Wednesday, 31 July 2013

GIG REVIEW: Fake Major, Campfires in Winter, Kevin Harper at King Tut's Summer Nights 29.07.2013

On a Monday night in Glasgow when the indie rock heroes of my teens (We Are Scientists) were also in town, I once again took a trip to King Tut's Wah Wah Hut for a dose of Summer Nights and the best in new music.

First up on the night was former Little Eskimos frontman, Kevin Harper. Harper presents a fresh take on the one man and his guitar with the addition of his laptop and some very strong vocals. Playing mostly songs from his solo album, with a few Little Eskimos tracks and one very interesting The Pixies cover, the setlist aptly shows his range and talent. Harper reminds me very much of Australia's Ben Lee, both in his vocals and his lyrics. His set is a fresh and change of pace from the Americana flooded acoustic field and he knows how to work a crowd despite not even being sure his set work. Harper is certainly someone to keep an eye on.

It was then time for Campfires in Winter to bring their Scottish rock masterclass to Tut's, and they do so with a large crowd in attendance. The band put on a very energetic show that flows from the crowd to the stage and back again, resulting in lots of noise and bouncing around on both sides. There's riffs aplenty, including from a new track never before been played live that goes down an absolute treat. Campfires are already an accomplished live outfit, going from strength to strength and shredding a lot of guitars in the process. The reception from the crowd proves that they are steadily gaining a loyal fanbase, and if the reaction to finale 'White Lights' is anything to go by then they are almost certainly going onto bigger and better things this year. The finale is loud, proud and a statement of true rock that leaves everyone in the room suitably impressed. The Campfires are one of the strongest bands on the circuit right now and deserve your attention.

Tonight's headline set comes smack bang right in the middle of the festival run for Fake Major and it represents their first full band headline where they actually had the opportunity to sound check, what a novelty. Typically then, there is a few technical issues before the set can begin but the band manage to silence the packed out Tut's with their opener of 'Cotton & Ink'. It's a joy to behold to watch a band render a crowd silent, especially on their first track of the night but that's the absolute power this band have already in their first year of existence. During the set, Richard Ferguson and David McGinty look to almost be performing as one solid unit as their mics as just the right distance apart to present the exact image of a four-armed singer-songwriter that the band describe themselves as. With years as Endor behind them and already a good block of shows as FM, this band are already accomplished live and have the sound for bigger rooms. EP tracks like 'Little Researcher' and 'Love in the Mundane' are very well received, and the band put on anything but a mundane live show joking with the crowd in-between tracks on all things from wanting to play the show for the one person who may not have heard them before (be it a guy, or a woman with a really deep voice), Jarv's colourblindness, and the fact they could easily teach midnight guest Pronto Mama their tunes as "it's only two chords". Many laughs are had by all. The new take on Endor song 'Chapel Doors' is at its best at this show and the crowd adores it, but the highlight of the night for me has to be the two as-yet unreleased Fake Major tracks including never before heard 'Seventeen' as the penultimate track. Both songs prove there is incredible life left yet in this band, they going to be going places, and I have no shame in saying they are absolutely my favourite band of the moment. The set ends on an incredible high with 'Fiction' and everyone is sorry to see them go, but it surely won't be long before they are gracing many more venues with their presence. 

After recovering from that great show I was able to stick around to see the midnight guests Pronto Mama, who brought their loud and proud indie rock show to Tut's bar and they did so with aplomb. It was a brilliant show that caught the attention of the majority in the bar and they've got a lot to get us excited about including by playing new tracks to tease us. 

All in all, this was a spectacular Monday evening with some of the best Scottish music. It was an easy decision in the end to choose this gig because I knew that it'd be one of the best shows of the year. My only disappointment of the night was that there was no Susie-sized t-shirts, but I'll get one in time.

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