PRS biennial with Lau

Last night I was invited to a free drinks reception (yay!) and free gig (more yay!) to go and represent Music News Scotland at a reception for the PRS new music biennial and Lau premiering their piece for it. Managed to get a wee drink and listened to what the whole project is about. It’s 20 different musicians all writing and performing pieces. It’s an extremely diverse load of artists and there will undoubtably be great music coming out of It. It’s going to be performed around the country and played on radio 3.

i thought they would just be performing a few tunes in the recital rooms but it was a real gig as I realised when I tried to go upstairs and didn’t have a ticket! Had to make my way back downstairs and find it before taking my seat. Definitely a little embarrassing.

Annabelle Chvostek is first up. The Canadian generally plays pretty up beat, country tinged songs and at points you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled across a hoedown. She can however be quite diverse taking us from a hoedown in Ona to a smokey jazz bar on her next song. There are also some political songs before which we are told of civil unrest in Qubec when the government tried to bring in laws banning groups of more than five from meeting. These are delivered angrily and with lots of minor chords. Chvostek is keen on audience participation and the audience are happy to oblige.

During the break it was back to the recital rooms where there was food and drink laid in. Ended up spending a good chunk of it speaking to a lady from PRS who gave me advice on things I might be able to get involved in and we spoke about who’s worth listening to in Glasgow.

Then it’s on to Lau who have a reputation for an exciting live show and pushing the boundaries. Tonight is no exception. Martin Green is often trying to control three instruments at once as Aidan O’Rourke’s fiddle soars above it as Kris Drever’s guitar keeps the rhythm.
The main point of tonight is to premiere a new tune that Lau have been creating along with Elysian Quartet who join them tonight. It’s part of the PRS music Biennial in which composer get the chance to collaborate and create new music. Lau’s effort is called The Bell That Never Rang which is 15 minutes of breathtaking music that is incredibly diverse and it is hard to believe it is being made by so few people. Drever’s usual dry wit is occasionally on show but it is mostly Green taking the lead between tunes tonight. Songs Ghosts and Midnight Feast, originally recorded for an EP with Kareen Polwort, allows Drever to show off his vocal talents towards the end of the show. After a last tune the Lau boys leave the stage but not for long as they are convinced to come back for one more tune.

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