Live (Mia Beane and The Asthmatic Scene)

Kicking off the second Petty Vendetta night at the same time as the World Cup battle between Portugal and Holland was raging, a more apt band than Mia Beane and The Asthmatic Scene could not be found. With the band describing themselves as sounding like ‘Phil Spector making love songs about football’, its perhaps ironic that the hardy souls who were enjoying their set were doing so at the expense of catching another game full of red cards.

Bounding on with more percussion than you could shake a stick (or a triangle) at, the band quickly launched into a set very reminiscent of the sort of swooning indie that Glasgow was famed for before Franz Ferdinand bludgeoned their way to the front. Lead vocalist Matt’s soft and melancholic delivery of tales of football, growing up and the harsh realities were life could bring easy comparisons with Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian fame but there was a strong sense of fun throughout.

For every track that seemed soft or slow the next would crank up the guitars and riffs and counterbalance the styles and, on the whole, the set was warmly received. With additional vocals coming from chief percussionist and melodica player Fiona, there was always a lot going on and even in the quiet moments, there was never any down time or boredom.

With the track ‘Remember Your Shinguards’ name checking one of this writers earliest footballing heroes, its probably obvious that Mia Beane would impress – but thankfully the band work on so many more levels than purely football anecdotes. The amount of audience participation and handclaps throughout the latter half of the set indicated that many folk agreed.

The music was intriguing and the guitars jangled nicely throughout, providing a pleasant backdrop for the set. It was certainly a range of songs that indicates they would appeal to many fans of 80’s indie or Glaswegian styled indie pop.

Up next, almost to showcase the wide range of music that Petty Vendetta try to put on, were Magdelena who certainly weren’t about to follow on with the soft indie approach.

Magdelena are loud, extremely loud and in a small venue like upstairs in the Barfly, their sound massively filled the room but in a very pleasing manner.

The initial impression from the sound is the importance of the drums and its impact on the rest of the musicians. Even before the feedback and squalor kicks in, the beat and tone of the set was in place and the drums provided the backdrop for the front-line musicians to freak out. Given at one point during the second song every band member had two drumsticks in their hand, 3 bashing out the beat and the other using two to contort and influence his guitar, its obvious that Magdelena drive their songs on.

For a band of such power and ferocity, certain on-lookers may have been surprised to see the front-person’s role being filled by, what seemed at first, a diminutive female. Thankfully, as soon as lead singer Steph Bangs made her way to the mike, her earthy vocals and impassioned yelp felt right at home amidst the noise and confusion.

With some moments coming across like Bjorks ex-band The Sugarcubes and the more obvious influences like Mogwai or Sonic Youth, Magdelena offer a lot in terms of matching sonic workouts with the basic elements of melodic vocals and song layouts.

In showcasing their full repertoire, the second last song fizzled out for minutes in feedback frenzy with all on stage looking close to losing control but always just managing to keep their grip. Obviously realising there was no point in topping this, the last track started slowly and surely and was the closest Magdelena came to providing what traditionalists call a proper song. The intro highlighted another side of the act but those who favour the workouts were not to be disappointed as the finale allowed one final blast of guitar screeches and pounding drums.

With these two acts providing two extremely different sets, it would have been interesting to see how headliners Porcelina fitted in but sadly time constraints prevented The-Mag from checking them out. By all accounts, they impressed and we’ll endeavour to catch up with them in the near future.

Guest article from Andy R.

Written by Guest Writers on

Between 2003 and 2009, [the-mag] had regular contributors from music correspondents covering their local scene. You'll find them all in the guest writers section. The specific writer is mentioned at the bottom of each article.

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