Tartan Week is upon us in NYC, so it may be more than coincidence that we have some extremely talented Scottish musicians performing on Concert Window in the next couple of days. Music has long played an important role in Scottish culture, from Great Highland bagpipes to the electric guitar, and beyond. We start off the Concert Window barrage of Scots with an act that definitely fits into the “beyond” category; Hector Bizerk.
Hector Bizerk is a two piece hip hop act from Glasgow. They will be streaming from a Tartan Week party, here in NYC on April 3rd at 6pm. Drummer Audrey and MC Louie are hip hop deconstructivist in a sense. With a strong beat, rapid fire lyrics and a minimal electronic backing track for textural purposes only, Hector Bizerk is naked and honest. As an American, it’s a total trip to hear the combination of hip hop verse and Scottish accent, though Louie seems a natural fit for the genre. Audrey’s drumming keeps the beat tight and adds a slight amount of embellishment, without stepping over the lyrics. If you’ve never heard Scottish hip hop, this is your chance.
Next up is Tommy Reilly on April 6th at 2pm EDT. Reilly won Channel 4’s Orange unsignedAct (a British talent search show), and gained national fame with his debut release Words on the Floor in 2009 and followup, Hello, I’m Tommy Reilly in 2010. Taking an honest and sentimental approach to varying themes of love and loss, Reilly’s emotive voice guides the listener through songs ranging from tender ballads to straight-forward pop rock. Reilly’s 2013 release Waking a Sleepwalker was completely crowd-funded, expertly produced, and is filled with clever keyboard licks, shimmering guitar, and Reilly’s ever-present tenor.
Full disclosure, the next act, Damon Valentine is English, not Scottish. That being said, he knows his fair share of Scots. His latest EP, You Will Get It Right, was recorded in Glasgow at Green Door Studios. The EP features the aforementioned Tommy Reilly on keys, Joe Rattray (from Glasgow band, Admiral Fallow) on bass, and Elaine Glass (from Scottish band, Fatherson) on cello. You Will Get It Right is short and sweet, like a good EP should be. Damon plays on Concert Window on April 7th at 8pm EDT.
The last act of this British avalanche is Rory Butler, who performs on April 8th at 3pm EDT. Hailing from the small, southwestern town of Durisdeer, Rory’s sound is delicate and vulnerable, but also brave and soulful. A sad acoustic guitar forms the backbone of this romantic troubadour’s songs. Young still, but wielding a voice deep with the wisdom of heartache, Rory is sure to be a commanding presence, either online, or in the flesh.