Elliot Smith Tribute Night
Mono, Glasgow, Sun 29 Oct
Almost three years to the day since Elliot Smith took his own life, it’s little surprise that tribute nights have sprung up in his honour. His glowing musical contribution and tragic passing mean that he now sits alongside Jeff Buckley and Kurt Cobain as an enigmatic fallen angel to an army of discerning fans.
So what better place than one of Glasgow’s indie epicentres to pay homage? The night began with a set from Hey Princess (4 stars), an altogether cheerier proposition than the occasion may have predicted. They’re really great, carrying on that Glasgow lineage of school bands done good, although their softly-softly approach and girly vocals are more reminiscent of The Gentle Waves or Old Solar than Belle and Sebastian. And they played Smith’s ‘Speed Trials’, too.
Next came Early Discloser (3 stars) - AKA Brian Raghoobur, the organiser of the whole shebang - and his fine solo set was stark and tremulous, as we might have expected from a fan of Smith. Two of the three songs he played were Smith’s (‘Angeles’ and ‘The White Lady Loves You More’), and the die-hards by the bar muttered approvingly. He was the hit of the lower-key middle section, although Lou Hickey (3 stars) - who played none of Elliot’s tracks for fear of producing ‘a crap cover’ - glowed with minimal piano and cello. Sher Watson, singer of Edinburgh’s Das Contras (2 stars) was pleasant, but somehow too upbeat and earnest.
The utter highlight was Adam Stafford of Y’all Is Fantasy Island (4 stars), who remarked with amusement that his band sound nothing like Smith, before battering his guitar into submission with a bellowing round of crazed one-man swamp rock. Utterly mesmerising, and Only Joe Kane(4 stars) with his band Idiots Against Time escaped the terrible pun of his name with a barrelling approximation of late-era Beatles. Elliot would’ve been proud, had he not had other things on his mind.