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Multi-venue music festivals such as Stag and Dagger and Tenement Trail are already well established all day festivals that take place annually in Glasgow, where the likes of Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi and Lizzo played before they became global superstars. However this year a new festival for music discovery called The Great Western Festival was unveiled, hosting over 50 bands in many venues large and small in the west end of the city such as QMU, Oran Mor, Glue Factory, The Doublet, Mackintosh Church and Maryhill Community Halls. Despite the cold, miserable Scottish winter weather, this event was something Glasgowmusic was really looking forward to covering.
The festival suffered a minor setback where 2 of the acts meant to play were forced to pull out, Warmduscher, who personally was a band we were looking forward to seeing, had to cancel because their frontman was involved in a horrific car accident, wheras Songhoy Blues had to pull out due to visa issues. However the much loved Scottish band The Yummy Fur came out of retirement to step in for Warmduscher and the talented Kathryn Joseph replaced Songhoy Blues.
Lizzie Reid was the first act that Glasgowmusic saw and she played chilled out nu-folk music, combining vocal harmony and natural storytelling to the festivals early attendees.
The 2nd act that Glasgowmusic went to was Kubitaru, another Glasgweigan outfit who provided dreamy, relaxing tunes in a completely candle-lit Oran Mor, the unique scene set their music style perfectly and they were thoroughly enjoyable.
The Yummy Fur fronted by John McKeown turned back time with a one-off performance at the QMU filling in for Warmduscher and their first live performance since a small US tour in 2010. McKeown was also a founder of The 1990s, another act popular with the UK indie rock community. The Yummy Fur performed a few hits from their brief 7 years as a band, Department, Plastic Cowboy and In The Company of Women.
The performance of Holy Mountain at Oran Mor, another Glasgow act, was up there with one of the festivals highlights, the psychedelic rock band bringing out awesome, escalating guitar riffs throughout their set to a jubilant audience. I was personally unfamiliar with the band until their show on Saturday, now I ended up listening to them on Sonos in the office. This is the whole purpose of festivals like these, to discover new music and get into bands you were previously unaware of.
The best performance of the festival by far was Chk Chk Chk, who were already in our list of "must see" bands from the evening so we know what we were expecting. Frontman Nik Offer is well known for his electric, over the top performances and Saturday was no exception, dancing all over the stage wearing his trademark beach shorts alongside special guest, Patricia Panther. Nik would constantly jump over the stage barrier to sing with the crowd and the photographers at the front were struggling to keep up with him. He ended the gig saying to the crowd "Hey, Im American and I can pronounce Glasgow correctly!, its not Glass-cow.", a brilliant show.
Next was an Uber trip to the Mackintosh Church where Cass McCombs was due to start, playing the likes of Bum Bum and They Can Be Only One in front of the small group of attendees at the Mackintosh Church, but despite the small turnout, a few people stood up from their seats and danced to the songs.
Tom McGuire and The Brassholes are already a well established unsigned act from Scotland and they were the next and final act at Oran Mor, well known for their fun performances bringing adrenaline to the crowd, similar to what Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5 bring to their audience when they play live. McGuire was being his energetic self the whole gig while swallying down a bottle of Buckfast, one of the spectators there who came all the way from America to attend the festival was loving every bit of the performance and he even got the old Buckfast jokes that only Scots would know about.
All in all, a fantastic Saturday and definitely a multi venue festival we recommend and that will go places, we are genuinely looking forward to be there next year.
You can find a full photo gallery of the bands we have covered from Saturdays festival in the link below, all photographs courtesy of Stewart Fullerton photography.
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