As I mentioned before, I think the Glad Café was already on my good side with their lovely décor, nice staff, and Williams Brothers beers that they served chilled and cheap. The café its self is lovely and so is their magazine (that I’ve still to submit to, natch) so all that had to be done was to go and see a gig in their venue space to complete an opinion.
As luck would have it, Loscil, a Canadian ambient electronic artist called Scott Morgan, and Talivhorros, a noisy ambient-ish live act two-piece from Edinburgh, were playing – both artists that I’d wanted to see live for a long time. So, with a friend that I’d drip fed with back catalogue entries and Youtube clips of the two artists over the course of four months to prepare him, I went along to the café. Here are my thoughts:
The set up for this duo was intriguing – a drum kit pared down to the essentials – a snare, a hi-hat and a kick pedal, as well as a few looping pedals and a drum pad. On the other side of the stage was a series of looping pedals and machines, and an electric guitar. The music that the two guys made using this ragtag of set ups was impressive and immersive – you’d probably already be ready for their style if you were going to see Loscil, sure, but the live aspect of it all doesn’t come across on their records (which, I think might be because the two piece set up is fairly new, I am unsure).
The drumming was used to excellent affect, especially in the final track. The looping of the drumming however was overshadowed by the intricate and excellent guitar looping. The set was quite impressive, the variety of the melodies and the urgency of some of the looping was spectacular, showing that there was a true talent for construction of music on show. I was very impressed by the end of their set.
In comparison to Talvihorros’ set up of live instruments, Loscil’s was simply a Macbook on a table with a few controllers and a touch pad controller. I have listened to a lot more of Loscil’s work, his being one of the break through ambient artists that I started listening to. I recognised a lot of what he was playing as linked to some of the work on his new album, but the arrangements were slightly different and the timings were constructed differently. This was one of my first “laptop” gigs where the music is being live from a computer. I always wondered what it would be like, as I was brought up on live bands and the interplay that that brings, and I thought it would be hard to be engaged in what appears on the surface as a guy simply standing behind a Mac.
I was wrong, however – I was mesmerised by Loscil’s concentration, evidently working on timings and queuing things up to slowly build a cohesive sound. It was pretty fascinating watching someone play with a laptop as intricately as anyone playing a guitar or drum kit. And, in the end, what is the difference? I know that many might not see it – many would struggle to be convinced by it, many of my friends would find it difficult, but I enjoy it a lot. The music was fabulous and I was certainly invested in the way in which the music was being created. As someone with a mild wish to make their own electronic music using a laptop only, it was an education to see it done live.
The Venue is at the back of the café through what looks like fire doors and is small – this is not a bad thing. Despite it being a sell out (more on that in a bit) there was ample space to enjoy both acts and move around. Indeed, we were right up at the front of the stage and there was around 8 feet of space, enough for some of the audience to take a seat during the relaxing Loscil set. After having a few pints of the Williams Brothers draught (which is lovely, properly lovely) I didn’t mind standing up, but sitting down with Connie for something else is a nice option – though I am not sure if it would work for some other artists, or if the venue would let us.
The only slight problem I noticed was with the gig being a sell out – whilst I waited for my gigging compadre to appear several folk asked if there were tickets on the door. Confusion reigned as a tweet earlier in the day had said there was 10 left but they had been reserved between the tweet and the gig door opening. This wasn’t isolated – there was at least 20 people coming up to the bar asking for tickets. I think it surprised the venue that it had sold out (it surprised me too) so I can’t be too harsh on them, but for those who missed out… it might’ve been a bit annoying.
I really enjoyed the gig and the venue, so that’s good. Can’t wait to go back again.
Note: I looked online for some photos of the gig but I couldn’t find any.