Glasgow’s Tenements Trail is a wonderful introduction to the hectic yet fun experience of “outdoor” music festivals (at least, if you’re an American like me who has never been to a music festival before since you don’t have the time or money to fly to Lollapalooza or Coachella). Spread between nine venues and one day, the entire point of the Trail is centred around the idea of “musical discovery” – many of the bands featured throughout are underground local artists from around the country. Since I had free time and most of my friends selfishly left me alone while they went away on holidays, I figured that walking around and seeing some shows couldn’t be the worse way to spend a sunny weekend in the city.
Preparations for the Trail began the night before. I was really worried that I wasn’t going to like any of the acts and that the weekend would just be quietly day-drinking in pubs five times over, so in order to combat those fears I did what every good American does whenever they’re feeling anxious: drink excessively. Thus, in the spirit of making smart decisions, myself and a couple of friends toured the finest establishments in all of Glasgow and proceeded to end the night in a chippy at 3am. Unfortunately, this full-proof plan had but one fatal mistake: the morning hangover. Thankfully, the shows didn’t kick off until the afternoon.
Which brings us to our first act, a lovely performance by Tamzene. Tamzene Allison-Power brings to her music a hazy, almost nostalgic twist to dream pop. With the cosy Flat 0/1 as the backdrop to her set, my lingering hangover faded with the soft voice of dreamscape melancholia; her overall sound is a welcoming vulnerability for a moment in history where every day feels like the world may end.
A show down and a pint later, we rushed over to the rightly-named Nice N’ Sleazy to catch Sam Fender. Now, I must admit that one of my deepest darkest secrets is that I never grew out of my teenage angst; on the surface I may seem like your average, post racial, self-assured aspiring music journalist, but deep inside I am still a 13 year old who hates his parents and smokes cigarettes (I never actually smoked cigarettes but we’re talking about fantasy here). Sam Fender’s lo-fi, grizzly sound brought that Bryce back to life. The stuffed basement full of post-teens was reminiscent of a garage performance by the local neighbourhood band, and with singles like ‘Millenial’, it’s easy to see the appeal.
Of all the acts in the lineup, however, my own personal favourite had to be LUCIA, the brain child of Lucia Fontaine and one of the rising starlights emerging from the Glasgow music scene. Making her musical debut at the age of sixteen, Lucia and her band are the definition of art school punk, possessing a charm about themselves that even the most ardent anti-punk listener would enjoy; there’s a sense of relatability in their lyrics when they lament about past lovers or bar fights.
On the whole, Tenement’s Trail is so much more than a music festival or an excuse to day-drink without fear of judgement – it’s genuinely a magical day where bands from all around can be the rock stars that their hard work assures them they will be someday. What makes the event special for performers and viewers alike is seeing every act truly play their hearts out, sweat on their brows or lips quivering with every lyrical delivery. Blood, sweat, and tears go into Tenement’s Trail, but when all is said and done the blood may still be on the bar floor.
[Bryce Armijo – @snarrly_]