The music scene in Glasgow/UK is huge compared to the actual number of inhabitants. Is there something in the water? Or is it really due to the fact that the weather is so vile, that there is not much else to do but to play music? It might have been the decade long industrial decay that – as in so many cities in the North of the UK – has spawned football clubs and music. Or the heritage. Or the sheer flow of creativity.
Thankfully, this flow does not seem to end. First up, First Tiger. In their own words because they write so beautifully and funnily. So this is truly THEIR blog post on their origins, their new album, their live gigs and their connection to Glasgow:
“We (Shorts and Stevie) started learning guitar together as teenagers in Glasgow, but it was a while later that we started playing gigs. In between times we studied, travelled, worked and lived in different countries.
When we both ended up back in Glasgow, we decided to take some of the songs public and started playing as an acoustic duo around the city. Lots of small venues and great people around Glasgow made this surprisingly easy.
We’ve worked with several drummers and bass players, but after few different line-ups – which were all great fun – we met Iain (bass) and Paddy (drums) and things started coming together very nicely.
We’ve just finished recording our first album with a highly-respected Glasgow producer, Stuart McCredie, who has worked with some great names in Scottish music (Texas, The Blue Nile, The Fratellis).
His lean, direct production has brought out the strength and originality of our songs, and shows Stevie’s knack for an irresistible hook and Shorts’ distinctive vocal at its best. The record is being mixed at the moment, and will be finished before the end of this year.
We’ve played places where the joint is jumping (to borrow a phrase from the great Fats Waller) and we’ve played to empty rooms. We’ve played well, and we’ve had disastrous gigs where everything went wrong. We once played in a venue where one man and his dog showed up (literally) and listened in silence until about halfway through the set, when, in the middle of a song, he reversed his electric wheelchair slowly out of the room… and the band played on.
We’ve played at house parties, charity events, in a Spiegel tent at a ship festival, and at Christmas celebrations in a Russian café (lots of free vodka). We’ve played gigs where people listen in respectful silence, where people talk and ignore you, and, best of all, gigs where people get up and dance and shout for “one more tune!” at the end. We’ve played in rooms that sound great, with really dedicated sound engineers, and awful rooms where we can’t hear a damn thing, and the sound engineer is out to lunch.
Perhaps like a lot of bands, we find it hard to describe or define our own music, but people who have seen us play have compared us to all kinds of bands and singers – some we’ve never heard of, most we would never have thought of, and occasionally one we’re flattered to be compared to.
We love playing live, and you could easily play a gig every week in Glasgow. But with so much music out there, it can be hard to find your audience. And we also don’t want to exhaust the goodwill of people who come and see us play, so it’s important to choose gigs wisely, and not too often.
There are plenty of places that will have you in to play to crowd who are not necessarily there to hear music, but that’s often where we get the most interesting and honest reactions. Glasgow audiences have a reputation for not tolerating any crap, but also being incredibly warm and generous if they like you. So when a drunk stranger comes up to give you a big handshake and congratulations on the music, it really means something.”
First Tiger‘s music hits you as fresh and innovative with lots of little surprises to discover. A band which surpasses the sum of its parts (which are brilliant). In their own inimitable words, here is a description of the music:
“If there’s a missing link between Fats Waller, Jacques Brel, Radiohead, Prince, the Strokes and the feeling you get from Raymond Chandler novels, by god, we’re determined to find it.”
But they do like the big entertainers, the fact that they entertain for a start and that they exist to entertain their audience not just themselves.
And yet, words cannot capture sound perfectly, not even First Tiger‘s well-written descriptions, so here are some audiobites. Enjoy and keep an eye out for their new album. I chose an upbeat track – not lyrically, mind you, a wistful chilled song (gorgeous guitar!) and an older track that reflects the delicious eccentricity (mixing country, jazz, you name it) of their music.