Electric Frog September Weekender – SWG3, Glasgow, Sat 10–Sun 11 Sep
- Malcolm Jack
- 19 September 2011
The Fall, Errors and Wild Beasts play the weekend festival
‘It’s good that this is in Glasgow, ‘cause not a lot of great things happen in Glasgow,’ praised Errors’ Steev Livingston of Electric Frog. His tongue was possibly ever so slightly in cheek, but these micro festivals – of which this September Weekender was the third instalment this year, and the first to straddle the realms of both dance music and live alternative bands – are definitely becoming very welcome regular fixtures on the city’s music calendar, particularly with Triptych never having been adequately replaced. Though on this evidence organisers have some significant planning issues to resolve if they want to please two quite different crowds.
Saturday’s line-up put together by promoters Pressure and Melting Pot saw sets from a top-drawer clutch of international DJs – among them Jeff Mills, Derrick May and a rare UK appearance by US godfather of house Frankie Knuckles – and enjoyed decent weather and a heady party atmosphere. While nobody could shoulder blame for the torrential downpour that put a damper on Sunday, the Synergy-curated bill of live bands exposed a few problems, specifically the deficiencies of a shoddy main stage venue – a long, narrow, puddle-strewn tent on the street outside SWG3 that can have offered few people in the crowd satisfactory line of sight or sound quality. And organisers have to be a bit embarrassed by the bars running out of draught drinks before 5pm.
But the bands all delivered in full. Debuting material from their forthcoming new album, instrumental electronic post-rock explorers Errors were exceptional, likewise Kendal purveyors of Talk Talk-like dreamy indie Wild Beasts, who captured all the elegance, drama and precision of their exquisite albums Two Dancers and Smother. Sandwiched in between was a workmanlike turn from post-punk perennials The Fall, frontman Mark E. Smith in trademark muttering, unintelligible form.
Backed by a bassist and drummer, Swede Axel Willner aka The Field’s minimal techno took on a robust and punchy character live that got a big crowd dancing in the moody darkness of the upstairs indoor stage. Mogwai’s climactic headline turn has to rate as one of the best shows they’ve played in their home city in a while – a ruthlessly intense one-hour roam through recent material from their new 'Earth Division' EP to vintage staples ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’, ‘Helicon 1’ and the ferociously to-the-point ‘Glasgow Mega Snake.’