Maps show the way.
Although Klaxons and Amy Winehouse may have been the big stories of this years Mercury Prize, it can often be the smaller acts who find the biggest change from being featured on the shortlist. Bats For Lashes was an act who found her festival appearances featuring an inflated crowd due to the curiosity value (and lets be fair, her talent kept people watching) and another act who benefited were Maps.
The album may have been primarily the work of one man, James Chapman, the live show featured a full band and in a visibly full King Tuts on a busy Friday night, there was enough cohesion and talent to say the band were worthy of inclusion for the shortlist.
Having only listened briefly to the record soon after its release, the live show was promising to be a full-on introduction to the bands music but from the start, the band got to work and the glitchy electro was favourable, if not startling. In recent years, this type of scratchy and quiet, quiet loud style of music has been growing in popularity and whilst Maps may not be the best artist to utilise this sound, they are by no means the worst. The addition of some live drumming worked well and the rat-a-tat-tat style of some percussion sections really came to the fore.
The vocals, again like so many in this field, were muted and more used as an additional instrument as opposed to taking the limelight and attention. The start of the show may have featured little in the way of banter and chat but as the night wore on, the band started to warm to the crowd and the fact that it was the last night of the tour seemed to infuse the set with a party feel.
There can be no other excuse for the question of Buckfast being raised, it may lag behind whisky and Irn-Bru as Scotlands true natural drink but the tonic wine has certainly gathered a fanbase in recent years and its unsure whether Maps were genuinely interested in the drink or were merely after some cheering from a slightly inebriated audience. Likewise, when talk of an aftershow venue to head to was brought up, the initial enquiry of Firewater as a venue was shot down and the band were informed to head to Nice N Sleazys, one of Glasgows best-loved music venues. Unfortunately, perhaps due to the accent difference, this only came across as "Sleazy" to the band who were probably left confused by the various chanting that followed.
Of course, it wasnt all about drinking and after party venues, lets not be encouraging the myth that Glasgow is all about the drink and as the set continued, the intensity and energy continued stepping up and by the end of the set, everyone involved had paid in a right good shift, so even the more electronic things get, it stull requires some work and effort to make it right.
As an introduction to the band, the Maps live show is an encouraging place to start and can only bode well for the future plans of the band.