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PREVIEW: Eastern Promise Festival
Mike Staples , September 16th, 2013 06:20

Mike Staples gives us a rundown of the highlights at the excellent Glasgow two-dayer taking place next month

Preparing for its fourth annual outing, this mini-festival - already finely etched into Glasgow’s musical calendar – lives up to its rather grandiose moniker.

Platform is an outstanding achievement, nestled on the easternmost fringes of the city. As a community arts facility (and an astounding piece of architecture), it has succeeded in placing the arts at the centre of the regeneration of Easterhouse, both engaging local residents and drawing others who may otherwise never have found themselves in this part of Glasgow.

Platform’s emergence as a major Glasgow venue is testament to its strength, sited in a city filled with great gig options. Alun Woodward, music programmer (who moonlights as co-owner of trailblazing independent label, Chemikal Underground), has worked hard to bring an eclectic selection of live music to the venue, always offering something a little diverse, a little off the beaten track, and this approach is perhaps best illustrated by Eastern Promise.

Three previous encounters have brought to the Easterhouse stage such diversity as The Monochrome Set, To Rococo Rot, The Pastels, King Creosote and Nils Frahm. This year’s festival, once again occupying the first weekend in October, Friday 4 - Saturday 5, is indeed filled with promise: a mouth-watering line-up assembles Grumbling Fur, Alasdair Roberts, James Yorkston, Trembling Bells with Mike Heron, Rick Redbeard, The Vaselines, Jozef Van Wissem, Adam Stafford, James Blackshaw and Ela Orleans as eclectic a mix as you are likely to find anywhere.

Friday

Eastern Promise will blast off with an enticing amalgam of traditional and modern folk, psych and composition. Starting with the latter, Dutch composer Jozef van Wissem, winner of this year’s Cannes Film Festival Soundtrack award (for Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive), opens the festival. Virtuoso guitarist James Blackshaw will pluck impressively at all twelve strings before Alasdair Roberts, reviver of traditional song and creator of joyous contemporary folk, dips deeply into his endless songbook. Later, Glasgow psych-warriors Trembling Bells are teamed up with Mike Heron of The Incredible String Band; alchemy in the making. James Yorkston, king of neoteric folk and key figure in Fife’s recently-ended Fence Collective, will bring part one to a compelling close.

Saturday

Stage two of the Tour de Eastern Promise brings forth the sweet cinematic melodica of Ela Orleans in advance of a real treat, an appearance by London’s own Grumbling Fur. Expect to be lost in deep psych soundscapes and soaring synths, surprisingly coupled with the finest pop choruses (all taken from this year's Glynnaestra album, recently nominated for tQ's Jovian Bow Shock Award). Close the eyes and travel. Adam Stafford’s solo outings consistently provide visual and sensory overload. Rick Redbeard, gang-leader of the tremendous Phantom Band, this year released his stunning inaugural solo LP (No Selfish Heart) and is almost guaranteed to mesmerise any crowd. The audacious line-up is concluded by the mighty Vaselines, reinvigorated since their 2008 reunion led to a second album, a fitting follow up to the horn-laden reliably-rude lo-fi teenage power-pop so embraced by (dare I say it, sorry Vaselines) the late Mr Cobain. An opportunity to rub up against a rare live outing on Vaselines’ home turf.

For those still to make the trip to a Platform gig, this is the time to lose your virginity. Whilst undoubtedly more peripheral than city-centre venues, Platform makes up for this by providing a return bus from Mono at King’s Court. For those already enchanted into becoming Platform regulars, enjoy the show. A weekend of great promise is to be found in the east.

For full details and tickets (and transport) for Eastern Promise, head to Platform's website

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