Pop South Festival, Glasgow – Sunday 14th February 2016

After a stomp up to the hill in Queen’s Park in the morning to look out across the city to the snow-covered hills to wake up, back to the Glad Café we went to spend more time shut in a dark room.

Catenary Wires - (c) Robin Halls
Catenary Wires - (c) Robin Halls

Bill Botting (aka Two Drink Minimum) and his sister Hannah were on first with a bunch of gentle acoustic songs including his Christmas song, perfect with snow in the air. They were reinforced halfway through by bass and second guitar, to flesh out the sound. As guitar was from Paul Rains, they were close to sounding like Allo Darlin, especially with Hannah singing solo. Which was nice.

Paul made his escape in good time to hot foot it back over to Edinburgh, where Tigercats and Chorusgirl were continuing their tour that evening.

More laid back songs came from Two White Cranes, whose Radisson Blue album, I’ve been listening to for a while. Not all of this lights my wick but certainly enough of it to enjoy Roxy’s set a lot. Her powerful and clear voice is simply lovely to listen to and the guitar sound she gets is wonderful.

Catenary Wires continued the laid back feel to the day and Rob pulling up a chair so he could play guitar just seemed somehow appropriate. I’ve always adored Amelia’s voice and they played all the songs from their debut CD, as well as one or two new ones, which are reassuringly in the same relaxed and unremittingly downbeat vein. Upbeat and optimistic these songs are not and more power to them for being so.

Duglas T. Stewart - (c) Robin Halls
Duglas T. Stewart - (c) Robin Halls

I didn’t recognise Gordon MacIntyre under his beard but as soon as he started to sing, any doubts of it being an imposter disappeared. Although seemingly pestered by the ghost of Darren Hayman, resulting in a couple of false starts, he gave us a great set, with a few ballboy songs for good measure.

I don’t get the chance to see him perform anywhere near often enough so this was a welcome opportunity for which I was appropriately grateful.

Douglas T. Stewart from BMX Bandits did a ‘solo’ spot, accompanied by a few friends. Not knowing anything about him, I had no idea what to expect. Having seen him I’m still not totally sure how to describe it or what I thought!

Coming across as more than a bit Radio 2, with close harmony singing from his chums, they took a turn for the more surreal by covering an Ivor Cutler song. Not something I’ve experienced before but a whole-hearted thumbs up from me all round.

I’d not really clicked with Pete Astor before but his set was really good. About halfway through, it just sort of fell into place for me. Maybe it was the beer kicking in, maybe it was knowing we were reluctantly running out of time, or maybe it’s just because Pete writes good songs and performs them really well. Probably a combination of all of these.

Regardless, it was a great way to end a fabulous weekend. Thanks to Pop South for putting this on and thanks to Glad Café for hosting us all. A perfect remedy for the mid-winter blues.

Pete Astor - (c) Robin Halls
Pete Astor - (c) Robin Halls

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