SMALL GIG REPORT | Plasmas – The 13th Note (03.11.18)

PLASMAS


To start off the show was an act we were quite familiar with – Gravelle from Livingston, who we had fallen in love recently after they released their debut EP, so their name alone attracted us to the show, and they didn’t disappoint.

They played a set of numbers, including all from Liquid Skin naturally, which had a great gritty post-punk sound and were so catchy and infectious, each featuring fiery dual harmonies from both Monique and Kyle, sweet electronics and shredding riffs.

Even all the minuscule details, like their inflections and expressions, gave them that extra layer to make them stand out. A couple of minor faults aside, it was impressive stuff from a pair who are different and harness tonnes of potential.


We were buzzing and now raring for more, and it was up to Drainpipe to fulfil us. Instantly, we were intrigued as they had a projector running with flickering images flashing up.

They performed a set opposite of Gravelle’s, with focus on lo-fi atmospheric soundscapes that had a mild essence to them, and they mixed it up between longer pieces elevating from calmness towards big finishes, and more straightforward poppy tracks with good hooks that got some members of the growing crowd dancing a little; in particular, the cracking closing song.

Among the stronger aspects, the guitars were pristine and the beats, even if a little off in parts, were real nice. On the whole, a solid effort that started fine and only improved as they went along, and shined with just enough variety to keep those attending hooked.


The rock trio Whisky Pigeon followed, and they added a much-welcomed kick to the night, with the majority of their tunes packing an energy behind them, highlighted by smashing choruses.

Lewis was really on form, throwing everything in and trying to get the crowd fired up the best he could, and he was joined by Harrison and his sharp bass tones, and swift drum fills from Greig, and together, they ignited an electric vibe within the venue.

They kept the pace going for most of it, and even though they lost a little steam in the second half, they quickly recovered soon after, and by the time they had wrapped up, the audience were left satisfied.


And now to cap off the show – Dundonian headliners Plasmas. While not quite bringing the same level of energy as their predecessors, they still entertained those who stuck around and tightly squeezed themselves at the front of the stage.

Their numbers were carried by transcendent melodies centered around warm harmonies, not to mention some really excellent synths and smooth rhythms headed by glossy guitar chords.

When they kicked it up a notch for the catchier tunes, such as their latest single Spark, there were more than a few heads dancing along, and it was hard to resist tapping your foot along.

For their debut in Glasgow, it was a more than decent showing that finished on a high note with a well-earned encore, and it made for a fine conclusion to the inaugural Kiosk Club event.

“When I say PLAS, you say MAS!”

SMALL GIG REPORT | Verse Metrics – Bar Bloc (01.11.18)

verse metrics


To kick off the evening was a fresh face to us – Ewen Friers aka Catalan – who had traveled all the way from Belfast to be here, which happened to be the first stop of his solo UK tour, and it proved to be a worthwhile experience for both himself and us.

Armed with not much more than a guitar, a few pedals and a laptop stacked on stools, he played some nice pieces that had engaging memories and good beats to them, but above all, the definitive quality was the strong, even emotional writing that carried well through Ewen’s smooth harmonies.

He had a tight grip on the local audience, who were hooked from the beginning, and there was a little back and forth between the two parties, with a range of discussions being fired up on matters such as overlooked city architecture, the uplift topic of mental health and open suggestions to erect statues in George Square for Limmy, Mr Blobby and “Jim” Niblock.

It was a really fine performance from one talented bloke who left us all smiling.


This would be our third time seeing Glaswegian outfit Verse Metrics in action, and they dished out their brand of what is apparently now “eccies music”. Joking aside, this might have been the tightest we have ever seen them, and this was owed to many factors.

This included years of experience, obviously, but also the small, intimate setting of Bloc helped elevate their sound in a way, mainly due to the fact there was a real atmosphere in that room, ignited by a mixture of the vocals, the light samples and even the smoke and colours of the venue.

Between the banter of consecutive maternity leaves, the numbers packed a punch with dazzling dual riffs and booming rhythm sections aplenty, particularly from Calum on the latter with his kinetic, forceful drumming.

It was an engrossing display from a constantly evolving and improving act that just clicked in all the right ways.

 

SMALL GIG REPORT | Megalomatic – Bar Bloc (29.10.18)

megalogig


Somehow, the Edinburgh rock quartet of Lion On Tiger had avoided our radar for so long. We hadn’t even listened to them prior to this gig, so we were going in blind, and coming out, we were left utterly embarrassed for letting them slip by us.

They put on a hell of a tight showing, chock full with hearty dual vocals, some seriously superb guitar playing and banging drum blasts.

All four brought an energy that encompassed the room and had the crowd hooked through all the exciting numbers they had to offer, and they were pretty lively on there too.

It was a strong performance that properly set the bar for Megalomatic to follow up on, and you can sure as hell bet that we went and got their new EP bought and downloaded as soon as we got home.


Megalomatic got the gears quickly in motion with the back-to-back combo of A Yellow Chair, A Golden Chariot and Silky, and from there on in, there were cracking riff sections, grungy bass chords and firm drumming.

The boys showcased some new tunes for the first time ever, which included MothBurst and the fast and furious Let’s Be Real Here, which all sounded good.

We also got a collection of familiar material like the blazing Trider, the old favourite What An Comfortable Sentence and the memorable Civility Smiles; the latter greeted with a chorus of synchronised headbanging throughout the audience.

It was all going smoothly, but then some crowd-surfing nutjob (wink wink, nudge nudge) enters the fray out of nowhere, and suddenly the venue devolves into chaos, with the crowd going ballistic for the last three potent tracks – Stan Darsh, Electric Circus and Cesspit.

It was another heavy, hard-hitting display that gets more refined with every gig, and it capped off with the most bonkers of conclusions.

THE SMALL PLAYLIST – Week #2

MASON HILL – HOLD ON

The acclaimed young Glasgow rockers get the hype train for their debut album up and running with their first single in over a year, perfectly showcasing the evolution of their sound. Whopping vocals, great riffs, straightforward yet very memorable lyrics and a massive rhythm make this one a doozy.

 


SPLINTERED HALO – FLOAT

Glasgow’s resident character metal group celebrate Halloween with yet another beautifully demented track as they pay homage to the 2017 It, highlighted by great riffs, rattling drums, brilliant lyrics, and a remarkably versatile, theatrical vocal display from the Scottish horror queen, Elivyn.


HOTEL MIRA – JUNGLE

A mere few months after the release of their self-titled EP, the Canadian trio are already back with what is a candidate for their best song to date, thanks to an infectiously bouncy energy and an utterly catchy chorus.


STATIC UNION – NEW FOUND WAY

A very nice offering from the Glasgow post-punk group that has a cool ambience to it, which is down to the smooth harmonies, neat guitar chords and mild synths.


XERO – GARDEN

The Newcastle alternative metal ensemble deliver their second single of the year, driven by a rocking rhythm, a real fine lead performance and a chorus that is so hooking.


TOMORROW IS LOST – SHADOWMAN

With their debut EP just around the corner, the Geordie rock unit are getting a buzz going with the title track, which stands out with sharp vocals, freakishly superb riffs and a cracking chorus, and they certainly kick it up a notch in last third of the number.


TIRADE – TO BE HONEST

The young Manchester rock prospects continue to impress with another jumping track featuring tight performances and a sweet energy to it.


JAMES HOLT – ALONE AGAIN

One of Manchester’s most budding solo artists is on top form here with a top-notch track where he really shines vocally, plus the toe-tapping melody is real sweet and the lyrics are great too.


AMY LOU – CHANIA

The Glaswegian indie pop artist treats us to a fabulously infectious ditty that is so full of spirit, well-written and headed by an enthusiastic vocal display.


CHERRY HEAD, CHERRY HEART – JUST A SECOND

A pretty underrated act in our eyes, the Teeside pop duo return with a stunningly wonderful tune that has such an exuberant melody which is so, so catchy. Further highlighted by a wonderful harmony and strong writing, this is one that will most definitely stick in the head.


LUCY MAIR – BEING PRETTY WAS FUN

The latest single from this fine London artist is a really polished number with a warm, swaying rhythm and an excellent, magnetic vocal performance.


JAMES EDWYN & THE BURROWED BAND – QUOTING SAGAN

Another tremendous piece from one of Glasgow’s finest Americana collective with a terrific melody, refined harmonies and a hooking chorus.


IVORY CAVES – FALL FROM GRACE

The Dunfermline rock outfit’s new single is a riveting number that commences slowly and works upwards to cap off on a high note. A waving pace, excellent guitar chords and good drumming stand as the defining aspects here.


DEREK J MARTIN – GHOST TOWN

The Saltcoats musician gives us another taste of his upcoming debut album here with a nice track featuring a great dual performance on the guitar and at the mic, as well as plenty of passion.

 

SMALL GIG REPORT | New Vice – The 13th Note (28.10.18)

newvice


We had seen Land Of Rubber Men before at the ABC2 last November, and almost a year on, we were quickly reminded of their talents as they played a line of tracks from their forthcoming debut album, plus we got a cracking rendition of Moonshine.

Angus Burns had a weird charm to him, but more importantly, he was a capable vocalist and guitarist, and the rest of the band were just as good; Fraser giving us smooth bass lines, Angus Morton being cool on the sax, and some sweet drumming from Matthew.

Most of their numbers had pretty easygoing rhythms and a sort of chilled quality to them, although there were one or two where they broke out with bouncy, energetic spurts, but all were great.

Overall, it was the ideal way to get the crowd warmed up and the night kicked off. We’ll certainly be making a point of grabbing their record as soon as it is out.


Right from the get-go, Honeygrip unleashed into a set of smashing tracks, mainly from their debut EP, with the majority riding off an insane energy.

Jamie, who was wearing the most colourful of attires that would make even 70’s-era Billy Connolly jealous, had a hell of a powerful voice that he put to use. The riffs from Kyle and Michael were superb, and the rhythm sections courtesy of Alex and Garry were just blistering.

The guys were really animated and had an appealing presence on stage that obviously rubbed off on the crowd. Capping off with the awesome Tequila, where they were joined by the legendary Uncle Funkle, who got real intimate with Jamie, it was a tight performance that could easily conclude a gig any other night without a doubt.


It was going to be a struggle for headliners New Vice to follow that, but in their defense, they are another kettle of fish altogether. As amazing as Honeygrip were, this was a case of them being a unfitting support for the bill.

But with all that said, New Vice did put on a good showing. Their rock and roll sound had this jazzy essence to it with a slight hint of blues, and compared to many of the other acts on the scene right now, this really felt like something different to us.

The harmonies were solid, the sax and guitar were stylish, and the beats were genuinely toe-tapping and catchy. Even Uncle Funkle returned to the fray, where he and his dreaded friend put on a theatrical dance along to the group, in which the crowd were entertained by.

Sure, this wasn’t the same craze put on by their predecessors, but it was still an enjoyable, easy listening affair to finish off the show on a positive high.

 

THE SMALL SPOTLIGHT – Lisa Kowalski

Lisa Kowalski is a young artist hailing from Paisley, and has spent the last four years performing locally and out the area. In that short space of time, she has managed to achieve so much and earn a reputation as one of her hometown’s brightest young prospects.

She’s already got a decent wealth of experience behind her, and at the age of 18, it is quite clear that the best is yet to come.

In the debut edition of The Small Spotlight, we take the time to chat with Lisa and find out more about her inspirations, her successes, her supporters, and what the future holds.


To kick off with a generic biographical question – what was it that sparked your interest in music in the first place?

  • I don’t think there’s anything particular that I can pinpoint. It’s just always something I’ve loved. I always thought there was something so magical and beautiful about being able to express every single emotion, tell every single story, confess every feeling through a 3 minute song. Music has gotten me through so much in life; loss, despair, happiness, anxiety, etc. It’s always been music that has been there for me. 
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift is a huge inspiration to yourself, but why is that?
  • I always just admired how she can take any situation and write such an eloquent, beautiful song about it. I believe that she’s one of the best writers in the mainstream pop charts right now because she has such an amazing talent for writing genius lyrics and putting them on incredible melodies the way no one else can. 
How did you first get involved in the local scene, and did you have any highlights early on?
  • I started going to open mics and busking when I was 14 and from there in I just kept writing and performing and as the years have gone on I’ve gained more experience and knowledge in the local industry which has lead to me getting more opportunities. Since I was so new to the music scene, the highlights in the early days were just the entire thing. The fact I could perform to people, gain fans, meet other like-minded people who had the same passion and drive as me. All of it was just an incredible, eye opening experience. 
You made your first significant mark with your Free Spirits EP. Describe the experience of making your debut record. What was going through your mind before it came out, and what was the feedback like once it was released? 2 years on, how do you feel your EP has held up?
  • It was definitely a journey, that’s one thing I can say about it. Before it came out there were many moments of doubt, worry, regret, excitement, pride, determination. But all of them were worth it because once it was released I got some amazing support and reviews. It was more of an artistic success than a commercial one though and there’s a long way to go with future releases.
Not long ago you were chosen as a representative for Paisley’s 2021 UK City Of Culture campaign. How did that come about, and what was your initial reaction to that request?
  • I’ve always loved being from Paisley. It has such a supportive community, so to represent the town is amazing because I couldn’t be prouder of where I come from and I owe so much to the town and the people in it so its great to give back. 
Although Paisley lost out in the end, the experience was undeniably still a huge one for you. Overall, what is it like, and is there any lasting memories that have stayed with you from that?
  • Recording the Hearts of Gold music video is an experience that would never have came about if it weren’t for the bid. And that is a video that will always be held close to my heart and in my fond memories as it highlights the way the town has really helped to lift me up and back me in my career. 
You’ve also been nominated for a number of awards and been part of several competitions over the last couple of years. Would you like to fill the readers in on what some of them were?
  • I was a finalist in the Salute Music UK competition, which led to me getting to headline King Tuts and gain funding for my next couple of projects which is incredible!    I also reached the finals of the Song Academy International Young Songwriter competition this year. My only outright win has been the Live and Unsigned Renfrewshire competition last year, which meant a lot. I was also voted in as a wildcard finalist for the Mayor Of London Gigs busking competition this summer, so it was awesome to be the only finalist to represent Scotland. I am currently hoping to get a place at the Pilton Party auditions next Spring, which is a way of getting on the radar of Michael Eavis and the Glastonbury selection team.
Between them all, how does it feel to be selected for these, and what is it like for you to have a dedicated group of supporters for you, especially at what is still an early stage of your career?
  • Its all about dreaming big and trying everything. If you shoot enough arrows, one might hit the target! I appreciate all the support I get but I’m still a small fish in a big sea!
You’re in the process of releasing your new single – I Do – give us a brief description of what the song is about, and how you think people will relate to it.
  • I Do is a song I wrote when I was in a difficult, toxic relationship, or more so towards the end of it. I loved someone and all I was getting back was “maybe” – maybe I’ll love you again, maybe I’ll want you, maybe it’s the end. This song was me saying that I won’t settle for maybe anymore. I wanted to know what was going on and stop being messed around so I said if they are going to decide they want me they need to stick with their answer. 
What’s the game plan for 2019 so far? Anything you’re able to give us a sneak peek of, or will we have to sit patiently for what you have in the works?
  • Some things are left better unsaid and some projects left unknown… for now at least!  I will definitely be looking to focus a bit more though and channel my efforts into things that will might a significant impact on my musical progress.
We’ve touched upon a number of your achievements, but what would you say is the one you are most proud of?
  • Getting invited to perform in NYC is definitely among the top. It’s so hard to choose as I’ve achieved so many things that I’m so grateful for but getting to go to New York to perform in some really special places is not something I’d ever have expected to happen when it did. It was such an unbelievably surreal experience that I’ll never forget. 
Aside from the obvious of making a living, do you have any long term goals that you would like to achieve in the future?
  • I’d love to release a debut album. I’ve got my debut EP out and a single coming out soon but I don’t have any plans for an album soon but it’s definitely something I’d love to achieve in the future. I’d also love to take my music to more places – more states in the US, more countries in Europe and perhaps cross a couple more continents off my list too! Also getting a dog is on the list too. 
Any other local musicians that you would like to give a shout out to that everybody should check out?
  • A lot of people will have heard of them but The Vegan Leather are awesome, such cool guys and their gigs are so much fun. Amazing music, amazing atmosphere and amazing people. I also love Pronto Mama, they have such a cool variety of sounds in all their music. 
And now to wrap up, we want to give you the opportunity to say a message to your biggest supporters. Any people in particular?
  • My mum will always be one of the main people to thank as she has helped me so much with getting started and believing me when not everyone else did. My boyfriend, Nikolai, is another person who’s been there for me through absolutely every bit of stress I’ve faced when doing music, whether it’s getting to gigs or dealing with anxiety he’s helped massively. Some other massive supporters have been Create Paisley, St Mirren FC, New Hellfire Club and Music Plus. 

Lisa Kowalski’s new single “I Do” is available on Wednesday 14th November.
lisa kowalski

Lisa will be playing at the following shows this week; tickets still available!

WEDNESDAY 31ST OCTOBER – TRON THEATRE, GLASGOW

CAROL

SATURDAY 3RD NOVEMBER – THE ADMIRAL BAR, GLASGOW

IAN PROWSE


Check out Lisa’s previous single, Hearts Of Gold!

SMALL GIG REPORT | Twin Heart – King Tuts (27.10.18)

twin heart


Some familiar faces in the form of alternative rockers Remind Me Of Home started up the night. We seen them live twice before, where they had done fine, and it was a similar story here.

They went at a steady pace, with a couple of high spots including Bloodless and Enigma, and quite a fair amount of people had come down early and stuck around for the whole set, bobbing their heads and frequently howling.

On the whole, the guys put in a solid effort, although there were one or two instances of distracting miscues that hindered the flow a bit, but otherwise a decent opening to the show.

Some tightening up is essential, and we do feel they need to up the ante moving into 2019 and beyond. It’s not until they find that quality that unwraps their potential and turns them into something other than “just another local band” that they will find greater success, and make no mistake when we say that they have the tools to do so.


We hadn’t listened to Crashes in almost a year, and we had forgotten how good they actually were. They’re a band that don’t have the biggest buzz surrounding them, but whenever they pop up in conversation, it’s always in a positive light, and there’s a reason for that…

They entered on in matching costumes and masks; the latter thrown off early because stage lights are about as hot as the sun.

The quartet have proven to have come so far in the past 12 months, working as a professional force up there. There were fervent vocals, great riffs and tight rhythms throughout as they played tracks from The Lightning Age, as well as selections to be featured on their upcoming EP, Something’s Wrong.

The packed audience were so into it, chiming in and dancing about – even igniting a mosh or two in the centre of the venue – and there were constant chants of the group’s name.

Closing out with I Am The Enemy, the guys had thoroughly impressed everybody with as near to a show-stealing performance as it gets. They had a clear dynamic and made such a connection with the paying public that were squished in that room.

A big thumbs up from us, and we already can’t wait for their follow-up record. Crashes could very well be ones to watch in 2019.


The headlining Ayrshire trio Twin Heart genuinely had a tough act to follow here, but with years of experience behind them, they know how to put on a memorable performance, and that they did.

They surprisingly kicked off with Speak To Me, which is usually saved for the finish, but they booted it up a notch with Ghosts and now were off to the races, getting the place fired up in the process.

More highlights from the set included the emotional Little Death, the passionate Suffocating and the vastly underrated stormer that is Young Eyes. The forthcoming new single was fantastic, and they unexpectedly dug out Take Me To The Otherside from the Mechanical Smile archives.

Dawn, donning pigtails and a pink dress, was fabulously theatrical and so animated, bouncing about merrily half of the time, while throwing out a few birds here and there. Kyle was slick on the bass and backed up Dawn on the vocals nicely, and Murray belted out big drum beats like a tank.

After a pair of heavy-hitters, Down and Losing Trust, they finally wrapped up with Failure Of Another. The band were on fire from start to finish and completely in the moment, and the crowd responded in earnest. A satisfyingly dazzling show to make this a Halloween night out to remember.

“Kyyyleee. Kyyyleee.”