BBC 6 Music at King Tut's review

Gareth Chubb was there as two nights of music in the iconic Glasgow venue set the tone for a weekend of frolics in the city with BBC 6 Music.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 27th Mar 2017

Image: King Tut's Wah Wah Hut

The BBC's musical takeover of cities have been welcome additions to our calendar for almost fifty years. Ever since Alan Freeman brought the inaugural Radio One roadshow to Newquay in 1973 we've been enthralled by their joyous excursion through all forms of music, from sunshine drenched raves in Ibiza to guitar pulsating festivals in the UK's cities.

6 Music's festival has been a continuation of that legacy with brilliant results, focusing on exploring the heritage of a region when they take their eclectic and adventurous music policy into festival form. This year Glasgow is the beneficiary of an event that boasts a plethora of big guns like Depeche Mode, Bonobo and Father John Misty, alongside local heroes such as Edwyn Collins and Belle & Sebastian.

Before the festival took place we got the opportunity to witness a number of shows which took the festival histrionics into a more micro situation, both taking place in celebrated haunt King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. First up was a BBC Introducing session, the chance to witness the potential stars of tomorrow in one of the city's most vaunted spaces.

Edinburgh band Rituals were the first band on, the dark indie quartet joyfully interspersing lead singer Ryan Sandison's vocals with his keyboard riffs. The jangly stomp of their single 'Black River' sounding particularly good in the packed space, with the closer an epic moment, a raucous chorus of "In the evening" crowning off their set.

It's easy to see why they've been signed to Skeleton Key records, the imprint from Coral member James Skelly which continues to offer dizzyingly impressive musical choices for the gig-goer.

ST.MARTiiNS from Dundee followed, delighting with their quirky electro influenced pop. We could sense influences from both Grimes and Cocteau Twins in their sound, with lead singer Katie's charismatic presence hinting once more that we were witnessing an act on the precipice of blowing up.

It's a continued feel of the excitement of tomorrow's sounds which has been a cornerstone of King Tut's heritage in the city, a venue which has helped nurture Radiohead, The Killers and Oasis early on in their career, the latter famously being signed by Creation after their 1993 gig in the venue. 

Part of that charm is emphasised by the crowd itself, one Glaswegian exclamation summing the eccentricity up "King Tut's is the only place you will find two ginger afros in the crowd - and funnily enough - both are drummers in two of the bands playing tonight".

The final act were headliners Pronto Mama, and judging by the noise and anticipation that greeted them it was apparent it was a status they deserved. In between the fervent din that the crowd augmented every song with, there was a distinct template of the kind of soulful youthful abandon which made The Libertines torchbearers for their generation. 

It might be asking a bit much to expect them to have just as big an impact as Barat and co, but it was clear that there won't be too many more opportunities to catch the group in confines as intimate as this, in or out of Scotland. Especially if they keep making records as joyous as 'Double Speak', with its frenetic percussion dovetailing gloriously with their Celtic vocals.

A day later we also witnessed the broadcast of Steve Lamacq and Marc Riley's 6 Music shows live from the venue, including a handful of 'In Sessions' with bands. When we arrive Lamacq is interviewing Harri, one half of Harri and Domenic (the DJs and promoters behind the Subculture parties at legendary venue Sub Club), a nice touch which added to the savviness of the BBC's local awareness.

His show also involved a performance from Tuts' live space from Baby Strange, a loud 3-piece whose gnarly punky set was punctured midway through for an interview with Lamacq, allowing them to wax lyrical about the impact of a Barrowlands show from local art-rockers Franz Ferdinand in developing their passion for music.

The DJ then chaired a roundtable discussion with three Scottish musicians of varying fame, Idlewild's Roddy Woomble, Eilidh Rodgers from Sacred Paws and the legendary Jim Kerr of Simple Minds. The Glaswegian frontman was at his spiky best, one highlight the disparaging put down he elicited towards Kasabian's latest single; "music without melodies is like food without taste". 

Marc Riley's radio show boasted two live performances, Slug's quirky prog rock involving a horror theme cover, before Field Music headlined. As the night before, the biggest crowd once again came out in full force for them, 'The Noisy Days are Over' was the highlight.

It capped off two memorable days of music in Glasgow, the perfect precursor to the festival and further proof that the BBC remains resolutely on the pulse for modern music.