16 January 2016
Sound Atmosphere Performance
In a month when the music world lost The Specials’ John Bradbury, Motorhead’s Lemmy, and the Goblin King himself – David Bowie – the arrival of over 2,000 musicians to Glasgow’s lamented Celtic Connections festival was hugely welcome and a fond reminder of music at its most stripped-back roots, connecting with passionate audiences, across 300 events.
Three of the couple of thousand musicians descending on Glasgow belong to the electronic holy trinity known as Errors. It had been around eight years since I last saw the band perform, inside the line-dancing, country music-surroundings of the Grand Ole Opry. At that time, a halcyon period for electronic music produced a number of exciting UK acts including Union of Knives, Delphic, Metronomy and RBRBR after audiences had grown fatigued (and out of fluorescent material) by the Nu-Rave explosion, and had continued to mature into the sweet-tempered, cordial sound adopted by bands such as Errors.
Whether it was the unabating snow that hit the city or simply the price of an Errors ticket rising in tandem with the band’s ascent, this gig did not sell out and was moved into the more intimate surroundings of the ABC2 next door. Support was provided by the alt-pop band BDY_PRTS (pronunciate ‘Body Parts’) whose neon jumpsuits and glittered countenance immediately harked back to the afore-mentioned Nu-Rave scene. Opening with the quite gorgeous “Idlu”, produced by the equally-talented Glasgow electronic whizz Miaoux Miaoux, it was a warm and bright arrangement to begin proceedings. The band’s penchant for slightly bemusing dance moves which appeared to be practised in the bedroom before the show was a marginal distraction during “Warrior”, while the Kate Bush-inspired “Breathe” was also afforded the same bewildering shapes. However, the BDY_PRTS songs themselves are beautiful crafted slices of pop and should take nothing away from Jill O’Sullivan and Jenny Reeve, who clearly have a knack for writing fascinating, synthesised fairy tales. As confidence appeared to flow through the band, BDY_PRTS brought their set to a close with the cutting “Cold Shoulder” and the sublime line ‘the dust on your favourite records are under the bed’.
As BDY_PRTS and their entourage hauled their equipment out to the van behind the venue, Errors had appeared on stage in front of a much-swollen audience and begun driving their 2012 ‘Have Some Faith In Magic’ album gem “Pleasure Palaces”. It was an exhilarating start which never quite matched the rest of the set. Frontman Steve Livingstone joked that the band only got into the primarily folk-driven Celtic Connections festival on account of being Scottish, but Errors dreamy soundscapes and amiable electronica makes them an attractive proposition for a more ripened audience who enjoy their dance music lead by intelligent, percolated chord changes rather than squelching, repetitive bleeps and hooks which fellow Glaswegians Chvrches have used to nose themselves in front of the competition.
Heads bopped along to old and new tracks during the hour-long set, with the celestial chanting during latest album ‘Lease of Life’ title track standing out for it’s pure and uncontaminated brilliance. Recording sessions on the Isle of Jura appear to have given more weight to Errors’ talents – and beards – which may yet see their name upon more prestigious stages. Additionally, the Foals early math-rock guitars which features on “A Rumour In Africa” was greeted with great affection by long-time supporters of the band mid-way through the set.
The new co-vocals supplied by Cecilia Stamp has also offered Errors more elbow room in battling their way to the top of the electro-pop tree, providing a transcendental outlet which, although always existing in Errors records, appears more polished and enhanced. The welcome on to the stage reserved for ‘random audience member’ Richie on keyboards (suspected close friend of the band) was well deserved during an earlier instrumental track as the tempo increased during one of the more shoulder-swaying tracks of the evening.
If the ticket sales suggested that Errors were not worth coming out for, then hopefully another Celtic Connections gig will draw interest and garner a sizeable audience for another artist at this year’s festival. We’ll blame the slushy streets of Sauchiehall Street on this occasion.
Reviewer : Stephen Watt