Kicking off the epic 7 hour marathon was the man known as Matt Scott, one of the few on the bill totally new to us…well, barring an appearance as part of Anna Sweeney’s outfit at King Tuts the week before.
He started out decent, not immediately grabbing us, but after a few of his solid consistently upbeat rock tunes feature good vocals, great stuff from his accompanying entourage, and a few tasty solos thrown into the mix, he swiftly improved in our eyes and had us firmly hooked until the end.
A satisfying way to start off the day, suitably warming us up and getting us buzzing for the journey ahead.
Next up was John Rush, a bloke who initially came into our radar through a certain David Blair, and he promised to “depress the f***” out of us.
While we can’t go that far, he did have our undivided attention with his range of tunes, primarily off his Beneath The Apple Tree album which we listened to earlier this year.
The lyrics were strong and emphasised by John’s emotional harmonies; the highlight of the set being Sister, where he just exploded with this riled passion. Add to that some excellent harmonicas and acoustics, not to mention a pleasant sing along with the crowd, and you have yourself a heck of a talented singer-songwriter who is as legitimate as they come.
And remember: the jacket never comes off.
Our pals at Discovery Music had touted relative newcomers Spyres as a must see act, and we could totally see why.
We got a Van T’s vibe off them, obviously a big positive in our books, and the four ignited this fiery energy within the Winged Ox and reeled in both those already present and anyone else who happened to be passing by.
The dual riffs were great, the rhythm section were driving with plenty of force, and the singing was hearty as all hell, and they kept the pace running strong throughout, with us thoroughly engaged all the way.
Radiating with an edge and a tonne of confidence, its been a while since we were so blown away by a new find, but Spyres pulled it off. Bloody impressive stuff, and we implore everybody to get them checked out pronto, because we can potentially see them rising to the top dead quick.
Fresh and high off that buzz, now it was time for one of our most anticipated picks of the day, the almighty Franky’s Evil Party, who we have been championing ever since they blew our minds at Tuts back in January, and on this day, it was that plus twofold.
The shredding and the synths were relentless, there was an awe-inspiring shift on the bass and drums, and we got wild, barbaric howling from Josh as always; a formidable frontman always seemingly toeing that line of complete lunacy when on stage.
Their sound was huge and the presence immense, blowing us away with one unadulterated banger after another, including Big Push, and the no holds barred Paradise which capped off with an epic berserk meltdown.
Despite having to call it quits early, this was nevertheless an utter unreal performance that was brain meddling and breathtaking, a 2 for 1 deal that reminded us that Franky’s Evil Party are in fact f***ing awesome and one of the best live acts on the go in Scotland right now.
So after barely getting any sort of breather following that carnage, we squeezed back into the Winged Ox for Lizzie Reid, who we had seen previously as part of Crystal, as well as Russell Stewart’s mob, but never for her solo stuff.
She treated us to a nice set of alternative pop songs often running off pleasantly smooth melodies, and they were quite mesmerising when at their best, although we also got a couple of higher energy pieces that were awfully catchy. Lizzie’s vocals were wonderful, plus she was a good guitarist and had an equally capable group by her side.
It was more simple and straightforward compared to the last few on the bill, but nonetheless worth being present for.
Now for one of our favourite women on the entire planet – the newly blessed Scarlett Randle – who has rightfully been gaining more attention by the day, and as is her wont, she opened up with ABBA and got entering crowd members joining in to Dancing Queen.
There are few artists in the Scottish scene who have the confidence that she bolsters, with her flaunting a glamorous charisma that is charming, carrying right through into her jazzy get-up, which was soon halved for the final song.
But when push comes to shove, Scarlett is more than just a colourful character with a likable sense of humour, she’s a genuinely excellent singer and songwriter, as demonstrated through the lyrical content and beautiful harmonies in the likes of oldie Berlin and the spellbinding Her, but that’s not to take away from the other infectiously bubbly numbers such as Falling and the currently untitled piece.
A simply fabulous set as usual from an artist destined for bigger things in the not too distant future.
We had never heard of the band WEB prior to them being announced for the bill, but that didn’t matter too much, as they had us cinched within the first minute.
The trio sounded tight, visibly invigorating a multitude of others within the rammed room as they dished out strong riffs, basslines and thumping drum streams in equal measure.
This World Can’t Hurt You and Sandstorm were particular stand outs, and the energy only elevated as they progressed to a wild finish. A cracking display that was, all in all.
A handful of people instantly flooded back next door to see Luna The Professor get started, and after being taken aback by them at King Tuts at the top of the year, we were looking forward to them too.
The guys as expected belted out a range of banging indie rock anthems, putting a lot of effort into their playing, whether it’d be great skills on the guitar, the dynamic rhythms or the smashing lively vocals, and as more entered, they too stood to attention and enjoyed what was on offer.
They always prove to have a solid presence, and that was more abundantly clear given the size of the stage that they were gracing. While not quite the stormer like the one we were in attendance for last time, it was still another successful effort in the books for the young Wishaw quartet.
We had heard only snippets of Voodoos in the past, but we knew we’d be in for something sweet, especially if their SAMA nomination last year was anything to go by.
Truthfully speaking, we don’t need to say much, the audience reaction spoke for itself. By miles, the hottest the heaving crowd had been so far, as we found ourselves in the midst of mental folk bouncing, moshing, yelling, clapping and drunkenly waltzing about.
It was a positively electric atmosphere that enveloped the totsy room, all of which was truly earned, as the four delivered snappy punk tracks that left very little space for dull moments. Easily one of the more impressive bands of the day so far.
It had been 2 and a half years since we were last within the presence of the beautiful Edinburgh lads Indigo Velvet, so we were eager to finally catch them in action again, and the results were pleasing.
They seduced us and the rest of the keen folk around the vicinity with their delightful brand of tropical pop, which has clearly only better developed over time, plus there was a continuous variety throughout, one minute being sleek and melodic as anybody would predict, but in some spots they could take it in a rockier direction and it proves to be just as effective, even a little more exciting.
Bringing their wondrously addictive songs to life were polished performances from all five guys across the board, and with very little in the way of flaws or mistakes, it was among the best executed sets we had seen over the course of the day.
A key moment was when they got everybody chiming along and boogieing to the awesome Sunrise, and making their exit to a rip roaring ovation, they served as one of the event’s most noteworthy highlights.
While taking a quick break to rest our aching feet, we could hear SNASH blaring from the next room, accompanied by impassioned cheers. As we eventually came through, it was obvious that the lads were picking up the pretty mess left by Voodoos earlier on and cranking it up to another level.
The pits were twice as big and bloody non-stop, and surfing went down as the four on stage inspired the havoc and bloodshed unfolding with their fast and furious bangers that were bitterly hard-hitting, and at the centre of it all was the ring-leading frontman with his angst infused yells that circulated while the rest of the group followed behind him in stomping fashion.
An absolutely joyful spectacle, that was, and thoughts and prayers for the staff and security on hand.
We put our hands up and admit to having never listened to underground heroes Strange Bones at all before, but whenever in discussion, they were always built up as ones to watch. As soon as Bobby launched himself off the top of the barrier onto the heads of the crowd within the opening seconds, we immediately regretted not ever doing so.
In the space of half an hour, he trotted around essentially the entirety of the venue, on and off stage, like a bloodthirsty psychopath with the mic in tow, scrunching his neck with the wire as he went, bursting out with insane lyrics in the middle of a hurricane of frenzied, loose-screwed people who joined in the ongoing massacre screaming and bounding around like their lives hinged on it. The tunes were immense and everybody responded in kind.
It’s tough to describe everything that went down in words, but what we can say is that we had just bore witness to a f***ing biblical event. How are Strange Bones not huge already? That had to have been one of the most monumentally deranged sets that we’ve ever experienced.
Right then, so Parliamo somehow had to follow THAT. After getting a brief spell to sober up, we headed on through, and luckily those early worries were out the window quick.
Their tunes were tightly produced and managed to keep the knackered attendees going with a vividly engaging sense of energy, rapid tempos and catchy choruses. Jack had a damn good voice and was off the wall, constantly being possessed by the spirit of Ian Curtis, the riffs were nice and flashy, and the rhythm pairing had a lot of juice in the tank.
But it wasn’t just purely about sending the place wild, as they had some slower stuff in their arsenal inspired by living in a ‘wee sh***y town” that had more mature lyrics featured. Trust us when we say that we adored spectating the chaos earlier, but this was a much needed breath of fresh air that helped separate Parliamo from the rest of the star studded pack, thus making them a worthy option to bring the Winged Ox stage to a close.
13 diverse acts scratched, only 1 remained: the almighty Tijuana Bibles, who we had been big fans of for ages, but kept missing out on the opportunity to see in the flesh.
Underneath a shower of strobes, leading man Tony established himself with an authority through his assertive singing, yelling and occasional wailing, while throwing in an oddball essence here and there that made him all the more captivating to watch.
Elsewhere, the guitar performances were quality, the drumming slick and the bass tones just plain supreme, not to mention that their chemistry was clear and the energy levels consistently up to the brim, with their general sound packing a weight that validated their position headlining a sizeable venue like this.
The guys spoiled us with an array of new stuff; all of which was class and ranks as some of their heaviest material to date, which has got us extra buzzing for their forthcoming album; before sending the audience home happy with the phenomenal Pariah.
Despite the insanely good bands that preceded them, Tijuana Bibles were still able to up their games and pull through with an outstanding set which perfectly culminated one hell of a staggering daylong ride.