Smile Politely

A Sunny Day in Glasgow: Not your average shoegaze band

Walking into the upstairs portion of Mike ‘N Molly’s, the first thing that strikes you is the sheer simplicity of it: four walls, a few stools and one large window looking out onto the brick upper floor of the opposite building. It feels more like a somewhat neglected warehouse than a bar. Without the distractions of neon signs, TVs or even a bar, the crowd was forced to focus on the band and music.


Unfortunately the opening band, Acrylics, did little to engage the crowd. It wasn’t that the Brooklyn-based three piece were bad musically-their harmonies were spot on and the combination of a pedal-steel guitar with Casio keyboard beats was unexpectedly fun to listen to. The problem was that they simply came off as disinterested, and as a result their sleepy brand of alt-country had the crowd chatting and looking around the room for something more interesting by the time they started their third song.


Thankfully, A Sunny Day in Glasgow were able to rescue the night. Splitting their nine song set evenly between material from their most recent full-length, Ashes Grammar and a mix of covers and material from the brand new Nighttime Rainbows EP, the band were a refreshing dose of enthusiasm. The fact that they strayed away from the sheer volume that typifies many live Shoegaze acts (looking at you, My Bloody Valentine) combined with the excellent house mix made room for vocalists Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson to fill with their spot-on harmonies and undeniably fun stage presence.


The band stretched beyond the ambient/shoegaze dynamic that typifies their studio work, with the album’s ethereal and whispery vocals coming out closer to 90s pop live-not a bad thing by any means. “Failure”—probably the closest thing the band has to a single-became a full-on tribal workout closer to Animal Collective than Lush, complete with bubbling synths, droning noise guitar and delayed vocals. Another high point was their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”, which fit so perfectly with the rest of their set that I didn’t even realize it wasn’t an original until the band started talking about Christine McVie when the song finish. Alas, their set was over far too soon. After forty minutes which went by far too fast, the band said their goodbyes and retreated to the merch table. While an encore would have been welcome, I certainly can’t say I left unsatisfied.

Photos courtesy of Mark Fredricksonfull set here

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