Filed under: Concert Stories, Scene Around Town | Tags: a sunny day in glasgow, Glasgow, ithaca, My Bloody Valentine, Philadelphia, Scene Around Town, Stephen Malkmus, Thruston Moore, Why the Wires
PREVIEW: VISIT A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s Website
Ithaca’s Wildfire Lounge lends itself to open-mic folk music nights. Two enormous Persian rugs in place of a stage create an intimate setting for both audience and performer. However, Why the Wires and A Sunny Day in Glasgow both proved their skills in adaptation, introducing a thick atmosphere of sound to an otherwise serene venue.
Opening for the Philadelphia-based dream pop band, Why the Wires set the mood for the evening with a noisy punk-waltz set. Blending accordion, violin, and saxophone with a traditional band set-up, the Ithaca locals displayed a startling amount of cohesion for a quintet. Lead guitarist Dave Nutt plays with a style akin to Stephen Malkmus and Thurston Moore’s punk-rock lovechild. Raw energy surged through the speakers with every one of his primal screams. Throughout the set, Why the Wires mastered the humble, emotional connection with the audience without being overly dramatic in their performance. Satisfied and stimulated, I was ready for more as the band thanked the audience and, instead of exiting the stage, simply shuffled back into the crowd.
After a brief setup and sound check, A Sunny Day in Glasgow took the carpet stage. As a brief aside, the band chose its name after studying in Glasgow, United Kingdom, where a sunny day was a rare experience. Building anticipation, the band opened with a removed, hypnotic trance. Audience members unfamiliar with A Sunny Day’s ambient sound looked at each other with perplexed glances. As the intro came to a peak, the band made a quick change of instruments and launched into shoegaze bliss. Easily layering the female vocal duo with lush, overdriven guitars, the dream pop band extends open arms to listeners and makes their sound very accessible for unfamiliar ears.
The band mixes dream pop with shoegaze as members interact with each other. Though not as sonically assaulting as My Bloody Valentine, A Sunny Day in Glasgow manages the same shoegaze dynamic in their live performance. Duos form as members signal to one another and watch carefully for changes, building a tight, unified sound. A Sunny Day in Glasgow left all egos at the door Sunday night, exhibiting utmost modesty. By mid-set, the mix was dialed in and the band had formed a strong relationship with the audience. Audience members began to dance and the Wildfire Lounge came alive. Vocalist Annie Fredrickson was even cracking puns between songs.
I love when a show is so good that it makes you forget everything else that is going on in your life. A Sunny Day in Glasgow effortlessly cemented me in the moment and played an absolutely fantastic set of dreamy, ambient pop. Transfixed with excitement as the band graciously thanked the audience, I ran up soon afterwards to chat with guitarist Ben Daniels. Inspired by the impeccable performance, I asked Daniels what was going through his head on stage. He grinned and exclaimed with enthusiasm and modesty, “I’m just trying to get through the song!”
— Story By Chris Parker
— Photos By Isabel Alcantara