Hinterland 2009 - The Clash Review

Inaugural Glasgow festival covered...
Adele of Sons And Daughters

As far as exaggerations go, it is bit rich to label Glasgow a musical ‘hinterland’.

The city that gave the world Simple Minds, Primal Scream, Orange Juice, Franz Ferdinand and many more has always boasted the tyre tracks of record label types on its streets. However, there is so much more to the Scottish city than just the same well-known names, with hidden talent awaiting you at every turn. With a clutch of award-winning venues and a bill that blends some of the finest young guns from Glasgow and beyond, the inaugural Hinterland promises much.

Opening with DJs in legendary nightspot The Arches, one-time Bis hero Manda Rin is amongst the first to take to the stage. Bis hold a special place in the hearts of Glasgow music fans, and Rin’s set shows that age hasn’t dulled her love of electro-pop. Over in hipster hangout Nice N Sleazy, electronic act Remember Remember is charming the audience with his unusual music. Rhythm tracks made from ripped-up sheets of paper, lilting folk melodies and a song suite based on the seasons – The Fratellis he ain’t.

Metronomy released their second album ‘Lights Out’ last year to warm acclaim, but the band’s sheer sonic muscle in the live arena takes people by surprise. Gone is any attempt to craft subtle, soaring melodies – this is sheer raunchy rhythm, finding its spiritual home in The Arches. Copy Haho are strangely scheduled to follow on from this onslaught, but the group wins over the audience with their Pavement shapes and warm stage mannerisms. A band your mum might like, providing she appreciates Stephen Malkmus.

The Fall are like rock’s version of acid – your first experience could be a nightmare, or it could be the making of you. Mark E. Smith has recently been wheelchair bound due to a dodgy hip, and seems to be taking out his pain and frustration on the band. At one point he randomly turns off his guitar player’s amp, and then turns towards the keyboard and starts slapping at it. Musically, however, it is strangely flawless. Utterly without concession to the audience, the sluicing together of rockabilly and krautrock provides something that is strangely riveting. Smith stalks the stage menacingly, like the nastiest drunk in the most run-down pub you’ve ever seen.

Day two opens with the wonderful Slow Club. As charming as ever, the twee two-piece unveil tracks from their soon-to-be-released debut album, and seem genuinely stunned at the reaction they receive. A quick jog round to Stereo finds Eugene McGuinness keeping the crowd riveted with his indie-folk musings. With his self-titled debut just behind him McGuinness seems bristling with excitement, desperate for his songs to be heard.

Sons And Daughters simply ooze Scottishness. Aside from singing in their own accents, the band were at one point almost the house band at Nice N Sleazy, previously playing The Stranglers’ song of the same name in tribute to the venue. Tonight finds them back on home turf, rejoicing in some familiar surroundings. Opening with ‘Broken Bones’, the group has noticeably beefed up their live sound, becoming a much bulkier rock entity in the process. Not that anyone is complaining however, as the set ends with a triumphant run through of early favourite ‘Johnny Cash’.

The Scottish indie conveyor belt continues to produce the goods with two up-and-coming acts playing at either end of a staircase. Downstairs in the Classic Grand local heroes Paper Planes give their all, with their psych-pop anthems winning over the crowd. Just above them are hotly tipped Edinburgh group Broken Records, whose unique blend of rock with orchestral flourishes prove the sheer depth of the Scottish music scene.

Hinterland ends as it began: with a good old-fashioned knees up. Ambitiously taking over the Old Fruitmarket, a stunning line up of DJs give the dancefloor plenty to keep occupied with. The Count And Sinden showcase their soon-to-be-released debut album, alongside a host of special remixes, while Simian Mobile Disco live up to their reputation with a sensational set as the clock begins to wind down.

Sure, London may have the kudos, and for a large part the industry machinery, but don’t let that fool you – music runs deep in Glasgow’s veins, giving the city a very rhythmic pulse. With the weight of history slumped on its shoulders, Hinterland shows that Glasgow has no intention of letting its reputation slip. Open your ears London, and you might hear something worth listening to.

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Check out or Hinterland Photo Gallery HERE

Photo: Derek M Chapman

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