Onstage, the MC of rising rap act Hector Bizerk is waving a flag emblazoned with the band's Drums/Rap/Yes slogan, while a busy, bouncing crowd chant their name back at them. It's exciting, thrilling stuff, and a fitting way to be introduced to what has rapidly become a Glasgow tradition – the King Tut's Summer Nights festival.
Now in its third year, the event has blossomed, offering emerging Scottish talent a platform to showcase their wares over two weeks in July. The venue may regularly put on local acts, but Summer Nights and its winter counterpart, New Year's Revolution, offer solid blocks of Scottish acts, rather than short support slots with touring bands.
For Tut's booker Craig Johnston, the mini-festivals have become crucial. "Summer Nights has become the thing to play at Tut's," he says. "Instead of asking for support slots, they're now asking for Summer Nights slots. Folk are looking at the advert for Summer Nights in the T In The Park guide and saying, 'That's my pal's band playing there', so the main thing is exposure for all the bands."
An example of the festival's growth can be found by this year's programme, which runs until July 26. The Unwinding Hours will unveil their new album, Afterlives, next Monday, while Midnight Lion, currently on the books of Island Records, headline this Thursday. It's a far cry from the event's first year, when only unsigned bands were booked.
"To attract bands like The Unwinding Hours is fantastic," says Johnston. "We started off as being about unsigned acts, then we had to change to 'under the radar' – and now it's just Scotland's best bands."
Established names may becoming part of Summer Nights, but the heart of the festival remains young, emerging Scottish talent, with past alumni including Admiral Fallow, Rachel Sermanni and Three Blind Wolves.
Hector Bizerk's set capped off an evening focused on Scottish hip-hop, and other nights are tailored around certain genres, rather than just being about the guitar bands that traditionally provide the local scene's bread and butter.
"We try to reflect what's happening in Scotland just now," argues Johnston. "There's a young singer-songwriters night, there's more old school songwriters with the likes of Beerjacket, some Scottish hip-hop, we've got dubstep on the last night – it's just trying to reflect what's happening all over Scotland."
Of course, it's not as entirely straightforward as that. Both Summer Nights and January's New Year Revolution gigs take place during traditionally quiet periods in the music calendar, with July usually dominated by festivals to the detriment of smaller shows.
Friday's hip-hop night certainly attracted a good-sized crowd, who were in ebullient form throughout, as were the acts themselves – and the insult-flinging rap battle by two MCs that occurred between sets.
However, Johnston admits that persuading people to take a chance on local talent can sometimes be difficult.
"We really appreciate folk coming out and paying £6 just to see a band their friends have told them is good," he says.
"It's funny that folk can think spending £6 on seeing four bands is expensive but they'll easily spend it on a couple of gin and tonics instead.
"You go over that amount for a ticket price, and £8-10 can be perhaps a bit much for a band you've never heard of, but it's a strange mindset when people are so happy to spend it on other things."
Added extras this year include getting various Scottish music bloggers to DJ each night (Johnston's optimism extends to being confident that none of said bloggers will be harangued by bands they've criticised in the past) and having secret acts playing the downstairs bar at midnight each night, including several now-established groups.
Johnston's own highlights include the Island signings as well as several acts further down the bill.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing Midnight Lion, and the songs they have recorded are fantastic," he says.
"I caught them two years ago at the Classic Grand before they'd been signed, and it didn't really click for me. And then they supported someone at Tut's and I saw them soundcheck, and it was amazing.
"Crusades played the T Break stage at Balado – they're real in-your-face rock – and TeKlo were brilliant at T as well."
The success of Summer Nights doesn't mean Johnston plans to rest on his laurels. "We always try to let things evolve," he says. "We want to make it better each night, and I do have a plan for where we can go from here. We watch what people are saying, what bands are being talked about – it's cheesy, but it's a people's festival."
Summer Nights runs every night at King Tut's, Glasgow, until July 26.
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