Love Letter to Glitch41

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Words: Marlow Elliott-Fortnum (he/him)

As soon as I arrived in Glasgow I was on the lookout for live music. Gigs and live jams had been abundant during my teenage years in South London, and I wanted to keep them in my life throughout university. Glasgow has definitely provided. The city boasts several venues that cater to the “old-fashioned” combination of guitars, piano, and a drum kit alongside its vibrant clubbing scene. 

I’d heard about a new night starting through friends, and on instagram, called Glitch41, in the Southside. As I hopped on my bike for the slightly arduous and drizzly cycle from west to south, I had little idea about what exactly I would be hearing when I arrived: the event advertised itself as ‘groove music’, a vague term. Now, having gone more than a few times, I still walk into The Rumshack with that same sense of anticipation, intrigue and excitement. 

I was always going to be an easy sell for any music that resembled soul, funk, or jazz. My mum instilled a deep love for this kind of music when I was little, introducing me to the incredible voice of Marvin Gaye and the rhythmic brass of James Brown. When I heard there was a live groove night in Glasgow I was, of course, sold. But, even if there had been a moment of doubt, the fact that the tickets were £5 quickly calmed my student-induced frugality. 

Despite its ever-changing nature, there are a few things that remain consistent at Glitch41: many of the band members return (with the founding core of Liam Shortall, Anoushka Nanguy and Mateusz Sobieski), accompanied by a couple of guest players every now and then; there is always a group of dedicated boogiers right at the front bringing a tonne of energy (myself often among them); and, the fact that I find myself along with everyone in the room, entirely engrossed in music that both explores the boundaries of genre, and yet never fails to get you moving. 

Describing the music you’ll hear on one of the nights is difficult; it is constantly evolving. While there is a consistent jazzy, funky, undercurrent to these evenings, the musicians have a fantastic way of constantly re-evaluating ways to approach this style. Whether it’s live drum’n’bass, a cover of Jorja Smith’s club dance track “On my Mind”, or a brass heavy reworking of Jay-Z, there is always a new blend of genres for your ears to enjoy. You are always left contemplating which direction the performance will go. These nights are often concluded by the appearance of a few extra musicians joining the stage who, called up from the crowd, continue the improvised groove and demonstrate the immense musical talent present in Glasgow. 

My most recent Glitch41 outing was to their Halloween night. I was curious to see how the holiday would influence the music – with the band members appearing on stage with skeleton face paint I had a feeling the night might take a creepy turn. It was still undeniably funky, but the smooth electric piano of previous shows was swapped out for the staccato sounds of a regular one; the brass iterated a riff that seemed to blend classic funk with a dramatic, haunting marching band.

In the spirit of Halloween some of the early jams were littered with demonic laughs and eerie sound effects. Before the show reverted to some pieces of their traditional groove-like nature, there was an impressive rendition of the Stranger Things theme infused with plucky guitar and a great jazzy saxophone solo that was incredible to listen to. As someone who usually turns up their nose at most forms of “holiday music”, I walked away pleasantly surprised.

Speaking to one of Glitch41’s core creatives, Anoushka, after the show, my resolve was only strengthened that this is one of the best music events in Glasgow. Clad in an amazing Matrix-inspired leather jacket and shades, she talked about the desire amongst her and fellow Glasgow based musicians to create a musical space that felt open and inclusive; one that invites change, new ideas, and contributors. 

The fact that the music is largely improvised provides this type of flexibility and allows both performer and audience to explore and groove simultaneously. It’s hard not to enjoy a show in which those on stage are clearly loving what they do, as I often caught members of the band exchanging cheeky smiles during a particularly impressive solo or nodding in time with a smooth transition. Whether you love to dance, are keen to see some fantastic musicianship, or simply looking for something new to feed your ears, Glitch41 offers all this and more.


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