The Pictish Trail, 19th May 2014

The Pictish Trail is the performing name of Johnny Lynch, curator of the ‘Lost Map’ records label based in the Isle of Eigg. He tours with bands from his roster and anyone else who fits into the ethos. Tonight in a very empty J2 (about 20 people) it was difficult to generate energy and establish a rapport but he managed it, with his random ramblings and engrossing songs. Starting with a single line organ accompaniment his plaintive voices summoned up the sleepy shores of the Isle of Eigg (home to 87 people). He switched to gently plucked acoustic folk guitar for more low key songs, including one from his album of fifty songs all lasting 30 seconds and another one about a Lighthouse Keeper, who switched off the light…

He then introduced Tuff Love, a power indie trio, playing some noisy and short bursts of social comment and well-honed grunge. They would have been better off in a crowded pub room, but that could not be helped and it was a good performance.

Pictish returned after the interval, amplification problems treating us to a delicate unplugged song down in the audience while heavily booted technicians ran around trying to solve the problem. When volume was restored there were more interesting songs and ideas, I was beginning to think of similarities to the singer Babybird (remember ‘You’re Gorgeous’? Of course you do, it is a great song and the album ‘Ugly Beautiful’ is worth a listen too).
Finally he introduced Monoganon, a four piece band from Glasgow with some unusual sounds, using the properties of two guitars, some keyboard and the bass player from Tuff Love. The music ranged from folk, retro psychedelia, some good melody, all thrown in together but not quite gelling or connecting with the audience on this occasion. Listen to the album ‘Songs To Swim To’, a lo-fi alternative to the live show…


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