[PART 3 OF 3] Ayrshire Showcase – Pivo Pivo, Glasgow – 4/9/11

Posted: 07/09/2011 in Local Music
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

[Continued from previous entry…]

With the groundwork for the more established portion of the evening having been set, the consistently fantastic Rose Parade follow the furore of The Hostiles with a slightly more mellow approach to music.

The inclusion of this eclectic collective in any sort of Ayrshire Showcase is an absolute given and their placement on the bill is such that they serve as a welcome breather from the more chaotic and riotous recitals which lead up to their spot.

As Ari, Ed and Stuart meander through an anthemic setlist that necessitates the use of banjos, harmonicas and glockenspiels – as well as the more standard guitars and drums – their folk-tinged indie pulls the crowd together into a cheerfully beery sort of mutual consciousness, as feet tap and heads nod to the calm but emotive soundscape they create.

Rose Parade are an undeniably unusual act but the beauty of it is that this impression is conveyed without ever seeming contrived. There is no great emphasis put on their set’s incorporation of the unconventional; It is merely a part of what makes Rose Parade who they are – purveyors of fantastic and quirky music which succeeds in not insisting upon itself.

And, of course, there are a smattering of more tradtionally mainstream rock moments when the foot tappers become foot stampers. The aptly-titled Grace proves a particular crowd favourite, due in no small part to its simple but ridiculously infectious ‘da da da, da da da’-style chorus, and their recent run of plugging new track Midnight Wine online pays off when its live rendition goes down an absolute storm.

By the time the applause has subsided, Bellow Below appear to kick things back up a notch with their set which succeeds in maintaining the standard set by their recent Bar Bloc performance.

The boys are possibly even more self-assured this time around, with everyone on the stage looking like they absolutely belong there, as Richard establishes the set’s tone by instigating a back-and-forth chant of “waayyyy” with his audience before the band charge through a technically-impressive set which seems to delight in presenting those watching with grave potential for neck injury.

Jamie visibly relishes his position of frontman, for this gig, as he seizes every opportunity to stride out on As In Bear’s makeshift guitar/drum platform, which has now found its way to the front of the stage and undergone a transformation into a catwalk of sorts, and thrusting his face into those in the front row as the band pick, strum and shout up a euphoric racket.

Although all of the members have enjoyed fairly lengthy tenures in the Ayrshire and Glasgow live music scenes, the group’s current incarnation, as Bellow Below, is a relatively youthful one. It is therefore all the more remarkable that they find themselves so high up on a bill littered with pretty prestigious acts and fail to look even remotely out of place.

Bellow Below - Photograph by Kenny Bates

Filling the two headlining slots are thisfamiliarsmile and The Darien Venture who are very much the crowning glory of the event, both being signed to indie labels and enjoying hugely positive levels of recognition. There will be a more appropriate time to take an in-depth look at their impressive live output in future and, for today, it will suffice to say that they placed the cherry firmly on top of a spectacular occasion.

As much as the artists are a veritable credit to the Ayrshire Showcase and manage to do themselves, the organisers and their fans – old and new – proud, it is impossible to overlook the fact that an astounding amount of thought and planning has also gone into this event, yielding equally fruitful rewards for all involved.

Throughout the day, there is a merch stand set up in the corner which, as well as giving everyone playing the opportunity to ply their various wares, provides a high-profile sort of feel. The provision of the option to go and browse demos and t-shirts afterwards is a definite stroke of minor genius which makes each performance seem just that little bit more authentic and meaningful.

The organisers’ shrewd utilisation of networking skills and well-maintained personal relationships with band members mean that all acts are present and correct for the duration of the showcase, happily sipping on complimentary beer and wolfing down pizza as they show support for their peers. This has the desired effect of ensuring that, at no point in the day’s proceedings, the place feels empty or half-full and crowds of people arrive at various times to an ever-more-burgeoning venue.

For today at least, Pivo Pivo feels like the hub of the Ayrshire music scene as the different bands and their respective entourages and hangers-on make the place their own for the evening. The Hostiles tourbus sits proudly in front of the venue as they are interviewed for local radio inside it, familiar faces from As In Bear’s previous gigs join them in scoping out the rest of the talent and the Bellow Below boys hold merry but boisterous court in the smoking area between acts.

Where the performers are concerned, Sunday 5th September is a day of simple considerations and gestures that are lapped up by a willing crowd. For organiser-in-chief Kenny Bates, sound aficionado Michael Butler and the rest of the Pivo Pivo staff, however, it is the successful culmination of months of hard work, not only in the creation of this event but in the tireless pursuit of making their venue the go-to place for unsigned talent in the West of Scotland.

Perhaps the single most telling indication of today’s success is the difficulty it presents those who are present with the intention of documenting and reviewing. Such is the energetic, passionate and ultimately involving vibe throughout the event that it is nigh on impossible to remain just an impartial observer. A difficult person to imagine is the one who would be able to remain in the background watching this spectacle unfold without their enthusiasm and shared passion for local and unsigned music get the best of them and take on the role of yet another ecstatic participant.

Pivo Pivo on Facebook

Rose Parade on Facebook

Bellow Below on Facebook


[N.B. It is indeed regrettable that some bands received less in-depth coverage in this review than others. However, where the Ayrshire Showcase has excelled has been in the presentation of several acts greatly deserving of recognition and worthy of coverage, who will be the subject of full features in Sixteen Sixteen Six in the very near future.]

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