If you’re in Glasgow for a couple of nights it’d be churlish not to pay a visit to one of the iconic music venues, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. Walking up the steps from the main bar your feet pass over the printed names of some of the big name acts who’ve graced it’s stage. From the Manic’s and Blur in ’91, it’s a veritable who’s who of Indie… Oasis, Pulp, Radiohead and erm.. Natalie Imbruglia.
King Tut’s even has its own lager, the whiff of which sent my nostrils spinning back a few days to the distilleries and wash backs of Islay & Oban. Mind you after 10 distilleries, and countless drams it doesn’t take much to trigger a whisky flashback.
Glasgow’s Pronto Mama topped a four band, all Scottish lineup, and by the time they took to the stage the place was rammed with half cut punters ready to jump around. The band arrive bedecked in slightly questionable hand printed t-shirts emblazoned with messages like “Check Me Out” and “Ego Friendly” as if they’d mistaken an EP launch for a stag-do. What they lacked in sartorial elegance they more than made up for in raucous fun, and an ability to simultaneously charm and rock the crowd.
Michael Griffin’s nominally the lead vocalist but Ciaran McEneny on keyboards has an equally fine voice, and thankfully neither bother to tone down their Glaswegian lilt. “Still Swimming” opens with a plaintive wail of what might be “I don’t want to fight anymore” but to my ears sounds like “I don’t want a shite anymore“. Thankfully the songs are as strong as the accents, with “Still Swimming” being the real standout and crowd pleaser. From its gentle piano intro, it swings from delicate declarations of love to crashing guitars, with a maddeningly catchy chorus to boot.
Aberdonian four piece The Little Kicks ploughed an indie-dance furlough earlier in the evening, sounding like a mixture of LCD Soundsystem and Starsailor which hopefully doesn’t sound like too much of an insult.
Lead singer Steven Milne has a voice designed for Radio 2 but as he sings his hands twiddle at the various electronics in front of him. The Korg gets a good workout during a Discopolis remix of “Loosen up“ with pounding beats and pulsing synth. Although to my mind the album version works better than any of the dancefloor reworks.
King Tut’s has a lighters in the air moment during the ballad “The First Place” with Milne’s voice very much to the fore in what I thought was an effective old fashioned style weepy, but my gig partner took as an ideal moment to visit the ladies.
The first band of the night Brazil Exists gamely fight the early slot, empty venue problem and a messy sound mix that initially left their trumpet player Michael Reade virtually inaudible. “Happy New Year” was the standout track, with Reade’s trumpet at its most clear and an enjoyably deadpan chorus of “So Happy New Year my dear, you’re happier alone it would appear”.