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Lift To Experience, Summerhall, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live

 Image:- Julia Stryj

In preparation for tonight's show I played Lift To Experience's (seminal?) album The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads for the first time in over a decade. It made little impact on me, which is probably why I played it so infrequently when I actually owned it. Frontman Josh T. Pearson has a legion of devotees I know but I've zero idea of what he's done in the years since that album came out although he was recently described to me as a sub-Father John Misty type preacher so I think I've a reasonable idea.

Support tonight turned out to be provided by Meursault, a seemingly handy occurrence as I’d never yet heard their more folky sound or seen them since their recent reformation. Technically, however, I’d say I still haven’t seeing as onstage there was only a dour, acoustic duo of Neil Pennycook and a violinist. There was a good amount of dry wit forthcoming, blether about Charlie Brown and sentiments about sea songs with which most there seemed to agree with but, given the oppressive heat of the hall, this wasn’t the greatest set to stand through.

Still, as Pennycook himself was well aware, Lift To Experience were everyone’s reason for shelling out £30+ to swelter so he did his bit with aplomb & vacated the stage on time. Only for the headliners to unfortunately be a bit late & then suffer some technical issues through the first couple of songs. Doubly frustrating from them and Lee from Leeds as they’d spent a couple of hours prior working on perfecting the sound in the hall and ensuring their transported equipment married up with Summerhall’s electrics.

A working Leslie pedal was though duly installed and the trio’s sound, already decently loud and defined, gained a further edge to put it in front of that heard on the album. Whilst Pearson’s vocals were largely lost in the music that was easily made up for with the sonically invigorating sounds produced by the group’s evident hard work. All three consistently looked like they were in their element and never happier than when onstage.

Between songs Pearson had a very engaging line in banter, clearly understanding the Edinburgh/Glasgow cheek he came out with rather than parroting someone else’s suggestion, along with honest & unique chat aside from that. Selfies (or “handjobs”) with the crowd and the band’s steer skull mascot were taken prior to the final song of the album set, rounding out one of the best atmosphere’s I’ve seen at a show in a long time.

Pearson returned to do a one man encore of ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ which saw a decent number of audience members singing along before he graciously and gratefully called an end to the proceedings. I still don’t see myself rating The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads highly as an album but as a live experience it’s in a different league. 


SAY Award 2017 Longlist Announced At Dedicated Live Event

  • Published in News

Now in its sixth year, The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award aims to recognise the most deserving albums released from Scotland, highlighting innovation and talent across the country. With previous winners including RM Hubbert and Young Fathers, this year's longlist once again represents an array of talent. With a £20,000 grand prize on the line, and £1,000 for each of the shortlisted artists, this is one of the UK's most substantial music awards.

In a first the organisers have opted to celebrate live music explicitly, by hosting an event to announce the longlist, featuring performances by three previous nominees. With a playlist of Scottish music providing the backdrop, Steve Mason, Admiral Fallow and Mungo's Hi Fi played sets showcasing the prowess of Scottish artists beyond their recordings.

After an exciting introduction to the event, Steve Mason entertained the crowd with a set of his enjoyable political acoustic guitar jams. With insightful and hard-hitting lyrics, Mason's melodic guitar playing really lifts the melancholy about society, and it's no surprise he's had numerous nominations for this very award.

Admiral Fallow followed with their first performance in Glasgow for a while, and their expansive brand of chamber pop was a captivating as always, using harmonies and dynamics to enthrall the crowd. Laced with some sincere crowd interaction, they're undoubtedly one of Scottish musical assets and a wonderful addition to the bill.

With everyone suitably comfortable, it was time for the main event, the longlist announcement. Representing many flavours of Scotland's musical landscape, you can find the twenty albums below (in alphabetical album by artist):

Adam Holmes and The Embers – Brighter Still
C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
Ela Orleans – Circles of Upper and Lower Hell
Fatherson – Open Book
Frightened Rabbit – Painting of a Panic Attack
Honeyblood – Babes Never Die
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Damage and Joy
King Creosote – Astronaut Meets Appleman
Konx-om-Pax – Caramel
Meursault – I Will Kill Again
Modern Studies – Swell To Great
Mogwai – Atomic
Pictish Trail – Future Echoes
Rachel Newton – Here's My Heart Come Take It
RM Hubbert – Telling The Trees
Sacred Paws – Strike A Match
Starless – Starless
Teenage Fanclub – Here
TeenCanteen – Say It All With A Kiss
Vukovi – Vukovi

Accompanied by YT, Mungo's Hi Fi then closed out the night with some party-worthy beats. Whilst the crowd thinned out fast following the announcement, perhaps there were trains to catch or this just isn't everyone's cup of tea, enough people remained to dance heartily to the music on offer.

With a successful "launch night" completed, the next stages of 2017's SAY Award can begin. From here the 20 albums will be whittled to 10, nine chosen by a panel of judges and the other by popular public vote on 12-14 June. Following the shortlist announcement on 15 June, the winner will be announced at Paisley Town Hall on 28 June at the final ceremony.

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