South Street in Reading is an arts centre that I really hope is frequented often by the locals. It’s the sort of small venue that every town needs. A professional standard set-up that means credible low-key artists like The Pictish Trail can come down from Scotland to play. If you live in Reading, go here more.
The show opens with the delicate Love.Stop.Repeat, a two-piece of multi-instrumentalists. The lead vocals of Lindsay West truly are something to behold as they meander around the unobtrusive soundscape created by the duo. After a quiet few years, the duo closed their set with a more electronic new number that suggests marvellous things to come in the future.
Next up were tour supports Eagleowl, who made sweeping wall-of-sound Indie-Folk. It suited the room perfectly and was very easy to get lost in. It was a mostly serene affair until the final track kicked in with a dramatic crescendo, with particularly impressive drumming.
Opening with some gentle numbers and a heroic voice, The Pictish Trail (Johnny) stood alone on stage and gave no hint of what was to come. This initial angellic soirée came to an end with Eagleowl joining John on stage, as he told the people lounging on the floor at the front that things were about to get a lot louder and that it would be in their best interests to stand up.
“This single is currently at number 4 in the charts… the Scottish Charity Shop Charts”, Johnny says with a heavy helping of self-deprecation. But the fact is, this isn’t music that needs charts. It’s the kind of stuff that a few people will hear and come back for repeated listens, rather than getting dizzy off a one-off hit. It rocks in many layers that reward unflinching aural devotion.
The set was closed with a ripped up, savage and unhinged version of Bonnie Prince Billy’s ‘Master of Everyone’. Near the end, Johnny leaves through the crowd and blends in almost immediately as he makes his way back to the dressing room.
While your here, go check out one of The Pictish Trail’s recent singles. It features paint that glows in the dark, sorcery.