Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Tenement Trail ‘22: Scotland’s Festival of Music Discovery Returns Triumphantly

Headlined this year by the beloved Swim Deep and Vistas, this year’s Tenement Trail festival showcased over 50 bands across 6 of Glasgow’s best music venues, including the iconic Barrowland Ballroom.

Branding itself as ‘Scotland’s Biggest Festival for Music Discovery’, Tenement Trail first began in 2013, with the likes of Sam FenderLewis Capaldi, and Yungblud gracing its stages since. Last Saturday saw the return of the festival for the first time since 2019, with 12 hours of incredible music from some of the UK’s brightest and best independent artists.

I attended my first Tenement Trail in 2019, and was mesmerised by the amazing range of acts I saw throughout the day, all within some of my favourite venues in Glasgow’s East End. I left with a newfound love for a number of artists, particularly The Magic Gang, Sea Girls, and Glasgow’s own Baby Strange.

It was therefore never in question that I’d be attending the next Tenement Trail – and three years later, I finally got the chance to. I spent last Saturday going between numerous venues in Glasgow’s East End, cramming in as many acts as I could see at this exceptional festival.

After collecting our wristbands at BAaD (Barras Art and Design), we stayed at this venue for a couple of drinks and incidentally caught our first set of the day, Slix. Playing in the gorgeous, light-filled main area of BAaD, this five-piece indie rock band from Inverclyde delivered a high-energy set, packed with infectious tunes, to an eager crowd.

After this, we headed over to the intimate Winged Ox – another fantastic venue – and saw Her Picture’s set, a Glaswegian alternative rock group who recently dropped their first two singles, ‘The Nature of It’ and ‘I’m Still Here’. The group played to a packed, enthusiastic crowd, commanding their attention with a powerful post-punk sound and stunning vocals.

From there we headed to Van Winkle, an intimate pub venue across from the Barrowlands, in anticipation of the Nukuluk set. Here, we firstly enjoyed an enthralling performance from the up-and-coming Femes, an artist I wasn’t familiar with beforehand. A London-based Finnish-Taiwanese solo artist, Femes showcased her impressively unique sound – an addictive, synth pop-meets-indie rock fusion – whilst delivering an impassioned, engaging performance.

Soon after, it became apparent that Nukuluk - an experimental hip-hop and electronica group – were unfortunately no longer able to perform. It was Dutch Wine who thus replaced them, and although they brought a very different vibe, they quickly won over the busy crowd and delivered a stellar performance. The band’s guitar-heavy indie rock sound, strong vocals, and high-energy performance indeed made their set one of the most memorable of the evening.

We then decided to go to 226 Gallowgate, another intimate venue, to catch some of Queen Millz’s set. Queen Millz, a Leicester-based rapper, totally captivated her packed crowd with her dynamic performance. Another artist previously unbeknownst to me, she certainly left me and the rest of her audience impressed, showcasing pure skill, sharp lyricism, and a magnetic stage presence.

Although I was disappointed not to stay for the entirety of Queen Millz’s set, I was keen to see Man of Moon, a two-man indie rock band hailing from Edinburgh. Having caught my attention whilst listening to the official Tenement Trail playlist, I was very much looking forward to their set at BAaD. Indeed, I found myself enthralled by the ambient, psychedelic, and often heavy rock they played, alongside some stunning background visuals, all of which made for a very memorable set.

As the night drew in, the festival’s headliners came into focus. Edinburgh indie rock group, Vistas, took the stage of a packed Barrowland Ballroom around 9pm, delivering an energetic, crowd-winning performance. Upbeat fan-favourites ‘Retrospect’ and ‘Calm’ sent the crowd into joyous singalong, and the band delivered their latest single, ‘Back of the Car’ with tangible enthusiasm.

With a quick journey to St Luke’s, it was time for the highly-anticipated performance of Swim Deep. The venue was packed with fans who were certainly not left disappointed by the indie pop group’s stellar performance. Long-time fan-favourite ‘Honey’ went down a treat with the lively audience, as did the ever-nostalgic ‘She Changes the Weather’ and ‘King City’. Overall, the band’s dreamy sound and vibrant stage presence certainly charmed the crowd.

With the headliners’ performances concluded, crowds dispersed across Glasgow’s East End, some heading to afterparties across the city, and some to one of the remaining handful of gigs. Closing the festival until 1am was The Big Day, over at the legendary McChuills bar. Indeed, they closed the festival with style, with a lively performance for their packed crowd, showcasing a bold, retro-influenced indie pop sound and sparkling stage presence.

Undeniably, Tenement Trail is back with a bang. While it was of course impossible to catch every one of the 50+ bands gracing the festival’s stages, each one I did have the pleasure of seeing delivered a stellar set. Every one of these artists is worth listening to and keeping an eye out for – they truly showcase the passion, talent, and energy that makes today’s new music so exciting. Some even seem set to follow in the footsteps of previous Tenement Trail stars.

Ellie Henderson




Image: Tenement Trail 2022 poster


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