The Wee Chill - SWG3, Glasgow, Sat 29 Jun 2013
10th anniversary saw the Glasgow showcase return to its live roots
For its tenth anniversary, The Wee Chill returned to its live roots, putting on a bill of mostly guitar-based acts across the hangar-like SWG3 warehouse and the teeny-tiny Poetry Club across the lane. In between, there was extremely good fast food, served up by the folk behind SWG3’s recent foray into pop-up dining, Street Food Cartel. Drawn mainly from Glasgow and its environs, the line-up was an inviting mix of acoustic folk, countrified indie, electro and more, to be commended for a clear effort on the part of organisers to make this not ‘just another gig.’
Two acts stood out as doing something out of the ordinary. Aidan Moffat presented what he promised was a very rare all-spoken word set, prefaced with a reading of a none-too-complimentary online review of his only spoken word album, I Can Hear Your Heart. In tribute to that disappointed customer (whose main problem seemed to be that he didn’t know what genre it was), Moffat then launched into ‘C***s’, just in case anyone in the audience was left unaware of his propensity for a good cuss. But for all his filth, fury and genuine comedy skill, the former Arab Strap man still has a talent for catching you off-guard with a surprisingly poignant line, his at-times confrontational persona balanced out by gruff self-deprecation. Finishing with a verse story for children (soon to be a genuine kids’ book, he says) was a tender curve-ball.
The other innovation of the night was James Yorkston (and regular violinist Emma Smith) teaming up with two-thirds of Sparrow and the Workshop for some beefed-up, electrified and often pretty radical reworkings of the Fife folk singer’s own songs, plus a cover or two. The pairing of two rather singular singing voices – Yorkston’s and that of S&TW’s Jill O’Sullivan – didn’t always work, but the attempt to do something different with some well-kent tunes was to be applauded. ‘Tortoise Regrets Hare’ became a breathless stomper with added interpretive dance moves from O’Sullivan, while a pounding cover of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ provided a most unexpected finale.
Unfortunately, they faced a battle to be heard over the raucous chatter of some fairly inebriated Saturday night punters who, despite attending a festival called The Wee Chill, were more than a wee bit radge. After that taste of disco from Yorkston and co, it was over to the Poetry Club for a late show by Miaoux Miaoux, who really ought to be much more famous than he is, particularly among fans of Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem. The new bassist making his debut was a great addition, bringing some killer disco basslines to the mix, and even the most wasted stopped their bellowed conversations and danced like there was no tomorrow to a jubilant rendition of ‘Hey Sound’.