DIY music promoters Cry Parrot turn 5
Auntie Flo, Dam Mantle, Sacred Paw, Silk Cut and more are on the line-up their birthday party
In recent years, Cry Parrot has played a major role in nurturing Glasgow’s vibrant music scene. To celebrate the music promoter’s fifth birthday, the fervently eclectic independent promoters are holding a party at The Glue Factory, featuring house wizard Auntie Flo, bass alchemist Dam Mantle, afro-punks Sacred Paws, dance gluttons Silk Cut, banging noiseniks Blue Sabbath Black Fiji, swamp-rockers The Rosy Crucifixion and synth hypnotists Special Hits, aka Mother Ganga.
Artist David Shrigley is a prominent supporter of Cry Parrot, designing posters for them and DJing their 2010 Christmas Party.. ‘Cry Parrot represents all that is great about the Glasgow cultural landscape: a DIY attitude towards presenting wonderful, interesting and peculiar musical events to the people of the city based on passion, curiosity and generosity rather than a desire for profit or personal gain. When people ask me why I choose to live in Glasgow, I would cite the fact that people like Cry Parrot do what they do here as one of the reasons’.
‘I started Cry Parrot as I felt there should be more people supporting grassroots music in Scotland, and at that time (I was 18 years old) a lot of my friends' bands were being exploited by “pay-to-play” promoters.’ explains head Parrot, Fielding Hope. ‘Over the years I've branched out to work on festivals and more ambitious projects, but I think the original DIY ethos is still there. I still love what I do and it doesn't feel like a job - which of course is a good thing!'
Cry Parrot's inclusive music policy takes in everything from scuzzy punk and kaleidoscopic electronica, to Saharan trance rock and wild-eyed avant-folk. They have also made an effort to offer an alternative to the standard gig experience, putting on shows in warehouses, art spaces and community centres, as well as more conventional venues.
'One of the most important aims of Cry Parrot is to make the events stimulating and thought-provoking, so quite a lot of effort is put in to be as open-minded and dynamic as possible with the programming,' says Hope. 'I hate the idea of passive or bored audiences at gigs. At one of the recent events, Hype Williams at SWG3, there was an onstage bodybuilder, a blinding strobe machine, moving head lights and a truly deafening sound system. People walked away either saying it was the best show they've ever seen, or the worst - so I consider that a success!'
Hope's favourite shows from Cry Parrot's first five years include Group Inerane at Kinning Park Complex, The Ex with Brass Unbound at the CCA and Tenniscoats at Garnethill Multicultural Centre, but he feels their biggest achievement to date is 2011's Music Is The Music Language festival, co-curated with Tracer Trails. 'I don't think anything could be more rewarding than putting all your favourite independent acts from Scotland in your favourite venues across two days and somehow get an astounding amount of people to turn up. It made me realize that we have an incredible music scene in Scotland thats buzzing and deserves to be heard'.
Forthcoming shows include Oneohtrix Point Never in May and avant-house label 100% Silk's package tour in June. 'There are loads of exciting events coming up over the summer, perhaps even a couple of club nights. I'm not sure if there will be another Music is the Music Language as such, but keep your eyes peeled for a sequel of some sort.'
The Glue Factory, Glasgow, Fri 27 Apr.