The Districts @ King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

King Tut’s on Glasgow’s St. Vincent Street was last night transformed into an intimate garage in litle Lititz, Philadelphia as young twentysomething’s The Districts delivered a scuzzy and muscular set which at times felt like a coming of age.

Since they first played the city at last May’s Stag & Dagger, The Districts have been forced to replace their guitarist after Mark Larson decided to pursue an education rather than travel the road with a band, and this year they released their debut full-length album A Flourish and A Spoil.  In contrast to that sparsely attended show at Broadcast, King Tut’s was packed out – The Districts are very much a word of mouth band, and thanks to exposure from BBC 6 Music the word is clearly spreading.

There are still some rough edges to their sound, and the lengthy tuning sessions and ambient washes between songs are something that will have to be smoothed out, but that doesn’t detract from the phenomenal sound they generate.  This was rock and roll in its most primal, youthful form.  Sweaty and energetic.

Lead guitarist and vocalist Rob Grote has a compelling stage presence, while his distinctive voice lends to the sound they’re curating.  This is best showcased on Funeral Beds, the song which already looks like it is going to define this band.  Originating from their early self-titled EP, this is the song the entire audience knows and had been waiting for.  There’s the harmonica with echoes of Springsteen or Young, the heartbeat of Braden Lawrence’s drumming throughout and the galloping climax it builds to.

4th and Roebling, the opening track from A Flourish and A Spoil, is a made for radio rocker which firmly has its roots in the bands of the early 00′s these guys grew up on.  The night ends on Young Blood, the 9-minute standout from the album, and it translates powerfully onto the stage.  It is dramatic and dynamic, loud and punchy.  The song has multiple layers, unravelling another just as you think it is coming to an end.  It is the highlight of the set and a future rock classic.

This was garage rock brought to life on a grand scale.  There are stilll improvements to be made, but once they are made and the word of mouth continues to spread The Districts are capable of going a long way

Laura Marling @ O2 Academy, Glasgow

Perhaps the best indication of a good gig is when you come out of it afterwards liking the artist even more than you did two hours previous.  I left the O2 Academy after around 90 minutes in the company of Laura Marling completely in love and adoration.

Despite still being a relatively young woman – she has only just turned 25 – Laura Marling’s music carries the heavy emotional burden of a more mature songwriter.  She still has a delicate shyness on stage, an uneasyness almost, and rarely interacts with the audience, but all of that belies the toughness in her songs.

She meanders onto stage with little fanfare.  There’s no dimming of the lights and a growing swell of anticipation to indicate an incoming rock star, rather she just appears, cast in a heavenly beam of white light.  Over the course of opener Howl she is joined on stage by the remainder of her three-piece band and we are taken into a seamless twenty minute run through Once I Was An Eagle:  Take The Night Off, You Know and an intensely passionate Breathe all featuring.  It was a breathless opening.

For all the sweetness and elegance in her voice, the whispering and sneering in the same breathe and the cool as fuck vocal infections there’s a harder edge to Laura Marling with Short Movie.  The electric guitar is plugged in for I Feel Your Love and the shoes are kicked off as new dimensions to her musical repetoire are unravelled before us.  Rambling Man and Master Hunter were given a big band makeover, though the delicacy of Marling’s guitar was never lost in the fuzz.  Short Movie closed the set in an electrical thunderstorm and it seemed fitting that way.  It was almost as though the vulnerability of her younger self and relationships was being blown away.