Live Review

Eastern Promise: Day One

The first night offers a line up focusing on musicians whose unifying quality is that they pretty much all defy easy generic compartmentalisation.

All photos and copy: Michael Gallacher

Bringing music that otherwise would not make it this far from the centre of the city to Glasgow’s outlying art centre for the third year running, Eastern Promise is a two-day programme organised by ex-Delgado Alun Woodward.

This year, the first night offers a line up focusing on musicians whose unifying quality is that they pretty much all defy easy generic compartmentalisation.

Land Observations, James Brooks’ solo instrumental project for electric guitar and loop pedals, consists of a performance of pieces inspired by Roman road - the names of which make up a suitably repetitive back projection. Like an organic Kraftwerk the music has a mesmerizing forward momentum.

In the studio theatre, Jenny Reeve (Strike The Colours) and Jill O’Sullivan’s (Sparrow & The Workshop) Body Parts project offers a playful country-tinged pairing of two talented musicians. They play some recent songs of their own which frame delicate vocal harmonies with Reeve’s fiddle loops and O’Sullivan’s guitar as well as a surprisingly well realised cover of JLS’s ‘Beat Again’.

Back down in the main auditorium, barefoot piano manipulator Matthew Bourne pensively tackles the grand instrument as a puzzle to be solved rather than a conventional keyboard. He seems more at home striking the strings and thumping the frame, reminding us that the piano is a percussion instrument. He tells meandering tales of meeting a beautiful Russian girl by the river on a previous visit to Glasgow then produces a caretaker’s shovel found backstage to drag horror movie scrapes from the wires.

Irish songwriter Adrian Crowley, newly signed to Chemikal Underground after releases with Fence and Domino, presents a comparatively conventional solo set, limited by a budget airline to a single electric guitar and his distinctive voice. Songs from his album ‘I See Three Birds Flying’ highlight the dark fairytale qualities he shares with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and in places, Leonard Cohen.

Finally tonight, Lightships fill the main stage with a veritable Glasgow indie supergroup. Teenage Fanclub’s Gerry Love leads the band with contributions from Chris ‘Beans’ Geddes (keyboards) and Bob Kildea (bass) of Belle & Sebastian, alongside familiar Glasgow faces Dave McCowan (Snowgoose) and Tom Crossley (The Pastels) among others. With three guitars, flute, clarinet and at one point the still installed grand piano, they perform the majority of the tracks from Lightships’ album ‘Electric Cables’. These have a characteristically harmonious, euphoric layered sound - indeed almost exactly what you would imagine Gerry Love would produce - all tremolo guitar lines, sweet flutes and swirling sunshine.

With artists as diverse as these, Eastern Promise remains a welcome point on the Scottish musical map.

Tags: Features

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

April 2024

With Bob Vylan, St Vincent, girl in red, Lizzy McAlpine and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY