Best of 2011: Gigs
The best gig in Scotland 2011, including Remember Remember, St Vincent, Arcade Fire, Group Inerane and Archive Trails
The Planetarium, Glasgow, Sat 8 Oct
We don’t tend to throw about words like ‘spellbinding’ and ‘mesmerising’. But for a gig that asked us to lie back and gaze at the stars, while laptop wizardry and shimmering electro-prog-rock washed over us, we feel it deserves both. A clever use of backdrop (and ‘above-drop’?) from the Detour team, creating an aural and visual delight.
Stereo, Glasgow, Tue 15 Nov
This was the year Annie Clark smashed it – with her best album to date (Strange Mercy, 4AD), and a string of powerful live shows. Shapeshifting sounds, high-waisted leather shorts, the quirk of an updated Kate Bush, crystalline vocals, and Clark’s guitar-wielding skills – all meshing together to create something very memorable at this midweek show.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Sun Oct 16
How was an archive of forgotten, dusty songs of Scotland going to reignite interest in its treasure trove of material? By staging a national tour, enlisting the help of wordsmiths (Wounded Knee incorporated hip hop and drone into his reworkings), puppeteers (Shane Connolly and a horse skull added gothic thrills), and folk song (Ali Roberts sang and Aileen Campbell performed with her iPod.) Innovative, inspired, and massively enjoyable.
Kinning Park Complex, Glasgow, Fri 2 Dec
A co-promo from Scotland’s hottest underground promoters; Braw Gigs, Tracer Trails and Cry Parrot. Niger’s Group Inerane could barely speak English, but still had the crowd going wild with their cries of ‘Ca va?’ and ‘Merci à tous!’. Rolling Saharan grooves, a sublime onstage energy, Chris Corsano and Mick Flowers supporting, exciting new venue: Boom. This one had it all.
Edinburgh Castle, Thu 1 Sep
As if the sounds of AF’s album The Suburbs weren’t epic enough (albeit detailing small-town angst and a longing to escape from suburbia), hearing it played with the added wallpaper of a giant fairy-lit castle, and exploding canons – it was always going to bring a sense of spectacle. Rolling visuals helped, as did the Montreal collective’s onstage pogo-ing and improv percussion against the stage rigging.