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Modern Baseball, SWG3, Glasgow

  • Published in Live

Before Modern Baseball even graced the stage of this Glaswegian warehouse, support from Thin Lips and The Superweaks (and likely The Pooches who I unfortunately missed) cemented the house party atmosphere, that feeling of friends congregated in a sweaty basement to enjoy live music and each other's company. The jovial crowd interaction and fuzz-laced music only served to highlight this ambience on the path to the performance.

Embarking on a tour without frontman Brendan Lukens (who stayed in Philadelphia to focus on self-care and recuperation) was a bold move on the part of this quartet, but a commendable one, as fans' enjoyment would not be delayed, and it strikes me as an admission that all members are and should be on an equal footing. In that other acts may replace a drummer with a replacement without question, but quickly abandon ship should that charismatic lead be absent.

Regardless, the performed an expansive and endearing set of the emotive pop rock anthems which have garnered them such an international following. Whilst their sound can be uninspiring at times on record, the passion with which the band delivered their performance, and how this was reflected and amplified by an energetic crowd, ensured that the show was a thoroughly enjoyable one.

The heart of Modern Baseball's craft is undoubtedly the impact of the honest lyrics, elevated by the music that the dance with. Missing Lukens' presence and delivery was somewhat of a loss to the quality, but again the gusto of the crowd dwarfed any shortcomings on the part of the band, as the back and forth was invigorating.

The final third of the set began with a cluster of solo acoustic tracks from primary replacement vocalist Jake Ewald, with crowd joining him in the rendition of both the lyrics and the melodies. This lull helped to increase the power of the final straight by contrast, as the band were joined onstage by various members of the support acts. The final duo of the raucous 'Your Graduation' and an unexpected cover of The Killers' 'When You Were Young' brought the night to a glowing end, although expanding the short snippet of 'Seven Nation Army' into a full blown cover would've been perfection.

Overall, despite the swearing and alcohol, the show held a "family friendly" vibe, perhaps that would be the musical kind rather than the nuclear kind. Showcasing their art from humble beginnings to Holy Ghost, Modern Baseball and friends (including all in attendance) had a pleasant Thursday night, and just maybe that claim that Glasgow is their second favourite city was actually sincere.


Parquet Courts, SWG3, Glasgow

  • Published in Live

Much like the city’s subway Parquet Courts have circled back to Glasgow to kick off their European tour for new album Sunbathing Animals, having played the last date of their previous tour there on Hallowe’en 2013.

Playing for an hour straight, with no encore, the newer songs are predictably a little less well known by the crowd, which spends the first half of the show largely static but by the time we’re graced by fiery renditions of the likes of ‘Light Up Gold’ there’s a serious amount of pogoing and general pit mayhem at the front of the stage. Oddly, despite having paid good money to get in and probably shelling out the eye watering £4.50 for a pint, one crowd member feels the need to heckle bassist Sean Yeaton at one point by telling him to shut up in no uncertain terms. By the end of that encounter though it’s band & 99% of fans 1, dickhead nil.

Parquet Courts suffer a bit from less than clear final vocals for the bulk of their set but musically there are no flaws in 60 minutes packed with the maximum amount of songs and the bare minimum of chat, other than that mention of the circular nature of their kicking things off here, a mention of the summer solstice and a possible dig at the timing of the show by way of mentioning that it’ll still be daylight at the end of it, something that anyone travelling from outside Glasgow by public transport could be quite happy for, given the venue’s distance from the city centre. They were great tonight and no doubt will only improve on that as the tour progresses.

Tonight’s only support act were newcomers Ultimate Painting, playing their first ever show. Not that you’d have known without being told as they’re a tight unit that has clearly spent a lot of time playing together and working on their songs, one of which may have been called ‘Freak Beard’ (that muddy vocal issue struck them too). With a sound taking in elements of The Velvet Underground, The Byrds and Ride theirs was a good performance, let down only by the fact that some of their songs are a tad on the plodding side. Their livelier numbers are though cracking songs and exhibit enough variety that by rights should see them go from strength to strength through the coming months and bring them to the stage as headliners in the not too distant future, should their schedules for Veronica Falls & Mazes allow.

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