There’s no denying that Scotland has had its fair share of musical success stories over the years. And while there’s not much point in waxing lyrical about its rich history, there’s certainly reason enough to look to its future. That’s where Wide Days comes in.
Held in Edinburgh and currently celebrating its ninth year, this is a new music-focused festival with a twist. Gone are the timetable clashes and never-ending queues: instead, there’s a concise selection of just seven artists on offer, playing across a neat and tidy three venues.
Following on from the convention elements during the day – which take place in the world’s oldest student union, at Teviot Row House – the likes of Zoe Graham and Graham Costello’s STRATA take to the stage in the impressively airy confines of the Teviot Debating Hall.
It’s down at our own stage at La Belle Angele – also sponsored by Jägermeister, natch - however, that things really heat up. Openers CRYSTAL, the first of tonight’s three Glaswegian four-pieces, are hypnotic from the off with their dark and grungy offerings sounding huge. Propulsive and rhythmic, their new track ‘Heaven’ stands as a gloriously slick centrepiece in the set, building and swelling into almighty life.
In almost complete contrast, Rascalton are scrappy and rough around the edges, in the best way. Introduced by BBC Radio Scotland's Vic Galloway – who gives them his seal of punk approval – it takes little time for the packed out venue to crank things up another gear. Echoing the frenzied fury of South Londoners Shame - with a more rhythmic twist - the likes of 'Told You So' and 'Police' are satisfying slices of roughed-up punk that stir up mosh pits across the tiny venue.
Tinged with a hint of '90s brattiness and packed with gritty hooks, LUCIA take to the stage to close the DIY and Jägermeister stage with ease. Fresh from a trip to the States for SXSW, the quartet are slick and well-versed from the off, frontwoman Lucia Fairfull the band's mesmerising lynchpin. Recent single 'Melted Ice Cream' is tauntingly good - its opening refrain making way for a blast of sublime garage rock - and it's no real surprise why the Glaswegians have got a summer of festival spots lined up: they're destined for much bigger stages than tonight.
This year, we're once again teaming up with Jägermeister for a new edition of Jäger Curtain Call, which kicks off this summer. Keep your eyes peeled for further announcements.
Photos: Sinéad Grainger.