A gleaming assortment of musicians take to the 13th note for a night dedicated to emerging artists
What’s the Score?
Beyond the winter glow of the Christmas lights wrapped around the city centre, the exterior of, ‘The 13th Note’, might at first seem ominous, shrouded in the dark of the night. However, within it’s confines would be a great showcase of rising talent who were luckily given a brilliant platform to shine.
Five miscellaneous artists were all set to perform in the compact but by no means uncomfortable basement of the much loved Glasgow venue. Sipping rum in one of the booths upstairs, my friend and I contemplated what exactly we would hear and as we followed the procession of fashionable students walking down the narrow staircase. We were all set to find out!
Standing alone with an acoustic, Jack battered away at his guitar making what I first thought was an unusual request: “Can you turn my guitar up?”. The reason I thought it strange was his guitar was already reasonably loud as acoustic players go and yet he was so persistent. As Jack belted into his first song, I realised I had made a mistake in assuming Jack to be a mellow saccharine folk singer-songwriter. That was far from the case.
Hill has a brash indie sensibility with a brilliant howl at the moon voice. Powering through his originals as well as some endearing covers, the singer-songwriter held his own in the room with songs that could fuel a class band as well as launch a successful solo career. There was a mix of, ‘Libertines’ as well as soul music in his style. Original, ‘Colours in the Sky’ was a stand out song which I actually believed was a cover at first, which I became aware was a compliment to the songs quality. Finishing it all off, Jack blistered through an impressive cover of Johnny B Goode and left the crowd with a brilliant start to the event.
Courage appeared at the mic, a tall figure drenched in a sharp, long trench coat. As the first chill, trap style beat dropped it was evident this was a major change up from the last act. Courage is a smooth, graceful R and B singer who soothed the crowd with his twenty something tales of heartbreak and romance, laced with the problems we face as we get older.
What I enjoyed most about Courage was that when the set began there were subtle signs of nervousness in his demeanour. However, throughout the performance he became more and more into himself. By the time he was singing a cover of Paolo Nutini’s, ‘Rewind’, a song he said reminded him of growing up in Glasgow, he was a stunning testament to his name.
Next up was an acoustic singer-songwriter who followed more in the line of mellow, earnest folk songs. Katelyn adorned the crowd with charming melodies and soft guitar chords. Playing heartfelt originals, as well as surprising covers like the slow country western style version of Britney Spears much loved naughties hit, ‘Toxic’.
One of the most touching parts of Baxter’s set was playing one of her earliest songs which was requested by a fan. We’ve all had that moment when we want an older song played by an artist, who might not realise at times how much that might mean to a specific person. As Baxter left the stage she had proved herself as a worthy talent of introspective slow burner ballads.
Following the nights tradition of diversity was Emma Smith. Emma took to the stage with only four strings to entertain the crowd. A pretty daunting challenge for even the most seasoned musician. However, on the stage Smith proved that sometimes less is more with catchy, warm songs, that swing with the charm of a fire on a cold night.
To top off her set, a guitarist stepped in to assist, in a Nothing But Thieves cover of, ‘If I Get High’, a song I had previously never heard but it struck me as a moving meditation on drug using. Emma is an amazing entertainer who can place a crowd in a warm bubble of melody and song.
To top off the night, was a solo artist who unlike the rest of the nights line up, was armed with a band at his disposal. Lauchlan Bennet has songs riddled with heavy chorused and reverbed Marc Demarco-esque guitar chords, lazily smacked against the quiet drawl of his vocals. Despite being great musicians, especially the drummer who was a cool combination of vicious and precise beats, there was an aspect to the performance which was slightly out of sync. The set was constantly oscillating between, in tune and out of tune, together and falling apart.
At the end it was revealed that the band are still in their early stages and as the last tune kicked in, a potential anthem in embryonic form, centred with a damning, Strokes-esque riff. Bennet left the crowd with promise that there was something in the band which was yet to fully blossom and ended the gig as the epitome of what the night stood for: musicians learning their craft so they can one day dominate it.
Wrapping It All Up
I thought I’d end this review with a paraphrased quote from Courage that I thought rang true with the overall sentiment of the night, “The business is cruel and you have to believe in yourself before anyone else does!”. It was a pleasure to attend this gig and see self belief in it’s purest form.