Tenement Trail 2023: Glasgow festival celebrates Scottish indie artists

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Glasgow’s Tenement Trail music festival was held across iconic venues in the city’s East End last Saturday. Hosted in collaboration with BBC Introducing, the festival spotlighted upcoming Scottish musical talent across genres ranging from indie rock to hip hop. 

Image Credit: Hope Simmers

Despite only starting in 2013, the Tenement Trail has now established itself as a bona fide staple in Glasgow’s indie music scene. The festival is well-recognised for boosting the profiles of new musicians; previous years have seen early-career performances from the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender and Yung Blud.

Headlining this year’s festival were Edinburgh-based alt-rock group Vistas, who took centre-stage at the Barrowlands Ballroom after a last-minute pull-out from original headliners Circa Waves. Despite not getting to see the band they were expecting, Vistas’ speaker-blowing performance came as a pleasant surprise to attendees; the band got the crowds moving as they played songs off their latest album Is This All We Are?

Although Tenement Trail is best known for showcasing Glasgow’s indie/alternative sound, this year’s lineup also included a number of genre-bending performers who defied the indie-rock sound that the  event is best known for: London/Glasgow rapper BEMZ spat heartfelt bars off his latest album Nova’s Dad in St. Lukes; Man/Woman/Chainsaw’s post-punk sensibilities left crowds at Barras Art and Design (BAaD) awestruck; and SISTER MAAD performed angsty anthems at pub Van Winkle.

The trail’s grand finale was an electric performance from a secret act, who were later revealed to be female-led rock band Spyres. The group performed for a tightly-packed crowd at pub McHuill’s in the city centre, sending this year’s Tenement Trail on its way to the anthemic Sleep Forever, their newest single.

Glaswegian indie band Bottle Rockets, who performed at the Barrowlands stage early in the day, praised the event on its commitment to shining the limelight on lesser-known bands. Speaking to Brig News, John Tamburrini, the group’s guitarist, said: “Tenement Trail gives bands the opportunity to make new fans. People will go and they’ll see someone they hadn’t heard of before, and actively start listening to their music.”

For Bottle Rockets, playing an iconic Scottish stage like the Barrowlands came as a huge achievement. Sam Rae, the group’s drummer, said: “It [playing at Barrowlands] was very surreal to be honest. Walking in from the back entrance rather than being an audience member was surreal. Being a Glaswegian band, the Barrowlands is the top place you want to play. Playing it was unbelievable. It was a bucket list moment ticked off for us.”

Bottle Rockets perform at the Barrowlands Ballroom. (Image Credit: Hope Simmers)

Summer Skye, who played at BAaD with her band Plasticine, also spoke to Brig News about the event. She said: “I’d like to see Tenement Trail become more influential and expand its reach. I do believe it could become a lot more popular as the Glasgow music scene has been thriving for a few years now. It would be nice to continue to see more diverse acts, bigger crowds and greater industry attention.”

Plasticine take the stage at BAaD. (Image Credit: Hope Simmers)

This year’s Tenement Trail has proven that Scottish music is in one of its most promising moments yet, showcasing trailblazing new talent and bringing music fans together – this festival’s future looks very bright.

Featured Image Credit: Hope Simmers

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