A large stage with a festival-style barrier, fairy lights strewn across the ceiling, barrels dotted around… Drygate Brewing Co.’s industrial-style event space was an impeccable choice for a five-band showcase of emerging Scottish artists. The talented line-up began gracing the stage from 7pm, though the hum of anticipation had been building from late afternoon, once the bands had sound-checked and readied themselves for the off…
The East Kilbride singer-songwriter, Paul Mullen, was the first on. His Stereophonics-esque acoustic set was wildly impressive to say it was just he who got up solo and belted out the tunes without any backing. He delivered his top-streamed tracks, box-fresh latest single ‘Ain’t Caught Up On You’ and an unexpected Bob Marley cover that went down a storm. While the room was still filling, Mullen’s gifted pipes had entirely captured those who had arrived, and he lit a fire under their enthusiasm. It wasn’t long before punters at the bar started surfacing, too.
Not dissimilar to Mullen, Oh Romance came armed with a brand-new single, ‘Tongue-Tied’, which they brought out later on in their set. On this occasion, they’d done away with covers — and they were the only act to do so. Catfish and the Bottlemen’s ‘Pacifier’ and Wolf Alice’s ‘Smile’ had both previously featured on their setlists, but their Drygate performance was simply a demonstration of exactly what they offer as a four-piece.
An alternative blend of indie is their bread and butter, masterfully championing catchy guitar hooks, distorted bass and impeccably tight drumming. But it’s the silken softness of Alex Campbell’s vocals that stitch the whole affair together. The crowd were further riled by Kieran Isaac’s persistent grooving on the bass — the lad’s got enough electric energy to power the national grid.
With a fierce instrumental intro and plenty of chat to connect with the crowd, it was no wonder every spectator was eating out of the palms of their hands — and the fantastic photographers on the night couldn’t stop snapping. If you too are after a band to become suitably obsessed with, Oh Romance are well-matched to their name for a reason.
Turning the heat up once more — and you’d better believe the chilly temperatures of the terrace outside demanded it — was Vigilanti. Their feistiness was infectious and their vocalist switched up his role as part-time guitarist very nicely throughout, belting out and even rapping tunes that required his lungs’ full capacity. He even had a spell hoisted up on the barrier, fully hypnotising the crowd.
They clearly understood the task at hand: playing loudly and proudly. And, make no mistake, their own songs were rippers. But, possibly for its unexpected rollout, it was their riotous take on pop banger ‘Shut Up And Drive’ by Rihanna that wholly gripped me. Now, that’s how you get everyone up on their feet! She couldn’t be more relevant at the moment either. Clever.
But if there’s a band that’s been at the epicentre of all things B12, it’s Strange Dimensions. And wow, they can summon a crowd. There was a youthful buoyancy to the room as bodies threw themselves around to the Greenock quartet’s fusion of indie. Their sound straddles what you’re so accustomed to getting from the Manchester scene, with a pinch of classic rock in there, too. It’s so seamlessly served up live as well.
Thought that was as bouncing as Drygate would get that night? You thought wrong. The fifth and final act, who seized the headline slot as reward for their excellent ticket sales, was The Wits. They brought the whole event to a close with significant style, and they really were everyone’s cuppa and a half.
While the pints were poured from 7-11pm, five phenomenal artists that are visibly going places shook the upper level of the brewery. B12 Entertainment cannot only host and curate an epic event, but it’s a promotion company that really does thrust rising stars from Scotland in the limelight.
It was obvious at the time but it’s been noticeable since, too: everyone who grabbed a ticket and witnessed the artists on 2nd April more than had their fill of basking in the buzz of it all.