Live Review: Tenement Trail Festival


This year, around 65 artists took to the nine stages of Tenement Trail in a way that revitalised Sauchiehall Street from its unfortunate stupor. In the last few years, a light has been shone on the under and over-representation of genders in festival line-ups. Due to this, I decided to prioritise seeing women musicians when seeking out new artists and I was, unsurprisingly, not disappointed.

The first artist I saw play was Glasgow-based Lizzie Reid and her band. It was mid-afternoon in Broadcast, a low-ceilinged venue that was made all the more stuffy by the packed out floor and when the band began, it was clear to see why people had come down early. Reid’s lyrics brought together metaphors and everyday experiences in songs like Dentistry Day Out, playfully depicting life in a whimsical yet stirring way. The compositions were powerful and the chemistry between the band members was palpable through their meticulous and energetic performance. The crowd were engaged, with everyone swaying and nodding along, it was almost a shame that they were the first band I saw because they were difficult to top.

I then arrived at The Priory to an already crowded room for Zoe Graham. The dimmed and glinting lights of the venue were a perfect accompaniment to the intimacy of Graham’s voice that rang through the room, along with the group behind me that knew every word to all of the songs. The performance of the band was delicate, but it had a strong impact. I’m usually disappointed when an artist plays mostly sad songs live but the high energy that Graham’s more melancholic songs evoked didn’t require anything more. The final song to be played was Hacket and Knackered, a mellifluous and catchy song that I found myself singing to myself for the rest of the evening.

The Van T’s are another Glasgow-based band, fronted by twin sisters Hannah and Chloe Van Thomson. Performing at G2, The Van T’s came to the stage with synchronised moves, heavy guitars, rapturous voices and outfits that turned from black to red halfway through their set. The music was a blend of postpunk, garage pop and rock but the fusion of sounds was arranged and tied together in a way that created a really fun, dynamic and seemingly effortless performance.

Last on the bill for my day was Yonaka, a band from Brighton led by singer Theresa Jarvis. They demanded attention from the room with their songs that had an air of a chart-topper, but with a sharp edge. Jarvis stomped around the stage with equally exuberant guitarists at her side, the whole band made it seem like they were performing for their lives with a voice filled with vigour and accompanying lively guitars and drums. I am sometimes wary of the receptiveness of a crowd for a band that are playing before the headliners, but the dancing and moshing that came from the room made it seem like Yonaka were the final band of the evening.

I experienced an eclectic mix of women artists at Tenement Trail, making for a day of dancing, new musical discoveries and ringing ears.

[Tabitha Tinkler-Ferguson – @tabithaTF]


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