By DiscoverGlasgowOrg, Jun 4 2014 03:27PM
Glasgow music label Chemikal Underground has not been shy in its ambitious array of musical projects to celebrate the city's East Side. One of the highlight's of the East End Social's plans was the Duke Street Expo, a low-key all day festival that married singers and bands with local shops for small, intimate sets. Most of the shows were free, with the exception of a pair of gigs held in two of Dennistoun's churches. Yet, despite an ensemble that would make corporate festivals jealous, the Duke Street Expo was without much in the way of advertising, unless you lived local. Perhaps that was the point; after all, how many people could feasibly squeeze into Barnardo's charity shop to watch Beerjacket?
Yet the small, almost unannounced nature of it all offered something more spontaneous. It removed the barriers that modern music culture, and a wider celebrity culture in general, constructs. This was just people who love music listening to a hand-picked selection of artists. There were no egos here, this was no Britain's Got Talent of X-Factor where eveything is commoditised and monetised.
They played for free, and mentioned they had gigs coming up and some limited edition CDs and vinyl with them. Almost all took it in good stride, Beerjacket joking about playing in the cornor of Barnardos, surrounded by coats and jackets. Yusef Asak's haunting tunes were partnered with his deft humour about playing in Heather's Boutique. "I was tempted to put on one of these neon yellow tops for you."
Northumbrian lass Sarah Hayes played in content while two toddlers balwed their eyes out right in front of her piano, dressed with a single red rose from host Florresters. She later had to remind her Admiral Fallow bandmate Louis Abbott of the words to one of theirs songs. Sometimes, you just have those days.
She later had to remind her Admiral Fallow bandmate Louis Abbott of the words to one of theirs songs. Sometimes, you just have those days.
And that was one of the best things about the Duke Street Expo. It wasn't about getting 'mad with it' or 'pissed up' (although kudos to Eletric Artz Tattoo Parlour for the free beer during Ex Wives excellent ear-breaking performance).
It was a family day, and most of the music was enjoyed by all ages. Even rapper Hector Bizerk forewarned about his explicit lyrics.
After King Creosote had finished the last song of the evening, following on from Siobhan Wilson (Ella the Bird) and Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor in the Dennistoun New Parish Church, a friend remarked that it had been an excellent, exhausting day of music, and that it was a shame this sort of thing does not happen as often. I would second that.
To the bands I have not yet mentioned, the excellent Company of Wolves, the awesome Adam Stafford, the energising Kobi Onyame, the sobering Rick Redbeard, and those I did not get to see (Hume Sax Quartet, Kathryn Joseph, Kid Canaveral, Ruth MacKay, Sonny Carntyne, Adam Stearns), you made for a great day out in one of Glasgow's greatest streets. Come back soon.