth our cash, we can tell you that.
Falkirk quartet Rubian caught our attention a few months prior with their fine debut single Start Again, and they’ve been quickly picking up fans as of late, evident by the fact that they sold out their ticket allocation beforehand.
Naturally, a big crowd arrived for them as they entered to a dark intro before proceeding with Follow Me, with other highlights that stuck out including Back Home, Cinnamon and the incredibly bouncy Summer Nights. They didn’t quite generate the same buzz as Mother Focus, but instead they had this drawing power of a different kind.
They acted with a professional approach and worked as a stably refined unit through and through, delivering on an equal level in their respective areas. Cheryl was a pure and elegant vocalist, the riffs from Niall were sleek and the rhythms created by Tom and Ryan were utterly smooth.
While we felt they didn’t fully come out of their shells at times, they were nonetheless focused, and the result of that was a very good set that firmly held our attention from end to end.
Just like Mother Focus before them, The Reason from Airdrie were fresh faces to us, and just like Mother Focus, they impressed. They promised us a “shindig-a-roonie”, and that’s exactly what we got. The tracks were fast, frantic and energetic through the verses and got properly, delightfully jumping at the choruses.
There was no holding back here, as they were determined to bring the fun, especially frontman Martin who, on top of being capable on vocals and guitar, was a ball of fire, and when they punched it up to the nth degree, he was totally sucked into the madness. He was joined by Chris and his solid riffs, strong bass work courtesy of Bruce, and snappy drum beats from Cammy in his final gig with the group, in full view of his mum.
They fired up the classic HWFG chants, and there were raucous cheers and yelling spanning the room. One overly long tuneup towards the end put a dent on the momentum, but it was reignited as Martin and Bruce leapt off into the crowd – putting fear into the hearts of the security – and rode that wave to a rollicking finish.
A superb showing from the four that got a party on the go which was, on the whole, pretty damn entertaining.
The headlining Facendo Cose hooked us in as fans when they released their Pilot EP – which gets better with each listen, incidentally – and now they just had to convince us of their talents in a live scenario.
The outfit delivered this mixture of sublime vocals with an old school touch to it, totally enthralling, slickly played guitar solos, awfully enticing bass chords and snazzy drum sequences.
At their disposal was a line-up of cracking numbers with lyrics that clicked and such captivating, swinging rhythms that had the audience drawn in; any folk that could resist to not even slightly bob their head, tap their foot or budge their hips along must have had some immense willpower.
The top picks included China Town Flat, Hang Around and Castle Douglas. They even established a mass singalong with the crowd for My K, Operator sparked a venue-wide dance craze, and they nailed their cover of American Boy…in fact, we may have found it superior to the original.
Capping off with Try It On, this was a bloody excellent and magnetic set that ticked all the right boxes and left us craving even more after it was done. One of the major highlights of the 2019 NYR, hands down.