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Spotlight On… Glasgow's Music Scene.

When your favourite band comes to Scotland, 9 times out 10 (or perhaps 10 times out of 10) – they’ll be playing in Glasgow. The reason for this is Glasgow appears to have a pretty unique live music scene, especially when it comes to the crowd – and let’s face it, that’s the main ingredient for an awesome gig. What we want to know is what is it that makes Glasgow the recognised music capital of Scotland? We rounded up some highly recommended Glasgow-based music gurus to find out what the “weegie” charm is all about…

The Band.

Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers are a folk-blues sextet who have garnered a reputation for exhilarating live shows from Brighton to Berlin.

Tell us about your own personal experience of the Glasgow music scene.

When I moved here, I was instantly taken aback by how forthcoming folk were to get me involved with projects, open mics & recordings. After recording a self-made album and passing it around, people were really up for pushing it forward, which resulted in Woodenbox making an album with Electric Honey and getting involved in a studio in Bridgeton. We’ve never looked back.

What’s so good about it?

It’s varied and supportive.

What are the various music scenes/circles happening at the moment?

There’s a strong folky vibe but the good stuff is bands that experiment with new sounds and do it themselves. I don’t think it’s strictly a “Glasgow” scene; it’s a “Scottish” scene.

Glasgow appears to be the music capital of Scotland, with a much better reputation for live music than that of Edinburgh. Why do you think this is?

Good venues who actually care is a big one. Glasgow prides itself on a good musical heritage; people are always sharing notes on who is new and who is worth seeing live. Also, the student population is different here – less rich kids who want to f**k about on George Street.

What makes its music scene different and/or better to other cities?

It’s real. When you’re proud of your city, a community is formed. It’s all about community. Weirdly though, my favourite gigs to play now are in Edinburgh – maybe that’s just the result of not living there.

Would you recommend Glasgow to other musicians?

Yes, it’s great. It’s just about the right size and there is someone and something to inspire you every day.

Describe Glasgow’s music scene in three words.

Loud, proud, real.

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The Record Label.

Armellodie is a tiny wee rock co-operative, label, stable, collective, artist alliance, consortium of rock, whatever… based in (but not exclusive to) Glasgow, Scotland.

Tell us about your own personal experience of the Glasgow music scene.

I run a small label called Armellodie Records and write/perform in a band called Le Reno Amps. I grew up in Aberdeen but I’ve lived in Glasgow for just short of 7 years. I like to think both Armellodie and Le Reno Amps operate outwith any Glasgow music scene, despite being based here. Not in any elitist way either – I just prefer to get on with stuff that tickles my own pickle and if others get off on it too, that’s a Brucey bonus. In that respect, I’ve never felt part of any scenes that may be going on here or anywhere. I guess Armellodie in itself could be seen as a “scene” but, ultimately, it’s just a party in my pants.

What’s so good about it?

There’s a lot of good stuff and, equally, a lot of guff stuff but the good stuff is what makes Glasgow so good. There’s a misconception that Glasgow is one big love-in, it’s really not. There are tons of creative types doing loads of ear-tickling, eyeball-pleasing stuff but what makes it good is the same as any place; the individuals or groups who are striving to make sincere, passionate music.

What are the various music scenes/circles happening at the moment?

Dunno, don’t care.

Glasgow appears to be the music capital of Scotland, with a much better reputation for live music than that of Edinburgh. Why do you think this is?

I don’t buy into this; every town is much the same. Those who want to should just spill their creative juices on any dance-floor and see if folks bust a move or slip up and fall on their arses. There’s good, bad and ugly in every town.

What makes its music scene different and/or better to other cities?

It’s bigger than other cities but it’s all relevance – the bigger it is, the more good stuff there is and the more s***e you have to wade through to get to it.

Would you recommend Glasgow to other musicians?

Yeah, it has a good range of venues. Touring bands make a point of coming here so there are always good gigs on. It may sound like I’m dissin’ Glasgow in previous answers but I can assure you this is not the case. I’ve met great people and had good times; it’s just that Armellodie does not discriminate on the grounds of origin, only on the grounds of music taste.

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The Podcaster.


Glasgow PodcArt is a Scottish based music/arts website. We produce weekly podcasts showcasing the best in grass roots and unsigned artists; not only from Scotland but around the world.

Tell us about your own personal experience of the Glasgow music scene.

It has one of the best live music reputations in the world. The artists are hard-working and love collaborating. In terms of unsigned artists, the talent is exceptional. There’s so much to choose from that it sometimes overwhelms me! I wouldn’t have started PodcArt if it hadn’t been for the music in this city.

What’s so good about it?

I prefer to call it a community – that’s what makes it so good. The diversity is spellbinding; it really shows the rich amount of talent that inhabits the place. We have everything on our doorstep. The way people network is brilliant too – some may deem it incestuous but if someone is a good musician, people want to play with them.

What are the various music scenes/circles happening at the moment?

PodcArt just goes by what we listen to and we’re regularly blown away by how eclectic it is.

Glasgow appears to be the music capital of Scotland, with a much better reputation for live music than that of Edinburgh. Why do you think this is?

The venue thing is a big issue. With rumours of places closing down, it doesn’t give people much to work with. In Glasgow, everyone mucks in and really goes for it. Plus the venues are brilliant. There’s a lot I don’t know about Edinburgh but I do think it needs more in the way of good DIY promoters.

What makes its music scene different and/or better to other cities?

Touring bands have said it for years – the crowd is unique. You’ll also find that people are willing to experiment with who they listen to and promoters like to mix the bills up. People love gigs in this city, its part of the culture – there’s always something going on.

Would you recommend Glasgow to other musicians?

Of course. We wouldn’t be doing what we do otherwise. People always say how much they adore playing here. It’s my first love and has introduced me to some of the most talented musicians I’ve had the pleasure of writing about and working with.

Describe Glasgow’s music scene in three words.

Beatific, Passionate, Woooooft.

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The Music Lout.

Nick Anderson is a good old fashioned music lout – plain and simple. His mission? To bring Glasgow’s music community together. Quite a nice lout then.

Tell us about your own personal experience of the Glasgow music scene.

At first, I played in a band; trying to capture the slightly anarchic and care-free ethic of DIY punk rock before realising I wasn’t actually that keen (or capable) and was more interested in supporting others. Now, I respond to what’s happening musically and broadcast it. The current project is getting bands to cover each others’ songs and making a CD of it in an attempt to document the circulating talent and indulging in collaboration.

What’s so good about it?

Loads of bands, loads of venues, gigs every night. There are also a lot of bands who don’t mind taking time to invest in their own development before stepping out and making their mark.

What are the various music scenes/circles happening at the moment?

One movement that’s ripe is the semi-illegal, DIY living room gigs. A lot of bands often say that their favourite gigs are those in flats and this is a healthy thing. Venues are generally supportive and fun but aren’t wholly necessary for live music.

Glasgow appears to be the music capital of Scotland, with a much better reputation for live music than that of Edinburgh. Why do you think this is?

I’d say it’s to do with student volume in the city but Edinburgh has loads of students, so it can’t be just that. It’s true that touring bands are booked to Glasgow over Edinburgh, or anywhere in Scotland, meaning our population gravitates to the West and Glasgow reaps the benefit.

What makes its music scene different and/or better to other cities?

Glasgow’s great but we need more interesting music events rather than bands just playing their own gigs. In other words, we need more communication and collaboration and more people to take responsibility for designing these events. Maybe I’m telling this to myself… in fact, yes, I am.

Would you recommend Glasgow to other musicians?

Whether you want to start something, join something, learn an instrument, form a supergroup, support a wee band or support U2 – Glasgow is a great place to start. It’s all here for you to get involved with and work hard.

Describe Glasgow’s music scene in three words.

Dirty pretty ‘hings.


About The Author

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Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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