Scottish musical talent at its very finest
Organised by Glasgow’s premium platform for up-and-coming artists, Tenement TV, the aptly named Tenement Trail festival is not to be missed. It’s an intense affair – lasting from 2pm until 12.45am, and spanning six venues in and around the Gallowgate, including the Barrowland Ballroom, St. Luke’s and BaaD. Armed only with my £35 ticket and the Notes app, I embarked on an 8-hour day of gigs on behalf of the Glasgow Guardian. With such a plethora of genres and local talent on display, I was spoilt for choice when it came to reviewing artists; however, there are four which I can confidently describe as “ones to watch”.
Walt Disco: 2.30pm
There aren’t many gigs I would brave a torrential rainstorm for, or willingly attend at 2.30pm, but Walt Disco are an exception. I have watched this band flourish since my arrival in Glasgow four years ago, and was thrilled to see them, glamorous as ever, warming up the Barrowlands with anthems from their debut album Unlearning. They were declared “Glasgow’s hardest working band” by BBC Introducing as they took to the stage, and their dedication to their craft certainly shone through. Personal highlights for me were the high-energy, youthful Cut Your Hair and Selfish Lover.
You can catch Walt Disco on tour with eighties electronic legends Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in March next year, playing at the Glasgow Concert Hall.
After utilising some spare change on some coin pushers in the arcade and having a quick wander around the newly-rejuvenated Barras markets (well worth a visit!), I was enticed over to BaAD by the beat of Soapbox—a Glasgow punk outlet formed in spring 2022. I would describe their live performance style as reminiscent of SOFT PLAY in their early days—shamelessly loud and (quite literally) in-your-face. Their frontman certainly grabbed my attention with his witty choice of t-shirt reading “Private Public Transport Sucks”, which I later found out was the title of one of the band’s hits which lamented Scotland’s unreliable public transport networks. Another stand-out for me was the uber-catchy Value Added Glasgow, a single which was added to Spotify earlier this year. All in all, Soapbox are certainly the freshest Glasgow punk band on the scene at the moment.
If you want to experience the high energy of Soapbox for yourself, get down to the Scottish Music Collective’s “Rip it Up” event at Nice ‘N’ Sleazy on the 30th of November 2023. w
Ho Lee Fook: 5pm
After a busy afternoon settling in to TT ’23, it was time to source some food. After seeing the online hype about Ho Lee Fook’s fresh East Asian cooking, it would have been rude not to sample some of their goods. Open Thursday to Sunday, this little street food stand is the perfect lunch or pre-gig takeaway. I opted for the Biang Biang noodles, which were absolutely delicious. Other options on the menu included chicken karaage and katsu curry—filling, comfort food for an autumn day.
Originally hailing from the FK postcode myself, I felt obliged to check out Falkirk-based Danko’s set at the legendary Barrowland Ballroom. This set was more mellow than the others, which was welcomed – I’m not sure how well I’d have handled another jumpy gig before my food had settled. Danko describe themselves as an alternative rock and roll band—and dress the part in shirts, ties and blazers. Their music has a distinct Americana feel to it, and I can confirm their biggest number Be Fooled is guaranteed to transport you back to the indie sleaze era. Above all, Danko’s set demonstrated to me the versatility present in Scottish music at the moment, a scene which consistently refuses to be defined by a singular genre or look.
Be sure to follow @dankotheband on Instagram for information on future upcoming performances.
After a refreshment (and drying off) break, it was time to see the last, and perhaps most anticipated, act on my itinerary—Bemz, the phenomenally talented Glasgow-based artist pioneering Scottish rap. Accompanied by a stellar live band, the energy of Bemz’s set was infectious, and had the whole of St. Luke’s joyfully bopping. Without a doubt, the best moment of the set was the unexpected guest appearance from the Edinburgh artist Sean Focus, with whom Bemz performed the impossibly lively track RAGING BULL. I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to Gyallie on Me, performed live just a day after its release. The performance rounded off a wonderful, inspirational display of Scottish talent, leaving me with a beaming smile and huge optimism for the future of a live music scene that briefly felt pretty decimated as a consequence of Covid-19.
For announcements regarding his sought-after live performances, give @bigbemz1 a follow on Instagram.