Stag & Dagger, various venues, Glasgow, Sat 19 May
- Laura Ennor
- 22 May 2012
Eleanor Friedberger and Miaoux Miaoux play as part of 13 hour gig crawl
While its London sister seems to have died a death, presumably smothered by a surfeit of such hipster-friendly crawls and brawls in the English capital, the Glasgow leg of multi-venue one-dayer Stag and Dagger happily lives on, albeit with perhaps a slightly lower-profile range of guests across its 13 hours and eight stages than in previous years.
As ever with such events, there's a lot of legwork involved if you want to catch more than a handful of the bands on offer, but credit to organisers PCL for keeping everything running to time, which made legging it across town to catch that other band you'd really been meaning to see worthwhile rather than frustrating.
The List starts out in the pitch black of Nice'n'Sleazy, groping its way towards the crackly timbres and clever vocal loops of Adam Stafford, whose 'Shot-down You Summer Wannabes' is both a hit with the crowd and oddly reminiscent of the 80s one-hit wonders and sideburn-wearers extraordinaire Flying Pickets' 'Only You'.
There's no time to dwell on whether darkness has corrupted our fine-tuned senses of song recognition, though, as it's on to Stereo to see Miaoux Miaoux deliver a set that belongs not in the balmy, sunlit early evening, but late, late into the night: Justin Corrie's live set has still got the dance pop sensibilities of old, but it's now embellished with some clubland keyboard riffs: both sweet and slammin' at the same time.
The Phantom Band fill the ABC's main stage with an ominous rumbling as their set begins, taking the largely receptive assembled masses on a ride through dark tales of lust and longing from albums Checkmate Savage and The Wants. Singer Rick Anthony's chat leaves the crowd a bit flat, but the wig-out coda of 'The None of One' and Most Sinister-Sounding Use of a Woodblock award winner 'Crocodile' make for an exhilarating finish.
There's just time to visit the CCA, noting Eleanor Friedberger's perfect fringe, sharp vocals and catchy stop-start melodies, before heading to Stereo again for Bear in Heaven, who are apparently rather scared of Glasgow because a) hardly anyone turned up to their last gig here and b) 'you guys are just really drunk, all of the time'. Despite being up against band-of-the-moment Django Django, they draw a decent crowd and reward them with towering psychedelic choruses, pounding beats and lush keys, not to mention some thoroughly life-enhancing (and totally camp) dance moves on the part of singer Jon Philpot.
Rounding off this particular Stag&Dag dérive is a full-on blast of rock delivered courtesy of Holy Mountain, who are something akin to a Glaswegian Kyuss, but more demonstrative with their high kicks and very keen indeed to take their shirts off. It's here that The List's notes, both mental and written, become somewhat flimsy, and that's as good a sign as any of a Grand Day Out.