The inaugural Great Western for the 432presents promoter team, across multiple venues in Glasgow’s west-end, was a hard-end success and the perfect place on a Saturday night for music aficionados across the city. Programming fifty acts across ten venues with a kick-off time of 3pm is ambitious and they near enough pull it off.
First up for me, after collecting my wristband in Glasgow’s QMU, was The Yummy Fur. A last minute stand-in for Warmduscher, the grungey Pixies-influenced four-piece oft had a fun, danceable edge. The Glasgow based art-rock group has had many incarnations over the years but they were generally led by vocalist/guitarist John McKeown.
Next it was Callum Easter in The Glue Factory, which was a notable trek away from the QMU. A half hour march in the rain was unpleasant and was a realistation about the number of actual gig venues that exist in the West-end – less than you would initially imagine. However, I did arrive in time to catch the tail end of Callum’s set in a dank, yet trendy warehouse venue beyond Maryhill Road. A warm but short set with harmonica and accordion, it was a thankful end to the schlep.
Lightships were next on the agenda, and in Maryhill’s Community Central Halls (so not too far a trek this time). Somewhat shoegaze, delicately awkward with a stunningly harmonic sound, I was suitably impressed with this Domino offering. Considered to be the band that offers the other music of Gerry Love (of Teenage Fanclub fame), Lightships were performing for the first time in six years. The Maryhill Community Centre programme was guest-selected by The Pastels, and thus, there was a diverse and rich mix of music for the course of the journey in this venue. Apostille gave an erratic, synth-based performance, and Sacred Paws got the entirety of Room 1 bouncing to tracks like Strike a Match and Write this Down. The Pastels themselves concluded the night here with a few tracks, reminding us all of their place and influence on Glasgow’s music scene.
It was a quick dive over to The Glue Factory for a final hurrah to the night, and well, that it was with a stunning performance from Glasgow-based Free Love. As the band took to the stage, Duglas T Stewart exclaimed, “it’s showtime,” and he was not wrong. Described as”pure unfiltered nrg” there is a notion that Free Love (once Happy Meals) inject a second wind or something into you through their visual and sound. The project of S. Rodden and L. Cook, Free Love have had much recognition in the critical circles recently, and this performance amplified why. Aided with dancers and flag-bearers there was a cult vibe to this warehouse gig, and the intensity of the room is high, whilst the band perform their forty minute or so set.
All in all, a fantastic first Great Western, aside from long queues for bars, and planned treks across town. Certianly a festival to keep the music aficionados happy.