The 22nd of November has been, throughout history, a popular day on which many stimulating and creative artists have disappeared into the mysterious and perhaps infinite realm of death. Fortunately, the creative imprint many of them – Anthony Burgess, Aldous Huxley, Jack London Michael Hutchence, C. S Lewis to name but a few – left behind ensured they are still remembered and revered to this day.
Huxley and Lewis’s bowing out may have been overshadowed on the day by John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but exactly 50 years on, the 22nd of November is not about waving goodbye to a stream of thought-provoking, creative types, but in fact ushering them into the mind by their droves.
Those who are not dancing (albeit slowly) at the back of the Pixies’ Barrowlands garden, relaxing to Jools Holland at Clyde-side, relinquishing their frontal lobes at Jaguar Skills or making sacrificial offerings to the Horned God to keep Lemmy going at the O2 Academy should consider two of Scotland’s most exciting acts, who will both launch releases on the night. At SWG3, There Will Be Fireworks will unveil second album The Dark, Dark Bright, a highly-anticipated emotive successor that’s been three years in the making.
And if, on the same night, you’re looking for Casual Sex, where else would you expect to be other than in the seedy underbelly of a joint called Nice ‘n’ Sleazys? Being hailed by the Guardian as possibly “the best Scottish band since Franz Ferdinand” and subsequently touring the US with Kapranos and Co. may not be doing a group who are trying to shy away from Franz Ferdinand comparisons any favours, but The Bastard Beat EP launch will see them leave their own impression in the wet cement laid down by their 70s and 80s’ inspired forefathers, with Halfrican in tow.
Speaking of Halfrican, their flash-fury garage punk will be in force way back on the 1st of the month, as they share the bill with a triad of emerging and exceptional Scottish acts. Baby Strange and the best band you’ve never heard of – Secret Motorbikes – will join Halfrican on the bill of headliners PAWS’ very special Halloween Ball (Garnethill Multicultural Centre, 1 November).
If soothing pensive, poignant paeans are more your bag, then the Aberfeldy Festival, which is initiated on the same night as PAWS’ ghost-and-ghoul-themed thrash-bash, will be right up your motorway. For one full weekend (1-3 November), some of the best folk artists our fine country has ever produced will embrace the banks of the River Tay, along with an extremely talented gathering of Scottish poets (Neu! Reekie’s Kevin Williamson and Michael Pedersen), writers (Ian Rankin and Kenneth Steven), and purveyors of the demon drink (Dewar’s and Innis & Gunn). With a line-up as strong as King Creosote, James Yorkston, Withered Hand and Meursault, you’d have to be blind drunk to miss it. On the other hand, you might miss it all because you’re blind drunk, due to those special ‘whisky tasting’ sessions local distillers Dewar’s are hosting in the wee Burgh.
Two Englishmen, two Scotsmen and an Irishman walk into a bar. There’s no punchline here, that’s just when Trapped Mice head into Sleazys (8 November) to play their set, supported by Where We Lay Our Heads and Armellodie Record’s bizarre but wonderfully colourful music talavera Galoshins.
It’s taken an amount of collected data the NSA would be proud of, been lost twice and had more mixes than the proverbial cocktail, but Monoganon’s debut album F A M I L Y will finally be unveiled in its entirety at the CCA (9 November). The very first release on Lost Map Records – the intriguing new venture from Johnny Lynch (AKA Fence Collective’s The Pictish Trail) – has already been lauded by The Skinny and The List, and will see Monoganon’s debut offering unwrapped by two support acts; Eugene Tombs and Lynch himself.
“It’s rock ‘n’roll Jim but not as we know it”… Fantastic feminine duo Deap Vally might leave any narrow-minded chauvinist beasts in Tuts on the 12th with mouths aghast – heads as vast and sparse as outer space – but at least they’ll be alleviated by Scottish supports Blindfolds and Tijuana Bibles, two fearsome, old-fashioned all-male rock ‘n’ roll bands. That said, the antagonistic Glasgow gang that make up Blindfolds would probably kick any present misogynists well into the cold, suffocating depths of the cosmos well before Deap Vally graced the stage. And we’d thank them , not stop them.
A day before your immensely difficult choice on the 22nd, head on over to Stereo, where Justin Corrie – otherwise known as Miaoux Miaoux – will enchant you with some meticulous digital melodies. Machines In Heaven, hailed by America’s chart monolith Billboard as “the likely bet to follow CHVRCHES as Glasgow’s new synth-pop heroes” , are set to play too (21 November).
So November might be perilous, what with the endless flow of alcohol in Aberfeldy, the ghouls in Garnethill or the sheer danger of asking strangers if they can point you the right way to find some casual sex, but at least ensure you stay alive beyond your difficult decision on the 22nd. After all, you’re not meant to ascend into Whisky Valhalla until the wee small hours of St Andrew’s Day, aren’t you?
Photograph by djenvert.