Downstairs in the intimate box beneath Glasgow’s Captain’s Rest, a quietly enthusiastic crowd crept forward in anticipation, centimetres from Maps & Atlases as they took the stage. Humble and charming, toes curled around the edge of the stage, vocalist Dave Davison, led the tight Chicago – based quartet through an intricate, clever and moving set. The wide eyed crowd stood and swayed, pulled through woeful longings to exultant toe tapping, longing to dance.
Davison’s strangely timbre’d voice, reminiscent of a young Cat Stevens, was strong and unerring, climbing up and down octaves, bellowing, wailing and swelling with contained and exquisite emotion. He and other the band-members, Shiraz Dada (bass), Chris Hainey (drums), and Erin Elders (guitar) revealed a stunning display of technical ability, with not a trace of showy arrogance. Gentleman and Scholars, indeed. They played old songs and new, early unknowns and pieces from their new and debut full length album Perch Patchwork. The songs were plaited together and they stepped from one to the next in an unfaltering flow.
They lay irresistible hooks and harmonies amongst strange stories and idiosyncratic, polyrhythmic guitar tapping and bass lines, creating challenging pop and transcendental folk. The meticulously constructed layers were stripped back towards the conclusion of the set, as the band made their way through the darkened room and played a few acoustic songs, surrounded by the content crowd. The band – members slowly trailed off until only Davison was left sitting under a dim red light, surrounded by black, he played the beautiful Ongoing Horrible joined by the invisible voices of the crowd. A must see.