Old Hairdressers, 25th November
Winding up the stairs to The Old Hairdressers’ attic gig venue, it feels rather like sneaking down to your friend’s garage to secretly watch their brother’s band rehearse. With only scattered rugs and fairy lights marking the band off from the audience in the sparse room, there’s a certain intimacy only slightly belied by the band’s own swagger.
And they have a right to be pleased with themselves: following their 2013 debut album, Self Help, released by Electric Honey – the label responsible for spotting various big Scottish names like Biffy Clyro – Young Aviators’ adoptive home of Glasgow has suited them well. Having supported The Subways on tour, and now up one band member (called either Oliver, or “fucking Gandalf”, depending who you ask), alongside new material: they’re set to go places.
Up first though is singer-songwriter Martha Ffion and her band, setting up the Irish émigré theme of the night. Martha’s retro-folk voice with a slight pop-punk edge blends with ‘60s inspired beats, so much so that the lyrics are lost at times. All in all though she is a gorgeous start to the night.
It all gets louder from here.
Young Aviators’ cheek and charm wins us easily, whilst their angry reprises seem more like yells of cathartic release, which carries us with them – rather than weighing anyone down. A democracy of vocals and instruments, the upbeat brit-pop feel is given a darker energy through the driving pace of the drums and a sincerity through the on point lyrics about life in Glasgow, or indeed our society anywhere, today.
This is all elevated to a multi-media critique through the inclusion of found-footage projections behind them, of ‘70s style satirical cartoons, bomb threat newsreels and black and white film clips.
If their on-stage chat is at times abrasive, especially when surrounding their ‘Song for the Neds’ and ‘Drivethru Culture Night’ (Cue: “Is anyone here actually from Easterhouse? No? Well, we’re fine then.”), they know their audience, and they know themselves. And, despite a relatively short set mirroring their fairly concise 9-track album, Young Aviators seem to know where they’re heading.
[Caitlin MacColl – @turningtoaverse]