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The Red Well / Kid Canaveral / Pop Up
Glasgow 13th Note, 18th October
It's not often that reviews are in reverse order i.e. commending or criticising the headline act, before putting the support through a similar meat grinder. Tonight, in the dark and sleazy 13th Note however, it would be an injustice to both Kid Canaveral and Popup if we were to simply consider them as fodder for the main attraction.
Fence Records four-piece The Red Well are the aforementioned bill toppers. It's surprising then that they lack much of the conviction, song writing prowess and enthusiasm of their much younger supports. Leaving little to the imagination, they trudge through a number of loud, grungy three chord wonders. Although at times showing glimmers of strength, The Red Wells boldness doesn't make up for uninspiring melodies and sterile musicianship. A second rate Weezer, it's hard to comprehend why they are playing last.
Much better are Kid Canaveral. Edgy, passionate and endearing the guys and gals from St Andrews' whimsical indie rock is highly impressive. Faulty leads, broken strings and general bad fortune don't hamper the 4-piece from bashing out a selection of bloody good tunes. Car advert classic 'Second Time Around' is unforgettable, while 'Sweet Service' and 'Tony Hancock' are prime examples of front man Dave McGregor's writing ability. Evocative lyrics, super indie guitars and some striking girl/guy vocal dynamics, 'the Kids really are alright'.
It's Popup however who deserve the greatest praise and bizarrely attract the largest, drunkest and most active crowd of the night. Brimming full of confidence and swagger, the three guitar touting trendy boys and petit blond female drummer are surely a gold mining dream for any A&R man. Not only are they pleasing on the eyes but god these guys can really play. In parts lead singer, Damo, is Aidan Moffat like, rambling complete nonsense ('you were there…outside Mothercare') over alacritous guitars and funky bass. There are nods towards Arab Strap, Franz and band of the moment Artic Monkeys while at their rockiest moment in 'Chinese Burns', Popup are as gritty and jumpy as an early nineties Blur. An irritatingly talented and attractive bunch, it's hard not to love Popup's cheeky chappie attitude. Give them a shot, guaranteed fecking good value for your three bucks.
(Godfrey McFall)