Friday, 23 December 2011

Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – The Arches 20/12/11

It’s been quite a year for messrs Wells and Moffat with a critically acclaimed debut, followed by a jaunt around the UK and Europe. Tonight is the star on the top of the metaphorical tree, their Christmas revue.
I arrive fashionably late to catch the last 15 minutes of the first support act, RM Hubbert. He sits alone on a chair in the middle of the stage with just his acoustic guitar and has the crowd captivated. Songs blend so seamlessly into each other you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was just performing one marathon track. The small part of the set I did catch only left me disappointed that I wasn’t there to witness it all.
Next up were The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland. They say trio. I counted 5 - 6 if you included Bill Wells on piano. With it being a Christmas show, their set consisted of Christmas classics reworked in a slower, more solemn fashion. One by one a singer would approach the mic to perform a song, the pick of which was a hauntingly beautiful version of ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ which even succeeded in making a Grinch like myself forget that it was a sodden Tuesday night in Glasgow.

With various pianos, mic stands and amps draped in fairy lights Aidan, Bill and co walk on stage with minimal fuss, cases of beer in hand. They begin with instrumental album opener ‘Tasogare’ before continuing straight into ‘Let’s Stop Here’ with Aidan playing away with a set of symbols and drums he has set up around his mic stand. As you would expect, Moffat is chatty throughout – “Good evening everybody. Are we all looking forward to the big event? …by that I mean Hogmanay, of course.”

Tonight’s set consists mainly of tracks from Everything’s Getting Older, one of the exceptions being a cover of Bananarama’s Cruel Summer. “Does anybody remember Bananarama?” Moffat asks… “Of course you do, nobody can really forget something like that, can you?” The result wouldn’t be out of place amongst some quieter Arab Strap tracks and fits in very well with the set as a whole. ‘Dinner Time’ is the only uncertain point of the set and seems a little out of place with its strictly spoken word vocals and very immediate piano backing. ‘A Short Song To The Moon’ (“okay, it’s time for the happy song. I mean it… THE happy song.”), ‘The Copper Top’ and ‘The Sadness in Your Life Will Slowly Fade’ all sound fantastic, the latter being the highlight of the set.

After playing the majority of Everything’s Getting Older the band leaves the stage to a rapturous level of applause and cheers from the local faithful within the caverns of the Arches, before returning for the encore. Moffat dips into his recent Christmas EP ‘Oh! What A Not So Silent Night Before Christmas’ to play ‘(Oh What) A Night Before Christmas’ which has the crowd cackling in laughter throughout and is a perfect reminder as to why Moffat is such a brilliant song writer. Not many people can work S&M, NEDs and an alcoholic, near death Santa into a cracking Christmas song. ‘And So We Must Rest’ is the last song of the night and with a final “Good night, good night, oh my children goodnight.” everyone is sent back into the wet Glasgow evening. Everything may be getting older but most things are better with age, right?
Words by Luke Phillips

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The ‘Best Of…’ lists always rear their ugly heads at this time of year, many people loathe them, some people like them and others don’t really care. Here at LoBandWidth we aren’t going to pretend we’re above all of the end of year list making - in fact, we’re going to join in, because there’s nothing we like more than trying to please people. Honest. It’s also partly because I (Mel), had to do a top ten for Drunkenwerewolf, and it was a heartwrenching process cutting down this list to ten. So here we are, in a very vague order, my top 21 albums of the last year:

  1) Johnny Foreigner - Vs Everything
Choosing number one for this list was a bit strange, because there isn’t really a clear winner for me from this year. In the end I went for what I would consider the most ‘deserving’ album. Vs everything feels like the culmination of a hell of a lot of hard work and love, Johnny Foreigner are one of those bands who seem to enjoy making their music as much as we do listening to it and it gets away beautifully with being really rather long. I can tell I’ll be returning to and enjoying it for many
years to come.
Standout track: ‘New Street You Can Take It’

2) Copy Haho - Copy Haho 
An album I’ve been waiting for since SWN Festival in 2009, this is a cohesive debut with pleasantly surprising lyrical depth and one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard in a long time. (Full review on uk)  
Standout tracks: ‘Factory Floor’ and ‘When It Gets Dark’ 

3) Slow Club - Paradise
Turning away from their slightly too sweet debut album, this is darker and more mature. With their gorgeous voices entwining over poignant and sassy lyrics, backed by a thumping drumbeat, it’s an immediate, brilliant work. (Full review 
Standout tracks: ‘Where I’m Waking’ and ‘You, Earth Or Ash’.

4) Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness
I gave this my first ever 10/10 (full review on, and whilst I think that was perhaps a little generous, as it is by no means perfect, it’s still a great listen and of the high standard we’ve all come to expect from LC!.
 Standout tracks: ‘Every Defeat A Divorce’ and ‘To Tundra’.

5) Danananaykroyd - There Is A Way
It was a sad year for fight-pop as Dananananaykroyd went on their final tour ever, leaving us all in a state of shock as  we realised there’d be no more from them. It’s perhaps not as consistent as ‘Hey Everyone’ but at several points you’ll find yourself wondering how exactly they manage to sound that happy, angry and addictive all in one go.  
Standout track: ‘Apostrophe’

6) Beyonce - 4 (standout track: ’ I Was Here’.)  

7) Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells - Everything’s Getting Older (standout track: ‘Let’s Stop Here’)

8) Summer Camp - Welcome To Condale (Standout track: ‘Losing My Mind’ 
9) Zola Jesus - Conatus (standout track: ‘Shivers’)  

10) Benjamin Shaw - There’s Always Hope, There’s Always Cabernet (standout track: ‘HULK’)  

 11) Destroyer - Kaputt (standout track: ‘Poor In Love’)
12) Felt Drawings - Body (download here for free)
13) EMA - Past Life Martyred saints (standout track: ‘Milkman’)

14) We Were Promised Jetpacks - In The Pit Of The Stomach (standout track: ‘Pear Tree’) 

 15) Dear Reader - Idealistic Animals (standout track: ‘Mole’)

16) Katie Malco - Katie Malce and the Slow Parade (standout track: ‘Sad Eyes’)

 17)  Drake - Take Care (standout tracks: ‘Over My Dead Body’ and ‘Take Care’)

18) The Beautiful South - Live At The BBC (it’s actually physically impossible for me to choose a ‘standout track’. Sorry)

19) Fight Like Apes - The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner (standout track: ‘Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty (Lightbulb). Read about why this one’s on the list here)

20) Tellison - The Wages Of Fear (standout tracks: ‘Get On’, ‘Freud Links the Teeth and the Heart’ and ‘My Wife’s Grave Is In Paris’.) 

21) Nicola Roberts - Cinderella’s Eyes (if you don’t love this album, here’s why you should).