Athlete - The Arches, Glasgow, Sat 30 Jul 2011
Acoustic indie pop given another airing for fans
Athlete’s ‘The Hits - Stripped back’ promised an intriguing evening from the once Ivor Novello winners, an intimate atmosphere tethered together with fairy lit piano and a couple of chintz floor lamps on stage. Folkly foursome My First Tooth opened, cheerfully strumming the kind of upbeat, jangly tunes that made us wonder if there should be a few hay bales somewhere – all violin, maracas and countryesque harmonies.
The venue swelled to a decent level for the main event – the headliners pummelling into 'Half Light' and 'Hot in Here', both of which proved the crowd to be a cult following of know-all-the-words-and-can’t-wait-to-sing-them Glaswegians. Cheers were duly lapped up by confident frontman Joel Pott (who put the speed of the set down to ‘drinking too much single malt’) and familiar indie pop tracks included an off-beat piano driven version of 'Rock Scene'; solo 'Vehicles' and 'Animals'; 'This is Beautiful'; 'Hurricane' and the ever emotive 'Wires'. The encore comprised a chilled-out version of 'El Salvador' and the band’s only new track, a fairly nondescript ballad, both devoured with sways and cheers from the loyalist crowd. Proving a hit with a nostalgic fanbase is one thing, but talking up a decade in music (many great bands around for much longer and would scoff at the very thought of a greatest hits tour) without enticing new material may prove a bit more tricky.