Philadelphia-born sextet A Sunny Day in Glasgow returned to DC in lush, hazy glory Sunday evening.
The shoegaze collective hit Comet Ping Pong at the end of a short tour that provided them the opportunity to play new songs from a nine-track double EP, Planning Weed Like It’s Acid/Life is Loss, released last November. The new songs showcased the band’s well-known strengths — sweet harmonies from vocalists Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma as well as big, fuzzy guitars from founder Ben Daniels and Josh Meakim.
They opened their show with a big wave of reverb with new song “Jet Black, starlit,” giving the guitars an early moment in the sun. But they countered that first number perfectly with “MTLOV (Minor Keys)” from their 2014 full-length, Sea When Absent. “MTLOV” places more focus on the twin vocals of the band’s leading ladies, and it gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to a sunny, snappy tune. Drummer Adam Herndon stands out on the track with consistently pleasant, airy upbeats making for good, clean pop
Watch A Sunny Day in Glasgow perform “MTLOV (Minor Keys)” live at the Berks Warehouse in Philadelphia for Out of Town Films on Oct. 1, 2014:
As they moved through an 11-song set, A Sunny Day in Glasgow return to the newest songs again and again, prompting the very full house to dance along to “Hey, You’re Mine,” “Jewelry Duty,” and “Days & More Nights” from their latest album. Much like “MTLOV,” many of these songs are vocal-forward, giving Jen and Annie ample room to sing soaring words of happy reveries. Annie augments her singing with keyboards.
While numbers like “Hey, You’re Mine” emphasize a rolling cadence under sunny vocals, others like “Days & More Nights” pile on the instruments in in a sweet cocktail of noise-pop ingredients.
Listen to Planning Weed Like It’s Acid/Life Is Loss on Bandcamp:
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Winding down the set, A Sunny Day in Glasgow returned to the last full-length LP for “Oh, I’m a Wrecker (What to Say to Crazy People)” and “Golden Waves” two wrap things up.
Songs like “Oh, I’m a Wrecker” give the band’s rhythm section a rare opportunity to define the song, and drummer Adam and bassist Ryan Newmeyer live up to the opportunity. In his corner of Comet’s cluttered stage (six people make for a tight fit there), Ryan demonstrates remarkable focus in a zone that complements his guitarists well.
Watch A Sunny Day in Glasgow perform “Oh, I’m a Wrecker” live for KEXP in Seattle on July 12, 2014:
With the concert in DC, A Sunny Day in Glasgow have finished up a short tour of four U.S. east coast cities for the time being! Although they were busier overall last year, the welcome creative output and brief tour in 2015 demonstrate the band is still very much in an active phase, which strikes me as a considerable feat given Ben and Annie live in Australia and the rest of the band in the United States. Still, their busy clip can only be strengthened by the taste among audiences for resurgent classic shoegaze bands, among which A Sunny Day in Glasgow rest perfectly. I’m guessing we will see them again soon!