It was a slightly fresh April night to be heading out to Stirling, however there was a promising gig organised by the Death Collective, a small collective of musicians supporting each other as a platform for releasing quirky left field music.
After a brisk five minute walk from the station we arrived at the Mediterranea restaurant.
At the back of the diner, nestled downstairs, is a beautiful wee space for small acts to play. Through the windows at the back of the stage the world flies past, speeding trains on the Dunblane line, police cars rushing past on the Stirling A9, lights flashing blue; this was a distinct contrast to the relaxed vibe that greeted the gathering crowd.
Kenny Bates was on the door collecting donations that would go towards the Death Collectives own PA, which would allow them to start organizing more gigs for touring acts and musicians a little closer to home. Kenny was as chilled out as ever but he appears to be one of the driving forces behind the collective, through Leftfield and later Quitter he has toured Europe and played at gatherings similar to this.
Thurmpy was up first, playing alongside Peter Russell on the clarinet, he played a number of enjoyable songs interlaced with some humorous exchanges with some of his fellow collective attendees.
Next up three musicians took their seats under the colourful spotlights and subtle lighting. They tuned up, checked the mics and plugged in the snyths. There was a quick soundcheck as the growing audience breezily chatted, greeted each other and ordered drinks. Constant Follower, now content with their sound, started to play, the audience fell silent, except for the non intrusive, distant clatter of dinners and the till ringing (it reminded me of feel of First Watch, a track from Diamond Mine by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins). They played beautiful measured music in the ilk of Bon Iver’s early work and the slowcore of Low. Their subtle tones layered over some slick guitar and soft baritone vocals was mesmerizing, the audience was captivated.
3rd up Scott William Urquhart reminded me of RM Hubbert, he played a number of excellent compositions. Hamish McBurney followed, passionately sharing some deeply personal lyrics, it was a strong performance.
Sadly, the need to catch the last train home put paid to any hopes of seeing Quitter, so reluctantly we headed back out into the cold Stirling night, a world away from the atmosphere we had just left behind.
It was a fantastic event, many genres of music, acts I’ve discovered and a brilliant vibe. I wish the Death Collective every success, more nights like these will be great for Stirling’s scene.