AS King Tut's January challenge to bring the best in underground Scottish music to Glasgow across 15 nights passes its mid-point, it's time to take stock of what we have learned.
For starters, the festival has been a crash course in the sheer breadth and diversity of Scottish talent. A week that has already brought us electropop and industrial rave beats, sampling and skilful, quirky songwriting concludes with country and folk and straight-up indie rock. There's the ferocious 90s punk of Baby Strange, delivered with a knowing sneer the day they hit the NME's Buzz list, and brand-new Glasgow garage rockers The Reverse Cowgirls. Dundee rockers Fat Goth tear Friday night's lineup open, while Saturday brings some classic singer-songwriter fare in the form of Davey Horne.
And then there's Anderson McGinty Webster Ward and Fisher, headlining on Saturday night. Eschewing the clever phases and bold mission statements that make traditional band names, the band might sound like a high-street criminal law practice but is instead a Dundee supergroup of sorts, featuring members of The Law and Magdalen Green.
As befits their experience the five-piece is probably the most technically proficient of the bands to play so far, swapping instruments and vocalists in between each slice of southern-influenced pub rock. Their songs are typical country fare about devils and being Brung Low by a Woman (Michael's Temptress contains some lurid imagery of the sort that does not bear repeating in a family newspaper) and they play the crowd skilfully, even if they're not the most exciting of the bands to feature.
Your opinion may vary – that's the beauty of such variety – but Chris Devotion and the Expectations must surely be in with a shout. The band takes to the stage accompanied by the Quantum Leap theme tune and launches straight into the rocking, tuneful songs of your new favourite bar band. The five-piece favour big power chords, simple singalong harmonies and longing lyrics, the type that you can't help but shake your hips and throw around your hair to. I Ain't Got No Home opens with a brilliant, a cappella four-part harmony before exploding into a stomping bar rocker while a later lovelorn When The Girl Comes To Town manages to be rather pretty without losing its ferociousness.
Black International – the noisy, droney, guitar/drum two-piece on stage a couple of hours previously – could never be accused of making pretty music. All chugging rhythm and sneering vocal, the Edinburgh duo's economic sound is reminiscent of the Seattle grunge scene – one song in particular is basically a male-fronted Babes In Toyland, with frontman Stewart Allan channelling some primordial howl about being unlucky in love. For much of their short set though it's drummer Craig Peebles who commands the attention; throwing himself so intensely into his spare rhythms that his face is a show in itself.
In between the two come Poor Things, a melodic three-piece whose indiepop tunes sound way too summery for a freezing Friday night in January. Although their music gets spikier as their set goes on, with always just enough feedback to prevent it from tipping too far into twee territory, it's still a welcome interlude in what is otherwise quite a heavy night. The centrepiece of their set is a crunchy, epic song called Festival: its repeated "your eyes look like shooting stars" refrain looks terribly cheesy on paper but in context sounds absolutely beautiful.
Thursday night's Secret Motorbikes set might have fitted better into this particular bill. The Glasgow four-piece might have a terrible name but their music – the big melodic riffs, denim jackets and heavy fringes of 90 out of 100 Britpop bands – is feedback-laden and wild and seat-throbbingly loud. It's heavily derivative of course, but done so well and so convincingly that it doesn't really matter.
Headliners Honeyblood are my favourite new discovery of the week: an all-female guitar/drums duo with the same bluesy simplicity as the White Stripes, but with proper choruses and way better harmonies. They're a breath of fresh air over the course of a dude-heavy three days, with songs which even at their most downbeat are far too gritty to be maudlin.
That's reserved for Sienna, Saturday night's Americana-by-way-of-Perthshire six-piece. It's hard to spot when the house music ends and the band kicks in, so organic is the upright bass riff that punctuates opener Drop In The Ocean. Co-vocalist Stella Reilly plays a sensuous, KT Tunstall type against Danny McAtear's sweet, soulful lead.