Friday, October 7th, sure was a warm-up gig to remember. Three unique sets and a gig forever to reminisce about, held in East Kilbride. A home town performance for most event members and a show that makes you proud to have grown up there. Mo Chara, an Irish-themed basement venue/pub, was the perfect fit for the night. The relatively small stage made the gig more personal for the crowd. Each set was full of funk, soul and a genuine appreciation for live music. This gig was a warm-up for a spree of shows in November, including an eagerly awaited galavant at the Barrowlands Ballroom on November 18th.
First to step on the awaiting stage was Paul Crawford, an act full of wit and joy and whose ability to interact with a crowd was one of the best I’ve seen. Although he played covers, he made each song his own with a soul-type feel to every song he sang. From Amy Winehouse to Queens of the Stone Age, Crawford has the impressive skill of repackaging electric rock and pop songs into a soul-warming acoustic display. The crowd warmed up to the familiar sounds and got into a fiery groove. I’d urge anyone to see him if they can, and who knows, if you wear a band top that he knows, he may play a song of theirs.
The next act was Fauves, a Glaswegian Synth Pop band, continuing from Paul Crawford. The whole set felt like a hypnotic trance. I had never heard of Fauves before, and I must say it was an excellent first impression. Fauves was jam-packed with high-pitched glass-shattering vocals, soul-shifting keys and a bass tone to match. One song I particularly enjoyed was titled F. A song though smooth, transitions into a LoFi banger that’s hard not to dance along with. Though the vocalist was Ill, he still gave his all; it felt like I was listening to the recording.
Fauves will join Declan Welsh at the Barrowlands gig, and I cannot wait to hear the electric version with a full band.
Last up was the East Kilbridian himself, dawning the stage armed with a guitar. Something unique about how everyone in the room stepped forward in anticipation of what was to come. As he was the only one on stage, there was a presence needed, and Declan answered that by playing a host of hits, including Lull, Different Strokes, Talking to Myself, As I am and How Does Your Love. I went into this gig only really knowing small bits of his discography though I have come out a fan. While listening, I felt connected to the songs relating to my own experiences in the local area described in the songs. Small town dwellings are described in vibrant soon-to-be ballroom anthems. Two tunes that stuck out to me were How Does Your Love and Different Strokes, both heartfelt emotional songs. Both songs are so separate yet inspirational.
I do believe in the future that Declan and especially the other band members have the potential to be classed as Glasgow and East Kilbride’s answer to bands such as the Snuts, something people can recognise as their own and be proud of.
Declan Welsh and the Decadent West have a small UK tour starting at Waves Festival in Sunderland on November 5th, continuing with gigs in Manchester and London, and culminating at the Barrowland Ballroom on November 12th, the pinnacle for Glasgow bands.