There’s probably a Chinese proverb that states that the climb out of the basement is a lot more difficult than the fall down the stairs that got you there in the first place. However, things are what they are and when the basement is Pivo Pivo and you have GoodCopGreatCop, Let Love Rule, The Scabby Queen, Ali Robertson and Hand Crafted for company then the chances are that you will leave considerably more educated in matters musical than when you thought beer was nothing more than your favourite breakfast drink.
And so it was that the earnest Ali Robertson took to the stage. Seemingly determined to prove that a singer songwriter can be more than an accompaniment to the false God of the acoustic guitar, he turned the corner into originality street and broke out the loop pedal and the kind of voice that would easily front a band and went for the melody that we all hold dear.
Let Love Rule, on the other hand, found their comfort zone in the extended extemporisations of times past with a casual take the melodic jam format being their métier. Being from Edinburgh, their consistently technical approach to musical reinvention highlighted their ability to keep that groove mellow no matter what.
Even more laidback were Hand Crafted with the limits of the long haul approach to the soft rock instrumental format being tested like it was 1971. You just couldn’t argue with the thoroughness of their approach even if most people would not appreciate the love of irony that extending their songs out into the sunset would imply.
Scabby Queen abandoned all that is melodic in order to divert their ship made of elemental rock instead towards the land of post punk anguish. Most successful when the volume matched the attitude, the curiously robust vocals of Michelle Flannigan and Emma Briggs decorated their set with a raw, untutored, energy that flooded the stage with sonic equivalent of relentless enthusiasm.
Energetic to the point of being labelled tail wagging, Perth’s GoodCopGreatCop were keen to demonstrate that indie rock could be directed into the leafy avenues of Scottish guitar pop without ever seeming ungainly or unduly self-reverential. Andy McGowan used his voice to reinforce that he knew that the past was something worthy of worship and clearly took the view – or The View – that a bit of humour would be the key to telling it like it is. There is value in following that path.
Two times three is a calculation beyond my ability and you have to travel all the way to High Street to get a decent kebab but Hell is for heroes, the cat’s in the cradle and all things azure are will get you closer to redemption. As Confucius would say – probably – rock on into the night!