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Mix Tape brings together the greats of Scots' music scene

IT was blend of classic 80s nostalgia pop and the best of modern Scottish music, which unfolded across two stages and 11 hours at Glasgow Green yesterday, and from start to finish it was an authoritative guide to some of the best music Glasgow has ever produced.

Legendary country singer Sydney Devine, left, and singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole were among the acts who took the stage at the Mix Tape concertsPhotographs: Phil Rider
Legendary country singer Sydney Devine, left, and singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole were among the acts who took the stage at the Mix Tape concertsPhotographs: Phil Rider

The free-admission Glasgow Mix Tape event boasted bestselling acts from across the decades - Lloyd Cole, the Bluebells, Edwyn Collins, Trembling Bells, Malcolm Middleton, Bis and Admiral Fallow among them.

None of them had even been born when the oldest performer yesterday, singer Sydney Devine, began his career at the age of 13 in 1953.

The Mix Tape, on the Living Room and Playhouse stages at the Green's Live Zone, was part of East End Social, an ambitious, six-month-long programme of music and community engagement, and part of the official Culture 2014 project.

It has been put together by Chemikal Underground Records, one of Scotland's most innovative record labels, set up in 1995 by members of The Delgados.

The Bridgeton-based label wanted to give the east end its share of high-profile cultural events linked to the Commonwealth Games extravaganza.

"One of our objectives was to reflect the amazing diversity of Glasgow's music," said Stewart Henderson, former bass player with The Delgados and one of the label's directors, of Mix Tape.

"These things are always a bit of a challenge. You're trying to figure out how to appeal to as broad a group of people as possible while not betraying your own sensibilities.

"We hopefully managed to get bands and artists that appealed to a wide demographic with more left-field, challenging artists playing alongside familiar acts from the city's past.

"The diversity of the bill said more more about Glasgow than it did about our role of pulling it together" he added. "The fact is, Glasgow has always produced an incredibly diverse array of high-calibre artists."

Initially, the idea was to to explore the heritage of the city's indie music scene, but the organisers gradually widened their focus as the Mix Tape notion took hold.

The inclusion of Devine was not, Henderson emphasises, "absolutely not intended as some kind of Shakespearean comic relief".

He said: "We wanted to celebrate the city's independent music makers and mavericks, of whom Sydney is definitely one.

"For me, the phenomenon of Sydney Devine, and the passion his fans have for his music, speak volumes about the type of music fan Glasgow nurtures just as much as the musicians themselves."

The organisers also wanted to acknowledge bands who had meant something to them during their formative years, among them Lloyd Cole, the Bluebells and Edwyn Collins.

Bis, a Glasgow trio, were the first act to sign to Chemikal Underground.

"Bis were the catalyst for all of this, frankly," Henderson said. "Had it not been for their success with their early singles, there is no earthly way that Chemikal Underground would have happened, or been able to continue.

"And without Chemikal Underground, there would be no East End Social."

East End Social itself has set out to be as inclusive as possible.

"It was important for us, right at the beginning, that there were going to be tea-dances, reggae sound systems, folk nights and ceilidhs, as well as acts like The Penman Jazzmen alongside the type of alternative artists people would expect from a label like Chemikal," Henderson said.

"We wanted to celebrate just how musical a city Glasgow is by holding a mirror up to all the genres of music that flourish across the city.

"The East End Social and its events seem to have resonated with people over the summer and it's been great to witness the enthusiasm people have been showing for all the cultural activity taking place throughout Glasgow.

"This is what makes our city great - we are unsurpassed in our appetite for cultural events of all descriptions.

"Many people weren't sure about the 1988 Garden Festival before it happened, but Glasgow was by far and away the most successful of the five UK events.

"We've also had The East End Social likened to Mayfest [the annual arts festival that closed in 1997] by a lot of people, which is another great compliment."

The East End Social ends with a formidable bang with the Last Big Weekend on August 30-31 at Richmond Park, next to Shawfield Stadium, with Mogwai headlining a rock day on the Saturday, and Jeff Mills, Hudson Mohawke and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem topping the following day's dance bill.

"The success of The Last Big Weekend is critical for us," Henderson says.

"While nothing will ever be able to take away what we've achieved so far with the East End Social, what happens over the course of the Richmond Park weekend will determine whether we are able to do it all again."

www.eastendsocial.com

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