Gig Review | South Arcade @ Garage Attic

South Arcade tour poster

“It’s clear that they are destined for bigger venues. “

For both of the acts playing on this rainy Saturday night in Glasgow’s Garage Attic Bar, this was a milestone gig. For support act Beren Olivia, she’d never played in Glasgow before but for South Arcade, this was their debut Scottish headline show. And what a way to see the city too, drenched before you get to the building!

Support: Beren Olivia

Beren Olivia took to the stage with her guitarist and immediately amazed all of those in attendance with her impressive vocals. With a highly anticipated debut album on its way, Beren Olivia treated the crowd to an early listen of some unreleased tracks from the record. Three singles have already been released from this album, ‘Wake Me Up‘, ‘Drown It In Grey‘ and ‘Almost‘. The latter of these is her most recent release, and sounded amazing live.

Among newer material was older work that have allowed Beren Olivia to obtain millions of streams for tracks like ‘Read My Mind‘, ‘History‘ and ‘Is That What You’re Like Now’. Her vibrant vocals were controlled and intriguing to listen to, even while she got distracted by someone’s toy version of Feathers McGraw, the villainous penguin from Wallace & Gromit. She quickly got back on track, finishing off her song without anymore distractions.

Her performance has absolutely made me a fan of her music, and I’m sure she convinced many of those there to listen to her music. The lively crowd who’d come down early to catch her set definitely gave her the warm Scottish welcome she deserved. She has a beautifully delicate voice that makes for enticing and captivating listening. Her talent in songwriting shines through along with her passion for performing and she’s an artist I’d love to catch live again sometime soon.

Headliner: South Arcade

Oxford outfit South Arcade took to the intimate stage to the sound of rather loud screams and cheers. They instantly got straight into doing what they do best, performing and giving the Scottish crowd a night to remember. With only 8 songs currently released, their set was going to be shorter than the average but it provided plenty of time to make an impact and form a foundation with the Scottish crowd that they can later return to and build on.

2022 saw the release of the band’s debut single ‘Bigger Than Anything Better‘ as well as a further two incredible tracks ‘New Fever‘ and ‘Change Your Mind‘. With their alternative and very unique sound, South Arcade have attracted a wide fanbase. With many singing along with the older tunes, the band looked pleased that so many people knew the words to their older material.

What you’re about to read isn’t a criticism on the band, but more on a small group of the fans who attended this gig in particular. While it was nice of frontwoman Harmony to take a couple of phones from fans and film a video and/or take a photo, other fans seemed to think this warranted holding things like flags and more phones up higher in an attempt to gain her attention. Even though we’d all like our favourite bands or artists to notice or pay attention to us, there’s ways to do this without hindering the enjoyment or view for other fans. It can also put an unnecessary burden on band members to want to please their fans and make their night an unforgettable one, which they were surely doing anyway with their energy-filled set.

“Criticisms” aside, this set was one I definitely won’t forget. I’ve watched South Arcade perform a couple of support slots for bands including Yours Truly. I think they have such a dynamic presence and I knew it wouldn’t be long before they were headlining venues up and down the UK. Hearing their newer tunes including 2024 single ‘Nepo Baby‘ and 2023 track ‘Silverlight‘ was incredible too. Their use of autotune is unique and intriguing. It provides a nostalgic 90s alt-rock feel reminiscent of artists like Avril Lavigne. Guitarist Harry, bassist Ollie and drummer Cody provided a solid instrumental foundation for vocalist Harmony to add to.

Throwing in a cover of Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’, South Arcade put their alternative twist on a pop classic. Even if you weren’t familiar with the band’s original material, you were bound to know this cover. The band made the small stage their own and seeing how immersive their stage presence is, it’s clear that they are destined for even bigger venues.

South Arcade