At the same time as many were heading to Austin, Texas for SXSW, it was more a case of WXNW for me as I travelled across Scotland to Glasgow to see one determined young lady who has her heart set on taking her distinctive brand of music across The Atlantic. It was also to be my first chance for a face to face meeting with Scosha, somebody whom I have previously been privileged to interview by phone/Skype on a number of occasions.
The opening act was yet another young lady who I met briefly in the bar before hand as she was circulating to meet and greet. Gabby, East London born but now established in Glasgow, played a great solo set accompanied by her guitar. Whilst there was a slight bias towards slower songs with intelligent and thoughtful lyrics, she did play a couple of more upbeat ones too. For somebody so youthful, she impressed with her strong characterful voice and confident delivery. Perhaps it is just something that comes with solo singer/songwriters, but her songs definitely had a rather timeless appeal to them and I can easily imagine listening to her during any era of my life. Gabby’s performance and demeanour is yet further confirmation for me of the wealth of emerging talent driven by a growing number of determined young female artists.
After Gabby’s gentle opening set, the band gathered on the stage prior to Scosha’s understated arrival on the stage with no real hint of what was about to happen. Perhaps it was the increase in audience numbers, perhaps some heating had been switched on – whatever the cause, things rapidly warmed up as she began her set. Being familiar with her music it was so good to be able to experience these songs live. Her studio recordings are well produced and clearly showcase her talents and potential both as a singer and a writer, why she isn’t receiving more airplay and recognition really does seem odd. The added edge provided by the live performance proved that her songs are just as much at home in a live environment as in recordings. The band were very tight as they provided the powerfully driving instrumental groundwork for her impassioned and compelling vocals. She may have won the ‘Pop Recording Of The Year’ category at last year’s Scottish New Music Awards but don’t be fooled, the electrifying performance presented here was so much more than simple, routine, bland pop. This was good honest high energy rock at its best, with an exciting and engaging stage presence. There was the foot on the monitor pose struck by guitarist Blair Hatton, the close interaction between Scosha and bass player Steven Adamson, the cool concentration of Robbie Noble on keyboards, and I could easily imagine bandana clad ‘Shoogal’ MacDougall drumming in some roadhouse during an episode of ‘Sons Of Anarchy’! All told, it was an absolutely belting performance presented with real class; and one that sadly ended far too quickly as is always the case when acts are restricted by venue timings.
Included along with familiar songs was an airing, first time with full band, of new song ‘Sh*t U Talk’. This was prefaced by an animated introduction where Scosha explained the origins of the song, and when it was finished she declared it to have been a particularly therapeutic preformance. Since coming across her last September I have been extremely impressed by her determination to pursue her musical dream. She invests so much in her lyrics, they are refreshingly honest and real when compared to much of the inane fare that gets so much radio play by syndicated commercial stations. A glance at some of her song titles appears to offer a fairly accurate summary of her attitude. It’s ‘Not Enough’ but ‘I’m OK’ as “I” ‘Pray For Time’ to ‘Let Go’ and “I’m doing my” utmost ‘Breakin’ Out’; to quote ‘Let Go’ she’s got her “armour” and her “sword”, and she’s taking no prisoners. The incorporation of parts of Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’ into the set hints at some of her musical influences that includes the likes of Kelly Clarkson and P!nk. I firmly believe she could stand shoulder to shoulder with such acts given the right support from within the music industry.
Once the set ended she seemed so naturally at home meeting and chatting to members of the audience; the willingness of artists to acknowledge fans and mix with those who have come to enjoy their performances is simply another reason why I so much prefer smaller venues. I would, however, absolutely jump at the chance to attend a much bigger venue such as the SECC or O2 Arena if I was able to see Scosha performing where she belongs. Until that day arrives I will continue to savour her growing repertoire of songs and wish her all the best in her quest for greater recognition whilst encouraging others to give her a listen.
As she finished circulating amongst the crowd, the final act of the evening started his set – another London connection – this time a native Glaswegian who had recently returned from a stint living and working in the south. Joseph Miller with his keyboard offered an opportunity to wind down after Scosha’s high energy performance. Sadly I didn’t get to hear much of his set but what I did hear certainly didn’t put me off checking him out further; a friend who accompanied me to the venue told me later that he had appreciated Joseph’s set and found it to be both engaging and accomplished. It was clear that Joseph was truly relishing his opportunity to play at the legendary Glasgow venue.